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THE HIGH MATTERS OF THE WING OF THE TEMPLE
Daniel 9 and Matthew 4
The Temptation Prescribed and Message for History
MOVING FROM DANIEL 2, 7-8, TO 9
This Chapter is about a wing. It is a very special one. Do you recall from Matthew 4, how the devil in a veritable ecstasy of roving rebellion against the Lord, sought to tempt even Him! Why not, the suggestion was, cast yourself from the wing of the temple - surely, is it not written, He will give His angels charge over you, you will be quite safe ? Christ rejected this, as the other tests, using the biblical answer, in this case, It is also written, you shall not tempt the Lord your God. What however of the nature of this temptation ?
It may sometimes have occurred to you that this would be a strange temptation, a thrill of spill, an outlandish desire to cast off into the space below an architectural eminence, even one so public and significant as that of the well-beloved Temple, symbol of mercy, divinely appointed sacrifice, pardon for sin and divine transcendence. It appears very likely that this thrill concept was by no means the essence of this temptation.
Why from the temple ? Was there not a spiritual significance in this ? Was not Christ's conviction of precise mission as continually seen, looking beyond a momentary sensation in the public, and religious civic heartland ? and when He asked them at once on His Messianic assumption, to repent, saying the kingdom of God was near, was this with the word of John the Baptist as seen in John 1:29, and all the focus on the Messiah as in the words of Simeon noted in Luke 2:25-35, something alien to His way altogether ? This would not merely be demission, but a folly of scarcely any meaning. Moreover, it would appear prima facie to be a gross distortion so to imagine its meaning.
It could be presented that this is often the nature of temptation, for things alien and unaligned; but why imagine such a combination of an almost apparent asininity and daring as this in the very midst of the place where His role would be so very different and intense ? It would seem out of all character and point. Certainly the devil is his own person, at least in desire, but his cunning is not only duplicitous but crafty.
One would look for something more subtle from the devil, something more aspirational, more appealing by nature. We are not ignorant of his wiles, as Paul declares (II Corinthians 2:11, Ephesians 6:11), his devices and his strategies!
Pondering such things, one notes that the use of the word 'wing' in the Greek text, for the point at which it is proposed Christ should cast Himself off into space, is a notable one. People ask themselves whether it was this or that architectural factor that was in view. Why 'wing', why cast off from the 'wing' of the temple ?
The Way to the Wing
In Daniel 9, the Hebrew term for 'wing' is employed in what is, by contrast, a highly spiritually significant way. In terms of a very considerable usage custom in referring even to minutiae of the Old Testament in view, when elements of the New Covenant are discussed (as notable in the epistle to the Hebrews), this is not to be lightly regarded. In view of the significance of the temptations of the Christ as incarnate God (Isaiah 48:16), then, let us examine a little the passage in Daniel 9.
This Chapter has been considered in some depth, several times before, but not with this purpose. One such treatment is found in Christ the Citadel Ch. 2, which in turn has various other references to earlier presentations on Daniel 9; and it is also available in the book which assembles exposition of Daniel, namely Highway of Holiness ..., in which this appears as Ch. 4. Here the various elements of the prediction of the date of the death of the Messiah, circa A.D. 30, in highly constrained terms, are shown in some detail. For the present, in view of this, we need only an outline of the position, in order to find the relevance of the term 'wing' as mentioned in Daniel 9's prediction, realising that this Chapter of Daniel does focus in a miniaturised but magnificent focus on Christ, in Daniel 9:24-27. Let us consider this use of 'wing' in its Daniel 9 setting.
Daniel is found, in Daniel 9, musing on the failures, faults, follies and rebelliousness of his people, which had in fact led to exposure to disciplinary attacks, as also forecast for many years by Isaiah for example, and Jeremiah, the latter in highly dramatic times near the desolation to come. This was to come to Israel by the marauding empire of Babylon. As seen in Ch. 1 above, this was the first of the Empires, the four, which Daniel forecast, giving detail in 2, 7 and 8, of fascinating and helpful character to us, even now, since the four Empires cover the period from then to the coming of Christ to rule. As shown in Ch. 1, this is now near.
As Daniel so mused, then in his own day, being himself an early captive taken in one of the preliminary raids by Babylon, before the summary destruction, he came upon the fact that just as Jeremiah had forecast an exile in Babylon, their own beloved place ruined, for 70 years, so to this time there was an end. The Jewish exile at this time was not to be for ever: it terminated.
In fact, there was a foretold time of restoration, an end to enforced exile. It must then have been near, and this deliverance date have loomed. It seems it was pressing. It was imminent. "O Lord," Daniel pled, "according to all Your righteousness, I pray, let Your anger and Your wrath be turned away from Your city Jerusalem, Your holy mountain; because for our sins and the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Your people are a reproach to all those around us."
The prophet proceeded with passion.
therefore, our God, hear the prayer of Your servant, and his supplications,
and for the Lord's sake, cause Your face to shine
on Your sanctuary which is desolate.
"O my God, incline Your ear and hear:
open Your eyes and see our desolations
and the city which is called by Your name:
for we do not present our supplications
before You because of our righteousness
but because of Your great mercies.
Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive. O Lord listen and act!
Do not delay for Your own sake,
my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name."
