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Who Is The One Who Makes Desolate?

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Introduction

In Daniel 9:27  we read that the prince of the people who will come will make a firm covenant with the many for one week. In the same verse, we then read about the “one who makes desolate” coming. Are they the same person? This brief study aims to shed some light on that question.

Section One

The One Who Makes Desolate

1.1 Seventy Weeks. Daniel has a series of visions about the future. One of those visions concerns seventy weeks of years (Daniel 9:24-27).

And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”

Daniel 9:27

1.2 Seventieth Week. Daniel, an Old Testament prophet of God, described seventy weeks of prophetic time in which many events take place, ending with anointing the holy place (Daniel 9:24-27). Daniel declared the seventieth week  as a time when: (1) the prince of the people who will come will make a firm covenant with the many for one week; and (2) in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and (3) on the wing of abominations comes one who makes desolate; and (4) the one who makes desolate continues to desolate until a complete desolation, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.

1.3 Wing of Abominations. The “one who makes desolate” comes on the wing of abominations (notice the plural). 1Daniel provided:  .וְעַ֨ל כְּנַ֤ף שִׁקּוּצִים֙ מְשֹׁמֵ֔ם This “one who makes desolate” comes after the prince of the people who will come. Therefore, many abominations will come with the one who makes desolate. The abominations brought with the “one who makes desolate” characterize the work of the “one who makes desolate.” The prince who will come is the anti-Christ in personal form (see Who Is anti-Christ?). Please recall that a complete destruction will end the “one who makes desolate.” 2Daniel provided: .וְעַד־כָּלָה֙ וְנֶ֣חֱרָצָ֔ה תִּתַּ֖ךְ עַל־שֹׁמֵֽם Specifically, his destruction has been decreed, and it will be poured out on “the one who makes desolate.” Please take notice that the end of anti-Christ coincides with the establishment of the the eternal kingdom of God (Daniel 2:44; 7:13-14; 7:26-27; 8:25; 9:27; 11:36; 12:7). 

1.4 Abomination of Desolation. The term “abomination of desolation” only occurs four times in the Scriptures (Daniel 11:31; 12:11; Matthew 24:15; Mark 13:14). Both Daniel and Jesus provided information about the abomination of desolation. Daniel described the future time of the abomination and Jesus confirmed that the abomination of desolation described by Daniel was yet future during His incarnate ministry on earth describing future events (Matthew 24:15; Mark 13:14). 3Matthew and Mark both used the Greek term βδέλυγμα to described the abomination. The term βδέλυγμα means something horrible and detestable (Luke 16:15). People who practice abomination will not be in the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:27). Babylon the Great was described as a place of tremendous abominations (Revelation 17:4-5). The Greek term translates the Hebrews term “the abomination” (הַשִּׁקּ֥וּץ) (Daniel 11:31; 12:11).While Daniel 9:27 does not contain the exact phrase “abomination of desolation,” Daniel described the abomination of desolation in other passages. In Daniel 8:13, he described transgression producing desolation and the holy place being trampled for 2,300 days. 4Daniel provided in 8:13: .וָאֶשְׁמְעָ֥ה אֶֽחָד־קָדֹ֖ושׁ מְדַבֵּ֑ר וַיֹּאמֶר֩ אֶחָ֨ד קָדֹ֜ושׁ לַפַּֽלְמֹונִ֣י הַֽמְדַבֵּ֗ר עַד־מָתַ֞י הֶחָזֹ֤ון הַתָּמִיד֙ וְהַפֶּ֣שַׁע שֹׁמֵ֔ם תֵּ֛ת וְקֹ֥דֶשׁ וְצָבָ֖א מִרְמָֽס In Daniel 11:31, the forces of anti-Christ will desecrate the holy place fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifice and give the abomination of desolation. 5Daniel provided: .וּזְרֹעִ֖ים מִמֶּ֣נּוּ יַעֲמֹ֑דוּ וְחִלְּל֞וּ הַמִּקְדָּ֤שׁ הַמָּעֹוז֙ וְהֵסִ֣ירוּ הַתָּמִ֔יד וְנָתְנ֖וּ הַשִּׁקּ֥וּץ מְשֹׁומֵֽם This act of the forces of anti-Christ links up with the appearance of the man of lawlessness displaying himself as god in the temple (2 Thessalonians 2:4). It also coincides with anti-Christ directing “those who dwell upon the earth” to make an image to the beast who had the wound of the sword and came back to life (Revelation 13:14). Although not explicit, placing the image of the beast in the holy place fits perfectly with the abomination of desolation being given to the holy place. When the anti-Christ takes his place in the temple, and his people on earth create the image of the beast as the image of worship, it would be consistent with placing idols in the temple of God, as many idolaters had done previously, replacing the presence of the true God with their false gods (see Josiah removed the Asherah from the temple and broke down the house of the cult prostitutes in the house of Yahweh (2 Kings 23:6-7; 2 Chronicles 33:15)). Ezekiel described carved images of idols in the inner court of the Lord’s house (Ezekiel 8:7-13). Ahab and Manasseh built altars in the house of Yahweh and set the carved image of the Asherah in the temple (2 Chronicles 21:1-9). Therefore, we see that many people set up abominations in the temple at Jerusalem. When the abomination of desolation is set up in the temple, it would be following an old pattern of idolatry in the Old Testament. Furthermore, the image of the beast may the same as the abomination of  desolation.

