Here is something from my book (The Antichrist and the Second Coming, 230-246). It was inspired by Mike's quoting of commentators on this; see here http://preterism.ning.com/profiles/blogs/the-abomination-that-causes-1 My take on this is fairly close to their take.
Excursus 6A: The Abomination of Desolation
Three places in the book of Daniel refer to an abomination of desolation: Daniel 9:27, 11:31, and 12:11. These three sections refer to two different abominations of desolation, one in the second century BC by Antiochus IV (Dan. 11:31; cf. 8:9-14), the other in the first century by Titus and the Romans (Dan. 9:27 and 12:11).
The Abomination of Desolation by Antiochus IV
The reference to the abomination of desolation of Antiochus is the following:
And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation.
The abomination of desolation of Daniel 11:31 refers to the second-century BC desecration of the Temple by Antiochus IV. This abomination of desolation is described in Daniel 8:9-14, where it is referred to as “the transgression of desolation.”
Then I heard a holy one speaking; and another holy one said to that certain one who was speaking, “How long will the vision be, concerning the daily sacrifices and the transgression of desolation, the giving of both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled under foot?” And he said to me, “For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed.”
At the end of the abomination of Antiochus (after either 1,150 or 2,300 days), the Temple would be cleansed (Dan. 8:14). Notice (below) that this outcome is very different from the abomination of desolation by Titus.
The Abomination of Desolation by Titus
The references to the abomination of desolation by Titus are as follows:
Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate. Even until the consummation which is determined, is poured out on the desolate.
The abomination of desolation of Daniel 9:27 refers to the coming of Titus, the one who would make the Jewish nation desolate. At the end of Titus’ abomination, instead of being cleansed, the Temple would be destroyed (Dan. 9:26) and the Jewish nation would be shattered (Dan. 12:7-11).
The second reference to the abomination of desolation by Titus is the following:
And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up [to the end of the age, cf. vv. 6-8], there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days.
Even though Daniel 12:11 is closer linguistically to 11:31, the abomination of desolation that it references is the one found in Daniel 9:27, the coming of the one who would make Israel desolate. It would be 1,290 days from the coming of Titus to the shattering of the Jewish nation (Dan. 12:7). It should be remembered that a shift from the second century BC to the end of the old covenant age (the time of the great tribulation and resurrection, Dan. 12:1-2) takes place at Daniel 11:36 (cf. 2 Thess. 2:4). With this in mind, the context of the abomination of desolation of Daniel 12:11 is clearly not the second century BC but the AD 70 shattering of the Jewish nation. Indeed, the abomination of desolation of Daniel 12:11 was given as a sign for the countdown to the end of all the prophesied events in Daniel (Dan. 12:6-11). Titus came to the Holy Land around February of AD 67 (cf. Dan. 11:40-45); 1,290 days later (in early September of AD 70) the Jewish nation was left shattered. The Temple was not cleansed at this time, it was destroyed (Dan. 9:26-27).
The Jewish Expectation of Two Abominations of Desolation
That there are two different abominations of desolation in Daniel (one by Antiochus and one by Titus) was a recognized distinction in first-century Judaism. Josephus writes the following on this:
Daniel wrote that . . . from among them [the four divisions of Alexander the Great’s Empire; cf. Dan. 8:8-14] there should arise a certain king that should overcome our nation and their laws, and should take away our political government, and should spoil the temple, and forbid the sacrifices to be offered for three years’ time. And indeed it so came to pass, that our nation suffered these things under Antiochus Epiphanes, according to Daniel’s vision, and what he wrote many years before they came to pass. In the very same manner Daniel also wrote concerning the Roman government, and that our country should be made desolate by them. All these things did this man leave in writing, as God had shewed them to him, insomuch that such as read his prophecies, and see how they have been fulfilled, would wonder at the honour where with God honored Daniel.22
The above quote is both interesting and informative. Josephus is attributing the transgression of desolation of Daniel 8:9-14 (and presumably 11:31) to Antiochus IV. If the 2,300 evening-mornings of Daniel 8:14 (NASB) are taken as 1,150 days (i.e., 2,300 evening and morning sacrifices at 2 sacrifices a day equals 1,150 days) it equals the 3 years that Josephus references in regards to Antiochus’ abomination (as opposed to the 3½ years of the 1,290 days of Daniel 12:6-11). In contrast, Josephus is attributing the abomination of desolation of Daniel 9:26-27 and 12:11 to the Roman desolation of the Jewish nation in AD 70.
