B1: Chapter 15: The Abomination of Desolation

(1) No Tribulation Temple

There is a lot of wrong teaching on this subject, but I will attempt to present a concise argument for why there will not be a tribulation Temple, and what the abomination actually will be. The Abomination of Desolation is not the stopping of the sacrifice or the setting up of an image in the Temple, because the Jewish Temple will never be rebuilt before the return of Christ.

One reason the Temple will not be rebuilt is because Muslims control the Temple Mount, and they will never let the Jews build the Temple there. To believe otherwise ignores 1400 years of history, and much Scripture, and is just wishful thinking. I have already proven that the 7-year peace treaty is false. Also, a good number of Jews will convert to Christianity before the last half of Daniel’s 70th week, as we saw in previous chapters. Plus, many Jews do not even believe that the Temple should be built until the coming of Messiah.

If, in fact, a 7-year agreement were to occur that would allow the Jews to rebuild their Temple, it would mean that they have less than 3.5 years to actually cut all the stones and rebuild the Temple, which would be a real rush job. But it would take longer than that to do the archaeological excavation of the site before building.

Seriously, do you really believe that the Jews, who care greatly for every piece of broken pottery relating to their history in Israel, would build on top of perhaps the greatest archaeological treasures in world history? Some people are just not thinking clearly! The Temple Mount most certainly has incredible artifacts buried there, such as evidence for both Temples that could reveal what they looked like, their exact size and location, etc.

We need to know the actual size of the Temple because we do not know the exact length of the cubit. Some people believe it was 1.5 feet, but the measure is not known for certain. Without an exact measure, how can the Temple be correctly rebuilt? A complete archaeological excavation of the site would take many years.

Also, if God wanted the Temple rebuilt, it could have been built during the rule of Emperor Julian, who favored non-Christian religions. He even provided public funds to rebuild the Temple, but God stopped it. First, there were very high winds that blew dirt and covered up what had been dug; then an earthquake in 363 AD destroyed much work and killed some of the workers. But the work continued, and then explosive gases came up from crevices in the ground and burst into flame, burning some of the workers until they finally gave up. But that was not all:

A more tangible and still more extraordinary miracle ensued; suddenly the sign of the cross appeared spontaneously on the garments of the persons engaged in the undertaking. These crosses looked like stars, and appeared the work of art. Many were hence led to confess that Christ is God, and that the rebuilding of the Temple was not pleasing to Him; others presented themselves in the church, were initiated, and besought Christ, with hymns and supplications, to pardon their transgression. (The Jew in the medieval world: a source book, 315-1791. By Jacob Rader Marcus, Marc Saperstein, Hebrew Union College Press, 2000, page 12)

God kept it from being built, but we are expected to believe that God is going to change his mind and allow it to be rebuilt just in time for the Antichrist to desecrate it? No, there will not be an Antichrist Temple!

The claim is made that Paul and the other Apostles did not reject the Temple, and that they continued to practice Judaism. But Jesus did not give them detailed information about the coming changes before he went to heaven; which is why the Holy Spirit gave Peter the dream about not calling unclean what God has made clean. God revealed things to them gradually, which is why they had the argument in Acts 15; which concluded that the Gentiles do not have to keep the Law of Moses, but only the Jews. So even if they originally did not reject the Temple and its service, they certainly would have done so after the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD, because they knew that the Old Covenant had been replaced by the New Covenant, and that the old would soon stop completely, as seen in Hebrews:

In speaking of a new covenant He has made the first one old. Now that which is decaying and growing old is ready to vanish away. (8:13)

The abomination, as we are expected to believe, would occur when the Antichrist enters the Temple, stops the sacrifice, and declares himself God. But offering sacrifices for sin in the Temple would be a far greater abomination. Offering sacrifices would be trampling on, or attempting to void, the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins. This is why God will never again allow any offerings for sin in the Temple, or even allow the Temple to be rebuilt for the purpose of offering such sacrifices.

What about the statements of Jesus and Paul, that seem to refer to the literal Temple? What Paul said about it in 2 Thessalonians 2, was explained above; the other is given below.

