Abomination of Desolation
This Good News of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world for a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come. "When, therefore, you see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand),
...then there will be great oppression, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, nor ever will be. (Matthew 24:14-15, 21)
I believe we live in very serious times in history, possibly the most pivotal time when our beliefs about God can make the most difference, both in our own lives and with many around us. Given an urgency to know the truth as it is in Jesus, I sense strongly that it is vital we be willing to reexamine every tenant of our faith to discover if there may be hidden faulty assumptions lurking in traditions we have failed to see because there was not sufficient light of truth about God's character that is now becoming clear. One of those issues of the meaning of the term, 'abomination of desolation' or 'that makes desolate.' It is easy to simply slip in standard interpretations proposed by some living decades ago and presume there is nothing more for us to learn. But I would like to reexamine this to see what might be gleaned from Scripture in the increasing light of the glory being poured out today on the earth by the angel of Revelation 18 exposing fresh perspectives of God's heart not seen in previous generations.
First I would like to tackle the meaning of abomination. There are quite a number of mentions of things God views as abominations throughout Scripture. So how is one to arrive at figuring out what might constitute the true meaning of this warning by Jesus? What might fit into the rest of the picture that aligns perfectly with the revelation of God's true character as revealed by Jesus. Or to put it another way, what might most effectively threaten to undermine or obscure the truth Jesus came to reveal about God in such a sinister and subtle way that we might actually embrace it as a core truth while being poisoned by it to come into desolation?
As I prayerfully pondered what might be the ultimate desolating abomination from God's perspective, a passage came to my mind.
They have turned to me the back, and not the face: and though I taught them, rising up early and teaching them, yet they have not listened to receive instruction. But they set their abominations in the house which is called by my name, to defile it. They built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire to Molech; which I didn't command them, neither did it come into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin. (Jeremiah 32:33-35)
It is easy enough to imagine that God would naturally recoil at the very thought that anyone might imagine He would ever want anyone to torture their own children to death in order to placate a deity. We would be completely right to believe that, for God never designed for human bodies to be offered as an appeasing sacrifice, much less to associate that satanic form to worship with our loving Father in heaven. Yet let me ask a very relevant question here. Is there anything we may entertain in our theology that might resemble a similarity to the thinking of these ancient peoples in their quest to manipulate or placate the gods they believed were able to better their conditions if bribed sufficiently with expensive offerings and sacrifices? Are there any teachings promoted today or practices that heaven might view as just as reprehensible as deceived people slowly sizzling their innocent children in the searing hot embrace of a hollow metal idol super-heated by a fire underneath it to satisfy demands of a deity expecting blind obedience to his demands for blood before being willing to bless or protect?
My people, remember now what Balak king of Moab devised, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him from Shittim to Gilgal, that you may know the righteous acts of Yahweh." How shall I come before Yahweh, and bow myself before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will Yahweh be pleased with thousands of rams? With tens of thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my disobedience? The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O man, what is good. What does Yahweh require of you, but to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:5-8)
What is Micah referring to here? This is about perceived expectations that many imagine are in God's mind that might have to do with getting Him to accept us or forgive us for disobedience. Notice what is the epitome of this prioritized list of offerings we might imagine would be valued by God. It is the offering of live human children as sacrifices in order to get God to do what we need Him to do for us or to accept our worship. This is what God calls an unthinkable abomination. Yet it shows up in the list of proposed offerings in a discourse by one of God's own prophets.
If that pagan (think satanic) notion that deities can demand the sacrifice of an innocent human being before they will be willing to accept worship, bless their subjects or be willing to let go of offenses – if such twisted notions are considered an unthinkable abomination to God, what might God think of our deeply entrenched teachings that what God required was the death of His own child before He would be willing to forgive us our sins? How can we square these two things with each other?
