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The Destruction of Jerusalem - 70 A.D.
 
PART THREE

-INDEX-    -PART ONE-    -PART TWO-
-PART FOUR-    -PART FIVE-   -CHART-

 

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THE CONNECTING LINKS OF GREAT VALUE

hether the words 'WHOSO READETH LET HIM UNDERSTAND' were spoken by Jesus, or added later by Matthew, they should call our attention to the fact that there is something in these words that we are likely to not understand.  Or that these words are of such grave import that they deserve our closest attention. 

Why is this reference to the ‘abomination of desolation’ so important?  Clearly it had tremendous importance for Christians living in first century Jerusalem; it gave them a vital sign so they knew when to flee for their lives.

But could there be something more to these words?  Could they have significance still in our day, in that our failure to understand them properly might lead us into danger or into some false doctrine? I believe so. 

There exist in our day teachers who would have us to believe that ALL prophecy is fulfilled.  They believe that ALL of Matthew 24 was fulfilled with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, including the resurrection of the dead, and the judgment.  They would also have us to believe that the entire book of Revelation is fulfilled and that we are now living in the promised ‘new heavens and new earth’. 

As we mentioned above, these people are called Preterists, and while not all Preterists take the extreme view that ALL prophecy has been fulfilled (some call themselves ‘partial Preterists and allow for the future fulfillment of some prophecy including the second advent, the resurrection, and the judgment) this extreme view of Preterism seems to be gaining ground in our day. 

While it is not the intent of this discussion to analyze Preterism, I feel that seeing the correct application of Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:15 makes very clear whether or not Preterism is true.  How so? 

First let’s review some facts: 

1)    The disciples question to Jesus in Matthew 24 was in reference to first century Jerusalem and the then standing temple. 

2)     Then it stands to reason that Jesus would begin by directly addressing that question. It seems most unreasonable to assume that the entire discourse applies directly to the 21st century or beyond.  It was given as a direct answer to the disciples’ question. 

3)      It can be demonstrated by the parallel passage in Luke 21 that Jesus’ reference to the ‘abomination of desolation’ would be fulfilled by Jerusalem being surrounded by Roman armies. 

4)    This same sequence of events is confirmed in Daniel 9:26-27 in which most expositors see this same reference to the Roman destruction of Jerusalem, although the language allows for some obscurity. 

5)     This same ‘abomination of desolation’ is mentioned again in Daniel 11:31, but in language so clear, and in such parallel to Luke 21:20-24 that it is nearly impossible to miss the blatant cross-reference.

Dan 11:31  And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate. 

There has been innumerable speculations about just to whom this verse in Daniel 11:31 refers.  Some would say that the passage refers to an ‘end-time antichrist’ that will defile a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem.  Others say that the passage refers to the ancient Syrian king Antiochus Epiphanes (215-164 B.C) who defiled the Jewish Temple.   

There should be absolutely no doubt about who is referred to in Daniel 11:31, because Jesus himself has settled the question for us.

 

But friends, if the above five points are reasonable and true, then there should be absolutely no doubt about who is referred to in Daniel 11:31, because Jesus himself has settled the question for us.  Clearly, according to Jesus it is the ROMANS who are in view in this passage; they are the ones who compassed Jerusalem with armies and desolated the temple and the city. 

There is much that can be written on this point, and much historical information can be brought bear on this subject in order to show that the Roman destruction of Jerusalem is indeed what is in view in Daniel 11:31.  And while it is not within the scope of this current discussion to examine all that evidence, I must express my conviction that all the evidence that SHOULD be needed has already been provided in the information given to us by our Lord along with the added admonition to ‘LET THE READER UNDERSTAND’.  If we attempt to place the primary application of the ‘abomination of desolation’ found in Daniel 11:31 in any other time period other than that in which our Lord expressly placed it, aren’t we inviting error? 

Now why should this be so important; to understand something that seems so basic and simple? -  Because evidently many in our day DO NOT understand it, or refuse to deal with the implications.   In fact, this simple connection between Matthew 24:15 and Daniel 11:31 makes many prophetic speculations – some which have spawned ministries which make millions of dollars per year – completely untenable.   

We have noted how Futurist expositors deal with these passages; they simply disregard any historical fulfillment of these verses and place their primary application in the future. To my mind, this is wholly unsatisfactory. But what of others such as the Preterists? 

It should come as the utmost shock that Preterists in general do not see a direct cross-reference between Daniel 11:31 and Matthew 24:15.  Why this is so should become obvious as we continue. 

Most Preterists feel that Jesus’ reference to the ‘abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet’ really points to Daniel 9:26-27.  We completely agree.  Why then is it that when we come to Daniel 11:31, most Preterists deny that this verse also is a direct cross reference to Jesus’ ‘abomination of desolation’? 

