The Message of the Covenant

The Abomination of Desolation

Chapter 4

The Message of the Covenant

The Abomination of Desolation

Solomon's Legacy

Building more than a Temple

Solomon undertook many building projects during his reign and while many of these are very famous, one item will prove to be his greatest achievement. Today there is hardly a trace of his edifices, but one thing that he fabricated endures. The fact that this article exists is not widely known and it was constructed more-or-less in secret. Nevertheless, it is the second-most important thing ever made in the history of the world. While its importance is monumental, it is not a large object, only about the size of a trunk. In the following passage from the Darby Bible, this item is referred to as "thy remembrance" and in the subsequent 1917 Jewish Publication Society translation, "thy symbol."

Isaiah 57:8 Behind the doors also and the posts hast thou set up thy remembrance: for apart from me, thou hast uncovered thyself, and art gone up; thou hast enlarged thy bed, and hast made agreement with them; thou lovedst their bed, thou sawest their nakedness. (Darby) (Emphasis added)
Isaiah 57:8 And behind the doors and the posts hast thou set up thy symbol; for thou hast uncovered, and art gone up from Me, thou hast enlarged thy bed, and chosen thee of them whose bed thou lovedst, whose hand thou sawest. 9 And thou wentest to the king with ointment, and didst increase thy perfumes, and didst send thine ambassadors far off, even down to the nether-world. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

What is it?

This remembrance or symbol spoken of in Isaiah 57:8 is a counterfeit Ark of the Covenant complete with a counterfeit Decalogue. For the most part, it is the same item spoken of as the abomination of desolation or abomination that causes desolation in Daniel 9:27, 11:31, 12:11, Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14. There are additional mentions of it in 2 Thessalonians.

There are quite a few clues regarding the nature of this item presented by nearly all of the prophets. By assimilating all of the bits-and-pieces into a clear representation, a definitive description of this item can be determined from scripture. It is important to remember that in ancient Israel the Ark of the Covenant was essentially G-d.

Jeremiah 2:11 Hath a nation changed its gods, which yet are no gods? But My people hath changed its glory for that which doth not profit. 12 Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye exceeding amazed, saith the Lord. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

The Abomination of Desolation - J. James Tissot

The Abomination of Desolation
The Abomination of Desolation and the Ark of the Covenant
Base Image of the Ark by J. James Tissot

The Counterfeit Ark

While one would think that Solomon made a counterfeit ark after the Queen of Sheba departed with the real one to conceal the fact that the genuine article was missing, this is not the case. Solomon made a counterfeit ark while the temple was being built, long before the Queen of Sheba arrived. In fact, it is possible to determine that it was constructed in the third year of temple construction and made in the Plain of the Jordan. The existence of the counterfeit ark is not difficult to overlook in the historical Biblical accounts from Solomon's time, but the prophets do mention it. Nevertheless, there are some hints in the narratives that Solomon made a counterfeit ark while the temple was being built.

1 Kings 7:48 And Solomon made all the vessels that were in the house of HaShem: the golden altar, and the table whereupon the showbread was, of gold; (JPS) (Emphasis added)
1 Kings 7:48 Solomon also made all the furnishings that were in the LORD's temple: the golden altar; the golden table on which was the bread of the Presence; 49 the lampstands of pure gold (five on the right and five on the left, in front of the inner sanctuary); the gold floral work and lamps and tongs; 50 the pure gold basins, wick trimmers, sprinkling bowls, dishes and censers; and the gold sockets for the doors of the innermost room, the Most Holy Place, and also for the doors of the main hall of the temple. (NIV)
(Emphasis added)

In the preceding quoted verse from the 1917 Jewish Publication Society Tanakh, the phrase of interest is "all the vessels." Following that phrase is a listing of items that are considered furnishings today. It is relevant to note that vessels are containers and the ark is as much a container as furniture. In the NIV, this phrase is rendered "all of the furnishings." It is also rendered "all of the furnishings" in the 1985 Jewish Publication Society Tanakh. The point is that Solomon actually made all of the items, meaning every single thing that was placed into the temple including a new ark. It is important to realize that most of the items made at Horeb according to the specifications passed on by Moses were subsequently replaced with King Solomon's special versions.

