02 April 2007

Matthew 24, Part Six

The Abomination of Desolation

"Therefore when you see the Abomination of Desolation which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand) then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains." Matthew 24:15-16

This segment of the study picks up in verse 15 with the real sign of the destruction of Jerusalem. Christ proclaims that when the Abomination of Desolation appears the time is at hand. If we hold to the authority of Scripture the answer as to waht the "abomination" is found in the parallel passage in Luke. "But when you see Jersusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is at hand" (Luke 21:20). The language is more understandable in Luke since his Gospel was written for the Gentile as opposed to Matthew's account which was written for the Jew. (We should also note at this point that the parallel passage in Luke also verifies the time frame [this generation] as the armies did arrive within a generation [forty years]).

A Jew would recognize the significance of the "abomination of desolation" found in Daniel 9:27. The word "abomination" is often associated with idolatry. The same word (shiqquwts) is found in several passages and all are direct references to idol worship. (See Jer4:1, 7:30 13:27; 1 Kings 11:5-7; 2 Kings 23:13; Dan 9:27.) Hence, seeing the Roman armies the Jewish Christians knew it was time to "flee to the mountains."

Looking ahead to verse 28 we see the reference to eagles gathering. The ensigns of the Roman army bore an eagle. Josephus tells us that the ensigns were erected in the tenple and were the object of sacrifice. And now the Romans, upon the flight of the seditious into the city, and upon the burning of the holy house itself, and of all the buildings lying round about it, brought their ensigns to the temple, and set them over it's eastern gate; and there did they offer sacrifices to them, and there did they make Titus imperator, with the greatest acclamations of joy. (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, 6:6:1.)

Surely this was an abomination to any Jew. Ken Gentry states concerning this final horrible act, "Israel was judicially dead, it's carcass was devoured by the eagles of Rome." (Ken Gentry, Dispensationalism in Transition, ICE, October, 1991.)

The Dispensationalist likes to put these verses about the abomination in the future. But, once again, the context forbids such a time frame. This is especially obvious when the passage in Matthew is compared to the parallel passage in Luke. Hence, to be consistent in the Dispensationalist's system the passage in Luke does not describe the same event as in Matthew. There is little warrant for such an interpretive scheme.

The next few verses do not need a detailed analysis. Obviously, with foreign invaders in sight it's time to get out. These verses do however, refute the dispansationalist's claim that these are future events. In verse 17 we read, "Let him who is on the housetop not go down to get the things out of the house." Dwellings of the period were flat and people spent much of their time on the roof. The dwellings were connected in such a way that one could go from rooftop to rooftop for quite a distance. In effect, Christ was encouraging the one on his rooftop to escape by way of traveling the rooftops. Thus, this is an admonition to those alive at the time. It would not be necessary to give such detailed instructons for people 2000 years in the future.

Eschatology of Victory

still more to come...

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