The Abomination of Desolation

My sermon series is about eschatology, from the word eschatos, meaning “last” and “-logy,” meaning, “the study of.” Eschatology therefore is the study of last things. Eschatology is “The part of theology concerned with death, judgment, and the final destiny of the soul and of humankind.” (Oxford English Dictionary) My sermon series is classified under the last days—the end of the age.

Jesus taught the signs of the end but not of themselves the end (v. 6). The first ten signs are more general signs. (Constable) The eleventh and twelfth signs are more specific events.

Last Sunday, we studied the sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth sign—false prophets (v. 11), filled-up lawlessness (v. 12), failing love (v. 12), faithful endurance to the end (v. 13), and far and wide gospel proclamation (v. 13).

Today, we will study the eleventh sign of the end of the age, “the abomination of desolation” (vv. 15-20) and the twelfth sign, “the great tribulation” (vv. 21-22).

Jesus said, “So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand)” (Matt. 24:15). The noun “abomination” (bdelugma) means “detestable thing.” (Gingrich) It refers to “what is extremely hated or abhorred.” (Friberg) The word “desolation” (eremosis) means “devastation, destruction.” (Gingrich)

The genitive case can be a descriptive genitive; hence, “abomination characterized by destruction.” It can be an attributive genitive, wherein the genitive noun “desolation” is a quality of the head noun, “abomination”; hence, “destructive abomination.” It can be a genitive of product; hence, “abomination which produces destruction.”

The phrase “abomination of desolation” refers to an idol that will be installed on the altar of the Temple. (Hagner) The Greek phrase (to bdelugma tes eremoseos) is quoted from the LXX of Daniel. “And from the time that the regular burnt offering is taken away and the abomination that makes desolate is set up, there shall be 1,290 days” (Dan. 12:11). Daniel said that in the future the regular burnt offering will be stopped. Instead of the burnt offering, an idol will stand on the altar. The Lord calls this idol, this image, an abomination, a detestable thing. God hates this idol in the Temple exceedingly. He abhors it extremely.

What are you doing today that God detests and abhors? Many people trust in idols made by human hands. But God hates that. God calls images and idols an “abomination.” “The carved images of their gods you shall burn with fire. You shall not covet the silver or the gold that is on them or take it for yourselves, lest you be ensnared by it, for it is an abomination to the Lord your God” (Deut. 7:25-26; cf. 27:15; 29:17-18). It is not only the veneration and worship of images that God hates, but the very images and idols themselves.

I read that the Simala Shrine in Sibonga was built in 1998 by the Marian Monks from Pampanga after several miraculous events occurred, including the shedding of tears of Mama Mary.[1] “There were even lots of nurse’s caps, crutches, wheelchairs, notes of person who were healed and experienced the divine intervention of Mama Mary. Miracles really do happen when you believe.”[2]

According to the Bible, what does God say about idols? He hates it. He commands against making any graven image of any kind (Ex. 20:4-5; Deut. 5:8; Ps. 115:4-8). Since the Bible is true, and God hates idols, He will not answer any prayer offered to idols. It means also that God cannot work a miracle through idols; for then He will be contradicting Himself. But God cannot err. The miracles of idols can only come from a different source–the Devil himself. The Devil has made it his mission to draw people toward the very things that God hates–idols. God cannot be the source of miracles of idols that He hates. He will not answer prayers through idols.

What are you doing today that God abhors? Do you say you love God but in actuality, you love your money? God hates that also (Matt. 6:24; 1 Tim. 6:10).

Do you say you follow Christ but you hate other people? God hates that sinful attitude also (1 John 3:15; 4:20). Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you” (1 John 13:34). We cannot say we love God but hate other people as well.

A Pastor took his three year old daughter to bed. He asked her what she would like to pray about. She answered: “onions.” They prayed about onions.

The next morning, he asked his daughter why they always prayed about onions. She replied, “Because you said in your sermon that we should pray for things we don’t like.”[3]

 Maybe you will say, “Pastor, I’m doing something that God abhors. But I cannot tell you now.”

It’s okay. God is calling your attention now. I don’t need to know. Yet God knows and sees you. Call on the Lord now and ask Him to deal with you.

[1] “Solo Trip to the Miraculous Shrine of Simala in Sibonga, thepinaywonderer.com. Cited July 29, 2017. Onine: http://www. thepinaywanderer.com/2015/05/solo-trip-to-the-miraculous-shrine-of-simala-in-cebu.html.

[2] Amor Diaz, “The Mystery and Miracles in Simala,” elhizamour. wordpress.com. Cited July 29, 2017. Online: https://elhizamour. wordpress.com/2013/03/17/the-mystery-and-miracles-in-simala/.

[3] Sermon Humor, javacasa.com. Cited July 29, 2017. Online: http://javacasa.com/humor/sermon.htm.

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