What Is the Abomination of Desolation?

Scripture: 2 Kings 21:10-12, 2 Kings 22:18-19, 1 Peter 2:5
Date: 09/17/2022 
What Is the Abomination of Desolation?

The USA in Bible Prophecy - Paper or PDF Download

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Doug Batchelor: Jesus said in Matthew 28:19, "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations." Here at Amazing Facts, we take the Great Commission seriously. That's why we're an international ministry. I've personally had the privilege of sharing the gospel in many countries, from China to New Guinea, from Russia to Africa, to India, and it's evident that people everywhere have a hunger for the Word of God. As we make significant progress in delivering God's message, there's still a lot of work to be done. It's not enough that people know about Jesus, people need to experience a new birth and to know the fantastic love of God. Life's difficult, many people across the globe are struggling, but God is still love. And it's our mission, here at Amazing Facts, and it's our joy to show that love to others by sharing the good news. We pray that today's program will bless and inspire you to share God's Word with others, and don't forget, stay tuned for today's free offer at the conclusion of the presentation, God bless.

Doug: Now, the subject of today's study has an ominous sounding title, and it is a very serious subject. What is the Abomination of Desolation? And some might be wondering, "Well, Pastor Doug, why did you choose to talk about that?" Because Jesus did. And matter of fact, Jesus highlighted it, saying, it's something that we need to understand, for what is coming in the future. Jesus said, "Therefore, when you see the Abomination of Desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place, let him who reads understand, then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains." And of course, He goes on to warn about a time of trouble such as there never has been. It's a serious subject.

Now, to understand what is the Abomination of Desolation, we need to go back. First of all, the Lord tells us, it says it--as spoken of by Daniel the prophet. So we know what book to go to, to find out more about it, is that right? First of all, what is the word abomination, what does that mean? In Hebrew, it's the word shiqquts. It means something that is disgusting, a stink, as in like unclean foods, most often, it's identified with idolatry. Idolatry was one of the most offensive things to God. Mixed marriages are sometimes called an abomination, wickedness, and perversions. In Greek, it's the word bdélygma, which means unclean, repugnant, abhorrent, pagan things. And you can find an example where that's used in 1 Peter 4:3, when he said, "Before we were saved, we walked in the lewdness of lusts, darkness, revelries, drinking parties," and then he says, "abominable idolatry."

As I told you idolatry is the most common way that the word abomination is used for the Hebrews. And the word desolation, whether you're in Hebrew or in Greek, it means something to be devastated, laid waste, destroyed, ruined. So there is an abomination that causes desolation.

Now, to understand this, we're going to divide it up pretty simply, you've got the First Desolation, the Second Desolation, the Third Desolation. Let's start with the First Desolation. And you read in 2 Kings 21, verse 10, "And the Lord spoke by His servants, the prophets, saying, 'Because Manasseh, the king of Judah has done these abominations--'" What were those abominations? He brought idols into the house of the Lord, he practiced witchcraft, soothsaying, child sacrifice. I think you'd agree those were abominations. "He acted more wickedly than all of the Amorites that were before him. He also made Judah sin with his idols. "Therefore, thus says, the Lord God of Israel, 'Behold, I'm bringing such calamity,'"

God's going to bring desolation, He warned ahead of time. "I'm bringing such calamity upon Jerusalem and Judea that whoever reads of it, both of his ears will tingle." It will be such a shock to see what's going to happen.

This is when Nebuchadnezzar was going to come and destroy the city, because of the abominations it would bring desolation. Well, after the warnings that came to King Manasseh, along came, a very good king named Josiah, and Josiah saw what the Word of God had foretold about the punishment that was going to come, and you read here in 2 Kings 22, that he went to cleanse the temple, and he wanted to cause a revival and return to the worship of God, get rid of the abominations that were in the house of God. "A prophet was sent to Josiah, and it said, 'Because your heart, Josiah, was tender and you humbled yourself before the Lord. When you heard what I spoke against this place and its inhabitants, that it would become a desolation,'" there's that word, "And a curse, and you tore your clothes and you wept before Me. I have heard you, says the Lord. The Bible says God promise--he says the judgment will come, but not in your days, because you've humbled yourself, the desolation will come later."

You've got the picture, people of God began to drift away from the Lord, compromise with the worship of the nations around. They brought in idols to the temple, began to teach the people to worship the idols, worshiping beasts were brought into the temple, of creeping things, detestable things, witchcraft. A brief revival, but they backslid again. And finally, there was a warning, Nebuchadnezzar came the first time, he carried away Daniel, but he hadn't destroyed the city of Jerusalem yet. But then he came back, and with a fury, because they continued to rebel. The temple was burned, this beautiful temple of Solomon, the city was burnt with fire, and it was destroyed.

