Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Abomination Of Desolation

(or desolating sacrilege) is a term found in the Hebrew Bible, in the book of Daniel. It also occurs in the book of 1 Maccabees and in the New Testament gospels, for example:
And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God. –Luke 16:15

The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. –Rev 17:4

But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life. Rev 21:27

from the Greek βδέλυγμα bdelygma a foul thing, a detestable thing, of idols and things pertaining to idolatry

In the case of idolatry, the Old Testament often describes such things as an abomination by the Israelites:
And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as [did] David his father. –1 Kings 11:6
Hebrew: רַע ra` "ad, wrong, ill, lousy, foul, moldy, mouldy, noxious, unkind, verminous, atrocious; evil, wicked, vicious, meany, nefarious, baleful; dangerous, malignant"

But he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, yea, and made his son to pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out from before the children of Israel. –2 Kings 16:3

And he did [that which was] evil in the sight of the LORD, after the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out before the children of Israel. 2 Kings 21:2

Hebrew: תועבה tow`ebah "nf. abomination, shameful deed, profanity, scabrousness, villainousness, anathema; idols, idolatry"

Matthew Henry says this about Dan. 11:31-45
From Antiochus the account seems to pass to antichrist. Reference seems to be made to the Roman empire, the fourth monarchy, in its pagan, early Christian, and papal states. The end of the Lord's anger against his people approaches, as well as the end of his patience towards his enemies. If we would escape the ruin of the infidel, the idolater, the superstitious and cruel persecutor, as well as that of the profane, let us make the oracles of God our standard of truth and of duty, the foundation of our hope, and the light of our paths through this dark world, to the glorious inheritance above.

As a good part of biblical references to the concept of abomination relates to things generally considered as idolatrous, evil, vile, nefarious, wicked, etc., there was recently something that came to my attention that stuck out in my thinking as unexplainably odd. Of course, after putting two and two together this, too, made perfect sense. Just more pure evil...hidden in deception.

We have the idea of Abomination of Desolation of Matthew and Mark (Jesus, and the Daniel reference) tucked neatly away from our years of making assumptions about what, exactly, it means. It seems rather clear, from the above passages, that we are not talking about a "person" being the Abomination of Desolation but rather, something that is vile, wicked, evil in the eyes of God.


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