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Sermon No: 844-The abomination of Desolation



Gavin-Paynter/20120520_The-abomination-of-Desolation.jpg

SERMON TOPIC: The abomination of Desolation

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 20 May 2012

Topic Groups: PROPHECY, ANTICHRIST, THE TRIBULATION

Sermon synopsis: Matt 24:15-20 “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.”

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SERMON OVERVIEW:

The

abomination

of

desolation

Modern Jerusalem seen from the Mount of Olives

The Olivet discourse is the term used for the End Time prophecies of Jesus on the Mount of Olives as recorded in Matt 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21.

Model of the 2nd Temple (Israel Museum)

While leaving the temple a disciple comments on the magnificence of the building (Mark 13:1).

Jesus remarks that not one stone would be left standing on another (Mark 13:2). Later on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew (Mark 13:3) question Jesus about this, “When will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (Matt 24:3)

OLIVET DISCOURSE

Reading from Matthew 24, we see that the disciples seem to assume that the temple’s destruction and the end of the age would happen at the same time.

Jesus corrects the assumption by saying that there would be many wars “but the end is still to come” (v6).

He refers to famines and earthquakes in various places but calls them “the beginning of birth pains” (v7-8).

He predicts persecution (v9-10), the appearance of false prophets (v11), and an increase of wickedness where the love of most would grow cold (v12).

He then says that the gospel would be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end would come (v14).

OLIVET DISCOURSE

From v15 onwards Jesus then proceeds to warn about “the Abomination that causes Desolation” that would be set up in the temple.

Matt 24:15-20 “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.”

OLIVET DISCOURSE

TIMING OF PROPHECY

In a previous study we saw that there are 3 main views regarding the timing of prophecy: 1

Preterism - holds that most or all of the Biblical prophecies concerning the End Times refer to events which happened in the 1st century AD.

Historicism - treats the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation as finding literal earthly fulfillment through the history of the church age.

Futurism - places the fulfillment of the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation mostly in the future as literal, physical, apocalyptic and global.

1 Idealism is a fourth view, but it’s more a minority view held by a few liberal scholars. It interprets all of the imagery of Revelation as non-literal symbols which are perpetually and cyclically fulfilled in a spiritual sense.

Preterist: a 1st Century emperor (Pagan Rome).

THE ANTICHRIST

Futurist: a future (man) political & religious leader of a future revived Roman Empire.

Historicist: the medieval Roman Catholic church or Pope.

Historicist

Futurist

Preterist

Preterist:

A statue of Caligula

Apostate Judaism

Titus entering the Temple in 70 AD

Historicist:

The Pope who sits in the spiritual Temple (the Church)

Islam’s Dome of the Rock which occupies God’s place on Temple Mount in Jerusalem

Futurist:

At the end of the age there will be a defilement of the temple (by the image of the antichrist)

THE ABOMINATION

One Preterist claim is that the prophecy was fulfilled by Caligula who ordered that a statue depicting himself as Jupiter be set up in the Jerusalem Temple c. 40 AD.

However Josephus writes that Agrippa I requested the emperor to spare the temple’s conversion to the imperial cult. Caligula then instructed Petronius, the governor of Syria, to abandon the project. 1

1 Antiquities of the Jews/ Book XVIII Ch 8

1) PRETERIST

Caligula

Others say it’s apostate Judaism. The High Priest entering the Holy of Holies after Jesus had paid the price for sin was an abomination to God.

However Jesus speaks of the event as a trigger for the Jews to flee Jerusalem. The High Priest would have been going into the Holy of Holies for almost 40 years before anyone needed to flee Jerusalem because of Titus’ armies in 70 AD.

1) PRETERIST

Most Preterists claim that the abomination was fulfilled with the Roman general (and future Caesar) Titus entering the temple’s Holy Place in 70 AD during the assault on Jerusalem.

However we have sources which indicate that Titus was not an irreverent blasphemer, but rather held some reverence for the temple – so he can hardly be termed an Abomination.

The main account of the events surrounding the destruction of the temple comes from Josephus, who was an eyewitness to the Roman assault on Jerusalem. Josephus records that “thus was the holy house burnt down, without Caesar’s approbation (i.e. approval).” 1

1 Josephus, The War of the Jews - Book VI Chapter 4

1) PRETERIST

Josephus was a former Jewish commander of Galilee who attempted to end the Jewish rebellion by negotiating with the Judeans on Titus’s behalf. Josephus and Titus later became close friends so he would have got Titus’ version of the events firsthand.