Now, there's a pattern you're going to see, in these three Abominations of Desolation we're going to highlight, you'll notice that there's a warning, because they bring in compromise and apostasy and idolatry into the house of God. Often there'll be a time of cleansing and revival, but it seems like they backslide again, and then the judgment comes. A warning, a period of cleansing and revival, and then that generation passes off, they backslide, and ultimately probation closes, and the judgment comes.

Now, what specifically is one of the things that is mentioned, it's also mentioned by Jesus, I want you now to go to Jeremiah chapter 17. One of the Abominations, Jeremiah 17:21, "Thus says the Lord, 'Take heed to yourselves and bear no burden on the Sabbath day, to bring it in the gates of Jerusalem, nor carry a burden on your houses on the Sabbath day, nor do any work, but hallow the Sabbath day as I commanded your fathers.'" And then I'm jumping to verse 27, "But if you will not heed Me to hallow the Sabbath day, such as not carrying a burden when entering the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, then I will kindle a fire in its gates and devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched."

He gave them a warning. One of the warnings was not only what happened in the temple, but remembering God's commandments in particular, what commandment? The Sabbath day is mentioned, they did not listen. They continued to profane the Sabbath day, the gates of Jerusalem were burned with unquenchable fire. Nobody quenched it, it burnt them up. Nehemiah talks about the gates are burnt with fire. Look at what it says, one of the last verses in the Old Testament, "And those who escaped from the sword, he carried away to Babylon, where they became servants to him and his sons," this is Nebuchadnezzar. "Until the rule of the kingdom of Persia. To fulfill the Word of the Lord, by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths, as long as she laid desolate."

What was the condition of Jerusalem during that 70 years? Because of their abominations, it had been made desolate. "As long as she lay desolate, she kept Sabbath." You see, they had not been keeping the Sabbath, the weekly Sabbath, they had not been keeping the farming Sabbath, which is once every seven years. And for 490 years, they had been neglecting that agricultural Sabbath, and He says, "You're going to stay in Babylon one year for each year you've neglected, it ended up 70 years in captivity."

So this was the first Desolation that Daniel experienced, he's living through this. He is now in Babylon because Nebuchadnezzar, because of the abominations of the people, and the compromise of the worship of the true God, the land was rendered desolate, and you can read a lot more about that, I'm only sharing 1 out of 100 scriptures with you on this subject.

Now, you go to the Second Desolation. I want you to go, Jesus said, whoever reads the prophet Daniel, let him understand. Go to the book of Daniel chapter 9. This is the great prophecy that tells about the First Coming of Jesus. Now, we're not going to study the First Coming of Jesus and all of this, but I want you to notice part of this verse. Daniel 9:26, "And after 62 weeks," the angel Gabriel is talking to Daniel. "After 62 weeks, Messiah will be cut off, but not for Himself. He was cut off for us, and the people of the prince who is to come," speaking of the desolating power, that would be what kingdom? Rome. "The people of the prince, or meaning the kingdom who is to come, shall destroy the city and the sanctuary." You've got it up there on your screen and I underlined it so you can't miss it.

What were they going to do, they're going to desolate, why? Because of the abominations that happened. When the abominations connected with what happened to Christ and what the people had been doing, and the end of it will be with a flood, meaning the flood of an army. Till the end of the war, desolations are determined. "Then He," meaning the Messiah, "will confirm the covenant with many for one week, three and a half years in person, Jesus confirmed it, then He died, the sacrifice ceased in the temple when He died, the veil was rent." Then for another three and a half years, until the Jewish Supreme Court, the Sanhedrin, condemned Stephen. They did the same thing to Stephen they did to Jesus, they brought him out of the city. They had a kangaroo court, they falsely accused him, he prayed for the forgiveness of his executors, like Jesus. And but--it says the nation plugged their ears and they cried out, and they took him out and they killed him.

Notice what Jesus says, now I'm reading Luke. This is a parallel passage in Luke chapter 21 where He's warning about the destruction of Jerusalem. Luke 21, verse 20, "And when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee into the mountains."

Now, when He says, when you see the abomination of desolation in Matthew, here He spells out in Luke, what is that abomination? When you see what Jerusalem surrounded by armies. And it's interesting, Moses had foretold this in Deuteronomy 28. "He warned them if they turned to other gods, if they rejected the truth, disobeyed His commands, the Lord will bring a nation against you from afar, from the ends of the earth, as swift as an eagle flies." You know what the emblem for the Roman Legions was? In 102 BC Gaius Marius decreed that the eagle alone be the defining emblem of the Roman power, and on their standards when they came into the holy place, there was a needle. I think that's interesting, do you know what the ensign for the Babylonians was? An eagle. Do you know what ours is? Now, this is trivia, but I thought you'd find that interesting. I just think it's interesting.

