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What is the Abomination of Desolation?

“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. For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.” Matthew 24:15-21

Abomination means something hateful and dreadful.

Desolation means total destruction or defilement.

Jesus warned his listeners that they would be seeing something so dreadful and totally destructive that they would need to run for their lives. Run up the mountains! Don’t take anything with you! If you’re pregnant or nursing, it’ll be bad for you.

So what was that event and did it happen within their lifetime?

The biggest event that fits the criteria occurred in 70 AD when the Romans desolated the temple and Jerusalem. Soldiers even put up statues of their gods in the temple as it burned.

The Jews who remained, and did not heed Jesus’ advice to run, were slaughtered—around one million people according to the historian Josephus!

Was this an event unequaled from the beginning of the world until now?

Jesus could be using superlatives, exaggerated language to make his point, but it was pretty devastating.

The Jews of this city faced judgment for crucifying Jesus, the son of God. In John 19, they swore allegiance to “no king but Caesar.” They refused the release of Jesus, taking Barabbas, a thief, instead. They wanted political freedom, not religious freedom.This was an outright rejection of God and His son. Jesus warned them with parables that the religious leaders understood condemned them.

The dreadful destruction of Jerusalem happened as a result of divine judgment, where God used the Romans to carry out the sentence.