APPENDIXRevelation of Jesus | Revelation of John APPENDIX 1 THE LITERARY CHIASMAPPENDIX 2 REVELATION 4, JUDGMENT OR INAUGURATION?APPENDIX 3 KINGS OF THE NORTH AND SOUTHAPPENDIX 4 THE SECRET RAPTUREAPPENDIX 5 THE 2,300 DAYS OF DANIEL 8APPENDIX 6 JESUS DID NOT ESTABLISH SUNDAYAPPENDIX 7 THE SEVEN HEADS OF THE BEAST OF REVELATION 17APPENDIX 8 JOB AND THE GREAT CONTROVERSYAPPENDIX 9 THE EVERLASTING COVENANTAPPENDIX 10 THE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION AND DANIEL 12APPENDIX 11 THE SEA BEAST AND THE BEASTS OF DANIEL 7


APPENDIX 10
THE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION AND DANIEL 12

The abomination of desolation is one of the major signs given by Jesus to help His disciples recognize and understand the final events. He said, “Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains... For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:15-21).

Jesus here refers to the “great tribulation” (called the “time of trouble” by Daniel) that is mentioned in Daniel chapter 12.[1] Daniel describes in chapter 11 a war between the King of the North and the King of the South that spans more than 2,500 years, from the time of the Persian Empire until the “time of the end” when there will be a final vicious struggle. “At that time Michael [Jesus][2] shall stand up...and there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time. And at time your people shall be delivered, every one who is found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life” (Daniel 12: 1,2). Daniel's linking of the “time of trouble such as never was” to the resurrection shows that the abomination of desolation that Jesus referred to, which was a signal for God's people to “flee to the mountains,” and which would come just before the “great tribulation,” takes place during the “time of the end” just before the Second Coming of Christ and the resurrection of the just.

However, if we compare Matthew 24 with the parallel passage in Luke 21 we find not only a clue as to what the abomination of desolation is, but also that it applies to more than one event. Jesus said, “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains...for there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people, and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (Luke 21:20-24). This verse obviously talks about the destruction of Jerusalem that took place in AD 70. Compare it with Matthew 24:15,16:

“When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains” (Luke 21:20,21) “Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation....standing in the holy place...then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains” (Matthew 24: 15,16)

In these verses we see that in some sense “Jerusalem surrounded by armies” and threatened with destruction is equivalent to “the abomination of desolation.” We also see that there are at least two chronological contexts: The destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD and the great time of trouble at the time of the end. In other words, Jesus seems to be indicating that we should look for multiple applications in the interpretation of the abomination of desolation.[3]

Jesus said that we should recognize “the Abomination of Desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel.” In the book of Daniel the abomination of desolation is mentioned three times.

  1. The abomination of desolation is mentioned in Daniel 9 within the context of the 70 weeks (490 years) of probation that was given to the Jewish nation—“Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city” (Daniel 9:24). This probationary period ended with the “Messiah, the Prince” (Jesus) who was to be “cut off, but not for Himself” (on the cross He was “cut off” for sinful humanity). “He [the Messiah] shall confirm a covenant with many for one week;[4] but in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering” (through His sacrifice Jesus brought the sacrificial system to an end). “And the people of the prince who is to come [the Romans] shall destroy the city and the sanctuary…and in their place shall be an abomination that desolates” (Daniel 9:27 NRSV). In these verses the abomination of desolation is linked to the destructive judgments which the Jews suffered after their rejection of Christ, particularly the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem by the Romans in AD 70, as predicted by Jesus in Luke 21:20. For further explanation of the 70 week prophecy see appendix 4.

  2. The second reference to the abomination of desolation is within the detailed outline of the history of the great war between the “King of the North” and the “King of the South” in Daniel 11 (see 9: Kings of the North and South and Appendix 3 for details). Briefly, the Kings of the North and South are two opposing forces, both enemies of the people of God. They appeared after the division of the Greek Empire established by Alexander the Great (Daniel 11:3,4), with the northern Seleucid kingdom (in present Syria and Turkey) and the southern Ptolemy kingdom in Egypt. As the prophecy progresses, the King of the North evolves into the Roman Empire and later the papal Roman Empire, opposed by the southern Muslim empires. God’s true people, first in Palestine, later primarily in Europe, were caught between these opposing forces. As the stream of history reaches the Middle Ages the angel explains, ”And forces shall be mustered by him (the King of the North), and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation” (Daniel 11:31). The abomination of desolation mentioned here is the persecution of true Christians who would not accept the papal system, culminating in the Inquisition.