This passionate and spiritually acute importunity from Daniel for restoration to their great city of Jerusalem is the sort which the Lord can hear in all ages, and when it is based on His own word. In this case, the 70 year terminus to the exile before restoration, was foretold and defined: therefore action was certain. This did not obviate the need to ask, for even if thirsty at table, do you disdain to ask! Indeed, in Isaiah 64:4-5, we are told of the Lord's enduring grace to His people, dynamic to the dynamised who seek Him according to His word.
since the beginning of the world, men have not heard,
nor perceived by the eye,
nor has the eye seen any God beside You,
who acts ford the one who waits for Him.
You meet him who rejoices and does righteousness,
who remembers You in Your ways..."
It is again as in Mark 11:23, Christ speaks of His power to act in response to relevant faith:
assuredly, I tell you, whoever says to this mountain,
'Be removed and be cast into the sea,'
and does not doubt in his heart,
but believes that hose things he says will be done,
he will have whatever he says.
"Therefore I tell you, whatever things you ask when you pray,
believe that you receive them, and you will have them."
God did indeed heed Daniel; for shortly as you see in Daniel 9:20ff., an angel appeared to him, instructing him that just as there had been 70 years of exile in Babylon, divinely to be overcome by a restoration, and this was predicted, so now on a much broader canvas was a prediction which would take one to its end, to the very end of the age of prelude to the consummation, to the fulfilment of prophecy and the rule of the Lord on this earth: that is to bring in everlasting righteousness just as so many prophecies had detailed it (Daniel 9:24, cf. Psalm 2, 72, Isaiah 11).
In fact, it would be not 70 years, but 70 sevens in which this vast and eminently extended fulfilment was to occur. Then, the restoration would be not to a city, but to the Lord Himself as ruler over all languages and dominions (cf. Daniel 7:25ff.). For 'year' read 'seven', thus making 70 lots of 7. This is the most amazing long-range prophecy involving arithmetic one has ever met. As shown in Christ the Citadel ... Ch. 2, the point from which the 70 would reach, would start, was stated to be that at which the "command to restore and build Jerusalem" went forth. This is found to occur at 458 B.C.. Then, having found their date of commencement, we move on with the sevens. After 69 of them the Messiah would be cut off, leaving nothing for Him!
As in Isaiah 52-53, there is nothing vague about what that means! It is death, leading to resurrection as in Psalm 2, 16, 22, and indeed in Isaiah 26:19. How far into the last or 70th of the historical sevens was this death to occur ? It is stated to be after 69 of the sevens. It is, in fact, in the very MIDST of this final seven that sacrifices are to come to rest (as Keil points out in the Keil and Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament, in the volume on Daniel). Why should they rest ?
As in Isaiah 66:3, after the death of the Messiah, as foretold in Isaiah, it would become preposterous and gross to have animal sacrifices any more: they would have no more symbolic value, being already fulfilled. THEN indeed they would rest, become quiescent, indeed despicable if continued! Such is the word from Isaiah. Indeed, the work of the Messiah, although it involves suffering and death, just as notably in the Old Testament prophecies, has resurrection and restoration and power and overcoming, for death itself is to be swallowed up in victory (Isaiah 25:8 cf. Hosea 13:14) and the Messiah, though slain, would "divide the spoil with the strong" (Isaiah 53:12). Death was to be despatched by God in a personally executed work of redemption.
Indeed, supervening the riot of nations against Him (Psalm 2), the Lord, once slain, would so rule the evil judges of this earth, that they were admonished to heed, lest they inherit His wrath, who would rule the nations! As Christ told the disciples,
"Foolish ones and slow of heart to believe
in all the prophets have spoken!
Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things
and to enter into His glory?"
Jesus Christ then expounded the written word of God to show His victorious grace for man in overcoming death, so giving prophetic basis to His exhibition of Himself as risen from the dead, and clothed with flesh and bones! (Luke 24:39). The disciples had been used to utter and absolute, continuing and continual confirmation of the role of Christ the Lord, till it became so overwhelming that faith in Him became faith in God, His way the way divine, His being the One sublime, and this delicious news needed testing at every level, and got it, even to the point that Thomas wanted it to become anatomical and to be satisfied with nothing less than the physical: it was not terminology but truth which he desired, and got.
As Christ prevailed, and His covenant in His own blood became a lustrous lordship into eternity, so is the testimony of Daniel beforehand, to this fact. For the entire last seven, there is a covenant confirmed, that of the coming Messiah now vested in Messiah come as Jesus Christ, and this prevails to this day as it will till the consummation. God has never abandoned either His Christ or His sovereignty, and as the 70 sevens were to take to the (glorious) end, as it is predicted to be, so does this covenant confirmed as in Daniel 9.
Let us review it. Thus we find in Daniel 9:24-27, that though slain after 69 sevens, the Messiah would make strong a covenant, that is confirm one already there, with many (just as in Matthew 26:28-29, where His blood is shed for many cf. Romans 8:32). He indeed IS the new covenant as in Isaiah 42:6 and 49:6 for Jew and Gentile alike, offered to all, covering many. This is the way into the kingdom of heaven, the New Covenant in His blood, the one to endure to the end of time, fulfilling all prophecy in its pith and substance and bringing in everlasting righteousness, first to faith, and then to fulfilment. So are the specifications for the 70 sevens in Daniel 9:24 met abundantly. There is the amplitude that covers the period from then to the very end, as specified, of prophecy. The scope of the work of the 70 sevens is no less than this (Daniel 9:24), and this is accordingly the sovereign work of the majestic Lord, which takes not to desolations merely, but to enduring and eternal righteousness that we meet likewise in Daniel 12, itself part of prophecy.
