What is “The Abomination That Causes Desolation?”
The phrase “the abomination that causes desolation” occurs five times in the Bible. Daniel mentions it three times in his prophecies of future events (Daniel 9:27, Daniel 11:31, and Daniel 12:11). People speculate what he means—such as the destruction of the temple or something foreshadowing the end of the world—but whatever the interpretation, the important thing to realize is that it’s something bad, something evil.
Jesus also mentions the abomination that causes desolation (Matthew 24:15). So at the time of Jesus, this part of Daniel’s prophecy has not yet come true or else Jesus wouldn’t reference it as a future event. It is still forthcoming. Also, the fact that Jesus mentions it gives added credence to Daniel’s prophecy.
In Mark’s record of Jesus’s mention of this curious phrase, he includes a warning for those in Judea to run to a safe place in the mountains (Mark 13:14). This is not a time to stay and fight; resistance is ill advised.
When confronted with something evil, sometimes we need to oppose it and sometimes we must run from it. May God grant us the discernment to know the difference.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.