The Abomination of Desolation (Mark 13:14-23)

The Abomination of Desolation (Mark 13:14-23)


I.) Looking to Daniel

As we recall, we are in the midst of Jesus answering His disciple’s questions on the end times, “When will these things be, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”[1] We have come to a text this morning that truly requires us to have somewhat of an understanding of the Old Testament, especially the book of Daniel.

In Daniel, there is a prophecy known as The Seventy Weeks Prophecy, which was given to Daniel 500 years before Christ while Israel was in Babylonian captivity for 70 years just as Jeremiah had prophesied.[2] Israel was to be in captivity for 70 years for violating God’s command to let the land rest every seventh year. Israel disobeyed this mandate 70 times, so God took them away for 70 years and gave the land the rest it need. When Israel was taken captive by the Babylonians, Jerusalem had been destroyed, along with the temple.

It is important to understand this, because Daniels Seventy Weeks prophecy is unbelievably accurate in regards to the rebuilding of Jerusalem, the first coming of the Messiah, and the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. It also reveals a series of events that have not occurred yet, but will. These events to be are directly related to Jesus’ Olivet Discourse.


II.) The Seventy Weeks Prophecy

 Daniel 9:24-27 says:

24 Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for guilt, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy Place. 25 So you are to know and understand that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, untilMessiah the Prince, there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with streets and moat, even in times of distress. 26 Then after the sixty-two weeks, the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined. 27 And he will confirm a covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing ofabominations will come the one who makes desolate, until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, gushes forth on the one who makes desolate.”

Seventy weeks literally means seventy sevens; seventy units of sevens; seventy times seven, which comes out to equal 490. Now weeks in the Hebrew can be days, weeks, months, or years, so the question is, are these days, weeks, months or years? The context indicates that years are being spoken of here. Daniel is given the prophecy in answer to his prayer, and his prayer was motivated by his thinking upon the 70 year captivity as spoken of in Jeremiah. Daniel 9:2-3 says:

“I, Daniel, observed in the books the number of the years which was revealed as the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years. So I gave my attention to the Lord God, to seek Him by prayer and pleading, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.”

Daniel goes on to say in verse19, “Lord, hear! Lord, forgive! Lord, listen and take action! For Your own sake, my God, do not delay, because Your city and Your people are called by Your name.” Gabriel comes and answers him with, “Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city.” Daniel goes before God in prayer with years in mind, and it should be understood that Gabriel answers him in regard to years. Seventy unites of seven years; 490 years are decreed. Not only does the context indicate weeks should be understood as years, but the fulfillment of this prophecy confirms it.

            Daniel 9:24 reveals that six things will be accomplished during this 490 year period:

24 …(1) to finish the transgression, (2) to make an end of sin, (3) to make atonement for guilt, (4) to bring in everlasting righteousness, (5) to seal up vision and prophecy, (6) and to anoint the Most Holy Place.”

The first three pertain to the Messiah dealing with sin, and the final three deal with the Messiah and His coming kingdom. Like many of the other prophecies pertaining to the Messiah, we should understand that the first three were fulfilled at the Messiah’s first coming, and the final three will be fulfilled at His second coming.

Daniel 9:25 reveals that the 490 years will begin with “the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem.” It was been determined King Artaxerxes decreed that the Jews could return to their land and rebuild the city in Nisan (March-April) of 444 BC.[3] Listen further to what Daniel 9:25 says:

“So you are to know and understand that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, untilMessiah the Prince, there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with streets and moat, even in times of distress.” 

From the decree to rebuild Jerusalem to the time Messiah comes will “be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks.” That is 69 weeks; 483 years from the time of the decree to the coming of the Christ. It is important to know that the ancient’s years consisted of 360 days, and not 365 days. 483 years times 360 days equal 173,880 days.

The decree was made in 444 BC. The first seven weeks, or 49 years, were fulfilled with the rebuilding of Jerusalem by Nehemiah and the people of Israel. The other 62 weeks, 434 years, were fulfilled with the revealing of “Messiah the Prince.”

Now, I will be unable to fully and clearly explain all the ins and outs of the math, as well as the considerations that need to be made regarding the differences of calendars;[4] but know this, that 173,880 days after Nisan 444 BC brings you to Nisan 10 (Marth 30th), of 33 AD. On the Monday of March 30th of 33 AD, Jesus Christ, The Messiah Prince, made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, and four days later on Friday, Nisan 14 (April 3rd), of 33 AD, He was “cut off” just has Daniel 9:26 reveals.