Furthermore, do you think that Satan in anticipation of might happen through the revelation of God in the life and death of Jesus, might have introduced this very counterfeit millennia before Jesus showed up as a human so after He left Satan could convince the world that God was even worse than the most despicable demonic deities paganism had to offer? What leads us to imagine that our loving heavenly Father would have such a sinister side to Him so dark that He would feel honored by those who believe they must trust in the ultimate child sacrifice of the Son of God and that somehow this would result in forgiveness on the part of God because of the very one we murdered? Worse yet, it is taught that God Himself orchestrated the horrific death of Jesus in order to vent His own out-of-control fury against sinners so He could create a legal loophole through which all who properly believe in the formula worked out in this 'salvation' could escape a similar fate at the hands of that same wrathful God.
The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination: how much more, when he brings it with a wicked mind! (Proverbs 21:27)
The more I perceive the reprehensible nature of what I can only call a doctrine of demons at the very heart of Christianity, the more horrific I realize it must be to God as the worst possible misrepresentation of how God feels toward His deceived and wayward children. This sinister lie that has found its way into the very center of the religion held in the hearts of billions of people, may well be the biggest reason that the current 'gospel' we preach has had such little effect in changing our world. If the so-called good news we preach to lost sinners includes the idea that God demands the sacrifice of any innocent human victim of sufficient value in order for God to be reconciled with those who want to live in love and receive life and forgiveness from Him, it is no wonder so many have mixed emotions and confusion when trying to sort out whether or not they can trust such a deity.
For the law, having a shadow of the good to come, not the very image of the things, can never with the same sacrifices year by year, which they offer continually, make perfect those who draw near. Or else wouldn't they have ceased to be offered, because the worshippers, having been once cleansed, would have had no more consciousness of sins? But in those sacrifices there is yearly reminder of sins. For it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins. Therefore when he comes into the world, he says, "Sacrifice and offering you didn't desire, but you prepared a body for me; You had no pleasure in whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin. Then I said, 'Behold, I have come (in the scroll of the book it is written of me) to do your will, O God.'" Previously saying, "Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you didn't desire, neither had pleasure in them" (those which are offered according to the law), then he has said, "Behold, I have come to do your will." He takes away the first, that he may establish the second, by which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Hebrews 10:1-10)
We must carefully examine what Scripture tells us about God's heart in this passage regarding sacrifices, and do so without prejudice from prior assumptions inherent in our religious traditions. Notice that God's opinion about sacrifices and offerings is repeatedly mentioned here, and that from God's view He has no desire whatsoever for that entire approach to dealing with sin.
Yet those who come to this passage insistent on supporting the notion that our sins do require possibly an even greater sacrifice to earn forgiveness than any sacrifice mentioned in the Old Testament, completely miss what this is saying entirely. They discredit the fact that God repeatedly says He is not looking for sacrifices to appease Him at all but wants something very different. Notice that God's answer to the sacrificial system He scrapped entirely is not an even greater sacrifice of His Son that can finally be sufficient to placate His burning desire for punishment and revenge. Rather God's will here is totally devoid of any mention of sacrifice whatsoever. The entire notion of sacrifices is taken away in order to establish an entirely new paradigm that too many are still unwilling to believe. God's true will is for a human being who finally reveals what the will of God actually is and who can effectively restore trust and love between us and our heavenly Father whom we have mistakenly feared all our lives. This is the will of God and reiterates what we just read in Micah.
Those who continue to demand that the offering of the body of Jesus must mean just the opposite of what I am outlining here choose to ignore the very context of this passage and its strong emphasis on eliminating the whole idea of sacrifice and appeasement entirely. It never entered God's mind to send His only begotten Son to become our ultimate child sacrifice any more than He approved of anyone else offering their children as sacrifices to appease offended deities. That is a sinister counterfeit designed to poison our thinking about how God thinks and feels about His children. Sadly that counterfeit has been extremely effective to deceive nearly all Christians today with its dark teachings that God delighted in the sacrifice of His Son and demands we embrace it as the only means by which He can be convinced to change His mind about us. This is paganism on steroids masquerading as truth and is nothing less than a masterpiece of the great deceiver himself.