Phillip Mauro (1859-1952) a preterist author wrote concerning Daniel 11:31:

This brings us to the climax of the wicked deeds of Antiochus, which the prophecy foretells distinctly, and which the histories record with great detail. We refer to his gross impiety and sacrilege in respect to the temple, the sacrifices, and the religious customs of the Jews. Verse 30 speaks of his coming to an understanding "with them that forsake the holy covenant." For many of the Jews apostatised at that time, forsaking God, and turning against all their religious customs. Thus in I Maccabees 1:41-43 & 52 we read:

"Moreover, King Antiochus wrote to his whole kingdom, that all should be one people, and everyone should leave his laws. So all the heathen agreed according to the commandment of the king. Yea, many also of the Israelites consented to his religion, and sacrificed unto idols, and profaned the Sabbath. * * * Then many of the people were gathered unto them, to wit, every one that forsook the law; and so they committed evils in the land."

The fulfilment again is most exact. Verse 31 of Daniel 11 foretold that "Arms shall stand on his part," or more literally, "arms from him shall stand." This was fulfilled by Antiochus' sending an army into Judea (I Mac. 1:29 et seq.).

They also "polluted" at this time the sanctuary of strength and caused the daily sacrifice to be taken away; for it is recorded in I Maccabees 1:44 et seq. that Antiochus sent letters commanding them to follow strange laws, and forbidding "burnt offering and sacrifice, and drink offerings in the temple; and that they should profane the Sabbath and festival days; and pollute the sanctuary of the holy people."

The words "and shall place the abomination which maketh desolate" (#Da 11:31) call for special examination, because of their recurrence in (#Da 12:11), and of their use by the Lord Jesus Christ, in (#Mt 24 Mr 13). We have already shown, and expect to refer to the matter again, that the expression "the abomination which maketh desolate" means an armed heathen force. Such a force was placed by Antiochus in the city of David (I Mac. 1:34, 35).  From ‘The Seventy Weeks and the Great Tribulation’ (emphasis mine)

So to Phillip Mauro the ‘abomination of desolation’ referred to in Daniel 11:31 was fulfilled by the Syrian king Antiochus Epiphanes and not the Romans.  But didn’t Jesus clearly place the ‘abomination of desolation’ in the future when he made reference to it in Matthew 24:15?  Doesn't that alone prove that the primary application of Daniel 11:31 is to the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and not to some king who lived almost two centuries before Jesus was born?  Should we not inquire as to WHY something which seems so obvious is denied by those such as Phillip Mauro?

Regarding Daniel 9:26-67 which we considered a bit earlier, notice how Phillip Mauro has no problem seeing how that passage has a direct connection to our Lord’s words in Matthew 24:15.  He states:

We would also call attention to a parallel between verses 26 and 27 (of Dan. 9). The first part of verse 26 foretells that after the threescore and two weeks Messiah shall be cut off; and the first part of verse 27 contains the parallel prediction; "And He shall confirm the covenant with many," "and in the midst of the week He shall cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease." The second part of each verse speaks of the desolations of the city and sanctuary. This parallel affords further confirmation of the correctness of our reading of the prophecy.

The words "for the overspreading of abominations" are very obscure, and many suggestions as to their meaning have been offered. We shall not discuss these, for the reason that the Septuagint translation gives a clear rendering, and our Lord's adoption of it puts the authoritative stamp of His approval upon it. According to that version "the abomination of desolation" was to be upon (or to come against) the temple, that is, for its destruction. In other words there was to come ail agency or force (which God terms an "abomination", which was to make the place a "desolation."

The Lord Jesus Christ used the same expression when, in warning His disciples of the approaching destruction of Jerusalem by the armies of Titus, He said: "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place (whoso readeth, let him understand), then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountain , " etc, This reference by our Lord to the last verse of the Seventy Weeks' prophecy is a connecting link between that scripture and His own prophecy on Mt. Olivet. The great value of this connecting link will appear later on.  From ‘The Seventy Weeks and the Great Tribulation’ (emphasis mine)

So here, although Mauro admits that the language of Daniel 9:26-27 is ‘very obscure’ he has no problem identifying the ‘desolating abomination’ of that passage with Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:15.  In fact the author expresses his conviction and confidence in this by calling it a ‘connecting link’ of ‘great value’.

However we must ask then why Daniel 11:31, which speaks in clear language even closer to that of our Lord’s words in Matthew 24:15 is not ALSO a connecting link of great value?  Out of these two passages which speak of a ‘desolating abomination’, why should the more obscure of the two provide such a direct link and the other one should not?  Why is one said to be a direct reference to the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD while the other is relegated to the desecration of the temple by Antiochus Epiphanes?  Does it not seem that consistency in interpretation would demand that both be understood the same way?

We have already shown how a comparison of Matthew 24, Daniel 11, and Luke 21undeniabley links these three passages together, and how there can be little doubt that Jesus had Daniel 11:31 in mind when he made reference to the ‘Abomination of Desolation’.  Why must Preterists deny this connection?

Phillip Mauro is just one of many commentators who believe that Daniel 11:31 is primarily a reference to Antiochus Epiphanes, and not the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.  But can Daniel 11:31 be properly applied to Antiochus Epiphanes at all?

