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 mountains, etc.”—Matt. 24: 15-20.
Romans were conquering the world. When
they came to the Jews, the latter voluntarily surrendered to the Romans, and
assisted them in their wars. For
this kindness of the Jews to the Romans, Julius Caesar made the following
Hyrcanus, the son of Alexander the Jew, hath demonstrated his fidelity and
diligence about our affairs, and this both now and in former times, both in
peace and in war, . . . . I will that Hyrcanus, the son of Alexander, and his
children, be ethnarchs of the Jews, and have the high priesthood of the Jews
forever, according to the customs of their forefathers, and that he and his
sons be our conferderates, and that besides this, every one of them be
reckoned among our particular friends.
I also ordain, that he and his children retain whatsoever privileges
belong to the office of high priest, or whatever favors have been hitherto
granted them. And if at any time
hereafter there arise any questions about the Jewish customs, I will that he
determine the same. And I think
it not proper that they should be obliged to find us winter quarters, or that
any money should be required of them.”— Josephus Antiq., Book XIV, Chapter
This decree will help many of our readers to understand how it was that
the Jews, in New Testament times, were under Roman authority and yet had their
own religious and church governors and laws.
Jews, being allowed to collect their own taxes and use the larger part of the
taxes for the support of their religious worship, soon greatly enriched their
capital city, Jerusalem. The Jews
began to threaten the throwing off of the Roman government entirely; and the
Romans began to fear that the Jews were getting too rich; hence, there arose
wars between the Jews and Romans. In
the year A. D. 70, Titus Caesar, the son of the Roman emperor, came against
Jerusalem to besiege it. The
seige lasted nearly seven months. The
account of this siege covers several pages in Josephus’s History of the
Jews. It was never the purpose of
Titus to destroy the city, but to encamp about it until its inhabitants laid
down their arms, and then plunder the city for its gold.
During the siege, the Jews kept making skirmishes out of the city,
ensnaring the Romans. The Roman
soldiers became vexed at this, and thus their animosity against the Jews was
aroused. Titus there began to
attack the outside walls of the city, and took both the first and the second
wall. Titus sent the Jews word
that he did not want to destroy their city, and if they wished to try the
fortune of war, they might come outside of the city.
Josephus did his best to get the Jews who were in rebellion either to
surrender to Titus or to go out and meet him outside of the city, and thus
spare Jerusalem; but John, the leader of the Jews, would not listen to his
advice. On account of the long
siege, the famine in Jerusalem became exceedingly alarming.
Many Jews deserted, jumped over the walls, and ran to the Romans,
perferring to be slain by their enemy rather than to perish.
Still John would not surrender the city.
the Jews did go out by companies and attack the fortresses of the Romans.
The Jews were driven back, and took refuge in the temple.
Titus advanced and set the gates of the temple on fire.
The Jews attacked the Romans near the outer edge of the temple again
and again, but were finally driven to the inner court.
Titus, having ordered his soldiers not to set fire to the temple
itself, went back to spend the night
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his camp. He intended to return
the next morning, and begin a siege to last until the Jews within the temple
should surrender. The Jews acted
so arrogantly, however, and the fury of the Romans was so enraged, that the
latter could not be restrained from mischief.
Josephus says that it was by divine appointment that the temple should
be burned that night, which was the tenth night of the month Ab; or about the
first of September.
It was just this day and month that the temple was formerly destroyed
by the Babylonians. So one of the
soldiers, without waiting for orders, or without caring what might come to him
for so doing, set fire to the temple itself.
A certain one informed Titus of the fire.
He quickly came, and did his best to get his soldiers to put out the
fire, but they were so furious against the Jews that they paid no attention to
Titus and spread the fire the more. While
the house was on fire, the Romans slew ten thousand Jews.
They proceeded to burn all the cloisters, chambers, and other small
buildings around the temple grounds. Then
the Romans brought their ensigns into the temple and set them over against the
eastern gate; and there did they make Titus Emperator.
Titus then made a speech to the Jews, and offered them terms of mercy.
The Jews would not accept his terms, and so Titus went against them
again. Then followed great
slaughter of the Jews and the conflagation of the whole city.
The number of Jews who perished during the whole siege was 1,100,000.
The reason why there were so many Jews in Jerusalem at that particular
time was that they had come up to keep the Passover, and were suddenly shut up
by the Roman army, and held there all the summer.
One other thing needs to be mentioned; viz., that during the siege,
before Titus came inside the city, the daily sacrifices ceased to be offered,
because no one could be found to offer them.
Titus heard thereof, and entreated through Josephus that the daily
sacrifices be begun again, but they never were.
Let us now read Daniel 9: 26, 27, thus: “The people (Romans) of the
prince (Titus) that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and
the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end shall be war, a decree
of desolations. And he shall
confirm a covenant with many for one seven; and in the middle of the seven, he
shall cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease, and upon a wing of
abominations shall be the desolator, even until the consummation and that
determined shall be poured upon the desolator.” (R. V.)
