(1) No Tribulation Temple
There is a lot of wrong teaching on this subject; but I will attempt to present a concise argument why there will not be a tribulation Temple, and what the abomination actually will be. The Abomination of Desolation is not the stopping of the sacrifice, or the setting up of an image in the Temple, because the Jewish Temple will never be rebuilt until the return of Christ.
One reason the Temple will not be rebuilt is because Muslims control the Temple Mount, and they will never let the Jews build the Temple there. To believe otherwise ignores 1400 years of history, much Scripture, and is just wishful thinking. I have already proven that the 7-year peace treaty is false. Also, a good number of Jews will convert to Christianity before the last half of Daniel’s 70th week, as we saw in previous chapters. Plus, many Jews do not believe that the Temple should be built until the coming of Messiah.
If in fact a 7-year agreement were to occur, which would allow the Jews to rebuild their Temple, it would mean that they have less than 3.5 years to actually cut all the stones and rebuild the Temple, which would be a real rush job. But it would take longer than that to do the archaeological excavation of the site before building.
Seriously, do you really believe that the Jews, who care greatly for every piece of pottery relating to their history in Israel, would build on top of perhaps the greatest archaeological treasures in world history? Some people are just not thinking clearly! The Temple Mount most certainly has incredible artifacts buried there, such as evidence for both Temples which could reveal what they looked like, how they were built, how they were destroyed, etc.
Add to this, the fact that we do not know the exact length of the cubit. Some people believe it was 1.5 feet, but the measure is not known for certain. Without an exact measure, how can the Temple and the articles in the Temple be made? This is another reason to do a complete archaeological excavation of the site, to find evidence of the other temples. Such an excavation would take many years.
Also, if God wanted the Temple rebuilt, it could have been built during the rule of Emperor Julian, who favored non-Christian religions. He even provided public funds to rebuild the Temple, but God stopped it. First, there were very high winds that blew dirt and covered up what had been dug; then an earthquake in 363 A.D. destroyed much work, and killed some of the workers. But the work continued; then explosive gases came up from crevices in the ground and burst into fire, burning some of the workers until they finally gave up. But that was not all:
A more tangible and still more extraordinary miracle ensued; suddenly the sign of the cross appeared spontaneously on the garments of the persons engaged in the undertaking. These crosses looked like stars, and appeared the work of art. Many were hence led to confess that Christ is God, and that the rebuilding of the Temple was not pleasing to Him; others presented themselves in the church, were initiated, and besought Christ, with hymns and supplications, to pardon their transgression. (The Jew in the medieval world: a source book, 315-1791. By Jacob Rader Marcus, Marc Saperstein, Hebrew Union College Press, 2000, page 12)
God kept it from being built, but we are expected to believe that God is going to change his mind and allow it to be rebuilt just in time for the Antichrist to desecrate it? No, there will not be an Antichrist Temple!
The claim is made that Paul and the other Apostles did not reject the Temple, and that they continued to practice Judaism; but Jesus did not give them detailed information about the coming changes before he went to heaven; which is why the Holy Spirit gave Peter the dream about not calling unclean what God has made clean. God revealed things to them gradually, which is why they had the argument in Acts 15; which concluded that the Gentiles do not have to keep the Law of Moses, but only the Jews. So even if they originally did not reject the Temple and its service, they certainly would have done so after the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D., because they knew that the Old Covenant had been replaced by the New Covenant, and that the old would soon stop completely, as seen in Hebrews:
In speaking of a new covenant He has made the first one old. Now that which is decaying and growing old is ready to vanish away. (8:13)
The abomination, as we are expected to believe, would occur by the Antichrist stopping the sacrifice in the Temple, entering the Temple, and declaring himself God. But offering sacrifices for sin in the Temple would be a far greater abomination. Offering sacrifices would be trampling on, or attempting to void, the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins. This is why God will never again allow any offerings for sin in the Temple, or even allow the Temple to be rebuilt for the purpose of offering such sacrifices.
What about the statements of Jesus and Paul, that seem to refer to the literal Temple? What Paul said about it in 2 Thessalonians 2, was explained above, the other is given below.
(2) The Temple Mount
So if the Temple is not going to be rebuilt, then what is the Abomination spoken of by Daniel and Jesus? There are a few possibilities, and I will present the most likely ones here:
“So when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. (Matt. 24:15-16)
“Abomination” is defined as “to be filthy,” “to loathe,” “to abhor,” and refers to something that is disgusting and detestable. The term “abomination of desolation” refers to the desecration of a holy site or something that offends the religious sensibilities of a people.