Non-scriptural Jewish records from this time such as the Talmud indicate that Solomon indeed made another ark. There is an interesting legend about taking the brand-spanking new ark into temple because the temple gates would not open. In retrospect, perhaps this was a bad omen.

The following material is derived from the Midrash of On Eichah and the same material is also contained in Shmos Rabbah 8:1.

Midrash

First, however, it might be useful to explain what Midrash, or when plural, Midrashim, are and is for those unfamiliar with rabbinic terms. The word can be applied several ways. In one application, it means the whole body of Jewish exegesis. Exegesis means a critical interpretation or analysis of a text. In the other sense, midrash refers to a method of interpreting a text. Therefore, Midrashim are similar in many respects to what others call commentaries although perceived to be somewhat more authoritative.

Midrash is also a method of interpreting scripture where other scripture is used to support an argument or idea. In this sense, midrash has a stricter meaning than exegesis due to the constraints of the process. Where the term Midrash applies to the whole body of works, the word is capitalized and where it refers to interpretation, it is not. In the sense of interpretation, midrash can still be written today.

The Gates

This particular information came from Midrash concerning features of the temple and ancient legends. The reason it is included here is to support the point from ancient historical sources that Solomon did indeed build a counterfeit ark.

Excerpted from the Highlights of Moshiach by Rabbi Abraham Stone
Raise Your Heads, O Gates
The gates gave honor to the holy Ark. For, when King Solomon made the Ark, he made it 10 cubits long, and the entrance gates of the Temple Sanctuary were 10 cubits wide. Thus, it wasn't possible for the Ark to fit through the gates. At that time, King Solomon called out, "Raise your heads, O gates, and let the King of glory enter, (from Psalm 24:7)" alluding to the Holy Ark and the Tablets therein. In response to Solomon's plea, the gates uplifted themselves and permitted the Ark to enter. For this reason, the enemy forces did not destroy the gates but they sunk (intact) into the ground.
(http://www.sichosinenglish.org/books/highlights-of-moshiach/15.htm - Highlights of Moshiach by Rabbi Abraham Stone)
(Emphasis added)
Sunken Treasure
Lamentations 2:9 Her gates are sunk into the ground; He hath destroyed and broken her bars; her king and her princes are among the nations, instruction is no more; yea, her prophets find no vision from the Lord. (JPS)
(Emphasis added)
1 Kings 8:8 And the staves were so long that the ends of the staves were seen from the holy place, even before the Sanctuary; but they could not be seen without; and there they are unto this day. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

The Midrash and the prophets make mention of gates being sunk into the ground. However, there is some disparity in respect to the integrity of the gates.

The New Ark

Before going any further, it might be well to point out that a new ark was not supposed to be made and especially not a new set of stone tables with changed wording. It is apparent from the words of the prophets that these new stones were not inscribed with the same wording as the originals. After all, G-d Himself inscribed the originals so a different set made by man would obviously not be the same and especially not with changed wording. Evidently, the first set made entirely by G-d was alive, life itself. The idea behind this new set of tables was diabolically clever, but it just will not work. The material fact of this goes very far beyond simply creating counterfeit commandments with changed wording, a point that likely cannot fully be appreciated until the completion of this book. The ark that Solomon made was not a Holy Ark, but rather, an unholy ark. The following prophetic verses refer to these counterfeit stone tables with changed wording.

Jeremiah 7:8 Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit. 9 Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and offer unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye have not known, 10 and come and stand before Me in this house, whereupon My name is called, and say: 'We are delivered', that ye may do all these abominations? (JPS)
(Emphasis added)
Isaiah 28:14 Wherefore hear the word of the Lord, ye scoffers, the ballad-mongers of this people which is in Jerusalem: 15 Because ye have said: 'We have made a covenant with death, and with the nether-world are we at agreement; when the scouring scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us; for we have made lies our refuge, and in falsehood have we hid ourselves'; 16 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD: Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a costly corner-stone of sure foundation; he that believeth shall not make haste. 17 And I will make justice the line, and righteousness the plummet; and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding-place. 18 And your covenant with death shall be disannulled and your agreement with the nether-world shall not stand; when the scouring scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it, 19 As often as it passeth through, it shall take you; for morning by morning shall it pass through, by day and by night; and it shall be sheer terror to understand the message. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Obviously, from the words of the prophets one can effortlessly deduce that someone made an alternative covenant. Ideally, the originals of the Ark of the Covenant and the stone tables were supposed to be kept intact and preserved by the Israelites throughout all of the generations to come. It is important to recall that the Ark was called by THE NAME, THE NAME of YHWH. It is also relevant to recall from chapter 2 that the Ark was a sanctuary or refuge. Since the Ark contained the Decalogue, it certainly contained words that when subverted would obviously become lies. Creating a counterfeit ark with counterfeit stone tables with counterfeit commands inscribed thereon was a considerable part of transgressing the Mosaic covenant.

