The Pinnacle Of Apostasy Part II
n the first installment of the present series, we noted how the veiled prediction found at the conclusion of Daniel’s well known 70 weeks prophecy, included a predictive bulls-eye, relative to the fulfillment of the passage in the time of Jesus Christ.
While vast numbers of churches, prophecy teachers, writers, and others continue to preach the fiction of an Antichrist with a 7 year treaty, and a rebuilt Jewish temple, the passage is actually a stunning prediction of the work of the Saviour. Although many believers fear seeing this prophecy fulfilled would lead them into the Preterist Heresy (the faulty idea that prophecy concludes with the sacking of Jerusalem in the Roman siege of 66-70 AD), the fact that Daniel’s writing precisely choreographs the work of Jesus should never be underestimated.
As we noted in Part I, perhaps the most intriguing part of the prophecy is the phrase “for the overspreading of abominations, he shall make it desolate” (Daniel 9:27). As previously noted, we showed how the word “overspreading” (think spreading outwards) is actually communicating the building of an extension of the temple building, in that the reprobates ruling the Jews in the period of the 2nd temple, actually occupied a palatial building connected to the temple itself.
Under the Old Covenant, the temple of God in Jerusalem was the centerpiece of the entire religious system of Israel. Believers may remember the Tabernacle, which was essentially a portable place of worship which preceded the permanent temple, was designed by God Himself, and laid out with intricate detail as it was designed to serve as a similitude of how the LORD was to create each and every one of us as His ultimate “temple.”
“Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount” (Hebrews 8:5).
Anyone who has read the Old Testament for even a short time knows the details of everything – including even the clothing the high priest was to wear – were meticulously recorded. As the temple was to be holy, the very idea that a huge building, which came to be used as a military headquarters for the Romans, could actually be tolerated within the temple precincts, and physically attached to the temple, was an abomination.
This building, which featured a high tower, was known as the Citadel, and after it was extravagantly refurbished by the murderous King Herod, he renamed it the Tower of Antonia – a reference to the infamous Roman leader, Mark Antony.
How this relates to Daniel’s 70 weeks is fascinating, and in a rare incidence, the old English of the King James Version masks a straightforward explanation of the prophecy. As we covered previously, the word “overspreading” has as its meaning in the Hebrew lexicon, the word pinnacle. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance tells us this “overspreading” can be rendered “a quarter, (of a building) a pinnacle.”
Although it takes a bit of research, the voluminous works of Flavius Josephus tell us this “pinnacle” actually overlooked the temple – so the military leader (or heathen king) who had taken up residence within the courts of the temple, could look down upon the temple itself. Thus, this Pinnacle of Apostasy was symbolically raised to a higher position than the temple of LORD.
The Citadel (it is also referred to as the “fortress”), was the seat of the ruler of Jerusalem. For instance, when one of King Herod’s predecessor kings died (one Alexander Janneus), and his wife Alexandra took power, Josephus tells us, “So Alexandra, when she had taken the fortress, acted as her husband had suggested to her” (Antiquities of the Jews, Book XIII, Chapter XVI).
It is a rare Christian who is aware of the fact that a wicked queen ruled Jerusalem from within the temple precincts, a short time before the arrival of Jesus Christ. The prior citation tells us this Queen of Jerusalem followed her late husband’s strategic advice, and took possession of what Daniel’s angel called a “pinnacle.” Alexandra resided there for 9 years -- a generation before Herod came to power. And this is but a part of the abominations which occurred before Jesus set foot in His Father’s house, as the historians tell us the following:
“…the queen also took care of the affairs of the kingdom, and got together a great body of mercenary soldiers, and increased her own army to such a degree, that she became terrible to the neighboring tyrants…” (Antiquities of the Jews, Flavius Josephus, Book XIII, Chapter XVI).
This Citadel, or Pinnacle, was the site of all sorts of evil. For instance, in its early days, it was used by the priests, as a place where they stored their vestments. It was later mingled with political and military matters, as troops (and weapons) were quartered there. Later, when Alexandra’s son Aristobulus sought to overthrow her rule, soldiers kidnapped his wife and children, and held them captive in the Citadel.