(2) The Temple Mount

If the Temple is not going to be rebuilt, what is the abomination spoken of by Daniel and Jesus? There are a few possibilities, and I will present the most likely ones here:

“So when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. (Matt. 24:15-16)

“Abomination” is defined as “to be filthy,” “to loathe,” or “to abhor,” and refers to something that is disgusting and detestable. The term “abomination of desolation” refers to the desecration of a holy site or something that offends the religious sensibilities of a people.

A previous abomination of desolation was when Antiochus Epiphanes erected a statue of Zeus in the Most Holy Place in the Temple and burned sacrifices on the altar to Zeus. Another abomination of desolation occurred after the Romans destroyed the city and the Temple, then brought in their ensigns on the Temple Mount and offered sacrifices to them. There was not even a Temple on the site, and yet it was considered an abomination. These were certainly abominations of desolation, but the context of Matthew 24 puts it still in the future, during the final years.

In the 5th century, the first Islamic empire conquered the Middle East. When Caliph Umar (Omar) entered Jerusalem after its capitulation in 638 AD, he rode his horse to the Temple Mount, at which time the Patriarch Sophronius, then Bishop, muttered, “Behold the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet,” (Runciman, A History of The Crusades. Volume One, p. 3).

Some sources report that Sophronius said, “So this is the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet standing in the holy place.” Some sources report that he made that statement upon Omar’s arrival at the Temple Mount, while others say that he made it after Omar built the first wooden structure that later became the Dome of the Rock. The latter seems to be the most accurate.

Christian historian, Eutychius (877 – 940), tells us that Caliph Umar wanted to build a structure to Allah and demanded that Sophronius take him to where the Jewish Temple stood. Sophronius said:

I will give to the Commander of the Faithful a place to build a sanctuary where the kings of Rum [Rome] were unable to build. It is the rock where God spoke to Jacob and which Jacob called the Gate of heaven and the Israelites the Holy of Holies. It is in the center of the world and was a Temple for the Israelites, who held it in great veneration and wherever they were they turned their faces toward it during prayer. (Peters, F. E. Jerusalem, page 189-190)

After the structure was built, Sophronius reportedly said:

“Truly this is the Abomination of Desolation spoken of by Daniel the Prophet, and it now stands in the Holy Place,” and he shed many tears. (Le Strange, 1890, page 140n) (Quoted in Peters, Jerusalem, page 190-191)

The seventh-century bishop and historian, Sebeos, agreed with Sophronius:

Sebeos tells of the “horror of the invasion of the Ishmaelites who conquered land and sea.” He too saw in the Arab conquests the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy. (Greek Christian and Other Accounts of the Muslim Conquests of the Near East, by Demetrios Constantelos, in The Legacy of Jihad, Edited by Andrew G. Bostom. p. 395)

A second-century Mishnaic treatise said the Jews once made pilgrimage to the site where a rock protruded from the ground:

After the Ark was taken away, a stone remained there (in the Temple) from the time of the early Prophets, and it was called “foundation” (shtiyah). It was higher than the ground by three fingerbreadths. (Danby, 1933, p. 167) (Quoted in Peters, Jerusalem, page 196)

In Matthew 24 Jesus never said the abomination would be of the Temple, or in the Temple. He never said the word Temple, he just said it will be standing in the holy place:

“So when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place . . .” (v. 15)

Compare what Jesus said with Dan. 9:

And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed destruction is poured out on the desolator. (9:27b)

Notice that the word “Temple” does not appear here either, merely that something will be made desolate. So it most likely refers to the Temple Mount itself. The wording also suggests that the abomination will continue for an extended period of time, “until the consummation.” Here is how the LXXE words it:

and on the temple shall be the abomination of desolations; and at the end of time an end shall be put to the desolation.