The following passage refers to David's plans to build a house for the Ark, which at that time could be legitimately extrapolated to mean G-d. These are the words of the L-rd that came through Nathan after he mistakenly told David to go ahead and build a temple. Consider the fact that the very purpose of the temple was to house the existing Ark.

2 Samuel 7:5 'Go and tell My servant David: Thus saith the Lord: Shalt thou build Me a house for Me to dwell in? 6 for I have not dwelt in a house since the day that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even to this day, but have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle. 7 In all places wherein I have walked among all the children of Israel, spoke I a word with any of the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to feed My people Israel, saying: Why have ye not built Me a house of cedar? (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Making a counterfeit ark with a counterfeit Decalogue was effectually an attempt to make a perverse counterfeit of the living G-d. When one considers 2 Samuel 7:5, it might be useful to contemplate the passage when substituting the word "Ark" for "Me' or "I" where G-d is speaking of Himself to gain an appreciation for the full implications of creating a counterfeit ark.

The Ark was not exactly G-d, but it was a visible manifestation of His presence and occasionally simply called G-d. At times, scripture refers to the Ark by THE NAME, the Tetragrammaton YHWH. It was the throne of G-d and sometimes referred to as His footstool, dwelling, refuge and sanctuary.

Breaking the Covenant

Scripture clearly states that at some point Israel broke the Mosaic Covenant. This fact is clearly contained in scriptures such as 2 Kings 18:12.

2 Kings 18:11 And the king of Assyria carried Israel away unto Assyria, and put them in Halah, and in Habor, on the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes; 12 because they hearkened not to the voice of the Lord their God, but transgressed His covenant, even all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded, and would not hear it, nor do it. (JPS)
(Emphasis added)

The breach is elaborated upon by the prophets such as Jeremiah 31:32, Lamentations 3:42, Isaiah 43:27, Ezekiel 2:3, Ezekiel 44:7, Hosea 6:7, Joshua 23:16, etceteras. While it may not have been entirely clear heretofore what breached the covenant, it was broken very literally and deliberately by fabricating a counterfeit ark with a counterfeit Decalogue and replacing the original Ark with this new object. There were also substantive other acts of breaking the covenant that were independently sufficient to completely break the covenant that are explained in greater detail in subsequent chapters of this book. The transgressions were multipartite; but for now, the following verse from Hosea partially refers to the construction of the counterfeit ark -- one key element in transgressing the covenant. This act alone - the act of making a counterfeit ark of the covenant with a counterfeit Decalogue -- was sufficient to break the covenant.

Hosea 6:6 For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God, rather than burnt offerings. 7 But at Adam they transgressed the covenant; there they dealt faithlessly with me. (RSV) (Emphasis added)

Hosea 6:7 mentions transgressing the covenant, but it obviously does not say exactly what was done at Adam or where or what Adam is. For this additional information, one must search through other scripture. As it turns out, Adam is a very interesting place and the city where artificers made items for King Solomon's Temple.

While all of the items made at the City Adam were evidently detestable, the counterfeit ark and its counterfeit commands were exceptionally loathsome and the events at this place and time broke the covenant. Hosea says this is where and when they transgressed the covenant. The Bible very clearly says that Solomon broke the covenant and the City Adam is one of the locations in the plain of the Jordan where Solomon had the items for the temple cast.

