Abomination of Desolation 

Chapter 7 of Corrupting the Image 3: Abomination of Desolation 

Once the apostasy has occurred in which humanity has turned their back to God Most High and given their authority to Death and Sheol, and the Restrainer is removed, then the next phase will begin: 

The man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thess 2:3–4). 

Humanity will be enraptured when they relinquish their authority to Satan once again. It will be as if Satan could have gotten Israel to forsake God and had actually gone back to Egypt; and given themselves over to be slaves again, forfeiting the freedom God acquired for them.  

What is amazing to consider is that the abomination very well could happen on Passover, based on clues in the text. We know the saints will be given into Satan’s / the Beast’s hands for 3.5 years, their power will be “completely shattered,” when “all these things shall be finished” (Dan 12:7); and Jesus will come at the end of that time. Notice Daniel’s use of “a time, times, and half a time [לְמוֹעֵ֨ד מֽוֹעֲדִ֜ים וָחֵ֗צִי lamoed moedim vachetzi]” (Dan 12:7). “Time” in Hebrew is moed, which refers to an appointed time / feast.119 For example, God says: “The feasts of the LORD [מוֹעֲדֵ֣י יְהוָ֔ה Moedei YHWH], which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts [מוֹעֲדָֽי moadai]” (Lev 23:2). Hence, the strong implication is that there will be a feast cycle, followed by two more feast cycles, and then one-half. Or simply put, 3.5 years, starting with the first feast, which was the beginning. 

In studying the feasts of the Lord, we are amazed how the first coming and ministry of Jesus coincided with the spring feasts of the Lord. The same correlation and synchronization at the fall feasts is very likely at his second coming. Let’s take a look:  

Leviticus 23 reveals there are four spring feasts: Passover (Pesach), Unleavened Bread (Chag HaMazot), Firstfruits (Bikurrim), and Pentecost (Shavuot). While each of the feasts has its own rich history and meaning, we note that they also perfectly coincide with the ministry of Jesus and pouring out of the Holy Spirit. Passover was, of course, the time when God told the children of Israel to put blood on their lintels; and He would pass-over those households and their firstborn children would be spared. Jesus’ death occurred on Passover and the gospel writers call him the Passover lamb.  

God told the children of Israel not to put yeast in their dough because they would need to leave in a hurry, and the bread would not have time to rise. Paul tells us that yeast is a symbol of sin (1 Cor 5:7), and Jesus was literally dead to sin in the grave during unleavened bread. Then, on the first day after the weekly Sabbath, the feast of Firstfruits occurred—when Israel was to bring in the first of their early harvest; and Jesus resurrected on Firstfruits. Paul specifically points this out: “Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Cor 15:20). The last of the spring feasts is Pentecost (Shavuot) which was the time that God entered a marriage contract (betrothal) with Israel. It was, of course, also this time, which Jesus had told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem when the Holy Spirit would be poured out.  

Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, and the giving of the Holy Spirit, perfectly coincided with the spring feasts and provide us a template of Jesus’ second coming at the fall feasts.  

Let’s consider the fall feasts, which include the feast of Trumpets (Yom Teruah), the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), and the feast of Tabernacles (Sukkoth).  

My friend, Dr. Gavin Finley, has created a helpful graphic to illustrate the feasts. The feast of trumpets is when we blow the shofar in anticipation of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. That is when the high priest would take the blood into the Holy of Holies on behalf of himself, the temple, and the people; and may be the time when Jesus sits in judgment over the nations after his return.  

With the feasts in mind, we can see from the chart that there is half a year between Yom Kippur and Passover / Firstfruits. If Jesus returns at the time of the fall feasts at either Trumpets or Yom Kippur, and the abomination of desolation occurs 3.5 years (1260 days, 42 months) before, then that means the abomination of desolation is highly likely to occur on Passover (it also means the Two Witnesses will first appear around the time of the Feast of Trumpets). Jesus’ appeal “that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath” (Matt 24:20) could even hint at this happening on a high Sabbath, such as Passover. If this is the case, Satan (the Beast) might enjoy desecrating the memory of Passover when the Israelites escaped his grip from Egypt, which was a great fiasco for him and his minion gods of Egypt. Passover was also the time when Jesus died and defanged him and his “mighty ones of Bashan,” (the host of demonic forces that surrounded him at the cross) who were gaping their mouths at him. Satan might gloat by reversing the good news Jesus brought to the world through his death on Passover which “disarmed principalities and powers,” and “made a public spectacle of them” (Col 2:15).  