Consider the following from E. B. Elliot commenting on Daniel 11:31:

“And arms shall stand up from, or after, him:” a phrase hardly to be interpreted, I believe, agreeably with the precedents of other analogous Hebrew phrases in the prophecy, except of some new prince or power, arising after  in respect of time, or from him, in respect of origin, that was before the subject of description. And the latter has the definite article prefixed to it, “The abomination making desolate:” as if to designate either one particular desolating abomination previously made known to Daniel (Dan. ix. 27, “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”,) or that which was to be emphatically the grand abomination of desolation: on neither of which grounds could that spoken of in the passage before us mean the idol set up in the temple by Antiochus Epiphanes; there having been no previous prediction of it, and the desolation it caused being one of very short duration.

And in fact, while thus excluding the abomination set up by Antiochus, this little but very significant particle in the prophetic language seems to me very strikingly to point out that which was afterwards set up by the Romans, as the one intended: both as being that which introduced the longest and greatest desolation of the Jewish temple and city, and that which alike other previous prophecies, and more especially the one communicated to Daniel himself a little before by the angel Gabriel, distinctly foretold.  (underlines are mine) From Horae Apocalypticae Vol. 4

Elliot points out that the ‘abomination of desolation’ in Daniel 11:31 carries the definite article and thus points to something already made known to Daniel – that being the desolating abomination mentioned in 9:26.  Therefore these two passages are also inseparably linked to one another, and in turn are also linked tour Lord’s words in Matthew 24 and Luke 21.  ALL have reference to the first century destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. Herein are the TRUE and CONSISTENT ‘CONNECTING LINKS OF GREAT VALUE’, but again, why are such links denied by so many?

 

It may be of some interest to mention that the Jews of Jesus' day themselves had very clear ideas about the identity of Daniel's 'abomination of desolation', and when it was fulfilled.  The Jews, very much like many scholars today, as well as Preterists also believed that the 'abomination of desolation' mentioned in Daniel 11:31was a reference to the acts of the Syrian king Antiochus Epiphanes.

The book of First Maccabees which was written between the writing of the Old and New Testaments records the deeds of this vile king and his dealings with the Jewish people.  Regarding this king, we find in First Maccabees the following:

1:54 Now the fifteenth day of the month Casleu, in the hundred forty and fifth year, they set up the abomination of desolation upon the altar, and builded idol altars throughout the cities of Juda on every side;

It is for precisely this reason that many Jews in Jesus' day (and indeed many Jews to this very day) believed that the 'abomination of desolation' spoken of in Daniel 11:31 referred to this second century BC king.

Whether or not this is the proper understanding of Daniel 11:31 should be dependant upon one thing and one thing only; HOW did our Lord instruct us to understand these words?

Whether or not this is the proper understanding of Daniel 11:31 should be dependant upon one thing and one thing only; HOW DID OUR LORD INSTRUCT US TO UNDERSTAND THESE WORDS?  Did Jesus ever say 'When you see something like the 'abomination of desolation' spoken of by the Maccabees'?  Clearly Jesus knew that many Jews believed that Daniel 11:31 had already been fulfilled in the days of Antiochus Epiphanes, but was their understanding correct?  Clearly not.  Jesus places the time of this 'abomination' in the FUTURE then warns them to UNDERSTAND.  In effect Matthew 24:15 is saying 'Look, many believe that they understand that the 'abomination of desolation' is past, but they have misunderstood.  Therefore when you see the coming Roman Desolation of Jerusalem, then UNDERSTAND that THIS is what Daniel the prophet was talking about.'

Many admit that Matthew 24:15 refers to the 'desolating abomination' of the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Many admit that the 'desolating  abomination' of Daniel 9:26-27 also refers to the Roman destruction of Jerusalem.  But almost all deny that Daniel 11:31refers to those same events as well.  Is this not wholesale rejection of how Jesus used these words and expressly warned us to understand them?

Whenever we come to such a glaring inconsistency as this, as in the Preterist position – that one desolating abomination should refer to the destruction of Jerusalem and the other to events in the life of Antiochus Epiphanes – we should demand an explanation of how these things could be so.  Many Preterist authors are dogmatic and berate other Futurist or Historicist commentators for what they see as inconsistencies in their various interpretations. We hope that we shall be forgiven for demanding an explanation for what we see as equally questionable inconsistencies!

Why this inconstancy?  Keeping in mind that Preterists believe that ALL prophecy was fulfilled with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, a comparison of Daniel 11 with Matthew 24 makes the answer obvious:
 

Daniel 11

 

Matthew 24

 
Dan 11:31-45
  And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate. 

Abomination of Desolation

If These Two Passages are Parallel, as They So Obviously Are, and Preterism is True, Then...

 
Mat 24:15-31
  When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) 
(32)  And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.  (33)  And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days.  (34)  Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries.  (35)  And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.  (36)  And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.  (37)  Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.  (38)  But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things.  (39)  Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain.  (40)  And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.  (41)  He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon.  (42)  He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape.  (43)  But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps.  (44)  But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many.  (45)  And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.

All These Things Must Have Been Accomplished Between 66-70 AD

Can Preterism Account for the Material in Daniel 11:32-45 between 66 and 70 AD?