This teaching that has infected the whole world is also identified by Micah as part of the sinister deception of Balaam to poison and finally defeat the Children of Israel in order to gain wealth through brides at the hands of Balak. We often imagine that Balaam's ideas only involved sexual immorality, but here we are told it is far more subtle than that and involves the very notion that God is little different than any other pagan deity who demands payment in exchange for forgiveness or blessings.
To the angel of the assembly in Pergamum write: "He who has the sharp two-edged sword says these things: "I know your works and where you dwell, where Satan's throne is. You hold firmly to my name, and didn't deny my faith in the days of Antipas my witness, my faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to throw a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. (Revelation 2:12-14)
Jesus identifies that where Satan dwells is where such sinister teachings about God are found and flourish. If there were ever a stumbling block that causes many to doubt the reality that God is love and light, and that in Him there is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5), it is the teaching that God must be satisfied with an expensive enough sacrifice and other offerings before He will be willing to allow His wayward children to return to Him. Note that the context of the message in Micah is how to perceive the righteous acts of God, or in other words His will. In Hebrews we find that God's will is to scrap entirely the whole notion that He demands sacrifices and offerings, for they only deepen our awareness of sin through continual reminding. Thus a new and living way must be introduced in order to accomplish reconciliation. So attempting to reconcile with God through means of offering up His Son as our supreme sacrifice only enforces belief in sacrifice rather than eliminating sacrifice altogether.
I started out with the words of Jesus about the abomination that makes desolate. In Daniel we find a parallel passage identifying abomination as disobedience or transgression.
Then I heard a holy one speaking; and another holy one said to that certain one who spoke, How long shall be the vision concerning the continual burnt offering, and the disobedience that makes desolate, to give both the sanctuary and the army to be trodden under foot? He said to me, To two thousand and three hundred evenings and mornings; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed. (Daniel 8:13-14)
If there is a hierarchy of offensiveness of sins for God, it would appear that nothing could be viewed as more offensive than the notion of child sacrifice according to what we read in Jeremiah. So it should defy reason to imagine that to solve the problem of sin, God would require an even more extreme version of the very thing He identifies as an abomination so horrific it would never enter His mind. If anything would constitute disobedience it would be this. Yet this very idea has become the centerpiece of religion and is worshiped as an icon of salvation when in reality it binds people in deeper fear to manipulate and control the masses for the benefit of leaders that profit from such teachings. This must be seen by heaven as a highest form of treason against God's government of love, freedom and truth.
It is also seen from this prophecy in Daniel that both the sanctuary and the army, or hosts (of heaven?) are trodden underfoot. What might we learn from this that relates to what brings about desolation? Let's look at some other passages that might help explain this even further.
For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and a fierceness of fire which will devour the adversaries. A man who disregards Moses' law dies without compassion on the word of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will he be judged worthy of, who has trodden under foot the Son of God, and has counted the blood of the covenant with which he was sanctified an unholy thing, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? (Hebrews 10:26-29)
I will seek that which was lost, and will bring back that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but the fat and the strong I will destroy; I will feed them in justice. As for you, O my flock, thus says the Lord Yahweh: Behold, I judge between sheep and sheep, the rams and the male goats.
Seems it a small thing to you to have fed on the good pasture, but you must tread down with your feet the residue of your pasture? and to have drunk of the clear waters, but you must foul the residue with your feet? As for my sheep, they eat that which you have trodden with your feet, and they drink that which you have fouled with your feet.
