Matt 24:15 and Mark 13:14 refer to something called “the abomination of desolation.” Matthew records Jesus’ words further, that the abomination of desolation was “spoken of by the prophet Daniel” and that it would be “standing in the holy place” (Matt 24:15).
Translated from the Hebrew, Dan 9:27 tells of how “on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate.” The word wing (Hebrew, kanaph) could be translated as “edge” or “extremity” and likely refers to a physical location. Supplying the verb “shall be” and translated from the Greek, Dan 9:27 literally states, “on the temple shall be the abomination of desolation.” Apparently the Greek translators of Dan 9:27 somehow associated the “wing” with the temple of Israel. Associating the “wing” with the temple makes even more sense when one considers from Dan 11:31 that “the abomination that makes desolate” is something that was set up in the temple to replace Israel’s regular sacrifices. Along with this, Dan 12:11 speaks of “the abomination that makes desolate” as something “set up,” that is, physically placed somewhere, and being in its place for “1,290 days.”
From the Daniel, Matthew, and Mark, then, “the abomination of desolation” seems to be something that is stands in the holy place, somewhere on the edge of the temple. In the context of the Olivet Discourse, it is not set up until just before the end of this age and Jesus’ return. In other words, we have not yet seen “the abomination of desolation.” It is something future. We can conclude, then, that before Jesus’ return, Israel will have constructed a temple, it will be destroyed (cf. Mark 13:1–2), and prior to its destruction will be the placement of “the abomination of desolation” somewhere on the edge of its structure.
 In the NT, the Greek word bdelugma is regularly translated as abomination. God views it as an abomination to offer false righteousness to Him (Luke 16:15). Abominations fill the cup of the sinful harlot seen in one of John’s visions (Rev 17:4), and written in a phrase on her forehead is the title “mother . . . of earth’s abominations” (Rev 17:5).
Pastor David Huffstutler
Pastor Huffstutler regularly writes articles for our Sunday bulletin. See his bio on our pastoral bio page.