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Eugene W. Prewitt

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Daniel and the Abomination of Desolation


A Biblical Word Study


No one that works abomination will enter heaven.


And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination bdelugma, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Re 21:27


This Greek word, bdelugma, is used to describe Babylon. She is the mother of “abominations.”


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 bdelugma and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS bdelugma OF THE EARTH. Re 17:4-5


The spirit of Babylon was prefigured by religious leaders in Christ’s day. While the Pharisees were highly esteemed among men, their covetousness and self-justification branded them as abomination in the sight of God.


And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him. And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination bdelugma in the sight of God. Lu 16:14-15.


The other two uses of this Greek word are in the variations of the Olivet Discourse. They provide us with a grammatical link to the Old Testament parallel to bdelugma. Jesus, in these passages, also urges us to understand their meaning.


But when ye shall see the abomination bdelugma of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, [“in the holy place” Mt 24:15] (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains: Mr 13:14


In the parallel account of Luke we find that armies would surround the city.


For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side . . . . And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. Lu 19:43; 21:20-22


Though these are obvious references to the destruction of Jerusalem, they contain a thinly veiled double meaning. Daniel alludes the destruction that would fall on Jerusalem from its abominations. The Hebrew word for those abominations is

Uwqv, shikoots. The passage alludes to Christ’s death and to Israel’s cup of iniquity being filled.


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 shikoots he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. Da 9:27


The double meaning in Christ’s word requires a basic understanding of the “abomination of desolation” in the book of Daniel. It is not placed until almost 500 centuries after the Destruction of Jerusalem. And it does not stand in “the holy place” where it “ought not” until just before the close of human probation.


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 shikoots that maketh desolate. . . . And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination shikoots that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Da 11:31; 12:11

And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him. And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. Dan 11:45-12:1.


These passages describe the great “falling away” that constitutes the apostate Christianity. She is pictured as Jerusalem. And when the papacy establishes herself in that “holy mountain” as she has sitting in the middle ages, it will be time for all faithful persons to flee the occupied territory.


The “abominations” in Daniel 9 are the same as those in Luke. They refer to the self-justifying covetous practices of the Jews. The “abomination” in Daniel 11-12 parallels the passages in Revelation. They refer to spiritual Babylon. And Jerusalem, in their contexts, is a spiritual Jerusalem.


The Kind of Abominations that Lead to Desolations


Contemporary prophets to Daniel speak of abominations being placed within the sanctuary. This was to be particularly offensive to God and would lead, according to Ezekiel, to the desolation of the corrupted sanctuary by robbers.


For the children of Judah have done evil in my sight, saith the LORD: they have set their abominations shikoots in the house which is called by my name, to pollute it. Jer 7:30

But they set their abominations shikoots in the house, which is called by my name, to defile it. Jer 32:34

Wherefore, as I live, saith the Lord GOD; Surely, because thou hast defiled my sanctuary with all thy detestable things shikoots, and with all thine abominations, therefore will I also diminish thee; neither shall mine eye spare, neither will I have any pity. Eze 5:11

As for the beauty of his ornament, he set it in majesty: but they made the images of their abominations and of their detestable things shikoots therein: therefore have I set it far from them. And I will give it into the hands of the strangers for a prey, and to the wicked of the earth for a spoil; and they shall pollute it. My face will I turn also from them, and they shall pollute my secret place: for the robbers shall enter into it, and defile it. Eze 7:20-22


These abominations were idols. This is clear both from the passages above and from a score of other passages.[1] Solomon was largely responsible for the reintroduction of these idols into the idolatry-purged nation of Israel.


For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination shikoots of the Ammonites. . . .Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination shikoots of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination shikoots of the children of Ammon. 1Ki 11:5, 7 [See also 2Ki 23:13]


The New Testament describes a Mystery of Iniquity, the man of sin, that sets himself up inside the spiritual temple of the church and makes an idol of himself. This prophecy of the Roman apostasy connects, by way of parallel, the passage of Daniel 9 and those of Daniel 11-12.


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; 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. 2Th 2:3-4


The idolatry of the Jews in the time of Jesus was covetousness, and this idolatry had invaded the temple.


Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth . . .and covetousness, which is idolatry. Col 3:5

And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise. And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up. John 2:15-17


The three pronged abomination of covetousness, self-justification, and man-worship would be paralleled by the Roman apostasy in every respect.


Daniel 9, 11, 12 are explanations of Daniel 8. In the symbols of Daniel 8 we also see the Abomination of Desolation under the figure “Transgression of Desolation.”


Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? Dan 8:13


The relation of “transgression” and “desolation” is simply that the transgression of idolatry leads to the desolation. Rome was the agent that placed idolatrous standards on the holy hill around Jerusalem. These were but symbols of the idolatry that had been practiced within the city for ages. When Christians saw these idolatrous encroachments on the holy ground, they were to flee the city. This, too, was a symbol. For Christians that perceived the encroachments of Roman paganism into the holy precincts of the Christian church were to flee the wilderness at that also. See Rev. 12. And those that perceive it again at the end of time are to flee again, both literally and physically.


When Jesus said “He that has wisdom, let him understand” he was hinting at this double meaning. On one hand, the abomination spoken of by Daniel the prophet in 8:13 and 11 and 12 would not be established until the middle ages. On the other hand, the abomination leading to desolation in chapter 9 was already working and had set the nation up to become a type of the end of the world, complete with a call for the faithful to leave the fated city.


A Simplified Summary:


In the Bible idolatry is the primary “abomination.” When idols are brought into a holy place, that is an abomination that brings desolation. Roman idols within the “holy mountain” (Dan 9:16, 20) were the signal of impending destruction of that holy hill. So Roman man-worship in the holy mountain of God’s church is the signal that the papal power will be destroyed. When that worship is set up more completely (Dan. 11:45) in the Holy Mountain of Christianity, it will be the time of the Loud Cry to flee the city (Rev 18:4).


More than this, read the article by Gibbs (from Amazing Facts) on the abomination of desolation. That article connects the apostasy of Sun-worship with the abomination of desolation.

For the Word Document, click here: Dan_7_-_12_-_Abomination

[1] De 29:17  And ye have seen their abominations shikoots, and their idols, wood and stone, silver and gold, which were among them:). See Strongs for other examples.


(9) Comments

  1. Hi Mr Prewitt, I found a mistake in the “Daniel and the abomination of Desolation” discourse.

    The quote is below:

    “The double meaning in Christ’s word requires a basic understanding of the “abomination of desolation” in the book of Daniel. It is not placed until almost 500 centuries after the Destruction of Jerusalem. And it does not stand in “the holy place” where it “ought not” until just before the close of human probation.”

    I assume you didn’t mean “500 centuries” but 5 centuries or 500 years.

    Thanks for your efforts.
    Dale Joles

    • You are right, Dale, and I am so inept at computers that only now (months later), am I able to log in and approve this comment and to reply to it. And it will be even longer before I know how to fix the document. So I hope others, like you, know that I didn’t mean 50,000 years. 🙂

  2. Would you be willing to give me your assessment of these excerpts from JN Andrews’s Sanctuary and the 2300 days.

    THERE ARE TWO “DESOLATIONS” IN DAN. 8. – This fact is made so plain by Josiah Litch that we present his words: {1872 JNA, S23D 33.2}
    ” ‘The daily sacrifice’ is the present reading of the English text. But no such thing as sacrifice is found in the original. This is acknowledged on all hands. It is a gloss or construction put on it by the translators. The true reading is, ‘the daily and the transgression of desolation,’ daily and transgression being connected together by ‘and;’ the daily desolation and the transgression of desolation. They are two desolating powers, which were to desolate the sanctuary and the host.” – Prophetic Expositions, Vol. i, page 127. {1872 JNA, S23D 33.3}
    It is plain that the sanctuary and the host were to be trodden under foot by the daily and the transgression of desolation. The careful reading of verse 13 settles this point. And this fact establishes
    another, viz.: that these two desolations are the two grand forms under which Satan has attempted to overthrow the worship and the cause of Jehovah. Mr. Miller’s remarks on the meaning of these two terms, and the course pursued by himself in ascertaining that meaning, is presented under the following head: {1872 JNA, S23D 33.4}