1 Kings 6:11 And the word of the Lord came to Solomon, saying: 12 'As for this house which thou art building, if thou wilt walk in My statutes, and execute Mine ordinances, and keep all My commandments to walk in them; then will I establish My word with thee, which I spoke unto David thy father; 13 in that I will dwell therein among the children of Israel, and will not forsake My people Israel.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)

One might take a few minutes to consider the previous passage if one substitutes the positive for the negative in every phrase, constructing the passage so that it says the same thing, but with reversed verbs and adverbs beginning in verse 12. One must change each term in order to preserve the overall meaning. Since this is actually a Boolean expression, all terms are necessarily distributive across the entire statement. It is very revealing to consider the passage in this way because it says a great deal more than might be apparent with the existing structure. Computer Programmers sometimes call such equations in logic if - then statements.

Long Poles

There is a clue in the Bible that something is different about the ark when it was brought into the temple because there is a singular note that the poles of the ark were so long that they could be seen outside of the inner sanctuary. This detail seems to reveal that something is unusual about the ark at this point as compared with all earlier mentions of it in scripture. Apparently, what is different is the whole ark. It is important to keep in mind that there are most likely two arks spoken of in this passage and every statement must be absolutely true.

2 Chronicles 5:5 And they brought up the ark, and the tent of meeting, and all the holy vessels that were in the Tent; these did the priests and the Levites bring up. 6 And king Solomon and all the congregation of Israel, that were assembled unto him, were before the ark, sacrificing sheep and oxen, that could not be counted nor numbered for multitude. 7 And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the Lord unto its place, into the Sanctuary of the house, to the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubim. 8 For the cherubim spread forth their wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubim covered the ark and the staves thereof above. 9 And the staves were so long that the ends of the staves were seen from the ark before the Sanctuary; but they could not be seen without; and there they are unto this day. 10 There was nothing in the ark save the two tables which Moses put there at Horeb, when the Lord made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of Egypt. 11 And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place--for all the priests that were present had sanctified themselves, and did not keep their courses; (JPS) (Emphasis added)
1 Kings 8:8 And the staves were so long that the ends of the staves were seen from the holy place, even before the Sanctuary; but they could not be seen without; and there they are unto this day. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

While there is this extraordinary note that the poles are so long, there is also the conspicuous detail that the stone tables that Moses placed into the Ark were there. Now, if the original stone tables were there then so was the original Ark because Moses was dead long before the counterfeit ark existed, and furthermore, there is the clear fact that the Ark was brought up from the tent. Nevertheless, it is not mutually conclusive that either of these facts is anything more than disparate detail. Therefore, it is exceedingly probable that two arks are on hand at the opening ceremony of Solomon's Temple.

As a side note, one could observe that "all the priests that were present had sanctified themselves, and did not keep their courses." In retrospect, it would have been better if they had kept their courses.

Later, the real Ark seems to have been placed in a special room deep underground and the counterfeit was kept in the most holy place. Then, Solomon gave the real Ark to the Queen of Sheba. Some Jewish records indicate that Solomon frequently went into the temple and sat upon this counterfeit ark in the most holy place.

There is a passage in the Bible that simply states that Solomon made a replacement ark. This is from the time of King Josiah and Josiah is giving the commands in the following passage.

2 Chronicles 35:3 And he said unto the Levites that taught all Israel, that were holy unto the Lord: 'Put the holy ark in the house which Solomon the son of David king of Israel did build; there shall no more be a burden upon your shoulders; now serve the Lord your God, and His people Israel. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

It is very unusual to find a sentence in the Bible that has a modifier that dangles or is as ambiguous as this is. Does it say the ark that Solomon built, or the temple that Solomon built? While one probably knows that Solomon built the temple, they probably did not know that Solomon built an ark. However, if one knows that Solomon built an ark, then this verse would seem to say: "put the ark that Solomon built into the temple." The ark is the subject of the sentence, not the house. Incidentally, it is evident that translators have had fits with this verse and in some cases they have tried to fix it. Nevertheless, where it is faithfully translated with its ambiguous structure, the most logical interpretation of this verse would be "the ark that Solomon built."

Deuteronomy 27:15 Cursed be the man that maketh a graven or molten image, an abomination unto HaShem, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and setteth it up in secret. And all the people shall answer and say: Amen. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Nobody Knew

It seems that hardly anybody except G-d realized that the real ark was missing. It was not a good thing that the priests could not tell the difference between the real ark and the counterfeit. It is important to remember that the Ark was sometimes called G-d as we saw in the chapter on the characteristics of the Ark.

