The Abomination of Desolation

Flee to the Mountains

The Protestants understood the meaning of “time, times and half a time,” but they did not understand the abomination of desolation, the event that began it.

When the Angel concluded the Book of Daniel, He said, “from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days” (Daniel 12:11).

It is very important that we understand the meaning of this. Jesus said, “when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place – then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains” (Matthew 24:15-16).

Here, Matthew added the comment, “let the reader understand,” because this has everything to do with our salvation.

We need to go back to the Book of Daniel in order to understand this. 

Daniel 2 – The Great Mountain

To understand this, we need to go back to the second chapter of Daniel.

King Nebuchadnezzar, in his dream, saw an image struck by a stone, “on its feet of iron and clay and broke them in pieces . . . (and) the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth” (Daniel 2:34-35).

This is the great mountain that was described by Isaiah,

“in the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be exalted above all the mountains”

Isaiah 2:2

But we have to ask ourselves, if the stone grew into this great mountain after the Reformation, then where was it before?

The answer is simply that the Church of God was desolated by the Antichrist, when he exalted himself as high as Christ, and the place of his sanctuary was cast to the ground, as Daniel told us in Chapter 8.

But why would God’s sanctuary be cast to the ground?

The Spirit of God is the Spirit of truth. In order to receive the Spirit of truth, a Church must meet the conditions that are described in the Bible. When the Bishop of Rome made himself the Lord of the Church, and put his teachings above Christ, the Spirit of God was taken from the Church. The place of His Sanctuary was cast to the ground.

But even though the Church was desolated by the Antichrist, the kingdom of God continued in the wilderness.

Daniel told us that the Kingdom of God will never be destroyed, “the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.” Even though the Church was desolated by Satan, the kingdom of God continued “in the wilderness . . . away from the presence of the serpent” (Revelation 12:14).

Daniel 4 – The Beast, and the Great Tree

The desolation of the Church becomes more clear in the fourth Chapter of Daniel.

Here, King Nebuchadnezzar had a vision of a great tree that “could be seen to the ends of all the earth…and the birds of the air came and rest in its branches” (Daniel 4:11-12).

This metaphor of a great tree, and the expression “the birds of the air came and rest in its branches,” was used by Jesus to describe the growth of the Kingdom of Heaven in Matthew 13.

Daniel told us what would happen to the tree, “chop down the tree and cut its branches…let the beasts get out from under it, and the birds from its branches, nevertheless leave the stump and the roots in the earth bound with a band of iron and bronze” (Daniel 4:13-14).

God’s Church was chopped down and a band of iron and bronze was placed around it, so that it could regrow at a later time. This was just another way of describing the desolation of the Church. Beasts in the Old Testament refer to the Gentiles, and the birds are called the workers of Satan, in Matthew 13, where Jesus gave us this parable.

Daniel described the tree as King Nebuchadnezzar who became a beast until seven times passed over him – seven periods of ½ a time that the saints were in the hands of the beast. Throughout the Book of Daniel, Kings are equated to their Kingdoms. King Nebuchadnezzar as the King of Babylon symbolized the king of Mystery Babylon, the “kingdom of the beast,” in the Book of Revelation.

Daniel 8 – The Antichrist

In Chapter 8, Daniel helps us to understand the little horn that appeared in Chapter 7. The little horn is the power of Satan. The power of Satan was given “two eyes and a mouth” in the Bishop of Rome. 

The power of Satan is the lie. He is the author of substitute religion. Therefore little horn in this passage is called “the Antichrist’ by the Apostle John.

Daniel tells us that when the Antichrist exalted himself as high as Christ, “the place of his Sanctuary was cast to the ground.” 

Here, we are told that the Sanctuary, the Kingdom of Heaven, will be fully cleansed after 2,300 days.

From the prophecy of the Messiah’s coming, and the prophecy of time, times and half a time, we know that 2,300 days are 2,300 years.

The Little Horn

The prophet Zechariah described the four Kings in Daniel 7 as “four horns” that would be terrorized by four craftsmen (Zechariah 1:18-21), the four living creatures. A horn in the Bible represents power, as described in verses 6 and 7.

