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Monday, January 30 2012

A History Of Jerusalem: Abomination Of Desolation

The complete series of studies for A History Of Jerusalem:
1. In The Beginning
5. The Glory Of Solomon
9. Greeks, Ptolemies, Seleucids
13. The Herodian Dynasty
17. Constantine and Muhammad
2. Melchizedek's Salem
6. The Temple Of The LORD
10. Abomination Of Desolation
14. The Coming Of The Messiah
18. The British Mandate
3. Jebus Of Canaan
7. The Capital Of Judah
11. The Hasmonean Kingdom
15. Titus And The Zealots
19. Zionism
4. The City Of David
8. Ezra And Nehemiah
12. Pompey And The Caesars
16. Hadrian and Simon bar Kokhba
20. War And Peace

The Seleucid Empire was one of the four major divisions of the Greek Empire that were created after the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC (see A History Of Jerusalem: Greeks, Ptolemies, Seleucids). It was named after Seleucus, one of the Macedonian-Greek generals who fulfilled the Biblical prophecy about Alexander, as recorded by the prophet Daniel. An excerpt:

"8:20 The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia. 8:21 And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king. 8:22 Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power." (Daniel 8:20-22 KJV)

The Seleucid Empire

There were about 25 kings of the Seleucid Empire over its lifetime from about 320 to 80 BC, but one king in particular is most infamous to the history of Jerusalem, when he, as emperor, was king of Judea and Jerusalem. His official name was Antiochus IV, or Antiochus Epiphanes (lived 215-164 BC, reigned 175-164 BC). For whatever reason, or for no real reason at all, Antiochus made himself a brutal oppressor and persecutor of the people of Judah, who had returned to Judea and Jerusalem nearly two centuries earlier, during the time of the Persian Empire (see A History Of Jerusalem: Ezra And Nehemiah).

The outrages committed by Antiochus Epiphanes against the people of Judah culminated in the "abomination of desolation" (as it was called by both the prophet Daniel and by Jesus Christ) of the Temple in 167 BC - sacrificing a pig to the pagan god Zeus in the Temple of the LORD (the second Temple, that had been rebuilt by Ezra and Nehemiah when the people of Judah first returned to Jerusalem). That outrage in turn triggered the revolt by the people of the nation of Judah (i.e. the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Levi - see A History Of Jerusalem: The Capital Of Judah; also Are Levites 'Jews'? and Was Paul A Jew or a Benjamite?), led by those who have become known as the Maccabees, or Hasmoneans (who will be covered in detail in a subsequent study in this series) - a purification of the Temple that has ultimate Christian meaning, when it will be fulfilled in the few days just before Christ's return (as we shall read in a moment).

Antiochus IV Epiphanes There is a time gap of approximately three centuries between the end of the "Old" Testament and the beginning of the "New" Testament. It was during that time that the Greek Empire, and all of its four successor kingdoms, rose and fell. The "abomination of desolation" in the Temple in Jerusalem by Antiochus Epiphanes occurred during that time, so while the "abomination of desolation" is recorded in the Holy Bible as prophecy, by both the prophet Daniel and Jesus Christ, it was not recorded as it was happening, as was the case for all of the rest of Bible History (although this author has come to regard prophecy as history written in advance of events - when prophesied by the LORD, that history of the future is just as certain as the history of the past).

We do however have other accurate and genuine historical accounts of the "abomination of desolation" as it happened, primarily from the first book of Maccabees, which is not part of the Holy Bible (although it is often included) but is historically true and correct regarding what Antiochus did in Jerusalem. An excerpt, regarding his "abomination of desolation upon the altar":

"1:20 And after that Antiochus had smitten Egypt, he returned again in the hundred forty and third year, and went up against Israel and Jerusalem with a great multitude, 1:21 And entered proudly into the sanctuary, and took away the golden altar, and the candlestick of light, and all the vessels thereof, 1:22 And the table of the shewbread, and the pouring vessels, and the vials. and the censers of gold, and the veil, and the crown, and the golden ornaments that were before the temple, all which he pulled off. 1:23 He took also the silver and the gold, and the precious vessels: also he took the hidden treasures which he found. 1:24 And when he had taken all away, he went into his own land, having made a great massacre, and spoken very proudly. 1:25 Therefore there was a great mourning in Israel, in every place where they were; 1:26 So that the princes and elders mourned, the virgins and young men were made feeble, and the beauty of women was changed. 1:27 Every bridegroom took up lamentation, and she that sat in the marriage chamber was in heaviness, 1:28 The land also was moved for the inhabitants thereof, and all the house of Jacob was covered with confusion." (1 Maccabees 1:20-28, as rendered by the King James Version Apocrypha)

"1:54 Now the fifteenth day of the month Casleu, in the hundred forty and fifth year, they set up the abomination of desolation upon the altar, and builded idol altars throughout the cities of Juda on every side; 1:55 And burnt incense at the doors of their houses, and in the streets. 1:56 And when they had rent in pieces the books of the law which they found, they burnt them with fire. 1:57 And whosoever was found with any the book of the testament, or if any committed to the law, the king's commandment was, that they should put him to death. 1:58 Thus did they by their authority unto the Israelites every month, to as many as were found in the cities. 1:59 Now the five and twentieth day of the month they did sacrifice upon the idol altar, which was upon the altar of God. 1:60 At which time according to the commandment they put to death certain women, that had caused their children to be circumcised. 1:61 And they hanged the infants about their necks, and rifled their houses, and slew them that had circumcised them." (1 Maccabees 1:54-61, as rendered by the King James Version Apocrypha)

The Second Temple

The Maccabees (as we will cover in detail in the next study in this series) led a rebellion against an occupying superpower - and won. Their victory and their restoration of the Temple is commemorated by Jews to this day with Hanukkah (see The Prophet Daniel's View Of Hanukkah).

