Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Prophecy of the Abomination of Desolation, part 2

To continue from the previous blogs... In the 24th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus foretells to His disciples the time of the end: and in the spiritual sense of this discourse, the gradual corruption of the Christian Church.  It will get to the point where there will be nothing worshiped that is holy; instead, an idol will be worshiped: this is known as the "abomination of desolation".  Jesus briefly describes it as follows:

Therefore when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place" (whoever reads, let him understand),then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house.And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. (Matt. 24:15-18)
In his work Heavenly Arcana (or Arcana Coelestia), Swedenborg describes the "abomination of desolation" generically, referring to a state within the Church where the Lord is no longer worshiped, when scripture is no longer applied to one's life: and especially: when there is no longer any love or charity.  For without love, religion is an empty shell. In this state, there is no longer any truth that is acknowledged, this is the spiritual meaning of the word "desolation".  The word "abomination" is in reference to what is loved and worshiped: a religion that allows and permits evil, and does not acknowledge the Lord.

However in his work Summary Exposition (part of the volume The Last Judgment, see to the left), Swedenborg gets very specific as to what is meant by the abomination of desolation in the Christian Church:
That the successive falling away and corruption of the Christian Church is foretold and described by the Lord in the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew, may be seen above (n. 73). After having spoken of false prophets that should arise, and of the abomination of desolation wrought by them (verses 11, 15), the Lord adds, Then shall be great affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall be (verse 21); from which it is plain that by great affliction, in this as well as in other places throughout the Word, is meant the infestation of truth by falsities, until there remains no genuine truth derived from the Word, which is not falsified and thus consummated. This has come to pass by reason that the churches have not acknowledged the unity of God in the trinity, and His trinity in unity in one Person, but in three, and hence have founded a church in the mind upon the idea of three Gods, and in the mouth upon the confession of one God. For by this means they have separated themselves from the Lord, and at length to such a degree, that they have no idea left of any Divinity in His Human nature (see "The Apocalypse Revealed," n. 294), when nevertheless the Lord as to His Human is Divine truth itself, and Divine light itself, as He abundantly teaches in His Word; hence is the great affliction so prevalent at the present day. That this has been principally brought on by the doctrine of justification and imputation through the medium of faith alone in them, will be shown in the following pages. (Summary Exposition, n. 75)
Wow.  And here most churches who teach on Biblical prophecy refer to the abomination of desolation as something future, or referring to the false traditions of the Catholic Church. The principal truth that has been rejected and falsified in the old Christian churches is that Jesus is Jehovah in human form: the human form, born in time to the virgin Mary, is in itself the Son of God: for He progressively resisted sin and temptation in the human body He inherited from Mary, for as to His soul He was Jehovah, the Divine itself, who could commit no sin. In this manner, Jehovah made war against hell which assaulted Him through the human body and tempted Him as no other human.  This continued until He rose from the dead, and at that point His human was made Divine, and became the Divine Human. Jesus has one nature: the Divine, but now in such a way there is a direct interaction with humanity.  If we take a quick look at the history of the Christian Church, here is a brief summary of how it was corrupted:
1. The Nicene Creed (325 A.D.): this is a modification of the Apostles' Creed, which first declared that the Son is "begotten, not made". Note the subtle change: instead of acknowledging the Son of God as born in time to the virgin Mary, the Nicene Creed creates a son born from eternity, yet "not made".
2. The Athanasian Creed (early 5th century A.D.): this is an anonymous creed composed in southern France, which gradually gained acceptance in the western churches.  Here, it is declared that each of the titles of Father, Son and Holy Spirit are each in fact an individual person or being. And yet it commands all to not say "three gods" with the mouth, but declare them as one. One what? Well the creed does not say. Thus when most Christians state they believe in one God, that is by the mouth only, in their mind there are three persons, or "three gods". They know this is not true, even that is what is in their thought, but they cannot explain what they have learned from their church.
3. The Council of Chalcedon (451 A.D.): this declares that in Jesus there are two natures: Divine and human.  And this is a key point: for this council was rejected by the churches of the Middle East, who correctly declared that Jesus has one nature: the Divine.  All major branches of Christianity are Chalcedonian: Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant. The one main branch that isn't is the Oriental Orthodox church.
The Nicene Creed, the Athanasian Creed, and the Council of Chalcedon summarize how the Christian Church became corrupt, and stopped acknowledging one God in one person, or one Divine being. The key controversy to understand the meaning of the "abomination of desolation" concerns the Council of Chalcedon which divided Jesus into two natures: for by dividing Him, most now think of His human as that of another man. And that is the hidden evil behind it: for Pope Leo was very keen on having the church declare that He has two natures, so the Papacy could claim to be the Vicar of Christ on earth.

