Abomination and Desolation
By Elder Joe Holder
With this week’s study we begin to examine the relationship between Gabriel’s seventy weeks of years prophecy to Daniel and Jesus’ Olivet Discourse. In that discourse did Jesus affirm a disjointed seventieth week, or did He affirm the integrity of the prophecy’s sequential weeks? Did Jesus predict the hypothetical “secret rapture,” or did He predict something else, perhaps more than one “something else”?
Abomination and Desolation
And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and
in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease,
and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until
the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
We find language similar to
Jesus’ reference in four passages from Daniel. (Daniel 8:13; 9:27; 11:31; and
12:11) The Olivet Discourse, as this message from Jesus is termed, is one of
the three longest “sermons” or messages recorded in the gospels from Jesus’
lips. The three are the Sermon on the Mount, the Olivet Discourse, and Jesus’
words to the disciples following His last Passover with them in John’s gospel,
chapters fourteen through sixteen. Jesus spoke the Olivet Discourse during the
week in Jerusalem prior to His arrest and crucifixion. Interestingly, just as
we should logically view John chapters fourteen through sixteen as Jesus’ final
word to the disciples prior to His crucifixion, we should view the Olivet
Discourse as His last word to the unbelieving Jewish leaders prior to His
In our study of Gabriel’s
seventy week prophecy we have necessarily examined the popular and errant
interpretation of the dispensational school of theology regarding this
prophecy. Once advocates of this school choose to arbitrarily interrupt
Gabriel’s prophecy by dissecting the seventieth week from the first sixty-nine,
they demonstrate a similar inclination to arbitrary injection of time throughout
the Bible. The typical dispensational interpretation of the Olivet Discourse is
that Jesus was predicting the horrors of the seventieth week, or as they refer
to it, the Great Tribulation, that they believe shall occur between their
“secret rapture” and the Second Coming and general resurrection.
By Jesus reference to Daniel’s
“abomination of desolation” prophecies, there is no doubt that a prophetic
corollary exists between those prophecies and the subject matter that Jesus
addressed in the Olivet Discourse. The first question to be addressed is
fundamental to our understanding of both these Bible lessons and of the events
relating to the end of time and the Second Coming. Do the actual events that
Jesus described in the Olivet Discourse accurately—or even reasonably for that
matter—describe any sensible scenario of the Second Coming? Let’s examine a few
specific events that Jesus addressed in this discourse to see if they logically
match what we might expect to accompany the Second Coming—or even the
dispensational view of a “secret rapture.”
let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains….
(Matthew 24:16) Whether we view this verse in reference to the Second Coming or
the hypothetical secret rapture, does anything in Scripture describe the event
as so geographically localized that it would matter whether believers were in
the mountains, the valleys, or the middle of a thriving metropolis? Nothing,
absolutely nothing in Scripture indicates that the Second Coming shall be
restricted to a certain geographic location, much less that it shall exclude
people who reside in mountains at the time.
him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house….
(Matthew 24:17) The localization question becomes even more absurd with this
verse. Who can make a sensible case that anyone’s participation in the Second
Coming—or even the hypothetical secret rapture—will be jeopardized if you happen
to be repairing your roof when the time occurs?
3. Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
(Matthew 24:18) Can any Bible teacher make a credible case that a farmer in the
field will miss out on the event if he chooses to go to his home to pack a
suitcase before departing? For that matter, who can make any kind of case that
we’ll need a suitcase or our earthly wardrobe? If advocates of the
dispensational view try to avoid these questions by simply saying there will not
be enough time for people to do these things, it should be noted that Jesus
specifically puts the choice onto the individual, “Let them…” “Let him…” or
“Neither let him….” Jesus is not merely describing the immediacy of the event;
He is clearly warning us about what to do and what not to do when the actual
events He had in mind occur—or occurred.
woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
(Matthew 24:19) The absurdity intensifies. Who is willing to defend the idea
that pregnant women and nursing mothers will either go to hell at the Second
Coming or miss out on their participation in the “secret rapture”?
pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day….
(Matthew 24:20) Jesus clearly indicates in this verse—as if He hadn’t already
done so—that He is describing a specific local event, not the Second Coming or
the dispensationalist’s “secret rapture.” Travel, earth travel from Point A to
Point B is involved, and at that time those who knew Jesus warnings would need
to travel a distance far greater than they might need to travel during winter
weather or the Mosaic distance described as a “Sabbath day’s journey,” a
distances just short of a mile.
6. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth:
behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning
cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming
of the Son of man be. (Matthew 24:26-27) Here Jesus
confronts and refutes any notion of a “secret” event relative either to the
immediate events that He prophesied or of the Second Coming. In effect Jesus
confronted and rejected any notion of a “secret rapture.” Rather than a rapture
occurring privately or secretly so that some people mysteriously disappear while
others standing by remain, Jesus announces that His actual coming shall be as
public and as gripping of human attention as a bright flash of lightening.
A thorough examination of the
Olivet Discourse begins with the fact that the disciples asked Jesus three
questions, not just one.
went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to
shew him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all
these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon
another, that shall not be thrown down. And as he sat upon the mount of Olives,
the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things
be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
Notice the three questions.
1. …when shall these things be?
2. …what shall be the sign of thy
3. …what shall be the sign of the end
of the world?
No doubt the disciples were confused by
Jesus’ answer to their observation of the magnificence of the temple, as well as
likely confused by much of the prevailing Jewish beliefs of the day regarding
the coming of Messiah. It appears that a dominant belief among first century
Jews was that shortly, if not immediately, after Messiah came, the end of the
world, the Second Coming as we term the event, would occur. This errant Jewish
belief could well explain the Thessalonian error regarding the immediacy of the
Second Coming. Through the Olivet Discourse, among several other objectives,
Jesus addresses and refutes this errant belief. From the time the fig tree
begins to shoot out buds in the spring till harvest season involves significant
time, just as He indicated to the disciples a significant time would lapse from
His coming and death till the Second Coming.