Thus, when people in Israel are celebrating Passover, the time God had said: “against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment” (Exod 12:12), he might see this feast as the perfect opportunity to reenact the Akitu festival, which centered around the “good news” that the creator was dead (a ritual we studied in Corrupting the Image 2). Indeed, this might be just the beginning of his blasphemy against God. Imagine if there is a functioning temple with sacrifices happening, and those were stopped, and the place was desecrated on such a holy day; it would add insult to injury.  

“… then they shall take away the daily [sacrifices,] and place [there] the abomination of desolation” (Dan 11:31). “Then the king shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done” (Dan 11:36).  

Just like in the ancient Akitu festival, Satan will once again hold the Tablet of Destinies,120 giving him legal authority over the world. After some two-thousand years, Satan, through the Beast, will have authority to “to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation” (Rev 13:7). 

What do Abomination and Desolation Mean? 

Jesus warned of a time “when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (Matt 24:15). Three places in Daniel speak of the abomination of Desolation (9:27 11:31, and 12:11).121  

“And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation [Shikku shomem שִׁקּ֣וּץ שֹׁמֵ֑ם] is set up [לָתֵ֖ת latet]” (Dan 12:11).  

The term “abomination of desolation” is filled with mystery, though the language is straightforward. The first word, abomination [שִׁקֻּץ shiqqu] means “detestable thing, detestable idol.”122 The noun is used in relation to the various animals that are abominable and ought not to be eaten: “these animals will be an abomination [sheketz שֶׁ֖קֶץ] to you; you shall not eat their flesh” (Lev 11:11). The word basically means to contaminate. If dust enters a clean room, then it is contaminated, or shikku. In the case of God’s temple, it was a sacred space that was off limits to outside objects, people and practices. Gabriel explains the timing of the vision Daniel witnessed: 

“The vision refers to the time of the end …. I am making known to you what shall happen in the latter time of the indignation; for at the appointed time the end shall be” (Dan 8:17, 19).  

The time of indignation [הַזָּ֑עַם haza’am] Gabriel was speaking of was the Day of the Lord as evidenced in many passages such as: Isa 26:20, Isa 13:5, 34:2, Jer 10:10, Hab 3:12 and more. It is when God fights on behalf of Israel against the Beast. 

The next word, desolation [מְשַׁמָּה mĕshammâ], means devastation “caused by some great disaster, usually as a result of divine judgment.”123 The noun, 

“Desolation” most frequently applies to places and things. In Isa 64:10, Isaiah is praying for a restoration of Jerusalem, which had come under God’s judgment and was now a desolation (q,v,), In Joel 2:3 the land which had been “like the Garden of Eden” before the locust plague has become a “desolate wilderness … The book of Daniel has four passages employing the Polel form of the verb (mĕshōmēm and shômēm) … the Polel seems to put more stress on the fact that someone has caused the sanctuary or altar to be polluted, thus rendering it unfit for the worship and service of God.124 

What this suggests is that the future holy place (or temple) will be biblically acceptable. In other words, the temple of God will be a legitimate, functional place where sacrifices can happen. In fact, the Temple Institute of Jerusalem has been preparing for decades to reestablish the temple and can have it fully functional as soon as they get the green light. They desire to reestablish the temple because of their zeal for God. However, the Beast will use it for his own evil intentions. The Beast will establish himself as a god worthy of praise, which is an abomination. Scripture calls this sacrilege. Daniel says:  

“But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate …” (Dan 9:27). 

This event is so important, Daniel is told two more times of its coming:  

“… then they shall take away the daily [sacrifices,] and place [there] the abomination [הַשִּׁקּ֥וּץ hashikutz] of desolation” (Dan 11:31). “Then the king shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done” (Dan 11:36).  