  3. The third reference is in Daniel 12. In response to the final attacks of the king of the North (Daniel 11:40-45), Michael (Christ) “stands up” (finishes his work of mediation) which ushers in “a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation” (Daniel 12:1). "At that time [God’s] people shall be delivered” and “many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake” v. 2 (the Second Coming and resurrection). Daniel “heard,” but “did not understand” and asked the angel, “My lord, what shall be the end of these things?” (v. 8). The angel informed him that “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. But blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days” (vs. 11,12).

This controversial verse deserves careful study. It mentions the abomination of desolation; is it referring to the Abomination of Daniel 9 and Luke 21, that took place when the pagan Roman Army surrounded Jerusalem and the holy temple, threatening them with destruction? Is it referring to the abomination of Daniel 11:31 in which the papacy of the Middle Ages used the power of the state (the Inquisition) to persecute the “remnant” of believers? Or does it refer to the abomination of desolation that Jesus said would appear just before the “great tribulation such as has not been since the beginning of the world” (Matthew 24:21)? Or could it refer to all of them?

There is some evidence that could link the abomination of desolation and the prophetic periods of 1,290 and 1,335 days with the destruction of Jerusalem. As mentioned above, Jesus in Matthew 24 and Luke 21 linked the abomination of desolation that was the signal for Christians to flee for their lives with “Jerusalem surrounded by armies” (Luke 21:20,21). In the war that resulted in the destruction of Jerusalem, the city was first surrounded by armies in October-November 66 AD when the forces of the Roman commander Cestius besieged the city in response to rioting and insurrection by Jewish zealots (Josephus Wars 2:19:4). But “Cestius was not conscious either how the the besieged despaired of success...he retired from the city, without any reason in the world” (Josephus Wars 2:19:7). The zealots pursued his troops, inflicting heavy losses; but this retreat gave those Christians who remembered the words of Jesus an opportunity to “flee to the mountains.” The next year general Vespasian and his son Titus led armies against the Jews, first conquering Galilee and the Judean towns and cities and finally putting Jerusalem under siege. Infighting among various factions of zealots, which resulted in the burning of the food supplies within Jerusalem, led to indescribable suffering and the city finally fell in July AD 70. The fall of Jerusalem was approximately 1,335 days from when it was first surrounded by armies in November 66, a remarkable fulfillment of the 1,335 days that were predicted to follow the Abomination of Desolation in Daniel 12:11,12.[5] This scenario wold make the abomination of desolation the appearance of the army of Cestius outside the city walls of Jerusalem.

There is also a possible application of Daniel 12:11,12 to the medieval Papacy. First of all, the major parallel prophecies of Daniel 2, 7, and 8 all focus their greatest attention on the papacy (the legs of clay and iron of the image of Daniel 2, the “little” horn of Daniel 7 and the horn of Daniel 8).

Moreover, the two time periods of Daniel 12:11,12 (1,290 days and 1,335 days) could be extensions of the “time, times and half a time” of verses 6 and 7 which refers to the period of papal oppression in the Middle Ages: “And one said to the man clothed in linen who was above the waters of the river, 'How long shall the fulfillment of these wonders be?” Then I heard the man clothed in linen...[He] swore by Him who lives forever, that it shall be for a 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 12:6,7). The period “time, times and half a time” also appears in Daniel 7:25; the “little horn” (the medieval Papacy) “shall speak pompous words against the Most High, shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time.” This period is the same as the 1,260 days and the 42 months of Revelation 12:6,14 and 13:5. These all refer to the longcenturies during the Middle Ages when the Papacy controlled the nations of Europe and used them to persecute the saints (see 12: 1260 days).

There are also linguistic links between the 1,260 day (and possibly by extension the 1,290 and 1,335 day) periods in Daniel 12 and the activity of the medieval Papacy. In Daniel 12:6 the angel asked, “How long shall the fulfillment of these wonders be? (the answer was “time, times and half a time”). A slight variation of the Hebrew word “wonders” (pele) is also found in Daniel 11:36 "Then the king (of the North, the Papacy) shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods.” The same word is found in Daniel 8:24 “His [the medieval Papacy] power shall be mighty, but not by his own power; He shall destroy fearfully.” Both of these verses refer to the unprecedented activity of the medieval papacy, so when in Daniel 12:6 the angel asked, “How long shall the fulfillment of these wonders be?” the answer “time, times and half a time” could refer to the destructive “wonders” of the medieval Papacy, which not only persecuted the saints but destroyed the true understanding of God and His plan of salvation.