1.5 Reasons for Identifying the abomination of desolation with the image of the beast. Several reasons point to the abomination of desolation being the same thing as the image of the beast.

1.5.1 Old Testament Idolatry in the Temple. The kings of Israel set up their own idols in the temple of God in Jerusalem. Therefore, a sinful pattern of putting up idols in the temple in defiance of God had been established previously.

1.5.2 Displaying Himself as God. The man of lawlessness displays himself as god in the temple. He also opposes all other gods. Therefore, he would be inclined to replace all objects of worship in the temple with his image and compel worship of that image. So, setting up his image in the temple seems entirely consistent with his pompous jealousy about all other gods.

1.5.3 Timing. The abomination of desolation will be set up in the middle of the Tribulation, in coordination with the desecration of the temple and ending the regular sacrifice (Daniel 11:31). At that same time, the sea beast (anti-Christ) arises with a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies. He comes to power on the earth for forty-two months (Revelation 13:5), ending when God has him thrown into the Lake of Fire at the return of Christ (Revelation 19:20). 6The sea beast arises from the water about the middle of the Tribulation. I understand that the picture there describes him coming to power and displaying himself publicly. He may have been working secretly since the beginning of the Tribulation, because he formed a covenant with Israel at the beginning of the seventieth week of Daniel’s prophecy (Daniel 9:27). The same would hold true for the earth beast. The sea beast specifically blasphemes the Name of God, just like the man of lawlessness does in the temple. At that middle point of the Tribulation, the image of the beast (anti-Christ) will be set up and the false prophet will compel worship of the image of the beast upon pain of death (Revelation 13:14-15).  The false prophet tells the people who dwell upon earth to make an image of the beast who had the wound of the sword and has come to life. The false prophet also gives breath to image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed (Revelation 13:11-16). 

1.6 One Who Makes Desolate. Daniel used the term “one who makes desolate” (“מְשֹׁמֵ֔ם”) to describe a particular person and his activity. Daniel used a piel participle, masculine singular. The piel stem in Hebrew means intensive activity. Therefore, the person who makes desolate intensively desolates the world. The term “one who makes desolate” (a substantive use of the piel participle) indicates in this sentence that the one who makes desolate may not be the same person as the prince of the people who will come. 