Thus in Daniel 9:26, you find the negative features of this positive marvel of fulfilment focussed in 9:24, and with this is the eternal covenant to conduct us to the end of test time and the coming of the Messiah to rule this earth before its final departure as in II Peter 3. As in Psalm 16, 22, 72, as in Isaiah 11, 32, 42, 49, 53, 61, there is victory over withering death, torturous calamity and the sacrificial wonder of a love which stoops to any lowness man can provide (Isaiah 50,52-53), yet without sinning, to bring many to salvation. Yet this triumphant desolation, this supreme overcoming, this gladiatorial glory in overcoming sin, not as a mere individual in victorious living, but as the Saviour for all individuals who will believe and receive Him freely, it has a deep shadow. This comes right in the midst of this final seven of the seventy. His being cut off is vile; but it has a victorious outcome.
Thus this seventieth seven marked with a strange but deep occurrence. In the very midst of it, the sacrifices will be caused to rest, to lose impetus, power and place; and indeed, following this, there is to be a destruction of Jerusalem by the people of the prince who is to come (Daniel 9:26-27), who was Titus, the relevant Roman in the 4th Empire. No easy time is forecast (cf. Daniel 12:1ff.)! Indeed, there are to be desolations till the very terminus indicated in 9:24, when the wonder and power of prophecy is to reach its basic terminus in the God of power, as it in fact does.
The end of the sacrificial system in symbol wrought by the terminus of the actual sacrifice of the Messiah ends the payment for reconciliation and atonement; but not the suffering till He comes, Himself, for the finale. The people of the prince of this world indeed would destroy the temple, but the Prince of the people would, and did confirm the covenant with many for the ENTIRE remaining, the 70th seven, having majesty and power, provision and peace of heart for His people, pending His own return in majesty and power.
Accordingly, at this point in Daniel 9:27, while the covenant proceeds, so does the abominable action of spiritual fraud do so, till the final intervention of the Lord (as in Daniel 12). Moreover, so does the covenant for the entire seventieth seven, the Messianic seven as it now becomes through this very covenant in His blood. The victory is assured, but now its power is shown epochally and to the end of the evil anti-luminary, the prince of this world. Here then in Daniel 9:27, at the end of Daniel 9, we see that on the one desolating, in its desultory, defiling, evil dynamic (cf. John 14:30), there will be poured a consummation, a terminus, an end, so that desolation from this evil source becomes a prelude to that of the desolator. He who desolates will have poured a crucial desolation upon himself: desolation to the desolator is the code! Thus the vengeance of II Thessalonians 1 becomes actual.
This is the arena of the Little Horn, terminating the time of the 4th Empire's violence and vileness, and here in the desolation of the desolator, even when the time is up, in the "consummation", is the "glory" of which Christ spoke, following His sufferings. It is the time of Psalm 2, 72, Isaiah 11.
The 70th seven, of the list of 70, in continuity as were the 70 years of exile, has a special feature. In the midst of this final seven, holding the covenant of the Messiah, it is written that there will be a termination, an ending in the end of sacrifices. It is that of the Messiah, who is cut off and there is nothing for Him (as stated in Daniel 9:26-27. One, His own, being made, sanctioned sacrifice ends, is over, ceases. The Messiah amid all of these many former sacrifices, accounts for all, and mediates a fulfilment of any. This time, indeed, the ending of the sacrifices, unlike that defilement by the little horn of the Third Empire, Antiochus Ephiphanes, who brought it about as an abomination, interrupting a divine ministry, is now wrought by a far greater Power, and it is for a wholly different purpose. It is for one which by its very contrast highlights the work of the Messiah. THIS time round, it is glory and not shame, and it is not an interruption of sacrficies, butthe very end of sacrificial offering.
Now, then, it is a termination of sacrifices justly concluded because at long last, in the fulness of time as Paul puts it in Galatians 4:4, the Messiah has ended all prelude, all symbol with substance, all forecast of the path to salvation. Following this, there is the end, the consummation, as in Daniel 9:27.
Thus, Christ did it all, in nothing diverted, following His mission and duty to the very end (as He had faced it so poignantly as seen in Luke 22:39ff.). He had not cut it short, nor had He cut corners. Doing all for HIS time on earth, He concluded the New Covenant for ALL time, as long as it will last (cf. Psalm 72:17). Thus the 70 proceed to fulfil all specified, as in Daniel 9:24, wrought in the victorious name of the Messiah, as in Daniel 7:25, who lives and prevails with His covenant for ever (cf. Revelation 5:9-13). All scripture, the entire Bible indeed, is found cohesive, every collateral branch firmly integrated in its trunk, and that set in the ground of truth, all being mutually interpretive, confirmatory, and at times, stirring the very sleepy to be awake: for as Paul exclaims, "Awake you who sleep!" - Ephesians 5:8-17.
As Daniel 9:24 specified what was to happen in the 70 times 7 units of time, so Daniel 9:27 brings us to the fulfilment of this very thing, with the final seven, the seventieth immersed in the divine covenant for one seven, that of the Messiah, whose triumph is thus portended, whose word fulfilled, in whom the issues rest.