What I described above is a corruption of the original gospel, which occurred gradually over time. But in the prophecies of Daniel, the "abomination of desolation" occurred in a specific year. That this is so, is shown in the following prophecy:
And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days. (Dan. 12:11-12)
As noted before in the previous blog entries, in Biblical prophecy a day represents a year, thus there is a period of 1290 years, and a period of 1335 years.  This 1290 year period is composed of 3 x 430 years, and occurred historically in the Bible: there was a 1290 year period from the sojourning of the sons of Israel to the time that Ezekiel was commissioned as a prophet (ca. 1883 - 593 B.C.). The "abomination of desolation" for this period was the false religion of Babylonia: for this reason Abraham was commanded to leave that country and settle in the land of Canaan. The prophecy of Daniel is implying that this historical 1290 year period will repeat in the future. So why did the historical 1290 year period end with the prophethood of Ezekiel? It was at this time that God rendered judgment on the Jewish nation for worshiping idols in the temple of Jerusalem, which was derived from the worship of Babylon. In a vision, Ezekiel was brought to view how the Jews were worshiping idols in the temple (Ezekiel 8) and it was at this time the "glory of God", or God's presence, left from the temple. In the discourse from Ezekiel 8, multiple times the Lord mentions the "abomination" of the idolatrous worship occurring secretly within the Jewish temple at that time.

The first 430 years of this 1290 period is mentioned in Exodus:
Now the sojourn of the children of Israel who lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. (Ex. 12:40)
This is from the sojourning of Abraham beginning in the 70th year of his life (1883 B.C.) to the Exodus (1453 B.C.). However later, God mentions in a dream that there will be a period of 400 years of servitude in Egypt:
Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years (Gen. 15:13)
And this is the period from the 100th year of Abraham (1853 B.C.) to the Exodus (1453 B.C.), for in his hundredth year Abraham entered Egypt for a time due to a famine in the land of Canaan. So, if this is the case, we now have two time periods:
1290 years = 1883 - 593 B.C.
1260 years = 1853 - 593 B.C.
And so now in addition to the 1290 year period, we have the 1260 year period.  This 1260 year time period pops up numerous times in prophecy, and is mentioned as 1260 days, 42 months, or a "time, times and half a time" (three and a half years). This 1260 year period is an approximation of a Saros cycle of 1262 years, which contains about 70 solar eclipses. As explained earlier, the configuration of the sun, moon and earth of a solar eclipse will repeat about 18 years and 11 days later, and each eclipse belongs to a Saros series which can last between 1244 years to as high as 1532 years, which the majority of Saros cycles lasting 1280 years. But a period of 1262 years was viewed as spiritually significant, as that is the period for 70 solar eclipses. A period of 70 solar eclipses corresponds to the 70 years that the Jews were in captivity in Babylon. For the period from 1853 - 593 B.C., it just so happens that in the year 1853 B.C. there was a solar eclipse, which is part of the following Saros series:
Saros series #35: 1871 - 374 B.C. (1496.5 years)
The first solar eclipse occurred in 1871 B.C. and 18 years later was followed by an eclipse in 1853 B.C., the beginning of a 1260 year period.


At this point we have explained the 1290 year period, how it is related to the shorter 1260 year period, and it begins before the 1260 year cycle.  The 1260 year period begins one eclipse into a Saros cycle, and the 1290 and 1260 year period end on the same date.  But what of this 1335 year period in the prophecy of Daniel? As with the 1290 year period, there is very little explanation as to what it means. However, there is one clue which should be noted: a Saros cycle of 75 solar eclipses lasts 1334.2 years.  As a Saros cycle of 70 eclipses of 1262 years was rounded to a symbolic 1260 years, it is likely a longer Saros cycle of 1334.2 years containing 75 eclipses was rounded to 1335 years.

So, let us go through the astronomical record and find all Saros cycles that last 1334.2 years.  Because once we find the 1335 year period, perhaps we can derive from that the future 1290 and 1260 year periods mentioned in the prophecies of the book of Daniel. And once we know that, we can then show the true spiritual meaning of the "abomination of desolation" in this prophecy.  If we look at the period from 2956 B.C. to 4004 A.D., there are in fact very few Saros cycles that lasted 1334.2 years. Here they are, as compiled on a website by NASA:
Saros series #34: 2558 B.C. - 1224 B.C.
Saros series #34: 616 B.C. - 719 A.D.
Saros series #91: 160 B.C. - 1175 A.D.
Saros series #106: 456 - 1790 A.D.
Saros series #148: 1653 - 2987 A.D.
As the prophecy of Daniel was written some time ca. 536 B.C., the first 2 Saros series can be eliminated.  Babylonian astronomers, who first discovered this Saros cycle of eclipses, would have noted the series of eclipses beginning in 616 B.C., and this was perhaps known to Daniel as well. If their astronomy and math was accurate enough, they would have noted that the longest total solar eclipse of this Saros series would take place in 449 A.D., and the beginning of this eclipse would be visible in northern Mesopotamia, which was part of the Neo-Babylonian Empire. 

