Matthew 24 is a key prophetic passage. It is in this passage where Jesus talks about the “abomination of desolation” that Daniel the prophet wrote about. Here is the passage:
“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), then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains. Whoever is on the housetop must not go down to get the things out that are in his house. Whoever is in the field must not turn back to get his cloak. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! But pray that your flight will not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath. For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.” (Matthew 24:15-22)
This is a clear directive, given by the Lord Jesus Christ, to flee. When will this happen? Some have written that this has happened already and was a reference to the persecution suffered by the Jews at the time of the dispersion in 66-70 AD when the Romans sacked Jerusalem. Their teaching, then, tells people to consider this passage as being something that occurred in the past, which does not apply today. But what if they are wrong? How can we know they are wrong? Surely, the Scriptures are not that ambiguous, are they? This is such an important passage which was designed to warn Israel, in particular, about a time of great trouble on the earth, in which they will have to flee in order to preserve their lives. If Bible teachers are not careful, they may end up unwittingly being used by the enemy (Satan) to put Israel at rest at a time when Israel should be on edge. There is a huge difference between the two!
Fortunately, the Scriptures make it abundantly clear as to which time period in world history is being referred to, and it is not during the time of Nero in 66-70 AD. Here’s how we can know for certain. When Jesus mentioned the “abomination of desolation” that the prophet Daniel spoke of, this expression is used three times in the book of Daniel. Specifically, these are mentioned in Daniel 9:27, Daniel 11:31, and Daniel 12:11. The “abomination of desolation” is a “prophetic marker” in Scripture which helps us to link these passages together and relate them to one another, for there are clearly not three “abominations of desolation,” but just one. This is consistent with what Jesus says, and it is also consistent with the very term that Daniel himself uses, which is “the abomination that causes desolation” and not “an abomination that causes desolation.”
So there is one abomination that causes desolation, and within these three prophetic passages found in the book of Daniel, we should be able to tell which time period is being referred to. As it turns out, one of these passages contains numerous references not to the time of Christ’s first coming, but to His second coming. This passage is Daniel 12:1-13, and in the midst of it, we find the “the abomination that causes desolation” being referred to (Daniel 12:11). Follow with me, if you will, through the various verses in this chapter which unmistakably point towards the time period mentioned referring to the time of Christ’s second coming, and not His first coming. To make it easy and thorough at the same time, I will paste the entire chapter here, and comment “in-line.” The following is Daniel 12 in its entirety, quoted from the New American Standard Bible (NASB), which is considered to be a very accurate English translation.
1 “Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time (reference to the great tribulation period, which happens at the very end); and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.
2 “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt. (reference to the resurrection, which happens at the very end)
4 “But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase. (almost certainly a reference to air travel and the computer age, which happens at the very end)“
7 I heard the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, as he raised his right hand and his left toward heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time; and as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people, all these events will be completed.
9 He said, “Go your way, Daniel, for these words are concealed and sealed up until the end time (could it be any clearer that this passage is referring to the end of time and not the time of Christ’s first coming?).
13 “But as for you, go your way to the end; then you will enter into rest and rise again for your allotted portion at the end of the age. (the “end of the age” is a prophetic expression referring to the time of the end, when Jesus Christ will return to setup His kingdom; once again the reference to a resurrection is here, as well, which happens not at Christ’s first coming, but His second.)“
(Daniel 12:1-3, emphasis added for clarity, comments in red.)
There are multiple references in this passage which demonstrate to us that Daniel 12 is a reference not to the time of Christ’s first coming, but to His second coming. In the very midst of this, in Daniel 12:11, we find the expression “the abomination of desolation” being used. This is the same “abomination of desolation” that Jesus spoke of when He said that a time on earth would be coming in which the Israelites would have to flee.
“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), then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains.” (Matthew 24:15-16)
Jesus warned, “let the reader understand” because He knew that teaching would creep in that would say that this event had “already taken place” when, in fact, it had not. By correlating Daniel 12 with this passage, we can clearly see that what Jesus was referring to is an event that happens at the time of His second coming, and not His first. As a result, we know that this event, as of at least June 2010 (the time this is being written), has not yet taken place.
The “abomination of desolation,” therefore, is not about Nero at all, as some incorrectly teach. It is about a future antichrist who will rule the world, who has yet to be revealed.
Let the reader understand!
This event is coming. And if you are on the earth at the time of the rebuilding of the third temple, which must be rebuilt before Jesus Christ can return to this earth, according to prophetic Scripture, then be on your guard!