|Daniel chapters 2, 7, 8, 9, 10-11, 12, overview||WhyProphets.com|
Daniel's prophecy of 1290
When Israel commits abominations,
desolation is not far behind.
This page is about the best known "abomination that makes desolate" in the Bible. Daniel uses it as a reference point for identifying the year 570.
Daniel 12:11 refers to an "abomination that makes desolate", where the "continuous state" was taken away. A similar event was mentioned in chapter 11.
There is reason to believe that the angel did not refer to that event, but to an even more important "abomination that makes desolate" that Daniel knew only too well.
|The significance of the second question|
At the very end of the book of Daniel (Daniel 12:9-13), after all the visions of the history of the world and its kingdoms, Daniel still wanted reassurance. First (12:6-7) he had asked how long the "wonders" would be, and was again given the same key period, 1260 years. But Daniel still wasn't satisfied. He had a second question. He asked again when the end of all these things would be.
Why ask again?
Daniel had already asked about the "wonders" and received the same information that had already been given in chapter 7 - the key period was 1260 days. This was discussed elsewhere. So why did he ask again? The simplest explanation (and the most natural) is that he wanted more certain information. The "1260" period was only useful IF he knew the starting date.
Circumstantial evidence would suggest that the "1290" question went beyond simply the events of chapter 11.
FIRST, this was the final, summing up question, recorded in the very last verses of Daniel, so it probably dealt with the BIG picture.
SECOND, if you were Daniel wouldn't you really want to know when these events were going to start - in other words, wouldn't you want some information that would allow you to tie these visions to events you had dates for?
Is Daniel 12:11 a simple reference to Daniel 11:31?
No. Daniel had already asked about the "wonders" and received the same information that had already been given in chapter 7 (that the key period was 1260 days. See discussion of Daniel 12 for details.) He had already been told twice, so why ask the same question again?
Furthermore, the answer (1290 as opposed to 1260) indicates that we are not talking about the same thing.
'But the language "abomination that makes desolate" means he must have been referring to Daniel 11:31?'
There is nothing unique about the phrase "abomination that makes desolate". It is simply a general descriptive phrase. He also uses phrases like "transgression that makes desolate" (8:13) and "iniquity" that leaves the land "desolate" (9:16-17 etc.). There is more than one application of the label "abomination of desolation". In fact, the only time that "abomination that makes desolate" is defined, it is not in the Book of Daniel!
|The first and greatest "abomination that makes desolate"|
Daniel uses the phrase "abomination that makes desolate" as if his readers know what the words mean. Should we know? Yes, we should, if we read the Book of Daniel as a whole. In chapter 9, Daniel prays to the Lord. What is first on Daniel's mind? The sins of his people, which lead to the desolation of the land. This could be called "an iniquity that makes desolate" (See NIV Daniel 9:16-17, where "desolate" is mentioned twice.).
Who exactly has rebelled? Daniel says it is Judah and all Israel (9:7, 11). What was the nature of that iniquity or rebellion? Daniel refers to Moses' curse, which in Deuteronomy 11:26-28 is specifically a result of idolatry. We can confirm this by reading 2 Kings 17, the record of the fall of Israel. This chapter agrees - idolatry was the major sin. The fall of Judah is described in the last chapter of 2 Kings, and here again the captivity is a result of idolatry (of all the last kings except Josiah). Idolatry is of course the plainest form of rebellion against God. This is what Daniel is concerned about.
In fact, the abomination of idolatry is possibly the central theme of the book of Daniel - think of Nebuchadnezzar's dream of a statue, the great gold statue that led to the fiery furnace incident, the command to worship the king that led to the den of lions incident, the pride of the little horn, and so on.
This idolatry is labeled an abomination in Hosea 9:10 (referring to Numbers 25:1-3). Isaiah also confirms that worshipping false gods is an abomination (Isaiah 41:23-24). The result of this abomination is that Israel will become desolate (Hosea 2:12, translated "destroyed" in the KJV, and Hosea 5:9).
The fall of Israel and Judah was the greatest example of an abomination that made desolate.
The fall of Israel and Judah is the greatest desolation of the Old Testament (after the Flood). It is due to the greatest abomination - Israel's idolatry. All the prophets warn against it, or lament it. The process of abominations (mainly idolatry) leading to desolations (i.e. Israel is overrun) is stated clearly in Ezekiel 33:25-29:
"Thus saith the Lord God; Ye eat with the blood [eating blood was against the law of Moses], and lift up your eyes toward your idols, and shed blood: and shall ye possess the land? Ye stand upon the sword, and ye work abomination, and ye defile every one his neighbor's wife: shall ye possess the land? . . . For I shall lay the land most desolate, and the pomp of her strength shall cease; and the mountains of Israel shall be desolate, that none shall pass through. Then shall ye know that I am the Lord, because I have laid the land most desolate because of all their abominations which they have committed."
So "abomination that makes desolate" properly refers to the captivity of a nation as a result of their sins, particularly idolatry. The greatest example is the fall of Israel and Judah.
Dating the fall of Israel:
There are two major endings in the history of Israel: the fall of Israel (the northern kingdom) to the Assyrians in 721 BC, and the fall of Judah (the southern kingdom) to the Babylonians over a period of years (606 BC, 587 BC, etc.). The most important date was the fall of Israel, for the following reasons:
|What about the "continuous state"?|
As noted earlier, the phrase "daily sacrifice" should be translated as "continuous state". When Hosea condemns Israel for her idolatry, he reminds her that she has been a child of God ever since leaving Egypt (Hosea 11:1-4). Similarly, when the invasion is recorded in 2 Kings 17, Israel is reminded that God brought her out of Egypt, and implored to remember what her fathers had been taught (2 Kings 17:7,13, 36-37). So the tragedy is that Israel has been preserved and blessed ever since the days of Egypt, but no more. She was told to keep the commandments "for evermore" (2 Kings 17:37) but she did not. All Israel was to bring sacrifices to the temple in Jerusalem where the High Priest was to sacrifice on their behalf "continually" (Leviticus chapters 1-5 and elsewhere). But after giving them every chance, this will happen no more. Israel will no longer be in her promised land, and can no longer go to the temple. Her "continuous state" was ended.
In this light, we should look at the Hebrew word translated as "taken away". A more accurate translation would be "turned aside". The whole point is apostasy.
So Israel's most important abomination that made her desolate, and the end of her continuous state, was 721 BC. That date allowed Daniel to calculate precisely when the beginning of the 1260 "days" was to be. A very important date indeed. 721 BC plus 1290 "days" brings us to AD 570. (Note that there is no "year 0" in our calendar - 1 BC went straight to AD 1). AD 570 is a date already attested in numerous ways.
And what about Daniel 11:31?
I suggested elsewhere that Daniel 11:31 referred to the process of apostasy that was complete in AD 570. This then, would be another example of the destruction of a nation because of idolatry, and the end of a continuous state. The nation was the Christians, who were destroyed (or assimilated) by the Romans. The idolatry was the imitation Christianity that gradually replaced the church when its leaders had died. The continuous state was the priesthood authority.
the bottom line
570 must have been a very important date for the Bible to point to it so often. Which means that the church that was restored 1260 years later must be pretty important too!