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
Reasons for Understanding the “Abomination of Desolation” as a Modern Instrument or Vehicle of War:
(1) From Daniel 9:27 it is evident that there is a military invasion of several “abominations that make desolate”. Therefore, it seems to follow that the single “abomination of desolation”, which appears in the holy place, is only one of several used in the invasion. And it’s hard to imagine how this could mean anything else other than an invasion of modern weapons and vehicles of war, and that it’s just a matter of one of them invading the holy place. This explanation has the advantage of accuracy and simplicity.
(2) In recent history we have witnessed similar events – in Waco, Texas, and Amritsar, India. These events were a good illustration – a bit of historical hindsight, as well as foreshadowing, of the similar event to happen in the “holy place” in Jerusalem. They set a precedent for how to deal with religious squabbles, which increases the likelihood that this type of heavy-handed “solution” will be used again.
(3) Every reference to the abomination of desolation is set in the context of war.
(4) In the original Hebrew and Greek wordings, the term “desolation”, in these passages about the “abomination”, suggests that it has great destructive capability. And this naturally links the “abomination of desolation” to being some kind of instrument of war. Especially significant along this line are the three references in the New Testament – Matthew 24:15, Mark 13:14, Luke 21:20. Understanding “desolation” in terms of violent destruction fits well into the context of the different passages where it is found and doesn’t require any deviation from the original Hebrew-Greek wordings.
(5) When we strip away our own modern familiarity with these inventions of war and see them spiritually, or see them through the eyes of those from ancient times, people who knew nothing about our modern technology, then the term “abomination of desolation” seems a much more reasonable description of a modern instrument of war than we may have thought.
(6) The translation of certain words can be misleading, such as for the words “place” and “set up” in Daniel 11:31 and 12:11, which make it sound like the passages are talking about an idol. However, in these cases, the Hebrew word concerned was not very specific and can easily be changed.
(7) The word “abomination” means anything that is abhorrent to God and is not limited to mean an idol, or things connected to idolatry.
(8) On the other hand, if we do want to interpret the “abomination” in religious terms, then it seems logical, judging by the context of the Daniel 11 passage, that it should be connected to the “god of forces” (a god of war and armaments), rather than to the Antichrist demagogue. And so, a weapon or vehicle of war would seem to be the most likely “abomination” it’s speaking of here, rather than some kind of image or likeness of the Antichrist. So, whichever way you look at it, in religious terms or non-religious, the explanation that fits well in both cases is that the abomination is a weapon or vehicle of war.
(9) If we believe that the Revelation 13 “image” is the TV image of the Antichrist, then there’s no need to think that another image or idol is needed in the form of the abomination of desolation in the “holy place”. (See post “Unraveling the Mystery of the Image“.) If the Antichrist is there, that should be sufficient. He himself is the object of worship. In modern secular culture, this adulation of a person through his live, broadcasted image is more acceptable than worship via any kind of manufactured image or idol, however realistic or technological it may be.
(10) War and military power are prime features of the Antichrist’s domain of influence. Since he is the one who places the “abomination of desolation” in the “holy place”, chances are it will be linked to the activities of his warmongering in some way. The False Prophet, on the other hand, rules in the domain of economic power, and spiritually, he deceives the world through the media and with the Antichrist’s “image”.
Different domains of power imply the use of different technologies; the “abomination” and “image” would be different inventions, each characteristic of one of the Beasts and his domain of power. It is not likely they would be the same thing (as envisioned in the idea of some kind of great computer idol). The “abomination” should be an invention that merely helps the Antichrist carry out his war campaigns – a weapon or vehicle of war; and the “image” should be one that helps the False Prophet carry out his campaign of getting the world to worship the Antichrist through the media.
(11) The beginning of the Great Tribulation is a precise event starting at a precise time. Trying to install a robot idol or super-computer (or both) in the “holy place” would be a monumental task that could take quite some time. From a practical point of view, it would be simpler if it were just a war tank or some other war machine that barged its way in. A provocative incident like that would be the kind of spark that could easily set off the explosive era of the Great Tribulation.
(12) Everything is all ready to go. We don’t have to wait for some extraordinary new invention to come along. Thus, there’s no need to delay in our minds the future, thinking the Antichrist can’t come along yet because we have to wait for the “abomination” to get invented. As far as the technology goes, everything’s in place ready to roll.
Several “clues” have been offered in this study that point towards the idea of the “abomination of desolation” being some modern instrument or vehicle of war. Each clue by itself may not be enough to prove that. But, by putting all the clues and pieces of the puzzle together, we seem to arrive safely enough to that very conclusion.
These mysterious passages about the “abomination” are like a riddle from ancient times – a secret tucked away in the Scriptures for almost 2,500 years. If now we’re able to decipher this mystery, that’s a good sign we’re in the Endtime – because that’s when the Lord would want to reveal it.
And that should be encouraging. We’re seeing now the answers to the disciples’ questions from long ago. We no longer have to wonder, as they did, about this peculiar “sign of Thy coming and of the end of the world”. (Matthew 24:3) Now we can see what it will be, and how it is looming on the horizon. Knowing we’re on the threshold of these events should also encourage us to prepare earnestly and brace ourselves for the tumultuous days ahead.