Roman bust of Josephus

According to Josephus, Titus had ordered that the temple should be spared despite some of his commanders advising that it should be burnt because it “must then be looked upon not as a holy house, but as a citadel; and that the impiety of burning it would then belong to those that forced this to be done, and not to them.”

But Titus said, that “although the Jews should get upon that holy house, and fight us thence, yet ought we not to revenge ourselves on things that are inanimate, instead of the men themselves;” and that he was not in any case for burning down so vast a work as that was, because this would be a mischief to the Romans themselves, as it would be an ornament to their government while it continued. 1

1 Ibid

1) PRETERIST

Against his wishes a soldier had set the building alight while Titus wasn’t there.

… for upon Titus’s retiring, the seditious lay still for a little while, and then attacked the Romans again… but these Romans put the Jews to flight, and proceeded as far as the holy house itself. At which time one of the soldiers, without staying for any orders, and without any concern or dread upon him at so great an undertaking, and being hurried on by a certain divine fury, snatched somewhat out of the materials that were on fire, and being lifted up by another soldier, he set fire to a golden window, through which there was a passage to the rooms that were round about the holy house, on the north side of it. 1

1 Ibid

1) PRETERIST

Destruction of the Temple in 70 AD. Painting by Francesco Hayez

Titus then tried to put a stop to the fire in the temple:

And now a certain person came running to Titus, and told him of this fire, as he was resting himself in his tent after the last battle; whereupon he rose up in great haste, and, as he was, ran to the holy house, in order to have a stop put to the fire… Then did Caesar, both by calling to the soldiers that were fighting, with a loud voice, and by giving a signal to them with his right hand, order them to quench the fire. But they did not hear what he said, though he spake so loud, having their ears already dimmed by a greater noise another way; nor did they attend to the signal he made with his hand neither, as still some of them were distracted with fighting, and others with passion. 1

1 Ibid

1) PRETERIST

The Greek writer Philostratus (c.172- c.250) records that Titus refused to accept a wreath of victory, as he claimed that he had not won the victory on his own, but had been the vehicle through which God had manifested his wrath against his people. In Titus’s words he had simply “lent his arms to God”. 1

Do these accounts sound like someone who can be termed an Abomination to God for his actions concerning the Temple?

1 Philostratus, The Life of Apollonius of Tyana

Jesus had used the sighting of the Abomination as a sign that the inhabitants of Judea should flee to escape the subsequent destruction:

Matt 24:15-16 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation’ … then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.”

If this applied to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in AD 70, why would Jesus warn them to flee at the end and not the beginning? The Temple was taken after the city fell and was the last stronghold of the Jews.

1) PRETERIST

Furthermore the chronological sequence in Daniel 9:25-27 shows that the abomination is after the temple’s destruction.

“Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and (1) rebuild Jerusalem until the (2) Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the (3) Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will (3) destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: (4) War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. He will (5) confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the (6) middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And (7) on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until (8) the end that is decreed is poured out on him.”

1) PRETERIST

Matt 24:21-22 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now - and never to be equaled 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.

This verse alone indicates that the Preterist view of a complete fulfillment in AD 70 is misguided – if one just considers the Nazi Holocaust. According to Josephus, the toll of Jewish casualties in AD 70 was 1.1 million. 1 However 6 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust.

1 “The Wars Of The Jews” Book VI Ch 9: Now the number of those that were carried captive during this whole war was collected to be ninety-seven thousand; as was the number of those that perished during the whole siege eleven hundred thousand, the greater part of whom were indeed of the same nation [with the citizens of Jerusalem], but not belonging to the city itself; for they were come up from all the country to the feast of unleavened bread, and were on a sudden shut up by an army…

1) PRETERIST

Two thirds of all Jews will be killed by the antichrist. In Zechariah we are told that before the Lord returns in person to the Mount of Olives (Zech 14) that:

“In the whole land,” declares the LORD, “two-thirds will be struck down and perish; yet one-third will be left in it. (Zechariah 13:8)

In 2012 the Jewish population worldwide was estimated at 13,746,100. 1 Two thirds of this is 9 million. The remaining third of the Jews will turn back to the true Messiah Jesus Christ, “This third I will bring into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.’” (Zech 13:9)

1 "http:// www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/ jsource/ Judaism/ jewpop.html">http:// www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/ jsource/ Judaism/ jewpop.html

1) PRETERIST

Historicists claim that the abomination is the Pope who sits in the spiritual Temple (the Church).

