Continued from Part 10
After the night comes the dawn
Daniel’s text is followed by a simple but poignant statement concerning the post-destruction status of the Temple Mount under the control of various Gentile groups during the indeterminate period which will eventually be followed by the building of the Third Temple.
Once the seventy weeks have passed, “upon the wing30 of abominations [that is, upon the elevated place of the Temple Mount on which there are detestable things] shall be that which causes desolation.” The Temple Mount, the elevated place referred to metaphorically as “wing” will, after 70 C.E., be a place of detestable things, abominations, that is, Roman pagan,31 Crusader32 and Islamic shrines and mosques will be built on it. During the Crusader occupation of Jerusalem (1099-1187), the Islamic shrine, the Dome of the Rock, was converted into a Christian church. This appalling situation will last “until decisive destruction shall be poured out upon that which causes desolation,” that is, until the last desolator, that of Islam, will also be removed from the Temple Mount.
“Wing” may have additional significance in that the Roman Empire had as its symbol the eagle that appeared on the legion standards along with the image of the emperor and were an object of worship; the heathen temple Hadrian built on the Temple Mount was dedicated to Jupiter whose messenger was also the eagle; and Saladin (12th century), the most famous Muslim conqueror of Jerusalem, had a golden eagle on his flag.
According to the text, without the Temple, the mount is considered desolate and that any alien buildings occupying this site are considered desolators, that is, “that which causes desolation,” whose very presence on the sacred site causes one to be appalled.
The Christian delusion
What is the major flaw in the Christian evaluation of New Testament texts without even considering any other relevant material?
- The texts all predict these events to happen contemporary with that first generation of followers of Jesus and not in the distant future.
- Christians can delude themselves and attempt to delude non-Christians with various “Jesus is coming soon” slogans. They can reinvent and reinterpret to their hearts content but it is over, the time has passed and Jesus never came back and according to their own scriptures never will.
30 “Wing” refers metaphorically to an elevated position, here, in particular, to the Temple Mount.
31 Dio Cassius, the third-century C.E. Roman historian writes: “At Jerusalem, Hadrian founded a city in place of the one that had been razed to the ground, naming it Aelia Capitolina, and on the site of the temple of the god he raised a new temple to Jupiter” (Dio Cassius, Roman History 69. 12. 1, trans. E. Cary, in the Loeb Classical Library, London: Heinemann, 1925, vol. 8, p. 447). The “temple of the god” is a reference to the Jewish temple that had stood on the Temple Mount.
It may be that the Roman abomination placed on the Temple Mount was not a pagan temple as related by Dio Cassius but statues. The earliest Christian pilgrim to Jerusalem who has left a record of his journey is the Pilgrim of Bordeaux, who came to the city in 333 C.E. He makes no mention of a Roman temple. Instead, he writes that “two statues of Hadrian stand there [on the Temple Mount] and, not far from them, a pierced stone to which the Jews come each year” (Pilgrim of Bordeaux, Itinerarium Burdigalense (Corpus Christianorum, Series Latina [CCL] 175, ed. P. Geyer and O. Cuntz [Turnout: Brepols, 1965]), trans. Wilkinson, Egeria’s Travels, p. 157.). It is unlikely that this Christian pilgrim would have failed to mention a Roman temple if one stood on the Temple Mount at the time of his visit.
32 The Templum Domini of the Franks.