Notice how Josephus subtly minimizes Titus’ responsibility in his discussion. While he attributes the spoiling of the Temple in the second century BC to Antiochus, the desolation of the Jewish nation in AD 70 is attributed in a more general manner to the Romans, not to Titus. Daniel 9:26 does lend itself to this minimization, however, as it says “the people of the prince to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.”
That Josephus wrote of two different abominations of desolation (without feeling the need to give much elaboration) would seem to indicate that it was not an uncommon distinction in first-century Judaism. This would explain how it was that Jesus was prophesying an abomination of desolation within his generation (Matt. 23:15, 34). Jesus was referring to the abomination of desolation of Daniel 9:27 and 12:11, the one that would result in the destruction of the Temple (Dan. 9:26) and shattering of the Jewish nation at the AD 70 end of the old covenant age (Dan. 12:6-7; cf. Matt. 24:13).
Notice that Josephus did not regard the book of Daniel as a second-century pseudo-prophecy; rather, he saw it as a true and wondrous ancient prophecy written by Daniel many years before the events it describes happened. This supports our proposition that first-century Jews saw Daniel as containing very real prophecy that directly related to events in their time.23
In examining the AD 70 abomination of desolation, it is helpful to look at the specifics of Daniel 9:27. This is somewhat difficult, however, because different translations render the verse quite differently. The NKJV rendering of verse 27 is the one that makes the most sense to me:
Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate. Even until the consummation which is determined, is poured out on the desolate
Daniel 9:27 NKJV (underlined emphasis mine)
The abomination of desolation of Daniel 9:27 (which is the abomination of desolation that Dan. 12:11 is referencing) refers to the coming of the one who would execute God’s wrath on the Jews (cf. Dan. 11:36), the one who would make the Jewish nation desolate. This refers to the coming of Titus in AD 67. Below is Edward J. Young’s more literal translation of Daniel 9:27, which is in agreement with the NKJV:
And he shall cause to prevail a covenant for the many one seven, and in the midst of the seven he shall cause sacrifice and oblation to cease, and upon the wing of abominations (is) one making desolate, and until end and that determined shall pour upon the desolate.
Daniel 9:27 Edward J. Young’s translation (underlined emphasis mine)
Now consider the New Revised Standard Version of Daniel 9:27; it is substantially different from the two just given:
He shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall make sacrifice and offering cease; and in their place shall be an abomination that desolates, until the decreed end is poured out upon the desolator.
Daniel 9:27 NRSV (underlined emphasis mine)
Miller writes the following about this translation: “The NRSV follows an emendation of the Hebrew text that reads ‘in their place’ rather than the MT’s [Masoretic Text] ‘on the wing of.’”24
The New International Version provides yet another rendering of Daniel 9:27:
He will confirm a covenant with many for one “seven.” In the middle of the “seven” he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing [of the temple] he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.
Daniel 9:27 NIV (brackets in original, underlined emphasis mine)
The NRSV and NIV make it sound like the abomination of desolation refers to something being set up in the Temple. Notice, however, that the reference to the Temple in the NIV is in brackets; it is not in the original. Miller writes the following on this:
The NIV’s translation would indicate that Antichrist will place some kind of object (“abomination”) in the temple precincts (“on a wing of the temple”) that will be offensive to the Jews and cause them not to worship there (“causes desolation”). “Of the temple” is placed in brackets by the NIV translators, showing that it is not in the Hebrew text. The NIV’s interpretation (followed by Montgomery) is possible but would seem unlikely since “wing” (kānāp) is not found elsewhere in the Old Testament referring to a part of a building or building complex. Moreover, “abomination” is plural (“abominations”) in the Hebrew so that if taken with “desolation” it would literally read “abominations of desolation” rather than “abomination of desolation” as in 11:31 and 12:11 . . . A literal rendering of the Hebrew text is, “And on the wing of abominations one who causes desolation [will come].”25 (brackets in original, emphasis mine)
The NRSV and NIV both change what is plural in the Hebrew of verse 27 (“abominations”) to the singular (“abomination”). Presumably this was done to match the singular for abomination that is found in Daniel 11:31 and 12:11. I will discuss the significance of “abominations” below. I find the literal rendering of Daniel 9:27 that Miller gives (which is essentially the same as the one given by Young and the NKJV) to be the one that makes the most sense. This abomination of desolation refers to the coming of the one who would make Israel desolate. The coming of Titus and the Romans in early AD 67 did indeed mark the beginning of the great tribulation (Matt. 24:15-21).
