Alpha & Omega - The Beginning and The End of The Revelation of John

Abomination of Desolation

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The Abomination of Desolation is at the center of most misunderstandings on end time prophecy. As noted on the Main Page, the current mindset is that the antichrist will cause the Abomination of Desolation. The truth however, is that the antichrist will pour out wrath upon the Abomination of Desolation.

Mentions

These are all of the different mentions of the Abomination of Desolation:

Abomination Desolate

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. (Daniel 11)
11 And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. (Daniel 12)

Abomination Desolation

15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place. (Matthew 24)
15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—"(Matthew 24, NIV)
15 “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand). (Matthew 24, NKJV)
15 So when you see the appalling sacrilege [the abomination that astonishes and makes desolate], spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the Holy Place—let the reader take notice and ponder and consider and heed [this]— (Matthew 24, AMP)
15 “Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place ( let the reader understand), (Matthew 24, NASB)
15-20"But be ready to run for it when you see the monster of desecration set up in the Temple sanctuary. The prophet Daniel described this. If you've read Daniel, you'll know what I'm talking about. If you're living in Judea at the time, run for the hills; if you're working in the yard, don't return to the house to get anything; if you're out in the field, don't go back and get your coat. Pregnant and nursing mothers will have it especially hard. Hope and pray this won't happen during the winter or on a Sabbath. (Matthew 24, MSG)
14 But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains. (Mark 13)

Abominations Desolate

29 Then shall they know that I am the LORD, when I have laid the land most desolate because of all their abominations which they have committed. (Ezekiel 33)
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. (Daniel 9) [The Abominations will continue after it has been consumed, i.e., from 70 A.D. until the antichrist shows up.]

Abominations Desolation

22 So that the LORD could no longer bear, because of the evil of your doings, and because of the abominations which ye have committed; therefore is your land a desolation, and an astonishment, and a curse, without an inhabitant, as at this day. (Ezekiel 44)

Misinterpretation of 2 Thes. 2:3-4

The misunderstanding of fulfilled prophecy begins with the Abomination of Desolation and ends with the Man of Sin prophecy.

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. (Daniel 9)
3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. (2 Thessalonians 2)

The error: if Paul in 2 Thessalonians was referring to Daniel's Abomination of Desolation prophecy, he would have referred to it like Jesus did:

15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—"(Matthew 24, NIV)

As detailed on the Temple page, when Paul used the word "temple," he was not referring to Old Covenant physical temples as in the Old Testament. This is how Paul used the word temple:

Your Body a Temple of the Holy Ghost

19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost' (1 Corinthians 6)

Body of Believers a Temple

18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord. (Ephesians 2)

Your Body A Temple of God

16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. (1 Corinthians 3)
16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (2 Corinthians 6)

The definition of "temples" for the New Covenant/Testament.

In Context

When the Man of Sin prophecy is read in full, and if Paul's definition of "temple" is kept in mind, the context of the Man of Sin prophecy has a very different meaning:

1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first,[1] and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;[2]
4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God,[3] or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work:[4] only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.[5]
8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed,[6] whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth,[7] and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:[8]
9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,[9]
10 And with all deceivableness[10] of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:[11]
12 That they all might be damned[12] who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2).

Points

1 Falling away.

2 Man of Sin/Son of Perdition revealed.

3 Who opposeth all that is God.

4 Mystery of iniquity already at work.

5 He who letteth.

6 Wicked be revealed.

7 Lord consume by spirit of his mouth.

8 Destroy with the brightness of his coming.

9 Him whose coming; after Satan; signs and lying wonders.

10 All deceivableness.

11 Strong delusion; believe a lie.

12 That they might be damned.

Pagan Christianity

Pagan Christianity is the title of a book produced by Frank Viola and George Barna.[1] In it, they trace the origins of many of our Christian practices - this is the abomination that made both the Jewish and Chrisitan temples desolate.

Pagan Christianity leads readers on a fascinating tour through church history, revealing this startling and unsettling truth: Many cherished church traditions embraced today originated not out of the New Testament, but out of pagan (Greco-Roman) practices. This fact removes these cherished practices from the sacred and untouchable. But more than that, the book demonstrates that many of these cherished church traditions violate the teachings of Jesus and the apostles.[2]