1.7 Desolate. Daniel used the term “desolate” to mean complete destruction. 7The term “desolate” may describe the way a person feels (Ezra 9:3-4). Ezekiel used the term to describe God making idolaters desolate (Ezekiel 20:26). Jeremiah described all the land made desolate, after the sword of Yahweh devoured it from one end to the other (Jeremiah 12:11; see also Isaiah 49:19). Amos described Yahweh making Israel desolate because of their sins (Micah 6:13). God also described a long period of time when He would destroy the cities of Israel for their sins and make their sanctuaries desolate, so that their enemies would be appalled by it (Leviticus 26:32). 

1.7.1 How Long? How long will the desolation last? The desolation will continue until Jesus returns. See Appendix One below.

1.7.1.1. 2,300 Days. A holy one (קָד֜וֹשׁ) spoke with Daniel about the future. Then another holy one asked the first holy one how long the continual (הַתָּמִיד֙) sacrifice and the transgression (וְהַפֶּ֣שַׁע) by the one who desolates (שֹׁמֵ֔ם–Qal participle, masculine singular) would continue, giving the sanctuary (וְקֹ֥דֶשׁ) and the host (וְצָבָ֖א) to be trampled under foot (מִרְמָֽס) (Daniel 8:13). 8In contrast to the piel form מְשֹׁמֵ֔ם in Daniel 9:27 describing the intensity of desolation, the qal participle שֹׁמֵ֔ם in Daniel 8:13 describes the scope and length of his activity of desolation giving rise to his title of desolater. I chose the substantival translation of שֹׁמֵ֔ם because it fits the context of Daniel 8 and also agrees with the substantival use elsewhere in Daniel, but it is a close call with the predicative use resulting “was making desolate.” Daniel described the desolater as the one who has given both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled under foot. The holy one then answers that desolation will continue for a period of two thousand three hundred mornings and evenings (related to the evening sacrifice) and then the sanctuary will be made righteous (niphal verb with waw conjunctive). Therefore, we know that the desolator targets the activity in the sanctuary and the desolation remains for two thousand three hundred evenings. Although this period of time may describe the activity of Antiochus Epiphanes in the inter-Testamental period, it also fits with a specific time in the Tribulation period of seven years yet future.  The 2,300 days (Daniel 8:14) apparently starts with the transgression which allows the holy place to be trampled under foot and shall end when the self-exalted one is brought to an end without human hands (Daniel 8:25). Please take notice that the transgression here brings desolation, but later the abomination of desolation will be set up in the sanctuary in the middle of the Tribulation. Therefore, the transgression desolating the sanctuary begins 2,300 days before the end of the Tribulation and continues for 1,040 days until the abomination of desolation is set up at Day 1,260. Even so, the desolating effect of the transgression continues to the end of the one who makes desolate by the coming of Jesus to reign upon the earth. 

1.7.1.2 1,290 Days. Daniel had another vision providing a specific timeline of events. Through that vision we learn that the desolation begins before the abomination of desolation will be set up in the temple. Daniel described 1,290 days from the time the regular sacrifice is abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up (Daniel 12:11). At the mid-point of the Tribulation, the abomination of desolation will be set up (Daniel 9:27).  9The 1,290 days may be broken down using 360 days per year for each prophetic year and 30 days for each prophetic month. This yields thirty days before the mid-point of the Tribulation at which time the daily sacrifice shall end. See Appendix A below for further discussion. Therefore, because Daniel prophesied that the abomination of desolation will be set up on Day 1,260 of the Tribulation, we are left with 30 days unaccounted for in the total of 1,290 days. Therefore, we know that the regular sacrifice will be terminated 30 days before the abomination is set up in the temple on Day 1,260 to make a total of 1,290 days total for both events to occur during that time. 10Daniel used particular phrases to describe time periods. In Daniel 1:21, Daniel continued until (עַד־) year first of Cyrus the king. Daniel continued using that same term עַ֛ד in Daniel 2:23, 25, 32; 5:21; 6:14; 7:4, 9, 11, 22; 9:25, 27; 10:3, 11:35, 36; 12:1,4,6, 9 to describe an end point of certain events. In Daniel 12:11, Daniel used the term וּמֵעֵת֙, meaning in this case “from that time” (see a similar use in 2 Chronicles 25:27). Notice that Daniel did not use עַ֛ד in Daniel 12:11, which would have been an easy way to say that there would be 1,290 days from (1) the abomination of desolation until (עַ֛ד) (2) the sacrifice was abolished. Instead, Daniel used the term וּמֵעֵת֙ (using the waw to show continuous flow to both the previous and following verse) to join together the abomination of desolation and the abolition of the regular sacrifice as the starting point of the 1,290 days because they both continue for a combined total of 1,290 days, but he left room between them of 30 days.

