The Abomination of Desolation

Flee to the Mountains

One of the most puzzling statements in the Bible is Jesus’ warning in Matthew 24:15, “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.”

Here, Matthew adds the comment, “let the reader understand,” in other words, it is important that you understand this. Why?

Because it has everything to do with our salvation.

During the Reformation, the Protestants understood the meaning of the beast, the little horn that came up among the ten Kings. And they understood the meaning of time, times and half a time, as 1,260 years when the saints were under the control of the Bishop of Rome.

But they did not understand the meaning of the abomination of desolation, the event that began the time, times and half a time.

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).

The sin that caused desolation, was described in Daniel Chapter 8. The little horn, the power of Satan exalted itself as high as the Captain of the armies, in 193 A.D., when the Bishop of Rome wrote letters of excommunication to the Churches of Asia, and the place of His sanctuary was cast to the ground. As Daniel described in Chapter 9, the Church no longer obeyed God’s truth, and His Sanctuary was made desolate. The Spirit of truth was taken away.

Today, if we can see the abomination of desolation, we need to flee to the mountains, to the mountain of the Lord’s house, described in Daniel 2, and Isaiah 2, the mountain of salvation in the last days.

The Great Mountain of the End Days

Jesus said we must flee to the mountains when we see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet.

The Abomination of Desolation is the central message of the Book of Daniel.

It begins in the Second Chapter.

King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream of an image that was struck on its toes, by a stone that became a great mountain and filled the whole earth” (Daniel 2:34-35).

Daniel told King Nebuchadnezzar, that he was the head of that image, the head of gold. The Protestant Reformers understood that he represented the beast in the Book of Revelation, and the ten toes were the Ten States of Europe held together by the “beast.” They also understood that the stone that the struck the image was Christ, and they knew the great mountain was the mountain of the Lord’s house 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 it seems that the Reformers did not answer this question: if the stone broke the image and grew to become a great mountain, then where was the mountain of the Lord’s house before?

The answer is simply that the Lord’s temple was desolated by the Antichrist. When the Bishop of Rome exalted himself as high as Christ, in 193 A.D., the place of his sanctuary was cast to the ground (Daniel 8:11).

But even though the Church was desolated by the Antichrist, the kingdom of God continued in the wilderness. Daniel said 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” (Daniel 2:44).

After the Church was desolated by the Antichrist, the kingdom of God continued, and New Jerusalem “flew into the wilderness . . . away from the presence of the serpent” (Revelation 12:14).

The Beast, and the Great Tree

Daniel gave us the clearest explanation of the abomination of desolation in the fourth Chapter of his book.

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.

Jesus told us that the birds of the air represented the workers of Satan. 

Daniel said 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).

Beasts in the Old Testament symbolize the Gentiles, the Nations that have not been sanctified, not set apart by God.

God’s kingdom 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. 

Daniel said that the tree was King Nebuchadnezzar, who became as a beast in the field, until seven times passed over him.

We understand this seven times as seven periods of ½ a time that the saints were in the hands of the beast – time, times and half a time.

Daniel said that he must be remain as a beast, that the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men.

King Nebuchadnezzar as the King of Babylon symbolized the King of Mystery Babylon, and his kingdom was the “kingdom of the beast,” in the Book of Revelation.

The Beginning of the Time, Times and Half a Time

The Apostle John warned of the coming of the Antichrist saying, “this is the last hour” (2 John 1:28).

In 135 A.D., Justin Martyr said, “he whom Daniel foretells would have dominion for a time, and times, and a half, is even already at the door, about to speak blasphemous and daring things against the Most High”1.

Many Protestants thought the time, times and half a time began when the Bishop of Rome gained full status as a “temporal prince,” in the 8th Century.2

But Catholics disagreed with the Protestant’s view of the Pope. They cite the letters of excommunication that the Bishop of Rome wrote to the churches of Asia, in 193 A.D.3, as proof that the Primacy of the Bishop of Rome began much, much, earlier.