Sampling of Pagan Origins

1. The Church Building – first constructed around AD 327 and were patterned after the Roman basilicas which were patterned after the Greek temples.
2. Tax Exempt – Like pagan priests, Constantine gave the clergy tax-exemption in AD 313 and Christian churches tax-exemption in AD 323.
3. Hierarchical Leadership – Constantine, 4th century, followed the pattern of the Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans.
4. Pastor
5. Clergy Attire – AD 330, Christian clergy started wearing the garb of Roman officials.
6. Choir – 4th century by Constantine to mimic the Roman Imperial ceremonies.
7. Tithing – Origin taken from the 10 percent rent charge used in the Roman Empire, justified by the Old Testament.
8. Clergy Salaries – Constantine, 4th century.
9. Infant Baptism – Rooted in the superstitious beliefs that pervaded the Greco-Roman culture, it was brought into the Christian faith in the late second century. By the fifth century, it replaced adult baptism.
10. Seminary – Council of Trent (1545-1563); Protestant, Massachusetts 1808; Bible College, D. L. Moody, 1882; Sunday School, Robert Raikes, Britain, 1780.
11. Youth Pastor – 1930, to meet needs of a new sociological class called teenagers.
12. Paul’s Letters - combined and arranged according to size, 2nd century.

Extracts

-To be a Christian under Constantine's reign was no longer a handicap. It was an advantage. (p. 120)
-Clergymen received the same honors as the highest officials of the Roman Empire and even the emperor himself. In fact, Constantine gave the bishops of Rome more power than he gave Roman governors. He also ordered that the clergy receive fixed annual allowances (ministerial pay). (p. 120)
-In AD 313, he exempted the Christian clergy from paying taxes - something that pagan priests had traditionally enjoyed.[3] He also made them exempt from mandatory public office and other civic duties.[4] (p. 120)
-In all these things the clergy was given special class status. (p. 121)
-The clergy had the prestige of church office bearers, the privileges of a favored class, and the power of a wealthy elite. (p. 121)
-They even dressed and groomed differently from the common people.[5] Bishops and priests shaved their heads. This practice, known as the tonsure, comes from the old Roman ceremony of adoption. (p. 121)
-To their minds, being a church officer had become more of a career than a calling.[6] (p. 121)
-Clergymen were the trained leaders of the church - the guardians of orthodoxy - the rulers and teachers of the people. They possessed gifts and graces not available to lesser mortals. The laity were the second-class, untrained Christians. The great theologian Karl Barth rightly said, "The term 'laity' is one of the worst in the vocabulary of religion and ought to be banished from the Christian conversation.[7] (p. 122)
-This false dichotomy led to the profoundly mistaken idea that there are sacred professions (a call to "the ministry") and ordinary professions (a call to a worldly vocation). Historian Philip Schaff rightly describes these factors as creating "the secularization of the church" where the "pure stream of Christianity" had become polluted. Take note that this mistaken dichotomy still lives in the minds of many believers today. But the concept is pagan, not Christian. It ruptures the New Testament reality that everyday life is sanctified by God.[8] (pp. 122-123)
-During the third century, ordination took on an entirely different meaning. It was a formalized Christian rite. By the fourth century, the ceremony of ordination was embellished by symbolic garments and solemn ritual. Ordination produced an ecclesiastical caste that usurped the believing priesthood. (p. 124)
-From where did Christians get their pattern of ordination? They patterned their ordination ceremony after the Roman custom of appointing men to civil office. The entire process, down to the very words, came straight from the Roman civic world.[9] (p. 125)
-The forms of the Old Testament priesthood were combined with Greek hierarchy.[10] (p. 125)
-Christian ordination, then, came to be understood as that which constitutes the essential difference between clergy and laity. (p. 125)
-Eduard Schweizer, in his classic work Church Order in the New Testament, argues that Paul knew nothing about an ordination that confers ministerial or clerical powers to a Christian.[11] First-century shepherds (elders, overseers) did not receive anything that resembles modern-day ordination. They were not set above the rest of the flock. They were those who served among them (see Acts 20:28, NASB, and 1 Peter 5:2-3, NASB).  (p. 126)
-The contemporary practice of ordination creates a special caste of Christian. Whether it be the priest in Catholicism or the pastor in Protestantism, the result is the same: The most important ministry is restricted to a few "special" believers. Such an idea is as damaging as it is nonscriptural. The New Testament nowhere limits preaching, baptizing, or distributing the Lord's Supper to the "ordained." Eminent scholar James D.G. Dunn put it best when he said that the clergy-laity tradition has done more to undermine new Testament authority than most heresies.[12] (p. 127)
-fn. 135 The net effect is that modern ordination sets up artificial barriers between Christians and hinders mutual ministry. (p. 127)
-Like the Catholic priest, the Reformed minister was viewed by the church as the "man of God" - the paid mediator between God and His people. He was not a mediator to forgive sins, but a mediator to communicate the divine will. So in Protestantism an old problem took on a new form. The jargon changed, but the error remained. (p. 129)
-Both the Reformers and the Puritans held the idea that God's ministers must be competent professionals. Therefore, pastors had to undergo extensive academic training to fulfill their office.[13] (p. 130)

Comments

A reader can extract from the New Testament what Jesus taught and practiced. Jesus did not instruct anyone to build a physical church, nor did he command his apostles to build one. The practice is nowhere endorsed in the New Testament. Paul, who planted more churches, wrote most of the New Testament and lived longer than any other apostle (ministering over 30 years) never built a single church.

