The abomination that casues desolation

Eternity messes with my mind.

Eternity means forever, without beginning or end, right?

But how can we have a concept of forever if we didn’t have a concept of now.

Yet it is not possible to have a “now” in eternity because a “now” implies that there is a beginning and an end to a particular moment – something that is not possible in eternity, right?


So what does Jesus mean when he says in Matthew 24:25

15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—

I thought Daniel (Daniel 9:27; 11:31; 12:11) was prophesying about the abomination of Antiochus IV Epiphanes (167BC) who erected a statue of Zeus in the Jewish Temple? Or maybe Daniel was prophesying Emperor Gaius (40AD) who ordered a statue of himself to be erected in the temple. Yet Jesus seems to be indicating that the abomination that causes desolation is yet to come! Perhaps he was prophesying about Nero’s torturing of Christians in 64AD or perhaps the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70AD under Emperor Titus. But Jesus seems to be indicating that the abomination that causes desolation will occur at the end of all things – the eschaton.

So which is it?

I think it is all of these. When reading apocalyptic prophecy (like Revelation or parts of Daniel) what we are viewing is eternity. In eternity there is no sense of time past, present or future. The pictures we get from these writing overlap each other like overhead transparencies (remember them?) laid on top of each other. So the abomination that causes desolation has happened, is happening and is yet to happen. In all of this, what we can be sure of is that this world is broken, and broken people continue to cause breakages. This shouldn’t surprise us. But it should cause us to put our hope in the only one who can fix it. God, the creator, and Jesus his redeemer.

I’m glad eternity messes with my head, because its something so far beyond our human existence, that if I understood it now I would loose my sense of wonder in God and his greatness. Its fun to speculate, but it will be even better when we get there.

(Or maybe I’m already there????)


4 thoughts on “The abomination that casues desolation

  1. Thanks for decompressing this into one unifying idea Lachlan. I agree that God reveals everything in his word that we need to know for the here and now. This includes the use of prophecies that are partially fulfilled in historical events but will be perfectly fulfilled at the end of all things. Awesome post.

  2. Thanks Lachlan. Last night there was a “blood moon”, and there were (are) a few prominent American Christians (?) who were saying that Jesus is (was) coming back last night. Well unless I’ve missed the rapture ( and Lachlan and Mark Cotton are still here) He didn’t. I think that the greatest danger in these end times is that we get comfortable with the fact that we are going to be OK. Complacency is easy to fall into. Our hearts need to be stirred by the Holy Spirit in love and a deep concern for those who don’t yet know that salvation is found in Jesus Christ. I was reading a book a while back about a woman who went to Hell with Jesus to warn others about how terrible this place was. While I read things like that with discernment it did awaken within me a deeper sense of the absolute darkness and torment of a place where there is no love. May we repent where needed and look for opportunities today to share the good news of Jesus’ love with those whom God places in our path today.

  3. Yeah when I’ve come across this verse and I look up bible study notes and they all point to Antiochus IV Epiphanes being the fulfilment of the prophesy. At the same time I’ve always felt there was some “future” tense to it and it wasn’t all done and dusted in 167BC. So Lachlan I naturally agree with your view about the eternal look of prophesy……but it does my head in too. We say eternity and we think we understand…….but experientially obviously not. For me this is where faith comes in.

  4. Thanks Lachlan. I love the overhead transparency analogy (and the trip down memory lane it triggered – frankly I’m happy to leave them there at the end of the lane!)

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