Finally, there is disagreement among translations about whether the consummation of the judgment was to be poured out on “the desolate” (v. 27 NKJV) or on “the one who makes desolate” (v. 27 NASB). Scriptural support for both readings can be found. Given that verse 26 parallels verse 27 (see below), it should be noted that verse 26 says desolations on Jerusalem were determined until the end of the war (i.e., judgment would be poured out on the desolate city). Similarly, Daniel 11:36 says that the Antichrist would prosper until the wrath determined on Israel was finished. These factors support the reading of God’s judgment being poured out on “the desolate” (i.e., desolate Israel).
On the other hand, however, Scripture does show the desolator, the Antichrist, coming to his end at this time (Dan. 7:21-22, 26; 11:45; 2 Thess. 2:8). Revelation 17-19 shows the end of both the harlot city of Jerusalem (cf. Ezek. 16) and the end of the Antichrist at this time (cf. Rev. 17:16). The beast from the abyss destroys the harlot city in Revelation 17-18 and then he is destroyed by the Second Advent in Revelation 19 (vv. 11-21). Because Daniel 9:27 parallels verse 26, I am inclined to again accept the translation of the NKJV and Young: the consummation of God’s wrath would be poured out on desolate Israel at the end of the seventy weeks (cf. Matt. 23:32-38).
Daniel 9:26 and 27 Parallel Each Other
To gain a better understanding of Daniel 9:27 it is helpful to look at Daniel 9:26, as the two verses parallel each other.26 That is, the first part of each verse gives the actions and resulting consequences of the ministry of the Christ; the second part of each verse gives the actions and resulting consequences of the “ministry” of the Antichrist. I have put Christ and Antichrist in brackets before the sections in each verse that apply to them.
26. [Christ] And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off but not for Himself; [Antichrist] and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined.
27. [Christ] Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. [Antichrist] And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate. Even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate.
The Christ would be killed (v. 26); his death, being the ultimate sacrifice (cf. John 1:29), would put an end to need and legitimacy of the sacrificial system (v. 27, cf. Heb. 10:5-18). After this the Antichrist would come and destroy Jerusalem and the Temple (v. 26); his coming would result in Israel being made desolate (v. 27). Keep in mind that the seventy sevens, or weeks, of Daniel 9:24-27 were specifically related to the Jews and the city of Jerusalem: “Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city . . .” (Dan. 9:24).
Daniel 9:26 says that the Messiah would be cut off and then the people of the prince to come would destroy Jerusalem and the Temple.27 Jesus was crucified around AD 30; the Romans under Titus destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in AD 70.28 This means there is a gap of about thirty-seven years between the end of the first half of the seventieth week (which ended at AD 30) and the beginning of the second half (which began with Titus’ coming in early AD 67).29 Seeing as how Scripture shows the last three-and-a-half years of the seventieth week as happening right before the parousia (Dan. 7:21-27; cf. Rev. 13:4-7), it is hard to deny a gap.
The last half of Daniel’s seventieth week ends with the AD 70 shattering of the Jewish nation (Dan. 12:7; cf. Rev. 11:2), not AD 33 (as would be true if there were no gap). To say the destruction of Jerusalem is outside of the seventy weeks (as some preterists do) is nonsensical; the seventy weeks specifically related to the city of Jerusalem (Dan. 9:24). It should be noted that while I do acknowledge a gap in the middle of the seventieth week, it is nothing in comparison to the two-thousand-year gap that many futurists allege between the sixty-ninth and seventieth weeks.
Notice that those who believe the book of Daniel culminates with the events of the second century BC have a very serious problem in Daniel 9:26: Antiochus IV did not destroy either Jerusalem or the Temple.30 As Baldwin notes, “Commentators who argue that Antiochus Epiphanes fulfilled this prophecy are at a loss to account for the fact that he destroyed neither the Temple, nor the city of Jerusalem.” 31 In addition to this, the end of Antiochus’ campaign against the Jews did not result in the shattering of Daniel’s people (cf. Dan. 12:7). The Jews eventually won their struggle against the Seleucids. After Antiochus’ abomination of desolation, the Temple was cleansed (Dan. 8:11-14). In contrast, after Titus’ abomination of desolation, the Temple was destroyed (Dan. 9:26-27); this was the time of the shattering of the Jewish nation (Dan. 12:7-11).
