“And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Mat. 24:3)
The answer Jesus gave to the disciple’s third question, “what shall be the sign…of the end of the world?” revolves around a prophecy given in the Book of Daniel.
“And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.” (Dan. 12:11)
“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)
Jesus went on to explain that after the “abomination of desolation” would stand in the holy place, there would be a short period of time and then the end of the world would come.
“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” (Matt. 24:21)
“And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” (Matt. 24:22)
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:” (Matt. 24:29)
“And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” (Matt. 24:30)
This is a description of the third coming: the coming of Jesus as the Conqueror, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords; the time of the end of the world.
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.” (Rev. 21:1)
The single event that “triggers” this time period which separates the coming of Jesus as the Bridegroom and the coming of Jesus as the Conqueror is the “abomination that maketh desolate.”
The Apostle Paul gives greater detail of this event, and in doing so explains two things which must occur before the time of “great tribulation” and the “day of Christ”:
“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;” (2Thess. 2:3)
“Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” (2Thess. 2:4)
“Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?” (2Thess. 2:5)
“And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.” (2Thess. 2:6)
“For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.” (2Thess. 2:7)
“And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:” (2Thess. 2:8)
The Bible teaches that in the last days there is coming a man upon the earth who will be the epitome of evil. Even as Jesus Christ is referred to as the “fullness of the Godhead bodily”, this man will be so full of Satan that he is referred to as the “Antichrist.”
He is also called the Beast, the man of sin, the son of perdition, and the abomination of desolation.
The Bible teaches that when he is revealed he will go into the Temple in Jerusalem, remove the daily sacrifice, enter into the Holy place, sit down and declare that he is God.
The Roman Empire had become so oppressive against the Church in the days of the Apostle Paul, that some in the Church believed they were living during this time of The Great Tribulation.
They believed that the saints coming out of their graves after the resurrection of Jesus (Matt. 27:52) was the Resurrection, that Caesar was the Antichrist, and that the Roman Empire was the kingdom of the Beast.
The Apostle Paul wrote to them in 2 Thessalonians explaining that this was not so. Caesar could not be the Antichrist because two things were yet to happen before the Antichrist could be revealed.
These two things are still yet to happen as of the writing of this book.
They are that “He who now letteth will let until he be taken out of the way”, and the Antichrist must sit in “the temple of God shewing himself that he is God.”