The Institutionalization of the gospel with pagan practices began with Constantine and the fruit was prophesied of:

1 And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters:
2 With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.
3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
4 And the woman was arrayed in PURPLE and scarlet colour, and decked with GOLD and PRECIOUS STONES and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand FULL OF ABOMINATIONS and filthiness of her fornication:
5 And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration. (Revelation 17)

This description is nearly word-for-word of when Emperor Constantine asserted leadership over the body of Christ and the resulting fruit of Romanism (before him and after him), which was responsible for both the blood of the Saints and Martyrs of Jesus.

Constantine

At a gathering of some 250 bishops, historian Eusebius gave the following account:

He gave from his own private resources costly benefactions to the Churches of God, both enlarging and heightening the sacred edifices, and embellishing the august sanctuaries of the Church with abundant offerings. [14]
As soon, then, as the whole assembly had seated themselves with becoming gravity, a general silence prevailed, in expectation of the emperor's arrival. And first of all three of his immediate family entered in succession, and others also preceded his approach, not of the soldiers or guards who usually accompanied him, but only friends who avowed the faith of Christ. And now, all rising at the signal which indicated the emperor's entrance, at last he himself proceeded through the midst of the assembly, like some heavenly messenger of God, clothed in raiment which glittered as it were with rays of light, reflecting the glowing radiance of a PURPLE ROBE, and adorned with the brilliant splendor of GOLD and PRECIOUS STONES. Such was the external appearance of his person; and with regard to his mind, it was evident that he was distinguished by piety and godly fear. This was indicated by his downcast eyes, the blush on his countenance, and the modesty of his gait. For the rest of his personal excellencies, he surpassed all present in height of stature and beauty of form, as well as in majestic dignity of men, and invincible strength and vigor. All these graces, united to a suavity of manner, and a serenity becoming his imperial station, declared the excellence of his mental qualities to be above all praise. As soon as he had advanced to the upper end of the seats, at first he remained standing, and when a low chair of wrought gold had been set for him, he waited until the bishops had beckoned to him, and then sat down, and after him the whole assembly did the same.[15]

Churches have adorned their edifices ever since.

Notes

  1. Frank Viola and George Barna, Pagan Christianity?: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices, Barna Books, 2008.
  2. http://www.paganchristianity.org/
  3. Hanson, Christian Priesthood Examined, 62; Durant, Caesar and Christ, 656-657, 668.
  4. Duchesne, Early History of the Christian Church, 50; Johnson, History of Christianity, 77; Fox, Pagans and Christians, 667.
  5. The bishop's dress was the ancient robe of a Roman magistrate. Clergy were not to let their hair grow long like the pagan philosophers (Hatch, Organization of the Early Christian Churches, 164-165).
  6. Niebuhr and Williams, Ministry in Historical Perspectives, 29.
  7. Karl Barth, Theologische Fragen und Antworten (1957), 183-184, quoted in R. J. Erler and R. Marquard, eds., A Karl Barth Reader, trans. G. W. Bromiley (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1986), 8-9.
  8. Dunn, New Testament Theology in Dialogue, 127.
  9. Hatch, Organization of the Early Christian Churches, 129-133. This same tendency was picked up by Judaism as early as the first century. Jewish scribes who were proficient in the interpretation of the Torah and the oral traditions ordained men for office in the Sanhedrin. These men were viewed as mediators of the will of God to all of Israel. The "ordained"of the Sanhedrin became so powerful that by the early second century the Romans put to death anyone who performed Jewish ordination! Warkentin, Ordination: A Biblical-Historical View, 16, 21-23, 25.
  10. Warkentin, Ordination: A Biblical-Historical View, 35. This is evident from the Apostolic Constitutions (AD 350-375).
  11. Schweizer, Church Order in the New Testament, 207.
  12. Hanson, Christian Priesthood Examined, 82.
  13. Hall, Faithful Shepherd, 28-29.
  14. EUSEBIUS PAMPHILUS, ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY. THE LIFE OF THE BLESSED EMPEROR CONSTANTINE, IN FOUR BOOKS, FROM 306 TO 337 A.D., LONDON: SAMUEL BAGSTER AND SONS, 1845, p. 37.
  15. EUSEBIUS PAMPHILUS, ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY. THE LIFE OF THE BLESSED EMPEROR CONSTANTINE, IN FOUR BOOKS, FROM 306 TO 337 A.D., LONDON: SAMUEL BAGSTER AND SONS, 1845 pp. 122-123.