Indeed, the letters of excommunication written by the Bishop of Rome in 193 A.D., were the start of the time, times and half a time, which the Angel defined as 1290 days,

“from the time, the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be 1290 days.”

Daniel 12:12

This was 3 1/2 years, or 43 months of 30 days on the Jewish lunar calendar.

The sin that caused desolation, and the taking away of the daily sacrifice, was described in Daniel 8:11, “he shall exalt himself as high as the Captain of the Armies, and by him the daily sacrifices were taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down.”

When the Bishop of Rome wrote the letters of excommunication to the Churches of Asia, he exalted himself as high as Captain of the Armies, as high as Christ. The saints remained in his hands for exactly 3 1/2 years, in days, as years, 1278 years, until the Moravian Church broke free from the power of the Papacy.

The Sin that caused Desolation

The Apostle Paul described the lawless one as the one “who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god, or object of worship such that he sits in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God” (2 Thessalonians 2:4).

Daniel 8, 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 translated as “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 also appeared to Moses and told him to take his sandals off his feet. The Angel of the Lord was the pre-existent Christ.

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

Daniel 7 said that the power of Satan was given “two eyes and a mouth” in the Bishop of Rome. Satan’s power became as great as Christ when the Bishop of Rome wrote letters of excommunication to the Churches of Asia, because they disagreed with his doctrine of Easter Sunday.

The Bishop of Rome claimed that he had the authority to determine the teachings of the Church. And he said that if anyone did not listen to him, they would be excommunicated. When he made himself the new Lord of the Church, the Spirit of God was taken from the Church. The Spirit of God is the Spirit of truth and can only be received by a Church that obeys the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Place of his sanctuary was cast down

The Bishop of Rome exalted himself as high as Christ in 193 A.D. when he excommunicated the Churches of Asia because they did not accept his doctrine of Easter Sunday. Daniel said that when he did this, the place of his sanctuary was cast down.

The sanctuary of God’s Church is the dwelling place of His Spirit. The Spirit of God is the spirit of Truth.

For the Church to receive the Spirit of truth, it must obey the commandments of Christ, and the teachings of the Apostles.

The Spirit of God was first received on the Day of Pentecost, as evidenced by speaking in tongues.

The Apostle Paul described this in his letter to the Corinthians. In about 90 A.D., Bishop Clement of Rome, also wrote to the Corinthians, saying, “a full outpouring of the Holy Spirit was upon you all.”4

In 180 A.D., Bishop Irenaeus said,

For this reason, does the apostle declare, “we speak wisdom among them that are perfect” (1 Corinthians 2:6), terming those persons perfect who have received the Spirit of God, and who through the Spirit of God do speak in all languages . . .In like manner we do also hear many brethren in the Church, who possess prophetic gifts, and who through the Spirit speak all kinds of languages.

This was the last testimony of receiving the Holy Spirit.

After Irenaeus wrote this testimony in his Book “Against Heresies,” a false experience of speaking in tongues came through a cult called Montanism.

The mainstream Church believed the Montanists were possessed by evil spirits. This was the possession of demons prophesied by Paul, who said the coming of the lawless one would be “with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders” (2 Thessalonians 2:9).

In 193 A.D., when the Bishop of Rome made himself the Lord of the Church, the Spirit of God was taken away.

By him the daily sacrifices were taken away

Daniel explained that when the Bishop of Rome wrote letters of excommunication to the Churches of Asia, “by him the daily sacrifice was taken away” (Daniel 8:11).

The Hebrew word translated as “daily sacrifice” is hattamid. It is the same word used to describe the setting up of the abomination of desolation and taking away of the daily sacrifice in Daniel 11:31, and 12:11. The hattamid described the offering that was constantly before God, the show bread.

The blood of Christ is the daily sacrifice that stands before God to atone for our sins. Our sins are remitted through baptism, as described in Acts 2:38, and Acts 22:16

The authority to remit sins through baptism was given when Jesus breathed His Spirit on His disciples and said, “receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, their sins are forgiven” (John 20:22-23).