Just a few verses later in Daniel 12:11 the angel informs Daniel, “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.” There is a clear linguistic parallel here with the medieval papal activity in Daniel 11:31, “And forces shall be mustered by him [the King of the North or Papacy], and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices and place there the abomination of desolation.

Historically the three time periods have been considered by some commentators to have an application related to the medieval Papacy. The first and most basic time period (time, times and half a time or 1,260 prophetic days) refers to the 1,260 years of papal political and military supremacy. This could be considered to begin in AD 538 when the Byzantine armies of Justinian expelled the last Arian tribe from Rome, freeing the papacy to expand its base of power. An important marker of the end of papal supremacy is 1798, exactly 1,260 years later, when Pope Pius VI was arrested by the armies of the French Revolution.

“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 an ninety days” (Daniel 12:11). If this period is considered to overlap the 1,260 years, but starting 30 “days” (years) earlier, it would begin in AD 508. In that year Clovis the Frank made Roman Catholicism the official religion of his kingdom, the first union of church and state for the Roman Catholic Church. The Franks went on to become France, the “first son” and main protector and enforcer of the medieval papacy.

“Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days” (Daniel 12:12). If this period begins simultaneously with the 1,290 days (years) in 508 AD, it extends to 1843-44, which is the date of the termination of the 2,300 evenings/mornings of Daniel 8:14. At this time the judgment began, “a judgment [that] was made in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom” (Daniel 7:23, see 3: Day of Atonement, 2300 Days).

According to this scenario, the abomination of desolation of Daniel 12:11, also referred to by Jesus in Matthew 24:15, is the conversion of Clovis the Frank.

Τhe previous two applications of the 1,290 and 1,335 day prophecies (fall of Jerusalem and medieval Papacy), while conceivable, do not seem very convincing. There is evidence that the primary applications of the two time periods of Daniel 12:11,12 is to the very end of time. Most importantly, Jesus mentioned the “abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet” as a sign just before the “great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:15,21). There is no other mention of the abomination of desolation in the book of Daniel besides that in Daniel 12:12 that could possibly have its context during the final "great tribulation."

Moreover, the angel told Daniel in 12:13, “You shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days,” referring to his resurrection at the coming of Christ. The phrase “at the end of the days” uses the same word for days (yome) that is used in verses 11 and 12 (1,290 days, 1,335 days). This word is not used for the prophetic time periods in Daniel in which a day represents a year (“Time, times, and half a time” Daniel 7:25, 12:7, “Two thousand three hundred evenings and mornings”, Daniel 8:14, “seventy weeks” Daniel 9:24). Although "the end of the days" could conceivably refer to the end of the age, it is not used in this way elsewhere in Daniel[6] and the implication is that Daniel would “arise” at the end of the time periods just mentioned in the previous verse.

Daniel had heard two angels having a conversation in which they asked, “How long shall the fulfillment of these wonders be?” with the answer, “a time, times, and half a time.” But then Daniel, who “heard [but] did not understand” asked “My lord, what shall be the end of these things?”(v. 8). We should note that Daniel had a different interest from that of the angels. They asked about “these wonders” which, as we saw above, probably refers to the activity of the medieval papacy. But Daniel wanted to know about “the end of these things.” The Hebrew word translated “the end” (achariyth) can be translated “after part,” “latter part” or “latter time.” Thus it appears that Daniel was most interested in the final portion of the prophecy, when “many shall run to and fro and knowledge shall increase,” when “those who...turn many to righteousness [shall shine] like the stars forever and ever,” when “Michael stands up” and “many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake,” and when his “people shall be delivered” (Daniel 12:1-4). After telling him that the words “are sealed till the time of the end” (v. 9) the angel informed him, “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. But blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days” (v. 11,12). The implication is that these are time periods that would take place at “the end of these things.” This interpretation is supported by the fact that individuals could “wait and come to” (v. 12) the fulfillment of these periods, which they could not if they applied only to the long centuries of the Middle Ages.