(16)  Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:  (17)  Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:  (18)  Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.  (19)  And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!  (20)  But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:  (21)  For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.  (22)  And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.  (23)  Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.  (24)  For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.  (25)  Behold, I have told you before.  (26)  Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.  (27)  For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  (28)  For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.  (29)  Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:  (30)  And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  (31)  And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Comparing Matthew 24 and Daniel 11

Now notice carefully:  What was to follow the setting up of the ‘abomination of desolation’ according to Daniel 11? 

Verses 33-34: A falling of the people by ‘sword, flame, and captivity’ for many days.
 
Verses 36-39: The rise and reign of a ‘willful king’.

Verses 40-45: The final wars of the kings of the north and south.

Since Preterist authors believe that ALL of Matthew 24 was fulfilled in 70 AD their problem with Daniel 11 becomes glaringly obvious.  If they allow that Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:15 are a direct reference to those in Daniel 11:31 then they have to account for all of the prophetic information in Daniel 11:32-40 within a very short period of time; roughly from 66 to 70 AD.  Did the captivity, flame and sword for many days, the rise and reign of the 'willful king', and the final military campaigns of the kings of the north and the south described in verses 40-45 ALL take place AFTER the placing of the abomination of desolation of verse 31 and BEFORE the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD? Clearly such an exposition is a nightmare, and to even suggest that such an interpretation is likely or even possible is suspicious to say the least!

Preterist expositors are faced with a choice; either relegate the ‘abomination of desolation’ in Daniel 11:31 to the era of Antiochus Epiphanes, or try to find fulfillment for the vast amount of prophetic information given in Daniel 11:32-40 within the narrow time boundaries of 66-70 AD.  Most will take the former option, and explain that the atrocities of Antiochus Epiphanes were a ‘type’ of the destruction of Jerusalem.

But at this juncture we need to ask: aren't the Preterists then allowing for a ‘dual interpretation’; one of the methods that Preterists themselves deplore when used by others elsewhere.  Preterist authors ridicule Futurist or Historicist authors when they allow for a ‘dual fulfillment’ of the events of Matthew 24, yet they (or at least many) are willing to apply this same device in Daniel 11 in order that their own interpretations may stand.  Is this honest? 

Preterists would protest that they are not allowing for such 'dual fulfillment' but are rather saying that Jesus used an illustration in which the deeds of Antiochus Epiphanes are a 'type' of the Roman destruction of Jerusalem.  But this is clearly wishful thinking at best.  Our Lord expressly warns his disciples, 'When ye therefore see THE abomination of desolation, etc'.  We have documented how Jesus clearly had Daniel 11:31 specifically in mind, and how that passage with its use of the definite article points backward to something already made known to the prophet; namely the desolating abomination of Daniel 9:26-27 which Preterists themselves admit is a direct reference to the destruction of Jerusalem.  The burden lies on the Preterists to PROVE that Daniel 11:31 (evidence notwithstanding)  does not refer to the first century destruction of Jerusalem.  The only 'proof' which seems to be offered is that this cannot be so because it overthrows their entire scheme.

The fact is that it can be demonstrated that Matthew 24:15, Daniel 9:26-27, Daniel 11:31 and Luke 21:20-24 are all inseparably linked together.  The Preterists can only deal with this in one of two ways; break these links and pretend that Daniel 11:31 is only a ‘type’ of the destruction of Jerusalem, or attempt to account for the vast information of Daniel 11:32-40 within a very brief period of time - something they have never done, and something I believe that CANNOT ever be done.  On the other hand, futurist authors find it necessary to insert a 2000+ year gap of time into these prophecies in order to confine them all to a future time while ignoring the fact that Jesus’ discourse in Matthew 24 is a direct answer to the disciples' question about the first century destruction of Jerusalem and the temple that was then standing.  I feel that all such schemes are wholly unsatisfactory.

THE ‘PROBLEM’

Mat 24:15-31  When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)  (16)  Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:  (17)  Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:  (18)  Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.  (19)  And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!  (20)  But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:  (21)  For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be…29)  Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:  (30)  And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  (31)  And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. 

These words have been a source of confusion to many because they SEEM to teach that Jesus would return immediately upon the fall of Jerusalem in the first century.  As we have seen, attempts to explain this difficulty are hardly satisfactory.   

Is there a solution to this difficulty?  I feel that there is as long as we always keep certain facts in mind.  Once again let’s review: 

1)    The disciples question to Jesus in Matthew 24 was in reference to first century Jerusalem and the then standing temple. 

2)      Then it stands to reason that Jesus would begin by addressing that question. It seems most unreasonable to assume that the entire discourse applies directly to the 21st century or beyond.  It was given as a direct answer to the disciples’ question. 

3)      It can be demonstrated by the parallel passage in Luke 21 that Jesus’ reference to the ‘abomination of desolation’ would be fulfilled by Jerusalem being surrounded by Roman armies. 

4)     This same sequence of events is confirmed in Daniel 9:26-27 in which most expositors see this same reference to the Roman destruction of Jerusalem, although the language allows for some obscurity. 

