[5] The Abomination – Are we prepared?


Table Of Contents for: The Abomination – Are we prepared?

A city on fire, a sand timer and the face of Jesus. Are we prepared? The Abomination - Are we prepared?
The end of the world? Are we prepared?

End of the world fiction books

I guess we all know the saying: ‘Curiosity killed the cat.’
It′s so easy to get over curious when looking at the subject of the end of the world, but are we prepared:

(This article based on Matthew 24:15-25 which is included at the foot of the page)

So when you see standing in the holy place the abomination that causes desolation”

Matthew 24:15

Some time ago I was teaching a teenage group on what the Bible said about the end of the world and one girl was in hyper mode and virtually unstoppable, because she had read a Christian fiction book.
It was giving names and places, and other specific details on Bible prophecies.

It had so grabbed her imagination that she saw all these details as being fact.
I then had a hard time in trying to persuade the group to stick to what the Bible told us and anything beyond that was merely speculation.

Bible end times

We have got to stick with what is written in the Bible, because that is the Truth.

We may not understand it, but that doesn’t mean we have got to twist circumstances to fit a certain set of verses.
We can’t tie up all the loose ends and think; ‘Done and dusted!’

Our minds often need to see things neatly packaged.
But God′s Word is not like that, there are some things in it that we won′t know the meaning of until we get to heaven.

Also, one portion in the Bible is not the complete picture on a subject.
The Bible is like the ocean. A novice swimmer can splash around on the shore line.
A more experienced swimmer can go out further and a deep sea diver can explore its depths!
For all of them, there is still more for them to see.
And that is true for all Christians whether, new or mature, at whatever stage we are at, we can feed from its richness, we can learn and grow.

But we all need to be humble.
Just because we know a verse or two on a particular subject does not mean we know the complete picture.

And I believe the Lord organised the Bible in such a way, so that it is the diligent and the humble who find the hidden treasures.
Remember why Jesus spoke in parables:

His disciples asked him what this parable meant.
He said, ‘The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that,
‘though seeing, they may NOT see;
though hearing, they may NOT understand.’ ”

Luke 8:9

A Desolation happened in BC167

The Seleucid king Antiochus Epiphanes IV ruled and suppressed the Israelites from 175-164 B.C.
His cruelty caused Israel to rebel against his rule.
Antiochus crushed the uprising, entered the temple, stopped the regular sacrifices and set up worship to Zeus.

This was an abomination to the Israelites and it had been prophesied by Daniel hundreds of years before it happened:

His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice.
Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation.”

Daniel 11:31

Daniel wrote a lot of prophecies that are hard to understand, but the above quote could easily speak of Antiochus.

But this event had obviously happened before Jesus’ time, so when Jesus referred to the Abomination he was not meaning what Antiochus had done but another near future event. Jesus said:

So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel – let the reader understand – then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.”

Matthew 24:15

Daniel’s prophecy must also point to a time after Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Quite often Biblical prophecy can apply to those listening at the time of the prophet or soon after; AND it can have a more future fulfilment.

If you want to delve deeper into Daniel’s prophecy see: What Is the ‘Abomination of Desolation’? by Dan Doriani [i]

The Desolation happened in AD70

The Titus arch built after Jerusalem's defeat by the Romans. The Abomination - Are we prepared?
The oldest surviving arch in Rome. It was built to commemorate the emperor Titus, who died suddenly during a plague in A.D. 81, after only a two-year reign, and to celebrate his victory in Jerusalem. Were they prepared? [ii]

So, going back to our portion of Scripture; These verses were of tremendous importance to the believers, because, some time after Christ′s death and after all the Apostles had been martyred – except for John – Jerusalem was surrounded by Roman armies.

The Temple being plundered - a carving on the Titus arch in Rome. Were they prepared?
Temple being plundered [iii]

The image shows the Temple being plundered and comes from a carving on the Titus arch in Rome.
The words of Jesus suddenly became a real event before their very eyes.
Luke also records Jesus′ teaching on this:

When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, you will know that the desolation is near.
Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.”

Luke 21:20

The believers recognised the warnings, they had faith in them that they were trustworthy and so they fled to safety, as if they were leaving a sinking ship.
Proverbs tells us:

A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.”

Proverbs 22:3

It was immensely practical for them at that time and the ones who obeyed were spared from that destruction.

How do we view the book of Revelation?

I believe we run into problems with these prophetical type of verses when we remove it from having a practical application.
For example, the way a lot of Christians view Revelation is that it is talking about way out there in the future and so it becomes hypothetical.
But many Christians through history have received comfort from Revelation, by relating it to themselves in their afflictions and their sufferings.
In fact the book of Revelation is not just a book of future events:

It is the revelation of Jesus Christ”

Revelation 1:1

The next few verses say:

Blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.”

Revelation 1:3

They won′t be blessed if it is talking about events which are all in the future.
All Scripture is practical and relevant to our lives now and it is not to puff up our minds.
It is not to satisfy our curiosity.
When the disciples asked “when will these things be?” Jesus gave them no answer because it is not for us to know.
When Jesus had risen from the dead and He appeared to them the disciples still asked the ‘when’ question.
Jesus answers them:

It is not for you to know the times, or dates the Father has set by His authority.”

Acts 1:7

Then Jesus makes an interesting point about prayer:

Pray that your flight will not take place in the winter… (etc)”

Matthew 24:20

It is not wrong for us to pray for ourselves and others, that the circumstances could be changed to something more favourable.
We are not to give the comfort of our bodies a high priority, but it can be duly considered.
Jesus says:

See I have told you ahead of time.”

Matthew 24:25

If we are diligent in reading His Word, we shall be more prepared for the things that come at us and we are more likely to give a good answer to those who ask us a question.

I guess this hasn’t satisfied your curiosity about when the end will be, but hopefully it was food for thought.
Here’s the Bible verses I started from:

So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel – let the reader understand – then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house.
Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak.
How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers!
Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath.
For then there will be great distress, unequalled from the beginning of the world until now and never to be equalled again.
If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.
At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it.
For false Christ′s and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect – if that were possible.
See, I have told you ahead of time.”

Matthew 24:15-25

References:
[i] What Is the ‘Abomination of Desolation’? by Dan Doriani.
[ii] The New York Public Library Digital Collections.
[iii] Destruction of Jerusalem image: thanks to David Alexander, The Lion Handbook to the Bible.

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