A previous abomination of desolation was when Antiochus Epiphanes erected a statue of Zeus in the Most Holy Place in the Temple and burned sacrifices on the altar to Zeus. Another abomination of desolation occurred when the Romans destroyed the city and the Temple, then afterwards brought in their ensigns on the Temple Mount and offered sacrifices to them. There was not even a Temple on the site, and yet it was considered an abomination. These were certainly abominations of desolation, but the context of Matthew 24 puts it still in the future, likely in the Great Tribulation.
In the 5th century, the first Islamic empire conquered the Middle East. When Caliph Omar entered Jerusalem after its capitulation, he rode his horse to the Temple Mount, at which time the Patriarch Sophronius muttered, “Behold the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet,” (Steve Runciman, A History of The Crusades. Volume One: The First Crusade, Cambridge Univ. Press, 1951, p. 3).
Some sources report Sophronius saying, “So this is the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet standing in the holy place.” Some sources report that he made that statement upon Omar’s arrival at the Temple Mount, while others say that he made it after Omar built the first wooden structure that later became the Dome of the Rock. The seventh century bishop and historian, Sebeos, agreed with Sophronius:
Sebeos tells of the “horror of the invasion of the Ishmaelites who conquered land and sea.” He too saw in the Arab conquests the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy. (Greek Christian and Other Accounts of the Muslim Conquests of the Near East, by Demetrios Constantelos, in The Legacy of Jihad, Edited by Andrew G. Bostom. p. 395)
What is certain is that the abomination will be something that can be seen “standing,” so it cannot be the death of the pope, a saint, and it is not a false doctrine; and it is not worshipping on Sunday instead of Saturday. There is evidence that the Muslims are planning a new building project that will take several years to complete. Evangelist Perry Stone reports that the Mufti of Jerusalem, Ekrima Sabri, said the Palestinian Authority has drawn up plans for a large mosque on the Temple Mount (Unleashing the Beast, p. 118, 2003 edition).
There is plenty of room on the Temple Mount next to the Dome of the Rock, so such a plan is certainly possible. There have already been some excavations of the mount near the Al-Aqsa Mosque that is located in the southern corner of the Temple Mount. “All these activities show very clearly that their plan is to make most of the Temple Mount into an area of one great mosque” (http://christian actionforisrael.org/5thtemple.html). All of this destruction and construction is very offensive to Jewish people worldwide, and also to Christians.
In Matthew 24 Jesus never said the abomination would be of the Temple, or in the Temple. He never said the word Temple, he just said it will be standing in the holy place:
“So when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place . . .” (v. 15)
Compare what Jesus said above with Dan. 9:
And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed destruction is poured out on the desolator. (9:27b)
Notice that the word “Temple” does not appear here either, merely that something will be made desolate. So it most likely refers to the Temple Mount itself. The wording also suggests that the abomination will continue for an extended period of time, “until the consummation.” Here is how the LXXE words it:
and on the temple shall be the abomination of desolations; and at the end of time an end shall be put to the desolation.
It mentions the abomination, and then it says the abomination will come to an end at the end of, or consummation of, the age. So, the wording of this passage suggests that the abomination will continue over a long period of time, which would make the Dome of the Rock the abomination of desolation. Several other translations agree, that the abomination will last a long time:
And on a corner of the altar will be abominations that desolate, even until the end. And that which was decreed shall pour out on the desolator. (ESV)
And in the train of these abominations shall come an author of desolation; then, in the end, what has been decreed concerning the desolation will be poured out. (NEB)
So, if the Dome of the Rock is the abomination spoken of the Daniel 9:27, then there could be another building constructed on the Temple Mount. Even though the Temple Mount is already in a state of desolation with the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, there will likely be a future abomination of desolation because the statement of Jesus in Matthew 24 makes it taking place at the end, or at least near the end.
There are claims that the genuine location of the Temple is actually outside of what is now called the Temple Mount, but the site will still need to be completely excavated before anything can be built, and it would still be wrong to begin offering sacrifices there. Since no excavation has even begun, there cannot be a Temple for another 10-20 years.
Daniel supports the belief that the Dome of the Rock is the Abomination. Therefore, the final abomination of desolation probably will be the completion and dedication of a new structure, or when it is first opened for use, such as another mosque; or even an addition to the Dome.