But Popes have been around for hundreds of years. So what kind of a sign is that for “those who are in Judea” to “flee to the mountains”? Jesus is referring to a specific event that would be a sign for the Judeans to evacuate the area.

2) HISTORICIST

Others believe the abomination is the building of the Dome of the Rock on the former Temple site.

The Dome of the Rock seen from the Mount of Olives

An argument for this view is that the “1290 days” referred to in Daniel 12:11 closely matches the 1290 year time span 2 from the Siege of Jerusalem in 599-97 BC (“from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away”) to when the Dome of the Rock was constructed in 691 AD. 1

This raises the question of how to interpret Daniel 12:12: “Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the 1335 days”, which by the same methodology occurred around 736 AD.1

The fact is that while the Historicist view was very popular during the Protestant Reformation due to the strong anti-Catholic sentiment (as the Pope is both the antichrist and the Abomination) – today it is held largely only by the SDA and the JW’s.

1 "http:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Abomination_of_Desolation">http:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Abomination_of_Desolation 2 Historicists use the Day-Year principle when interpreting prophecy.

2) HISTORICIST

In the past 150 years, Futurism has come to be the dominant view of prophecy within evangelical Christianity.

Futurists anticipate many future events which will fulfil all End Time prophecy including the Rapture, a 7-year tribulation, a world ruler aka the Antichrist, the Battle of Armageddon, the Second Coming of Jesus, and two resurrections separated by the Millennial reign of Christ.

We saw in a previous study 1 how the Futurist view uses the most literal view of interpretation as opposed to the allegorical method. It was also the outlook of the early church Fathers who generally viewed the Antichrist as a future man, and the Abomination as a future desecration of the Jewish temple by the Antichrist.

1 www.agfbrakpan.co.za/ ministry-archives.aspx? mId=471

3) FUTURIST

Irenaeus was a disciple of Polycarp who was, in turn, a disciple of John. His teachings are considered among the most important of early Christianity and provide important insight into John’s teachings.

And so Irenaeus writes in the 2nd century of a future man (him) who will desolate the temple’s holy place:

The Lord also spoke as follows to those who did not believe in Him: “I have come in my Father’s name, and ye have not received Me: when another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive,” calling Antichrist “the other,” … To this purpose Daniel says again: “And he shall desolate the holy place…” 1

1 Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book 5, Chp. 25

3) FUTURIST

Note how Irenaeus holds a Futurist view, saying that the Antichrist will reign for 3½ years and sit in the temple in Jerusalem. Jesus will return and destroy him, bringing in the Millennial Kingdom along with a restoration of Israel.

But when this Antichrist shall have devastated all things in this world, he will reign for three years and six months, and sit in the temple in Jerusalem; and then the Lord will come from heaven in the clouds, in the glory of the Father, sending this man and those who follow him into the lake of fire; but bringing in for the righteous the times of the kingdom, that is, the rest, the hallowed seventh day; and restoring to Abraham the promised inheritance… 1

1 Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book 5, Chp. 30

3) FUTURIST

Irenaeus speaking of Antichrist in the 2nd century clearly understood these prophecies of John, Jesus and Paul from a Futurist viewpoint. He sees Antichrist as a future leader (king) who desecrates the temple in the middle of the 70th week of Daniel. In contrast Preterists place the 70th week of Daniel in the 1st century during Jesus’ ministry.

To this purpose Daniel says again: “And he shall desolate the holy place; and sin has been given for a sacrifice, and righteousness been cast away in the earth, and he has been active (fecit), and gone on prosperously.” And the angel Gabriel, when explaining his vision, states with regard to this person: “And towards the end of their kingdom a king of a most fierce countenance shall arise, one understanding [dark] questions, and exceedingly powerful, full of wonders; and he shall corrupt, direct,

3) FUTURIST

influence (faciet), and put strong men down, the holy people likewise; and his yoke shall be directed as a wreath [round their neck]; deceit shall be in his hand, and he shall be lifted up in his heart: he shall also ruin many by deceit, and lead many to perdition, bruising them in his hand like eggs.” And then he points out the time that his tyranny shall last, during which the saints shall be put to flight, they who offer a pure sacrifice unto God: “And in the midst of the week,” he says, “the sacrifice and the libation shall be taken away, and the abomination of desolation [shall be brought] into the temple: even unto the consummation of the time shall the desolation be complete.” Now three years and six months constitute the half-week. 1

1 Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book 5, Chp. 25

3) FUTURIST

Likewise Hippolytus talks of the Antichrist as a future king who restores the Temple, but claims to be God. He breaks a covenant in the middle of Daniel’s 70th week (which Futurists agree is the Tribulation) and kills the 2 witnesses.