When the Roman soldiers brought their ensigns, images of Titus, and set
them up in the temple, the abomination of desolation was thus set up.
This act of the soldiers was nothing more than what they were
accustomed to do after gaining a victory.
In fact, these ensigns were often the sole object of the soldiers’
worship. Even so, we are not at a
loss in ascertaining the origin of such worship.
It can be traced back to the days of Nimrod.
The “name” that Nimrod’s followers proposed to make was nothing
more than an image of Nimrod or his wife, and this image all his followers
learned to worship. This custom
was handed down through the ages. So
the image of Titus set up in the holy place was a great abomination in
God’s sight, because it was an image of an Antichrist in the very temple
that was built to honor Jehovah. Moreover,
it is clear from what we have said above, that the setting up of this image
was not the ultimate fulfilment of Daniel’s prophecy.
It is prophesied that the desolator will take away the sacrifices, yet
Titus did his best to get the Jews not to cease their sacrifices.
So we can see that this prophecy has another fulfilment in the future.
“WHOSO READETH LET HIM UNDERSTAND.” Just here comes this timely caution of our Lord. Such expressions indicate something more than the ordinary. What is the significance of this caution just here? Just this: for us not to be too hasty in concluding that the abomination set up by the Romans is all there is in the prophecy. The dis-
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asked Jesus when the temple would be destroyed, and also what would be the
sign of the end. He answered both
then the abomination of desolation will be set up again near the end of the
Gentile Age. It will be during
the last seven years of this dispensation.
By that time the Jews will have gathered back to Palestine in their
unbelief, and will have resumed the offering of the daily sacrifices;
Antichrist will take away the daily sacrifices, and will set up his own image
in the holy place. This will be
the ultimate fulfilment of Daniel’s prophecy concerning the abomination of
did not give the disciples a definite answer to their question concerning the
time of the destruction of the temple. In
regard to the sign of the end of the age, Jesus refers them to the abomination
of desolation. By this all might
know that the end is near. This
abomination was never set up by the Romans until within less than thirty days
of the taking of the entire city. So
the sign of the end of which Jesus spake appears at a rather late hour of
the Jewish Age; but it appeared in time to give many of the Jews sufficient
warning of that which was coming. As
it concerns the end of the Gentile Age, the abomination will be set up 1335
days before the end. (Dan. 12: 12.) So
those who are living at that time may understand that the end is near.
tells the Jews that when they see the abomination, “Then let them which be
in Judea flee into the mountains” for refuge: for by this sign they may know
that the end is near. This
injunction applies both to the past and to the future.
here I make some suggestive thoughts as to dates. I believe the Two Witnesses
of Revelation 11th chapter, will appear during the seven days’ feast of
unleavened bread which follows the Passover, say the seventh day.
Then add forty-five days, and we have Pentecost for the day on which
Antichrist confirms the covenant with the Jews.
Three years after the Two Witnesses begin their testimony, will be
again, when the Jews will be gathered in Jerusalem; and against the city at
that time Antichrist will lay siege. Six
months later, the abomination is set up.
This would be the same time of the year at which it was set up by the
Romans. Then seven years after
the Two Witnesses begin their testimony, during Passover week, Jesus comes
down from heaven and captures Antichrist.
Forty‑five days later, on the day of Pentecost, Jesus is anointed
King. If this is a true
reckoning, it is a glorious revelation of truth.
Yea, why is it not true, since all the particulars coincide precisely?
then at the setting up of the abomination of Antichrist, we may expect
multitudes of Jews in Jerusalem and Judea.
The injunction of our Lord to them is that they get to the mountains as
quickly as possible. Just as the
Romans turned upon the Jews after they had set their ensigns in the temple,
and slaughtered thousands of them; even so, Antichrist, after he has set up
the abomination, will turn to the slaughter of the Jews.
In the days of Titus, many who lost their lives could have been saved
if they had fled to the mountains; but they were slow to do so.
next injunction of our Lord is: “Let him which is on the housetop not come
down to take anything out of his house: neither let him which is in the field
return back to take his clothes.” Then
He adds: “Woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in
here let me refute that doctrine, unwarrantably based upon this Scripture,
that it is sinful to bear children in these days, because we are looking for
Jesus. No such meaning is
intended here. The only meaning
is that the Jewish women, who are at the time of the abomination in the above
mentioned condition, will be unable to flee fast enough before the armies of
Titus or Antichrist, as the case may be.
Just here Dan. 11: 37 is applicable: “He shall not regard the desire
of women.” “But pray ye that
your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day.”
In the cold winter it would be very difficult to
SECOND COMING OF JESUS.
up into the mountains. It was
unlawful for a Jew to travel more than about three‑quarters of a mile on
the Sabbath. This distance
would not put them far enough from Jerusalem to be out of danger.
Hence, they were to pray that their flight be neither in the winter nor
on the Sabbath.
we have given an explanation of the abomination of desolation.