Jesus’ Three-and-a-Half-Year Ministry Was the
First Half of Daniel’s Seventieth Week
Daniel 9:27 revisits the subject of the first half of verse 26 in a slightly different form (v. 26 “And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself . . . .”). Daniel 9:27 says, “Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week . . . .” The “he” here is the Messiah of verse 26 (cf. Is. 53:10-11 NASB; Matt. 26:28).32 Young translates verse 27 as “He shall cause to prevail a covenant for the many one seven . . . .” Young notes that Daniel does not use the normal idiom for making a covenant here:
He shall cause to prevail a covenant—the writer does not mean to say that he will make a covenant. The ordinary idiom to express such a thought is “to cut a covenant,” and this idiom is not used here. Now, if the writer had wished to state that a covenant would be made, why did he not employ the ordinary Hebrew idiom for expressing such a thought? Why did he use this strange phrase “cause to prevail” which appears in only one other passage of the OT, Ps. 12:4.33 (emphasis in original)
Psalm 12:3-4 reads: “. . . the tongue that speaks proud things [has] said, ‘With our tongue we will prevail; Our lips are our own; who is lord over us?’” (underlined emphasis mine). Daniel 9:27 is thus not a reference to Antichrist making a seven year covenant with Israel (something never shown in Scripture); it is a reference to Christ causing the (new) covenant to prevail.
In the middle of this seven, God’s sacrifice and offering would be brought to an end (cf. “. . . in the midst of the week my sacrifice and drink-offering shall be taken away” Dan. 9:27 LXX); after that, the one who would make the Jewish nation desolate would come. Thus, the first half of Daniel’s seventieth week involved the three-and-a-half years of Jesus’ ministry (cf. Luke 13:6-9). At the end of this three-and-a-half-year period (in the middle of the seventieth week) Jesus, through his sacrifice on the cross, established the new covenant; this brought an end to the legitimacy of the sacrificial system (i.e., God’s involvement in the sacrificial system, cf. Heb. 10:5-18).34 The curtain to the most holy place of the Temple being torn from top to bottom was a sign of this end (Matt. 27:50-51).
Titus’ Three-and-a-Half-Year “Ministry” Was the
Last Half of Daniel’s Seventieth Week
The last half of Daniel’s seventieth week would be the three-and-a-half years of Titus’ “ministry,” from March/April of AD 67 to August/September of AD 70. This was the time period of “a time, times, and half a time,” the time of the great tribulation (Dan. 7:23-27; 12:1-7).35 This last half of Daniel’s seventieth week confirmed the new covenant; at its conclusion, the means of keeping the old covenant (the sacrificial system of the Temple) was gone (cf. Matt. 21:33-45). The last half of Daniel’s seventieth week is thus associated with the coming of the one who would make the Jewish nation desolate (cf. Dan. 9:27; 12:7), the coming of Titus. To quote Miller’s literal rendering of the abomination of desolation of verse 27 again: “And on the wing of abominations one who causes desolation [will come].”36 (brackets in original)
It should be noted that, contrary to what dispensationalists claim, Scripture nowhere shows the Antichrist making a seven-year covenant with Israel. The time period associated with the Antichrist is always three-and-a-half years (Dan. 7:25; 12:7; 13:4-7; cf. Rev. 11:2). As to the meaning of Messiah confirming/causing to prevail the new covenant for one seven (cf. “And one week shall establish the covenant with many . . . .” Dan. 9:27 LXX), this prefigures the two-stage establishment of the kingdom of God. The new covenant was established at the (AD 30) death of the Messiah at the conclusion of the first half of the seventieth week. This was the time when Jesus possessed all authority “in heaven and on earth” (Matt. 28:18; cf. Dan. 7:13-14). Satan was cast out of heaven at this time of Jesus’ resurrection (John 12:31-32), as the kingdom of God was established in heaven, but not yet fully established on earth (see Rev. 12:1-12, especially vv. 10-12).
