The apostle Paul states that the Day of the Lord cannot come until the Antichrist is revealed. He does this by setting himself up in the temple and declaring himself to be God.
1Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, 2not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. 3Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for (that day will not come) until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God. (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 NIV)The First Abomination of Desolation in Israel's History
Jesus also describes the "abomination that causes desolation" as the final single event prior to his coming. "Abomination that causes desolation" is a technical term for an idol placed in the Jewish temple.
The only times the Old Testament ever mentions the abomination of desolation is three times in Daniel (9:27;11:31;12:11).
Daniel 11:31 predicts that someone will attack the temple fortress and set up the "abomination that causes desolation." This prophecy was fulfilled in 168 B.C. when Antiochus Epiphanes invaded Jerusalem and placed an idol of Zeus in the temple.This was obviously appalling and horrifying to the Jews. Antiochus was also a very ruthless man who violently persecuted people who continued to follow the God of Israel. Jewish records of this persecution refer to the idol in the temple as the abomination that causes desolation.
However, in Matthew 24, Jesus says that right before his second coming, there will be an "abomination that causes desolation." He also says this event is referred to in the book of Daniel. Now, he is obviously not referring to Daniel 11:31, because that had prophecy was fulfilled almost 200 years before Jesus gave this prophecy. Since Jesus refers to the end time event by the same term for a past idol in the temple, his point is clear. When he says there will be an "abomination that causes desolation" standing in the "holy place" (temple), it is obvious he is teaching that there will be an idol in the temple right before his second coming.
The End-Time Abomination of Desolation is a Person
The nature of the idol itself is fascinating. In Mark 13 Jesus says "When you see 'the abomination that causes desolation'[a ]standing where it[b ] does not belong—" (Mark 13:14a NIV)
When he says "it" that is actually footnoted in most Bible's has having an alternate translation of "he." It is a masculine pronoun in the Greek. So, here Jesus seems to be indicating the idol is not an object but a person.
The book of Daniel teaches the same idea:
Jesus says this abomination of desolation was spoken of in Daniel. We already know that he is not referring to Daniel 11:31 when referring to the end time event because Daniel 11:31 already happened. So this leaves us with Daniel 9:27 and Daniel 12:11. The only verse of these two that actually describes the end time abomination of desolation itself is Daniel 9:27.
27"And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of (A )abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a (B )complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate."Here it speaks of a "who" that makes desolate until that "who" is destroyed. This further demonstrates that the end time abomination of desolation is a person setting themselves up as an idol in the temple.
Thankfully, we don't have to go through a lengthy theological explanation to understand that the end time abomination of desolation is a person setting themselves up as God in the temple. The apostle Paul has already done this in 2 Thessalonians 2, where he says:
"He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God." (2 Thessalonians 2:4)