Thus, then, does the prophet set forth these things concerning the Antichrist, who shall be shameless, a war-maker, and despot, who, exalting himself above all kings and above every God, shall build the city of Jerusalem, and restore the sanctuary.

Roman sculpture, possibly of Hippolytus

Him the impious will worship as God, and will bend to him the knee, thinking him to be the Christ. He shall cut off the two witnesses and forerunners of Christ, who proclaim His glorious kingdom from heaven, as it is said: “And I will give (power) unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.” As also it was announced to Daniel: “And one week shall confirm a covenant with many; and in the midst of the week it shall be that the sacrifice and oblation shall be removed” - that the one week might be shown to be divided into two. The two witnesses, then, shall preach three years and a half; and Antichrist shall make war upon the saints during the rest of the week, and desolate the world, that what is written may be fulfilled: “And they shall make the abomination of desolation for a thousand two hundred and ninety days.” 1

1 Hippolytus, On Daniel, II, 39

So Hippolytus writes that the abomination of desolation was to last 1290 days. He doesn’t try to convert the days to years (like Historicists) or place them in the past (like Preterists).

And after that he will build the temple in Jerusalem, and will restore it again speedily, and give it over to the Jews. And then he will be lifted up in heart against every man; yea, he will speak blasphemy also against God, thinking in his deceit that he shall be king upon the earth hereafter for ever; not knowing, miserable wretch, that his kingdom is to be quickly brought to nought, and that he will quickly have to meet the fire which is prepared for him, along with all who trust him and serve him. For when Daniel said, 'I shall make my covenant for one week,' he indicated seven years; and

3) FUTURIST

the one half of the week is for the preaching of the prophets, and for the other half of the week - that is to say, for three years and a half - Antichrist will reign upon the earth. And after this his kingdom and his glory shall be taken away. Behold, ye who love God, what manner of tribulation there shall rise in those days, such as has not been from the foundation of the world, no, nor ever shall be, except in those days alone. Then the lawless one, being lifted up in heart, will gather together his demons in man’s form, and will abominate those who call him to the kingdom, and will pollute many souls.” 1

1 Appendix to the Works of Hippolytus, XXV

3) FUTURIST

Writing about the “lawless one”, Paul sees him as a future deceiver capable of performing counterfeit miracles, who will be destroyed at Jesus’ coming.

2 Thess 2:6-10 And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendour of his coming. The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing…

3) FUTURIST

TIMING OF THE ABOMINATION

PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE

1000 YEAR MILLENNIUM

S E C O N D A D V E N T

PRESENT AGE

R A P T U R E

A B O M I N A T I O N

3½ YEAR GREAT TRIBU-LATION

1260 days

Time, times & ½ time

42 months

42 months

Time, times & ½ time

3½ YEAR TRIBU-LATION

1260 days

The antichrist will make a 7-year covenant i.e. treaty.

Dan 9:27 He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’

The covenant (or treaty) involves Israel.

The references to the temple and sacrifice in the context of the treaty in Daniel 9:27 imply this.

Dan 9:27 In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination …

Jesus told the Jewish leaders, “I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him.” (John 5:43)

A 7-YEAR TREATY

A PEACE TREATY?

People will have an expectation of peace when the Day of the Lord comes:

1 Thess 5:2-3 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety”…

The phrase regarding people saying “Peace and safety” at this time seems to indicate that the treaty may be a Middle East peace treaty. With our current political climate and instability in the Middle East this seems a very plausible option. Prominent political leaders today (both US and European) are forever trying to broker peace treaties in the Middle East.

So it’s quite likely that the 7 year Tribulation will start with the signing of a 7 year Middle East Peace treaty.

The Antichrist will break the treaty midterm.

Dan 9:27 He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering…

1 Thess 5:2-3 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.

TREATY BROKEN

The

abomination

of

desolation

ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION

The breaking of the treaty will be triggered by a stopping of sacrifice and a setting up the Abomination of Desolation in the temple.

Dan 9:27 … In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation…

Dan 11:23,31 After coming to an agreement with him, he will act deceitfully, and with only a few people he will rise to power… 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.

The prophecies about the Antichrist in the Bible, like most prophecies, have a dual fulfillment:

An initial fulfillment: e.g. the types of the Antichrist: Antiochus Epiphanes IV, Nero, Hitler …

A final and exhaustive fulfillment: The Antichrist of the last times.

