Desolation Of Christendom
( A commentary by
G.Thomas Windsor )
Allow me to bring some sobering thoughts regarding the
church. This may be subject to misunderstanding. Please
bear with this author and try to look objectively at the
state of Christianity after 2000 years and the question
of how to relate this to the prophetic scriptures .
Some of these things may appear discouraging, but
God's desire is to prepare us, and in his love he wants
us to see the truth and to have us overcome any hardship
or darkness. That's very hopeful . He also promises to
show his servants what must soon take place .(Rev 1)
In our time we appear to be moving into the very last
days. We need to pray that the Lord would give us wisdom
concerning how to deal with prophecy in our day . This
isn't simply theory ; I believe individuals are going to experience
something cataclysmic before the return of the Lord .
There is currently much debate about ,who ,what ,when,
where, how and why its all going to happen . I'm not
going to get into the various debates about how "End
times " prophecies outwork themselves in the natural or
geopolitical realm (enough theories already abound.) One
thing I think though is certain,that the Desolation
(destruction and emptiness ) of Jerusalem and the
Abomination at the Temple are meshed into and are at the
heart of the discourse Jesus spoke of when he referred to
the time of the end . ( Its also part of most "End times
" models )
Luke 21:19-21 "When
you see Jerusalem being surrounded
by armies, you will know that its desolation is near.
Then those in Judea must flee..."
"So when you see standing in the holy
place `the abomination that causes desolation,' spoken of
through the prophet Daniel--let the reader
Mark 13:13-15 "When
you see `the abomination that
causes desolation' standing where it does not belong--let
the reader understand--then let those who are in Judea
flee to the mountains."
Luke .21.25 " Then
they will see the Son of man coming
in a cloud with power and great glory."
The question lies then how to interpret the meaning or
multiple meanings . The various interpretations yield a
wide spectrum of results and how it's outworked in the
timing . Thus we have many "End Times" models . What we
decide to do with all the scriptures relating to it has
important implications . We can't ignore it and just go
about our business as usual. Our Lord and his Apostles
did not instruct us to take that approach . I'm also not
suggesting we follow the sensationalist approach . A
whole lucrative industry has been created promoting end
times books and seminars ( typically advancing the "we
won't be around when it all takes place " view.)
I will try to focus on the spiritual dynamic and
spiritual warfare to take place leading up to and
intensifying right before his Return .
It's Not Just Geopolitical
The most important
conflict in the end, I don't
believe will take place at a conference of UN nations, or on
the sands of the Middle East, or in some world conspiracy
, but in the hearts and minds of the believers (the
I don't think we are prepared for the type of
deception, temptation, and tribulation that will come.
There is a position of "we've always had these things
before, what's the difference ?" The difference will be
the magnitude of events . It is like a man who won't
evacuate the coast because he thinks "we've always had
bad storms and besides ,it won't hit hear anyway ," and
then the Storm of all time comes and he is swept
This is at the heart of what Jesus was speaking of in
the Matthew 24, Luke 21, and Mark 13 discourses. In these
passages Jesus spoke of a great apostasy, a falling away,
and a time of trouble such has never been (known as the
Great Tribulation.) Jesus is speaking in a urgent tone of
warning and the important question is ; who is it meant
for ? Is it for the church or not ? Those who conclude
(and teach )in the last generation that it doesn't apply
to them , do so at their own peril .
A Rebuilt Temple ?
Often in scripture there is a message in spiritual
parallels. Let me say also that this concept doesn't
nullify literal fulfillments which serve as a scaffolding
. The desolation of Jerusalem and the temple was
prophesied and was fulfilled in the natural at least
three times . It happened around the years 586 B.C., 185
BC., and also in 70 AD . The fact that there have been
many fulfillments (Daniel's' and Christ's specifically )
shows the integrity of God's spoken word . This also
leads me to believe it's not necessary for another
natural desolation before the return.
Concerning a potential rebuilt temple. If we relegate
the prophecies of the desolation of Jerusalem and the
temple simply to a bricks and mortar building, I think we
miss an astronomical lesson that God has spent 3000 years
of history in many lives of trying to warn the Church. "
These things happened for our instruction" (
Most in Christendom now believe those prophecies (Mt.
24, etc.) only apply to "them" (the Jews ) , or " it's
over there " (in the present land of Israel), or think "
I won't be around anyway " (the Pretrib Rapture doctrine
.) I can only appeal to anyone in those camps of belief
to reconsider and to keep reading .