The natural question would be, if these time periods refer to events still future, what are they? Again the key is in the starting point, “And 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. Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days” (Daniel 12:11,12). The taking away of the daily sacrifice is referred to explicitly in Daniel 11:31 and most clearly in Daniel 8:11,12, “He (the Roman Catholic “horn” power) even exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host [Jesus Christ]; and by him the daily sacrifices were taken away and the place of His sanctuary was cast down. Because of transgression, an army was given over to the horn to oppose the daily sacrifices and he cast truth down to the ground. He did all this and prospered” The taking away of the daily sacrifice here refers to the false doctrinal system developed by the papal church that nullified the sacrifice and mediation of Christ (see 14: The Daily Sacrifice). The Protestant Reformation restored to a great extent the true teaching about Christ and the righteousness by faith that we have in Him, but Revelation 13 predicts that Protestant America will create an “image to the beast,” in other words, Protestants will adopt the false teachings and practices of Catholicism at the end of time that will again obscure the true gospel of Christ's sacrifice and mediation.

Besides the taking away of the daily sacrifice, the Abomination of Desolation is also a sign of the beginning of the two time periods of Daniel 12:11,12. The clearest picture of the abomination of desolation is connected with the destruction of Jerusalem (Daniel 9:27, Luke 21:20). There we see that it is the threat of violence posed by the enemies of God's people—submit or perish. This was also the case in the Middle Ages; the Papacy “[took] away the Daily sacrifice” by developing a system of false doctrine and then “set up the abomination of desolation” by persecuting those who refused to submit to the papal authority, culminating in the Inquisition.[7] This will also be the case in the final crisis when the “beast coming out of the earth” will create an “image of the beast” and then use coercive force (the mark of the beast and the death decree, Revelation 13:14-17) to try to force everyone to “worship the image of the beast” (v. 15).

Will it be possible to recognize the final abomination of desolation and thus know the beginning of the time period of 1,290 days (and presumably by extension the 1,335 days)? In the application of the prophecy to the destruction of Jerusalem it was possible to know when Jerusalem was “surrounded by armies,” and although the Christians may not have been able to predict exactly what was going to happen and when, they did know when to flee so as to save their lives. The abomination of the papal period was a part of prophetic time, came on gradually, and has been identified only in hindsight. The abomination of the last days will be more like the destruction of Jerusalem in that it will involve literal time and dramatic, rapid events. The most obvious events are those found in Revelation 13:11-18, specifically the image, mark and number of the beast and the death decree against those who refuse to worship the image of the beast. No doubt God will give His people wisdom at that time, not to predict the date of the coming of Christ (which Jesus assures us is not to be known, Matthew 24:36), but in order to recognize the signs, to know what to do and especially when to flee, and to be able to take heart that the great tribulation is almost over and Jesus will soon appear.

Continue to next section: APPENDIX 11
THE SEA BEAST AND THE BEASTS OF DANIEL 7



[1] Although some commentators have insisted that the primary application of the great tribulation of Matthew 24:21 is the 1260 years of papal persecution from AD 538 until 1798, there are problems with this interpretation. 1) Jesus said this tribulation would be greater than any other “since the beginning of the world until this time, no nor ever shall be.” The “time of trouble” of Daniel 12:1 is also the greatest “since there was a nation even to that time” and is clearly just before the Second Coming when God's people “shall be delivered” and when “those who sleep in the dust shall awake” (the resurrection). The fact that both are the greatest trouble or tribulation of all time rules out their being different events, so both take place just before the Second Coming. 2) The people who saw the sign of the great tribulation (the abomination of desolation, Matthew 24:15) were to flee for their lives so as not to be trapped by sudden developments. Although this kind of flight could apply to the tribulation connected with the destruction of Jerusalem or to the final time of trouble, it could hardly apply to the papal persecution which developed gradually over a period of hundreds of years, 3) The prophecy continues, specifying that “immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven” (Matthew 24:29,30). It has been claimed that these signs were fulfilled by the darkening of the sun and moon on May 19, 1780 and the falling of the stars on November 13, 1833. But this interpretation is problematic for two reasons: First of all, Jesus presents the signs as coming in quick succession (sun and moon will be darkened, stars will fall, powers of heaven will be shaken, and then the sign of the Son of man will appear in heaven). There is no sense that this is a process that takes place over the span of more than 230 years. Moreover, Jesus specified that the signs would begin “immediately after the tribulation of those days,” whereas the dark day took place 18 years before the tribulation ended in 1798 (see 13: The Deadly Wound). Thus the main application of these signs is at the end of the great tribulation that takes place just before the Second Coming of Christ.

[3] Multiple applications are also expected because of the nature of the question Jesus was answering. “Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down” (Matthew 24:1,2).

