christine's bible study

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. Isa 40:8

definition of abomination of desolation

Previously: daniel 11, the abomination of desolation, part five

Just what is an abomination of desolation, anyway? We have seen two historic examples, with the Greek king Antiochus Epiphanes in 167 BC, and the Roman emperor Caligula, in 39 AD. In each case, an idol, an object of false worship, was set up or was sought to be set up, in the place where the Lord caused His name to dwell (Deu 12:5, Eze 43:6-7). Of course, one difference between the Lord God, Creator of heaven and earth, and idols, is that the Lord does not dwell in houses made with hands (Act 7:48), for heaven and earth cannot contain Him. But, in the case of the Temple in Jerusalem, He voluntarily caused His name, His presence, His shekinah glory, to rest there.

The second half of the abomination equation, is the sacrifice. In the Temple in Jerusalem, there was an altar which had been built according to the Lord’s specifications, dedicated to the Lord, and upon which sacrifices to Him were made. Sacrifices to Him were not just made willy nilly to try to garner His favor. They were offered for a specific purpose: to atone for sin, to express thanksgiving, to reaffirm YHVH as the One deserving of and receiving worship. Sacrifices began with Adam and his family, and from the beginning, there were acceptable sacrifices to a Holy God, and unacceptable sacrifices to a Holy God (Gen 4:3-5). The fact that every pagan religion also made sacrifices on altars to their gods shows that paganism is a twisted copy of the true worship of the One True God which was from the beginning.

Antiochus first built an altar to Zeus on top of the Lord’s altar in the Temple in Jerusalem, then sacrificed to Zeus, not to YHVH, a pig on it. The Lord had declared pigs one of a class of unclean animals (Lev 11), and even from the beginning, the difference between clean and unclean animals was known (Gen 7:2). Sacrificing something unclean to YHVH was an abomination. YHVH is holy and separate, set apart. Those things which are His are also holy, separate, and set apart. His holy people are set apart from the other peoples of the earth. His holy day is set apart from the other days of the week. His holy name is exalted higher than any name which is named, in heaven, on earth, or under the earth. His holy Word is set apart from words uttered by men. And on and on. Those things which have to do with Him, are clean, or need to come into a state of cleanness by purification. Their cleanness reflects His holy nature and His sinlessness. Those things which are not clean, cannot be associated with Him, because they do not reflect His holy nature and His sinlessness.

(People can be brought from a state of uncleanness to cleanness through purification. If someone desires to worship YHVH, but hesitates because of their uncleanness, they do not need to despair. The blood of the Spotless Lamb purifies every spot, wrinkle, or any such thing, and brings a person from a state of uncleanness to cleanness.)

Pigs are fundamentally, intrinsically unclean. They cannot be brought into a state of cleanness or acceptability through purification. There is just no way to make a pig a fit animal as either a sacrifice to the Holy God, or to consume as food. Therefore, they are an abomination as a sacrifice and as a foodstuff. If you go through the Torah, God calls a few other things abominations as well. Not everything that is unclean is an abomination. But those things which are an abomination, cannot be made clean by ritual purification. They can only be repented of and turned from altogether.

Only clean or acceptable sacrifices can be offered to the Holy God. The book of Leviticus describes in detail the difference between clean and unclean, set apart and common, and the processes of purification required to bring something from a state of uncleanness to cleanness, and likewise, what can happen to bring something clean into a state of uncleanness. The first sacrifice described in the first chapter, is the olah – the whole burnt offering (Lev 1:3). If you look this word up in a Hebrew dictionary such as Strong’s, this is what you will read:

a step or (collectively stairs, as ascending); usually a holocaust (as going up in smoke): – ascent, burnt offering (sacrifice), go up to.

Let’s just remember when Strong’s was written. It was first published in 1890.

So an abomination of desolation is not only an idol set up in the place where God has caused His name to dwell forever, but also, an abominable sacrifice, burnt whole, whether to the Lord or to another god, is also an abomination of desolation.

To sacrifice a pig on an altar to Zeus, in the one place on the vast earth where YHVH chose to place His name, is an abomination of desolation. It is a deliberate, intentional, malicious slap in the face to Him who created heaven and earth.

Caligula, as well, wanted to set up a statue to a false god – himself – within the Temple, and have sacrifices offered to it. That is an abomination.

Today, a temple to another god stands on the one place on the vast earth where YHVH chose to place His name. That too is an abomination.

Tuck this info in the back of your brain, because we will need to pull it up and look at it again when we examine the next and last place in Daniel where he speaks of the abomination of desolation …

To be continued in daniel 12, the abomination of desolation, part six


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