You know, everything that Christ foretold in Matthew 24, says that there would be false Christs, there were many false Christs between the time of Jesus, in 70 AD, when the Romans destroyed the temple. It talks about three of them in the Bible. You got several false Christs that are identified. There are people who claim they were somebody, Josephus says, there are all these people that said they're the Messiah, they led people out into the wilderness. One other character, Josephus says, "Follow me and I'll go part the Jordan river." So all these false Christs came around.

They had earthquakes. They had a concentration of earthquakes around the Mediterranean between 30 and 70 AD, they had famine. You read about it in Acts, there was a prophet named Agabus who foretold a great famine that came, and Paul is bringing food because of the famine down to Jerusalem, and so all the things Jesus said, the earthquakes, the false Christs, the famines, the deception, that all happened on a small scale to literal Israel. And part of what brought around the destruction, the desolation was the combination of church and state, are you still awake? The religious leaders went to Pontius Pilate, and they asked him to execute Jesus, and they said, "We have no king but Caesar." Now, for God's people to say that is a tragic thing, that is an abomination.

So one of the greatest abominations was the Jewish nation, which was supposed to introduce and welcome the Messiah to the world, crucified Him. Now, of course, it was many of the Jewish nation, it was exclusively the Jewish nation that accepted Him. It was the apostles that were Jewish, those baptized on Pentecost were Jewish, but ultimately, you see God gave them a space of mercy, but then they stoned Stephen. Ultimately, in 70 AD, the city was destroyed, but Jesus had told His people, He says, "I'm giving you a warning so you are not destroyed, and when you see this warning, when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, do not even go back to your house to get your coat. Head for the hills, run for your life." And Jesus, one of the shortest verses in the Bible: "Remember Lot's wife." She was warned to flee, but she looked back. Now, is this something for us to think about, looking to the future?

There's a third Abomination coming, I'll get to that in a minute. God was very good to the Jewish nation, just like Nebuchadnezzar, who first--he besieged Rome once, but then there was a period of peace, and then he came and besieged it, and destroyed it, and burned it. Daniel and many escaped during the first siege, and made it to Babylon. There was a Roman emperor of 66. He came down, Thespian sent him down to conquer the Jews, and this Roman emperor came down, Cestus surrounded the city, besieged it, and for some inexplicable reason, he withdrew. He had not been defeated in battle. When the Jews, the Jewish Christians and the Christians all saw the Roman armies around Jerusalem, and they remember Jesus saying, "When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, get out." When he suddenly withdrew and the gates were opened, the Jewish armies chased after the Romans, the Christians said, "This is our opportunity." They left with the Jewish armies, they fled the country, and went to different places in Asia.

Not one Christian perished, because three and a half years later--does that sound familiar? Titus came back, and then the city was burnt, the temple was destroyed, Jesus said there would not be left here one stone upon another that would not be thrown down. This was the Second Desolation, when Jerusalem was destroyed. Third Abomination. Now, we got the First Abomination in the time of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar destroys Jerusalem and the temple. Brief period of peace, and then they turn away, the abominations are brought in. This happened to the church. Daniel 11:31 says, "And forces shall be mustered by him and they will defile the sanctuary fortress. Then they will take away the daily sacrifice, the plan of salvation, the gospel, and place there the Abomination of Desolation."

Now, what is God's temple--now, the temple of the Jews has not been rebuilt, so what temple is being defiled? Where are these abominations? Let the Bible explain itself. Jesus said, "Destroy this temple and in three days, I'll raise it up." But He says, in verse 21, "He was speaking of the temple of His body," by the way, that's John 2:19. What is the temple today that is being defiled? The body of Christ, the church is called what? The body of Christ. Let me give you more, Ephesians 2, verse 20. Paul says, "Having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets of Jesus Christ Himself, the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building being joined together grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit."

God wants to dwell in you. What--don't you know, ye are the temple of God. 1 Peter 2:5, "You, also as living stones are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." So there is a big change, it's--we don't have a physical priesthood anymore, we got a spiritual priesthood. We're a nation of kings and priests. You've got spiritual Israel, he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly, but he is a Jew who is one inwardly. There's spiritual circumcision of the heart.

We become the spiritual temple of God. Your body is a temple as well as the church, we are a temple, we are living stones, and it tells us that that temple, abominations would come into God's church. But, oh--first centuries, the gospel spread like crazy. They had this first love, and then things began to creep in. Then you ended up with an abomination in the temple. Compromise was made between the church and the state. And I think we all know about what happened is, gradually, from the time of the conversion of Constantine, though it began a little before that, they began to adopt the customs of the Greco-Roman religions, and introduce this idolatry into the church. And they said, "You know, we'll reach more pagans," they had good arguments. "We'll reach more pagans if we just rename our idols, instead of it being Jupiter, and Mercury, and Apollo, and Zeus, and Venus, we'll call it Mary, and Peter, James, and John." And it's evangelistic, "Let's just compromise a little bit, we'll reach more people."