    “I read on, and could find no other case in which it [the daily] was found, but in Daniel. I then [by the aid of a concordance] took those words which stood in connection with it, ‘take way;’ he shall take away,’the daily; ‘from the time the daily shall be taken away’, etc. I read on, and thought I should find no light on the text; finally, I came to 2 Thess. 2:7, 8. ‘For the mystery of iniquity doth already work; only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way, and then shall that wicked be revealed,’ etc. And when I had come to that text, oh! how clear and glorious the truth appeared! There it is! That is ‘the daily!’ Well now, what does Paul mean by ‘he who now letteth,’ or hindereth? By ‘the man of sin,’ and the ‘wicked,’ popery is meant. Well, what is it which hinders popery from being revealed? Why, it is paganism; well, then, ‘the daily’ must mean paganism.” – Second Advent Manual, page 66. {1872 JNA, S23D 34.1}
    It needs no argument to prove that the two grand forms of opposition, by which Satan has desolated the church and trod under foot the sanctuary of the living God, are none other than paganism and popery. It is also a clear point that the change from one of these desolations to the other did occur under the Roman power. Paganism, from the days of the kings of Assyria, down to the period when it became so far modified that it took the
    name of popery, had been the daily (or, as Prof. Whiting renders it, “the continual”) desolation, by which Satan had stood up against the cause of Jehovah. And, indeed, in its priests, its altars and its sacrifices, it bore resemblance to the Levitical form of Jehovah’s worship. When the Christian form of worship took the place of the Levitical, a change in Satan’s form of opposition, and counterfeit worship, became necessary, if he would successfully oppose the worship of the great God. And it is in the light of these facts that we are able to understand our Lord’s reference to the abomination of desolation in Matt. 24:15. It is evident that he there cites Dan. 9:26, 27. Now, although we do not understand that paganism in the year 70 had given place to popery, we do understand that that same power which then appeared, modified somewhat in name and form, was the very power that should, as the abomination of desolation, wear out the saints of the Most High. {1872 JNA, S23D 34.2}
    The language of Paul is to the point: “For the mystery of iniquity [popery] doth already work; only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the Spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.” 2 Thess. 2:7, 8. That Paul refers to paganism and popery, none question. And here is direct proof that popery, the abomination of desolation, had in Paul’s day already begun to work. Nor was it a very great change of character when Satan transformed his counterfeit worship from paganism to popery. The same temples, altars, incense, priests and worshipers were ready, with little change, to serve as the appendages of the papal abomination. The
    statute of Jupiter readily changed to that of Peter, the prince of the apostles; and the Pantheon, which had been the temple of all the gods, without difficulty became the sanctuary of all the saints. Thus the same abomination that desolated Jerusalem, in a degree changed and modified, became the wonderful desolater of the saints and martyrs of Jesus. And in its so-called temple of God, it set at naught and trod under foot the true temple of Jehovah, and he who is its minister, Jesus Christ. The change from paganism to popery is clearly shown in John’s view of the transfer of power from the dragon of Rev. 12, to the beast of Rev. 13. And that they are essentially the same thing, is evident from the fact that both the dragon and the beast are represented with the seven heads; thus showing that, in a certain sense, either may be understood to cover the whole time. And in the same sense we understand that either abomination covers all the period. Christ’s reference to the abomination of desolation (Matt. 24:15; Luke 21:20) is an absolute demonstration that Rome is the little horn of Dan. 8:9-12. Having shown that there are two desolations, by which the sanctuary and the host are trodden down, we now notice the fact that there are {1872 JNA, S23D 35.1}

    Thanks again for your insight,
    Dale Joles

    • I think, Dale, that there is a lot of light in these statements. If from among the bright spots I were to pick at a weak one, it would be the idea that paganism was taken away at a certain date, such as 508. But it would even be more untrue, methinks, to say that Christ’s sacrifice was taken away at such a date. And hence my conclusion that what was “hindering” was not so much “paganism” as pre-papal Rome and its western tribal displacements, even when they were as “Christian” as were the Franks when the Franks overthrew them/

  3. Dear brother,
    thank You for the explanations.
    It is shocking for me to read that the abomination of desolation will be placed in God’s holy church.
    The logic consequence is to flee out of it when this happens after Rev 18,4.
    Ellen White writes that it seems that the curch is falling but the sinners will be sifted out of Zion.
    On the other hand I am thinking on Hez. 9.

    At the moment I am thinking on Dan 11 from verse 30. How does it suit to the current events?
    Perhaps I am misunderstanding some of these points, therefore I would be very obliged to receive Your answer.
    Kind regards and God may bless You and Your dear ones.

    • Dear Angela Jens,

      2 Thes 2 and Daniel 11 show that the abomination of desolation will be set up in Christianity as a whole, as opposed to in the remnant church. Hope that helps clarify things.


  4. Mr. Eugene Prewitt, what’s your comment on those who have been disbanded, dis fellowshipped for preaching the truth as it is in Christ Jesus especially the three angels message in it’s entirety citing that the approach of mentioning the papacy as the beast power is wrong? What has changed about the understanding we had concerning the same?
    I of course know that there are a lot of sincere catholics who if tactfully told the truth would make up their minds for truth and be saved from the destruction coming ahead. I also totally agree with White when she says the best way to dispel error is to present truth. But what a pity that the channel through which truth should be brought out is the hindrance to the same.

    • It doesn’t happen often, Chilowa. But 3rd John 1:8-10 shows it happened even anciently. God will solve all such problems eventually. But our purpose is to not allow ourselves to become bitter when we are treated badly.

  5. Hi. Look at this text. “One effort more, and then Satan’s last device is employed. He hears the unceasing cry for Christ to come, for Christ to deliver them. This last strategy is to personate Christ and make them think their prayers are answered. But this answers to the last closing work, the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place.” 4LtMs, Ms 16, 1884, par. 11
    This is very clear. It directly points to Matthew 24:15, where Jesus quotes Daniel. In Daniel the abomination of desolation is mentioned several times. One of them is the personification of Christ.

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