I believe the Spirit of God is trying to get through
and plead for us to listen to what these warnings are
saying to the church about the final "desolation of
Jerusalem," and of course in a related way the
Abomination of Desolation." .
Old Testament WARNINGS
The Lord spoke of these things (Mt. 24 etc.) like a
capstone of prophecy that had many origins in the the Old
Testament . In them we see the pattern of God's people
forsaking the Lord and turning to idolatry and bringing
upon themselves the judgment's of God and the desolation
of Jerusalem and His temple .
What are the spiritual applications and what then are
we to understand now?
I'm led to believe the lesson of Jerusalem and the
temple is meant for the time of the end to apply to
Christendom . It's meant to teach us of an unprecedented
spiritual desolation ( a total departure of God's spirit
) in fallen Christendom and the subsequent wrath
(blindness and judgments ) to follow because of
All throughout the New testament the Apostles are
constantly making spiritual applications to the things
that have happened in the natural as fulfillments of
God's spoken word . Most of the New Testament teaching
about the temple refers to the temple of believers (1
Peter 2.4-5, " Be built into a spiritual house... " ,
2Cor.6.14-18, Galatians 4:26 ; Hebrews 12:22.)
The statements of Christ and the Apostles can be
followed back in the Old Testament. It's a chain of
prophesy. Each link showing a similar pattern .
The Old Testament Patterns
Prophecy is sometimes shown in patterns that repeat
themselves. The patterns provide an independent witness
of history to help validate our interpretations of what
the scripture directly says .
Also, often in prophecy there is a principle that a
local event can relate to the universal. It's about
different scales . The prophecies surrounding the
desolations of Jerusalem also contains references to the
Day of the Lord and the final judgment of all mankind and
of all the earth . See Jer. 4 and 25, Hab .1, Zeph. 1,
Isaiah 29 and 64.Many times in prophecy we see also see
types and foreshadowings .
When Jesus spoke concerning the temple in his day:
"behold your house is forsaken and desolate !" (Mt. 23 ),
he was speaking of something more than just referencing
the coming physical desolation to happen in that
generation . He was referring to a severing of the
spiritual relationship that had existed up to that point
and all that was said about the temple in previous
generations and what is was to be . But now It was soon
to be " Ichobad"- God's glory and Spirit were departing
The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Cor. 6:16 " What agreement
is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are
the temple of the living God. ... Therefore come out from
them ..." Gods temple can not endure idolatry .
The Apostle also spoke of a horrible event
was to happen before the return of the Lord in the temple
. 2Thess 2:1 "
Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus
Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you,
brothers, 2not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by
some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come
from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already
come. 3Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that
day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man
of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to
destruction. 4He will oppose and will exalt himself over
everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he
sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to
be God. ....... 8And then the lawless one will be
revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the
breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his
There where recorded earlier desolations of
temple that has relevance .
36: 16 But they mocked God's messengers,
despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the
wrath of the LORD was aroused against his people and
there was no remedy. 17 He brought up against them the
king of the Babylonians, ..... God handed all of them
over to Nebuchadnezzar. 18 He carried to Babylon all the
articles from the temple of God,19 They set fire to God's
temple and broke down the wall of Jerusalem;...21 The
land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its
desolation it rested, until the seventy years were
completed in fulfillment of the word of the LORD spoken
This was similar to the earlier pattern of
warnings God gave before the temple , regarding The
Tabernacle . In Psm.78
we read about how the Lord "
abandoned his house at Shilo " (1Sam 2.) Because of
unfaithfulness, "They moved him to jealousy with their
graven images "( Psm 78 -56-62.) Idolatry was always the
final act that caused the Lord to depart .
Jer. 32:31 " From
the day it was built until now, this
city has so aroused my anger and wrath that I must remove
it from my sight. 32 The people of
Israel and Judah
have provoked me by all the evil they
have done-they, their kings and officials, their priests
and prophets, the men of Judah and the people of
Jerusalem. 33 They turned their backs to me and not their
faces; though I taught them again and again, they would
not listen or respond to discipline. 34 They set up their
abominable idols in the house that bears my Name and
defiled it. 35 They built high places.
God showed Ezekiel
(Ezekiel 8:2-17) . ' The Spirit
lifted me up between earth and heaven and in visions of
God he took me to Jerusalem, to the entrance to the north
gate of the inner court, where the idol that provokes to
There were also various kings who would set up, and
promote the worship of other gods .
