Left Behind: The Mark Review–Part 4
Tsion goes on to tell his flock that
if the Bible is true, next on the agenda is the ceremonial desecration of the temple in Jerusalem by Antichrist himself….this desecration shall include the sacrificing of a pig on the sacred altar. It also includes blasphemy against God, profanity, derogatory statements about God and Messiah, and a denial of his resurrection.
I’m not sure where he gets all this from, saying it’s in the Bible. Best I can figure is that he gets it from Matthew 24:15-16:
Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
The Daniel verses on this subject are 11:31 and 12:11, as follows:
Daniel speaks of warring kings. As for one of these kings,
Then offspring shall arise from him, and they shall defile the sanctuary of power. They shall take away the daily sacrifice, and place there the abomination of desolation.
There is nothing here about pigs or anything else Tsion mentioned. In fact, Daniel was written before there was a Messiah or resurrection to deny. Verse 12:11 reads,
From the time the daily sacrifice is taken away and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be 1290 days.
The Orthodox Study Bible notes explain that the Daniel verses describe struggles between the Romans, Antiochus IV Epiphanes who reigned in Syria and Judea, and the Maccabees. 2 Maccabees 5-6 describes just what Epiphanes did:
Among various other cruel and despicable acts, he desecrated the Jewish Temple by daring to enter into it, with defiled hands taking the holy vessels, pulling down “the things dedicated by other kings to increase the glory and honor of the place,” and carrying off 1800 talents.
He insisted the temple be dedicated to Zeus; in fact, the The New Oxford Annotated Bible identifies the abomination as an altar to Zeus set up in the Temple’s holy of holies.
The Gentiles filled the temple with “debauchery and reveling,” including sex inside the temple precincts, and brought “unfitting things inside. The altar was filled with disgusting things forbidden by the laws.” That would include pigs.
Hey, wait a minute, this is 2 Maccabees, the Apocrypha, not recognized as Biblical by Protestants. There was nothing in the Protestant Bible in these verses about pigs being sacrificed on the altar, but it’s here in 2 Maccabees.
Yet Tsion said it was in the Bible. So–Does Tsion agree with the Catholics and Orthodox, and recognize 2 Maccabees as part of the Bible? Hmmmm….
The Orthodox Study Bible notes also say that
Many early Christians also saw the destruction of the temple by the Roman general, Titus, in AD 70, as well as the persecutions of Christians by the Roman emperor Nero, as fulfillments of these verses [Daniel 11:30-35].
Indeed, Daniel’s prophecies have been fulfilled many times over the course of history, as God’s people have endured persecution and testing at the hands of those who blaspheme God in their pride.
Which works against the idea of complete literalism in the End-Times prophecies, doesn’t it? How can the same exact thing be happening over and over again unless it can be understood as symbolic?
This also shows that the Antichrist is hardly one single person at one single point in time, but a figure who keeps rising again and again throughout history, persecuting first the Jews and then the Church.
Hitler would probably qualify as one Antichrist. Also Stalin, Lenin, the Chinese government.
From what I’ve seen of Carpathia so far in these books, he’s a wimp compared to the many real-life Antichrists who have risen and fallen during the last 2000 years since Revelation was written.
If you want to create a compelling Antichrist character, you must study the madness of the previous Antichrists, their narcissism, how they got so many to do their bidding that–in the case of Hitler–even Christians fell in step with the Nazis.
These men did not have Carpathia’s mind-bending powers; they used their own words to mesmerize. Good people, normal people, ended up following the tyranny of the majority–why?
This is how you write an Antichrist. You don’t just keep saying that Carpathia is succeeding because he’s such a good speaker, and then portray him giving some lame speech that names all the countries of the UN. Is that the kind of speech Hitler would give? How did Caligula inspire his followers to treat him as a god?
Carpathia is making such a half-hearted attempt at scapegoating the Orthodox Jews and Christians that I just don’t see it convincing anybody in the real world, except maybe for people with personality disorders who already like to scapegoat. Until I can imagine your Antichrist and his followers in a Rammstein music video–
–until I–while listening to Links 2 3 4—
–can imagine his soldiers goose-stepping, he just isn’t a convincing Antichrist.
The Study Bible also notes at Matthew 24:15,
Daniel’s prophecy of the abomination of desolation (Dan 9:27) was fulfilled in AD 70, when the Roman general Titus entered the Most Holy Place and had a statue of himself erected in the temple before having the temple destroyed.
The Lord’s phrase ‘when you see’ indicates that many of the disciples would still be alive at the time. The words ‘whoever reads, let him understand’ are commonly understood to be inserted by Matthew into Christ’s address as an encouragement to his early Christian flock, who may have witnessed this event.
Also, for Matt. 24:3-31 the Study Bible notes that Scripture describes the End Times in so many ways that “no precise chronology can be determined.” We are to be watchful and virtuous, not focusing on timetables for things that haven’t even happened yet.
For Daniel 9:27, we learn that Hippolytus identified the “abomination of desolations” as Antichrist himself, “announcing desolation to the world.”
Eusebius writes about the abomination of desolation, referring the reader to the works of Josephus on the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70, where he can read how the abomination “was set up in the very temple of God, celebrated of old, when it was utterly destroyed by fire” (“The Last Siege of the Jews Before Christ,” chapter 5, Book 3: Missions and Persecutions, Church History).
This website goes into this from a Jewish perspective.
Also, you can read Josephus’ “War of the Jews” here to find out just what all went down during that desecration–all things not detailed in the Protestant Bible.
You need to go outside the Protestant Bible into other sources–Early Church Fathers, Eusebius, the Jewish Josephus, histories, the Deuterocanonical books which Protestants call “Apocrypha”–to find out what the “abomination of desolation” is all about.
But the danger of doing that, is discovering that maybe your system of interpretation is faulty.
On page 150, after reading Tsion’s latest missive to his Web flock, Buck hits “with great relish” “the key that broadcast Tsion’s words to a global audience.” Aw, it would’ve been so funny if he hit the wrong button and deleted it instead.
To be continued.