First, from the Book of Daniel we have:

Daniel 9:27: “And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”

This is followed a bit later by very similar language:

Daniel 12:7-10: "I heard the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, as he raised his right hand and his left toward heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time; and as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people, all these events will be completed... 10Many will be purged, purified and refined, but the wicked will act wickedly; and none of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight will understand. 11From the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days."

Christ then tells his disciples what appears to be the very same thing, even quoting Daniel in the process:

Matthew 24:15-18, 21: "Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 16then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains. 17Whoever is on the housetop must not go down to get the things out that are in his house. 18Whoever is in the field must not turn back to get his cloak... 21For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will."

Are these passages not referring to the same "abominable" force, one that "makes desolate" the "power of the holy people" — Israel?

  • I wonder where you got the idea for this Q. from. Aug 9, 2021 at 4:30
  • @OldeEnglish Oh, I've have been reading/studying through Revelation the past week or so. My OP didn't originate from our discussion, but rather from the consistent use of the the term "abomination of desolation." But, I see your point with your question. :-)
    – Xeno
    Aug 9, 2021 at 18:09

3 Answers 3


Modern scholars accept that Daniel 11's original context refers to the conflicts between Jerusalem and various Greek generals in the 2nd century BC. Even most scholars who believe in Biblical inerrancy accept this. Here are two conservative commentaries as examples, which I'm not really endorsing, I'm just using them to point out the fact that this isn't really something subject to debate.

In particular, the phrase "abomination of desolation" meant, to the author of Daniel, the time when Antiochus IV desecrated the temple in Jerusalem by building an altar to Zeus inside the Holy Place and sacrificing a pig on it. That's about the strongest middle finger you could give to the Jews and certainly something that would warrant the phrase "abomination of desolation"! From the Wikipedia article:

"Abomination of desolation" is a phrase from the Book of Daniel describing the pagan sacrifices with which the 2nd century BCE Greek king Antiochus IV replaced the twice-daily offering in the Jewish temple, or alternatively the altar on which such offerings were made. In the 1st century CE it was taken up by the authors of the gospels in the context of the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in the year 70, with Mark giving Jesus a speech concerning the Second Coming, Matthew 24:15-16 adding a reference to Daniel, and Luke Luke 21:20-21 giving a description of the Roman armies ("But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies…"); in all three it is likely that the authors had in mind a future eschatological (i.e., end-time) event, and perhaps the activities of some anti-Christ.

Therefore, Jesus reinterpreted Daniel, so at least in some sense the passages are not talking about the same thing. However, it's easy to see how the Roman sacking of the temple in 70 AD would also qualify as an "abomination of desolation," and restricting Daniel to a single interpretation might not be wise. How you ultimately view this is probably a matter of faith.

  • Indeed, everything after Daniel 9 reads like a completely different book. There are many who believe chapters 10-11 were either Hasmonean interpolations or 2nd CE Babylonian interpolations, as both the language and narrative devices are radically different from the earlier parts of Daniel. It's completely different from any other Biblical prophecy, including the other prophecies in Daniel.
    – Robert
    Aug 10, 2021 at 6:45

Are the passages from Daniel 9:27, 12:7-10, and Matthew 24:15-21 not describing the same "abominable" force of "desolation"?

The word "abomination" is used three times in the book of Daniel (Dan 9:27 (plural), 11:31 and 12:11). The Hebrew word is 8251 in Strong's Exhaustive Concordance:

from 8262; disgusting, i.e. filthy; especially idolatrous or (concretely) an idol; abominable filth (idol, -ation), detestable (thing).

For 8262 it says:

a primitive root; to be filthy, i.e. (intensively) to loathe, to pollute:- abhor, make abominable, have in abomination, detest, * utterly.

The word is used in the singular in 1 Kings 11:5, 11:7 (twice), 2 Kings 23:13 (three times).

From these texts it can be seen that an "abomination" is (not a force, but) a disgusting idol, or detestable false god.

So where an abomination is said to "stand in the holy place" it is most likely a statue/idol representing a false god or an alter to a false god (Matt 24:15).

As others have already said, an alter was built to Zeus in the Temple in Jerusalem by Antiochus IV Epiphanes: this lead to rebellion by the Jews against the Seleucids and this rebellion lead to Jewish independence under the Hasmonians/Maccabees, a "golden age" of Jewish independence. The action of Antiochus Epiphanes accounts for the mention of abomination of desolation in Daniel 11:31.

When our Lord speaks of the abomination in Matthew 24:15 he must either be speaking of Dan 12:11 or Dan 9:27. In that Daniel 11:31 is referring to exactly the same false god, i.e. Zeus/Jupiter, you could say verse Daniel 11:31 is also being referred to. In other words, what happened in the days of Antiochus Epiphanes with an abomination to Zeus/Jupiter will happen again.

