Daniel's vision of the 'end times'

Dan 12:1-13   Daniel has a vision of the ‘end times’ when the faithful whose names are written in the Book of Life rise from their graves.

 

The Abomination of Desolation

In his vision of the ‘end times’, Daniel foresaw a future time when the righteous who have died will rise from their graves. He prophesied that these ‘end times’ would not occur until the daily sacrifice in the Temple at Jerusalem had been abolished and the ‘Abomination of Desolation’ had been set up in the Temple. Daniel did not state what form this ‘abomination’ would take, but this future ‘desolation’ clearly represented a great affront to Jewish worship in the Temple.

Daniel’s prophesy was fulfilled about four hundred years after the time of his vision when Antiochus Epiphanes, the Seleucid (Greek) King of Syria, forbade Jewish religious rituals in the Temple in Jerusalem in 167BC. In their place, he set up a pagan altar to Olympian Zeus, and sacrificed pigs on the altar, thereby desecrating the Jewish Temple.

 

Temple of Olympian Zeus in Athens (A.Savin)

Temple of Olympian Zeus in Athens   (A.Savin)

 

A detailed account of the Hellenisation of Jerusalem by Antiochus Epiphanes, together with the subsequent Jewish rebellion under Mattathias Hasmoneus and his son Judas (nicknamed ‘Maccabaeus’ - ‘the hammer’), can be found in the two apocryphal books of the Maccabees (see 1 Maccabees 1:1-64 and 2 Maccabees 4:7 – 6:2).

The Jewish Festival of Dedication ('Hanukkah') commemorates the re-dedication of the Second Temple by Judas Maccabaeus in 165BC after its defilement by Antiochus Epiphanes (see 1 Maccabees 4:52-59). During this re-dedication, a single flask of olive oil miraculously kept the lamps in the Temple alight for the whole eight-day ceremony.

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