DUAL FULFILLMENT

Antiochus Epiphanes IV

Many of the prophecies in Daniel had an initial fulfilment in Antiochus Epiphanes. He stormed the Temple and converted it into a pagan worship centre in 167 B.C.

Antiochus slaughtered a pig on the Jewish Temple’s altar and erected a statue of Zeus (Jupiter) in the holy place with his own face on it, thereby proclaiming himself to be God (Epiphanes means “god made manifest”) and required worship on pain of death. In 1 Macabbees, this was called the Abomination of Desolation.

Hence Jewish rabbinical literature generally considers that the expression “Abomination of Desolation” refers to the desecration of the Temple by Antiochus IV Epiphanes.

ANTIOCHUS EPIPHANES

Antiochus Epiphanes was clearly a type of the antichrist and what he did in the temple clearly prefigures what the future antichrist will do.

However, in his Olivet Discourse Jesus still referred to the Abomination of Desolation “spoken of by Daniel the prophet” as a future event.

Likewise Irenaeus and the other early church fathers saw this event as being in the future (despite Preterists looking for fulfilment in the 1st century BC). Writing in the 2nd century, long after the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD, Irenaeus speaks of the Abomination as still being a future event when a literal man who is the antichrist will sit in the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem proclaiming himself to be God.

THE ABOMINATION

Now I have shown in the third book, that no one is termed God by the apostles when speaking for themselves, except Him who truly is God, the Father of our Lord, by whose directions the temple which is at Jerusalem was constructed for those purposes which I have already mentioned; in which [temple] the enemy shall sit, endeavouring to show himself as Christ, as the Lord also declares: “But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, which has been spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let him that readeth understand), then let those who are in Judea flee into the mountains…” 1

1 Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book 5, Chp. 25

THE ABOMINATION

In a chapter entitled “The fraud, pride, and tyrannical kingdom of Antichrist, as described by Daniel and Paul” Irenaeus writes of the Abomination as being an idol in the Temple:

This he does, in order that they who do [now] worship the devil by means of many abominations, may serve himself by this one idol, of whom the apostle thus speaks in the second Epistle to the Thessalonians: “Unless there shall come a falling away first, and the man of sin shall be revealed, the son of perdition, who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself as if he were God.” 1

1 Against Heresies, Book 5, Chp. 25

THE ABOMINATION

Paul mentions that the Day of the Lord will not come until the antichrist proclaims himself to be God in the temple.

2 Thess 2:2-4 … not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.

THE ABOMINATION

THE ABOMINATION

John seems to be speaking of the same event when he speaks of the false prophet setting up an image:

And he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men. Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth. He ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. (Rev 13:13-15)

Now it is true that the Olivet discourse was partially fulfilled in AD 70 with the destruction of the Temple and the ceasing of sacrifice.

But the Temple is going to be rebuilt and sacrifices resumed. It is at this point in the future that the total fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecies will take place along with the Abomination of Desolation.

THE ABOMINATION

THE WOMAN,

THE DRAGON,

THE MANCHILD

Rev 12:1-2 A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth.

Rev 12:3-4 Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born.

Q: Who is the dragon?

A: The passage tells us it is Satan.

Rev 12:7-9 And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down - that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

Based on the context of Satan and his angels, many believe that a third of the angels follow Satan:

Rev 12:4 His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth.

WHO IS THE DRAGON?

Angels are often referred to as stars in Scripture.

Isa 14:12 How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn!

Job 38:7… while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?

Rev 9:1-2 … I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss. When he opened the Abyss…

This is also consistent with the context which says:

the dragon and his angels fought back

they lost their place in heaven

He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him

WHO IS THE DRAGON?

Q: Who is the woman who was “clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head.”

We always interpret literally if the passage makes sense literally or we are not clearly told it is figurative. Here we are clearly told that this was a “great and wondrous sign” (Rev 12:1).

Roman Catholics say the woman is Mary and the manchild is Jesus.

However when symbolism is used we must interpret Scripture with Scripture.

Where else in Scripture do we read of the sun, the moon and the 12 stars?

WHO IS THE WOMAN?

Joseph’s dream

Gen 37:9 Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.”

In Joseph’s dream the sun, moon and stars symbolized Israel:

Gen 37:10 When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, “What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?”

Joseph and his brothers were the fathers of what became the 12 tribes of Israel. So the woman is Israel.

WHO IS THE WOMAN?

In Daniel 12 Michael is called the guardian over Israel.

