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Dissertation 11.

ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION

Daniel 9:27

Various questions have arisen respecting the correct interpretation of this phrase. The prophecy has been supposed to be accomplished first under Antiochus Epiphanes, and again by the Roman armies under Titus. Hengstenbergs remarks were chiefly in reply to Bertholdt, Com. 2, page 584, and in explanation of our Savior’s comments, as recorded by St. Matthew. He thinks “it was then regarded by the Jews as relating to a still future occurrence — the yet impending conquest and destruction of Jerusalem.”

“A sufficient proof of this is afforded by the passage, Josephus Arch. 10:1 l, 7, ‘Daniel predicted also the Roman supremacy, and that our country should be desolated by them.’” The passage De Bell. Jud. 4:6, 3, is also quoted with this conclusion, “How general the reference of the prophecy then was to a future destruction of the city, appears from the express observation of Josephus, that even the zealots had no doubt of the correctness of this interpretation. The same interpretation is found also in the Babylonian and Jerusalem Gemarah.” (P. 215.) This reference to “thee zealots” is explained in a note to Bishop Kidders Demonstration of the Messias, pt. 2, page 11. They were slain standing on the battlements of the temple, and their carcasses and blood were scattered and sprinkled about the sanctuary before its final destruction. This is supposed to be a fulfillment of the prediction. Professor Lee states, “It is to be understood rather of the Roman armies, with their heathen ensigns, stationed over against the Temple, than of anything else.” (Book 2, chapter. 2, page 202.) He translates thus, “For the overspreading of abominations he shall make it (i.e., Jerusalem) desolate; even until the consummation (i.e., the complete end) and (until) that determined shall be poured upon the desolate, rather desolator;” meaning, “the people of the prince who should come as a desolator and destroy the city and the sanctuary.” (Book 2, chapter. 1, page 142.) “Let it be remembered,” says he, “all is here indefinite. No mathematical measure of time or portion of time is therefore to be thought of. The occurrence of their several events will supply the only measures of time now to be had recourse to.”

The early Reformers, Oecolampadius, Bullinger, and Osiander, treated the word “overspreading” in its literal sense of “wing,” and applied it to the wings or pinnacles of the Temple; the first of these three takes it for “the very altar and holy place where the winged cherubim were.” Augustine in his Epis. 80, ad Hesychium, interprets it of the legions and wings of the Roman armies which compassed and defiled the Temple. Irenoeus, lib. 5, ad. haer., explains it of Antichrist., whom he imagined should sit in the Temple at Jerusalem, and be worshipped as Messiah. Rosenmuller illustrates the use of the word wing from Isaiah 8:8, and 18:1, and also from Cicero, Offic. lib. 2, chapter 13. C. B. Michaelis objects to the usual sense of the “abomination of desolation’s,” while Gesenius and Winer refer the wing to the pinnacle of the Temple. Rosenmuller prefers the active sense of “the desolater,” according to the marginal reading of our authorized version, and applies the passage to Antiochus Epiphanes, quoting 1 Maccabees 1:11, 63, as fulfilling the prediction. Dr. Wells approves of this translation, but he interprets the desolater to mean “the Gentile people inhabiting the (once) countries of the Roman Empire.” (Paraphrase, page 101.)

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