The Abomination of Desolation is an idol that will be placed in the Holy Place of the Temple in Jerusalem at least by Nisan 10, the halfway point of the Chevlai Shell Mashiach (Birth-pains of the Messiah), the Tribulation, or the time of Jacob’s Trouble (Jer 30.7; Matt 24.15-15). It will be an image of the False Messiah that will be worshipped (Rev 13.14). This type of thing has happened before and they were pictures of what is to come.
For instance, in 2 Kings 21.1-9 we see that King Manasseh set up an idol in the Temple. Antiochus Epiphanes is a tremendous picture of the False Messiah and he set up an idol of Zeus Kyrios with his face on it in the Temple (1 Maccabees 1.54; 6.7). This is going to happen again with the False Messiah, so let’s get into what is going to happen and what this idol may look like.
Deut 4.15-18 says “So watch yourselves carefully, since you did not see any form on the day the Lord spoke to you at Horeb from the midst of the fire, lest you act corruptly and make a graven image for yourselves in the form of any figure, the likeness of a male or female, the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the sky, the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water below the earth.” This verse expressly prohibits making any likeness of God in any form because nobody knows what God looks like.
This will be the premise as to why the Abomination of Desolation is wrong and it shows that the False Messiah cannot be from God. With that said, let’s discuss this idol and look at some verses and concepts that will give us an idea of what exactly this thing is. We will give you a clue: everybody who is reading this has probably already seen it!
The Abomination of Desolation is “Sikutz Somem” in Hebrew and it means “the idol that causes horror” and it is talked about in the book of Daniel (Dan 9.27; 11.31; 12.11) and referenced to by Yeshua in Matt 24.15. The word “sikutz” is related to the term “sheketz” meaning detestable and abhorrent in Lev 11.1-47, where the Lord talks about the clean and unclean creatures that can be eaten. Sikutz Somem is a contemptuous equivalent to “Ba’al Shamem” which means “Lord of Heaven”, a name for God. But, this idol is not from Heaven (Shamem) but it desolates (Somem), a play on words.
What people need to understand is this, the False Messiah is going to come and be able to deceive the whole world, and if it were possible, even true believers (Matt 24.24). So this idol will look like something biblical, holy, of God but it really isn’t. There are things accepted today by so-called believers that are so unbiblical that if you pointed them out they would get very angry with you, and idols are accepted today by many. You see, the world is being groomed to accept this idol right now, and here is a major example.
Antiochus Epiphanes put a statue of Zeus in the Temple in Jerusalem with his face on it. This was not uncommon with pagan kings, but it is related to the coming idol and False Messiah in this way. Most people have heard of the Shroud of Turin. It is believed by some, especially in the Catholic Church, to be the burial cloth of Yeshua after his crucifixion. This can be disproved in many ways and that is not the purpose of this article, but it is not Yeshua’s face on the shroud.
We know that he was wrapped in linen, like a cocoon, which was the Jewish burial custom at the time (see the raising of Lazarus). That means for the shroud to be authentic it would have no face on it. But what about the face on the shroud. Who is it and how did it get there?
There is an article from the Beaumont Enterprise, Scripps Howard News Service, entitled “Shroud of Turin Provided Model As Early As 31 A D, Expert Says”, and we would like to quote from this article. It says, “A Shroud of Turin scholar says new research indicates the facial image on the shroud, considered by some to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ, provided the model for depictions of god-like figures as early as 31 AD.” He says that the cloth was used for the facial image of a statue of Zeus that dates back to 31 AD and shows that the shroud existed before the 14th century, when some think it came into being.
The scholar is Dr. Alan Whanger, a Duke University professor, who thinks that it predates the 14th century because the face on the shroud is the same face on a statue of Zeus Kyrios dating back to 31 A.D. Now, history tells us that Antiochus put his face on a statue of Zeus and placed it into the Temple. Statues of Zeus after that were made using the same images, which means that they had the face of Antiochus on them.
So, the statue from 31 A.D. had the face of Antiochus on it, who the Bible uses as a picture of the False Messiah. How do we know? The scholar said he “found 70 points of similarity, or congruence, between the shroud and a carved image of Zeus Kyrios dated by its own inscription to 31 A.D., when he compared them through the polarized image overlay technique he developed in 1981.