Therefore thus says the Lord Yahweh to them: Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. Because you thrust with side and with shoulder, and push all the diseased with your horns, until you have scattered them abroad; therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between sheep and sheep. I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. I, Yahweh, will be their God, and my servant David prince among them; I, Yahweh, have spoken it. (Ezekiel 34:16-24)
Clearly this is not referring to some herd of four-legged animals somewhere. This is prophetic language describing how people claiming to be followers of God treat each other and how God sees it. Clearly there are some who are stronger and have advantage over others that are exploiting them and abusing their power, and God is not pleased with this. God says He is going to expose this abuse and correct the situation. (That is the true meaning of biblical judgment – not making arbitrary determinations about people's behavior and passing out sentences, but exposing what is hidden in darkness and allowing everyone to experience the consequences of what they have chosen to come on them.)
Does this not sadly reflect the disposition of some who today are using their positions of authority to thrust others aside and seek to compel everyone to do things the way they demand? God does not view this with approval and He promises to expose them and rectify the situation. God says He will set up His own shepherd who will truly act like God instead of exploiting the weak and vulnerable.
Making Jesus out to be the ultimate child sacrifice is also the root of the ungodly practice of hierarchy. It is anchored in the notion of inequality between Father and Son and supports the idea of nearly irreconcilable differences in how they feel about sinners. This pits a Son full of love and compassion against a God full of wrath, demanding perfect obedience to His Law or there will be hell to pay. This also infects many with false notions held about the mediation of Jesus as placating an offended Judge who needs His mind to be changed about us before He will accept, forgive or want to save us.
Many if not all of these false teachings about God have become ensconced in our Holy Place, our own hearts, and the result has been desolation. They emulate the dehumanizing gods of paganism invented by Satan to capture the seat of power in the real Holy Place – the hearts of millions and that causes them to treat others similarly. How does such a god treat other people? By reliance on standards of good and evil, rewards and punishments, light and darkness, love and fear, justice based on the balancing of opposites. This is not the God Jesus portrayed in the New Testament but rather an angry, easily-offended counterfeit deity portrayed by paganism that has now supposedly become 'Christian'.
Function follows theology, and this is seen in our actions and attitudes towards others that cannot help but reflect our ideas about how God relates to us. By creation design we will reflect the image of the God we believe in. That means that how we relate to others, especially when we are in positions of influence and power, reveals our core beliefs about how we believe God relates to us, whether or not it is our outward profession of faith. All this is anchored in our core beliefs about why and how Jesus died on the cross and how that relates to sin and salvation.
The abuse of power and assertion of coercive control through top-down hierarchy we see taking place today is nothing more than the outcome of years of increasingly embracing a pagan gospel instead of the good news according to Jesus Christ. And this trend will be impossible to reverse until the true primitive gospel that the early believers embraced is brought back. What is the true gospel? That God is no different than Jesus and is pure love; that He is not in the business of dishing out punishments and rewards or enforcing hierarchy. This is the ancient paths of truth that must guide us back to correct perceptions of God. For what we believe about God will always control how we relate to others. False gospels then will lead us to either dominate and dictate when we have power over others, or will lead us to seek to appease and placate those in power while we live in fear rather than love.
After the sixty-two weeks the Anointed One shall be cut off, and shall have nothing: and the people of the prince who shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end of it shall be with a flood, and even to the end shall be war; desolations are determined. He shall make a firm covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the offering to cease; and on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate; and even to the full end, and that determined, shall wrath be poured out on the desolate. (Daniel 9:26-27)
We find here a reference to abominations that make desolate framed in a prophecy predicting when Jesus would displace the whole idea of sacrifice entirely. Yet what we also see here is that soon afterwards there would be one who would bring in abominations that make desolate again. This is exactly what happened not long after the stunning revelation of God's heart by Jesus at the cross rocked the kingdom of darkness and threatened to undermine it entirely. The enemy of souls scrambled to twist the true meaning of the cross of Christ from an ultimate exhibition of God's unconditional love for us in the face our our attempts to get Him to react defensively, to the sadistic idea that the cross was instigated by God Himself as a pagan style of appeasement designed to placate Himself because without it He would be unable to love or forgive until a high enough bribe was provided to change his feelings about sinners. This is the abomination called 'gospel' that we have inherited from the dark ages of distorted religion cultivated over the past two thousand years.
