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Monday, January 30 2012
A History Of Jerusalem: Abomination Of Desolation
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)
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).
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)
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.
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).
"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)
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).
"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?].
Fact Finder: How are the Temple vessels involved in the prophecy of the "abomination of desolation"?
This Day In History, January 30
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?).