Is the 'abomination' the attempt to again sacrifice a red heifer?

Scripture: Daniel 12:11-13, 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, Numbers 19:2
Is the 'abomination' the attempt to again sacrifice a red heifer. Some people believe the Jews will rebuild the temple and sacrifice lambs. So, the temple in 2 Thessalonians is God's church and doesn't have anything to do with a literal temple or a red heifer.
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Co-Host:  We want to talk with Paul in Bangor, California. 

Caller:  Basically my question is on Daniel 12, verse 11, the first one. 

Pastor Doug:  Let me read that for our listeners ok?

Caller:  Ok.

Pastor Doug:  ‘And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days.’

You know, I may as well go ahead and read the last verses here in the book of Daniel – Daniel chapter 12, verses 12 and 13.  It says, ‘Blessed is he who waits and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days but you go your way till the end be: for you shall rest and rise with your inheritance at the end of the days.’  All right.

Caller:  Ok, basically my question has to do with the abomination that maketh desolate?

Pastor Doug:  Yeah the abomination of desolation.

Caller:  And basically, well actually I opposed a thought that I’ve had on it, and I don’t know if it has any value or not, but there’s a lot of talk about the animal sacrifices that Israel wants to start again.  And I was looking at that and thinking of what else would be an abomination to God than to have a sacrifice again, when Christ has already died as our Sacrifice – if there’s any correlation with that?

Pastor Doug:  Well let me read this verse to you in 2nd Thessalonians 2 verse 4.  And it says, ‘Let no one deceive you by any means.’

I’m actually reading 2nd Thessalonians 2 verse 3 first.  ‘Let no one deceive you by any means, for that day [speaking of the Second Coming] will not come unless there come a falling away first.’

Now this falling away that Paul is prophesying about is not a falling away in the world. The world has already fallen.  He’s talking about a falling away in the church.  He says, ‘…unless there come a falling away first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped so that he, as God, sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.’

Now many people have taken this verse, Paul, to say, “Yeah the Jews are going to rebuild the temple.”  But I’ve got news for you, I’ve been to the Middle East twice, and if you talk to the average Jew that lives on the street, they know nothing about any plan to rebuild the temple.

Now I’m half-Jewish.  My mother was Jewish.  And uh, Jews do not sacrifice lambs anymore.  Over the last 19 hundred years, the Jews have adjusted their theology where it is no longer necessary to sacrifice lambs for the forgiveness of sins.  So there is no big under-surge or powerful movement among the Jews to rebuild the temple.  The need for it hasn’t existed.

And so a lot of the Christians keep talking about the Jews rebuilding the temple and they’re talking about it much more than the Jews are.

So uh, what is this temple that it’s talking about here in 2nd Thessalonians?  I don’t think it’s talking about a physical temple at all.  Paul says over and over again that God’s church is the temple of God.  This anti-Christ power is going to sit over God’s people saying he is God, receiving worship.  But go ahead – you had another question.  I might be steering off your track.

Caller:  No. Basically I can see where you’re coming from and I find myself agreeing to it overall, but I’m thinking well if they do do it, ok, then that’s the reason why I thought there might – I guess the reason why I got, even thinking about it at all was because I was talking to a Messianic Jew, and they were mentioning that they had a red heifer now and supposedly the red heifer was something like two months’ old I think approximately.  And she was mentioning that it needed to be sacrificed somewhere between one year old and three years old.

Pastor Doug:  Yeah this is – if you don’t mind my saying so – there are a handful of extreme, and again, I want to be as gracious as I can be, but there are a handful of extreme, sensational people out there who talk about the red heifer.

The red heifer was a ceremony that you find in the Bible where it was a sacrifice for cleansing from leprosy and a few special things, and there was nothing unusual about a red heifer.

A Hereford is a red heifer.  They’re all over the place.  There’s nothing sacred about them.  It was just a sacrifice they were to make for the cleansing of leprosy – a thank offering.

Caller:  They were for the people?

Pastor Doug:  Excuse me?

Caller:  It was never for the people of Israel at all or anything?

Pastor Doug:  No.  You can read about the law regarding the red heifer in the Old Testament in the books of Moses.  And it was just one of the many Levitical laws relating to cleansing and forgiveness for sin.

And uh, I’m looking it up right now as we’re talking about this.  But I hear my charismatic friends and others saying, ‘Oh this is some sensational sign that the end is near.’  Well I don’t think that any of the prophecies – no prophesy in the Bible points to the red heifer.

Caller:  No I’m not looking at it from the standpoint of whether a prophesy points to it or not.  To me sometimes, when things occur, sometimes there could be simply a connection because of other another – that’s the reason why I thought well if they do sacrifice, it’s like slapping God in the face, because He has already sacrificed His Son.

Pastor Doug:  Right.

Caller:  And so that’s what I thought well that’s going to be like an abomination.

Pastor Doug:  Well now I see what you’re saying, is that if they try and return to the sacrificial system, that it’s just reiterating that they don’t believe Jesus is the Lamb of God.

Caller:  Yes.  And it’d be like what if – I mean we can look at the Ten Commandments, rejecting that but what’s even worse than that is saying that God’s sacrifice isn’t good.

Pastor Doug:  Right.

Caller:  And to me, that’s even worse.

Pastor Doug:  Well you know, that’s why it’s really a tragedy that many of our Jewish brothers and sisters, and a lot of my family, are still looking for the Messiah, and He already came.

Caller:  I understand.

Pastor Doug:  Now incidentally for our listeners out there, the passage about the red heifer is Numbers 19:2 – and it’s just a simple reference – and some people have turned it into a great, big, sensational sign of the end.

Caller:  Ok.

Pastor Doug:  We’ve got several people standing by Paul.

Caller:  Ok.  Thanks a lot.

Pastor Doug:  And thank you very much for your call and your comments.

Caller:  Ok.

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