Sermon of St. Jerome
This injunction to whoso readeth, to understand, sheweth that there is here something mysterious. In Daniel we read as followeth: And in the midst of the week the sacrifice and the oblations shall be taken away; and in the temple there shall be the abomination of desolation, even until the consummation of the time; and a consummation shall be given to the desolation. It is of this same thing that the Apostle speaketh, when he saith that a man of iniquity, even an adversary, shall be exalted against whatsoever is called God, or is worshipped: so that he shall even dare to stand in the temple of God, and to shew himself as God; whose coming shall, according to the working of Satan, destroy and banish from God all who shall receive him.
This prophecy may be understood either (first) simply of Antichrist, (secondly) of the statue of Caesar, which Pilate set up in the Temple, or (thirdly) of the statue of Hadrian on horse-back, which hath stood, even until our own day, upon the site of the Holy of Holies. In the Scriptures of the Old Testament Abomination is a word very often used for an idol, and the farther title Of Desolation is added to identify an idol erected upon the site of the desolate and ruined temple.
But we may also understand by the abomination of desolation, any bad doctrine; and when we see such a thing get a standing in the Holy Place―that is, in the Church―and, shewing itself that it is God―that is, pretending that it is his revealed truth―then will be the time when it will be our duty to flee from Judea into the mountains―that is to say, to leave the letter, which passeth away, and guise of Jewish superstition, and to hasten us unto the everlasting hills, from whence God doth right wondrously cause his light to shine forth. Then will it be our duty to find ourselves under a roof and in an house, wherethrough the fiery darts of the wicked one can never pierce to smite us, and not to come down to take anything out of the house of our old conversation, or to have regard unto those things which are behind; but rather to sow in the field of the spiritual Scriptures, that we may reap thereof a bountiful harvest; neither to have two coats, that thing forbidden to the Apostles.