Jeremiah 2:4 Hear ye the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel; 5 Thus saith the Lord: what unrighteousness have your fathers found in Me, that they are gone far from Me, and have walked after things of nought, and are become nought? 6 Neither said they: 'Where is the Lord that brought us up out of the land of Egypt; that led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and of pits, through a land of drought and of the shadow of death, through a land that no man passed through, and where no man dwelt?' 7 And I brought you into a land of fruitful fields, to eat the fruit thereof and the good thereof; but when ye entered, ye defiled My land, and made My heritage an abomination. 8 The priests said not: 'Where is the Lord?' And they that handle the law knew Me not, and the rulers transgressed against Me; the prophets also prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

There is the possibility that Zadok the priest was aware that the Ark had been plundered, but this is impossible to determine with confidence strictly from the Bible. The Kebra Nagast, the Ethiopian book that contains one explanation of how the Ark ended up in Ethiopia mentions Zadok.

It is unclear exactly what happened to Zadok in The Kebra Nagast as well as the Bible. For some reason Zadok's descendants are the only Levites that will be able to serve in the inner sanctuary in the future. Some have thought that this must be because Zadok did not support Adonijah's claim to the throne, but this cannot be the reason that his descendants will be the only priests allowed to minister before the L-rd because Zadok was also the last priest to support David's return to the throne after Absalom's conspiracy. Furthermore, Adonijah's attempt to become the king is analyzed in greater detail in another chapter. The exact reason that Zadok's descendants will be the only priests allowed to minister before the L-rd certainly involves some form of idolatry and this can be determined with absolute certainty from the words of Ezekiel.

Ezekiel 44:9 Thus saith the Lord GOD: No alien, uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into My sanctuary, even any alien that is among the children of Israel. 10 But the Levites, that went far from Me, when Israel went astray, that went astray from Me after their idols, they shall bear their iniquity; 11 and they shall be ministers in My sanctuary, having charge at the gates of the house, and ministering in the house: they shall slay the burnt-offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before them to minister unto them. 12 Because they ministered unto them before their idols, and became a stumblingblock of iniquity unto the house of Israel; therefore have I lifted up My hand against them, saith the L-rd GOD, and they shall bear their iniquity. 13 And they shall not come near unto Me, to minister unto Me in the priest's office, nor to come near to any of My holy things, unto the things that are most holy; but they shall bear their shame, and their abominations which they have committed. 14 And I will make them keepers of the charge of the house, for all the service thereof, and for all that shall be done therein. 15 But the priests the Levites, the sons of Zadok, that kept the charge of My sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from Me, they shall come near to Me to minister unto Me; and they shall stand before Me to offer unto Me the fat and the blood, saith the L-rd GOD. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Jeremiah 32:30 For the children of Israel and the children of Judah have only done that which was evil in My sight from their youth; for the children of Israel have only provoked Me with the work of their hands, saith HaShem. 31 For this city hath been to Me a provocation of Mine anger and of My fury from the day that they built it even unto this day, that I should remove it from before My face; 32 because of all the evil of the children of Israel and of the children of Judah, which they have done to provoke Me, they, their kings, their princes, their priests, and their prophets, and the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 33 And they have turned unto Me the back, and not the face; and though I taught them, teaching them betimes and often, yet they have not hearkened to receive instruction. 34 But they set their abominations in the house whereupon My name is called, to defile it. 35 And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to set apart their sons and their daughters unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into My mind, that they should do this abomination; to cause Judah to sin. (JPS)
(Emphasis added)

It is certain that the restrictions upon the Levites that are not descendants of Zadok are due to their failure to uphold their duties as priests in the temple and not due to their support or failure to support any king. One might say that they did not keep their courses as priests. From the passage of Ezekiel, it seems as if Zadok may have accompanied the Ark on its journey to Cush. Frankly, Ezekiel says that: "Zadok, that kept the charge of My sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from Me." The word charge means something or someone entrusted to the care of another. In some cases, the word sanctuary refers to the Ark so it is highly possible that he remained with the Ark on the journey to Cush. The Kebra Nagast maintains that he did. It is evident that Zadok was not at the opening ceremony of Solomon's Temple because 2 Chronicles 5:11 notes that none of the priests that were present kept their courses, so Zadok was not there. It is noted in Samuel that David left Zadok in charge of the altar at Gibeon and this might be the reason that Zadok escaped transgression.