1.7.1.3 1,335 Days. Daniel also described the blessing upon the one who keeps waiting and reaches 1,335 days (Daniel 12:12). Those blessings seem co-ordinate with Jesus returning and putting an end to the power of the one who makes desolate. Therefore, the 1,335 days ends with the return of Jesus to the earth. 11Many people understand the 1,335 days to refer to a time starting from the middle of the Tribulation to 45 days after the Tribulation ends. The latter 45 days, they believe, will be a time for transition into the millennial kingdom, cleaning up the land of Israel, and judging the nations.

Section Two

They Make Desolate

2.1 The One Who Makes Desolate. In Daniel 9:27 God revealed that “one who makes desolate” will come in the future, and his reign will end with the arrival of Christ upon the earth.  Notice the reference to a single person, “one who makes desolate,” who comes on the wing of abominations until  a complete destruction, one which is decreed, is poured out upon the “one who makes desolate.” 

2.2 They Set Up. In Daniel 11:31,  we read that “they will set up the abomination of desolation.” 12God used the Hebrew term “וְנָתְנ֖ו” (Qal, third plural) with a root commonly translated as “give.” God said “they” would give the abomination, using the plural. Therefore, we know that more than one person set up the abomination of desolation.  

Forces from him will arise, desecrate the sanctuary fortress, and do away with the regular sacrifice. And they will set up the abomination of desolation.

Daniel 11:31 

2.3 Who Are They? The question arises about who are the “they” who set up the abomination of desolation? Because of the plural “they” used in Daniel 11:31, and the singular used in Daniel 9:27,  we know that someone helped “the one who makes desolate” set up the abomination of desolation. Because the abomination of desolation will be set up after the regular sacrifice has been stopped by the prince of the people who will come (Daniel 9:27), we gain insight into timing and identify of the “they” who help set up the abomination of desolation. In Daniel 11:31, the “they” refers to forces who aid anti-Christ to desecrate the holy place’s fortress and do away with the regular sacrifice. That time will be related to the man of lawlessness displaying himself in the temple in the middle of the Tribulation (2 Thessalonians 2:4). The man of lawlessness, also known as the anti-Christ, operates in the power of the devil with all signs and wonders empowered by the devil (see Who Is anti-Christ?).  Because anti-Christ takes his seat in the temple, displaying himself as God and opposing all other gods, then he seems the perfect candidate for being the same one who puts an end to the regular sacrifice and offering. Even so, that fact does not necessarily mean that he is part of the “they” who set up the abomination. Because anti-Christ exercises the authority of the devil (the dragon), he certainly supports the placement of the abomination of desolation in the temple, even if he had others do the actual placement (Matthew 12:25-26). Therefore, the “they” includes the “one who makes desolate” and the others he compels from “those who dwell upon earth” to craft an image of the sea beast (Revelation 13:14). So, in summary, the “they” includes the “forces” of the anti-Christ who come with him to desecrate the sanctuary fortress and do away with the regular sacrifice, and those forces include the false prophet and those who dwell upon the earth under the command of the false prophet. 