It was at the AD 70 destruction of the land of Israel, at the end of the last half of Daniel’s seventieth week (cf. Dan. 12:1-7), that the kingdom of God fully prevailed in the earthly realm. At this time God took his great power and fully started reigning (Rev. 11:15-18). This was after the three-and-a-half-year reign of terror of Titus (cf. Rev. 11:7-14); it was the time when the saints possessed the kingdom, as the kingdom of God was fully established on earth (Dan. 7:23-27; cf. Dan. 2:40-45). Thus, Jesus caused the covenant/kingdom to prevail in heaven at the AD 30 conclusion of the first half of Daniel’s seventieth week. He then caused the covenant/kingdom to prevail on earth with his coming at the AD 70 conclusion of the second half of Daniel’s seventieth week (Rev. 19:11-20:4; cf. Dan. 7:21-27).
The Abomination of Desolation in the Gospels
Looking at Daniel 9:26-27, it is easy to see how the Gospel writers associated the abomination of desolation with the coming destruction of Jerusalem at the shattering of the Jewish nation. The coming of Titus and the Romans would be the signal that it was time for those in Judea to flee for their lives (Matt. 24:15-16; Mark 13:14; cf. Luke 21:20-24). Jesus quite correctly prophesied that this abomination of desolation would happen before the generation listening to him had passed away (Matt. 24:34; Mark 13:30; Luke 21:32).
That Mark associated the abomination of desolation with Daniel 9:27’s coming of the one who would make desolate may explain why the literal translation of Mark 13:14 is when you see the abomination of desolation “standing where he ought not.”37 The desolator of the Jewish nation standing where he ought not did not necessarily mean the Temple;38 the whole land of Israel was considered holy by the Jews.39 Along these lines, it should be noted that Matthew’s phrase “in the holy place” is anarthrous (i.e., it does not have a definite article) and is better translated as in a holy place or in the Holy Land. Stanley Frost writes the following on this:
Matthew, following Mark more closely than Luke, but mindful of the Danielic origin of the phrase [abomination of desolation], draws the reader’s attention to that origin and explicated the phrase “where he ought not” in accordance therewith as “in the holy place.” The phrase is anarthrous and so is properly ‘a holy place,’ and is taken by some to mean the Holy Land in general.40
Titus merely setting foot on sacred Jewish soil with the abominations (i.e., the idols, cf. Deut. 29:17; Jer. 32:34) on the Roman standards fulfilled the prophecy of the abomination of desolation; this happened around February of AD 67. As Daniel was told, 1,290 days later the Jewish nation was left shattered (Dan. 12:6-11). Notice how the abomination of desolation was to happen at the beginning of the tribulation, not the end (Matt. 24:15-21). This was the time for those in Judea to flee (Matt. 24:16). By the end of the war it was way too late to flee.
“When You See Jerusalem Surrounded by Armies,
Then Know That Its Desolation Is Near”
Luke, in explaining the abomination of desolation to a more Gentile audience, interprets it in terms of Jerusalem being surrounded by armies: “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her” (Luke 21:20-21, see parallel sections in Matthew 24:15-21 and Mark 13:14-19 that use the more technical term, abomination of desolation). As Luke continues, there can be no question that he is referring to the AD 70 shattering of the Jewish nation:
But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by the Gentiles until the time of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
Luke’s explanation of the phrase abomination of desolation in terms of Jerusalem being surrounded by armies can be accounted for by the fact that the Hebrew word for abominations in Daniel 9:27 (“on the wing of abominations”) is shiqquts. Shiqquts is closely associated with pagan idolatry in the OT; in certain places it is synonymous with the word idol (e.g., 1 Kings 11:5, 7; 2 Kings 23:13). With this in mind, the phrase abomination of desolation could be rendered as the idol of desolation or idol that makes desolate. The abominations/idols that the Roman army carried were on its standards. The Roman standards had images of the reigning Caesar on them that were the object of worship.41
Luke would not have expected his Gentile audience to necessarily be familiar with the Danielic allusion to idols contained in the phrase abomination of desolation and thus interprets the abomination/idol of desolation in terms of Jerusalem being surrounded by armies. The Roman armies, led by Vespasian and Titus, would come flooding into the land with their idolatrous standards in early AD 67. The coming of these idols that make desolate marked the beginning of the end for Israel, the beginning of the great tribulation (Dan. 12:1-11; Matt 24:15-28).