As to saving action on which all blessing is based (cf. Galatians 6:14), ALL that the Christ had to face - even to the point of causing resistance designed to save Him at the physical level to cease (Matthew 26:53ff.) - was done. "It is finished," accordingly had been His utterance on the cross (John 19:30 cf. Hebrews 9). HOW, He had asked Peter, who wanted to defend Him with a sword, and indeed began to do so, can all the scriptures concerning Me be fulfilled in this way! In other words, it all HAD to be, as the plan of God had specified, for this was the very WAY of SALVATION. This is the only way in (John 14:6), and He was about to accomplish to the uttermost, the way in, for any to follow! It was not by force that He would be aided, nor does He either require or permit it at human hand for the sake of the religion which centres in Him (John 18:36). This is not only the nature of the atonement but of its spreading kingdom!
Indeed, force is dysfunctional in faith, having nothing to do with its presence, though it may as judgment signify its absence, in the end, when all is done, as it was foreknown from the first according to the counsel of God who knowing all, works in His defined overall nature of love, all things according to His own counsel (cf. Ephesians 1:11, Isaiah 40).
Alas, Jerusalem, signatory to His execution, would indeed, having junked its opportunity (Luke 19:42ff.), be destroyed and over this He wept! How graphically does Daniel 9:26-27 show the desultory desolations, and how sadly they have been suffered, the more so since it was entirely unnecessary, Israel having had that glorious opportunity which it so misread (cf. Luke 19:42ff.); nor in this have they been alone, except in the execution of Christ, which many since have performed inferentially in their own hearts, whether by the lèse-majesté of indifference or the robust realities of disparagement, through unbelief and blindness to match that of Israel at the first.
Wars and rumours of wars would abound, and do so especially as His return came near, and at last, Jerusalem would revert from Gentile to Jewish rule (Luke 21:24), this being one of a ferment of signals that His return to rule, as in Psalm 2, 72, Isaiah 11, Acts 1, Romans 11, Isaiah 59, was "near".
That is epoch is thus this one, as these criteria show (cf. SMR Ch. 8, Answers to Questions Ch. 5). The time of the return thus is definable as - to use Christ's precise word - 'near'. Of the actuality, the precise year, the retort of Christ to the disciples' question, "Will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel ?, " needs no less to be borne in mind, as illustrated by recent reckless pretensions to knowledge of when He will so act, coming to Jerusalem with His people, after the removal of all His saints in resurrection (Zechariah 14:5, Revelation 19:8ff., 20, Matthew 24:29ff., I Thessalonians 4). Neither the day nor the hour nor the time or season is known, only the signals for 'near' (Acts 1:7, Matthew 25:13).
Christ, the Messiah, the Prince of Peace, thus was cut off and there was nothing for Him, no place or veneration by the nation, but rather the reverse. Yet in so doing, He had done all, turning their folly to His glory and man's opportunity in salvation (cf. I Corinthians 2: 8, Acts 2:23-31).
So the sacrifices, brought to rest in reality, continuable only as an abomination, ceased to count, and soon ceased altogether, being now irrelevant, their day and point past. This came with the destruction of the temple itself, and indeed, on that very site, or thereabouts, came an abomination of desolation, a mosque relating to a religion which not only disregarded the deity of Christ Jesus, but the atonement of His work, His redemption but amid its romancing, as if free from history, its founder, Muhammad, had alternate stories as to His very death, appearing confused even on this! (cf. Dancers, Prancers, Lancers and Answers Ch. 3, *1A ) whether it happened or not. On what God does, however, whether in DNA or the Bile or history, there is no confusion, for it is clarity itself, to the last jot and tittle of prophecy (Matthew 5:17ff.).
A mosque of Christ-denial at the site of the temple! This was a sensationally mordant irony, fit to wake the dead; for since Israel dismissed the end of the Temple, its fulfilment, the criterion of all its work, indeed acted as if to delete the Messiah, dismiss the summit and finale of all sacrifice, therefore God dismissed the Temple. He gave it a generation before so acting; but then did act, so that they COULD not continue such a mockery as continuing with more sacrifices in symbol, when the love of God to the entire world had been already sacrificially displayed and effectually wrought.
It was Christ who came to save and not to judge, God tells us in John 3, and He had already completed an infinite sacrifice of immeasurable worth. Indeed, it was done IN PERSON (as forecast in Hosea 13:14). GOD did it. What more from man is needed for his salvation, then! More is then less. So the Temple was shaved off the planet, and an ineffectual substitute from one of the false prophets foretold (Matthew 24:24), replaced it, like an ironic idol.
A place for a substitute worship abhorrent to Israel and God alike, but a rebuke to the failure to believe the reality when it was available (as in Luke 19:42ff.), it was this which came. No resistance could stop this, nor any Massada obviate it. It was done. Having rejected the Messiah, when the opportunity was pressing and available, after a generation, they lost the means to continue illusion, even the temple itself, WITHOUT MORE DELAY! Christ Himself being the Temple, WHERE sacrifice was made, and the priest WHO made that sacrifice in His own flesh, more concern with the temple was mere living among the dead. Those who refused life could have that. It no more concerned Jew or Christian alike, for the one who recognised the Messiah where and when He came.
What is it like ? It is like waiting all night for a flight to a distant site, and then when the plane at last comes through sleet and snow, lands and the doors open, you sleep! Then you try to get there by sled and horse, canoe and through fever-striking forest, losing your way. THAT is what it is like! Continuing without Christ when He has come, and enduring the results of blindness is like that.
Let us then revert somewhat to Christ the Citadel ... Ch. 2 for a short time, to see how it came to fit into the 70 sevens. The starting point of the 70 has in Ch. 2 been identified as 458 B.C..
Let us calculate. From 458 to 1 A.D. is 458 years. We have to go another 25 years to make up the total of 483, for the 69 sevens. That is A.D. 26. It is another 31/2 years till His death. That makes it around 30 A.D. depending on months. It was then that His death in fact happened in precise fulfilment. From the word given by God to Daniel, 600 years before He acted to have Christ crucified for sin: the Lord who made time, acted like an engineer of history. He showed when that great action would occur. It did. God is always like that. Our very bodies are full of His commands in the DNA (matter does not make commands, it only keeps them). Our salvation is also in terms of His commands. The Lord is King over all the earth, and it is well to trust in Him.
The entire residual part of the 70th seven, interrupted in its midst by the sacrificial termination, by the death of the Messiah, by the Calvary of Christ, became the rest of history till His return. His ministry being carefully estimated from the Gospels as one of some three and one half years, thus the midst of the final seven is the time for the end of sacrifices, His the consummation and fulfilment of all. So does the decision of the Lord, expressed in His prophetic word (Daniel 9:27), that He will bring to an end authorised sacrifices, come to its rest "in the midst of the seven". There is in this arithmetic plan for history a demonstration of the Lord's utter control and staggering overview capacity, to say and then to do what is His will, whether in things large or compendious.
What of the final segment, the end of the seventy ? Thus, since units can have any assigned size, the rest of the last seven is taken up with the fulfilment of all that followed the consummation of sacrifice in Christ. This last unit, the 70th., is now HIS seven, in the midst of which He was slain, after some three and one half years of Messianic ministry. What is the ministry that remains ? It is that in His name on the part of the Holy Spirit (cf. John 16:5-8).
It is not for you, said Christ to the disciples, to know the times the Father has sent in His own authority. Just as the time of His sacrifice was foretold, sealing the issue, and cutting out all imaginary christs, so the precise knowledge of the time of His return is WITHHELD; for as He stated in the closing verses of Matthew 24, the coming again is in itself part of the test. Servants knowing the time their Lord returns, will seem ready; but those not so acting, will be shown up rankly! The 70th seven takes to heaven, but not until the Lord who made the sevens and history, is ready, the world is ready, and all His saints are ready (cf. Revelation 6:9ff.).
Ready ? this poor world in its whims and unwise ways is never ready, as to in place, but like ripe fruit, though in this case loaded with poisons wilfully retained, its picking time arrives at length.
It is in the midst of these things, that we find the reference to the WING.
Following the bringing to rest of the temple sacrifices, with the Messiah Himself cut off and nothing left to Him, but abhorrence from the official nation, we learn that "on the wing of abomination shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolator."*1
Here is that same term 'wing' used in the temptation of Christ. It is the Hebrew for wing, just as the Greek term in the NEW Testament is one of two words of the same root, for wing. It is specific. Translators may seek to see applications, but this is the word itself: WING, in both testaments. It is in a way like the cross-hairs for an aircraft cannon, fixing the target and revealing what is to be sought. So it is translated in the NKJV in the New Testament and in the excellent Berkeley version in the Old (Daniel 9:27), which has it as "on a wing of horror shall a desolator come to bring ruin, until a fully determined end comes..." Thus also as wing, it appears in the NIV and the NASB. Let us consider how it may have related, for this would explain the use of the term in that temptation.
Was not the Christ to suffer ? Could He not institute an immediate end, and so short-circuited the entire complex process of suffering leading to the end ? Could HE HIMSELF not cast Himself from the wing of the temple, bringing immediate judgment, as came in the 586 B.C. devastation of the Temple ? Why wait ? Why delay ? Why go through so much when something so simple was in view ? Was not Israel in the grip of such moral, spiritual and covenantal corruption already (as He exposed as seen in Matthew 23, in excoriating terms!), that its end could be a blessing. Why not assume the path of desolator, or better, that of supervising on site that very thing.
From the very tip of the temple, from its wing, HE could come sailing unassailable, bringing the whole corrupt tragi-comedy to a deserved end, and inheriting a devastation, break through and live as prescribed! Why not ? Why not cast oneself down from the wing as the very judge, exposing the abomination of desolation through His own Person in flaming judgment!
Does not God again and again show His own power in supervising and ensuring judgment ? Could He not now do the same in Person ?
Does it not say in Amos 3:6, that "Is there is calamity in a city, has not the Lord done it ?" Is not the Lord the ultimate One in judgment, when the time is ripe, to ensure personally that what is the terminus of evil, reaches that point in drastic manner, or at least a sure one! It could happen perhaps after hundreds of years of patience, as in Jeremiah 37:10. Here though all the Babylonians were wounded men, yet would they arise and defeat Jerusalem ? Is it not written in Ezekiel 21:16, that the Lord is to ensure the situation when the sword smashes right and left! Could not the Messiah come in flaming judgment from the temple tip, flying off its wing, realising judgment, making desolate for a very sound reason, and enduring the result on Himself in a sort of divine shrug ?
Why not then cast Himself from the wing of the temple, directly as deity exposing the abomination, and might He Himself not come on the very wing of abomination bringing in desolation, and what then ? Could He not, then bearing it, rising from the dead, be victorious!
Notice in Ezekiel 20, how in a coverage of many years of the history of Israel, again and again, it is written that under intense provocation from the sins of Israel, God "wrought for His name's sake," and having patience did NOT destroy or terminate things. Yet again and again, the people presumed on His patience, till one finds in Ezek. 20:38-39, the decision to purge the rebels from among them, so that no more would the farcical follies of misuse of divine grace be found! Again in Amos 4, after a series of minor judgments, God instructed them, since they did not repent, "Prepare to meet your God!"