The final Abomination of Desolation is a sign of the end. It is the main sign directly related to Jerusalem that will point to the approaching full Wrath of God at the end of the GT. Most other signs will be seen in the sky.
In the photo above, the black line shows the extent of the Temple Mount, so there is plenty of room to build another mosque; either between the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, or east of them. The Dome of the Rock is not a mosque, as some people believe, but is a shrine to the rock inside it.
(3) The 1,290 Days
“From the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away and the abomination that makes desolate set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days. 12 Blessed is he who waits and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days.” (Daniel 12:11-12)
I am sorry to say that my original interpretation of this passage published in all editions prior to Jan. 2023, was a mistake. I made the same mistake many commentaries make, and make it fit the final 3.5 years of the Great Tribulation. But, I did say this:
“Of course, I probably have some point wrong; I don’t claim that all the end-time details exactly right, but they are the clearest they have ever been, in my view.”
So, now I present a much better interpretation. Almost every single source I consulted on Dan. 12:11-12 had a different interpretation; I now believe it refers to a different time period, but it still refers to a building on the Temple Mount.
Since the last half of Daniel’s 70th week is only 1,260 days long, how do we get 1,290 and 1,335? The reason is that these numbers have nothing to do with the Great Tribulation; they are connected to historical events.
The abomination is supposedly when the Old Covenant sacrifice is stopped by the Antichrist in the middle of the GT, and an image is set up in the Temple; but Daniel 12 tells us that stopping the sacrifice is a totally separate event from the abomination. The passage says, that the sacrifice is stopped, then 1,290 days will pass, and then the abomination will take place. Therefore, IF the Pre-trib theory were correct, then the Abomination would take place 1,290 days after the Antichrist stops the sacrifice; but it actually has no connection to any third Temple, or the GT.
I previously believed the 1,290 days were actual days, but I now believe the best interpretation of the 1,290 days is that they refer to years; which is the most often stated view. We previously saw that the days of Dan. 9 represent years, this is also the case in Num. 14:34, and Ezk. 4:5-6.
The LXXE words it this way: “And from the time of the removal of the perpetual sacrifice.” The Jewish Publication Society version says, “the continual burnt-offering shall be taken away.” The Hebrew for “taken away” in the KJV is (5493) (sur). Strong’s says: “A primitive root; to turn off (literally or figuratively) . . . remove . . . take (away, off).” It does not refer to a future sacrifice that has been going for only 3.5 years. This passage refers to when the Temple was attacked by the army of Babylon in the 6th century B.C.
The sources are not certain about the exact date the sacrifice ended; some speculate that it was at the destruction of the Temple in 586 B.C., others say that the priests could have continued offering the sacrifice without a Temple; others claim that Jeremiah stopped the sacrifice because of the impending attack by the Babylonian army in 587 B.C. Therefore, it is impossible to exactly PROVE the dates on this, but the evidence pointing to the abomination from this period is powerful.
Biblical reference sources tell us that the Temple was destroyed on 586, 9th of Av, which always falls in the months of July-August on our calendar. A bible-year is 360 days; so 360 x 1,290 = 464,400 actual days, divided by 365.24 gives us 1271.49 solar years. So, 586 B.C. plus 1,271.49 (-586+1,271.49)= 685.49 A.D. Which would likely be in November or December. This date is significant. What happened in late 685? The construction of the Dome of the Rock began! Here is what some Islamic sources say:
It was built by the order of the Umayyad caliph Abd al-Malik (r. 685–705). (Elad, p. 45)
According to Sibt ibn al-Jawzi (1185–1256), construction started in 685-86, while al-Suyuti (1445–1505) holds that its commencement year was 688. (Elad, p. 44–45, notes 98–99)
Abd al-Malik came to power in 685, and he is credited with the Dome’s construction, so it is reasonable that construction began shortly after he came to power (Necipoglu, p. 22). An inscription inside the Dome says that it was completed in the Islamic year of 72, but there is no specific day (Necipoglu, p. 22). This year began on June 4, 691 to May 30, 692, therefore construction appears to have begun in late 685, or early 686.
So you can see how this would fulfill the prophecy that says, from the stopping of the sacrifice to the abomination, will be 1,290 biblical years! Now, let us take a look at the 1,335:
Blessed is he who waits and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days.
