Lesson 48 of the Discipleship Making process.
I left you last time with these questions, “In order to understand Jesus’ roadmap to the future what do you have to do?”
Jesus has been laying out an end-time roadmap for His disciples to follow so they aren’t misled. The rest of the world is not privy to their inside information and will be surprised when the end comes.
Knowing that His return was yet distant, Jesus began placing route markers the apostles were able to identify in their lifetime. He assured them not to be frightened, as the end was not near. Then He placed another set of markers so that future disciples would become aware that the end was approaching. He called them the beginning of birth pangs. The next set of markers directs His disciple’s attention to the things that will be happening to them prior to His return: tribulation, apostasy, false prophets and lawlessness. While the signs indicate a difficult period of time they also provide hope of His soon coming return.
Jesus was not a date setter. He knew there would be many different calendars in use at the time of His return. He also knew that the earth was round and that there were twenty-four hours and two days coexisting on the planet at any given time. So the signs Jesus leaves His disciples concerning His coming don’t involve dates but they are unmistakable!
Read: Matthew 24:15-26, Mark 13:14-23
- Route Marker #10 – The Abomination of Desolation. Jesus said, “Let the reader understand.” (Matthew 24:15, Mark 13:14)
Up to this time the signs that Jesus used tended to be general in nature. However the Abomination of Desolation is very specific and when it occurs it marks a series of apocalyptic events leading to the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. According to Jesus, this single event must be understood.
The Scripture passages referring to the Abomination of Desolation are Daniel 9:27, 11:31 and 12:11
In order for the Abomination of Desolation to take place either a Tabernacle (tent) or Temple has to be in existence. The abomination occurs when something is placed, erected or established within it. In the original Tabernacle (tent) only five furnishings were permitted: The golden altar (altar of incense), the seven-branched golden lampstand, the table of showbread with its twelve loaves of bread, the Ark of the Covenant and the Mercy Seat. The prophecies in Daniel 11:31 and 12:11 also indicate that the regular (The Hebrew word for “regular” is Tamid, which means eternal or continuously ongoing) sacrifices and offerings to God will be stopped.
A type (Since both, Jesus (Matthew 24:15, Mark 13:14) and Paul (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4), discussed the Abomination of Desolation as being futuristic, the abomination committed by Antiochus IV who preceded them by 200 years could not have been any part of the fulfillment of this event.) of this abomination occurred once before but not for the full duration indicated in the prophecies of Daniel (8:9-14 and 12:11-12). In 167 BC, Antiochus IV - Epiphanes (God Manifest) set up a likeness of himself in the Temple, stopped the sacrifices and sacrificed a pig on the altar of burnt offerings. The Temple was cleansed and rededicated to God a little over three years later in 164 BC. The original story is found in book of 1 Maccabees 4:36-61. The eight-day Jewish feast of Hanukkah celebrates the rededication of the Temple.
Jesus’ disciples will know beforehand that the Abomination of Desolation is going to occur because Jesus commands them to pray that it will not occur in the wintertime or on a Sabbath (indicates the weekly Sabbath - about 6 pm Friday evening until about 6 pm on Saturday evening). And once it does occur He commands that the disciples living in Judea (lies within a thirty-five mile radius of Jerusalem) flee to the mountains immediately.
The Abomination of Desolation marks the beginning of a period of great tribulation (Tribulation is affliction or suffering endured by the saints in this world at the hands of men - John 16:33), known in the Old Testament as the time of Jacob’s trouble. Messianic fervor will be in vogue, as many people will be expecting the Messiah. That is why Jesus warns His disciples that false Christs and false prophets will appear during this period of time. And they will even be performing great signs and wonders. Jesus cautions His disciples not to go after them because His coming will be obvious to everyone.
In part 2 of this lesson, we will continue to look at Jesus’ road map of future road markers along the way, so His disciples will understand the signs of the times.
Until next time . . . Godspeed!