If this then is the explanation of the temptation, and the otherwise rather difficult to account for use of 'wing' as the launching point for the thrust into space, the temptation is subtle indeed. Why wait till the cross and the contempt, the slavering beasts in their taunting and tempting, were all finished with their roles ? why not even now short-circuit it all and get to the point. Why allow them all to continue till the end ?
Why not pre-empt it all, indeed play a prophetic part, if a little oddly ? Why not cast oneself from the very WING of the temple and so display the great power and institute the desolation, with an instantaneous solution, doing all, acting as judge and deliverer! The term was famous, notable, telling in Daniel 9:27: so it appears to have become a base for temptation, one that could not well fail to be realised, ready for appetitious sating of all that Satan, for his own part, might hold dear, and many are those who have fallen in such ways, selling principle for power, beauty of holiness for acceptance, the elements of sanctity for the rot of impending ruin, only distanced a little, as they seek desperately to deliver themselves!
The Divine Wonder that Refused Temptation
and Wrought Truth
It is the mercy of God that He did no such thing, however construed. Instead, He endured to the end, in the form of a servant (Romans 8), so that the Father, having made peace through the blood of the Cross, and in no lesser way, and the Son offered to all as was the lamb in the day of atonement: in this He would fulfil His desire to reconcile all things BY this blood, to Himself.
Nothing was to be left out, nothing added. It was simple, sufficient, sublime sacrifice, perfectly concluding the entirety of the Messianic ministry; and no short-circuit would occur, but in patience every facet would be luminous with a divine light. It would be as a sacrifice, and not a fiery judge, that He would come. It would be as a Lamb and not a Lord that He would offer Himself. Being in the form of a servant. He would BEAR judgment, before any was imparted! In other words, John 3:16-17 would be fulfilled to the uttermost, by HIMSELF, bearing all, so that John 3:36 would become a residue for those who would not even receive the free gift of eternal life, people whose judgment thus came under the rubric, self-ruined by condemnation or disregard of the cross of Christ, themselves now left desolate with the desolator!
The desolation would come, both to Jerusalem with its Temple, and to all those Gentiles who having been given, to one and all, this ardent testimonial of the wholly unqualified love of God, were wilfully left without cover: even though His own life was that cover! It was there, filled with performance, but disdained by the nation.
What greater contempt, what more mordant refusal, what more ignominious treatment than this spirit and aspect, thought and approach by many:
DO all You are going to do, and prove all You want, but for me, it is rebellion, revolt, indifference or even contempt; and CERTAINLY don't attempt anything with my sacred self. It is ME for ever! Such an evocative call may seldom be transliterated in print; but in heart, the echoes linger long...
Darkness it is and darkness such inherits; for if even in the fulfilment of the entirety of Christ's sacred mission in PERSON as GOD, there is breach and rejection, what more is left ? God would have ALL to be reconciled to Himself, having made peace by the blood of the cross, and despite the contradictions of many, we know this because He explicitly says so.
For His part, He has done all. He has even foreknown who are His, using for condemnation this criterion, that light has come and men have preferred darkness. Before time and sin, He knew all, and foreknowing, predestined to fulfil this divine knowledge (Ephesians 1:4, II Timothy 2:19). Thus, there is no excuse: HE before time and sin and fall for man, before man was even created, He the architect of destiny, with this all-pervasive love as stated (He is, after all, "love" - I John 4, which does not mean one who is defiled by its lapses), has known His own. In His own consummating love He has achieved the fulfilment of all its desires, stopping short of force, for this is not love, or pretence, since this is not truth! The lost are lamented, but they are not subverted into the kingdom, but called, not shanghaied, but sought.
But what of the temptation of Matthew 4 and the WING and the casting down ? Impatience, avoidance of the cross (so neatly forwarded for a dark moment when Peter fell to Satan's lowering misconceptions - Matthew 16:21-22), the use of the Messiah HIMSELF as intemperate desolator in terms of Daniel 9:27, short-circuiting the whole of salvation, so that He in turn could bear the desolation to be poured on the desolator as in 9:27, and in some perverse way attempt to overcome and be a sudden, successful non-suffering Saviour: these might have been the ingredients. It would in that case be as lowering a lust on the part of Satan (who after all was the SOURCE of the temptation, Satan himself!), to divert doom from Himself to a new concept of salvation all at once, in the end at the first.
It would be one more from the realm of the Satan, with elegant satanicity: Bring an end to it all by a sudden plan, diverting divine compassion, cutting out the whole Church Age, achieving in singular, world-grabbing thrust what would take actually the thrust of nails on the cross and the loss of life before its restoration in the resurrected corpse (Acts2:31, John 20).
Impatience is something we are now hearing about from Obama, in his endeavour to thrust home the international interference of the Quartet, what is their intemperate lust, man against God, in Israel (cf. Zechariah 12:4-10). God has His own ways and His own modes of both protection and inspection; and this international dictation and misdirection is far from both, just as Zechariah 12, Deuteronomy 32, Micah 7, Romans 11 show what is His will (cf. Galloping Events Ch. 4).