When the Spirit of God was taken from the Church, there was no evidence that the Church had the authority to wash away sins. This power of the daily sacrifice was taken from the Church.

In spite of this, the Bishop of Rome still claimed to have authority over the salvation of the saints, simply based on his succession as the Bishop of Rome. This was the power of the lie, the power of Satan that Martin Luther described as “the lie” of the little horn.

Martin Luther wrote,

the Pope is the very Antichrist, who has exalted himself above, and opposed himself against Christ, because he will not permit Christians to be saved without his power, which, nevertheless, is nothing, and is neither ordained nor commanded by God.

Smalcald Articles, II, IV, 10-12

Still today, Protestant churches do not claim to have the authority to remit sins through baptism. They believe that baptism is only symbolic, and for this reason also, they also pay little attention to the correct method of baptism.

He cast Truth to the Ground

The death of the Messiah after 3 1/2 years is our first hint of the meaning of “time, times and half a time.” Just as Christ taught the Gospel in three and a half years, the Antichrist corrupted it, in three and a half years, but in days as years, 1,278 days, as years!

Jesus said the Gentiles would trample the Holy City underfoot until the time of the Gentiles was fulfilled (Luke 21:24). Revelation 11:2 said, “they shall trample the Holy City underfoot for forty-two months.”

Daniel wrote, “he shall wear out the saints of the most High, and they shall be given into his hands for time, times and half a time” (Daniel 7:25).

In the last Chapter of Daniel, we read, “it shall be time, times and half a time; and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished” (Daniel 11:7).

Easter Sunday was only one of many new doctrines that were enforced by the Bishop of Rome. Daniel said, “he shall cast truth to the ground.” Many of the new teachings of the Church, including the change in the method of baptism, and the Trinity doctrine, came from the Montanists, and their chief spokesman Tertullian, who was the father of Latin Christianity. Tertullian called this the “New Prophecy.” He said the Holy Spirit was now explaining all the perplexities in the Bible. Tertullian and the Montanists were possessed by demons. Their founders were driven to suicide by the spirits they received.

By the time of the Reformation, the corruption of doctrine was unparalleled. The Church was selling the forgiveness of sins. These were called “indulgences,” and were used to build St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The power of the Holy people was completely shattered, before the rock of Christ, that King Nebuchadnezzar saw in his vision, shattered the beast.

The Desolation of the Sanctuary in Daniel 9

In Daniel Chapter 9, Daniel made a long prayer, that explained why God’s Church was made desolate by the Antichrist.

Daniel confessed the sins of Israel that resulted in Israel’s captivity for 70 years, saying,

Oh, Lord, the great and dreadful God, who keeps covenant and lovingkindness with those who love him and keep his commandments. . .

we have sinned, and have dealt perversely, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled . . .

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.

Daniel 9:3-17

After Daniel prayed, the Angel Gabriel was sent to tell Daniel that after 70 sevens, Israel would make an end of sins, and a reconciliation for iniquity. They shall anoint the most Holy, and end sacrifice and offerings.

But “the people of the Prince to come will destroy the City and the Sanctuary.” The Bishop of Rome destroyed the Temple of God when he exalted himself as high as Christ, by excommunicating the Churches of Asia, and making himself the new Lord of the Church.

The Angel explained that there would be more desolations, after the City and Sanctuary were destroyed, “desolations are determined until the end of the war until the consummation is poured out on the desolator” – the Kingdom of heaven was made desolate of the Holy Spirit, as the Angel described in Chapter 8.

Finally, the Angel said, “at the Holy place shall be the one who makes desolate” – the Bishop of Rome, and the power of Satan, stood in the holy place that God should have occupied. Jesus quoted this verse of Daniel in Matthew 24, saying, “when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (Matthew 24:15). 5

The Gospels and Revelation

Jesus’ prophecies in Luke 21, and Matthew 24, can only be understood when we understand the abomination of desolation. In 193 A.D., the Bishop of Rome committed the sin that caused desolation, when he exalted himself as high as Christ.