We saw glimpses and hints of this in the life of Antiochus Epiphanes. But the person spoken of here seems to go far beyond anything that Antiochus Epiphanes ever did.  

“And from the time [that] the daily [sacrifice] is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, [there shall be] one thousand two hundred and ninety days” (Dan 12:11). 

It is significant that the word “abomination” shikkutz was used as a synonym for false gods: 

“Then the king defiled the high places that were east of Jerusalem, which were on the south of the Mount of Corruption, which Solomon king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the abomination [שִׁקֻּץ shiqqu] of the Sidonians, for Chemosh the abomination [שִׁקֻּץ shiqqu] of the Moabites, and for Milcom the abomination [שִׁקֻּץ shiqqu] of the people of Ammon” (2 Kgs 23:13). 

This shows that the abomination of desolation occurs when the Beast / Antichrist goes into the holy place and declares himself to be God; usurping the very position of the Supreme God and declaring that he is replacing God in his own temple. He then shows (demonstrates his qualities) [ἀποδεικνύντα] himself by “the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders” (2 Thess 2:9)—that he is a god in the temple of God. It is one thing to be a braggart, and quite another to do what you claim you can do. The Beast will not speak empty words; he will show himself that he is mighty and “a god.” 

Wounded by the Sword 

After Satan’s merger with the Beast and subsequently declaring himself to be god, there will be some who realize he must be stopped. Just as people tried to kill Hitler when they realized he was a monster, so too, it is highly likely someone will attempt to assassinate the Beast and may do so rather quickly. We are told the Beast will be killed and then come back to life: “the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed” (Rev 13:12). Because of this feat, the false prophet will later instruct “those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived” (Rev 13:14). Thus, we see that he suffered a mortal wound, and yet lived. The prophet Zechariah also spoke of this event. 

“Woe to the worthless shepherd [רֹעִ֤י הָֽאֱלִיל֙ roi ha’elil], who leaves the flock! A sword [חרב cherev] shall be against his arm and against his right eye; His arm shall completely wither, and his right eye shall be totally blinded” (Zech 11:17). 

While swords were obviously used in ancient times, the term is broader and metaphoric, meaning any kind of war-like activity. Paul speaks of God’s minister bearing the sword saying, “he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil” (Rom. 13:4). We know that Rome used several methods in warfare and in policing her subjects. The most well known to us as Christians were the whip and the cross. Though the soldiers carrying out Jesus’ execution had swords, they did not kill him with the sword. After thirty-nine brutal lashes with a cat-of-nine-tails, they nailed him to a cross until He died.  

Furthermore, the word “sword” [חרב cherev] in Hebrew is the same root as the verb “charav” which according to BDB means: “to be waste, lay waste, make desolate, be desolate, be in ruins” and “to attack, smite down, slay, fight.”125 Thus, the sword can be understood as killing someone with a type of weapon. A common modern term would be “arms.” Swords, spears, slingshots, guns, canons, missiles, etc. are all examples of arms and could be understood as deadly weaponry. In our day, the gun is the most ubiquitous weapon. Could the Beast die by sword? Certainly. However, his death might also be caused by “arms” which might include some kind of firearm.  

Shepherd of Enlil 

In the English translation, we read “Woe to the worthless shepherd [רֹעִ֤י הָֽאֱלִיל֙ roi ha’elil]” (Zech 11:17), but in the original Hebrew we make an incredible discovery: the term “worthless” is the term “ha’elil.” In Corrupting the Image 2, we learned that Elil, Illil and Enlil are the same.  

A. T. Clay in 1907 casually pointed out that the “origin of אלילים, the word translated ‘idols’ in the Old Testament … is probably to be found in the name of the Nippurian deity Ellil.”126 Christopher B. Hays states regarding Illil (Enlil): 

“His name was known far and wide throughout the ancient Near East, and in syllabic cuneiform it was written as Illil (e. g., d.-li-lu); this is taken to be a contracted form based on a doubling of the word ilu, “god,” i. e. il-ilû, “god of gods.” This vocalization Illilu and its equation with Enlil are attested already in bilingual texts from Ebla. In fact, it is now commonly argued that the Sumerian writing of his name, den.líl (“Lord Wind”) was derived from the Semitic name.”127  