It has been part of the intemperate follies of power-lusting Hitler, Mao and Stalin, dealing death to multiplied millions. Impatient impenitence and lordly substitutes for the patient preparations of God to overcome sin, purge the world and institute His glorious reign before the entire world disappears amid noise and energy dissipation (II Peter 3): this is the undivine way! Satan is always at it. It may be that in this temptation of Christ to cast Himself like the desolator in Daniel 9:27 from the temple peak, wing, there was the same style and dissavour from Satan. It WAS from Satan, and in these modes, it certainly LOOKED LIKE IT.
Adopted by God, adopting the Truth
Yet Christ did not yield to ANY of the temptations, couched this way or that. He has done all. He has made it simple enough for a child. It is so very simple for man, because God met the complexities and horrors due to sin, to the full. If one wants the Lord, then repent and take Him; He knows, and God is not limited by what man is WITHOUT HIM, for when infinite wisdom acts, there is an overcoming of any and every impediment.
If one does not want the Lord, then why worry ? something seems better, however dark, stark, vulnerable, vicious, superficial ? Then where is the grumble ?
If however, one seeks the Lord ? then seek Him with all the heart, as you would seek a life-saver when on the point of drowning and he could be met: and repenting, put your trust in Him. Reason can only confirm (cf. SMR, TMR).
Truth constantly affirms the salvation of our God, and has done so for millenia. There is no other sacrifice, and God has shown no evidence of having acted in any other way to the point. There is nothing on which to gamble, there is neither reason nor testimony of truth to be found elsewhere; but entry to life is to be found where the remedy for man has been given, and the God of creation, having all things and ready to give and forgive, having done all, has brought near His salvation. In this, He brings eternity in place of horror, and light in place of darkness, all His words and works unique beyond comparison, profound amidst superficialities, these incredible to contemplate.
COME ? then come. Come to HIM! Christ showed that even amid the follies of man, you could go to such an extreme that some instead of sinning in some other way, you might even trust in the knowledge of the Bible for salvation, as if sitting in a doctor's waiting room could cure! Yet it is not the knowledge of it (though this is step one), but the use of its remedy which is imperative (John 5:39ff.). You will not, Christ declared of those lost, COME TO ME, that you might have life.
If this is your position, then remedy it, by coming to Him, who did all, gives all, and forces none. The Bible shows the way; you then TAKE IT, and in so doing, TAKE HIM, who died, who rose, who is coming and whose salvation is perfectly free and intensively purifying; for with Him, is wisdom and power, and great is the joy and peace of His companionship.
Poured on the desolate or on the desolator ? Versions differ enormously, on this, the AV and the RV for example giving, the former 'desolate' and the latter, 'desolator' and several major versions differ in just the same way, though one has an interesting 'desolate one.'
The Hebrew for desolator as a prefix, otherwise resembling the latter use, 'desolate or desolate one', precedes in the text of Daniel 9:27. It is in English rather like a word play in which a cook is mentioned just before the 'cooked', except that in the Hebrew the variation occurs in a prefix, not a suffix, thus enhancing the visual impact of the conjunction of the two terms, the 'one making desolate' and 'the desolate', as 9:27 proceeds.
E. J. Young in his work, The Prophecy of Daniel, declares, desolate not desolator; Keil and Delitzsch in their vast Old Testament Commentary, declare quite simply and consistently in their Daniel volume, desolator.
Firstly, however, we note that Daniel 9:27 has a specific act, one coming who makes desolate, and a specialised time location, UNTO THE END, to which is conjoined the concept of things being DETERMINED to the end, so that there is a warning not to pre-empt. Desolation is the name of the game, putting it that way, for it is a dreadful affair which is in store. Indeed, we are told that it is to continue over a set and pre-determinate period of time, one which has the sense of a continuity not about to be disturbed, like the passage of a large liner going out to sea, setting forth on the deep: and it WILL be on the deep until that determined, the time of the end, when it arrives at the foreign shore, has come.
These things being in mind, one senses the setting, the word play, the enduring atmosphere, and would be inclined to translate, if it were possible, both ways at once. There is this desolating agency, the desolator doing his evil rampage; and there is this inherent desolatory atmosphere, it is all one in terms of cause and effect, in nature and spirit, and horror and the horrid, and it is to be maintained that way till its consummation, which as always in Daniel, is with the destruction of the evil power, whether by a stone hitting the foot of the image in Daniel 2, or the beast slain as in Daniel 7:11, or in the "none shall help him," in Daniel 11:45. Almighty God is never aborted, and desolations such the original 70 years of Jeremiah's prediction for exile, have for the whole Age, an end for those who are of the Lord.
That, it is for them in a pity and a presence, a power and a categorical deliverance, even amid earthly furies, as also in Deuteronomy 32 and Micah 7, not to dwell on Habakkuk 3. God will act to save His people, who in large numbers will return to Him whom they crucified (Zechariah 12:10-13:10). Many Gentiles will be delighted by this vast new spiritual work in Israel, based on the same New Covenant which was the bloom of the bud of the Old one (Deuteronomy 32:43).
Hence, in Daniel in particular, there is the sense in the array of terms and atmosphere of the desolator acting in his acrid way, and the object of divine wrath and eventual destruction coming on the entire assemblage, the evil assault force, and there is a potent focus on its spirit, its wasted condition and its condign punishment. The tie-up of terms, visibly so conspicuous as to suggest word play, in 'desolator' and then 'desolate' moreover, in this emphatic verse 27, suggests strong cohesion of the desolator and what is rendered desolate. It is one schema, with different pseudo-pods moving about, so that the extension of desolator, literally, in this context, to what is rendered desolate, appears intentionally cohesive, but expansive, so that ALL that is involved is in view, not merely any one part. Yet since there is the normal Danielic emphasis, the ALL certainly includes the focal point of eventual impact, the desolator himself. This can scarcely be omitted in translation. One possible rendering would be this: until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolatory. This would send the mind to all that both is desolate and makes desolate, being open to both senses. It relates to desolation, in whatever way.