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). When we can see, and understand the abomination of desolation, we need to flee to the mountain of the Lord’s house.

Jesus also said, “when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near” (Luke 21:20). New Jerusalem was surrounded by the army of demons described in Daniel Chapter 8, and 11.

“Woe to those who are pregnant and nursing babes in those days” (Luke 21:23). Here, Jesus spoke of the elect Lady and her children, in Revelation 12.

“For then there will be a Great Tribulation” (Matthew 24:21). Satan desolated the Church and polluted the “sanctuary of strength.”

“And they will fall by the edge of the sword and be led away captive into all nations” (Luke 21:24) – the saints were taken captive by the beast of seven heads, and ten horns.

“They will trample the holy City underfoot until the time of the Gentiles is fulfilled” (Luke 21:24) – as explained in Revelation 11, “the Gentiles . . . will trample the holy City underfoot for 42 months” (Revelation 11:2).

“Unless those days were cut short, no flesh would be saved” (Matthew 24:22). No flesh would be saved by the true Gospel, because the Church was desolate of 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). This described the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, that ended the great tribulation, in Revelation 8.

John eats the little Book

In Daniel Chapter 10, the prophet Daniel saw a vision of a man clothed in linen, who was revealed in Chapter 12 as the Angel Michael, whose name means, “one who is like God.”

This vision of a man clothed in linen was the vision of Christ that John saw in Revelation 1.

The Angel who explained the vision to Daniel, said to another, who was clothed in linen, “How long shall the fulfillment of these wonders be?”

Then the one who was clothed in linen, “held up His right hand, and His left hand toward heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever that it shall be for time, times, and half a time…”

In Revelation 10, a strong Angel, who was clothed with a cloud, having a face as the sun, and His feet like pillars of fire, raised “His hand to heaven and swore by Him who lives forever and ever . . . that there should be no more delay.”

Of course, Christ was the Angel who led the Israelites, by cloud by day, and fire by night, and had a face as the sun in Revelation 1. He was the Angel clothed in linen, in Daniel 10, and Daniel 12.

John ate the little Book the Angel gave him. This Book began the prophecy of time, times and half a time in Revelation.

In Chapter 11, we are told that the Gentiles will trample the Holy City underfoot for forty-two months, and we meet the Two Witnesses who wear sackcloth for 1,260 days.

The story really begins in Chapter 12, where we learn that the Woman, New Jerusalem fled into the wilderness for time, times, and half a time. In Chapter 13, we learn about the beast, the little horn in Daniel 7, who held the saints in his hand for 42 months.

The Woman who went into the Wilderness

The Woman who flew “into the wilderness for time, times, and half a time” was first described by King Solomon, almost 1,000 years before the birth of Christ.

King Solomon as “the Son of David,” represented the future Christ. 

His Song of Songs, is an ancient and celebrated love story, in which he plays the part of a Bridegroom, who romances His bride.

In Chapter Three, his Bride left the City, which the Apostle John called “the Great City.” She went into the wilderness to find her lover.

There she finds Him, saying, 

Who is this coming out of the wilderness
Like pillars of smoke

Song of Songs 3:6

John described New Jerusalem as the Woman who went “in the wilderness to be nourished for 1,260 days.”

The meaning of “in the wilderness” is that the saints were known only to God, after the place of His sanctuary was cast to the ground. New Jerusalem was “a spring shut-up.”

A garden enclosed is my sister, my Spouse
A spring shut up, A fountain sealed.

Song of Songs 4:12

She was nurtured in the wilderness, by her lover. 

Awake, O North,
And come, O south!
Blow upon my garden,
that its spices may flow out.

Song of Songs 4:16

In Chapter Five, the watchmen of “the Great City” beat the Bride, and took her veil away. So the Apostle John said, “the voice of Bride and Bridegroom shall not be heard in you anymore” (Revelation 18:23). 