Listen to Luke’s account of Jesus’ triumphal entry on March 30th, 33 AD in Luke 19:38-44:

37 And as soon as He was approaching, near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles which they had seen, 38 shouting: “Blessed is the King, the One who comes in the name of the Lord;
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 And yet some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples!” 40 Jesus replied, “I tell you, if these stop speaking, the stones will cry out!” 41 When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it, 42 saying, “If you had known on this day, even you, the conditions for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. 43 For the days will come upon you when your enemies will put up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side, 44 and they will level you to the ground, and throw down your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.”

One should ask, how were they able to recognize the time of the visitation of their Messiah? Daniel spelled it out for them, but they did not see it.

            Notice that Jesus also speaks of the destruction of Jerusalem here, which is also spoken of in Daniel 9:26:

26 Then after the sixty-two weeks, the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.”

We know that Jerusalem was leveled to the ground in the year 70 AD, and we know that “the people” responsible for the destruction of Jerusalem were the Romans.


III.) The Prince to Come

All of this occurred “after” the 69 weeks, but not during the 70th week. The first 69 weeks have been fulfilled, but the seventieth has yet to be. There is one more week; one more seven year period yet to be fulfilled. This period is spoken of in Daniel 9:27:

27 And he will confirm a covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing ofabominations will come the one who makes desolate, until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, gushes forth on the one who makes desolate.”

It is revealed to Daniel that someone will establish a covenant with the many, and the many are to be understood as the people of Israel. Who is the “he” that will confirm this seven year covenant with the people of Israel? He is the prince of the people who destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD.

The Roman Empire will be reestablished in some way, just as Daniel 2 revealed within Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of a great statue. The statue had legs of iron representing the Roman Empire, but it had toes mixed of iron and clay.[5] This revitalized Roman Empire will not be as strong as the first, but from it will come a leader who will confirm a deceptive treaty with Israel. He will pretend to be their savior. He will undoubtedly assist them in the rebuilding of the temple and preparing it for worship, and half way through the seven year period “he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing ofabominations will come the one who makes desolate.”

Who is this prince to come? He is the Little Horn of Daniel 7, who has “a mouth uttering great boasts” and continually wages war against God’s people and who:

“…will speak against the Most High and wear down thesaints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be handed over to him for a time, times, and half a time (Three and a half years).”[6]

                        Who is this prince to come? He is the willful king of Daniel 11:36-37, who will:

“…do as he pleases, and he will exalt himself and boast against every god and will speak dreadful things against the God of gods; and he will be successful until the indignation is finished, because that which is determined will be done. 37 And he will show no regard for the gods of his fathers or for the desire of women, nor will he show regard for any other god; for he will magnify himself above them all.”

Who is this prince to come? He is the Man of Lawlessness spoken of in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4:

“Let no one in anyway deceive you! For it will not come (The Day of the Lord) unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.”

Who is this prince to come? He is the Beast of Revelation 13 who is given power from Satan, so that the entire world will worship him and the beast saying, “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?”[7] Revelation 13:5-9 says of the Beast that there will be:

5…given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months (Three and a half years) was given to him. And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven.It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority was given to him over every tribe, people, language, and nation. All who live on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain. If anyone has an ear, let him hear.”

Who is this prince to come? He is the Antichrist. He is not only a counterfeit Messiah, he is contrary to the true Messiah. 1 John 2:18 tells us “that antichrist is coming.”


IV.) The Abomination of Desolation

The displaces asked Jesus about the end times, “When will these things be, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” Jesus says in Mark 13:14:

“When you see the Abomination of desolation standing where it should not be (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.”

What is this Abomination of desolation? It is foreshadowed by the act of the 8th King of the Seleucid Dynasty, Antiochus IV. He called himself Antiochus Epiphanes meaning “Antiochus The Great One”, but many of the people called him Antiochus Epimanes meaning “Antiochus The Maniac.”

In Daniel 8:9-14, there is a prophecy which describes a king who tramples down the people of God, magnifies himself to be equal with God, removes the regular sacrifices in the temple of God, and flings truth to the ground and performs his will and prospers. Antiochus IV fulfilled this prophecy.

