The Abominable Sign

Anticipating Christ’s return, from heaven to earth to judge (Acts 10:42; 17:31; 2 Tim 4:1; 1 Pet 4:5), is afforded signs to indicate the event. Wars and rumors of wars, economic scarcity and inflation, social upheaval, natural disasters, global preaching of the Gospel, persecution of the church, and apostasy in the church are prophesied (Mt 24).

In addition to these general signposts, there is a more specific sign. Jesus told his disciples to consult the Bible, and especially the book of Daniel. This man of God, removed from Jerusalem during the Babylonian exile (605–586 B.C.), was given a vision of a man who would set up his image in the Temple, and who would receive worship (Dan 9).

The Bible calls this event, “an abomination,” for it is idolatry in God’s holy place. It was and will be accompanied by desolation when it occurs. Daniel’s prophecy has been fulfilled twice, and we are waiting for a third fulfillment at the end of the age.

The first abomination of desolation happened in 167 B.C. when Antiochus IV Epiphanes exalted himself above the Holy One of Israel. He defiled the Temple precincts at Jerusalem. With the statue of Zeus installed, he ordered pigs to be sacrificed on the altar.

The second fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy happened during the Jewish Revolt against Rome (A.D. 66–70). Roman General Titus approached Jerusalem with one intention: to eradicate the Jews and their religion. Titus fulfilled Jesus’ prophecy of the Temple’s destruction (Mt 24:2). He left the city a dump site. In God’s providence, ethnic Israel was judged for the crucifixion of their Messiah in A.D. 70.

With the Jewish people scattered, and the physical Temple destroyed, forever, we must inquire to the third fulfillment of this event at the end of the age. The general signs, noted above, will again intensify. The ultimate man of sin will appear (2 Thess 2). His global fame and power will be profound. His prowess for unity will be unmatched in history.

The Temple, this man of lawlessness will enter, is the church of Jesus Christ. It is the church, called, “the Israel of God (Gal 6:16),” that is the Temple of living stones (1 Pet 2:4–10), in the Spirit (Eph 2:19–22). Peter and Paul both identify the church as the Temple of God in the New Testament age (1 Cor 3:16–17; 2 Cor 6:16). This is not a localized intrusion, but it will be global intrigue.

The future anti-Christ will have one arch enemy, the called of the Lord Jesus Christ (Rev 12–13). The ecumenical movement to organize unity among churches, and the quest of nations to unite governments are both projects of Satan. His lust for power is insatiable, and yet, he is bound like a mob boss in prison (Rev 20). This will remain so, as the Holy Spirit restrains Satan’s evil plans, and the preaching of the Gospel will go forth into all the earth (Mt 24:14).

At the end of this present evil age, with the intensification of prophetic signs, Antichrist will establish his power and authority in the church and the world. He will set up his image in the church, as the false Messiah. He will deceive the nebbish, and even the elect will be drawn to him. God will cut those days short and save His people from the abominable, idolatrous worship. They will flee the desolation in the apostate church before Christ’s return (Rev 13–19).

The release of Satan will bring terrors like the world has never seen before. These are the judgments of God. These are the final stages of birth pangs before the arrival of the Son of God (Rev 19). Antichrist, Satan’s man, will persecute God’s people, as did Antiochus and Titus during their respective, prophetic fulfillment. Christ’s church will scatter and be resigned to meet in private to avoid the Antichrist’s death plan, designed to eliminate the true believers in Jesus.

Many Christians will suffer and many will die, as was the case in the previous fulfillments. The teaching of Premillennial Dispensationalism has invented a secret rapture theory, whereby, Christ’s church in the future will avoid persecution, by being whisked away before Christ’s return for judgment and salvation. This theory does not align itself with the previous, actual fulfillments of Daniel’s prophecy. Can the prophecy and the type be inconsistent with the anti-type and fulfillment? No, and for this reason, the theory of the rapture of the church should be rejected.

Antichrist’s season of unprecedented evil is fixed in God’s providence. At the peak of his power, Christ’s glorious appearing will come with even greater power. He will slay the man of sin with the breath of His mouth. His judgment of the whole earth will be just. His kingdom will have no end, even as He establishes a new heavens and a new earth (Is 65–66; Rev 21–22).

Christian, how often has our Lord said, “Do not be afraid…”? Our victorious, sovereign Lord Jesus has overcome the world (Jn 16:33), and we shall overcome with all the rest of the elect of God (1 Jn 5:4–5), who will meet Him in the air at His triumphant coming (1 Thess 4–5). Be warned, be alert, and be encouraged.

David Norczyk

Spokane Valley, Washington

December 1, 2021

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Some random theologian out West somewhere, Christian writer, preacher

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David Norczyk

Some random theologian out West somewhere, Christian writer, preacher