Saturday, April 22, 2017

① “The Abomination that Desolates” which Jesus didn't allude to.

Dear in Christ,

It's a long time since I wrote anything for those who don't read my language (Malayalam). With my fast deteriorating health, I thought this should be the one I should be writing about, if ever it happens to be my last. (That was when I started writing this, I am recovering now, by the infinite grace of God.)

I don't claim this three part series is the final word on the topic covered. It may be slightly different from what you have read till date.

“The Abomination that Desolates”

Mat 24:15 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:) ... (KJV)
Mat 24:15 "So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand),(ESV)
I have seen quite a few senior Full Preterists (and other end-time experts) claiming that this prophecy was fulfilled 200± years prior to Jesus pronouncing it. They say this is an allusion to Antiochus Epiphanes desecrating the temple at Jerusalem in 168BC, by offering the blood of swine on its altar. So, according to these scholars, Jesus was telling his first century readers that they will see things that took place 200± years prior to them! (Not many of you should become teachers... Jas 3:1)

“The Abomination that Desolates” in Daniel.

Daniel mentions “the abomination that desolates” 3 times (Dan 9:27; 11:31; 12:11). Of these, Jesus' words have nothing to do with Dan 11:31, because, that prophecy had to take place during the days of the Greek empire, which ceased to exist, at least one and a half centuries before Christ.
Dan 11:2 And now will I shew thee the truth. Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia. (Greek)
After the days of Alexander the Great, the Macedonian (Greek) Empire became 4 independent nations and Judea became part of one of those 4 nations, named Seleucid Empire. Antiochus Epiphanes, the most evil among Seleucid emperors, stopped the daily sacrifices at the temple at Jerusalem and offered up pig's blood on its altar. Prophecies regarding this could be read in Daniel 8 and 11 and its fulfillment in I Maccabees.

“the vision of the evening and the morning”

There was a prophecy regarding the acts of Antiochus Epiphanes:
Dan 8:13 Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?
Dan 8:14 And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed. (Instead of translating the two Hebrews used here as "evenings and mornings", KJV rendered it as single word: "days". Unfortunately, it forgot to repeat the same pattern while rendering Dan 8:26.)

2,300 "evenings and mornings" is 1,150 days. There are many who claim "2,300 evenings and mornings" means 2,300 days. If it were true, the text should have read "2,300 evenings and 2,300 mornings", just as we have "40 days and 40 nights" in 11 passages (Gen 7:4, 12; Ex 24:18; 34:28; Deu 9:9, 11, 18, 25; 10:10; 1Ki 19:8; Mat 4:2;)

The passage is about the stopping of evening and morning sacrifices, totally 2,300 sacrifices, 2 sacrifices a day and hence it is 2,300 ÷ 2 = 1,150 days.

Ancient Calendars.

Unlike the lunisolar calendars with 365 days and a leap year once in 4 years, ancient lunar calendars had 360 days and additional months every alternate year.

There is a popular misconception that ancient Greeks had a lunar calendar of 354 days, with alternating months of 29 and 30 days. In such calendars additional months are added 7 times in a 19 year cycle, the calculation of which is really complex.

The calculation of the Greek lunar calendar could be understood from these words of Athenian statesman, lawmaker, and poet, Solon, to Greek emperor Croesus:
“Take seventy years as the span of a man's life. Those seventy years contain 25,200 days without counting intercalary months. Add a month every other year to make the seasons come round with proper regularity, and you will have 35 additional months which will make 1050 days. Thus the total days of your seventy years is 26,250 and not a single one of them is like the next in what it brings.”
From this statement a few becomes obvious:
  1. Greek lunar calendar had 360 days in a year (25,250 ÷ 70 = 360).
  2. There were additional (intercalary) months in alternate years (70 ÷ 35 = 2)
  3. Intercalary months were 30 days long (1050 ÷ 35 = 30).

Dates of setting up the abomination and restoration of the sanctuary during the Maccabean period.

The dates of setting up of the abomination and the restoration of the temple are available in the book of I Maccabees, found in the Roman Catholic and Orthodox canons and King James Bible, 1611.

Setting up of the abomination:
1Ma 1:54 Now the fifteenth day of the month Casleu, in the hundred forty and fifth year (of Seleucid emperors, not Greek calendar), they set up the abomination of desolation upon the altar, and builded idol altars throughout the cities of Juda on every side;
Restoration of the sanctuary:
1Ma 4:52 Now on the five and twentieth day of the ninth month, which is called the month Casleu, in the hundred forty and eighth year, they rose up betimes in the morning,
1Ma 4:53 And offered sacrifice according to the law upon the new altar of burnt offerings, which they had made
Year Month Day
Setting up of the abomination 145 Casleu 15
Restoration of the sanctuary 148 Casleu 25
3 years of 360 days between Casleu 15, 145 and Casleu 15, 148 360 x 3 = 1,080 days
The days between 15th and 25th of the month. = 10 days
2 possible intercalary months within 3 years 30 x 2 = 60 days
Total 1,150 days
If we dig deep into the relation between the ancient Greek calendar and years of Seleucid emperors and whether odd numbered or even numbered years had intercalary months, we may be able to disprove the above calculations.

The "abomination that desolates" mentioned in Daniel 8 and 11 has been fulfilled during the Maccabean period, by Antiochus Epiphanes and has no further applications. Jesus wasn't alluding to it in Matt 24:15.

In Christ,
Tomsan Kattackal