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Summary: Jesus warned of the coming abomination in the end times. When the Antichrist sets himself up in the Temple as God, the people would know that devastation would soon follow. These day will bring unprecedented death and despair.

The Devastation in Abomination

Mark 13: 14-20

As we continue our study in the Olivet Discourse, Jesus offers additional details concerning the end times and the coming Tribulation upon the earth. While these verses are shrouded in mystery, and difficult to discern, they do reveal actual events that will transpire upon this earth prior to the second coming of Christ.

Our text today deals with the middle of the Great Tribulation – a time of suffering and desolation unlike this world has ever experienced. Not only will there be intense persecution of those who believe in Christ, but God will also pour out His wrath upon this earth for the sin and wickedness that has permeated the world at that time. Clearly this will be a dreadful time for all who remain on the earth.

As we continue to examine the Olivet Discourse, I want to discuss the affirmations of Jesus as we consider: The Devastation in Abomination.

I. The Appearance of Abomination (14a) – But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand.) Jesus spoke of the appearance of the Abomination of Desolation standing within the Temple. Consider:

A. The Identity (14a) – We can accurately identify the “abomination of desolation” as the anti-Christ, who will appear on the world stage during the Tribulation. He will be the minister of Satan, wreaking havoc and destruction upon the earth. He is prophesied in Daniel and revealed in Revelation. Rev.13:5-8 – And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. [6] And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. [7] And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. [8] And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

Some argue this event has already happened and that Jesus is not speaking of literal events. We do know that Antiochus Epiphanes desecrated the Temple in 178 BC, prior to the birth of Jesus. Antiochus Epiphanes, the King of Syria, conquered Jerusalem and tried to force Greecian culture upon the Jews. He wanted the Jews to become full-fledged Greeks both in custom and religion. He knew that to be successful he had to destroy the Jewish religion. Therefore, He did three of the most horrible things that could ever be done in the minds of the Jewish people. He desecrated the temple by (1) building an altar in the courtyard to the Grecian god Zeus, (2) by sacrificing swines' flesh upon it, and (3) by setting up a trade of prostitution in the temple chambers (cp. 1 Macc. 1:20-62.) Some argue this prophecy was fulfilled in AD 70 when Titus destroyed the Temple and burned Jerusalem. I am convinced Jesus spoke of literal events that will transpire during the Great Tribulation.

B. The Atrocity (14a) – We also see the corruption and devastation the anti-Christ will bring on Jerusalem, and those throughout the world. Three and a half years after making the covenant with Israel, anti-Christ will break his covenant and begin a campaign of corruption and mayhem. This will be ushered in as he storms the newly rebuilt Temple and sets himself up, within the holy place, as God. 2 Thes.2:4 – 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. At this moment, the horrified Jews will know they have been deceived, but it will be too late. The campaign of death and destruction will begin in earnest. Anti-Christ will destroy countless saints of God throughout the world, including all who refuse to worship him. Rev.13:7-8 – And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. [8] And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

II. The Abundance of Devastation (14b-18) – Here Jesus spoke of the great devastation the world will endure at this moment in time. Consider:

A. The Proclamation (14b) – then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains. We must remember that the world will be in the midst of the Great Tribulation at this time. The anti-Christ will have his grip on power, ruling the world under the direction of Satan himself. The seals will begin to be opened in heaven, and God will unleash His wrath upon the earth. While the entire world will be forced to deal with the devastation of the Tribulation, Jesus speaks directly to those who are dwelling in Judea. He speaks directly to the nation of Israel. Although the anti-Christ will not discriminate with his plan of devastation and suffering, he will direct much of his anger and destruction toward the nation of Israel. Jesus warns those who dwell in Israel at that time to flee into the mountains in an effort to escape the suffering brought about by anti-Christ.

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