Donna's Blog

Matthew 24:15-16

Posted by donnadawson on April 13, 2009 at 4:48 PM

Matthew 24:15-16 

"So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation' spoken of through the prophet Daniel--let the reader understand--then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains."

Two things jump out at me when reading this portion of scripture.  The first is the phrase 'so when you see'.  Who is Jesus talking to in this chapter?  He is talking to his disciples.  But more than that, he is talking to all generations of believers.  How do I know this?  It is due to the second thing that jumps out at me.  The phrase 'let the reader understand'.  Many of Jesus' followers were uneducated fishermen and they weren't reading his words--they were HEARING them.  It was obvious that Jesus was trying to reach across millenia to drive this point home.  He was talking to everyone who would read his words.  Us.  And those before and after us.

 

Some theologians would like to think that Jesus was referring to the destruction of Jerusalem--that the Romans were the abomination and they caused the desolation referred to hear.  Couple of problems with that.  First, he was jumping back to the book of Daniel where the Abomination that causes Desolation was used in reference to the Anti-Christ therefore, he, too, had to be referring to the Anti-Christ because Jesus doesn't make mistakes.  He wouldn't have misused a quote.  Second, the phrase 'let the reader understand' contradicted that idea too.  The New Testament hadn't been written yet.  Oh there were letters here and there but it wasn't 'the New Testament' in 70 A.D. when Jerusalem was destroyed.  Needless to say, that throws out that theory which leaves us with questions.

 

So what is the Abomination that causes desolation?  Well, the word Abomination according to dictionary.com is:

noun

1.anything abominable; anything greatly disliked or abhorred.
2.intense aversion or loathing; detestation: He regarded lying with abomination.
3.

a vile, shameful, or detestable action, condition, habit, etc.: Spitting in public is an abomination.

Needless to say, an abomination is not a nice thing.  In scripture, we are led to believe that the abomination is actually a person.  Other scriptures imply that he is Satan incarnate and that makes sense.  Satan has always tried to copy God so it stands to reason that he would try to emmulate the birth, death and resurrection of Christ.

 

So what desolation could he cause?  Well, this verse mentions that he will be standing in the Holy Place.  Wait a minute!  The temple was destroyed.  So where's the Holy Place? 

 

Have you noticed the flurry of activity in the past few decades concerning the temple mount?  There is a great push on to rebuild the temple on the original site.  And some news reports have documented the recreation of the dishes and tools etc. for use in the temple.  Look forward to seeing the temple go up quickly.  Once the dispute over the temple mount is settled, the nation of Israel will rebuild their temple.  And then the Abomination will begin his political reign under the clueless eyes of the world's masses.  And his act which will seal the beginning of the end will be to somehow enter the temple and exalt himself above Jehovah.  So, again, to whom is Jesus telling all of this?

 

If Jesus is telling his followers here 'when you see' he must mean that Christians will still be on the earth when the anti-christ appears.  I used to be a pre-trib believer--meaning that I thought the rapture would come before the tribulation.  Now I'm not so sure.  If you study Daniel you will notice that the abomination that causes desolation is to appear half-way through the 'week' or seven years.  If that's the case, then this portion of scripture more than implies that believers will be here to see him cause the desolation.  I've had people say that this simply refers to post-rapture believers but that's just not so if you put it all in context.  Jesus is talking to his disciples.  He is talking to those who would come after his disciples.  If he were talking to post-rapture believers he would not use the word 'you' in 'so when YOU see...'  He would likely say 'so when those who come after the rapture' or at the very least 'so when they...'  But he doesn't.  He says 'so when you'. 

 

This explains so much.  It tells us why we can know the season of his coming but not the day or the hour. 

 

He then goes on to say that those who are in Judea are to flee to the mountains.  Geographically, the mountains in Israel are a rough terrain filled with many hiding places.  They are a place where flushing out a person wouldn't be easy.  Jesus is giving his readers a clue.  Run to the mountains!  The anti-christ won't find you there. 

 

It's amazing when we think that our God loves us enough that he won't spring this whole 'end time' thing on us like some cruel trick.  He used his teachings in Matthew 24 to prepare us for what it to come.  He is awesome and loving indeed!

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5 Comments

Reply Jim and Cathy Fox
8:30 PM on April 13, 2009 
I have read end time theories by people who have studied it most of their lives. For the most part they tend to lean towards pretrib rapture. I the best answer i ever got was from a missionary who said, " I don't know for sure when the rapture is going to happen, when it does i'm going." What you have said here makes more sense to me than anything else I've read on the subject.
Peace: Jim
Reply Peter Black
8:31 PM on April 13, 2009 
Your observations on the Scripture in hand are as intriguing and inspiring as ever, Donna!
I imagine you will raise an eyebrow --or two-- in some circles, re. your no longer holding to a pre-tribulational view of the rapture. But this is the kind of honesty I'm learning to associate with you.
Holding debatable theories somewhat tenuously while holding true to the Word with humility, is in part the way to grow in faith and knowledge of the Lord, I reckon.
Blessings,
Peter.
Reply Laura Davis
9:09 PM on April 14, 2009 
Well said Donna! I too no longer believe in a pre-trib rapture, it just doesn't make sense to me. On another note, you might be interested in this link http://www.templeinstitute.org/main.htm. You will be amazed at what they have already done in preparation for restoring the temple.
Reply Donna Dawson
9:43 AM on April 15, 2009 
You are so right Laura. I actually knew of the site and am under the impression that most of the temple materials are ready to go. Exciting and sobering times.
Reply Peter Black
6:25 PM on May 10, 2009 
The reference to the Temple Institute is interesting to me, for when my wife and I were on a tour Israel 13 years ago, our tour guide took us to a place in Jerusalem where replicated Temple artifacts were being assembled in preparation for the future Temple. I suspect this will be the same site and organization you refer to. Fascinating.
Peter.