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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary

Abomination

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This term was used with regard to the Hebrews, who, being shepherds, are said to have been an abomination to the Egyptians; because they sacrificed the animals held sacred by that people, as oxen, goats, sheep, &c., which the Egyptians esteemed unlawful. This word is also applied in the sacred writings to idolatry and idols, not only because the worship of idols is in itself an abominable thing, but likewise because the ceremonies of idolaters were almost always of an infamous and licentious nature. For this reason, Chrysostom affirms, that every idol, and every image of a man, was called an abomination among the Jews. The "abomination of desolation" foretold by the Prophet Daniel 10:27, 11:31, is supposed by some interpreters to denote the statue of Jupiter Olympius, which Antiochus Epiphanes caused to be erected in the temple of Jerusalem. The second of the passages above cited may probably refer to this circumstance, as the statue of Jupiter did, in fact, "make desolate," by banishing the true worship of God, and those who performed it, from the temple. But the former passage, considered in its whole connexion, bears more immediate reference to that which the evangelists have denominated the "abomination of desolation," Matthew 24:15-16 ; Mark 13:14 . This, without doubt, signifies the ensigns of the Roman armies under the command of Titus, during the last siege of Jerusalem. The images of their gods and emperors were delineated on these ensigns; and the ensigns themselves, especially the eagles, which were carried at the heads of the legions, were objects of worship; and, according to the usual style of Scripture, they were therefore an abomination. Those ensigns were placed upon the ruins of the temple after it was taken and demolished; and, as Josephus informs us, the Romans sacrificed to them there. The horror with which the Jews regarded them, sufficiently appears from the account which Josephus gives of Pilate's introducing them into the city, when he sent his army from Caesarea into winter quarters at Jerusalem, and of Vitellius's proposing to march through Judea, after he had received orders from Tiberius to attack Aretas, king of Petra. The people supplicated and remonstrated and induced Pilate to remove the army, and Vitellius to march his troops another way. The Jews applied the above passage of Daniel to the Romans, as we are informed by Jerome. The learned Mr. Mede concurs in the same opinion. Sir Isaac Newton, Obs. on Daniel xi, xii, observes, that in the sixteenth year of the emperor Adrian. B.C. 132, the Romans accomplished the prediction of Daniel by building a temple to Jupiter Capitolinus, where the temple of God in Jerusalem had stood. Upon this occasion the Jews, under the conduct of Barchochab, rose up in arms against the Romans, and in the war had fifty cities demolished, nine hundred and eighty-five of their best towns destroyed, and five hundred and eighty thousand men slain by the sword; and in the end of the war, B.C. 136, they were banished from Judea upon pain of death; and thenceforth the land remained desolate of its old inhabitants. Others again have applied the prediction of Daniel to the invasion and desolation of Christendom by the Mohammedans, and to their conversion of the churches into mosques. From this interpretation they infer, that the religion of Mohammed will prevail in the east one thousand two hundred and sixty years, and be succeeded by the restoration of the Jews, the destruction of Antichrist, the full conversion of the Gentiles to the church of Christ, and the commencement of the millennium.

In general, whatever is morally or ceremonially impure, or leads to sin, is designated an abomination to God. Thus lying lips are said to be an abomination to the Lord. Every thing in doctrine or practice which tended to corrupt the simplicity of the Gospel is also in Scripture called abominable; hence Babylon is represented, Revelation 17:4 , as holding in her hand a cup "full of abominations." In this view, to "work abomination," is to introduce idolatry, or any other great corruption, into the church and worship of God, 1 Kings 11:7 .


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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Abomination'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/wtd/a/abomination.html. 1831-2.

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