The first candidate for this prophecy is the Saros series from 160 B.C. to 1175 A.D. Interestingly, this occurs right after Antiochus Epiphanes IV desecrated the Jewish temple ca. 167 - 165 B.C., which some believe is the actual "abomination of desolation."  The Jews rebelled against Antiochus under Judas Maccabeus, who died in 160 B.C., at the beginning of this Saros series of eclipses. This was perhaps a pre-fulfillment of the prophecy, as many do apply some of the prophecies of Daniel to this time period. But this event is a symbolic historical pre-fulfillment of the actual "abomination of desolation", as Jesus stated that it was still future. And since that is the case, there is only one candidate Saros series for the 1335 year period:
Saros series #106: 456 - 1790 A.D.
So if we round that off to 1335 years, the 1335 years would last from 455 A.D. to 1790 A.D.  It was in 455 A.D. that the Vandals sacked Rome, and plundered it and stole the treasures of the Jewish temple that the Romans had taken from Jerusalem. And as stated before, this event was also foreseen in another prophecy of Daniel:
For ships from Chittim shall come against him; therefore he shall be grieved, and return in rage against the holy covenant, and do damage. So he shall return and show regard for those who forsake the holy covenant. And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation. (Dan. 11:30-31)
The "ships of Chittim" here are the Vandals, who attacked Rome by sea. It is after this, that the Catholic Church sets up the "abomination of desolation".  And what is it? It is the trinity of three persons, and the dividing of Christ into a Divine and human nature.  For the Vandals were Arians, and persecuted the Catholics, and the doctrine of the trinity of three persons was created to oppose the theology of Arianism, which stated that Jesus was some created angel or being from eternity, before creation.  

The other point to note here is that the "abomination of desolation" was setup after 455 A.D.  When? For that, we need to determine the 1290 year period.  For this, one thing I noted is the time period of the preceding Saros series of solar eclipses:
Saros series #105: 499 - 1779 A.D.
This series of solar eclipses lasts about 1280 years.  If we add 10 years to that, we now have the time periods of the 1290 and 1335 years for Daniel's prophecy:
1290 years: 499 - 1789 A.D.
1335 years: 455 - 1790 A.D.
So now it is clear why 1290 and 1335 years are mentioned together: they both point to an end time period of 1789-90 A.D.  And that is very significant, for that is the exact time period of the French Revolution which overthrew the political power of the Catholic Church. The same exact event was foreseen in the prophecies of Nostradamus (another topic here).  Moreover, the absolute monarchy was overthrown, and Louis XVI was beheaded in 1793.  It was some time in the fifth century A.D. that the Athanasian Creed was established as an essential creed of the church in southern France, and this time period ends with the complete destruction of the French monarchy.  That this is the correct interpretation is shown by the fall of Babylon which represents the Catholic Church in the book of Daniel. It begins with the desecration of the treasures of the Jewish temple:
Belshazzar the king made a great feast for a thousand of his lords, and drank wine in the presence of the thousand.While he tasted the wine, Belshazzar gave the command to bring the gold and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple which had been in Jerusalem, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them.Then they brought the gold vessels that had been taken from the temple of the house of God which had been in Jerusalem; and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them.They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze and iron, wood and stone.In the same hour the fingers of a man's hand appeared and wrote opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the king's palace; and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.Then the king's countenance changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his hips were loosened and his knees knocked against each other. (Dan. 5:1-6)
This is where the phrase "the writing on the wall" comes from, which was later interpreted by Daniel as foretelling the destruction of Babylon. In a similar manner, when the Vandals sacked Rome in 455 A.D., they took the treasures of Jerusalem. When Justinian of the Byzantine empire later conquered the Vandals, the treasures made their way back to his court, at which event he was greatly concerned and promptly sent them to the Holy land to get rid of them, perhaps seeing the significance of this particular event in the book of Daniel. In a spiritual sense, the "treasures of the temple" signify the knowledge of the gospel from scripture, which was perverted by the Roman Catholic Church in order to claim authority in matters of religion. That very night when the writing on the wall appeared, Babylon was taken by the Medes and the Persians and Belshazzar was slain (some say beheaded, as was Louis XVI in 1793).

The "abomination of desolation" begins in the year 499 A.D. - and this time period is significant, as it occurred during a schism between Rome and Constantinople.  The Byzantine Empire was seeking reconciliation with the Christian Monophysites of the Middle East, who correctly stated that Jesus has one nature: the Divine. But the Pope was intent on declaring that Jesus has two natures: the Divine and the human, so that they could claim to be the Vicar of Christ, and thus spiritual authority over the entire church. This was also the time of an intense spiritual battle between Arianism and the Catholic Church. And the victor of that controversy is the one who setup the abomination as the center piece of worship, which continues in most modern churches to this very day.

Knowing this, and knowing the time periods of the 1290 and 1335 years, allows us to determine with some certainty the time period of the 1260 year period mentioned in Biblical prophecy, and thus the time when a spiritual judgment should have taken place in the spiritual world...and that will be the subject of the next blog.  There are other interpretations out there, but most of those interpretations fall into the error that the prophecies concern the different wars between political kingdoms.  This is incorrect, for these are prophecies that concern the church, and the doctrines that won over others. I will also discuss why it is important to acknowledge that Jesus is a Divine human, with one nature, as that is the central doctrine of the New Church, and should be the central doctrine of all Christian churches. For those of you familiar with the doctrines and visions of Emanuel Swedenborg, you now know where I am headed with this blog series.

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