When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation,
&c.] From signs, Christ proceeds to the immediate cause of the destruction of Jerusalem; which was, "the abomination of desolation", or the desolating abomination; or that abominable thing, which threatened and brought desolation upon the city, temple, and nation: by which is meant, not any statue placed in the temple by the Romans, or their order; not the golden eagle which Herod set upon the temple gate, for that was before Christ said these words; nor the image of Tiberius Caesar, which Pilate is said to bring into the temple; for this, if true, must be about this time; whereas Christ cannot be thought to refer to anything so near at hand; much less the statue of Adrian, set in the most holy place, which was an hundred and thirty years and upwards, after the destruction of the city and temple; nor the statue of Titus, who destroyed both, which does not appear: ever to be set up, or attempted; nor of Caligula, which, though ordered, was prevented being placed there: but the Roman army is designed; see ( Luke 21:20 ) which was the (Mmvm Myuwqv Pnk) , "the wing", or "army of abominations making desolate", ( Daniel 9:27 ) . Armies are called wings, ( Isaiah 8:8 ) and the Roman armies were desolating ones to the Jews, and to whom they were an abomination; not only because they consisted of Heathen men, and uncircumcised persons, but chiefly because of the images of their gods, which were upon their ensigns: for images and idols were always an abomination to them; so the "filthiness" which Hezekiah ordered to be carried out of the holy place, ( 2 Chronicles 29:5 ) is by the Targum called, (aqwxyr) , "an abomination"; and this, by the Jewish writers F23, is said to be an idol, which Ahaz had placed upon the altar; and such was the abomination of desolation, which Antiochus caused to be set upon the altar:
``Now the fifteenth day of the month Casleu, in the hundred forty and fifth year, they set up the abomination of desolation upon the altar, and builded idol altars throughout the cities of Juda on every side;'' (1 Maccabees 1:54)And so the Talmudic writers, by the abomination that makes desolate, in ( Daniel 12:11 ) ( 9:27 ) to which Christ here refers, understand an image, which they say F24 one Apostomus, a Grecian general, who burnt their law, set up in the temple. Now our Lord observes, that when they should see the Roman armies encompassing Jerusalem, with their ensigns flying, and these abominations on them, they might conclude its desolation was near at hand; and he does not so much mean his apostles, who would be most of them dead, or in other countries, when this would come to pass; but any of his disciples and followers, or any persons whatever, by whom should be seen this desolating abomination, spoken of by Daniel the prophet:
not in ( Daniel 11:31 ) which is spoken of the abomination in the times of Antiochus; but either in ( Daniel 12:11 ) or rather in ( Daniel 9:27 ) since this desolating abomination is that, which should follow the cutting off of the Messiah, and the ceasing of the daily sacrifice. It is to be observed, that Daniel is here called a prophet, contrary to what the Jewish writers say F25, who deny him to be one; though one of F26 no inconsiderable note among them affirms, that he attained to the end, (yyawbnh lwbgh) , "of the prophetic border", or the ultimate degree of prophecy: when therefore this that Daniel, under a spirit of prophecy, spoke of should be seen,
standing in the holy place;
near the walls, and round about the holy city Jerusalem, so called from the sanctuary and worship of God in it; and which, in process of time, stood in the midst of it, and in the holy temple, and destroyed both; then
whoso readeth, let him understand:
that is, whoever then reads the prophecy of Daniel; will easily understand the meaning of it, and will see and know for certain, that now it is accomplished; and will consider how to escape the desolating judgment, unless he is given up to a judicial blindness and hardness of heart; which was the case of the greater part of the nation.
F23 R. David Kimchi, & R. Sol. ben Melech, in 2 Chron. xxix. 5.
F24 T. Bab. Taanith, fol. 28. 2. & Gloss. in ib.
F25 T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 94. 1. & Megilla, fol. 3. 1. & Tzeror Ham, mor, fol. 46. 4. Zohar in Num. fol. 61. 1.
F26 Jacchiades in Dan. i. 17.