Thus, in a general sense the abomination of desolation involved the coming of the Romans (bringing the abominations/idols on their standards to the Holy Land, especially Jerusalem). In a more specific sense the abomination of desolation involved the coming of the one who would make Israel desolate (Dan. 9:27), the coming of Titus. These events happened in the winter of AD 66-67.
Interestingly, Jerusalem was first surrounded by the Roman army just a few months before Titus came. This happened in November of AD 66; it involved the Roman governor of Syria (Cestius Gallus) who had come with his legion to quell civil unrest in the city. Cestius’ army surrounded Jerusalem at this time and could have taken it, but inexplicably they retreated and in doing so were severely defeated by Jewish rebels. This was the first battle of the Jewish war (cf. Dan. 11:40-41). Josephus tells us that many Jews did indeed flee Jerusalem at that time: “After the disastrous defeat of Cestius, many prominent Jews abandoned the City like swimmers, a sinking ship” (The Jewish War 2, 20, 1). One can only conclude that a number of these people were believers heeding the words of Jesus to flee when they saw the abomination/idol that makes desolate (Matt. 24:15-21). Titus came to the Holy Land about three months later.
On the Wing of Abominations
Daniel 9:27 says that the one who would make the Jewish nation desolate would come “on the wing of abominations.” Strong gives the following possible meanings for the word wing here (Heb. kānāp):
3671 kanaph . . . an edge or extremity; specifically (of a bird or army) a wing, (of a garment or bed-clothing) a flap, (of the earth) a quarter, (of a building) a pinnacle.42
The exact meaning of “wing” in Daniel 9:27 is obscure; this has led to many proposed solutions as to how it should be interpreted. Of the possible meanings given by Strong, it is clear that the literal wing of a bird is not meant, although wing could be used metaphorically (cf. Dan. 9:27 KJV) or the wing of the eagle could symbolize Rome (cf. Deut. 28:49; Matt. 24:28). A flap of clothing or a corner of the earth can easily be ruled out. Young thinks the extremity of a building (the pinnacle of the Temple) is the meaning here but admits this would be the only place in the Bible it is used that way.43 I believe the meaning that makes the most sense for kānāp in the context of Daniel 9:27 is the wing (or advancing edge) of an invading army. Consistent with this interpretation, the translators of the King James Version gave an alternative reading of this part of verse 27 as “with the abominable armies.”44 The one who would make Israel desolate was coming with a wing of an army full of abominations/idols. This was Titus coming with the fifteenth legion of the Roman army in AD 67.
Notice how Daniel 9:26 says that the end of Jerusalem would come “with a flood.” The word for flood here is found in Daniel 11:22 where it indicates the sweeping away of lesser armed forces by those that are more powerful. The image of a flood is similarly used elsewhere in Daniel and the OT as a metaphor for an invading army overflowing its borders and invading another country:
At the time of the end the king of the south shall attack him. But the king of the north shall rush upon him like a whirlwind, with chariots and horsemen, and with many ships. He shall advance against countries and pass through like a flood.
Daniel 11:40 NRSV; cf. vv. 10, 26
Consider Isaiah 8:7-8; like Daniel 9:26-27 it uses the image of a flood in the first verse and wings in the next verse as parallel references to an invading army coming against Judah:
7. The Lord is bringing up against it the mighty flood waters of the River, the king of Assyria and all his glory; it will rise above all its channels and overflow all its banks;
8. it will sweep on into Judah as a flood, and pouring over, it will reach up to the neck; and its outspread wings will fill the breadth of your land, O Immanuel.
Isaiah 8:7-8 NRSV (underlined emphasis mine)
I believe the references to the destruction of a flood in Daniel 9:26 (“. . . the end of it [Jerusalem] shall be with a flood, . . .”) and a wing in verse 27 (“. . . and on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate . . . .”) are similarly parallel references to an invading army. My proposal to translate kānāp as a wing of an invading army may help to explain why Luke associated the abomination of desolation with armies: “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near” (Luke 21:20).45
Although Young would disagree with my translation of “wing” in v. 27, he does agree with my basic interpretation of Daniel 9:26-27:
After Christ’s death the sacrifices continued for a time, until the destruction of the city by Titus. However, this actual cessation was in reality but the outward manifestation of that which had already been put into effect by our Lord’s death . . . Since the Messiah has caused sacrifices and oblation to cease [by his death], there comes a desolator over the temple, and devastation continues until a full, determined end pours forth upon the desolation . . . The historical reference, I believe, is found in the destruction of the Temple by Titus.46
Ultimately, the less than clear meaning of “wing” in Daniel 9:27 does not change the basic sense of the verse. Daniel 9:27 is saying that the coming of the one who would make the Jewish nation desolate would be associated with idols and/or abominations. In a specific sense, Titus came with an army full of idols. In a more general sense, his coming was associated with numerous abominations by the Jews (cf. Dan. 9:27 KJV: “. . . and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate . . . .” see The Jewish War 4, 6, 3).
