THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW
JESUS' TEACHINGS ON THE SECOND COMING
The Abomination of Desolation and the Antichrist
Matthew teaches that 2 things must occur before the return of Christ. The first event is the evangelization of the world. According to Matt. 24:15 what is the second event which must occur before the return of Christ?
Mark 13:14 speaks of the same event. How does he describe this same event?
Whatever else the abomination of desolations is, it is primarily an event which is so abominable to God that it brings about great wrath and desolation from God.
MEANING OF THE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION
The issue now becomes, what does Jesus mean by the abomination of desolation? We may be stretching things a bit here; however, Paul definitely seems to be linking the acts of the antichrist with the abomination of desolation. Before looking at the abominable act the Antichrist does which brings about great desolation, let's first look at the identity of the antichrist. Look up the following passages and write down other names or descriptions of the antichrist:
1 John 2:22
This verse has raised a lot of eyebrows. When John says that the number of the beast is 666. he may mean one of 2 things. (1) Just as 7 is a divine number, 6 is an evil number because it falls short of divine. One 6 is bad enough; three 6's would be like 6 cubed, or 6 to the third power, or even better, evil to the third power. (2) Ancient languages many times used their letters to represent numbers. For example, in Roman numerals the letter "I" stands for "1", while the letter "V" stands for "5", etc. According to this view each letter in the name of the antichrist would have a numerical value. (This process is called gematria). This view states that if you add up the numerical value of the name of the person who is antichrist, you will come up with the sum total of 666.
2 Thess. 2:3
THE ACTUAL EVENT WHICH CONSTITUTES THE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION
According to 2 Thess. 2:3-4 what does the antichrist do that is so abominable to God?
Some Christians spiritualize away this event. They claim that Paul is not referring to a literal temple but rather to an act by somebody hostile to God. This act is nothing less or more than a world leader claiming to be divine. It just seems that whenever Paul wrote 2 Thessalonians, that the Jerusalem temple was still standing and that he did not spiritualize away the temple. These Christians may be right when they spiritualize away the temple; however, it does not seem true to the tenor of the passage.
At this point many Christians start weaving together a scenario which must happen in order for the abomination of desolations to occur. They claim that the Jerusalem temple must be rebuilt in order for this event to occur. They go further and say that the Dome of the Rock must first be destroyed by Jewish activists which brings about the tribulation, etc., etc., etc. The Jews are confident that they know where the Holy of Holies was located on the Temple mound in Jerusalem. This act may be nothing more than antichrist proclaiming himself to be God or even Christ while standing on this spot in the temple compound.
DATING OF THE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION
Just when does this event occur? There is one previous mention of the abomination of desolation in the Bible--Daniel 9:24-27. In fact Jesus ties in His second coming with the prophecy found in Daniel (Matt. 24:15). According to Daniel there is a period of time which is critical in the history of the world. According to Daniel what happens at the end of the period of time (9:24)?
When Daniel speaks about the end of sin and the coming of everlasting righteousness, he must be speaking about the future in which God Himself returns. At the end of this period of time Christ reigns upon the earth. According to Daniel 9:25 there are 69 weeks which are so important. What happens at the beginning of the 69 weeks and what happens at the end of the 69 weeks?
According to Dan. 9:26 what will happen to the Messiah (Jesus) at the end of this first period of 69 weeks? What does that mean?
After Jesus the Messiah is killed, what will happen to the city of Jerusalem (9:26)? Who will do this to Jerusalem and to the temple?
We see these events fulfilled in the life of Jesus and in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. The decree to rebuild Jerusalem occurred ~445-450 BC when the Persian king gave Nehemiah permission to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem. Jesus was killed ~30-35 AD. "But," you might say, "the interval between these 2 events is 480-485 years and not 69 weeks." No one, I repeat, no one believes that the 69 weeks are literally 69 weeks. Rather they refer to 69 weeks x 7 (units in a week) = 483 units, that is, 483 years. That is a common belief among biblical scholars. The 483 years falls right between the time of the decree to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem by Nehemiah and the death of Christ.
After the death of Christ the Romans destroy the city of Jerusalem in 70 AD as judgment for rejecting Christ. Who destroyed the city is as important as the fact the city was destroyed. Once more, who destroyed the city of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 AD?
Which race of people lived in Jerusalem when the Romans destroyed it?
In all 70 weeks (70 x 7 = 490 years) are important for the end times. 483 years have already occurred. Yet one week is missing. According to Daniel this one week is separated from the other 483 years. At the beginning of this last period of 7 years a certain person makes a covenant/treaty with the people. The people appear to be the Jews because they are the ones destroyed in the previous verses. They are not just Jews though; they are Jewish Christians. Look closely at verses 26 and 27. According to these verses who makes the covenant with God's people?
Which race of people does this person come from?
What happens at the beginning of this last week (or the beginning of the 7 years of tribulation)?
What does this person (antichrist) do during the middle of the last 7 years (3 1/2 years into this final period of 7 years)?
According to Daniel, this event is called the abomination which makes desolate.
What seems to be happening is this. Daniel prophesies that 490 years are critical for the history of the world. There are 2 parts to these 490 years: 483 years and a final 7 years. The 483 years begin with the decree to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem in 450-445 BC. Nehemiah with the Persian king's permission goes to Jerusalem to rebuild the Jerusalem wall. 483 years later Jesus is put to death by the Jewish people. As punishment for rejecting Jesus, the Jews and Jerusalem are destroyed by the Romans.
There is another period of 7 years, at the end of which brings about the rule of God upon the earth. At the beginning of the 7 years a prince from the people who destroyed Jerusalem, the Romans, once more, a ruler from the old Roman empire emerges who makes a treaty with the Jews in Jerusalem. During the middle of the 7 years the prince/antichrist breaks the covenant and begins to persecute God's people. This event--as elaborated on by Paul in 2 Thess.--is the abomination of desolations. At this point he persecutes Jews and Christians (remember the Rev. 13:7 verse). Jesus returns at the end of the 7 years (as seen in Matt. 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21).
What happens to the Jews during this seven-year period of time (Romans 11:25-26)?
Paul seems to be getting this from Jesus' statement in Luke 21:24. What does Jesus say in Luke 21:24?
Revelation seems to refer to the conversion of the Jews in Rev. 11:3-13. What happens in these verses?
Why does God give the Jews one last chance? Because of His love and commitment to Abraham.