Abomination of Desolation
Knowing He had only hours left before His crucifixion, Jesus engaged His twelve disciples in one of the most important conversations recorded in the Gospels. Its significance can be measured by its length and detail. Only the sermon on the mount is longer and His conversation began like this; “Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, "As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down." (Matthew 24:2) With this being said, Jesus left Jerusalem. His shocked and bewildered disciples followed in silence as they reflected upon His disturbing words. It was considered an act of treason for any man to speak against the Temple. For the Jew, it symbolized God’s favor upon their nation. To the outside world the Temple was considered one of the world’s ancient wonders. It was at this time that Heavens instructor took advantage of one of the disciples most teachable moments. Instead of uttering another word, He led them to a high point overlooking Jerusalem. And as He gazed upon the city and it’s Temple, His anxious disciples could no longer hold their peace saying, “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world" (Matthew 24:3)?
In the minds of his disciples, the Temple’s destruction and the end of the world had to be the same event! Although their understanding was incorrect, it was here that Jesus linked the events leading to the destruction of Jerusalem as a solemn example for those living at the end of time. Those who pay careful attention to the details contained within this warning will be spared God’s wrath when our world meets its final destruction. The tragedy that occurred in Jerusalem was unlike any that has ever occurred to this date. Out of the 180 million
people living upon the earth at that time, 1.3 million lost their lives in Jerusalem. In comparison, a tragedy of this magnitude in our world today would total a loss of 50 million people. The casualties suffered throughout World War II are comparable, but only in number, for Jerusalem’s destruction occurred in a matter of days! Religious pride stood as the root cause of the great devastation. “Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD...Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:5-18). The Jewish nation dared to exalt their man made Laws in place of the Law of Moses. And when the Messiah pointed out the darkness in their doctrine, he and his followers were rejected. "What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?" Pilate asked. They all answered, "Crucify him...Let his blood be on us and on our children"! (Matthew 27:22-25)
Thirty six years from the time the Jewish nation put God’s Son to death, their rebellion continued to escalate. The Apostolic Jews who continued to uphold the directives of the Holy Covenant by bringing the light of the Torah to the nations (a directive established from the time of Abraham) were relentlessly persecuted.The final act of the Jewish rebellion came when they put an official end to the work in which in which all Jews were entrusted. Their leaders rejected the offerings of the nations at the Feast of Tabernacles of AD 66. This symbolized that Israel was cutting off the nations from fellowship with the Abrahamic community. These renegade Jews longed for total separation and independence from all authority and Heaven was now ready to grant them their desire in full measure. “When you see 'the Abomination that causes Desolation' standing where it does not belong...then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains (Mark 13:14). By 66 A.D. Jerusalem fully rebelled against the authority of both God and man. Rome quickly responded, dispatching it’s army to stamp out the rebel uprising. The Roman army soon approached and surrounded Jerusalem, preventing all of its inhabitants from escape. Panic swept throughout the city as it appeared that their day of destruction had come. "When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near (Luke 21:20).Strangely, the General dispatched by Rome to quell the uprising was an administrator, not experienced in live combat. He ordered the weaponry and provisions be placed towards the rear of the procession of soldiers rather than the middle. His provisions were seized by a small band of Jewish rebels. With no provisions to endure the siege, the General commanded his armies to retreat. The Jewish people, anxious for holy glory, perceived that this retreat was a sign of Heaven’s favor upon their nation. They rushed after the retreating Roman army, destroying many legions of Roman soldiers. “God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie” (2 Thessalonians 2:10).
The Roman army’s retreat immediately divided the city of Jerusalem into two classes. The event was recognized by all as the miraculous working of God! But in whose favor was it accomplished? “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies...let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city; for this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written (Luke 21 20-22). Unseen Angels of God were assigned the task of separating those who believed the words of Christ from those anxious for earthy exaltation. All believing Christ’s teachings recognized this as the sign to depart. God separated the just from the unjust in a matter of moments. The Jews brought on their own destruction when they provoked Rome and now the fate of the nation was sealed. For 3 1/2 years, Jerusalem clothed herself in garments of unholy pride while the true believers kept far away from that wicked city. “Go...through the midst of Jerusalem...slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark” (Ezekiel 9:4-6).One year before Jerusalem’s destruction, a comet in the shape of a flaming sword was seen in broad daylight. The Jews believed this to be a sign that their Messiah was coming to bring divine protection. But they were sadly misled. It was the sign of their own impending destruction! “The LORD will bring a nation against you from far away like an eagle...a fierce-looking nation without respect for the old or pity for the young.” (Deuteronomy 28:49).
Nearly a million and a half presumptuous Jews gathered to celebrate the Passover, eagerly anticipating the long awaited appearance of their Messiah and to witness the miraculous destruction of the heathen Roman armies. It was at this time that Rome sent Titus to bring an end to the Jewish rebellion. For six months, the city was cut off by the Roman armies. The weak and starving multitudes were no match for mighty Romans who breached the walls on August 10th, 70 A.D. Those who had not starved to death were burned alive, run through with the sword or crucified. Only 90 thousand Jews survived. All that the Jewish nation had hoped for evaporated before their eyes. Molten gold flowed out from the burning Temple, seeping into its paved streets. The Romans plowed up every stone in order to retrieve it, fulfilling the prophecy; “Not one stone will be left on another” (Matthew 24:2).
Dear reader: The time has nearly come when, “Armed forces will rise...they will set up the Abomination that causes Desolation” (Daniel 11:31). No, it will not be Rome who causes the rebellion, it will be the Holy People as they rise up against teachings of the covenant. Are you discerning the wickedness as it is now appearing among us? Will you accept God’s messengers as they teach you the way of escape? In that time, loyalty to the truth will be weighed by the heavenly Angels and you will be “marked”. Judgment shall not be determined by your intellectual understanding alone, but by what you do and when you do it! Many comprehended the sign given that day in Jerusalem, yet they preferred the pleasing words of man and perished. Only those who heeded the instruction of Moses and the Lamb found life. “My sheep hear my voice...and they follow me” (John 10:27).