"4:36 Then said Judas and his brethren, Behold, our enemies are discomfited: let us go up to cleanse and dedicate the sanctuary. 4:37 Upon this all the host assembled themselves together, and went up into mount Sion. 4:38 And when they saw the sanctuary desolate, and the altar profaned, and the gates burned up, and shrubs growing in the courts as in a forest, or in one of the mountains, yea, and the priests' chambers pulled down 4:39 They rent their clothes, and made great lamentation, and cast ashes upon their heads, 4:40 And fell down flat to the ground upon their faces, and blew an alarm with the trumpets, and cried toward heaven. 4:41 Then Judas appointed certain men to fight against those that were in the fortress, until he had cleansed the sanctuary.

4:42 So he chose priests of blameless conversation, such as had pleasure in the law: 4:43 Who cleansed the sanctuary, and bare out the defiled stones into an unclean place. 4:44 And when as they consulted what to do with the altar of burnt offerings, which was profaned; 4:45 They thought it best to pull it down, lest it should be a reproach to them, because the heathen had defiled it: wherefore they pulled it down, 4:46 And laid up the stones in the mountain of the temple in a convenient place, until there should come a prophet to shew what should be done with them. 4:47 Then they took whole stones according to the law, and built a new altar according to the former; 4:48 And made up the sanctuary, and the things that were within the temple, and hallowed the courts. 4:49 They made also new holy vessels, and into the temple they brought the candlestick, and the altar of burnt offerings, and of incense, and the table. 4:50 And upon the altar they burned incense, and the lamps that were upon the candlestick they lighted, that they might give light in the temple. 4:51 Furthermore they set the loaves upon the table, and spread out the veils, and finished all the works which they had begun to make.

4:52 Now on the five and twentieth day of the ninth month, which is called the month Casleu, in the hundred forty and eighth year, they rose up betimes in the morning, 4:53 And offered sacrifice according to the law upon the new altar of burnt offerings, which they had made. 4:54 Look, at what time and what day the heathen had profaned it, even in that was it dedicated with songs, and citherns, and harps, and cymbals. 4:55 Then all the people fell upon their faces, worshipping and praising the God of heaven, who had given them good success. 4:56 And so they kept the dedication of the altar eight days and offered burnt offerings with gladness, and sacrificed the sacrifice of deliverance and praise. 4:57 They decked also the forefront of the temple with crowns of gold, and with shields; and the gates and the chambers they renewed, and hanged doors upon them. 4:58 Thus was there very great gladness among the people, for that the reproach of the heathen was put away.

4:59 Moreover Judas and his brethren with the whole congregation of Israel ordained, that the days of the dedication of the altar should be kept in their season from year to year by the space of eight days, from the five and twentieth day of the month Casleu, with mirth and gladness." (1 Maccabees 4:36-59)

The prophet Daniel recorded the very same events of the "abomination of desolation" as is recorded in Maccabees. The only difference is that the writer of Maccabees recorded it as it was happening, while Daniel recorded it before it happened (the primary criticism of non-believer historians is that the book of Daniel is "too accurate" to have been written before i.e. they deny prophecy). Below is Daniel's writing about the "abomination of desolation" that resulted in the institution of Hanukkah; note carefully that Daniel knew that his prophecy about the "abomination of desolation" was dual - Daniel described it in original occurrence and in "end time" fulfillment - just as Jesus Christ also did, after the original had happened (both were prophecy to Daniel, while one was historic and one was prophetic to the Messiah).

The Holy Place

"9:25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. 9:26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. 9:27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate." (Daniel 9:25-27 KJV)

"11:29 At the time appointed he shall return, and come toward the south; but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter. 11:30 For the ships of Chittim shall come against him: therefore he shall be grieved, and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant: so shall he do; he shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant.

11:31 And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate. 11:32 And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.

11:33 And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days. 11:34 Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries. 11:35 And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed." (Daniel 11:29-35 KJV)

Daniel wrote that the ultimate fulfillment of the "abomination of desolation" (the original event that caused "Hanukkah" to be observed) will happen just before the time of Christ's return.

"12:1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. 12:2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 12:3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. 12:4 But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased." (Daniel 12:1-4 KJV)

It was from all of that historic and prophetic documentation that Jesus Christ included the "abomination of desolation" in His famous Olivet Prophecy (named after the Mount of Olives, where He spoke it - and where His return will happen; see When And Where Your Eternal Life Will Begin).

