In a previous blog I wrote of the “Abomination of Desolation” and showed how it had more to do with what the High Priests had done against God than with what Antiochus Epiphanes had done in the Temple. The matter of the abomination of desolation did not reflect the act of a foreign king or ‘strong man’ but the condition of the people of God. The Jews wholeheartedly deserted their God and his way. It was a matter of their desiring to be more like those around them than obeying or honoring God. They were led away, not by a foreign despot, but by one of their own, a betrayer or son of perdition—the high priest. They placed their confidence in him, rather than remaining faithful to God.
It was the jealousy of the two high priests and their wholesale desertion of the way of God. They fostered hatred and a party spirit by bringing countrymen against countrymen. It was these men who brought upon their country and its Temple the desolation that history records. The abomination that brought judgment and desolation from God was the act of a high priest who betrayed God and through his influence the wholehearted desertion of God by his people.
The first time the word abomination (H8251) is mentioned in the Bible is in Deuteronomy 29:17 where it tells of the idols of Egypt. It is the sin of the nations, and Israel was commanded not to copy them but to be faithful to the Lord. The first time abomination (H8251) is mentioned in connection with Israel is in 1Kings 11:5 where it records that Solomon went after the abomination of the Ammonites. It was the sin that divided the kingdom in two, and thus began the destruction of Israel. In almost every one of its occurrences in the Old Testament, this word is connected with idol worship.
The second word, desolation or astonishment (H8074), is either connected with the judgment of God upon evildoers or the astonishment of witnesses at either God’s judgment or a national sin. In 1Kings 9:6-9 at the dedication of the Temple that Solomon built, God promised Solomon the nations will be astonished at Israel’s fate, if he or his people would abandon their Lord and go after other gods. In 2Chronicles 7:21, the companion Scripture, God said the Temple that Solomon built would be an astonishment to all that passed by, if he or the people went after other gods.
The facts are a matter of history. Solomon began the way of destruction in departing from the presence of God by going after the idols of the nations around Israel. It was this act that brought God’s judgment upon Solomon and Israel as a whole (1Kings 11:4-13). The kings of Israel and the kings of Judah led the people away from God. Even periodic revivals were not enough to undo the harm created by Solomon when he practiced idolatry. Indeed all kings were measured in the light of David’s faithfulness to God, but Solomon’s reign, though more splendid than any before or after him, was remembered as the beginning of the abomination (2 Kings 23:13).
Every place where the word abomination (H8251) is mentioned in the Old Testament it records either idol worship or God’s judgment upon Israel or the nations who affected his people. The second word, desolation (H8074), concerns the reaction of others over the fate of nations and people who had been judged by God (cp. Ezekiel 32:10). It concerns the reaction of the righteous over the sin of others (Ezra 9:3-4) or the response of friends over the ill fate of someone they knew (Job 18:20). It is used in Isaiah 52:14 concerning God’s suffering servant, but it usually concerns God’s judgment upon men for rebelling against him.
It was God’s people who brought about the abomination that made the nation and the Temple desolate by following their leader and thus incurring the judgment of God. This is what happened when Nebuchadnezzar destroyed both Jerusalem and the Temple, and it is what happened when Antiochus Epiphanes desecrated the Temple of God. He merely carried out the God’s judgment. Therefore, if this is so, looking for a king or ‘strong man’ to carry out the judgment of God would be like locking the barn after the horse got away. The sin is the abomination, and this sin brings about the judgment of God that causes astonishment.
Therefore, in the case of Jesus’ prophecy (and Daniel’s), the desolation or astonishment occurred in 70 AD with the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. What caused this destruction or astonishment occurred long before the act of Titus and his army. The abomination that brought desolation or astonishment occurred much earlier.
In the Scriptures Daniel 12:11 reveals that the abomination would be set up 1290 days after the Daily Sacrifice was taken away. Daniel says something interesting about this when he recorded the 70 Weeks Prophecy earlier. Notice what he says:
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. (Daniel 9:27 KJV)
In other words he who confirms the covenant with many is the same who causes the Daily Sacrifice to be taken away or removed. Who is it that confirms the covenant for one week? Daniel seems to point to the Messiah in the verse-26:
And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. (Daniel 9:26 KJV)
The Hebrew word translated cut offis also used of God’s covenant with David in 2Chronicles 7:18 and the covenant he made with Israel through Moses in Haggai 2:5. Therefore, the Messiah confirmed the covenant for seven years and also caused the Daily Sacrifice to cease. When would Jesus have caused the sacrifices to cease being accepted as far as God is concerned? Wouldn’t it have been at the time of the Wave Sheaf Offering on the morning of Jesus’ Resurrection? At that time he presented himself before the Father to be accepted for us. He was the Firstfruit that had to be accepted, before the rest of the harvest (of souls) could begin. This Offering was presented before God on the first day following the weekly Sabbath during the Passover season. It was the first day which counted toward Pentecost (the Feast of Weeks).
If this is so, then 1290 days later, counting from the day of Jesus’ Resurrection and our Wave Sheaf Offering before the Father, would point to the abomination of desolation – who or what it is, and on what occasion it was set up. Remember, in the past this proved to be the leader of the people—the king during the days when kings ruled over Israel, and the high priest during the days following the captivity. It would be no different for the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy.
By the order of the high priest, Annas, Stephen was slain and the persecution of believers in Jesus had begun. This event represented the wholesale abandonment by the Jewish leadership of their Messiah, who happens to be God in the flesh. Just as the high priesthood had led the nation away from God in the days of Antiochus Epiphanes, so Annas, the high priest, led the Jewish nation away from God and the New Covenant he offered through Jesus. This man (Annas) had never ceased to persecute Messianic believers. He was the leading high priest responsible for Jesus’ death and responsible for the three major persecutions of believers of the Way that occurred from Stephen’s death to the time of the Jewish war with Rome in 66 AD to 72 AD. He is the man of sin who sat in the Temple of God and opposed and exalted himself above all called by God’s name. He, exalting himself above God who alone is worshiped, sat in the Temple of God showing himself as though he were God (2Thessalonians 2:3-4) and led his people away from the Lord of Israel and thereby caused the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple.
 According to Strong’s Concordance the English: cut off is translated from H3772 – kârath – A primitive root; to cut (off, down or asunder); by implication to destroy or consume; specifically to covenant (that is, make an alliance or bargain, originally by cutting flesh and passing between the pieces): – be chewed, be con- [feder-] ate, covenant, cut (down, off), destroy, fail, feller, be freed, hew (down), make a league ([covenant]), X lose, perish, X utterly, X want.