That sound convincing? Well, that's what happened, gradually, they began to bring idolatry into the temple. And it wasn't just idolatry, but idolatry, you'd be surprised, you read the Old Testament, God speaks more strongly against idolatry than murder and adultery and stealing. It was like the ultimate sin, because in idolatry, you're putting another god there and then all the other sins follow. And so He was so strong against idolatry. Idolatry, statues everywhere, the worship of Mary, claiming that Mary was sinless, and a co-redeemer, that the priest has the power to basically execute Jesus over and over again, that it is the literal blood of Jesus that's in that cup, and the bread is His literal body, that we must confess our sins to a priest, that we're supposed to pray to dead saints, that we're to pray in vain repetition, which Jesus commands us not to do.

We're not to call any man Father, Jesus commands us not to do that, but they were commanded to do it. Infants, before they can repent or be taught, are baptized, and we're told if they're not, they're going to go to hell or purgatory. The teachings of purgatory, limbo, prayers and candles for the dead are nowhere in scripture, but they are relics of paganism. All the creeping beasts of paganism now crept into the church. There was an abomination that came in.

Now, you'll notice God is more patient each time and He has been providing a great deal of time. This went on for over 1000 years, but what happens? There's a period of revival, a period of cleansing. You have something called the Great Reformation. People rediscovered the Word, and there was a big cleansing, and the gospel, the true gospel, began to spread to the world, but it seems like that eventually--that light starts to flicker out and you have sort of a general backsliding again. And then the Desolation comes after that.

Well, that's where we are today, friends. So are there abominations today? Are there creeping things? If you were to resurrect Martin Luther, John Wesley, John Calvin, and many of the great reformers, and they looked at the church today, you know what they'd say: "What abominations." The idea that Christians could teach that we evolved from creeping things, animals in the temple of God. Here we are made in the image of God, but we're saying our likeness is like beasts. Creeping things, abominations. Something else is sun worship. We read about, there was sun worship in the time of Christ, and with the Romans, and there was sun worship--Ezekiel we read about, and there are different ways that people get involved in sun worship. When we reject the commandments of God for the day of the sun that was established by Constantine, it's giving more recognition to Sunday than God's Day, which is the seventh day.

Now, the key to understanding the abomination is in the book of Daniel, isn't that what Jesus said? In Daniel chapter 3, the king makes a great image, it's an idol. God's people will not worship the idol, they stand up. He delivers them for standing up for His commandments. Isn't there a commandment that says don't worship idols, you with me? You get to Daniel chapter 6 and the king says, "Everybody must worship me," but that would require breaking the first commandment, and Daniel will not do it, and he is delivered through the lion's den.

Here we are in the last days, the devil hasn't changed. There's going to be a law that says we must break one of the commandments of God. I believe it's going to be the fourth commandment, and it's going to be a test. Will God's people be faithful? So friends, fasten your seat belts. I think that we've already seen the abominations. We need a revival, we've kind of had the Great Reformation. I'd like to see another revival among God's people, you know, there was Pentecost after the cross, wasn't there? Or we need the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, but things happen pretty quickly after that.

Now, when I talk about Abominations of Desolation, if you forget everything I said, remember this: Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. It is meant to be a dwelling place for the Lord Jesus Christ. When you bring the world into your mind, when in your heart, you worship other gods, it is an abomination. You're taking Jesus out of the holy place and you're putting other things there. And unless we repent of that and ask Jesus to come in and cleanse the temple, desolations are determined. I don't want to be among those who experience the seven last plagues, I don't know about you. I want to be among those who escape when the warning is given, that are caught up to meet the Lord in peace.

Doug: You probably already know that the United States is one of the most powerful economic and military nations in history. But have you ever wondered if the Bible has anything to say about the US in Bible prophecy? What if I told you that it does, would it surprise you? Well, it's true. Using vivid symbolic imagery, the book of Revelation details the rise of America, and the prominent role that it will play in the last days of human history. If you'd like to know more about this important subject, Amazing Facts wants to send you a special gift called "The USA in Bible Prophecy." This short but insightful study guide will astound you as you see for yourself how the book of Revelation pinpoints the United States as a major player in these end-time events, and what you can do to be ready for it. To get your free copy, call the number on your screen, and ask for offer 181, or visit the web address. And after you read this incredible resource, make sure and share it with a friend.

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Doug: Devotion time is not found, it's made. You need to choose proactively to say, "I am going to set aside this time to build my relationship with Jesus," and you'll be blessed for doing it.

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