Herod's Temple

"24:1 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to show him the buildings of the temple. 24:2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down [see What Did Jesus Christ Say About Those Stones?].

24:3 And as he sat upon the Mount Of Olives [see When And Where Your Eternal Life Will Begin and The Ascent From Bethany], the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

24:4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 24:5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many [see Is Your Church A Cult?]. 24:6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet [see The Horsemen Of The Apocalypse, Locusts In History And Prophecy and The End Of The World?]. 24:7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. 24:8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.

24:9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. 24:10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 24:11 And many false prophets [see What's The Bible Word For False Prophet?] shall rise, and shall deceive many. 24:12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 24:13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations [see The Elijah To Come]; and then shall the end come.

24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation [see Abomination of Desolation - Where?], spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, whoso readeth, let him understand: 24:16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: 24:17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: 24:18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. 24:19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 24:20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day [see How To Be A True Christian - Lesson 4]: 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 24:22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened. 24:23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. 24:25 Behold, I have told you before.

24:26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. 24:27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east [see Why Did They Face East?], and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 24:28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the Eagles be gathered together.

24:29 Immediately after the tribulation [see The Great Tribulation] of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

24:30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory [see Behold, He Cometh With Clouds]. 24:31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet [see Christ's Feast of Trumpets], and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other [see To Meet The Lord In The Air].

24:32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: 24:33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. 24:34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." (Matthew 24:1-35 KJV)

Fact Finder: How are the Temple vessels involved in the prophecy of the "abomination of desolation"?
See The Temple Vessel Prophecies Today


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This Day In History, January 30

1077: Pope Gregory VII retracted his excommunication of German emperor Heinrich ("Henry") IV (see Emperors and Popes; also Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy.

1606: English Roman-Catholics Everard Digby, Thomas Winter, John Grant and Thomas Bates were executed for their part in the "Gunpowder Plot" to blow up the British Houses of Parliament and King James I (after whom the King James Bible was named). The goal of the treasonists was to return Britain under the rule of the papacy.

1648: The Eighty Years War between the Netherlands and Spain came to an end with the signing of the Treaty of Munster and Osnabruck.

1649: King Charles I (the son and successor of King James I, after whom the King James Bible was named) of England was beheaded for treason, primarily due to his involvement with Roman Catholicism.

1800: The official U.S. population: 5,308,483 people, of which 1,002,037 were black people held as slaves.

1820: The first known sighting of Antarctica (by Europeans) occurred when William Smith, a sealer, and Edward Bransfield of the Royal Navy sailed through what is now called Bransfield Strait and saw the Antarctic Peninsula to the south.

1835: Andrew Jackson survived the first-ever known assassination attempt on a U.S. President (4 were assassinated: Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, Kennedy; 11 others survived gunshot wounds or other assassination attempts).

1902: Britain and Japan signed a treaty providing for the independence of China and Korea.

1911: The Canadian Naval Service became the Royal Canadian Navy. By the time of the Second World War, Canada had the fifth-largest navy in the world, extending through the "Cold War" era of the 1950s and 1960s when Canada had 3 aircraft carriers.

1933: Newly-elected Adolf Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor (Prime Minister) of Germany by German President Paul von Hindenburg. After Germany's "9-11" a month later, (the burning of the Reichstag, the German Parliament Building, by a "terrorist" - a mentally-retarded man from the Netherlands, Marinus van der Lubbe, who many historians believe was either completely innocent, or a patsy of the Nazis; he was executed in 1934, but posthumously pardoned in 2008), Hitler later assumed both offices for himself as "der Fuhrer" ("the leader") in order to "protect" his people (see Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).

1937: 13 anti-Communists were sentenced to death for participating in a plot, allegedly led by Leon Trotsky, to overthrow the Soviet regime and assassinate its leaders.

1943: During the Second World War, the British Air Force carried out the first daylight bombing raid on Berlin.

1948: Mohandas Gandhi, 79, was assassinated at a prayer meeting by Pandit Nathuram Godse, a Hindu fanatic who objected to Gandhi's tolerance for Muslims.

1964: A coup overthrew the government of South Vietnam. It was the second military takeover of the government in 3 months.

1965: The funeral of Sir Winston Churchill was held in London, one of the largest in British history. His defiance of Adolf Hitler during the darkest days of the Second World War was exemplified in his famous speech after the "Miracle of Dunkirk" (which it was): "We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills, we shall never surrender."

1968: The Vietnam War (which was actually a civil war between the Vietnamese people whose single country had been partitioned in 1954, by the French at the end of the First Indochina War, into North and South Vietnam) "Tet Offensive" began - nearly 70,000 North Vietnamese troops launched a surprise attack against South Vietnam.

1973: G. Gordon Liddy and James McCord (Whitehouse associates of Richard Nixon) were convicted of burglary, wire-tapping and attempted bugging of the Democratic headquarters at the Watergate building in Washington.

1991: The Hudson's Bay Company announced that it was getting out of the fur business, the trade on which the company was founded in 1670 (see also Who Invented Fur Coats?).





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