Daniel begins with a vision of a Ram with two horns. These two horns are identified as the Kings of the Medes and Persians, in verse 20. In verse 4, we are told that the Ram became “great,” and one horn was greater than the other. The greater horn represented the power of Cyrus, the Great, and the lessor represented the power Darius the Mede.

Then a Goat appeared with a large horn, which was broken and replaced by four other notable ones. The Goat became very, very great. We know the large horn represents the power of Alexander, the Great, and the four horns that replaced him represent the power of his four generals, who set up four kingdoms.

These four kingdoms went up to the four winds or spirits of heaven, the spiritual world. The interaction of these four kingdoms with the spiritual world is described in Daniel 11, where we learn about the most terrible of these kings, Antiochus IV Epiphanes. In verse 30, we are told that he “shall be grieved and have indignation against the holy covenant.”

In verse 9, we were told that when the Kings of Greece went up to the four winds of heaven, “out of one of them came a little horn.”

Some translations say that the little horn came out of the four horns in verse 8, and not the four winds. This makes the reader believe that the little horn who became “exceedingly great” was Antiochus IV Epiphanes.

But Antiochus IV Epiphanes was definitely not greater than Nebuchadnezzar the Great, Cyrus the Great, or Alexander the Great.

The direct reading of verse 9, tells us the little horn came out of the four winds of heaven.  It came out of the spiritual world.

In verse 10, we learn that the little horn “grew up to the host of heaven; and it cast down some the host and some of the stars to the ground and trampled them.” This was explained in Revelation 12, verse 4. The tail of the dragon, “swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth.” Stars represent angels throughout the bible, and these stars were the Angels who followed after Satan.

Why would the power of Satan be described as a “little horn” in Chapters 7 and 8. Because Satan’s power is the power of the lie. Verse 24 says that “his power shall be mighty but not by his own power.” In other words, he uses his lies to motivate men to use their power. He deceived the Romans to use their military power against Christ, and His disciples; and he used the Bishop of Rome to control the Ten Kings of Europe.  Verse 25 says that “through his cunning, he shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule.”

The Sin that caused Desolation

Verse 11, describes the sin of the Antichrist, “He even exalted himself as high as the Prince of the Host; and by him the daily sacrifices were taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down.”

The Hebrew word that is translated “Prince” is Sar. It means Captain. The word translated “host” is “tsaba,” meaning “armies.”  Daniel is describing the Captain of the Armies of the Lord, who appeared to Joshua, and told him to take the sandals off his feet. This was the Angel of the Lord who appeared to Moses at the burning bush and told him to take his sandals off his feet. This was the pre-existent Christ.

How did the Antichrist exalt himself as high as Christ, so that the place of his sanctuary was cast to the ground?

The Bishop of Rome, the little horn in Daniel 7, made himself as great as Christ in 193 AD, when he wrote letters of excommunication to the Churches of Asia because they disagreed with his doctrine of Easter Sunday.

Jesus Christ is the Lord of the Church, and only His teachings are the teachings of the Church. But the Bishop of Rome claimed the authority to determine the teachings of the Church. And he said that if anyone did not listen to him, they would be excommunicated. The Bishop of Rome made himself the new Lord of the Church.

When he did this, the Holy Spirit was taken from the Church, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down.

The departure of the Holy Spirit explains the phrase, “by him the daily sacrifices were taken away.” The blood of Christ is the daily sacrifice that continually stands before God to atone for our sins.

Jesus gave the Church the power to remit sins through baptism, when He breathed His Spirit on His disciples and said, “receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, their sins are forgiven.” Jesus was the Holy Spirit, the Angel, of whom God said, “do not provoke Him, or He will not pardon your transgressions” (Exodus 23:21).

Without the evidence of the Holy Spirit, there was no evidence that the Church had the authority to wash away sins, and so the place of his sanctuary was cast to the ground.

How long?

In verse 13, a holy one asked, “‘how long will the vision be, concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, and the giving of both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled underfoot?’

And he said to me, ‘for 2,300 days then the Sanctuary will be cleansed.’”

From Revelation 11, we know that the Kingdom of heaven will be trampled underfoot for 42 months, “time, times and half a time.” But after 2,300 days, the Sanctuary will be cleansed.