In 168 BC, Antiochus was forced by Rome to leave Egypt, which enraged him. He directed his rage at the city of Jerusalem as he went through it. It is said that in three days, he slaughtered 40,000 people and sold as many as slaves. He forbade the Jews from observing the Mosaic Law, the Sabbath, the Feast Days, Sacrifices, Circumcision, and the Ceremonial Laws, and he forced them to worship Zeus:

“On December 15th, 168 BC, Antiochus sacrificed a giant sow on an idolatrous alter he made in the Temple. He forced the priests to eat is flesh, sprinkled its blood throughout the Temple, carried off the sacred vessels and destroyed the sacred books. He then placed the “abomination of desolation”, an image of Jupiter, in the Holy of Holies.”

He put an image of a false god in the place where only the Living God is permitted. He defiled the holy with the unholy. Daniel 8:23-25 speaks of a king who:

“will arise,Insolent and skilled in intrigue. 24 And his power will be mighty, but not by his own power, And he will destroy to an extraordinary degree and be successful and do as he pleases; he will destroy mighty men and the holy people.25 And through his shrewdness he will make deceit a success by his influence; and he will make himself great in his own mind, and he will destroy many while they are at ease. He will even oppose the Prince of princes, but he will be broken without human agency.”

Jesus says in Matthew 24:15, “Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place.” What is the Antichrist going to do? He is going to sign a peace treaty with Israel for seven years. He will undoubtedly assist them in erecting a new temple, and half way through his covenant with them “he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing ofabominations will come the one who makes desolate.”[8] He will oppose and exalt “himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.” He will demand to be worshipped as God by all of the earth, and he will seek to slaughter all who refuse. Remember Revelation 13:7-8:

It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority was given to him over every tribe, people, language, and nation. All who live on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain. “

Jesus says, “When you see the Prince who is to come standing where he should not be, run!”

14 When you see the abomination of desolation standing where it should not be—let the reader understand (Clear indication this is for future generations and not the disciples)—then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains. 15 Whoever is on the housetop must not go down, nor go in to get anything out of his house. 16 And whoever is in the field must not turn back to get his cloak. 17 But woe to those women who are pregnant, and to those who are nursing babies in those days!18 Moreover, pray that it will not happen in winter.”

Jesus’ is stressing the severity of the situation here. When the Abomination of Desolation is manifested people need to get away as fast as possible. Those living in Jerusalem and Judea at the time will be in the greatest peril. Jesus says, “Do not even gather your belongings. If you forgot something in the field, forget about it and run!” His point is that there will be no time to waste. This is why He says woe to those who are pregnant, and to those who are nursing. They simple will not be able to move as quickly as they need to. He says pray that it may not happen in the winter time, because the massacre will be so severe you do not want anything to slow you down.

When you see the Abomination of Desolation standing where it should not be, run for your life!


V.) The Tribulation Period

Jesus says in Mark 13:19:

19 For those days will be such a time of tribulation as has not occurred since the beginning of the creation which God created until now, and never will again.”

The second half of the tribulation period will be even greater than the first. It is imperative we realize that the first half of the tribulation will not leave people wondering whether or not they are in it; they will know assuredly that the wrath of Jesus Christ is upon them. The beginning part of the tribulation will be marked by Christ opening seven seal judgments which bring about false peace, war, famine, natural disaster, and unending death;[9] exactly as Christ revealed in His Olivet Discourse, and to an extent far beyond what the world has ever seen. Just as birth bangs grow in frequency and intensity, so will the end times.

The seventh seal will bring about the seven trumpet judgments on the earth:

1.) Hail and fire, mixed with blood gets thrown to the earth and burns up one-third of the trees and grass.[10]

2.) Something like a great mountain is thrown into the sea causing a third of it to be turned to blood, killing a

third of the creatures in it, and destroying a third of the ships.[11]

3.) A star called Wormwood will fall from heaven like a burning torch onto a third of the rivers and springs and poison the waters; and many people will die because of it.[12]

4.) A third of the sun, moon, and stars are darkened.[13]

5.) Locust like demons are released from the bottomless pit to torment for five months the people of the earth who do not have the seal of God on their forehead.[14]

6.) Four bound demons are released to kill a third of mankind,[15] and the Scripture records the reaction of mankind who were not killed by these events in Revelation 9:20-21:

20 The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands so as not to worship demons and the idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk; 21 and they did not repent of their murders, nor of their witchcraft, nor of their sexual immorality, nor of their thefts.”