It is easy to assume that the starting point is the same as for the 1,290 days, but we cannot assume with Bible prophecy. No starting point is given, so what does it refer to? We can find it by looking in history. It merely says that people will be happy about reaching that day; literally, “blessed.” Notice that the wording suggests that 1335 will be in the far distant future, “who waits and comes to.”
Now, we already know that Jerusalem was conquered by the Muslims, and they built the Dome of the Rock. Muslim years are 364 days, and the Islamic calendar began in 622 A.D., so the Islamic year 1335 was Oct 28, 1916 — Oct. 23, 1917. During this entire year the British were waging war with the Ottoman Empire in Palestine, during World War I. The British captured Jerusalem in December, 1917, and took control of Palestine. Even before the victory, the British issued the Balfour Declaration (November 2nd) that proclaimed the British Government’s desire that Palestine become a homeland for the Jews. These two events, the deliverance of Palestine and the Balfour Declaration, eventually led to the creation of modern Israel in 1948.
But, you say all that took place after the year 1335. The wording of the verse would lead one to assume, that the passage refers to the start of the year; but in this case, it does not refer to the beginning of that year, but the end of it. Most translations would lead one to look at the beginning of the year; but the NIV surprisingly words it this way; “Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days.”
In other words, you will be blessed if you wait through the completion of the year. This is one of those prophecies which is impossible to correctly interpret until after it has happened.
After I came to the above interpretation, I decided to examine the Hebrew word meanings, and the meanings fit the historical interpretation. The Hebrew for “waits” is châkâh (H2442) and means, “to await: long, tarry, wait” (Strong’s). The best I can ascertain from all sources on this word, it has the meaning of waiting, tarrying, or longing for something. The Hebrew for “comes to” is nâga‛ (H5060) and means, “properly to touch, that is, lay the hand upon . . . by implication to reach (figuratively to arrive, acquire); violently, to strike (punish, defeat, destroy, etc.)” (Strong’s).
(4) Satanic Image on Dome of the Rock
Just to the right of the south entrance of the Dome of Rock there are some slabs of marble that have an image that looks very demonic:
(Left image from pexils.com, right image from wikimedia.com)
I once only speculated that the Dome of the Rock might be the Abomination, but because of my recent discovery that the 1,290 days points to the Dome, I now believe it is in fact, the Abomination. I believe that God caused this marble slab to be selected and put into the construction of the Dome, so it could help us to understand that this building is the Abomination spoken of by the prophet Daniel. In recent years they put a little building in front of the image; was it an effort to obscure the it?
(5) The Real Holy Place
There are two tombs of Christ in Jerusalem, the Garden Tomb discovered in the 19th century, and the one inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, also called the Church of the Resurrection. I believe the correct tomb is in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, because of the Miracle of the Holy Fire that occurs there every year on Good Saturday.
The Orthodox Patriarch goes into the tomb and says a prayer and the fire appears. He brings out candles that have been lit with the fire, and then the fire is passed into the crowd of onlookers who light their candles with the fire. The fire has been seen and filmed flying around the room lighting other candles, and videos show candles spontaneously lighting, even when people are standing on the roof of the church. And it only works when the Orthodox Patriarch says the prayer during the Easter ceremony; it will not light with any other patriarch, or at any other time.
Many unbelieving Christians have tried to debunk this miracle, but without success. They make ridiculous claims, such as the prayer that is said does not ask for a miracle fire, and other stupid nonsense logic, like an atheist.
The Holy Fire is not a normal fire, because it does not look or act like normal fire, and does not burn the skin. A person can pass their hand through it and not be burned, so it must be of divine origin. Therefore, I believe that this is the real Tomb of Christ. It is a traditional belief that if one year the fire does not come down, it will be a sign of the imminent end of the world.
I believe the Antichrist will likely enter the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and lay a copy of the Quran on the granite slab that covers the original rock where Christ was laid, and pray to Allah. That would indeed be a great abomination of desolation! But they might just do what they have done in many other churches during their conquests, which is to use it as a toilet, which would also be a great abomination. But it still would not be the Abomination that can be seen “standing,” as spoken of by Daniel and Jesus.
A new theory has arisen that says the Antichrist will find the Ark of the Covenant that could have the blood of Christ on it (Ron Wyatt appears to have found it); and then he will desecrate it. Again, that will indeed be a great abomination; but how could it be seen standing, as spoken of by Daniel? The prophecies tell us that the abomination began 1290 Biblical years after the Temple was destroyed in 586 B.C. So, I still expect another building; at least, at this time. Perhaps some other evidence will arise to change my mind.