The use in Dan 12:11 seems to be figurative, the main purpose of this section being an encouragement to patience and perseverence in times of trouble. The 1290 days is about three and a half years, a time often used in Scripture to represent a time of chastening/trouble/suffering (James 5:17; Rev 11:2, 12:6, 13:5, 12:14).

The most likely verse Matthew 24:15 refers directly to, probably the only possible verse is therefore Daniel 9:27. If this is true it may have an important impact on our interpretation of Daniel 9:24-27.

Matthew 24 is a difficult passage because it is our Lord's reply to two entirely different questions 1. When will the Temple be destroyed? and 2. When will be the end of the age? (Matt 24:1-3).

I cannot deny that the following interpretation of Matthew 24 has problems, but I think interpretting the abomination of desolation to have appeared at the time of the Temple destruction (AD 70) has much greater problems.. there was no abomination at that time, and there was no desolation either. The following interpretation has both.

Our Lord takes the opportunity to speak of future things in general. One thing must be remembered: our Lord did not know the day of his return to judge the world (Mark 14:32). In his divine nature he knew, but in his human nature he did not know.

He tells them what he does know: the Temple will be destroyed, the abomination of desolation will come, many will rise up claiming to be the Christ, etc. Having finished talking in general about future things he returns to answering their original question (of verse 3): in v34-36 he talks of "these things" and of "that day and that hour". The "these things" in v34 refers back to the destruction of the Temple, and that alone.

On this understanding, the "abomination of desolation" (verse 15) is not necessarily related to the destruction of the Temple (AD 70). It is mentioned in the passage speaking generally of future things. The truth is there is nothing of any historical consequence that happened at the time of the Temple destruction that can be spoken of as the abomination of desolation.

In the days of the Emperor Hadrian about AD 130 a Temple to Jupiter was set up on the site of the Jewish Temple. (In that Jupiter is the same god as Zeus this may also be a clue to the meaning.) This lead to the 3rd Jewish Roman War, the Bar Kokhba Rebellion. Simon Bar Kokhba claimed to be the Messiah (Bar Kokhba, "Son of the Star", a reference to Numbers 24:17). Many Jews, not just in Palestine but in the diaspora, who had rejected Jesus as the Messiah believed Simon Bar Kokhba to be the Messiah: at one time it is said about 400,000 Jewish men were involved in the rebellion, it gained independence for three years. When the Romans finally regained control they were extremely brutal against the Jews, Jerusalem was flattened, and many towns and villages destroyed. Some call the veangence a time not far short of genocide; we are told about half a million Jews were sold into slavery.

The abomination of desolation in Matthew 24 is the Temple to Jupiter set up in the days of Hadrian. The Jews had faith in Simon Bar Kokhba thus demonstrating they had no faith in Jesus of Nazareth and no love for God. They rather hated Jesus (without a cause) and suffered the consequences.

The real cause for the destruction of the Jews was their rejection of Jesus our Lord, revealed by their faith in another.


There is little question that Matt 24;15 alludes directly to Dan 9:27, 12:11. let me be more specific.

In the Greek NT, the phrase βδέλυγμα τῆς ἐρημώσεως (= “abomination of desolation”) has a pivotal occurrence in both first century events and apocalyptic events that overlap. The word ἐρημώσεως (eremoseos) is from the root word ἐρήμωσις (erémósis) which BDAG defines as, the “state of being made uninhabitable, devastation, destruction, depopulation”. This word only occurs in the following places in the NT:

  • Matt 24:15, “abomination of desolation which was spoken by Daniel the prophet …”
  • Mark 13:14, “abomination of desolation standing where it ought not to be …”
  • Luke 21:20, “when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near.”

The “abomination of desolation” (or similar phrase) occurs elsewhere only in Daniel 8:13, 9:27, 11:31, 12:11. The phrase might be more helpfully translated, “depopulating sacrilege”. It is also alluded to in several other places as we shall see. Let us list the characteristics of the abomination of desolation from these references.

