The Abomination of Desolation
Updated: Dec 31, 2021
Disclaimer: Bible prophecy interpretation is complex, and as Sir Isaac Newton noted, generally not well understood until fulfillment. Yet Jesus told his disciples to "keep on the watch" and to "lift up your heads" when they see significant events--that deliverance is near. It is in this spirit that this is written: to help Christians make sense of today's events in the context of prophecy. There is no claim to inspiration or special insight. All errors are mine.
“Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains. Whoever is on the housetop must not go down to get the things out that are in his house. Whoever is in the field must not turn back to get his cloak. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! But pray that your flight will not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath. For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short." --Matthew 24:15-22, NASB
Abomination in the bible refers to objects and practices which are an affront to God, such as idolatry (worshiping things--2 Ki. 23:13), sexual misconduct (Lv. 18:22), magic and divination (Dt. 18:9-14), injustice and lying (Pr. 12:22; 20:23) and hypocritical worship (Pr 15:8; Is. 1:13). There is also a peculiar phrase found in Daniel and the Gospels: Abomination of Desolation, Abomination that Makes Desolate, or Desolating Sacrilege (Daniel 9:27; 11:31; 12:11; Matthew 24:15-16; Mark 13:14 cf. Luke 21:20-21).
In Matthew 24, we are told that "“when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains...[f]or then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will." In the parallel verse in Luke 21, we are instead told that "when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies..." Christians should flee (v20).
Most commentators link "abomination" in Matthew to "armies" in Luke and conclude that it must be the Roman armies with their pagan symbols on their flags and armaments that were an affront to God. And when Christians see this idolatrous army in the vicinity of the holy city of Jerusalem and its holy Temple, it is the sign to flee for the hills. Historically, Christians did flee Jerusalem when the first wave of encircling Roman armies withdrew. When those armies returned a few years later in 70 C.E., the city and its temple were destroyed and burned as Jesus had predicted--as punishment for wickedness. Josephus, the Jewish historian, writes that there was great loss of life and much suffering.
But let's think about this for a minute. What had happened prior? Jesus had presented himself as God's Messiah, or Anointed One--the Christ--to the nation--his nation--of Israel. He was their long awaited Savior that the prophets had predicted would come into the world. And what was the reaction of most of the religious leaders? They rejected him and plotted to have him killed. That would be around the year 33 C.E. or so. After his crucifixion, the Jewish religious leadership, for the most part, continued to oppose and persecute Jesus' disciples, and to continue to operate the Temple at Jerusalem.
Let's think about this.
The Jewish religious leadership (with a few exceptions) conspired to murder God's Messiah by forcing Pilate to have him crucified, then persecuted his followers. In a slap in the face to Yahweh, the God of Israel, and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, they ignored Jesus' once-for-all-time sacrifice, and instead continued to offer animals, slain and burned, expecting Yahweh to forgive them. At the same time, their greedy pockets were filling with monies coming in from visitors to the Temple, who were forced to exchange their money at exorbitant rates, and then purchase animals at markup prices. Ask yourself: was this not an Abomination to God by the biblical definition of Abomination? Of course! Did Jesus not already condemn the Temple and its practices when he overturned the tables of the money-changers and drove out their animals? Absolutely. And did this Abomination bring Desolation? Yes, in the form of Roman armies under General Titus, who burned the Temple to the ground in the year 70 C.E. and killed or enslaved the people he found there once the walls fell.
So what specifically was the Abomination that brought the desolating Roman armies? It was so-called God's people, the Jewish religious leadership, in league with Rome in the person of Pilate, offering animal sacrifices in a Temple which had been cast off by God, and defining for the people how they must worship--punishing those that refused.
Rome has no business with God's people--it was a pagan, idolatrous power at that time, and the animal sacrifices were not only worthless in forgiving sins, but an affront to God and his Messiah. This is the Abomination which brought Desolation. Roman pagan symbols in a desecrated and cast-off Temple is not an Abomination. You can't desecrate something that's already desecrated.
So how does this relate to Trump and his supporters? Religion has always played a key role in America's history, but it was always within limits. The Founders knew very well what had happened in Europe during the ascendance of the Papacy and later, with the post-Reformation state Protestant churches. They saw how Papacy had reigned over kings and their people to their detriment. They knew that the Inquisition and the Crusades had killed thousands of innocent people. They knew that Protestant state churches, like the Church of England, had also persecuted and killed sincere Christians who would not bow to its authority. Many of the original Americans had escaped religious persecution from these very churches in Europe and Britain. And so the Founders of America ensured that in the Constitution, there would be no state church or even favored churches, and that people must be free to worship according to their own consciences. Evangelicals, historically, tended to stay out of politics, and instead focused on personal piety and good works.
However, that all changed with the Moral Majority and Reagan's presidency. Conservative evangelicals were successfully pursued as a voting block, and Reagan was elected in 1982. The Moral Majority, which commentators have said was neither moral nor a majority, got its taste of political power and liked it. In league with right wing politicians and corrupt business leaders, they continued to elect and appoint far right conservatives to all levels of government and the judiciary. The Moral Majority did not survive as an organization, but conservative evangelicals were now autonomously on the move and were reorganizing. With the election of Donald Trump, all pretenses of piety were cast aside. This was a straight up power play, and they were honored partners in it. In fact, they were more than eager to support the most vile, lying, racist, greedy, manipulative, multiple alleged sexual predator, in presidential history--someone with all the hallmarks of Satan and none of Christ. And they continue to in unabashed arrogance.
So what do we have? We have a modern Rome in America, led by a corrupt idolater who thinks he's an emperor, in league with corrupt Christians who want power more than they want the Jesus of the bible. In other words, we have a similar situation to first century Jerusalem. We clearly have a biblical Abomination in charge of the U.S. government. And what do Abominations do? They bring Desolation as punishment. If we consider that all the prophecies in Matthew 24, Luke 21, and Mark 13 were not fulfilled in 70 C.E., we should expect a greater fulfillment (e.g. the coming of Christ will be "just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west" and "all eyes will see him" (Mt 24:27, 30). Clearly this was not fulfilled in 70 C.E.).
America today then, is essentially Rome in league with corrupt Christianity. It's also Babylon--the center of false religion with its many priests and wise men, great wealth, great achievements, world dominance, and a narcissistic King. We are told to "get out of her [Babylon]" in Revelation 18:4. This means for sincere biblical Christians, not supporting such a wicked political, business and false religious system either in word or deed. Like the Christians who fled to the hills before the Roman armies returned, so we must flee to Christ, not to corrupt churches or corrupt, devious and manipulative politicians and business leaders. We must keep the faith and keep our consciences clean while we await the return of our Savior Christ Jesus. We must renounce the desire for political power in this world. We are in the world but not of it. And for those caught up in supporting the Abomination, they must leave it and repent while there is still time to do so. They must renounce Trump and pursue Christ.