There are even references to demonic spiritual activity in this “Pinnacle,” for during the many intrigues and murderous plots which occurred as warring factions kept eliminating their rivals to the throne of Jerusalem, we learn of occult activity in this very building. For instance, when it looked like Queen Alexandra would be overthrown, her superstitious troops worried about their fate. Josephus tells they were concerned that “…if some fatal daemon hath a constant spite against Alexander’s house,” they would fall prey to it.
The religion of the Daemons had deeply encroached into the Jew’s Talmudic religion, and these wicked Jewish men and women ruling Jerusalem had seen their religious beliefs degraded to the point where they were conjuring the spirits, who they believed were those who had died:
“As these men said thus, and called upon Alexander’s ghost for commiseration of those already slain, and those in danger of it” (Antiquities, Flavius Josephus, Book XIII, Chapter XVI).
What is truly amazing is just how precisely the prophecy of “the overspreading of abominations,” or the wing of the temple that was to be built, would be fulfilled. Note, for example, how Strong’s tells us this Pinnacle (the overspreading) is “a quarter” of a building” (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance).
Few Christians realize the Citadel (the abominable “Pinnacle” which was predicted to be built during the time the Saviour arrived) was specifically said to be a quarter of the size of the temple itself. In the 2,000 year old description of Herod’s extravagant refurbishing of the Citadel, we learn the following:
“The expenses he laid out upon it were vastly large also, and the riches about it were unspeakable….the citadel he repaired at a vast expense; nor was it other than a royal palace, which he called Antonia…it lay on the North-west side of the temple, and was a quarter as large” (Wars of the Jews, Book I, Chapter XXI).
Although most believers don’t see any of this because they’ve been programmed with the Jewish fable that Daniel’s amazing prophecy supposedly deals with Antichrist breaking a future treaty with the Jews, even the awkward King James English connotes the idea this abomination will be OVERspread – a subtle allusion to the fact the Tower of Antonia looked out over the temple building itself. For instance, when Alexandra’s troops held her son’s wife and children hostage, and locked them in the Citadel, we learn the Queen
“…resolved to take his wife and children into custody, and keep them in the fortress that was over the temple” (Antiquities, op. cit).
Elsewhere in Josephus, we receive a 2nd witness to this important fact, for he records the following:
“This fortress, castle, citadel, or tower, whither the wife and children of Aristobulous were now sent, and which overlooked the temple, could be no other than what Hyrcanus I built, and Herod the Great rebuilt, and called the Tower of Antonia” (Antiquities, op. cit.).
And finally, we even have proof this Pinnacle was joined to the temple itself, for when Prince Titus (“the prince of the people who shall come” in Daniel) laid siege to the Jewish zealots retreating to the temple, the text indicates the Tower of Antonia was directlyconnected to the temple. Josephus tells us Titus used this military stronghold as a staging point to take the temple proper, because it was adjoining the temple – as an addition. This occurs near the end of the war; and as the Jews retreated, they set fire to the “cloisters” (a colonnade, which is an open area with columns on one side and a roof attached to a building on the other).
“for they set the north-west cloister, which was joined to the tower of Antonia, on fire, and after that brake off about twenty cubits of that cloister, and thereby made a beginning in burning the sanctuary…The Jews, in like manner, cut off its roof, nor did they entirely leave off what they were about till the tower of Antonia was parted from the temple…” (Jewish War, Josephus, op. cit.).
Just in case the reader has begun to wonder what is the point of all this, the simple fact that when Satan takes Jesus up to a pinnacle of the temple to tempt Him, he is fulfilling this astonishing prophecy:
“Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God….” (Matthew 4:5).
To be sure this is understood, since the prophecy of Daniel’s 70 Weeks was fulfilled during Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry, and the siege of the “prince that shall come” (Titus Vespasian) which followed, those who twist the Word of God, and tell us this is all about some forthcoming Antichrist treaty in order to put forth another gospel, are a significant part of the long prophesied Strong Delusion.
-- James Lloyd
More information on how Jesus Christ fulfilled Daniel’s 70 Weeks passage, is found in the book THE SEVENTY WEEKS OF DANIEL.