  • It causes the cessation of the “daily” (Heb: Tamid) usually understood to be the daily (or continual) sacrifice (Dan 8:13). More correctly, (See Annex), it points to the ministry of Jesus our High Priest and His continual ministry in the heavenly sanctuary.
  • It occurs because of rebellion (presumably of those supposed to be God’s people. Non-Christians and non-Jews cannot rebel because they have not declared loyalty to God.) (Dan 8:13)
  • It ushers in a period (“times of Gentiles” according to Luke 21:20-24) where the sanctuary and God’s people will be trampled underfoot (Dan 8:13, Rev 11:2)
  • It is associated with a coming ruler (not Messiah), presumably, the antichrist (Dan 9:27); in 2 Thess 2:1-12 he is called the “man of lawlessness”, and, “son of destruction”.
  • Dan 11:31 appears to equate the King of the North with the one who would abolish the “continual” (Heb: “Tamid”) and desecrate the temple fortress and thus depopulate the temple of worshipers.
  • There are several time periods associated with the abomination of desolation: 2300 days until its end (Dan 8:13); 1290 days from its beginning (Dan 12:11); 42 months (Luke 21:20-24, Rev 11:2), 70 weeks (Dan 9:24-27).
  • The abomination of desolation is to stand in the holy place (Hebrew idiom for either the temple or Jerusalem, Matt 4:5, 27:53, 24:15, Acts 6:13, 21:28) and is where this ruler does not belong (Mark 13:14). This is the signal for those in Jerusalem to immediately flee and the immanent depopulation of Jerusalem of Christians.
  • The abomination of desolation was in Jesus’ time still future (Matt 24:15). (Therefore, this could not have been Antiochus Epiphanes.)

It is immediately obvious that Jesus applied this prophecy (at least in part) to the destruction of the temple (which occurred in 70 AD) that temporarily despoiled and depopulated Jerusalem, in his famous “Synoptic Apocalypse”. But it is also obvious that Jesus intended far more than this from the numerous references in this sermon to the end of the world. The question that prompted this sermon is a two-fold question (Matt 24:3) about both (a) the destruction of Jerusalem, and, (b) Jesus’ Second Advent. Jesus’ response was to answer both questions simultaneously by giving a dual prophecy. The advantage we have is to learn lessons from the destruction of Jerusalem and apply these to the remainder of Christian history since. Thus, while some parts of Jesus’ final sermon are clearly apocalyptic, much has a dual application as we shall soon see.

[Historical note: According to Josephus and a few other locals, the siege of Jerusalem began when Vespasian was ordered (by Nero) to destroy Jerusalem in 66 AD. It was probably an insurrection in Egypt that caused the siege to be abandoned the following year. This caused great jubilation amongst the Jews who believed they had been miraculously saved. By contrast, the Christians in Jerusalem recalled the prophecy of Jesus and took the opportunity to flee Jerusalem, but, Jews flooded into Jerusalem. In 68 AD the siege was re-established and in 69/70 AD, with Vespasian now emperor, he asked his son, Titus, to complete the siege. In 70 AD the wall was breached and many Jews perished but no Christians.]

In Jesus’ time, the abomination of desolation was fulfilled when the pagan Roman government (by its army) stood in Jerusalem and soon destroyed it by desecrating the temple and temporarily depopulating the city . Apocalyptically and eschatalogically, Paul tells us what would happen in 2 Thess 2:3 & 4 - Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. This uses the same language as Jesus’ sermon. The “man of lawlessness” would precipitate the abomination of desolation by blasphemously trying to usurp the rights and prerogatives of God Himself by removing Christ from the heavenly sanctuary and the continual (Heb: “Tamid”) intercession He offers for us (1 Tim 2:5, Heb 4:14-16, 7:23-28, 8:1, 2, 9:1-28, 10:1-18) as our High Priest.

Thus we find that the little horn of Daniel 7, the (latter part) of the little horn of Daniel 8, the (latter part) of the king of the north that causes the abomination of desolation, the “man of lawlessness” in 2 Thess 2, and the sea beast of Rev 13, are all prophecies about the same medieval power that is blasphemous and sets itself against Jesus and His faithful people and persecutes Christ’s followers.

This medieval political power is different from all other political powers in that it blasphemously claims to usurp Christ and His salvation and thus is a legalistic, works based pseudo-Christian power, different from any other political or civil power. Thus, the abomination of desolation is an alternate means of salvation that takes away Christ as our mediator and high priest and replaces Him with a man-made system.