It mentions the abomination, and then it says the abomination will come to an end at the end of the age. So, the wording of this passage suggests that the abomination will continue for a long time, which makes the Dome of the Rock the abomination of desolation. Several other translations agree, that the abomination will last a long time:

And on a corner of the altar will be abominations that desolate, even until the end. And that which was decreed shall pour out on the desolator. (ESV)

And in the train of these abominations shall come an author of desolation; then, in the end, what has been decreed concerning the desolation will be poured out. (NEB)

What is certain is that the abomination will be something that can be seen “standing,” so it cannot be the death of the pope, a saint, or a false doctrine; and it is not worshipping on Sunday instead of Saturday. There is evidence that the Muslims are planning a new building project that will take several years to complete. Evangelist Perry Stone reports that the Mufti of Jerusalem, Ekrima Sabri, said the Palestinian Authority has drawn up plans for a large mosque on the Temple Mount (Unleashing the Beast, p. 118, 2003 edition).

There is plenty of room on the Temple Mount next to the Dome of the Rock, so such a plan is certainly possible. There have already been some excavations of the mount near the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is located in the southern corner of the Temple Mount. “All these activities show very clearly that their plan is to make most of the Temple Mount into an area of one great mosque” (http://christianactionforisrael.org/5thtemple.html, at: https:// web. archive. org/). All of this destruction and construction is very offensive to Jewish people worldwide, and even to Christians.

In the photo above, the black line shows the extent of the Temple Mount, so there is plenty of room to build another mosque; either between the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, or east of them. The Dome of the Rock is not a mosque, as some people believe, but is a shrine to the rock inside it. The first wooden structure was called the Mosque of Omar, so the Dome is sometimes referred to by that name, but is not a mosque.

So, if the Dome of the Rock is the abomination spoken of in Daniel 9:27, then there could be another building constructed on the Temple Mount. Even though the Temple Mount is already in a state of desolation with the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, there will likely be a future abomination of desolation because the statement of Jesus in Matthew 24 makes it take place at the end, or at least near the end.

There are claims that the genuine location of the Temple is actually outside of what is now called the Temple Mount, but the excavations that have been done provide no evidence that the Temple was in this area. However, HolyLandSite.com reports that a lot of evidence has been found by archaeologists for the Temple being on the Temple Mount. This is given in a 1.5 hour-long video on YouTube. The video said:

What we can clearly conclude from all this evidence, is that the Temple Mount platform that we see today, existed long before the Romans arrived. It was not built by Herod the Great for the Romans as a fort. To say that the current Temple Mount was a Roman fort, is to overlook and deny all this archaeological and historical evidence. . . . No licensed archaeologist in Israel believes the Temple was in the City of David and the Temple Mount was a Roman fort. Those who believe otherwise, are not archaeologists. (Must See New Evidence that Proves the Temple was on the Temple Mount Over the Dome of the Rock!)

Daniel supports the belief that the Dome of the Rock is the Abomination. Therefore, the final abomination of desolation will probably be the completion and dedication of a new structure, such as another mosque, or even an addition to the Dome.

The final Abomination of Desolation is a sign of the end. It is the main sign directly related to Jerusalem that will point to the approaching full Wrath of God at the end of the Day of the Lord. Most other signs will be seen in the sky.

(3) The 1,290 Days and 1,335 Days

“From the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away and the abomination that makes desolate set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days. 12 Blessed is he who waits and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days.” (Daniel 12:11-12)

I am sorry to say that my original interpretation of this passage, published in all editions prior to Jan. 2023, was a mistake. I made the same mistake many commentaries have made: I made the 1,290 days and 1,335 days fit into the final 3.5 years. (Almost every single source I consulted on Dan. 12:11-12 has a different interpretation.) I now believe it refers to a different time period. But I did say this:

“Of course, I probably have some point wrong; I don’t claim that all the end-time details exactly right, but they are the clearest they have ever been, in my view.”

So, now I present a much better interpretation. Since the last half of Daniel’s 70th week is only 1,260 days long, how do we get 1,290 and 1,335? The reason is that these numbers have nothing to do with the TOT or GT; they are connected to historical events.

