The Abomination of Desolation

Mark recorded a rather innocent comment about the beauty of the Jewish temple and Jesus’ puzzling response. Jesus warned His disciples that this temple and all it represented was being replaced with a new covenant where the people of God would represent Him throughout all the earth. No longer would God’s people primarily gather in one place to meet with God; the disciples would be scattered to the ends of the earth on mission for Jesus until He returns. The temple as they knew it would be torn down and destroyed. Jesus picked up a common theme in Jewish history of temple destruction and restoration from the Maccabean Revolt of 167-160 BC. From the disciples’ perspective, Daniel 9 was fulfilled in the actions of Antiochus IV Epiphanes in 167 BC who profaned the temple and ordered observant Jews to worship Zeus as the supreme God. Jesus understood there was a future fulfillment yet to come. We learn in Mark 13 that as bad as 167 BC was, what is coming will be much worse.