The Abomination and the Tribulation
Jesus continued to answer the disciples' questions about the destruction of the temple, the signs of His coming, and the end of the age. “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, and you see standing in the holy place—where it should not be—the ‘abomination of desolation,’ as described by the prophet Daniel (let the reader understand), you will know that Jerusalem’s desolation is near. Let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country stay out of the city. And let no one in the field return for their cloak. Let no one on the housetop go back inside to retrieve anything from their house. For these are the days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written.
“How miserable those days will be for pregnant and nursing mothers! For there will be great distress upon the land and wrath against these people. They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive into all the nations. And Jerusalem will be trodden down by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
“Pray that your flight will not occur in the winter or on the Sabbath. For those will be days of tribulation unmatched from the beginning of God’s creation until now, and never to be seen again. If the Lord had not cut short those days, nobody would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, whom He has chosen, He has cut them short.”
See Matthew 24:15-22; Mark 13:14-20; Luke 21:20-24; Daniel 12:11
1. “abomination of desolation”: The phrase appears to reference Daniel 12:11. Scholars have suggested various meanings. (a) Some have suggested the passage predicts the actions of Greek King Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who in the second century B.C., replaced the daily offerings in the Temple with pagan sacrifices (referenced in the Apocrypha, 2 Maccabees 6:1-9). (b) Some have suggested that the passage predicts the Roman siege of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple, which occurred in A.D. 70. (c) It should be noted that any speculation that the prediction applies to a future event, would require that the Temple be rebuilt and daily Temple ceremonies (worship, sacrifices, etc.) be resumed prior to the occurrence of the “abomination of desolation.”
2. “let the reader understand”: Some scholars think the phrase might have been an addition; a marginal note written on an early manuscript in order to draw attention to the prediction.