2 Chronicles 5:11 And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place--for all the priests that were present had sanctified themselves, and did not keep their courses; (JPS) (Emphasis added)

While this might at first seem to be contradictory, this is only due to the complexity of events. It is highly probable that while left at the altar at Gibeon Zadok observed the festivals of the seventh month as prescribed and subsequently accompanied the Ark of the Covenant upon the journey to Cush. While the covenant was broken during the construction of the temple, the full results were not manifested immediately. In fact, the full results will not be realized until the end of the age.

Details

In order to discover the remaining details of these sordid affairs, we must look to the prophets because they have a great deal of information. They may have been about the only people that knew that these incidents had occurred.

Jeremiah 2:11 Has a nation ever changed its gods?
(Yet they are not gods at all.)
But my people have exchanged their Glory for worthless idols. (NIV)
Jeremiah 2:11 Hath a nation changed its gods, which yet are no gods? But My people hath changed its glory for that which doth not profit. (JPS)

Jeremiah very literally mentions what happened and that Israel exchanged their glory, the real Ark and the real G-d, for something that was completely worthless.

Jeremiah 17:12 A glorious throne, exalted from the beginning, is the place of our sanctuary. 13 O LORD, the hope of Israel, all who forsake you will be put to shame. Those who turn away from you will be written in the dust because they have forsaken the LORD, the spring of living water. (NIV)
Jeremiah 17:12 Thou throne of glory, on high from the beginning, thou place of our sanctuary, 13 Thou hope of Israel, the Lord! All that forsake Thee shall be ashamed; they that depart from Thee shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living waters. (JPS)

Jeremiah 17:12 supports about everything in this book, up to this point. Remember that the ark is the throne of G-d and that He literally dwelt in between the two cherubim. The ark was sometimes referred to as a sanctuary and was called by the NAME, the NAME of YHWH. The NAME is the Tetragrammaton.

Jeremiah 16:20 Do men make their own Gods?
Yes, but they are not gods! (NIV)
Jeremiah 16:20 Shall a man make unto himself gods,
and they are no gods? (JPS)

The following passages mention the counterfeit ten commandments.

Jeremiah 17:1 The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond; it is graven upon the tablet of their heart, and upon the horns of your altars. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Isaiah 28:14 Wherefore hear the word of the Lord, ye scoffers, the ballad-mongers of this people which is in Jerusalem: 15 Because ye have said: 'We have made a covenant with death, and with the nether-world are we at agreement; when the scouring scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us; for we have made lies our refuge, and in falsehood have we hid ourselves'; 16 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD: Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a costly corner-stone of sure foundation; he that believeth shall not make haste. 17 And I will make justice the line, and righteousness the plummet; and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding-place. 18 And your covenant with death shall be disannulled and your agreement with the nether-world shall not stand; when the scouring scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it, 19 As often as it passeth through, it shall take you; for morning by morning shall it pass through, by day and by night; and it shall be sheer terror to understand the message. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Romans 1:25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator-who is forever praised. Amen. (NIV) (Emphasis added)
Romans 1: 24-25 So God said, in effect, "If that's what you want, that's what you get." It wasn't long before they were living in a pigpen, smeared with filth, filthy inside and out. And all this because they traded the true God for a fake god, and worshiped the god they made instead of the God who made them-the God we bless, the God who blesses us. Oh, yes! (The Message) (Emphasis added)

Corpses

The Hebrew word for the Ark of the Covenant is Aron. According to Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, the word Aron means a chest, box, casket or coffin. In many cases, corpses are placed in caskets. There are few cases of caskets being used for purposes other than housing death.