5)   This same ‘abomination of desolation’ is mentioned again in Daniel 11:31, but in language so clear, and in such parallel to Luke 21:20-24 that it is nearly impossible to miss the blatant cross-reference. 

6)      If the ‘abomination of desolation’ mentioned in Daniel 11:31 is a reference to the destruction of Jerusalem, then we have no choice but to account for the vast amount of prophetic information which follows the placing of that abomination. This information is found in Daniel 11:32 to the end of chapter 12.

7)  The prophetic information given in Daniel 11:32-12:13 can hardly be accounted for by the time Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD. 

These are the facts we must deal with.  Any correct interpretation must deal with this information honestly, and in my opinion can only be ascertained by a careful comparison of scripture with other scripture. Therefore we propose the following solution: 

Matthew 24

 

Luke 21

 
Mat 24:15-30 
When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)  (16)  Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:  (17)  Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:  (18)  Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.   
 

Abomination of Desolation

 

 
Luk 21:20-
28  And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.  (21)  Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. 

 

 

(19)  And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!  (20)  But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:  (21)  For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.  (22)  And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.  (23)  Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.  (24)  For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.  (25)  Behold, I have told you before.  (26)  Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.  (27)  For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  (28)  For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. 

Great Tribulation

 

(22)  For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.  (23)  But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.  (24)  And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. 
(29) Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:  (30)  And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

Consummation and Resurrection

 

(25)  And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;  (26)  Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.  (27)  And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory (28)  And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
 

Parallel Between Matthew 25 and Luke 21

It is only by carefully comparing the two passages shown above that we can find a satisfactory solution to this prophetic enigma.  Look carefully at these two passages and notice how they define one another’s terms. Notice how the ‘abomination of desolation’ in verse 15 of Matthew 24 is defined by Luke’s gospel as ‘Jerusalem compassed with armies’. 

Notice carefully Matthew 24:21:  ‘For then there shall be great tribulation, etc’. Then in verse 29 we are told that ‘immediately after the tribulation of those days…they shall see the Son of man coming ...with power and great glory’.  Doesn't this seem to teach that Jesus would return immediately following the destruction of Jerusalem in the first century? As a matter of fact it does not!

Ask yourself; how long does Matthew 24 tell us that the ‘great tribulation’ would last?   The fact is, nowhere in Matthew 24 are we given any indication about how long the ‘great tribulation’ would last, , but beyond that THERE IS NOTHING IN MATTHEW 24 THAT CONFINES THAT GREAT TRIBULATION TO THE EVENTS OF 70 AD. 

Some tell us that the 'great tribulation' spoken of in Matthew 24 ended in 70 AD.  Others tell us that it is a time period of 3.5 or seven years which lies in the future.  Since Matthew 24 seems to be their main proof text, where pray tell are they getting this information regarding the timing?  Friends, we can examine Matthew 24 with a magnifying glass if we wish, but we will find nothing there that tells us the duration of the 'great tribulation' that our Lord speaks of.  Next time someone tells you how long the 'great tribulation' will last (or did last), ask for PROOF.

(Note:  I am well aware that some see Matthew 24:34 and 'this generation' as a 'time text'.  The reasons why this is incorrect will be discussed in part four.)

But if Matthew 24 gives us no  information regarding the duration of the 'great tribulation' might we be able to find such information elsewhere?  While Matthew offers us no information on this, it is almost universally overlooked that the parallel passage in Luke DOES! Luke’s gospel defines for us, in no uncertain terms the bounds and the scope of the great tribulation.  Just as Luke clarified the language of Matthew 24:15 by defining the ‘abomination of desolation’, Luke also clarifies what is meant by ‘great tribulation.  Notice: 

From Matthew 24: 

(19)  And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!  (20)  But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day (21)  For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 

From Luke: 

(23)  But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.  (24)  And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. 

What IS the ‘great tribulation’ and how long will it last?  It is the falling of the JEWISH PEOPLE by sword flame and captivity, and the trampling down of their beloved city UNTIL THE TIMES OF THE GENTILES ARE FULFILLED! It is ‘immediately after’ the days of THAT tribulation that our Lord will return, and the resurrection will take place.  However Luke makes it clear that the tribulation lasts ‘until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled’. 

‘In the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established’.  We cannot draw conclusions on the timing of the 'great tribulation' while ignoring the parallel passages which define for us exactly what that tribulation is and how long it will last.

I would like to ask my Preterist friends, since in their view all of Matthew 24, and thus of necessity all of Luke 21 is already fulfilled, exactly WHEN prior to or during 70 AD the treading down of Jerusalem STOPPED?  Additionally we might ask, in light of the bloody persecution of the Jewish people over the past 20 centuries, exactly when did they stop being the victims of ‘sword and captivity’.  According to Luke’s gospel which defines the limits, scope, and object of the ‘great tribulation’, are not these the very conditions which are to last until our Lord’s second coming? And if these conditions still exist, isn't this the clearest proof that he has not yet come?

