In the book of Matthew, the Savior explains to his apostles that the time was soon at hand when they would see “the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet…” (Matthew 24:12)
Again in our day, the Savior commanded his servants in the latter-days that they were to go “forth as (their) circumstances shall permit, in (their) several callings, unto the great and notable cities and villages, reproving the world in righteousness of all their unrighteous and ungodly deeds, setting forth clearly and understandingly the desolation of abomination in the last days.” (Doctrine and Covenants 84:117)
Why are the words abomination and desolation reversed in these two references? Is that significant, considering that Daniel phrases it differently by saying, “…the abomination that maketh desolate…”, in two different places? (Daniel 11:31, 12:11)
Under the direction of Titus, in A.D. 70, Roman legions laid seige to Jerusalem and desecrated the temple mount:
“The destruction of Jerusalem took place at the time of the passover (70 A.D.), when the city was full of pilgrims from all parts of the country. Before the arrival of the Roman legions, civil war was raging. There were three factions. The most fanatic of these were for a time victorious. They entered the sacred precincts with weapons concealed under their clothes. They murdered the priest at the altar, and continued the massacre, until the blood of their victims flowed like water. Thus the abomination of desolation (i. e., the abomination that is the cause of desolation) was a second time polluting the temple ground, as predicted by our Lord. The Romans surrounded the city. Famine soon was felt. It is said that hunger turned some into cannibals. A noble woman by the name of Mary, the daughter of one Eleazer, ate the flesh of her own baby. It is claimed that 1,100,000 people perished. The Romans reduced the city to a heap of stones, and Titus, is said to have declared that he was only an instrument of divine justice in destroying the city.” –Commentary on The Book of Mormon, vol. 1, page 220, footnote 38
Is desolation an abominable thing to witness?
Or, does abomination cause desolation?
Or yet again, will abominable things be desolated through the judgments of God?
The following scriptural references provided are all instances where the words abomin* and desola* appear together in the same verse. Take note of the times when the words are reversed. And then answer the questions above, for yourself.
Before we get to the references, let’s talk definitions:
Abomination: Something that elicits great disgust.
Abhor: To regard with horror or loathing; abominate. To reject; shun. (ab – from, horrere – to shudder)
Desolate: Devoid of inhabitants; deserted. Rendered unfit for habitation or use. Dreary, dismal. Without friends or hope. To lay waste; Devastate; To make lonely, forlorn, wretched. (de – intense or intensive, solus – alone)
“Because of abominations . . . desolation . . .” — Jeremiah 44:22
“. . . the land . . . desolate because of . . . abominations . . .” — Ezekiel 33:29
“. . . for the . . . abominations he shall make it desolate . . .” — Daniel 9:27
“. . . they shall pollute the sanctuary, and . . . shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.” — Daniel 11:31
“. . . the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up . . .” — Daniel 12:11
“. . . see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet . . .” — Matthew 24:15
“. . . see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet . . .” — Mark 13:14
“. . . setting forth clearly and understandingly the desolation of abomination in the last days.” — Doctrine and Covenants 84:117
“. . . the desolation of abomination which awaits the wicked . . .” — Doctrine and Covenants 88:85
“. . . see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet . . .” — Joseph Smith Matthew 1:12
“. . . again shall the abomination of desolation . . . be fulfilled . . .” — Joseph Smith Matthew 1:32
Another interesting verse that doesn’t have the word “abomination” in it, but refers to the same event prophesied in Matthew 24: “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.” — Luke 21:20
That described event will happen again. It’s called Armageddon, and Jerusalem will be under seige once more.
One more item of warning . . . In Ezekiel 33, the chapter about the “watchman”, the Lord speaks to the prophet and says: “Wherefore say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God: Ye eat with the blood, and lift up your eyes toward your idols, and shed blood: And shall ye possess the land?” — Ezekiel 33:25 (note the other instance of the question “shall ye possess the land?” in verse 26)
Shall we possess the land after all our abominations?
Indeed, that is the question, isn’t it?