The Abomination That Maketh Desolate

Excavated stones from the Wall of the 2nd Temple (Jerusalem), knocked onto the street below by Roman battering rams in on the 9th of Av, 70 C.E. -- Mark A. Wilson, public domain

Excavated stones from the Wall of the 2nd Temple (Jerusalem), knocked onto the street below by Roman battering rams on the 9th of Av, 70 C.E. — public domain photo courtesy of Mark A. Wilson and Wikipedia

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?

* * * * *

While doing some research on 10/16/16, I came across this jewel in the writings of Josephus:

“Now as for the affairs of the Jews, they grew worse and worse continually, for the country was again filled with robbers and impostors, who deluded the multitude. Yet did Felix catch and put to death many of those impostors every day, together with the robbers. He also caught Eleazar, the son of Dineas, who had gotten together a company of robbers; and this he did by treachery; for he gave him assurance that he should suffer no harm, and thereby persuaded him to come to him; but when he came, he bound him, and sent him to Rome. Felix also bore an ill-will to Jonathan, the high priest, because he frequently gave him admonitions about governing the Jewish affairs better than he did, lest he should himself have complaints made of him by the multitude, since he it was who had desired Caesar to send him as procurator of Judea. So Felix contrived a method whereby he might get rid of him, now he was become so continually troublesome to him; for such continual admonitions are grievous to those who are disposed to act unjustly. Wherefore Felix persuaded one of Jonathan’s most faithful friends, a citizen of Jerusalem, whose name was Doras, to bring the robbers upon Jonathan, in order to kill him; and this he did by promising to give him a great deal of money for so doing. Doras complied with the proposal, and contrived matters so, that the robbers might murder him after the following manner: Certain of those robbers went up to the city, as if they were going to worship God, while they had daggers under their garments, and by thus mingling themselves among the multitude they slew Jonathan and as this murder was never avenged, the robbers went up with the greatest security at the festivals after this time; and having weapons concealed in like manner as before, and mingling themselves among the multitude, they slew certain of their own enemies, and were subservient to other men for money; and slew others, not only in remote parts of the city, but in the temple itself also; for they had the boldness to murder men there, without thinking of the impiety of which they were guilty. And this seems to me to have been the reason why God, out of his hatred of these men’s wickedness, rejected our city; and as for the temple, he no longer esteemed it sufficiently pure for him to inhabit therein, but brought the Romans upon us, and threw a fire upon the city to purge it; and brought upon us, our wives, and children, slavery, as desirous to make us wiser by our calamities.” Josephus, Antiquities 20.8.5

For those of the inclination to read and understand The Book of Mormon, that should give you pause. You see, the “great abomination” according to Helaman 7:25, is the Gadianton Robbers.

Josephus confirms that it was the secret combination of “robbers” that brought about the desolation of Jerusalem and the temple . . . the temple burned because of their abominations. That leaves us in a bit of a pickle, because the Gadiantons (whether the robbers of today call themselves by that name or not) are working hard today in order to destroy all that is good. To murder on the judgment seat. To destroy the government by their secret works of darkness.

We are far past due for a cleansing by fire.

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