Brothers and sisters, it seems as though we have had it hammered into our heads that the ‘great tribulation’ is some definite and probably brief period of time.  We are often told that it is a period of exactly 3 1/2 years either at the very end of the age, or which has already been fulfilled in 70 AD with the destruction of Jerusalem.  However, if all our facts are scripturally sound, then this is simply not the case.  By comparing scripture with scripture the ‘great tribulation’ is defined as the judgments on the Jewish nation which BEGAN with the destruction of the city and temple in 70 AD, BUT WHICH CONTINUE TO THIS DAY. 

The troubles upon the Jewish nation, and their time of ‘great tribulation’ are in no way confined to the events of 70 AD. Beyond this, it is a travesty to ignore the sad history of the Jews over the past 20 centuries and say that their time of ‘great tribulation’ lies only in the future. Consider the following extended information documented by historicist author Henry Grattan Guinness.  We provide this extended quotation because we do not believe that the average Christian today understands the magnitude of the suffering which has plagued the Jewish people over the past 20 centuries: 

About sixty years later (after 70 AD), the Jews had sufficiently recovered from this crushing blow to rise afresh in revolt against the Roman power, and then Hadrian completed the work of their dispersion among all nations of the earth. He made the whole country of Palestine a desolation, expelled all its remaining Jewish inhabitants, forbade the Jews on pain of death even to approach lia Capitolina, the Roman city erected on the site of Jerusalem. He slaughtered 580,000 Jews in a murderous war which lasted three years and a half, and sold thousands of prisoners at the lowest prices into slavery…

But the conversion of Constantine changed all this. When the ruler of the Roman world bowed the knee in adoration before the crucified Galilan, a complete reverse took place in the condition of the Christ-rejecting nation. The Jews then became a condemned and persecuted sect, and sank ever deeper into oppression and misery. They lost the imperial favour, and the privileges they had enjoyed, and were excluded from one sphere after another. Military and civic careers were gradually closed to them, though they were still free to observe their own religion, and retain their rights as men and citizens; and their persons and property were as yet secure.

With the fifth century the gloom deepened; and both in the eastern and in the western empire of Rome the treatment of the Jews became worse and worse. The legislation of Justinian put the axe to the root of the tree, by declaring that "civil rights could only belong to those who professed the orthodox faith." The Jews were entirely excluded from his code and his edicts. Restrictions were imposed on them in favour of Christians, and proselytism was punished with death. From this time forward they had no political position of importance in the eastern empire, though in the farther East, beyond its bounds, they continued to flourish till the Saracenic wars. After that time popular hatred and contempt, with bitter persecution, were their portion under the crescent in the East, as well as under the cross in the West. Charlemagne and the entire Carlovingian dynasty sought as far as possible to protect the Jews, but with the downfall of that line of monarchs began the worst troubles of the exiles of Palestine. With the rise of the Norman power, and the feudal system in Europe, commenced a period of seven centuries of the most cruel oppression and profound degradation to the Jews in all the nations of Christendom.

The era of the crusades was the darkest part of this dark night of Israel’s tribulation. It brought to them a long continuance of two centuries of the most atrocious massacres and tortures, which aimed at their utter extermination, and were not far from securing it. In vain even the popes exerted their influence to mitigate Jewish miseries and woes; men calling themselves Christians, and setting forth to rescue the holy places from the Turk, commenced their task by the massacre, on their way to Syria, of all the Jews in Europe! That age of chivalry esteemed only two classes of men-military heroes and agricultural serfs. The Jews were neither-they were traders, pariahs of society. Too often their financial transactions were usurious, and excited popular fury, as they still do occasionally on the continent. The men of those days understood little of finance, and considered all interest usury. The Jews, "doubly detested as the murderers of Christ and as the bloodsuckers of Christian wealth, were in the middle ages a special object of severity to the laws, both ecclesiastical and civil, of hatred to the burghers, and of violence to the populace. Even the sovereigns who gave them protection made use of them merely as a sponge, which they allowed to fill with the money of their subjects, that they might squeeze its contents into the royal treasury." [Dr. ISAAC DA COSTA: "Israel and the Gentiles." London: J. Kisbet & Co., 21, Berners Street, W.]

A Jewish calendar, with a chronological table, forming "a summary of Jewish history from the flood to the year 1860," lies before us. We run the eye questioningly over its pages, and what do we find as we review the incidents of this second section of Jewish history there recorded? An unconscious acknowledgment from Jewish pens that every threat of judgment denounced against Israel in case of continued rebellion and idolatry, by Moses and the prophets, has been fulfilled. An acknowledgment that ever since their fall before the power of Babylon, in the sixth century B.C., they have been in subjection to Gentile rulers; and that since AD. 135 they have been dispersed among all nations; that their history has consisted of one long chain of great and sore calamities, interrupted only with brief gleams of passing prosperity. That they have been exposed to innumerable evils of every kind: to famines and plagues, captivities and banishments without number, to social distress and degradation, to outlawry and the hatred of their Gentile neighbours, to false accusations and frequent massacres, to exactions and imposts almost exceeding belief, to pillage and torture, to the most painful forms of social ostracism and injustice; in a word, that they have been so relentlessly crushed down by their Gentile masters, that existence itself would have been crushed out of them long since but for the strange indestructibility with which, in the providence of God, their race is endowed, that wonderful, vigorous vitality, which caused them, even in their profound misery in Egypt, to multiply till their numbers alarmed their oppressors; and which, after the return of only 50,000 of them from Babylon, caused them again to increase to many millions during the five centuries prior to the first advent, has never forsaken them. From first to last their only appropriate emblem is the bush that "burned with fire, yet was not consumed." But general statements fail to impress the mind; let us take some special incidents, and try to realize the misery the facts imply.