In a court of law, 45-60 points of congruence are sufficient to establish the identity or same source of face images.” But, instead of proving that the shroud was used as a model for a statue of Zeus, it shows that the face on the shroud is the face of Antiochus Epiphanes, who the Bible says is a type of the False Messiah. The shroud was never used as a model for the statue. They both existed unrelated to each other, except for the face.
To make matters worse, the shroud has been used to depict the “face” of Jesus in art and some think that Jesus looks like the face on the shroud. We have heard people say that they went to Heaven and saw “Jesus” and he looked like the face on the shroud. Now, lets get into the heart of the matter with the Abomination of Desolation.
We know that the “Nachushtan” or the brazen serpent on a pole that Moses made was turned into an idol and eventually destroyed. This pole was a picture of the crucifixion (John 3.14-15). We know that Satan uses paganism to keep people from the truth. So, he gives us a substitute to draw people into false worship and into a “form of Godliness” and to keep us ignorant.
So, with all that said, what is the Abomination of Desolation and what might it look like? In Isaiah chapters 40 through 46, we see the Lord is being compared to an idol that is being set up and it is called “god” by the people (44.17). It is made in the image of a man (44.13), fastened to a tree (40.20) and fastened with nails ( 41.7). It is put in houses (44.13) or worn around the neck (40.19). It is big enough to carry on the shoulder (45.20; 46.7) and it is called an “abomination” (44.19). It is compared to God (40.18, 25) and called God (44.17; 45.20).
Isa 45.20 was used in a Jewish prayer called the Oleynu, and the Catholic Church made them take it out of their prayer because they saw it as an attack on the Crucifix (p 551-552, Hertz Authorized Daily Prayer Book). So, what we have here is a pretty good composite picture of what the Abomination of Desolation is and what it will look like. We believe that it will be a crucifix (the cross with the image of a man hanging on it) and it will be standing in the Holy Place (Matt 24.15-16).
We know that art has used the face on the Shroud of Turin to depict the face of “Jesus”, even in movies today. We know that the Shroud of Turin has the same face as the pagan god Zeus Kyrios statues. We know that the Zeus Kyrios statues has the same face as Antiochus Epiphanes, who God says is a picture of the False Messiah. Therefore, the face on the shroud of Turin is the face of Antiochus Epiphanes. How did it get there?
Deut 13.1-5 says that God will allow a sign or a wonder in order to test you to see whether or not you will follow the sign/wonder or listen to the truth. So, it is possible God allowed the Shroud of Turin in order to test people. We know that we are not to have images of God (Exo 20.4; Deut 4.15-16) but many people go right ahead and do it anyway. The Shroud of Turin is setting people up for the Abomination of Desolation, which could be a crucifix.
The world has been conditioned to accept it, even today. People wear it around their necks, have it in their homes, hospitals and art. The Pope has said that whenever the crucifix is displayed, a statue of Mary should be close by because she was a “co-redemptrix” and advocate of mankind. A few years ago a mass was held in Israel by a Pope and a crucifix and a statue of Mary was seen, and 500,000 people were there and didn’t “blink an eye.” It was accepted and not even commented on. We believe that if a crucifix was placed in the Temple during the Tribulation, it would be accepted by many.
Whether it is a crucifix or not, only God knows, but it wouldn’t be a surprise or out of the question, considering what has just been looked at here. Why use a crucifix in the Temple? What better way to say that the Torah and the sacrifices are done away (remember, the False Messiah does put an end to the sacrifices in the Temple-Dan 9.27) than to put a crucifix in the Temple, the ultimate symbol of Replacement Theology.
Either way, we are not to have images of God in any way. The religion of the False Messiah and the False Prophet will obviously allow such images, and many Christian denominations allow it today, so it is not out of the realm of possibility that the religion behind the False Messiah will be a form of Apostate Christianity, with the Catholic Church leading other Protestant denominations. Out of the question, you say? Pope Francis has reached out to several evangelical Protestant leaders recently and called for unity between the Catholics and Protestants.
A great source for more on the Abomination of Desolation is Hatikva Ministries in Nederland, Texas, and the Jewish Encyclopedia. The conclusion is this, this idol is coming and we believe it will be a crucifix, and the world has been conditioned for it.