Within the bible there is only five references to the abomination that causes desolation. They are, Daniel 9:27,11:31, 12:11, Matthew 24:15, and Mark 13:14. There are a couple of things thing common to all of these references and one is the position the abomination is found, standing upright. Daniel refers to its position as set up and the gospels refer to its position as standing. The gospels tell us that the abomination that causes desolation will be standing in the Holy Place - where it does not belong. Daniel tells us that the abomination that causes desolation will be set up on a wing of the temple. We know where to look for the abomination that causes desolation, but what is the abomination that causes desolation?
The abomination Daniel talks about refers to something that is set up (that is put in place) but not by its own power. The Gospels refer to an abomination that stands where it does not belong, but it does not mean that the abomination that causes desolation is able to walk. In addition this abomination causing desolation is responsible for the desolation that will happen before the Lord comes.
To further understand the abomination that causes desolation we have to define the words that serve as clues to who and what it is. One of the most popular tools used to define Hebrew words is the Strongís exhaustive concordance. It defines abomination as being disgusting, especially idolatrous or (concretely) an idol. Strongís exhaustive concordance also defines desolation as being to stun (or intransitively, grow numb), i.e. devastate or (figuratively) stupefy (both usually in a passive sense.)
The American Heritage Dictionary defines Abominable as being openly detestable; loathsome and thoroughly unpleasant or disagreeable. It defines the word desolate as being devoid of inhabitants; deserted, Barren; lifeless, rendered unfit for habitation or use, or to rid or deprive of inhabitants, to lay waste; devastate.
The question now is how is the abomination that causes desolation revealed in the scriptures according to its definition?
He 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. 2 Thessalonians 2:4
This passage speaks about revealing the man of lawlessness as an event that must happen before the coming of our Lord. Letís remember that Jesus said when we see the abomination that causes desolation where he should not be standing that we should pay attention. If he or this thing can set up himself as God, in Godís temple as if assuming the throne of God, then he is truly an abomination to a jealous God. This reference means we who are still alive will see the abomination that causes desolation with our own eyes. He will show signs that are meant to deceive the world to believe a lie that is to believe he is god.
Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth. He ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. Revelation 13:14
The man of lawlessness and the beast are names that Satan are known by. He and his cohorts will set up an image (idol) in Godís temple and force the inhabitants of the earth to worship it with a penalty of death should they refuse. The character of Satan according to Jesus Christ is that he is a liar and a murderer from the beginning. He comes as a thief, to kill, steal and to destroy. The deeper one goes into Satanís character the easier it is to see how he causes desolation.
How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, "I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High." But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit. Those who see you stare at you, they ponder your fate: "Is this the man who shook the earth and made kingdoms tremble, the man who made the world a desert, who overthrew its cities and would not let his captives go home?" All the kings of the nations lie in state, each in his own tomb. But you are cast out of your tomb like a rejected branch; you are covered with the slain, with those pierced by the sword, those who descend to the stones of the pit. Like a corpse trampled underfoot, you will not join them in burial, for you have destroyed your land and killed your people. Isaiah 14:12-20
"Isaiah asks a question in the passage above; is this the man who shook the earth and made kingdoms tremble, the man who made the world a desert, who overthrew its cities and would not let his captives go home? Isaiah speaks of Satanís fate as being like a corpse trampled underfoot because he destroyed his land and killed his people. This passage may be prophetic in nature speaking of the demise of Satan, but it also provides clues to the devastation caused by Satan before Christ comes.
Revelation 12:9 tells us that Satan was cast to the earth with his angels and began to make war against the saints, Revelation 12:17. In this passage Satan reveals another side of his character of a spoiled brat who takes what he wants without a concern over who is harmed. The whole world became astonished and though they are horrified they will worship the beast. They praised him saying, "Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?" Revelation 13:3-4
However the people under his authority are intimidated with the constant threat of death for not worshipping his image made to honor him. And to strengthen his control over mankind he will demand that the people to display his mark on their person in order to buy and sell.
Danielís saw something disturbing in his visions of things to come.
'The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it. Daniel 7:23
Perhaps the words he used to describe what was to come were the only way to describe what he saw. This beast trampled it down and crushed the whole earth. It is evident that this fourth kingdom treated life on earth with such disrespect that he left no stone unturned to completely destroy it. Remembering what Jesus said, the thief came to kill, to destroy and to steal, he destroyed his land and killed his people. He was a murderer from the beginning and if those days had not been shortened no one would have survived. Matthew 24: 22
Though his speech is charming, do not believe him, for seven abominations fill his heart. His malice may be concealed by deception, but his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly. Proverbs 26:25-26