For something this momentous to happen the disciples assumed that Jesus must be talking about the end of the world when He would come to establish His kingdom. Wanting to understand what He meant, “His disciples came to Him privately, saying, ‘tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (v.3). Although they did not know it, the disciples were actually asking three questions, about events that they mistakenly assumed would happen at about the same time.

  1. “When will these things be?” “These things” referred to that which He had been talking about, the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem in 70 AD by the Roman army under Titus.

  2. “What will be the sign of your coming?” Here the disciples were asking for signs of the Second Coming of Christ.

  3. “[What will be the sign of] the end of the age?” In other passages Jesus used the phrase “the end of the age” to refer to that last period of time when the angels would judge and separate the righteous from the wicked (the investigative judgment).

Jesus gave them a blended reply that answered all three questions at once—in other words, there are three applications to the prophecy Jesus gave in Matthew 24, including three applications of the abomination of desolation. See 10: Clues in Matthew 24.

[4] This “week” (seven years in prophetic time) included the 3 ½ years of Christ’s ministry plus the 3 ½ years up to the stoning of Stephen, during which the gospel was offered exclusively to the Jews. At the end of their probationary period “a great persecution arose against the church…and those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word” (Acts 8:1-4). The Jews had sealed their rejection of the Messiah and lost their chance to be God’s chosen people. For further explanation of the 70 week prophecy see Appendix 4.

[5] The detailed account of the siege of Jerusalem by Josephus is not linked to many specific dates so the exact significance of the 1,290 days is a matter of speculation. It could possibly refer to the burning of the food supplies which resulted in “the power of the holy people [being] completely shattered,” followed by “all these things [being] finished.” (Daniel 12:7). The blessing pronounced on “he who waits and comes to the one thousand three hundreds and thirty-five days” could simply mean that anyone who did not die in the siege at least saved his life when the city fell to the Romans.

[6] In other passages Daniel refers to “the end” rather than “the end of the days,” for example, “For He is the living God, and steadfast forever; His kingdom is the one which shall not be destroyed, And His dominion shall endure to the end (Daniel 6:26), “For at the appointed time the end shall be” Daniel 8:19), “for the end will still be at the appointed time (Daniel 11:27),

[7] Some interpreters insist that the abomination of Daniel 12:11 and Daniel 11:31 (“They shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation”) is of a different nature than that of Daniel 9:27, contending that since the abomination is closely associated with the taking away of the “daily” (tamid), that the abomination of desolation is the false doctrinal system that replaced the daily. But the fact that the two are closely associated does not mean that one is the opposite of the other. The daily was taken away by the false doctrines that were established; in other words, the taking away of the daily was the establishment of false doctrine. True doctrine was not first taken away and then replaced by false doctrine.

The meaning of prophetic language should be consistently applied unless there is clear evidence of a change of meaning, which in this case there is not. This implies that the abomination of desolation of the Middle Ages was analogous to the coercive power of the Romans that threatened God's people when Jerusalem was under siege. Thus the abomination of the Middle Ages would be the coercive state power that enforced the false doctrinal system that took away the daily sacrifice.

Further evidence is found in Daniel 8:13, which is closely related to Daniel 11:31. Instead of the abomination of desolation it refers to the transgression of desolation, using similar language: “How long will the vision be, concerning the daily sacrifices and the transgression of desolation?” The “transgression of desolation” in this verse makes reference to verse 12, “Because of transgression, an army was given over to the horn to oppose the daily sacrifices.” Here we see that the transgression of desolation involves an army, implying coercive force to enforce the taking away of the daily. This links Daniel 8:13 (and the parallel 11:31) to the obvious military application of the abomination of desolation in Daniel 9:27 and Luke 21:20, but does not support the idea of the transgression (or abomination) of desolation being a doctrinal system.

Finally, this theory can be tested by applying it to Jesus' statement in Matthew 24. “Therefore when you see [the false doctrinal system developed by the Roman Catholic Church in the Middle Ages], then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetops not go down to take anything out of his house... And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.” The inadequacy of this interpretation is obvious. Whatever the abomination of desolation is, Jesus made it clear that it would be a sign so sudden and dramatic that Christians could recognize it and immediately flee from their homes leaving all their belongings behind. This does not describe a doctrinal system that developed over the course of hundreds of years, nor does it harmonize with medieval history if we consider the abomination to be signified by the conversion of Clovis the Frank in AD 508.