2 Chronicles 33:7 He
took the carved image he had made and put it in God's
temple, of which God had said to David and to his son
Solomon, "In this temple and in Jerusalem, ....
LORD said, .... I will reject Jerusalem, the
city I chose, and this temple, about which I said, 'There
shall my Name be " [ 23:27 1 Kings 8:29 ](This
whole pattern will hopefully be expanded in a future
writing as there are many other examples )
Here we see types of the "Abomination of Desolation ".
God is a jealous God and His Spirit cannot abide with
idolatry. He hasn't changed ! God does extend manifold
grace, but there is a limit. There reaches a point at which
God gives no more
lessons, no more warnings and corrections .
God's covenant of grace doesn't lessen his final
response, it only makes us more accountable. Idolatry can
not be set up ( to reign ) in a temple of God unless that
individual or corporate entity has been given over to it
. Blindness and hardness of heart are also part of the
pattern before the departure .
As said before , often these natural and literal
fulfillments show us about figurative, and spiritual
meanings . In light of the New Testament teaching
referring to the temple of believers (those gathered in
His Name,) all of these repeated natural desolations in
the Old Testament are meant to warn us. They are a
foreshadowing of future events.
A Warning !
I'm concerned most in the church worldwide could be
locked into a position of "I wont be here, or if I am,
Antichrist won't be here until there's a rebuilt temple
in national Israel. " Consider this. What if he does come
only in the "temple " of the church ? Or even if a temple
is rebuilt, his appearance in the temple of believers "
proclaiming himself as God " could still be THE
catastrophic overwhelming event (2Thess 2.)
It could be a total stealth attack completely missing
the radar . We are told he (the Man of Sin ) will come in
an unexpected way. "Without warning he will come ..."
(Daniel 11.24 .) We must be careful we don't "bolt down
our radar dish " of future events in a single direction .
Christ and the Apostles emphatically told us to "watch
out ...,be on your guard..., be alert.. " etc. I don't
believe the greatest deception of all time is going to be
that obvious. It will require discernment by God's Spirit
If the first coming of Christ , The Light ,was for the
most part prophetically difficult to realize (almost
everyone missed it ,) how much more difficult to see will
be the coming manifestation of Darkness? How much more
when the greatest deception of all time shall appear on
One of the earmarks of great catastrophes is when
there is an underestimation of the forces at work and a
fundamental lack of preparedness amongst a multitude of
victims . Christ began his teachings about the end by
saying "Take heed that you are not led astray " ! (Mk13.5
We live in a age of endless denominations
"brands" of Christianity . There are churches to suit any
particular liking . Whatever form of religion,
disobedience, or sin a person chooses to live in , a
church and a doctrine can be found to accommodate and
even affirm that lifestyle (2 Tim 4.3-4) . These churches
look very good to the natural eyes but are counterfeit.
(The tares look just like the wheat and the wolves come
in sheeps' clothing ) All that was Christianity has been
and its slowly imperceptibly being substituted by a
God has endured with almost unending patience , but
that has a limit that I believe we are fast approaching .
He cannot dwell with or have partnership with what has
gone on in much of church history and is going on now
Another related issue to this, is that of the
prophecies concerning "coming out of " Babylon.
Historically, when God told his people to come out of
that country ( Zech. 2 ), they had to literally flee . It
already has been fulfilled in the natural . So now ,
there is a spiritual meaning for God's people to flee the
Harlot religion ( Revelation 18:4) in the time of the end
The kingdom of Antichrist will rise before the final
consummation of the kingdom of God.
The Antichrist doesn't come in isolation. It isn't
simply one person but a whole movement . This is the
spiritual background to the apocalyptic writings ; a
rebellion , a great falling away , wickedness multiplied
and the love of many (believers ) growing cold . It is in
this matrix that "the final Desolation " comes .
Daniel 8:13 -Then I
heard ...."How long will it take
for the vision to be fulfilled-the vision concerning the
daily sacrifice, the rebellion that causes desolation,
and the surrender of the sanctuary and of the host that
will be trampled underfoot?"
