What is the Abomination of Desolation?

Most today believe a future ruler of a one-world government (the antichrist) will desecrate a rebuilt Jewish temple in Jerusalem during the great tribulation, which will follow our Lord’s second coming. But what does the Bible say?

The words “abomination of desolation” come from Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14,

When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)

But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains:

These words are taken from Jesus’ teaching on the Mount of Olives. Luke’s record of the sermon tells us what the abomination of desolation truly was.

And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Luke 21:20

Instead of a futuristic antichrist, Jesus said plainly it was armies coming to make the city desolate. Because the Jews crucified Jesus in vicious hatred, God sent armies to destroy them. And He taught this in other places as well.

Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. Matthew 3:12

They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. Matthew 21:41

But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Matthew 22:7

Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. Matthew 23:38

For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation. Luke 19:43-44

Matthew and Mark recorded words of Jesus fulfilling Daniel 9:26-27, which told of a prince coming to destroy the city and sanctuary for the wickedness of the Jews in murdering the Lord of glory. The prophecy declared that God had determined to pour desolations on Jerusalem until their consummation.

Luke did not write, “spoken of by Daniel the prophet,” for he explained in clear language the coming of the armies to destroy the city, thus defining exactly the meaning of “abomination of desolation.”

And Jesus promised all these things would happen to that generation of wicked men. His judgment would come within forty years.

Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Matthew 24:34

Since the judgment would be so severe in its desolation of Jerusalem, Peter spent much of his sermon at Pentecost warning the believers about it.

And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Acts 2:40

And sure enough, in 70 A.D., the Roman prince Titus brought armies and completely destroyed Jerusalem and the temple and left it utterly desolate, just as Jesus had prophesied.

The abomination of desolation was the Roman armies that made Jerusalem desolate for their wickedness in persecuting and crucifying Jesus Christ. And most believers understood this until the last few generations.

Why is it not understood today? Because Satan cannot stand the Lordship of Jesus Christ, which is proven by the fulfillment of this great prophecy. By ignoring this great event and promoting instead a future antichrist, he steals glory from Jesus Christ and weakens the faith of God’s elect in their Lord.