The corruption and cleansing of the kingdom of heaven are the two time periods described in the Book of Revelation.

The kingdom of heaven was corrupted over the 42 months that the saints were given into the hands of the Antichrist. It will be cleansed in the 1,000-year rule of the Martyrs with Christ.  This 1,000 year is just the 2,300 days in Daniel 8:11, less the 1,290 days in Daniel 12:12.

This 1,290 day helps us to understand Zechariah 14:2, where we read, “half of the City will go into captivity.”  There were 160 years before 193 AD, and 2,300 days until the sanctuary is cleansed, followed by 150 days, when Satan deceives the nations again.1 This gives us a total of 2,610 days, and forty-nine per cent (49%) of these are in captivity.  “Half of the City will go into captivity.”

Daniel 9 – The Desolation of the Sanctuary

In Chapter 9, Daniel made a long prayer, to confess the sins of Israel, that had resulted in Israel’s captivity for 70 years: “we have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in His laws…cause Your face to shine on Your sanctuary which is desolate.”

This also explained why God’s Church was made desolate by the Antichrist.

But the Angel promised that in 70 weeks, Israel would make an end of sins, and a reconciliation for iniquity.

Literally, he said, “seventy sevens are determined.” Meaning, it shall take seven times longer “to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity” (Daniel 9:24).

Then Daniel goes on to explain the desolation that must take place after the Messiah comes.

“the people of the Prince to come will destroy the City and the Sanctuary” – the Bishop of Rome destroyed the Sanctuary as described in Chapter 8.

“the end shall be with a flood” – this “flood” will be described in Revelation 12, as the persecution of the saints by the Red Dragon, the power of Rome.

“desolations are determined until the end of the war” – these are the desolations of the kingdom of heaven, which is now desolate of the Holy Spirit.  The war is also described in Revelation 12, “the Dragon …went off to make war with the rest of her children.” 

“until the consummation is poured out on the desolator” – the war will end when the beast is captured by the Rider on the White Horse and cast into the Lake of Fire.

“he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week” – Satan is the Ruler, the Nagid, who confirms a covenant with many.  He is the Nagid of the Covenant in Chapter 11. We assume that Satan made a covenant to complete the requirement for seventy weeks.

“But in the middle of the week he will put an end to sacrifice and offering” – after Christ preached for three and a half years, Satan crucified Him, through the power of the Red Dragon.  “Sacrifices and offering” in this passage describes the normal sacrifices for the atonement of sins. These were no longer required after Christ paid the penalty for our sins. The Hebrew word for “sacrifice” here is not “hatimad,” the showbread that represents Christ’s blood, in Chapters 8, 11, and 12.

“at the Holy place shall be the one who makes desolate” – Jesus quoted this verse in Matthew 24, saying, “when you see standing in the Holy (place) the one who makes desolate.” 2

Daniel 10 – the Angels of Persia and Greece

In Chapter 10, we meet the Captains of the Angels of the Armies of Persia, Greece, and Israel.  The Captain of the Angels of Israel is called “Michael” meaning “who is like God. He is the “Captain of the Armies of the Lord,” who appears throughout the Old Testament.

Daniel 11 – the Antichrist

In Chapter 11, Satan, the “Nagid of the Covenant,” is “swept away”3 by the attack of Antiochus IV Epiphanes. 

In verse 31, Satan becomes the king of the North. He “is given an army” and “they pollute the sanctuary of strength.”

The Hebrew word used for strength is “maoz,” and is only used in the Old Testament to describe the refuge of God, as in “God is my strong fortress.” The Angels of Satan end the worship of God in the Holy Spirit.

They “take away the daily sacrifice and set up the abomination of desolation” (Daniel 11:31).

Verse 31 is the first time that the expression, “abomination of desolation” is used in the Bible.  

Daniel 12 – Jan Huss and Martin Luther

Daniel’s final description of the “abomination of desolation” is in Chapter 12.

In verse 7, we read that the Angel, “held up His right hand and His left hand to heaven and swore by Him who lives forever that it shall be for time, times and half a time; and the when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be accomplished.”