Dan 12:1 “At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book - will be delivered.”

It also indicates how in the end times Michael will arise at that time of Israel’s persecution. The mention of Michael affirms that the woman is indeed Israel:

Rev 12:7-8 And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven.

WHO IS THE WOMAN?

Rev 12:5 She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron sceptre. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne.

Catholic tradition assigns the identity of the woman to Mary after her assumption into heaven, where she is revealed in all her glory as the “Queen of Heaven” … According to this view, the woman’s “male child,” is a reference to Jesus (Rev 12:5), since he is destined to “rule all nations with a rod of iron” (Rev 12:5). 1

Commentators who adhere to Reform Theology and are Amillennial in their eschatology identify the woman as the Church, and the man-child she gives birth to are the saints. 1

1 Wikipedia: Woman of the Apocalypse

WHO IS THE MANCHILD?

Futurist (Dispensational Premillennialists):

As the offspring of Israel, some believe it is Jesus. We are also told that the male child “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter” (Rev 12:5) which seems to be a reference to Jesus’ Millennial rule.

Others say it represents the 144,000 Israelites. In Rev 2:26-27 ruling the nations with an iron scepter is also applied to overcomers. 1 Satan’s attempt to “devour her child” then refers to an attempt to destroy the 144,000 elect Jews in the Tribulation.

1 Rev 2:26-27 To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations - ‘He will rule them with an iron scepter; he will dash them to pieces like pottery’ - just as I have received authority from my Father.

WHO IS THE MANCHILD?

In Rev 12:5 it says that “her child was snatched up to God and to his throne.” If the child does refer to the 144,000 then it is fitting that shortly after (Rev 14) this ‘rapture’ of the child to “God and his throne” that they are mentioned as being in heaven (Mount Zion) and that they are referred to as “the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth”.

Rev 14:1-3 Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads… No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.

WHO IS THE MANCHILD?

FLEE TO THE MOUNTAINS

John tells us that the woman (Israel) will flee to the desert for 3½ years:

Rev 12:6 The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days.

Rev 12:14 The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent’s reach.

FLEE TO THE MOUNTAINS

In the parallel passage in Matthew 24, Jesus warns the Jews (note the references to Judea, the Sabbath and the temple) to flee to the mountains when they see the Abomination of Desolation.

Matt 24:15-20 “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.”

FLEE TO THE MOUNTAINS

Jesus’ instruction to flee is because those who refuse to worship the image are killed.

Rev 13:14-15 He (the false prophet) ordered them to set up an image in honour of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed.

Matt 24:21-22 “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.”

BUT WHERE WILL THEY FLEE TO?

FLEE TO THE MOUNTAINS

Dan 11:41… Many countries will fall, but Edom, Moab and the leaders of Ammon will be delivered from his hand.

Edom, Moab and Ammon (which will be delivered from the Antichrist’s hand) are in what is modern Jordan.

JORDAN?

Jordan on the far side of the Dead Sea as seen from Masada

PETRA?

Some scholars of prophecy have speculated that the Jewish remnant may flee to Petra in Jordan. This area is both mountainous (Matt 24:16) and a desert (Rev 12:14).

Petra in Jordan (Brakpan AGF tour 2006)

This passage in Revelation 12 shows us that 1260 days are equivalent to a time, times and half a time. ( 1 + 2 + ½ = 3½)

Rev 12:6 The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1260 days.

Rev 12:14 The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent’s reach.

Now 1260 literal days do equal 3½ literal years. If 1260 years is meant, what possible valuable meaning would the 3½ unit period have?

DAY YEAR PRINCIPLE

Furthermore in Rev 11 it speaks of both 1260 and 42 months.

Rev 11:2-3 But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months. And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.”

Now 1260 days is 3 ½ years (of 360 days)

42 months is 3 ½ years (of 12 months)

Time, times and half a time is 3 ½ years.

So we are plainly shown that the 1260 days is equivalent to 42 months and 3 ½ years.

DAY YEAR PRINCIPLE

Dan 12:11-12 “From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days.”

As the abomination is set up in the middle of the 7 years (1260 days) the 1290 days is an extra 30 days and the 1335 days a further 45 days – a total of 75 days after the end of the 7 year period.

Some believe that the 30 days is for the gathering of the nations for judgment and the end of the judgment is 45 days later, hence the statement “Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days.”

THE JUDGMENT

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION

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THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. (www.Lockman.org)

Scripture taken from The Message (www.biblegateway.com/ versions/ Message-MSG-Bible)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.


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