In A.D. 1020 Canute banished all the Jews from England. What is it to be uprooted and banished from your native land? It is to he deprived at a stroke of home and friends, of business and prospects in life, and cast with a helpless family a stranger among strangers.

In A.D. 1068 the only burial place in all England allowed to the Jews was in Cripplegate (where Jewin Street now stands), and Jews from all other parts of the country were forced, at enormous expense and inconvenience, to bring thither their dead. How should we feel if we lived under such a law as that?

In 1096 the crusaders began what they called the "Holy War," by attempting to murder all the Jews in Europe who would not submit to baptism! The most horrible carnage took place all over Germany, where numbers of Jews destroyed each other, mothers even slaying their own children to avoid the barbarities of the infuriated Christian fanatics. Two hundred Jews who had thrown themselves into the Rhine at Cologne were dragged from the water and inhumanly butchered.

Similar atrocities marked the commencement of the second crusade in A.D. 1146, though St. Bernard exerted himself to the utmost to prevent them. About this time commenced the gross financial injustice which continued for many centuries to be one principal instrument of persecution. Louis VII., of France, released the crusaders from all their debts to Jews. Henry II. ordered the Jews to quit England, by way of extorting a large sum of money for permission to remain. In A.D. 1181 Philip Augustus seized the Jews in their synagogues, imprisoned them, cancelled all debts due to them, confiscated their property, and ordered them to quit France immediately. When starting on the crusades, Henry II. ordered 60,000 (an enormous sum in those days) to be levied on the Jews to defray his expenses. Murderous riots were raised against these unfortunate people at the coronation of Richard I., when the populace slaughtered every Jew they could find, and after plundering them set fire to their houses. The following year occurred a terrible and similar tragedy in the provinces. The governor of York Castle offered the Jews protection, which they accepted; but they were besieged in the castle, and their resources being cut off, they, at the instigation of their venerable rabbi, in one night slew their wives and children, burnt the property they had with them, drew lots for killing each other, and then set fire to the castle to avoid the more barbarous tortures their persecutors intended..

In England the condition of the Jews was for centuries peculiarly miserable; few things in our history reflect such disgrace on both kings and people. Up to the reign of Edward I., when they were banished the country, they were incessantly victimized in the most cruel and unjust manner. The Jews and their families were in the eyes of the law mere slaves and bondsmen to the king, having no rights whatever.

The laws of Edward the Confessor had established this. "The Jews, and all they possess, belong to the king." The Crown had therefore absolute power to appropriate at any time their persons, their wives and children, and the wealth which with peculiar facility and skill they accumulated. The laws provided that the Jews were not to be taxed like the rest of the nation, "as they are talliable to the king alone as his own bondsmen, and not besides." Apart from any purely arbitrary and capricious exertion of power by the Crown over the persons and property of the Jews, there were certain points in which cruel tyranny was systematically enforced. Thus upon the death of a Jew the king asserted his right to the whole of the property and effects of which the deceased had been possessed. If he left a wife or children they were permitted to succeed to the estate only on the payment of heavy and arbitrary fines, amounting to at least one-half of the whole. Upon the conversion of a Jew to Christianity the king, up to the reign of Edward I., seized all his estate and applied it to his own use. Edward I. granted that from henceforth only one-half of the estate should in such cases be taken. This custom seems to have prevailed in various countries of Europe, as well as in England, and the reason given for it is, that the sincerity of the conversion might thereby be shown. A curious mode for Christians to adopt in order to manifest their desire for the conversion of the Jews! They oppressed and ill-treated them for being Jews, and took away from them all their property on their becoming Christians!

Certain towns were appointed for the residence of the Jews, and certain parts of these towns; and they were not permitted to dwell in any other places. A special Court of Exchequer was appointed to manage all their financial affairs, so that the king could at any moment become acquainted with any transaction whatever, undertaken by a Jew, as these courts kept copies of all documents.

King John ordered all the Jews of England to be imprisoned until they made a full discovery of all they possessed, after which, by the most cruel tortures, he extorted from them an enormous sum of money. One man at Bristol was ordered to have a tooth extracted daily until he paid 10,000 marks. Henry III. demanded 20,000 marks from the Jews in A.D. 1241, and a second time, in 1245, he extorted 4,000 more. Louis IX. confiscated one-third of the debts due to them throughout his country. Henry III. obliged them to give him 18,000 marks. Philip V. imprisoned the Jews at Paris to compel them to prove all their debts; these he seized, and after obtaining 150,000 francs condemned many to the flames. But it would be impossible to enumerate all the instances of this kind of financial oppression which befell the Jews in Europe in the middle ages.

