Monday, November 09, 2009
The Abomination of Desolation
There are probably about as many interpretations of St. Matthew 24 as there are interpreters, but that shouldn't stop us from taking a stab at it, particularly when it is the assigned Gospel (for the second Sunday of All Saints Tide), and especially if one believes that the parenthetical "let the reader understand" is an exhortation from the Evangelist meant for the one who is publicly reading this Gospel to provide an understanding for the hearers.
So here goes:
The abomination of desolation has something to do with the approach of Titus and the Roman armies -- frankly I can't figure out exactly what it is, but perhaps that doesn't matter so much -- and the indication that the Christians of ad 70 would have known precisely what it was, enough so that they all saw fit to flee Jerusalem, before the siege was laid to it.
According to the old Lutheran agendas, I read from the historical account of the destruction of Jerusalem today, a gruesome and despicable history which chronicles the fulfillment of Jesus' prediction in the first part of this Gospel.
What's interesting is that the second part of it is clearly about the Day of Judgment; hence, there is a blending of Jerusalem in ad 70 with the End of all things.
This is because Jesus was a prophet (He was the Prophet, actually), and as such, He did what all prophets do, gave a microcosm of the ultimate fulfillment of His prophecy within the immediate context of His first hearers. So when the microcosm occurs, or, as it were, the 'down-payment' on the final fulfillment, that is, when the 'type' is fulfilled, then that which it typifies or foretells may be the more confidently believed.
So therefore, since Jerusalem was destroyed in ad 70, and since this is a matter of record, therefore it is clear that the End of all things shall indeed come to pass.
So what, then is our abomination of desolation? It's hard to make definitive conclusions, but one thing is certain: when Christian worship is being replaced by entertainment and dance floors, this comes pretty close to being abominable. And when those guilty of perversion and sexual immorality are now being consecrated to serve at the altar, this is an absolute abomination. It is indicative of the desert-land that so many churches have become.
And so let us in our day 'flee to the mountains'-- let us run to the cross -- and let us as eagles be gathered around the Body of Christ.
Here's the audio: