The Abomination of Desolation

From the March-April 1999 Trumpet Print Edition

In 1944, when Germany began to realize they were losing World War II, top German industrialists met with Nazi leaders “to plan a secret post-war international network to restore them to power according to a newly declassified U.S. Intelligence document” (Reuters).

German militarism is well-documented in secular and biblical history. Even in this century, Germany caused two world wars—the first killing 10 million, the second, 50 million. Why did the United States government classify—or suppress—information about the Nazis’ post-WWII plans to rise again to power? Why would they keep this from their people?

And perhaps even more alarming is this fact: When this explosive document finally was declassified, it hardly caused a ripple in the press or among the people.

You can be sure that soon, the contents of that document will impact the lives of every person on earth.

The Importance of Prophecy

One of the most famous prophecies in the Bible is called the Olivet prophecy. Jesus Christ was talking to His disciples about the signs of the end of the age. The prophecy is found in Matthew 24 (and companion passages in Mark 13 and Luke 21).

A specific sign Christ mentioned was “the abomination of desolation.” “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) …” (Matt. 24:15). Christ intended this prophecy to be understood in the end time. We must understand, because this abomination will touch our lives! Your physical life depends on your understanding. And you can understand this.

This newly released intelligence document has everything to do with the “abomination of desolation.” If you understand what God calls the “abomination of desolation,” you will be shocked by this document.

The Gospel Preached

Christ also gave a sign which would immediately precede the “abomination” of verse 15: “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (v. 14). Think about that. If the gospel had been preached around the world between the time Christ uttered that prophecy and the present time, the end would have come then. The fact that it didn’t come all that time shows that Christ’s true gospel was not widely preached. This tells you, in itself, that religion was in terrible shape; truth was almost totally dead—the whole world deceived (Rev. 12:9).

But in the 20th century, that gospel has been preached around the world. It was done by one man, a voice crying out in the wilderness of religious confusion. Herbert W. Armstrong took Christ’s gospel to every nation on earth. As he himself said, the work that he did was a sign of the end of the age. That gospel work stopped when he died in 1986; “and then shall the end come,” Christ said. In other words, once the gospel stopped, the countdown to destruction began.

The beginning of that countdown revolves around the abomination of desolation. Whatever the abomination is, it will play the key role in the destruction mentioned in Matthew 24.

Herbert Armstrong warned the world about all this. Not many listened, but he told them nevertheless. That warning was part of the gospel going around the world. He was the end-time Elijah (Matt. 17:10-11) to come just shortly before Christ returns to restore all things—including the true gospel.

Be Ready to Run

Now look at what will happen in the wake of the “abomination”: “Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house” (Matt. 24:16-17). “Judaea” is speaking not only about the Palestine area, but also the U.S. and Britain—Jerusalem is a type of all of Israel in this end time. (If you haven’t proven that to yourself, please write for The United States and Britain in Prophecy.) God wants us to understand this prophecy so deeply that we’ll run when He says run. This is an urgent message.

“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved [alive]: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (vv. 21-22). Although Christ said He will intervene and shorten those days for the elect’s sake, before He does the abomination will inflict the worst suffering ever on Israel. Do you believe Christ’s warning?

Why is it called the “abomination of desolation”? Because it is the abomination that makes desolate (Dan. 12:11). It makes great desolation of nations. Jesus Christ is not emphasizing this because it’s a small problem. He says it’s a problem like you’ve never seen on this earth before! No flesh would be “saved alive,” Moffatt translates it, if Jesus Christ wouldn’t intervene to stop it. That’s how bad it will be. But the good news is that Christ is about to return to this earth just in time to save us from destroying everybody.

Compassed With Armies

Here is what Mark wrote about the abomination:”But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains” (Mark 13:14). Luke’s version actually tells us what the abomination is: “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh” (Luke 21:20).

The abomination is these armies surrounding Jerusalem. This city will be destroyed, unless they understand this prophecy, repent and turn to God.

If you have faith, you will understand that these events are signs from Jesus Christ. And when you see armies surrounding Jerusalem, you will understand that sign deeply enough to take off running, not even going back into your house to get anything! That is a lot of faith.

Luke says the abomination is comprised of armies—plural. The Bible interprets itself: Other prophecies show how there will be armies of ten nations dominated by one nation. And these are not Arab armies. Prophecy shows that the radical Islamic Arabs will have already been conquered before this happens. As Herbert Armstrong taught, the abomination of desolation is made up of European armies.

Continue with Luke’s account: “For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled” (v. 22). Bible prophecies are being fulfilled quickly; you are not living in normal times. And you cannot conduct yourself as you would normally, because times are so urgent. So says Jesus Christ. “But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people” (v. 23).

The abomination is an instrument of God’s vengeance! He is angry with Israel in this end time. “And they [Israel] shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” (v. 24). “Trodden down” means they will be led away as slaves, if they are fortunate enough to live! That’s how bad it will be. This is not just about treading down a little city in the Middle East. These are the “times of the Gentiles,” when the Gentiles rule over all Israel. Israel soon will not have the upper hand, as they have had for years.

God’s Temple

Revelation 10 and 11 add more detail to this same prophecy. There it talks about a little book that comes on the scene in this end time (Rev. 10:2-3). That little book is here. (Write for our free booklet The Little Book to understand more on this subject.) In this context, God says “that there should be time no longer” or no more delay (v. 6). That means, in biblical terminology, that God will not hold Satan back any longer from doing what he wants to do. God has turned him loose, and we’ve entered into a time like never before, when it is one crisis after another, after another.

“And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before [or concerning] many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings” (v. 11). During the time of the little book, God tells someone to prophesy again. So someone has already prophesied once before. That points us, again, back to Herbert Armstrong. Mystery of the Ages will explain that to you.

Two verses further down (Rev. 11:2) show that this prophecy occurs just before the Gentiles tread Israel underfoot—the same prophecy as Luke 21:24.

Even more of this puzzle is pieced together by considering the context: “And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar [a type of the ministry], and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months”—or 3½ years (vv. 1-2).

God wants us to be measured. He wants to be able to correct us, so we learn how to measure up to His high standard. But notice: There is a group of His own people which refuses to be measured. “The temple” is always God’s Church. Many of God’s people in this end time have been put in the outer court, which means they’re not close to God anymore, and when the times of the Gentiles come (v. 2), He will not protect them. They will be trodden underfoot.

About six months before he died, Herbert W. Armstrong said to the members of the church he founded, “Most of you don’t get it!” Time has proved those words true: Most of the members of that church fell away from part or all of his teachings after he died. God subsequently cast them into the outer court of His temple.

But if there is an “outer court,” there has to be an inner court—people who were loyal to God and did “get it.” These are the people who prophesy again (Rev. 10:11) the same way God’s end-time Elijah prophesied. They warn about the abomination, what it is and what it will do. They will not be trodden down. They are the only people God protects.

Ten nations are rising in Europe right now. They are about to explode on the world scene, and you need to be protected. The times of the Gentiles will be the most horrifying 3½ years ever on earth!

German Militarism

After the war, in 1945, Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt wrote,”It is our inflexible purpose to destroy German militarism and Nazism, and to ensure Germany will never again be able to disturb the peace of the world. We are determined to disarm and disband all German Armed Forces, break up for all time the German General Staff that has repeatedly contrived the resurgence of German militarism, remove or destroy all German military equipment, eliminate or control all German industry that could be used for military production. It is not our purpose to destroy the people of Germany, but only when Nazism and militarism have been extirpated, will there be hope for a decent life for Germans and a place for them in the community of nations.”

Apparently, at the same time, people on the same level of government classified a document which revealed that the Germans were planning to do it again. Did those men really believe the words of Churchill and Roosevelt?

They said Germany “repeatedly contrived the resurgence of German militarism.” There is a prophecy in Isaiah, a book which is intended for the end time (Isa. 30:8), that says almost the same thing.

“O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation” (Isa. 10:5). Who is the Assyrian? If Isaiah is an end-time book, we must know who Assyria is. “Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so; but it is in his heart to destroy and cut off nations not a few” (v. 7). If you had to pick out Assyria in this modern time, who do you think this would be? Who, in this end time, cuts off “nations not a few”? Although God is taking that history much further back than modern times, think about who started World Wars I and II. Who is prophesied to start World War III?

Assyria is a destructive nation; destruction is in its heart. God will use that nation to dominate nine other nations and bring them against Israel. If you don’t know who Israel and Assyria are, now is the time to determine that. Even our own leaders said Germany has “repeatedly” done this. Repeatedly. They knew about Germany’s history of causing wars, and yet they classified a document showing German plans to do it again.

Certainly, Germany and a church, together called the “Holy” Roman Empire, have cut off nations “repeatedly” since 554 a.d. Primarily, Germany has led the “Holy” Roman Empire since 554 and the reign of Justinian. Otto von Habsburg, the one who actually has the right to the throne of the empire today, said: “We possess a European symbol which belongs to all nations of Europe, equally. This is the crown of the Holy Roman Empire, which embodies the tradition of Charlemagne.” Both France and Germany claim Charlemagne as their hero. “The European Community is living largely by the heritage of the Holy Roman Empire,” Habsburg continued, “though the great majority of the people who live by it don’t know by what heritage they live.” This empire has been the most destructive war machine in man’s history, killing 50 million people in the last inquisition. That history is not talked about as much as it should be.

This German-led empire is about to rise one last time. But this is not necessarily bad news. God is allowing and, in fact, engineering this for a great purpose.

The Rod of God’s Anger

Notice, God calls this nation “the rod of mine anger.” God is mad and indignant. “I will send him against an hypocritical nation [Israel], and against the people of my wrath [God’s Church] will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets” (v. 6). Lawlessness abounds all over Israel, and still we profess to be religious. “In God we trust,” it says on our dollar. People talk about obeying God, but they are lawless. They like to act religious, and still they have the morals of an alley cat. Hypocrisy is everywhere. It’s in Washington. Although we only call it “inappropriate behavior,” God calls it lawlessness. It is breaking His law! There are churches all over this land like no place in the world, but that does not impress God! He calls Israel a “hypocritical nation” and His Church “the people of my wrath.” He will allow Germany to “tread them down like the mire of the streets”—the same description as in Luke.

In verse 24 God specifically addresses His own Church: “Therefore thus saith the Lord God of hosts, O my people that dwellest in Zion [a symbol of God’s Church], be not afraid of the Assyrian: he shall smite thee with a rod, and shall lift up his staff against thee, after the manner of Egypt. For yet a very little while, and the indignation shall cease, and mine anger in their destruction” (vv. 24-25). God reveals His purpose in all the destruction: to bring His people to repentance.

When will this happen? “And it shall come to pass in that day [the end time], that his burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing” (v. 27). Yes, Jesus Christ will return, as other prophecies tell us. He will be the one to free Israel and His Church.

What we should understand, though, is that these people shouldn’t be in captivity in the first place. They have the chance to repent now! If only they would listen to what the end-time Elijah taught.

A Warning Unheeded

Herbert Armstrong wrote on May 9, 1945, almost the same time Churchill and Roosevelt issued their document, “The war is over, in Europe—or is it? We need to wake up and realize that right now is the most dangerous moment in the United States’ national history, instead of assuming we now have peace!” (Autobiography, vol. II, pp. 114-115).

In 1945 people scoffed at this powerful statement. But they would not scoff today, considering what Germany is doing.

“Men plan, here, to preserve the peace of the world,” Mr. Armstrong continued. “What most do not know is that the Germans have their plans for winning the battle of the peace. Yes, I said battle of the peace. That’s a kind of battle we Americans don’t know. We know only one kind of war. We have never lost a war—that is, a military war, but we have never won a conference where leaders of other nations outfox us in the battle for the peace.” To illustrate Mr. Armstrong’s point, consider this: The United States gave away Eastern Europe to Russia after winning World War II. Stalin ended up ruling Poland, the very nation that brought the British into the war in the first place! That’s how weak we have been in peace conferences.

“We don’t understand German thoroughness,” he wrote. “From the very start of World War II, they have considered the possibility of losing this second round, as they did the first—and they have carefully, methodically planned, in such eventuality, the third round—World War III!” Mr. Armstrong wrote this May 9, 1945!

“Hitler has lost,” he continued. “This round of war, in Europe, is over. And the Nazis have now gone underground. In France and Norway they learned how effectively an organized underground can hamper occupation and control of a country. Paris was liberated by the French underground—and Allied armies. Now a Nazi underground is methodically planned. They plan to come back and to win on the third try.” God was using this man to warn us about what was coming. He warned that the period just after the war was the most dangerous time in the history of the United States. But not many people listened!

That declassified document shows us that Mr. Armstrong was absolutely right. What kind of an impact does that have on you? What are you going to do about it? We are truly running out of time. All of this end-time prophecy is nearly fulfilled.

Brian Connell, in Watcher on the Rhine, wrote in 1957 that in the spring of 1947 “the vexed problem of denazification, which had been handled up to that time by the Allied authorities, was handed over to the Germans.” Just two years after their defeat, the Germans were told to denazify themselves!

And Nazis quickly returned to leading positions. Bernard Connolly, in his book The Rotten Heart of Europe, discusses how already in 1966 the Bundesbank of Germany had many prominent figures who were Nazis. “It did not go unnoticed that the man who replaced Erhard, Georg Kiesinger, was, like many prominent figures in the Bundesbank at that time, a former Nazi Party member.” This man, a former Nazi, even got to be in charge of the major financial institution in Germany.

Today, as Connolly points out, the European Union is just a “cloak for German ambition.”

Germany Today

A January 17 Sunday Telegraph article, “German Leaders Step Up Drive for a United States of Europe,” stated, “As holders of the EU presidency for the next six months, Germany wants to capitalize on the momentum of the euro’s birth to set Europe firmly on the road to a federal future. The new administration has also made clear that it will promote its own national financial interests more stridently than previous governments. While former Chancellor Helmut Kohl made no secret of his dream of a united Europe, his sense of guilt for Germany’s past meant that he shied away from throwing the country’s weight around. His younger successors are free of that historical baggage and have no such qualms.” Watch Germany. Watch them closely.

The Guardian Weekly, the same day, wrote, “All roads lead to a greater Berlin.” Hitler did all his dirty work right there in the Reichstag. “Berlin, capital of Germany. That we know about. But Berlin, capital of Europe? The world has not yet got in focus the monster now emerging from the Prussian sands. … Germany will be the heartland, the engine-room, of a united Europe in the 21st century. The new single currency, the euro, will be run from Frankfurt.” Whoever controls the money controls the European Union. That’s the way it works.

The Sydney Morning Herald wrote this (Dec. 29, 1998): “When Parliament meets in the Reichstag building next May, for the first time since the Nazis used it half a century ago, Mr. Schroeder wants the moment to symbolize the end of Germany’s inferiority complex and the beginning of an era of restored confidence and assertiveness in the world.” If they were the least bit repentant, they wouldn’t want to act like they did in the past. But they like their past—except the fact that they lost!

And we didn’t do anything to cause them to repent—so we’re dealing with the same old Nazi spirit that will wreak havoc on this world, just as God said it would. “Mr. Schroeder,” they said, “does not have the same fears and believes it is time for Germans to not feel handicapped by their history.”

The Guardian Weekly, in a January 3 article, “Germany Flexes its Economic Muscles,” stated, “Rolf Breuer, chairman of Deutsche Bank, sees himself as the new star of Germany’s business establishment: Last November he announced his company was taking over the United States bank, Bankers Trust, thus creating the world’s biggest financial services company.” Germany is moving strongly into America already. “Breuer dreams of moving into the same league as fellow German Jürgen Schrempp, boss of Daimler-Benz, who has been riding high since his company merged with [actually took over] the U.S. car manufacturer Chrysler in May 1998.” Germany, although little in land mass, is already a powerhouse.

“He embodies the new triumphant Germany that is conquering the United States. Another German company that has pulled off a coup in the U.S. is Bertelsmann, the world’s third-largest media company: Last March it took over Random House, becoming the top U.S. publishing house.” This is truly leading to something that most people don’t want to think about.

Norris and McWhirter wrote, in Treason at Maastricht, “By far the most ambitious project of today’s Eurofederalists is the establishment of a single currency. Although this is paraded as a European currency it is quite clear that, should it ever become a reality, it will in effect be a German currency controlled by a central bank based in Frankfurt [it already is]—ironically in the former headquarters building of I. G. Farben, the manufacturer of the Nazis’ death gas, Zyklon B.”

Newsweek (Dec. 14, 1998) quoted Owen Harries, editor of The National Interest, who argued that a very successful European Monetary Union “would amount to the creation of a second … superstate.” “In Harries’s view,” Newsweek continued, “that would mean trouble, because ‘there is a lot of accumulated resentment in Europe of its subordination to … the United States over the last half a century.’” They lost World Wars I and II because of the power generated from America, and they haven’t forgotten it. If you’re a superpower, you just can’t sneak off into the dark and hide. People remember, and they want revenge. Such resentment, he concludes, could one day be translated into “competition, obstruction and rivalry; possibly … outright hostility.”

The European had this headline: “Liftoff. Europe Aims to Be Superpower of the 21st Century.”

So much is happening in Europe.

When Charlemagne was crowned by the pope, this statement was made: “Nevertheless it is quite clear the kingdoms of this earth belong to the Bishop of Rome; they are his to give.” Cardinal Alfonse Maria Stickler says this about the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church: “We believe in aggressive Catholicism against ungodliness.” That is in the tradition of Charlemagne.

A Mighty Beast

It is vitally important that we understand this. “And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns [the Holy Roman Empire], and upon his horns ten crowns [ten nations], and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?” (Rev. 13:1, 4).

They actually worship Satan. What a power behind this beast!

Even a strong leader like Margaret Thatcher probably lost her job fighting the European Union. They can’t win because it is prophesied to happen, and look at the power fueling it.

“And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months”—that same 3½ years (v. 5). He will continue that long until Jesus Christ returns to put down that abomination and bring to an end the times of the Gentiles.

“And it was given unto him to make war with the saints [God’s people], and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations” (v. 7). This is another description of God’s own people being trodden underfoot. Very soon, those people in God’s outer court, because they’ve been so rebellious, will have to give their blood to prove to God that they are worthy to enter His kingdom.

“If any man have an ear, let him hear” (v. 9). God is pleading with you. Hear what He is saying. Those who hear and “prophesy again” will be protected. God will protect you if you heed His words.

“And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon” (v. 11). This great, false religion looks like a lamb—but it causes unparalleled evil!

Revelation 17 adds to the story: “And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore [this great false church] that sitteth upon many waters” (v. 1). Is it hard to figure out which church God is referring to? “And upon her forehead was a name written, mystery, babylon the great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration” (vv. 5-6). Christ is viewing this from 554 a.d. to the end time. He says this old lady has been killing God’s people for a long time! Only one false church has that kind of history.

Again, there is a reason for all the bloodshed. God has to punish His people, because they have drifted away from Him. God doesn’t like to punish people so severely! He would rather we hear His warning! He is a God of love. That means if serious punishment is what it takes to save us, He loves us enough to put us through that.

“And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet: but receive power as kings one hour [just a short time] with the beast” (v. 12). There are 11 kings in the European Union right now, and Britain is about to be kicked out. We don’t know the actual conglomerate they will finally have, but Christ said there will be ten nations, and they will unite and destroy like no political-religious power ever has. World War II and the concentration camps were nothing like what’s coming.

These nations will be dominated by one mind (v. 13)—Satan the devil. He will lead Germany and a false church as they lead this union. “For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled” (v. 17). This beast is ruled by a great religious city that rules over the kings of the earth (v. 18). Isaiah 47:1 says they even have a throne. Is it hard to understand who this is about?

At the end of it all, there is good news. “These shall make war with the Lamb [Jesus Christ], and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful” (v. 14). Those who remained faithful to God all the way through are with Him. They never gave in; they continued His Work.

Your Responsibility

If you understand God’s purpose in the abomination of desolation, you know that it is awfully hard to get the attention of men. Think again about that declassified document, clearly stating that the Germans started preparing for World War III even before World War II ended—and yet it doesn’t have an impact on people’s minds. What is wrong with people? Millions died at the hands of the Nazis! Are we just going to let them do it again?

Winston Churchill wrote to his wife, January 3, 1938, “It is difficult to persuade people of facts till too late.” He thought his nation would die and never even respond to him. He said Neville Chamberlain “does not know the truth: and perhaps he does not want to.”

That’s the problem with people in America and Britain today. But when these things come to pass, they will know that a prophet was in their midst (Ezek. 33:32-33). Then, of course, it will be too late to do anything about it physically, but not spiritually.

Can you understand these prophecies? Do you realize what a responsibility you have if you do?

There is great hope in building faith. God is pleading with us. If we will just have ears to hear what He is telling us, we can avoid all of this. All of mankind could; that’s why God sends the message—to awaken them.

God is doing everything He can to get us into His family. He is a God of love and wants to give us all He possibly can. He wants us to be there serving at headquarters with Him—to teach this world how to live happily and abundantly. He will give this reward to us if we heed what He says about the abomination of desolation. Not only will He save us spiritually, but if we heed His warning now, He will also save us physically.