A very common pretext for robbing and murdering the Jews has been to accuse them of some unnatural crime, such as poisoning the rivers to produce cholera or plague, and then to rouse the populace against them. In AD. 1220, for instance, the body of a girl was found in the Rhine; the Jews of Cologne were accused of having drowned her, and the bishop fined them 4,200 pieces of silver. His Jewish physician was accused of poisoning John I., of Portugal, and the Jews were obliged to pay 50,000 crowns. They were often accused of crucifying children for their passover lambs, and of similar enormities; and when the passions of the people were sufficiently roused, massacre and plunder invariably resulted. The Lateran Council in 1215 ordered the Jews to wear a distinguishing mark, and the death penalty was affixed to a Jew marrying a Christian, or having a Christian servant.

Perhaps the worst calamity which befell these people in the middle ages was their banishment from Spain under Ferdinand and Isabella, in A.D. 1492. The edict ran thus: "Seeing that the Jews of our cities induce many Christians to embrace their religion, particularly the nobles of Andalusia, for this they are banished under the severest penalties." The penalty was death if found in the kingdom after four months, unless they embraced Christianity. The inquisitor, Torquemada, prohibited Christians supplying them on their journey to the coast with bread, water, meat, or wine. A Jew offered 600,000 crowns in the name of his nation to procure the revocation of this cruel edict; the king and queen were inclined to consent, but the inquisitor Torquemada prevented their doing so. 800,000 souls on this account had to expatriate themselves from a country where they and their ancestors had resided in safety for centuries; a country whose darkness had been enlightened by their learning, and whose wealth had been increased by their industry. They had to quit the soil they had cultivated, the scenes of their youth, and the graves of their fathers, on a few months’ notice, and at the sacrifice of most of their property; and to go forth, not knowing whither they went; and to their honour be it said they did so rather than adjure their religion, or forsake the law given on Sinai. Many of them suffered indescribable hardships, and a large number perished.

Mr. Guinness did not live to see the horrors of the Nazi holocaust which is not so much removed from our own time.  It is said that in 70 AD when Jerusalem fell to the Romans, 1.1 million Jews perished – a horrid atrocity.  But consider that in the holocaust of World War 2 an estimated 7 MILLION Jews perished.  How then can we speak of ‘great tribulation’ upon these people which ENDED in 70 AD?  Or how are we to ignore these facts and say that the tribulation of the Jewish people remains only for a future time?  No friends, the ‘great tribulation’ upon the Jewish people BEGAN in 70 AD and according to the inspired words of Luke’s gospel it CONTINUES to this day until the ‘times of the Gentiles’ are fulfilled.  This tribulation will continue until immediately before our Lord’s return: 

Mat 24:29-31  Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:  (30)  And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  (31)  And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. 

Immediately after the tribulation of WHICH DAYS?  Only our scriptural comparison can accurately answer this question – immediately after the days in which the times of the gentiles will be fulfilled!  It is an utter fallacy to assert that the treading down of Jerusalem and the bitter persecution of the Jewish people ended in the wars of 70 AD If such treading down and persecution continues, then the ‘times of the gentiles’ are not complete, nor has the ‘tribulation of those days’ ended.  And if this is so, then neither has our Lord returned, nor has the resurrection and judgment taken place as the Preterists assert, simply because these events are confined to a time AFTER THE TRIBULATION OF THOSE DAYS. 

To use the words of Phillip Mauro, the verses concerning the ‘abomination of desolation’ really do form a ‘connecting link of great value’, one which unfortunately many do not appreciate or flatly deny.  But once this link is acknowledged the errors of both Preterism and Futurism are exposed. Once it is understood that Matthew 24:15, Daniel 9:26-27, and Daniel 11:31 are to be understood together, and that all of these have reference to the 70 AD destruction of Jerusalem, then Futurism can no longer stand because it must deny the historical application of these passages altogether. On the other hand Preterism has no way of dealing with the material in Daniel 11:32-40 if it is admitted that verse 31 also refers to the events of 70 AD.   

To me, only a Historicist-Continuist exposition of these prophecies makes sense.  While not denying the historical application of the ‘abomination of desolation’ to the events of 70 AD, the Historicist interpreter also sees that many other things must come to pass before our Lord’s return.  By acknowledging that the verses cited really do form a valuable link, we see that the events of Daniel 11:32-45 take place within the bounds of what our Lord has defined as the ‘great tribulation’- days in which the Jewish people would fall by flame, sword, and captivity for many days, and Jerusalem would be trampled by the gentiles.  These events began with the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, and continue even to this day until our Lord Returns. 

Matthew 24

 

Daniel 11

 
Mat 24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)

Abomination of Desolation

 

Dan 11:31 And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.
 

 

 

Mat 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
 

Great Tribulation

 

Dan 11:32-35 Flame, spoil, captivity, etc

Dan 11:36-39 The 'Willful King'

Dan 11:40-45 Final wars of thing kings of the north and south
 

Mat 24:29-31 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (31) And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
 

Consummation and Resurrection

 

Dan 12:2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
 

Parallel Between Matthew 24 and Daniel 11

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