He said, Go your way, Daniel; for the words are shut up and sealed until the time of the end. Many shall purify themselves, and make themselves white, and be refined; but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand; but those who are wise shall understand. From the time that the continual burnt offering shall be taken away, and the abomination that makes desolate set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred ninety days. (Daniel 12:9-11)
God's ways involve allowing people to freely choose whom they will emulate and to develop corresponding fruit of character in harmony with their choices. Many will choose to be purified by the pure water of the word as found most clearly in Jesus. As a result of embracing the truth of Jesus about God and coming to be healed by the true light, they are refined and made white and clean. Parallel to this, all who choose confusion and dark notions about God being more like His enemy than like Jesus, will increase in wickedness and lose even their capacity to understand what is true or righteous. Only the wise, those coming to the light to find wisdom from above, will be able to understand these things.
So how does this all fit together? I believe at the core of our problems is this blasphemous pagan doctrine embedded deeply within nearly all Christian teachings that paints God out to be worse than the most demanding pagan deity worshiped by heathens. As seen in the passage from Jeremiah, God recoils with horror at even the suggestion that what He wants is a human sacrifice of an innocent child. Yet the very bedrock of what is purportedly labeled 'the gospel' today, we find this greatest blasphemy that has ever been devised, that somehow God's wrath can only be satiated and His forgiveness and mercy aroused through belief in the ultimate child sacrifice – that of God's only beloved Son. So long as this remains at the center of our so-called gospel it will continue to result in desolation in the Most Holy Place of God's temple which is the human heart. Yet in spite of this, God has still been able to save many even while we cling to and spread this most hideous doctrine of demons.
What must come clearly to light in these last days that must expose all the falsehoods that produce desolation is the healing truth of the real gospel. When this brilliant light of truth is reintroduced into our world in its true glory as was originally witnessed to by Jesus Christ and His early followers, judgment will happen on a global level (John 3:19-21). Everyone will either reject it for the darkness of false gospels, or they will embrace it at the risk of life and limb but to the saving of their soul.
When I said, "My foot is slipping!" Your loving kindness, Yahweh, held me up. In the multitude of my thoughts within me, your comforts delight my soul. Shall the throne of wickedness have fellowship with you, which brings about mischief by statute? They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood. But Yahweh has been my high tower, my God, the rock of my refuge. (Psalms 94:18-22)
Don't be unequally yoked with unbelievers, for what fellowship have righteousness and iniquity? Or what communion has light with darkness? What agreement has Christ with Belial? Or what portion has a believer with an unbeliever? What agreement has a temple of God with idols? For you are a temple of the living God. Even as God said, "I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they will be my people." Therefore, "'Come out from among them, and be separate,' says the Lord. 'Touch no unclean thing. I will receive you. I will be to you a Father. You will be to me sons and daughters,' says the Lord Almighty." (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)
We must be exceedingly diligent to not compromise the pure truth of the Son of God through the revelation of God's love on the cross. Many insist that we must accept competing atonement theories in order to be sure we do not leave out something important. Yet there cannot be compromise between truth and lies, light and darkness, righteousness and iniquity. All such thinking originates from the forbidden Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and if we continue to eat from that tree we will only continue to muddy the waters and trample down the vital food needed by the true sheep of Jesus.
Jesus alone must be enthroned in the Most Holy Place of the temple of God, the hearts of true followers of the Lamb. Refuse to compromise with unbelievers and do not attempt to amalgamate the truth as it is in Jesus with sinister, seductive lies of the enemy of our souls. Such amalgamation is called fornication by God and results in disaster and ruin. It is time to evict the abomination that produces desolation from the hearts of God's people and return to the pure, living water of the word that alone brings life.