"He will confirm a covenant with many
for one `seven.' In the middle of the `seven' he will put
an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing [of
the temple] he will set up an abomination that causes
desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out
on him. "
"His armed forces will rise up to
desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily
sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that
The Idolatry of the End
From the first emphatic command of God to the
admonitions of the last apostles, the call was to have "
no other God, " and to keep ourselves from idols . Yet
Christendom as a whole has not heeded this in its
Idolatry . It has "married the world "with its lust for
power and authority (the precepts of men ) , the praise
of men (typically the clergy ), materialism in all its
buildings and religious trappings , and the scandals and
the secret love of pleasures that has gone on for 20
centuries (Jude 1-17-19 , Acts 20.29-31) while outwardly
hiding the sin .
The Lamp is Put Out
God takes away the lampstand when the church is not
shining forth the light. Jesus spoke a word of warning:
"If you do not repent I will come to you and remove the
lamp stand from its place" (Rev.2:5). If it is removed
then the church no longer corporately represents him to
the world. It is also a false church following a false
Christ . It can no longer be called a lampstand in God's
view. And when the eye is full of darkness, then the
whole body, that church, is in darkness. If something
else is at the center of the church, from the kingdom of
darkness , then the whole body is full of darkness.
How many times in church history have we seen a group
start out in the spirit yet ending in the flesh and in
error . Churches and congregations that were at one time
beacons of light and truth that carried the gospel and
where lives were changed and God was worshiped in
humility and sincerity, are now becoming and will finally
be given over to be vast swamps of heresy, worldliness ,
false prophecies , iniquity, schisms, enmity, etc.
It becomes a " haunt of every foul spirit " (BABYLON )
(Rev. 17,18 ,1Tim.4.1, 1Pet 2.1-3 ,2 John 1.7-11 .2 Tim3.1-9)
The whole " body becomes full of darkness "as Jesus
. When The Holy Spirit departs a body, it is similar to when seven
unclean spirits enter it ( Christ spoke this concerning
individuals , but it also applies to church bodies.) Christ warns the
church "you have the name
of being alive , but you are dead ." also "you are blind
(Rev 2.,3 ) The body apart from the Spirit is dead ; mere
lifeless institutions of men .
There reaches a point in an individual's life or a
corporate body where if someone persists in hardness of
heart they are given over to a lie and a delusion (Rom1 ,
2Thess 2). God takes no pleasure in this , but he can't
compromise his holiness and justice .
Christendom will finally experience an astonishing
spiritual devastation and will be given over to the enemy
. "Where the body is, there the eagles (vultures) will
gather "( Mt24 ,Hos.8,1.) (Many times in the O.T. pattern
this happened to Israel ) Though outwardly the "church "
will still retain a righteous appearance and be seen by
many as being prosperous .
The true worship of God (sacrifice and offering )shall
be replaced by the idolatry of the worship and
glorification of man (wicked shepherds ) and ultimately
the worship of the one known as the Antichrist (Dan11.36)
. The temple will be profaned and desecrated and Satan
will rule in the midst (2Thess 2, Dan.7, Rev 13 ) .
The Faithful Remnant
However, there will be those who stand firm, hold fast
and refuse compromise ," those who truly know God " (Dan
11.32.) They will also by the Holy Spirit bear witness in
that day and will overcome, though they will fall for a
short time and go through tribulation. It remains for the
church at that time to put on the whole armor of God to
stand in the evil day and to build themselves up in their
most holy faith . Also it remains for his people to
search his Word and by his Spirit find out what are his
specific instructions concerning that time . For , those
Days will be so difficult that if they weren't shortened
, no human being would be saved .
In the midst of this darkest night Christ will come in
all power and glory like the lightning and shall triumph
and bring deliverance to his elect saints. All eyes will
see him in majesty seated upon His throne bringing
recompense to his enemies, and deliverance and eternal
life to his people.
This is the ultimate hope, this is what we must look
to, in the face of the coming events. God will save a
remnant , as He always has done and as is shown in the
pattern of scripture . God saves the humble and those who
seek him with their whole heart . May we be that people
The final temple will be set up by Christ at his
return and beyond when God's heavenly (dwelling) Temple
comes down to earth (Rev 21.) Revelation 3:12, "Him who
overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God ."
God will ultimately dwell with the saints .
I pray this is helpful . I don't claim to
have it all
figured out and I would welcome any feedback . Allow me
to humbly submit though , If we miss the warning in the
scriptures shown in the pattern above, there are eternal
Please pray about and consider these things
In the grace and fear of God .
G. Thomas Windsor