As to Christ's reference to the matter in Matthew 24:15ff., it would appear, in terms especially of Luke19:42ff.,Matthew 24:1ff., that the Roman desolatory rampaging in destroying the temple in AD 70 under Titus, much earlier an actual image evidently being blasphemously intruded by Pompey, refers to a developing scenario. It is capped by the sight of the one who is STANDING of the holy place, which embroils much in its fall. This is not merely compromise, as from Pompey, but Rome's act of entire destruction of the city, is not least in mind. There was indeed an embroilment of horrible power, terrible danger and passionate and intemperate standing amid the holy. It has lasted with many Gentile powers, desolatory as determined by God.
That, as in Daniel 9:27, however, is by no means the end of the matter, which explicitly has to go on to the thing determined IN THE END. This is not that initial blasphemy or devastation from Rome, since the two are separable. One is impactive; the other comes to the end, in the consummation, after a determined epoch, era or interval. Thus there is following this devastation, destruction of the temple, AD 70, an aura, atmosphere, desolate in character, continuing in kind, unremitting, unsubdued, but rather subduing.
Thus as seen in Daniel 9:24ff., the sacrifices rest, they are no more relevant, for the MESSIAH Himself has been cut off, and there is need for no more (as in Isaiah 66:1ff.). Indeed animal sacrifice is now abhorrent.. Yet these dribbled illicitly on until in AD 70 the embargo came in simple, singular and final form: there was NO TEMPLE LEFT in which they COULD occur. At last THIS blasphemy, of ignoring the epochal and universally applicable sacrifice of the Son of Man, God's only begotten Son from eternity (John 17:1ff., 8:58), was put away, and rendered desolate, as well it might be.
It is ALL desolatory, the destruction of the temple, the preceding continuation of sacrifices following Christ's death, as to form but not as to functionality, the devastation of Jerusalem, the arising of a pagan power sitting or standing over the ruins, the continuation of the horrors of persecution of the Jew world-wide ...
It has surged on for some 2000 years. Indeed, even on the predicted restoration of Israel to its land as in Ezekiel 36-37, to lead on to the return of the Messiah (Ezekiel 37:24), there would at first be a continuing unbelief (implied in Zechariah 12 - for you do not need to be made to see what you already know!). This shows developments proceeding through initial wars with Israel's predicted return, to the point of eventual conversion of a multitude of Israel in an epochal act (cf. Romans 11:25, and the second command in Ezekiel 37's parable, for breath for the bones). Prior to this massive conversion to come in Israel, there is listed in Zech. 12, a series of wars in which, though made triumphant, Israel would have to endure, yet more, as they did not believe as a nation, yet more persistent til the consummation.
It is in this biblically richly covered scenario, scene, and situation that there is this enduring desolation, the things of faith nor realised, the Messiah still not recognised, the cause of desolation still not corrected, until at the time of the end, by divine determination in advance, now duly to be fulfilled, "the consummation ... is poured on what is desolatory", both desolator and the entire association in spirit and kind and atmosphere, doer and done!
If before the consummation, there is desolatory denudation in Israel, to advance into the other nations (cf. Matthew 24) in its own form and format, then when it actually COMES, consummation of divine majesty in its concluding phases in dealing with the devilish, what is to be expected here! It is as Paul describes it in II Thessalonians 1.
It will by this time be that the consummatory judgment will be poured out not merely on the national aggressor and the evils associated, but internationally on the enemies of God, as in Micah 7: for after the Messiah, the light is not only for Jew, categorically, but for Gentile as well as in Isaiah 42:6 and 49:6. Not only is there injury to the one, but to the other, and with the large scale conversion foretold to come in Israel, there will be many of both!
Speaking of "all your persecutions and tribulations which you endure," to his people at Thessalonica, the apostle Paul goes direct to that eventual day, speaking of this as
"manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God," and declaring that they will be given rest,
"when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels,
in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not heed God,
even on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ."
These are events of the consummation of His rule, judgment, regality, majesty on this earth, before it goes (Isaiah 51:6, II Peter 2, Matthew 24:35), worn and worn out, abused and finished, a temporary structure before the consummate new heavens and new earth; for it has been not least, a laboratory for testing and a lair for wonder; yet it is also something which has come to go, and going, to leave nothing behind but the results, the Lord and His people, and the judgments of the consummation. One would decline to deal with the consummation in any other phase, than as a believer in Him who is holy and just and pure and true (cf. Revelation 19). Alas for those who by declining faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and in Him, salvation as a gift and grant from heaven, which is His work and not our own but requiring reception (Titus 3:3ff., Romans 3, Ephesians 2), show that this part of the consummation poured out on the desolate, is one from which they have yet to be differentiated!
May many yet receive the One, and HIS work, His salvation by grace through faith, the whole thing not of themselves but the testimony of the love of that God who being love, neither forces nor fails, but knowing His own from the first, will fail none. Biblically and in fact, there is only one way to avoid this love and gift; and that is to refuse it (John 3:19,36).