According to Pretribism, the abomination is when the Old Covenant sacrifice is stopped by the Antichrist in the middle of the fictional 7-year agreement and an image is set up in the Temple, but Daniel 12 tells us that stopping the sacrifice is a totally separate event from the abomination. The passage says that after the sacrifice is stopped, 1,290 days will pass, and then the abomination will take place. Therefore, IF the pre-trib theory were correct, then the Abomination would take place 30 days after the end of their 7-year tribulation! But it actually has no connection to any third Temple, or the GT.

I previously believed the 1,290 days were actual days, but I now believe the best interpretation is that the 1,290 days refer to years. We previously saw that the days of Dan. 9 represent years; this is also the case in Num. 14:34 and Ezk. 4:5-6. (But not in Revelation.)

Because I was not happy with the available interpretations of the 1,290 and 1,335, I did a lot of praying and asking God to reveal the correct meaning. Finally, after much pleading and insisting, I was working at my computer when suddenly a book came to mind that I had read 15 or more years ago. So I dug out The False Prophet by Ellis H. Skolfield, published in 2001, and read parts of it again, but I believed that its conclusions were interesting but wrong.

The thought came to me, that maybe he was wrong on many details but was right about his general assumption. So, I did my own research and eventually found evidence to support his original thesis; which is that the 1,290 days refers to the years from the time the sacrifice had been stopped when the Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians. Then count forward to the year the Dome of the Rock was constructed.

The LXXE words it this way: “And from the time of the removal of the perpetual sacrifice.” The Jewish Publication Society version says, “the continual burnt-offering shall be taken away.” The Hebrew for “taken away” in the KJV is (5493) (sur). Strong’s says: “A primitive root; to turn off (literally or figuratively) . . . remove . . . take (away, off). It does not refer to a future sacrifice that has been taking place for only a few months. This passage refers to when the Temple was attacked by the army of Babylon in the 6th century BC.

The sources are not certain about the exact date the sacrifice ended; some speculate that it was at the destruction of the Temple in 586 BC, others say that the priests could have continued offering the sacrifice without a Temple; others claim that Jeremiah stopped the sacrifice because of the impending attack by the Babylonian army in 587 BC. But just because he removed the Ark of the Covenant before the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem and hid it in a cave (2 Maccabees 2:4-8), that does not mean the sacrifices were stopped.

Even though no one can prove the exact date when the sacrifices were stopped, the sacrifices most likely ended when the Temple was destroyed on the 9th of Av, 586 BC, which always falls in the months of July–August on our calendar.

Since using the so-called biblical year of 360 days is not the correct way to figure anything, then: -586+1,290=704, plus 1 for no year zero. We will soon learn what happened in 705 AD.

When we investigate what happened in the period, we learn that construction of the Dome of the Rock, and likely also the al-Aqsa  Mosque, began in 685. The Dome was completed in 691/2, but the mosque was not completed until 705 (according to the best sources, such as: www.generationword.com; breakingmatzo.com, madainproject.com, jerusalempedia.com).

I originally focused on the Dome of the Rock being the abomination, but according to this date of 705, it must include the al-Aqsa  Mosque. This means, that any other building constructed anywhere on the Temple Mount will qualify as the next and final abomination.

An inscription inside the Dome says that it was completed in the Islamic year of 72 (June 4, 691 to May 30, 692), but there is no mention of when construction began. Abd al-Malik came to power in 685, and he is credited with the Dome’s construction, so it is reasonable that construction began shortly after he came to power (Necipoglu, p. 22). So you can see how this would fulfill the prophecy that says, from the stopping of the sacrifice to the abomination, will be 1,290 years! Now, we will take a look at the 1,335:

Blessed is he who waits and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days.

It is easy to assume that the starting point is the same as for the 1,290 days, but we cannot assume with Bible prophecy. No starting point is given, so what does it refer to? We can find it by looking at history. It says that people will be happy about reaching that day; literally, “blessed.” Notice that the wording suggests that 1335 will be in the far distant future; “who waits and comes to.”