2.3.1 anti-Christ. The anti-Christ himself, also known as the prince of the people who will come and the man of lawlessness, destroys the city and the sanctuary; its end will come with a flood. Even to the end of the seventieth week, there will be war. Desolations are determined (Daniel 9:26). The desolations to be poured out upon the anti-Christ have all been determined by God (Daniel 7:27; Daniel 9:27). The reign of anti-Christ will come to an abrupt end; otherwise, no flesh would have been saved (Matthew 24:22; Mark 13:20). The Lord Jesus appears in the sky and descends to earth to establish His kingdom on earth (Daniel 7:13; Zechariah 14:3-9; Matthew 24:30; 25:31-33;  2 Thessalonians 2:8; Revelation 19:11-16). Therefore, anti-Christ will not be the one who sets up the abomination of desolation, but he will be closely connected to it. The anti-Christ, the sea beast, has an ally named the earth beast (the false prophet), that promotes the worship of the sea beast (the anti-Christ) .

2.3.2 False Prophet. The beast rising from the earth performed signs in the presence of the beast, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image (Revelation 19:20; 20:4). He has killed everyone who does not worship the image of the beast. He even makes fire come down out of heaven in the presence of men (Revelation 13:13). Therefore, because of his close association with the anti-Christ and the way he promotes the worship of anti-Christ, he seems the most likely candidate to be the leader of men who set up the abomination of desolation. He also gives breath to the image of anti-Christ, so that the image of the beast would even speak (Revelation 13:15). 

Conclusion

The anti-Christ does not appear to be the same person as the one who makes desolate. Instead, the one who makes desolate links directly to the false prophet (the earth beast). With help from others, at the mid-point of the Tribulation, the false prophet sets up in the temple the abomination of desolation and causes people to worship it. The abomination of desolation also appears to be the image of the beast. Therefore, the forces of anti-Christ stop the regular sacrifice in the temple and then, with the false prophet and people of earth he compels to help him, they set up the abomination of desolation in the temple. That image stands for 1260 days, until the return of the Lord Jesus Christ who throws the anti-Christ and the false prophet into the Lake of Fire. 

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Appendix

Timeline of Daniel Days of Tribulation

My present studies have shown me that the key to understanding the 1,290 and 1,335 days relate to the end point of the Tribulation. The 1,290 and 1,335 day periods both end with the appearing of Christ on earth at the end of the Tribulation, consisting of 2,520 days, or seven years comprised of 360 day prophetic years.

Daniel 9:27. Daniel described the prince of the people who will come establishing a covenant with Israel which begins on Day One of the Tribulation period consisting of seven years, comprised of 2,520 days, and three and a half years (360 prophetic days to a year), or time, times and half a time (Daniel 7:25; Daniel 12:7; Revelation 12:14). 

Daniel 8:13-14. Daniel described 2,300 days (morning and evening) until the holy place will be restored. Therefore, the holy place will be restored when Jesus returns to end the Tribulation. The last day of the Tribulation is Day 2,520 from its inception. Therefore, subtracting 2,300 from 2,520 Days (the last day of the Tribulation) yields Day 220 of the Tribulation. Therefore, the desolation begins on Day 220 of the Tribulation, allowing the holy place to be trampled from that day forward until Jesus returns to restore the holy place.

Daniel 9:27. Daniel described the prince of the people who will come breaking covenant with Israel in the middle of the week, Day 1,260. 

Daniel 12:11. Daniel described 1,290 days for the abolishing of the regular sacrifice and setting up the abomination of desolation. Notice that those events do not have to happen on the same date. See Daniel 9:25 for the decree to rebuild and restore Jerusalem, which period included a series of events, with the time period starting with the first event. Therefore, on Day 1,230 the regular sacrifice will be abolished. Notice that the abomination of desolation will be set up 30 days later, at Day 1,260. Daniel grouped those two events together, because they are related and part of the unfolding revelation of days. 

Daniel 12:12. Daniel described 1,335 days as a time for blessing people who attain that date. In my mind, that time of blessing describes the return of the Lord Jesus and so the calculation would start with the last day of the Tribulation, Day 2,520, and then subtract 1,335 days, yielding 1,185 days. 

Timeline of  Tribulation Days in Daniel