We are now discovering the many masks under which Satan hid his identity through the ages. In Corrupting the Image 2, we found the name “Illil / Ellil / Enlil” in Isaiah 14:12 written “Heilel.” Hays notes:  

“Because lordship itself was Illil’s defining characteristic … Akkadian terms such as illilu, “god of the highest rank” and illilūtu, “divine supremacy” (literally “Enlil-ship”) … illilūtu was ascribed to various other deities over the centuries, including Šamaš, Marduk, Sîn and Nabû, each of whom was called illilu at various times. This background is significant to the biblical use of אליל, since it too arguably began with a specific reference to Illil, but was also applied to other divinities.”128  

Thus, the epithet “Enlil” became so common that it was synonymous with “idols” which were indeed worthless. God said to Israel, “Do not turn to [the] idols [הָ֣אֱלִילִ֔ים ha’elilim] …I am the LORD your God” (Lev 19:4). In the day of the Lord, mankind will disavow his idols [הָ֣אֱלִילִ֔ים ha’elilim (Isa 2:18) Thus, Zechariah’s vision is speaking of a worthless shepherd, but more specifically, is saying woe to the shepherd of Enlil.  

We also considered the many syncretisms of Satan, and hence his plethora of titles, many of which we find in the Bible with variant spellings including Enlil (Isa 14:12), Ninurta (2 Kgs 19:37), Marduk / Merodach (Jer 50:2, etc.), Baal / Bel (Isa 46:1, etc.), Melqart / King of Tyre (Ezek 28:12), Dumuzid / Tammuz (Ezek 8:14, etc.), and more. Ninurta was known as the son of Enlil, and often stood in Enlil’s stead. This aligns perfectly with our conclusion that Satan and the man known as the Antichrist (or the Beast) merge and share their identity. This also explains the enigmatic phrase: “The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition” (Rev 17:8). 

The Beast upon which the woman (Ishtar) was riding was Ninurta / Nimrod who we learned was the “rebel” whom Satan raised up in the ancient world. 

In Corrupting the Image 2, we considered how Satan fused with Nimrod causing him to become a gibbor or a hybrid being. In the ancient world, he was the rebel known as Ninurta, Pabilsag, Nergal, and possibly Gilgamesh. He was the one who was behind the iniquity of the Amorites, which led to figures such as Og of Bashan, and more.  

He was the Beast on which Mystery Babylon rode. He was the Beast who “was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition” (Rev 17:8). This rebel, whom Satan will bring back, who was and is not, will ascend out of the abyss. Ninurta was also known as Heracles, who was the dying and rising god.  

Finally, at the end of history, Satan will make good on the promise to cause him to revive. Nevertheless, this revivification will be a fake copy, inferior to the glorious resurrection of Jesus. Nevertheless, the Nimrod (Ninurta) who died so long ago will in some way be present in the future. 

Back to Life 

Whether by sword or some other weapon, the Beast will be healed of the “deadly wound” (Rev 13:12). Revelation states:  

“those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is” (Rev 17:8). 

How could the world not marvel when in front of their eyes, one whom they saw dead has come back from the dead? We have some amazing gadgets and phenomenal technology nowadays. We can go to the moon, go deep in the oceans, and communicate instantaneously. It will take something spectacular to make the world marvel. It will be so impressive that the world will accept it as truth. Those who buy into this idea—into this system—are the ones whose names are not written in the Book from the foundation of the world, when they see the Beast that was, and is not, and yet is. 

This amazing feat will then inspire the false prophet to instruct “those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived” (Rev 13:14). Though the Beast lives, according to Zechariah, there will be some permanent damage:  

A sword shall be against his arm and against his right eye; His arm shall completely wither, and his right eye shall be totally blinded (Zech 11:17). 

From that day on, he will be marked by these two features: a withered hand, and a blinded right eye.  

We cannot be sure exactly when he will be struck; nevertheless, coming back from the dead will be a wonder that will only cause him to boast all the more. He has made himself into a god, declared himself to be a god, and now, he has demonstrated that he is a god, just as Daniel said “he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods” (Dan 11:36); and Paul said: “the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thess 2:3–4).