Thursday December 6th: 28 Kislev
Today’s the 28th day of Kislev, and the fourth day of Hanukkah. When Antiochus IV ordered the erection of an idol in the court of the Temple of God followed by pagan sacrifices upon the altar, many in that era and beyond believed it to be a fulfillment of a prophecy from the book of Daniel.
“Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate even until the consummation, which is determined is poured out on the desolate.” (Daniel 9:27)
Daniel again mentions the abomination of desolation again Chapters 11 and 12:
“And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation.” (Daniel 11:31)
We have to acknowledge that understanding these passages with complete certainty is difficult. In fact, the exact meaning of these verses is still being debated by scholars and Bible teachers. Still, many Bible students and scholars firmly believe that Antiochus IV, by imposing his will upon the Jews, fulfilled Daniel’s prophecy regarding the abomination of desolation. Certainly, in Judaism, the belief is widely accepted and is acknowledged each year in the celebration of Hanukkah. Here’s why we’re discussing this: two centuries after these events, Jesus had this to say in Matthew 24:15-16, 21:
“Therefore, when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains…. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.”
Notice that Matthew inserts a parenthetical statement into Messiah’s words:“Let him who reads understand.” Why did he insert that statement? Perhaps it’s because Matthew understood that many of the people reading his account would think, “Wait a minute. The abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel has already taken place.” According to their interpretation of Scripture, it had taken place two centuries before Christ spoke these words.
And yet, if Jesus said we are to be aware of this and to take action if we see it, what are we to conclude? It should be understood that, even though this has already happened in the past, it’s going to happen, again. If that’s true then we might be safe to presume that all of the events leading up to the abomination of desolation, including the story of Judah Maccabee and his resistance to Antiochus, are going to take place, as well. If that is true, then it is important to notice that Jesus did not encourage anyone to revolt in the same way that Judah Maccabee did. To the contrary, He said to “Get away.”
What should we take from this warning? We understand that we are living in very difficult times, and we are encouraged not to become weary in well doing. Culture is demanding that we agree to coexist by denouncing Biblical standards. We are continually bombarded with this and with every passing day, those who have bought in to the whims of society are growing more agitated and even violent. We were warned that this troublesome scenario would take shape and that it will eventually evolve into a situation where an abomination that makes desolate will occur. That’s where we’re headed and, even now, see developing all around us. Jesus said, “Be aware!”
We must be aware of these things because, most importantly, these events will culminate in His return. When He returns, He will reward those servants who have been about His business in spite of the struggles we face. We need to be those servants who He will consider as wise, faithful and blessed, and who, in spite of all of these trying circumstances. continued doing what His Master gave him to do. Now is not the time to despair; we must occupy until He comes!