Putting all this together, I see the meaning of the abomination of desolation of Daniel 9:27 as being the following: “And on the wing [of an army] of abominations [i.e., containing idols] shall be one who makes desolate.” Titus came with a wing of an army full of abominations, the idols on the Roman standards; 1,290 days later the Jewish nation was left shattered and desolate (Dan. 12:6-11).
I shall conclude my examination of the book of Daniel with a summary of its description of the timing of the establishment of God’s kingdom as well as a summary of its teaching on the Antichrist.
22. Josephus, The Antiquities of the Jews, 10, 11, 7, Josephus’ Complete Works, trans. William Whiston, 227. It would appear that in Josephus’ mind the seventy weeks of Daniel ended at AD 70 (Dan. 9:26-27).
23. Some would say that Jesus’ mention of Daniel’s abomination of desolation in the Gospels did not mean that Jesus thought Daniel actually prophesied a first-century AD event. Rather (these people would say) Jesus was indicating that a first-century event would happen that was like the abomination of desolation in the second century BC that Daniel was talking about. This is definitely not what Josephus was saying; he was saying that Daniel was giving true prophecies, some of which found their fulfillment in the first century AD.
24. Miller, Daniel, 272.
25. Ibid., 272-273. Miller thinks this refers to a future Antichrist, however.
26. Kenneth L. Gentry, Perilous Times: A Study in Eschatological Evil (Texarkana, AR: Covenant Media Press, 1999), 23, 32. I agree with Gentry that Daniel 9:26-27 parallel each other. I disagree, however, with his contention that the destruction of Jerusalem falls outside the seventy weeks (pp. 24-25). The seventy weeks were determined for the Jews and Jerusalem (v. 24). It is incongruous to say that the destruction of Jerusalem falls outside the seventy weeks related to it.
27. When one compares Daniel 9:26 with Daniel 12:1 (which also talks about a ruler and his people), Daniel 12:1 is similarly referring to a spiritual prince (the angel Michael) and his people (cf. Dan. 10:13, 20-21).
28. The reference in v. 26 to the destruction of Jerusalem coming by way of “a flood” speaks of a foreign army invading the Holy Land. The OT uses the image of a flood to represent a foreign power overflowing its borders and sweeping into the Land (cf. Dan. 11:10, 22, 40 NIV; Is. 8:5-10). This happened when the Roman armies flooded into the Holy Land in AD 67 (cf. Matt. 24:36-39).
29. That the second half of Daniel’s seventieth week is separated from the first half is also shown by the fact that the last half of the seventieth week keeps showing up in Scripture as the time period of three-and-a-half right before the AD 70 Second Advent (cf. Dan. 7:21-25). This last half of Daniel’s seventieth week would be the period when the Antichrist would overcome the Jews/saints (Dan. 7:25; Rev. 13:5-7). It would be the time of the great tribulation; it would end with the resurrection at the time of the destruction of the Jewish nation (Dan. 12:1-7; cf. Rev. 11). This hardly fits AD 33, which would be the end of the seventy weeks if there was no gap between Messiah being cut off and the coming of the one who would make the Jewish nation desolate.
30. Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed twice, the first time by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C., the second and last time by Titus in AD 70, cf. Josephus, The Jewish War, 6, 10, 1.
31. Baldwin, Daniel, 171.
32. Some say the “he” of Daniel 9:27 (“Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week”) refers not to the Messiah of Daniel 9:26 but to the Antichrist, the prince to come. This interpretation says that a future Antichrist will make a covenant with the Jews for seven years which he breaks after three-and-a-half years. While this is grammatically a possible interpretation of Daniel 9:26-27, when one looks at the rest of Scripture, it has no support. Nowhere does Scripture speak of the Antichrist making a seven-year covenant with the Jews (or anyone else); the timeframe associated with Antichrist is always three-and-a-half years (e.g., Dan. 7:25; 12:7; Rev. 11:2; 13:5, etc.).
