This article will be the last under the heading of Seventy Weeks.
What more can we say about the decreed ‘pouring-out’ on the desolator (Daniel 9:27)? Well, Antiochus Epiphanes and the Greek Empire are no more. And Titus, the Roman general who was the one who destroyed the city and Temple in 70AD, and who succeeded his father Vespasian to the throne as Emperor, served for all of two years. He died of a fever at the ripe old age of 41! It certainly appears as though “destruction” was poured out on those desolators!
Now, this may not satisfy many. As a matter-of-fact, I know it won’t. And I make no claims that what I have laid out is what it all means. But I will say this – compared to what I have heard and read throughout the years from many of the so-called scholars I’m not buying what they’re selling. Text without context is “pretext.”
Let us now return to the seventy weeks and the abomination of desolation as we include Daniel 11:31 and 12:11 into the mix, for they both talk of the abomination of desolation being “set up.” We already talked about how the Message translated Matthew 24:15 as “the monster of desecration set up,” and here we see Daniel has used that same terminology.
Now, the term ‘set up’ would indicate a ‘thing’ and we made a decent determination of what that would be, such as Antiochus Epiphanes sacrificing a pig on the altar and then erecting an altar to the Greek god Zeus in the Temple in ~167BC; or the planting of the Roman “standard” in the Holy of Holies by the soldiers of the Roman armies that had surrounded and eventually desolated Jerusalem.
The term “set up” also has some mystical, if not mythical, connotations to it. We see it occur twice more, in Daniel 2:44 and 7:9, but for our story, we are concerned with 2:44, as we will discuss 7:9 at a later time. In chapter two the subject is King Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams, which were interpreted by Daniel. In the interpretation was a great statue representing four kingdoms in which the king was the first – the head of gold. Now, as one proceeds through the book of Daniel, the kingdoms of Medo-Persia and Greece come into view, with the fourth remaining unidentified.
After telling the king that he was the head of gold, Daniel then mentioned three subsequent kingdoms and it is at this point that he says this: “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever” (Daniel 2:44). Now, many have taken that “setting up” of a kingdom and combined (the popular word today is “conflated”) it with the abomination of desolation being “set up” and extrapolated it to be the Antichrist and a kingdom he will set up and rule from a Temple which does not exist. That is speculation. Others view it as the return of Christ when He will “set up” His kingdom and rule for a literal thousand years. That is chiliasm.
But Daniel said, “In the days of those kings.” That is the time when God would set up His kingdom. As we’ve stated, the Scriptures usually give a lot of information, the rest is up to us, and context is everything. Here is where the going gets tough. Up to this point, Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece have all been identified as the first three kingdoms of the king’s statue in the book of Daniel. The fourth is not identified. What kingdom came next? Rome. What happened during the time of the Roman Empire? “Only” the virgin birth of Christ and His wonderful ministry of teaching, preaching, healing, and casting out demons. As to “setting-up a kingdom,” He gave us the kingdom parables. Yes! The kingdom parables. Then He was crucified – but God raised Him from the dead! That is the anchor – the Stone – the Rock – of which our faith rests. Without it, our faith is in vain!
But that’s not all. After the resurrection, Christ gave us the Holy Spirit, which fills all who claim Him as Lord and Savior of their lives. From thence came the church, but also persecution. If one follows the apostle Paul’s travels as portrayed in the book of Acts, one can see how bad that persecution was. It came mostly from the Jews, for they rejected Christ. They also rebelled against Rome, beginning the Jewish War (66-73AD).
Nero, the Roman Emperor and the epitome of evil and debauchery – the beast – ruled from 54-68AD. In 64 Rome caught fire, the people blamed Nero, and Nero blamed the Christians, using that as the pretext to exterminate Christianity. He also announced himself as “the first among God’s chief enemies,” (see Book 2 Chapter 25 Against Heresies; Eusebius; and pp. 213-214 The Harlot of Revelation…) and he executed the apostles Peter and Paul, among many others.
There was now full-scale persecution. And to make matters worse, the Jewish War against Rome, which began in 66, meant that there was now a total conflagrating happening. Rome was now attempting to wipe out Christianity (p. 105 The Harlot…), the Jews were still killing Christians, and the Jews and Romans were killing each other. Rome would eventually launch its military campaign against all of Judea in which they surrounded the city and razed it, then destroyed the Temple. That was the great persecution (Acts 8:1).
So, the question becomes: do we ignore all of that and look to the future? Or do we acknowledge all of that and ask ourselves, “How could these events ever be duplicated, let alone exceeded? If we interpret as much as we can within the confines of the Scriptures themselves, leaving aside that which we don’t now understand, it is much easier to see what God has been saying from the beginning and consequently to understand eschatology. If one is in Christ and they die, they go to heaven. What is better than that? As for me and my house, we will follow the Scriptures.
So, if the “setting up” speaks of either the actual act of planting that idolatrous standard (the Roman standard was a staff with a pennant or image of the emperor or their Roman legion) by the person or persons responsible – or the standard itself can be a matter of personal preference, but when the people would see the Roman armies surround the city, enter the Temple and erect that standard, it would be more than enough warning for them to flee, and they had already done so. The Romans would eventually destroy the Temple and overrun all of Jerusalem and Judea, completing the desolation.