In Chapter Six, the other virgins beg the Bride to come out of the wilderness,

But she replied,

What would you see in the Shulamite
As it were, the dance of two camps?

Song of Songs 6:13

This dance of two army camps was a prophecy of the war between the end time Sanctified Church, and the kingdom of the beast, the false Church of Satan’s teachings.

In the last Chapter, the Bride comes out of the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved.

Who is this coming out of the wilderness,
Leaning upon her beloved?

Song of Songs 8:5

The false Church is called “the sister who has no breasts” (Song of Songs 8:8). Meaning that she lacks the milk of the Word of God to nourish her children.

So her brothers reply, “we will enclose her with boards of cedar”(Song of Songs 8:9).6

The Desolated Church in Revelation

Daniel prophesied that the Sanctuary of God’s Church would be cast down when the Bishop of Rome exalted himself as high as Christ. In Revelation Chapter 12, the Apostle John explained the flight of the saints, from the desolated Church, when he said, “the Woman fled into the wilderness, away from the presence of the serpent” (Revelation 12:14).

John concluded Chapter 12 saying, “the Dragon was enraged with the woman and went to make war with the rest of her children.” This was the war described in Daniel 9:26, “til the end of the war, desolations are determined.”

The meaning of “having the testimony of Jesus,” was explained in verse 11, “they overcame because of the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony.” After the Church was desolated by the Antichrist, and the saints no longer had the testimony of the Holy Spirit, they overcame the accusation of Satan by their own testimony. Paul said, “if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).

When the Sanctified Church is restored, in Chapter 19, the testimony of Jesus is called “the Spirit of Prophecy.” The Spirit of Prophecy was the name of the Spirit of God in the Targum of Isaiah 61:1. The Spirit of Christ was called, “the Word.”

Throughout the Book of Revelation, John describes two groups of saints: those from the Great Tribulation, and the 144,000, having the seal of God on their foreheads; those who worship God in the tabernacle, in the wilderness, and those who worship God in the temple, the Sanctified Church. The saints who worship God in the Sanctified Church are identified by the sound of many waters, and the sound of harps, the sound of praying in the Holy Spirit, that Paul described in 1 Corinthians 14:7.


  1. Dialogue with Tryphos, 32
  2. Bishop Thomas Newton wrote, “A time, all agree, signifies a year; and a time, and times, and the dividing of time, or half a time, are three years and a half . . . and it is confessed that the seventy weeks, in Daniel 9, are weeks of years, and consequently twelve hundred and sixty days are twelve hundred and sixty years. So long antichrist, or the little horn, will continue: but from what point of time the commencement of these twelve hundred and sixty years is to be dated, is not easy to determine. It should seem that they are to be computed from the full establishment of the power of the pope, and no less is implied in the expression, given into his hand. Now the power of the pope, as a horn, or temporal prince, it hath been shown, was established in the eighth century…” Bishop Thomas Newton, 1754 AD, Dissertations on the Prophecies which have been remarkably fulfilled.
  3. The Date of 193 A.D. was the date of two significant councils, and as a matter of law is recorded in the Catholic Library Association, and the Library of Congress.

    1.193 A.D. – Council of Rome, presided over by Bishop Victor, condemns the celebration of Pascha on Nisan 14, and addresses a letter to Polycrates of Ephesus and the Churches in Asia.
    193 A.D. – Council of Ephesus, presided over by Bishop Polycrates, and attended by several bishops throughout Asia, reject the authority of Victor of Rome, and keep the Asian paschal tradition (Markou, Stavros L. K. An Orthodox Christian Historical Timeline. Copyright © 2003 OrthodoxFaith.com).

  4. Letter to the Corinthian, Chapter Two
  5. The word “holy” in Daniel was corrupted to “wing” in the Masoretic text, but the Greek Septuagint is correct as “holy.”
  6. Zechariah described her as “wickedness,” a woman who was thrust into a basket, covered by lead, Zechariah 5:8