desolating sacrilege

(NRSV; ‘abomination of desolation’, AV and REB in Mark 13:14; ‘appalling abomination’, NJB). The phrase is used in Dan. 9:27 to denote the pagan altar set up in the Jerusalem Temple by Antiochus Epiphanes in 167 BCE; and in Mark 13:14 it may refer to the failed attempt by the emperor Caligula to install his statue in the Temple (40 CE) or to an event such as the display of army emblems in the Temple in the war of 66–70 CE. Luke (21:20) probably has the siege of the city in mind and writes therefore after the sacrilege has occurred. Mark may be suggesting that Jesus is warning his disciples about coming trials and urging them not to be taken by surprise.

Dictionary of the Bible.

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