Annex: תָּמִיד (tamid)

In the book of Daniel, the word תָּמִיד (tamid), meaning continual or regular, occurs just five times, Dan 8:11, 12, 13, 11:31, 12:11 as an adverb. It is always associated with the apostate power that removed this “continual” from the sanctuary. The same word occurs almost 100 times in the rest of the OT. It is often associated with various things in the sanctuary such as:

  • The shew bread which was to be on the table continually, Ex 25:30, Lev 24:8, Num 4:7, 16, 2 Chron 2:4
  • The menorah which was to burn continually, Ex 27:20, Lev 24:2-4
  • The High Priests’ breast plate as a continual memorial, Ex 28:29, 30
  • The High Priests’ blue ribbon attached to his turban as a continual reminder of the presence of God, Ex 28:37, 38
  • The morning and evening sacrifice of a burnt offering (a lamb) on the sanctuary altar, Ex 29:41, 42, Num 28:3-6, 10, 15, 23, 24, 31, 29:6, 11, 16, 19, 22, 25, 28, 31, 34, 1 Chron 16:37, 40, 2 Chron 24:14, Ezra 3:5, Neh 10:33, Ps 50:8, Eze 46:15
  • The burning wood in the altar of offering, continually, Ex 30:8, Lev 6:13
  • Offering of fine flour was to be continual, Lev 6:20, Neh 10:33, Eze 46:14
  • The continual presence of the cloud over the sanctuary, Num 9:16
  • The blowing continually of trumpets, 1 Chron 16:6
  • The ceremonies of the sanctuary, generally, that operated continually, 1 Chron 16:37, 23:31.

Note two important things about this survey:

  1. There is MUCH more than just the continual/regular (morning and evening) burnt offering of a lamb associated with the word תָּמִיד (tamid); however, that is the most common. תָּמִיד (tamid) is also associated with shew bread, the light (menorah), the High Priests’ breast plate, the blue ribbon, fire on the altar, grain offering, trumpeting, sanctuary services generally.
  2. All the features associated with the תָּמִיד (tamid), “continual” are taken up in the NT as symbols of the ministry of Jesus as our High Priest both here and in heaven, Heb 4:14-16, 7:23-28, 8:1, 2, 9:1-28, 10:1-18. Note the following:
  • Jesus was the fulfilment of what the sanctuary/temple typified, John 2:19-21, Heb 9:1-28, 10:1-18
  • Jesus represented the foundation of the temple as well, 1 Peter 2:4-8 (Compare Isa 28:16, Ps 118:22)
  • Jesus was the bread of life, John 6:35, 41, 48 (compare Ex 25:23-30, Lev 24:8).
  • Jesus was the light of life, John 8:12, 9:5 (compare the lampstand Ex 25:31-39, Lev 24:3, 4, Isa 53:11, Ps 56:13, etc)
  • Jesus was the Passover Lamb and thus the promised Messiah, John 1:29, 1 Cor 5:7, 1 Peter 1:19 (compare Ex 12:1-14).
  • Jesus is the High Priest of the New Covenant in fulfilment of the Levitical covenant, Heb 4:14-16, 7:23-28, because He was “pure, blameless, set apart” exactly as the Levites were. See also Heb 9:15, 12:24.
  • Even the blue cord signifying the presence of God was fulfilled in and of Jesus, John 14:10, 11, etc.
  • Jesus provided the blood of the new covenant of which the communion ceremony was to be a memorial, Matt 26:28, Mark 14:24, Luke 22:20, 1 Cor 11:25, Heb 13:20, 1 Peter 1:19 (compare Ex 24:5, 8).

Now back to Daniel and his תָּמִיד (tamid). Many of the English versions add “sacrifice” after “continual” - is this valid? Yes and no! “Yes” if we understand it refers to the sanctuary ceremonies generally; “no” of we understand it refers to the sacrifices exclusively. I believe that Daniel is alluding to all that pointed to Jesus and His perfect ministry as our intercessor (1 Tim 2:5, Heb 8:6, 12:24, etc).

  • Nice retrieve here. Aug 9, 2021 at 6:11
  • @OldeEnglish - I think this was the subject of one of your first questions here?
    – Dottard
    Aug 9, 2021 at 6:57
  • You got that right, so why didn't you just reference it, or is it mostly about amassing as many points as possible??? We don't all have a huge 'personal' reference library that we can just go to, extract and maybe tweak a little bit, then post as if new. Aug 9, 2021 at 16:29
  • @OldeEnglish - my apologies if I have offended you. If I recall that question was different. If you believe they are sufficiently similar, vote to close this one. My aim here is to be as helful as possible and so I almost never downvote by try to explain as often as possible where there are genuine questions.
    – Dottard
    Aug 9, 2021 at 20:51
  • The question may have been somewhat different, it's the answer's subjected narrative that is sufficiently similar. Glad to hear that you almost never downvote, I try to refrain from doing same also, but if and when I do, I always give the reason why, as I believe you do. I understand that you try to be as helpful as possible and explain, often in no uncertain terms, as often as possible, when genuine questions are posed. I just feel that you could respond in a more truthful, fair, and honorable manner, befitting of your status of, let's face it, a truly knowledgeable BH member. Aug 10, 2021 at 0:34

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