7.) Christ’s kingdom reign is proclaimed.[16]

Remember, Jesus said the second half is greater than the first. Not only will the Antichrist be wreaking havoc on those being saved during the tribulation, but God will be pouring out His wrath on the unbelievers of the earth through a series of intense bowl judgments in Revelation 16:2-21:

1.) People will develop painful sores.[17]

2.) The sea will be completely turned to blood killing everything in it.[18]

3.) The rivers and springs of water are turned to blood.[19]

4.) The sun scorches people with a fierce heat, “and they blasphemed the name of God who has the power over these plagues, and they did not repent so as to give Him glory.”[20]

5.) Darkness and excruciating pain afflict the people of the earth.[21]

6.) The Euphrates River will be dried to prepare a way for the armies of the east to battle against the Christ.[22]

7.) Massive earthquake splits the great city into three parts, causing cities to fall, islands vanish, mountains are reduced to rubble, huge 100 pound hailstones come down upon men.[23]

Jesus said in Mark 13:19-20:

19 For those days will be such a time of tribulation as has not occurred since the beginning of the creation which God created until now, and never will again.20 And if the Lord had not shortened those days, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect, whom He chose, He shortened the days.”

For the sake of those He will save, God has shortened the days of the great tribulation. In Daniel 12:7 he hears the man who is speaking to him swear “by Him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time; and as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people, all these events will be completed.” Daniel is told 12:11, “11 And from the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days (Three and a half years).”

It is going to be an intense time of God’s wrath being poured out upon the earth, and a terrifying time with the savage fury of the Antichrist. People will want it to stop and the Antichrist will take advantage of this sending out many deceitful messages. Jesus says in Mark 13:21:

21 And then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ’; or, ‘Look, there He is’; do not believe it22 for false Christs and false prophets will arise, and will show signs and wonders, in order to mislead, if possible, the elect. 23 But beware; I have told you everything in advance.”

Their message will be so deceptive, and people will be enticed by the accompanying signs and wonders, but Jesus says do not believe it. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 says that the Antichrist’s “coming is in accordance with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and wonders, and with all deception of wickedness for those who perish.” There deceptiveness is emphasized by Jesus saying they could if possible, mislead the elect; those chosen by God for salvation. It is not possible for them to do this, because Jesus says in John 10:27-30:

27 My sheep listen to My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give them eternal life, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

Again, this wording emphasizes how deceptive these people will be. They will be so convincing that, if possible, they could lead God’s people astray. Jesus; however, tells us it is not possible.

Though God will save an innumerable amount of people out of the tribulation, there is reason to believe that those who enter the tribulation having rejected the gospel will never be saved. 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 speaks of those who do not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved:

“and for this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they might believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.”

We should therefore be boldly proclaiming the gospel to all people. Striving to appeal to their consciences through it, and begging them to come to their sense and not reject so great a salvation in Christ.


VI.) Always With The Lord

Where will those who have believe so great a salvation be through all of this? We will be with the Lord. The seven year tribulation is a time of God’s wrath being poured out on the earth. We who have turned from our sin and our works and trusted in Christ have been saved from the wrath to come. 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11 says:

For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. 11 Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, just as you also are doing.”

The New Testament reveals a mystery that was not disclosed in the Old Testament. 1 Corinthians 15:51-53 reveals that the mystery is that:

“We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.”

Believers that are alive before the tribulation will be removed from the earth, before God’s wrath is poured out on it. Paul says 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18:

 “15 For we say this to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who remain, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore,comfort one another with these words.”


[1] Matthew 24:3

[2] Jeremiah 25:12; 29:10

[3] Nehemiah 2:1-8

[4] Read Harold W. Hoehner, Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1977), pp. 115-39, or visit this article put out by Liberty University: https://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1108&context=pretrib_arch

[5] Daniel 2:31-43

[6] Daniel 7:8,21,25

[7] Revelation 13:1-4

[8] Daniel 9:27

[9] Revelation 6

[10] Revelation 8:7

[11] Revelation 8:8-9

[12] Revelation 8:10-11

[13] Revelation 8:12

[14] Revelation 9:1-11

[15] Revelation 9:13-19

[16] Revelation 11:15-18

[17] Revelation 16:2

[18] Revelation 16:3

[19] Revelation 16:4-7

[20] Revelation 16:9

[21] Revelation 16:10-11

[22] Revelation 16:12-16

[23] Revelation 16:17-21

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