1 – Introduction and Clue #1
2 – Clue #2: What Kind of Desolation?
3 – Clue #3: “Overspreading of Abominations” in a Time of War
4 – Clue #4: The “God of Forces”
5 – Clue #5: Better Perspective on Matthew 24
6 – Clue #6: Historical Precedents
7 – Clue #7: Perspective of Ancient Times
8 – Clue #8: What about Daniel 11:31 and 12:11?
9 – Clue #9: Idol Worship in a Secular World?
10 – Clue #10: “Image” and “Abomination” – Separate Inventions
11 – Summary
12 – Appendix: News Articles
Clue #10 – “Image” and “Abomination” are Separate Inventions
It is often thought that the “image” mentioned in the Revelation Book and the “abomination” must be talking about the same thing. However, that is only an assumption.
It is easy to think that there should be a connection and to conflate or merge the two terms, “abomination” and “image”, into one invention. After all, they both have something to do with religion. The “image” is presented in the Revelation Book as an object of worship. And the “abomination” is going to be found in a place of worship according to several Scriptures. So why shouldn’t they be the same thing? And if they are the same, then that means the abomination would have to be some kind of likeness of the Antichrist, an idol of some sort.
And this has become a popular concept. But ideas sometimes take on a life of their own that they’re not supposed to have. So we should keep that in mind – in case things don’t turn out the way we may think they should.
It is a bit like the similarity between man and apes, which has caused scientists to jump to the conclusion that there is some kind of link there. But then, after thorough scientific investigation of the complex DNA genome sequences and so on, scientists are now beginning to realize that a wide, unbridgeable gulf exists; and there is no possible way that humans could have evolved from apes.
In the case of the “abomination”, as we’ve learned, it is supposed to be capable of “making desolate” (as in war); and this links it quite naturally with something like the “god of forces“, a military god of war and munitions. So, instead of being an image of the Antichrist, it should rather be viewed as a representation or creation of the “god of forces”.
The “god of forces” then would be the object of worship (at least for the Antichrist and his crew of warmongers). And presumably, the function of its abominations is to help this demon god cause desolation in the earth – whether it be confined to a certain “holy place”, or spread out as nuclear devastation over a vast territory.
The “image”, on the other hand, as the Revelation Book spells it out, is an object of worship designed for the world at large, something that everybody can use as part of his or her worship of the Antichrist. And this can be easily understood as the broadcasted image of the Antichrist. (This subject is explored more thoroughly in the “Unraveling the Mystery of the Image“ series of posts.)
So, this phrase in verse 38 about the “god of forces” is an important clue to reveal what god the “abomination” is supposed to be attached to. The “abomination” is not a representation of the Antichrist demagogue but is simply a destructive invention of the “god of forces” whom the Antichrist “honours”; and from this we can understand why the Antichrist is fully engaged in the business of waging war.
So, in this question about identifying the “image” and the “abomination”, there may be some reasons for thinking they should be the same thing, for conflating them, but a thorough investigation seems to reveal that, actually, they are two very different things. All they have in common is the fact that they are both inventions of modern times.