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of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the Prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand)."
The disciples had enquired (v. 3 ;) “When shall these things be, and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? It is generally conceded that the disciples associated in their minds the two events, namely, the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world. They looked for them to transpire at one and the same time. And we are led to believe they were not so far from the truth as most people imagine. The question they proposed was a question on time; namely, “Tell us when shall these things be?” The Saviour does not, in reply, give a chronological period ; but he does remark, “When ye therefore, shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the Prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth let him understand).” On turning to Daniel xi: 31, and xii : 11, we find a power denominated,“ the abomination that maketh desolate," whose leading characteristics identify it as the same power the Saviour referred to. We are told, by most exposuists, that this declaration of the Lord was accomplished when the Roman army under Titus surrounded Jerusalem, A.D. 69–70; and it may look like presumption in us to controvert a point so generally admitted ; but believing we have good and substantial reasons for discarding that application of the prophecy, we suggest the following objections. 1. The Saviour is
very definite; “When ye therefore shall see the abomination," that is, the particular
Many believe there are two abominations ; one relating to pagan, and the other to papal Rome: and
to sustain this idea, they refer to Dan. ix: 27; “And for the overspreading of abominations, he shall make it desolate.” This passage, however, has no connection or allusion to the subject in question. The abominations here spoken of are parallel with Ez. xxxiii: 28, 29; “ For I will 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 they know that I am the Lord, when I have laid the land most desolate, because of all their abominations which they have committed.” That is, for the everspreading of abominations.
Also with Ez. v: 11; Thus saith the Lord God; Smite with thine hand, and stamp with thy foot, and say, alas, for all the evil abominations of the house of Israel! for they shall fall by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence."
Ez. vi: 11; “Wherefore, as I live, saith the Lord God ;-Surely, because thou hast defiled my sanctuary with all thy detestable things, and with all thine abominations, therefore will I also diminish thee; neither shall mine eyes spare, neither will I have any pity."
The sentiment in this last verse, and that contained in Dan. ix: 27, are perfectly parallel. The phraseology of this passage is, “Because thou hast defiled my sanctuary * * * * with all thine abominations; therefore will I also diminish thee;" that of Dan. ix: 27; “And for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it” (the sanctuary and city) "desolate.” That the Prophet Daniel refers to one, and only one abomination, is evident from the language of Christ; “The abomination of desolation (spoken of by Daniel the Prophet)." Wherever the definte article, the is used, it always refers to a particular person, place or thing, for example, the man, the city, the house. Now, to say that the Prophet referred to two, when the Lord says THE abomination, is a violation of the fundamental laws of language.
2. In the case of Jerusalem, the Roman army stood round the city before the daily sacrifice was taken away; while in Dan, xi: 31, and xii: 11, the daily sacrifice is represented as taken away to make room for the abomination to be set up: and if, as some assert, the daily refers to Paganism, or Rome in its Pagan state, then it would follow, that Pagan Rome was taken away to make room for Pagan Rome, which is an absurdity.
3. It would be quite difficult to show that the Roman army stood in the holy place in any sense. “ The holy place” in all, or nearly every place where it occurs, refers to the tabernacle, temple, or the locality of God's throne: but nowhere to the suburbs of Jerusalem, where it is said the Roman army stood, as a fulfilment of Matt. xxiv: 15. Sometimes Mount Moriah, on which the temple was built, was called “the holy mountain;" but the Roman army did not stand even here, until they had made one or two breaches in the walls, through which they might pass; and certainly this standing in the holy place would be too late to admonish the disciples; for they had fled to Pella some two or three years before. Hence, contrary to the instructions of their Master, they left Jerusalem several years before the abomination stood in the holy place.
4. Daniel does not intimate that the abomination is to be set up more than once; but if a Roman army, encompassing or besieging Jerusalem, fulfilled the declaration of the prophet, then it was fulfilled when Pompey demolished its walls and entered the holy of holies, B.C. 63;* and also in B.c. 37, when the Romans again took the city, and a great slaughter ensued.f If it be said, that the Lord referred to the then future for the fulfilment of this prophecy, then we may enquire which of the two or three sieges of Jerusalem did He mean? Gessius Florus," the worst of Roman Governors,” after murdering more than twenty-seven thous. and Jews, in various places, entered Jerusalem, with his soldiers, and put to death three thousand of its inhabitants. Soon after this, Cestius Gallus drew up his forces around the city. Vespasian was sent into that region with sixty thousand men, and after subduing the revolted Provinces, drew his army around Jerusalem. Thus it appears, that between the time of Daniel's prediction and A,D. 70, the abomination, if it be the Roman army, was set up, or stood in the holy place, at no less than five different times.
5. When the abomination stands in the holy place, the result is persecution of the saints; but in the siege or Jerusalem, A.D. 70, not one of them perished.
6. The abomination is to be set up for twelve hundred and ninety days, (years). Hence if the Roman army encompassing Jerusalem was the setting up of the abomination, or its standing in the holy place, it ought, agreeably to the prophecy, to have stood there twelve hundred and ninety years.
* Prid. vol. ii. p. 285. + Ibid. p. 337. * White's Univ. His. p. 130.
7. We learn from Dan. xii, that from the time the abomination is set up there will be thirteen hundred and thirty-five days (years) to the resurrection. Hence if it were set up in A.D. 70, in A.D. 1405 Daniel must have stood in his lot.
The above are some of the objections against the application of Daniel's prophecy alluded to, to the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus. Some, it would seem, in order to evade the argument on time, on the one hand, and to avoid the difficulties presented on the other, have applied this prophecy to the future; and have endeavored to show that the prophetic period of Dan. xii: 11 is to be interpreted as twelve hundred and ninety literal days, thus violating one of those essential principles, that lie at the basis of the Advent theory, and undermining the entire fabric at a blow. To see such efforts made by those, who have been strong in the faith, one can but be reminded of Sampson shorn of his locks.
But to return. It is obvious from a critical exami. nation of this subject, that Jesus resers in Matt. xxiv: 15, to the same power that is brought to view in Dan. vii, viii, xi, and xii. In Dan. xi : 31, we read ;
66 And they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.” Here " they pollute the sanctuary,” and place the abomination; in Matthew, it is said to stand in the holy place ;” and in Thess. ij : 2, " to sit in the temple of God.” We have in the first instance, " the sanctuary;" in the second,