Then in verse 11, the Angel said, “from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be 1,290 days. Blessed is he who waits and comes to 1,335 days.”

This 1,290 days, as mentioned, is simply 3 ½ years, as 43 months of 30 days on the Jewish lunar calendar.  On the calendar of the Gentiles, this is reckoned as 42 months of 30 days, 1,260 days.

But the Angel swore that it would be for “time, times and half a time.”

3 ½ years in days as years is exactly 365.25 X 3.5, 1278 days as years.

This brings us from 193 AD, until 1471 AD, when the Moravian church broke free from the Papacy after being hunted in the woods for three and a half years. Nearly half of the Moravian brethren were murdered in the forest, or died of hunger.

The Angel continued in verse 12, saying, “blessed is he who waits and comes to 1,335 days.” Adding 45 years to 1278, we come to 1516 AD, when Martin Luther first publicly attacked the Papacy.

Martin Luther and the Lutheran Church recognize 1516 as the fulfillment of a prophecy by Johann Hilten.  In his commentary on Daniel, Hilten said that in the year 1516 AD, “a man against the monastery” would reform the Church.

But Martin Luther did not know that his coming was also the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy of 1335 days.

The Gospels and Revelation

With this understanding of the abomination of desolation, we now relate the prophecy of Jesus to the Book of Revelation.

Matthew 24

Jesus said, “when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place . . . then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains” (Matthew 24:15-16).

In the Book of Revelation, New Jerusalem was described as the Woman “who fled into the wilderness for 1,260 days”(Revelation 12:6). But, we have actually not “seen” – understood the abomination of desolation until this day. Today, we must flee to the mountains, to find “the mountain of the Lord’s house,” (Isaiah 2:2), the place of salvation in the end days.

In verse 19, Jesus said, “woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babes in those days.” When the Woman, in Revelation 12, gave birth to the first child of God, “the dragon was enraged with the Woman and went off to make war with the rest of her offspring” (Revelation 12:17). 

Jesus continued, “for then there will be a Great Tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world” (Matthew 24:21). This Great Tribulation was Satan’s tribulation of the saints. His “army” polluted the “sanctuary of strength,” set up the “abomination of desolation,” and took away the daily sacrifice. Revelation 12:10, described Satan cast down from heaven, saying, “the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night” – “woe to those who dwell on the earth.”

Jesus said, “unless those days were cut short, no flesh would be saved,” (Matthew 24:22) no flesh would be saved by the true Gospel, for no one could receive the Holy Spirit.

But, “straight from the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light and the stars will fall” (Matthew 24:29). Here, Jesus described the darkening of the sun, and moon, and the falling of the stars in the “seven trumpets.” These trumpets began when Christ poured out the Holy Spirit and ended Satan’s tribulation of the saints – “the Angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it to the earth.”

Luke 21

Chapter 21 of the Gospel of Luke, brings out the message of Revelation even more clearly.

In verse 20, we read, “when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near.” The spiritual New Jerusalem was surrounded by the army of Satan’s Angels, as described in the Book of Daniel, and Revelation Chapter 12.

Verses 21 to 23, give us the same message as the Gospel of Matthew, “let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains,” and “woe to those who are pregnant.”

In verse 24, Jesus said, “And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations” –  here Jesus quoted from Daniel 11:33, describing the captivity of the saints by the nations, by the beast of seven heads, and ten horns.

Finally, Jesus concluded, “They will trample the holy City underfoot until the time of the Gentiles is fulfilled.” In Revelation 11:2, we read, “the Gentiles . . . will trample the holy City underfoot for 42 months.”

The Great Tribulation in Revelation 7

In the Book of Revelation, the expression “Great Tribulation” only appears in Chapter 7.  

Here, we find two groups of saints that will be saved: the 144,000 of the end time Sanctified Church, who have the seal of the Holy Spirit, and a “Great Multitude” who came out of the Great Tribulation. This Great Tribulation began when Satan and his Angels desolated the Church.

  1. Revelation 9:5
  2. The word “holy” in this sentence was corrupted to “wing” in the Masoretic text, but the Greek Septuagint is correct as “holy.”
  3. Daniel 11:22