33. Young, A Commentary on Daniel, 209.
34. Interestingly, there is a Jewish tradition that supports the idea that the Jewish sacrificial system was invalid after the death of Jesus. Every year on the Day of Atonement a scapegoat (which symbolically carried Israel’s sin) would be driven into the wilderness. When the scapegoat had reached the wilderness (indicating that Israel’s sin was forgiven) a crimson wool thread tied to the Temple would turn white. According to Jewish sources, this thread never turned white during the last forty years of the second Temple. Zev Vilnay, Legends of Jerusalem, The Sacred Land, vol. 1 (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1973), 115-116. This story is consistent with the idea that from the time of the death of Jesus in AD 30 to the destruction of the Temple in AD 70, Israel’s sin ceased to be atoned for by the sacrifices and offerings of the Temple.
35. Many resist the idea that there is any gap in the seventy weeks. I disagree with this, although I also disagree with those who say there is a two-thousand-year gap. That there is a gap between the first half of the seventieth week and its second half can be seen in the fact that the last half of the week is shown as happening right before the Second Coming (Dan. 7:21-27; Rev. 13:5). Also the events that the seventy weeks were to accomplish (e.g., sealing up of vision and prophet, v. 24) were fully accomplished in AD 70, not AD 33. If the first and second half of the seventieth week are not separated, then Daniel’s seventy weeks would be teaching that vision and prophet were sealed up at AD 33. The first half of Daniel’s seventieth week ends with Jesus putting an end to the legitimacy of sacrifice in AD 30; the second half ends with the consummation of God’s judgment being poured out on desolate Israel in AD 70 (Dan. 9:27). The last half of the seventieth week (a time, times, and half a time) ended with the shattering of the Jews (Dan. 12:7). It should be noted that Jesus associated the abomination of desolation with the destruction of Jerusalem (Matt. 24:15, 34; Luke 21:20). This refers to the events leading up to AD 70, not AD 33, and necessitates a gap between the first half and second half of Daniel’s seventy weeks.
36. Miller, Daniel, 272-273.
37. George R. Beasley-Murray, Jesus and the Last Days (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1993), 410. Beasley-Murray writes, “In Mark 13:14 . . . the neuter to bdelygma [abomination] is followed by a masculine participle, hestekota, ‘standing where he ought not.’”
38. Titus would eventually take the Roman standards into the Temple. This was at the end of the war, however, which would make Jesus’ warning for those in Judea to flee to the mountains totally useless (Matt. 24:15-16; Mark 13:14).
39. The Mishnah (Kelim 1:6-1:9) speaks of ten degrees of holiness of the Holy Land; these increasing areas of holiness begin with the land of Israel and culminate with the Holy of Holies. Josephus recorded the following spoken by the Jews (in AD 40) to the Roman legate who had orders to set a statue of Caligula in the Temple: “They explained it was not permissible for a graven image of God, let alone of a man, to be placed not only in their sanctuary but in any ordinary place in the country.” Josephus, The Jewish War, 2, 10, 4, trans. Gaalya Cornfeld, 158.
40. Stanley B. Frost, “Abomination that Makes Desolate” in The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, eds. George Arthur Buttrick and Emory Steven Bucke (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1962), 14.
41. Describing the Roman standards that Pontius Pilate brought into Jerusalem (c. AD 26-36), Josephus said the following: “He introduced into Jerusalem by night and undercover the effigies of Caesar that are called standards.” Josephus, The Jewish War, 2, 9, 2, trans. Gaalya Cornfeld, 155. There was such uproar over the Roman standards standing in the holy city (standing where they ought not) that they had to be withdrawn. It would be when those in first-century Judea saw these Roman standards (the idols of desolation) on Jewish soil that they should flee (Matt. 24:15-16; Mark 13:14; Luke 21:20).
42. James Strong, The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary, 56.
43. Young, Daniel, 218.
44. Biblos.com Parallel Bible: http://kjt.biblecommenter.com/daniel/9.htm.
45. It should again be noted that the abomination of desolation mentioned in the Gospels is not talking about the Romans worshiping their standards in the Temple in AD 70. One would be quite lucky to still be alive at that point (although Josephus said that at this time it was the dead who were more lucky) and it would be impossible to flee.46. Young, Daniel, 218-219.