Now, we already know that Jerusalem was conquered by the Muslims, and they built the Dome of the Rock. Muslim years are 354 or 355 days, and the Islamic calendar began in 622 AD, so the Islamic year 1335 was Oct 28, 1916 — Oct. 23, 1917. During this entire year, the British were waging war to free Palestine from the Islamic Ottomans, which was part of World War 1. The British captured Jerusalem in December 1917 and took full control of Palestine. Even before the victory, the British issued the Balfour Declaration (November 2nd), which proclaimed the British Government’s desire that Palestine become a homeland for the Jews. These two events, the deliverance of Palestine and the Balfour Declaration, eventually led to the creation of modern Israel in 1948.

However, you may say those events actually took place after the year 1335. The wording of the verse would lead one to assume that the passage refers to the start of the year; but in this case, it does not refer to the beginning of that year, but the end of it. Most translations would lead one to look at the beginning of the year, but the NIV surprisingly says it this way; “Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days.” In other words, you will be blessed if you wait until the end of the year. This is one of those prophecies that is impossible to correctly interpret until after it has happened.

After I came to the above interpretation, I decided to examine some Hebrew word meanings, and the meanings fit the historical interpretation. The Hebrew for “waits” is châkâh (H2442) and means, “to await: long, tarry, wait” (Strong’s). The best I can ascertain from all sources on this word, it has the meaning of waiting, tarrying, or longing for something for a long time. The Hebrew for “comes to” is nâga‛ (H5060) and means, “properly to touch, that is, lay the hand upon . . . by implication to reach (figuratively to arrive, acquire); violently, to strike (punish, defeat, destroy, etc.)” (Strong’s). That year was a year of war.

(4) Satanic Image on Dome of the Rock

Just to the right of the south entrance of the Dome of Rock, there are some slabs of marble that have an image that looks very demonic (see below).

I believe that God caused this marble slab to be selected and put into the construction of the Dome so it could help us understand that this building is the Abomination spoken of by the prophet Daniel, (along with the al-Aqsa  Mosque). In recent years, they put a little building in front of the image; was it an effort to obscure the image?

(Left image from pexils.com, right image from wikimedia.com)

The al-Aqsa Mosque took longer to complete than the Dome of the Rock because it is much larger:

(5) The Real Holy Place?

There are two tombs of Christ in Jerusalem: the Garden Tomb, discovered in the 19th century, and the one inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, also called the Church of the Resurrection. I believe the correct tomb is in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, because of the Miracle of the Holy Fire that occurs there every year on Good Saturday.

The Orthodox Patriarch goes into the tomb with unlit candles and says a prayer, and fire appears on his candles. He brings out the lit candles, and the fire is passed into the crowd of onlookers, who light their candles with the fire. The fire has been seen and filmed flying around the room and lighting other candles, and videos show candles spontaneously lighting, even when people are standing on the roof of the church. And it only works when the Orthodox Patriarch says the prayer during the Easter ceremony; it will not work with any other patriarch or at any other time.

The Holy Fire cannot be normal fire because it does not look or act like normal fire, and does not burn the skin. A person can pass their hand through it and not be burned, so it must be of divine origin. Therefore, I believe that this is the real Tomb of Christ. It is a traditional belief that if the fire ever does not come down, it will be a sign of the imminent end of the world.

It is likely that the Antichrist will enter the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, lay a copy of the Quran on the granite slab that covers the original rock where Christ was laid, and pray to Allah. That will indeed be a great abomination! But it still would not be the Abomination that can be seen “standing,” as spoken of by Daniel and Jesus.

A new theory has arisen that says the Antichrist will find the Ark of the Covenant that could have the blood of Christ on it, and then he will desecrate it. Ron Wyatt has made several great discoveries, but I do not believe his claim of finding the Ark. Again, that would indeed be a great abomination, but the prophecies tell us that the abomination began 1290 years after the Temple was destroyed in 586 BC. Therefore, I still expect another building, at least at this time. Perhaps some other unexpected evidence will arise in the future that more strongly points to something else, but I highly doubt it.