Editorial - The Abomination of Desolation

by Joseph Hunting

"When you shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, whoso readeth, let him understand: then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: let him which is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house: neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.

"And woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day: FOR THEN SHALL BE GREAT TRIBULATION, SUCH AS WAS NOT SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE WORLD TO THIS TIME, no nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved" (Matthew 24:15-22).

Nowhere in all Scripture is there a more solemn warning. The setting for this end-time drama is in Judaea and it focuses on "the holy place", but who or what is "the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet"? The closing verses of Daniel chapter eleven and verse one of chapter twelve supply the clues. "At the time of the end" a ruler will come up "like a whirlwind ... and he shall enter also into the glorious land (Israel) ... and he shall plant the tabernacle of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain (the Temple site on Mount Moriah) ... and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time."

Whereas Jeremiah warned Judah of an imminent destruction that was to befall Jerusalem, this warning by Messiah speaks of a yet future invasion that was foretold by Daniel and will be far worse than anything ever before experience, for "except those days be shortened, there should no flesh be saved." The tragedy was that Jeremiah's warnings went unheeded. But since Hiroshima the possibility of all flesh being wiped out is now a stark reality.

It is an interesting exercise to check out the reason for this urgent warning to watch out for this "Abomination of desolation" who shall stand in the Holy Place in Jerusalem. The warning was given in direct response to a question by His disciples, "What shall be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?" (24:3).

After nineteen hundred years of dispersion Israel was established as a nation on the soil of its ancient Biblical homeland in 1948. Since June 1967 a united Jerusalem has been the nation's capital. And for centuries scholars have believed that the Dome of the Rock, Islam's third most holy shrine, stook on the Temple site. However, recent excavations, plus research by Dr. Asher Kaufmann and others, have revealed that the original Temple was sited ninety metres north of the Dome of the Rock!

Should Israel erect a place of worship on the newly discovered Temple site, then the stage will be set for the final drama to be enacted. Both the Old and New Testaments speak of a latter-day temple (apart from Ezekiel's Millennial Temple described in chapters 40-46), and the scenario may soon be set for this end-time drama to run its course.