Ezekiel 43:7 And He said unto me: 'Son of man, this is the place of My throne, and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever; and the house of Israel shall no more defile My holy name, neither they, nor their kings, by their harlotry, and by the carcasses of their kings [in] their high places; 8 in their setting of their threshold by My threshold, and their door-post beside My door-post, and there was but the wall between Me and them; and they have defiled My holy name by their abominations which they have committed; wherefore I have consumed them in Mine anger. 9 Now let them put away their harlotry, and the carcasses of their kings, far from Me, and I will dwell in the midst of them for ever. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

More Clear Clues

There are other clear indications of the theory presented so far. These appear in passages from the prophets and represent some of those instances where the Bible can say so much in so few words as to confound anyone.

One of these appears in the passage of Isaiah above and the most significant portion for will be repeated here. It is important to recall that the real Ark was the dwelling place or refuge of G-d. It was termed a refuge at times. The counterfeit ark is the refuge of the counterfeit ten commandments with changed wording, therefore, the refuge of lies.

Isaiah 28:17 And I will make justice the line, and righteousness the plummet; and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding-place. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

A further example directly supporting the same theory appears in Ezekiel. This particular passage is studied in greater depth elsewhere, but since it is not close at hand, the entire passage is included. One will notice in the portion that is relevant to this topic that they will be saved out of their dwelling places wherein they have sinned. Recall that the Ark was the dwelling place, the dwelling of G-d. This is a clear mention of a counterfeit ark.

Ezekiel 37:21 And say unto them: Thus saith the L-rd GOD: Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, whither they are gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land; 22 and I will make them one nation in the land, upon the mountains of Israel, and one king shall be king to them all; and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all; 23 neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will save them out of all their dwelling-places, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them; so shall they be My people, and I will be their God. 24 And My servant David shall be king over them, and they all shall have one shepherd; they shall also walk in Mine ordinances, and observe My statutes, and do them. 25 And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob My servant, wherein your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, they, and their children, and their children's children, for ever; and David My servant shall be their prince for ever. 26 Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them--it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; and I will establish them, and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in the midst of them for ever. 27 My dwelling-place also shall be over them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 28 And the nations shall know that I am the Lord that sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for ever.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)

The Ark Compared with Idols

It is important to note that sometimes idols are mentioned in the Bible as gods. These gods obviously were not G-d, but they were sometimes called gods.

Deuteronomy 32:15 But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked--thou didst wax fat, thou didst grow thick, thou didst become gross--and he forsook God who made him, and contemned the Rock of his salvation. 16 They roused Him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations did they provoke Him. 17 They sacrificed unto demons, no-gods, gods that they knew not, new gods that came up of late, which your fathers dreaded not. 18 Of the Rock that begot thee thou wast unmindful, and didst forget God that bore thee. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

In Jeremiah 2:11 above, note that Jeremiah speaks of a god that is not a god at all and obviously has no power whatsoever. It is logical to conclude that this god does not even represent a demon because the passage states that it is not a god at all, simply a worthless object. While it might fly in the face of some ideologies of theology to observe that G-d would never refer to demons as worthless; it is a Biblical fact.

Jeremiah 17:1 mentions that Judah's sin is engraved with an iron tool and this is comparing the false Ten Commandments to the real ones. Remember that the real stone tables were not inscribed with a tool but by the finger of G-d. There are more direct references to the counterfeit ark and various passages compare characteristics of the real ark with the counterfeit. There would obviously be no reason to make such comparisons for idols that are not of a similar form. Obviously anybody could distinguish between a Moloch idol and the ark for example. In the following verse, it is obvious that Jeremiah is pointing out differences between the real ark and the counterfeit ark. Notice that this idol clearly has no power at all.

Jeremiah 10:5 Like a scarecrow in a melon patch, their idols cannot speak; they must be carried because they cannot walk. Do not fear them; they can do no harm nor can they do any good." (NIV)

Notice that Jeremiah 10:5 makes some very specific references to an idol that cannot speak or walk. What was this idol? It is the counterfeit ark. One characteristic of the idol that Jeremiah is speaking of is that it cannot walk. When one considers most of the idols of ancient Israel, idols like the Asherim and others come to mind. These were apparently posts stuck in the ground and there really would be no reason to mention the fact that such an idol could not walk. Everybody would pick up on that without attention being drawn to the fact.

2 Samuel 7:5 'Go and tell My servant David: Thus saith the Lord: Shalt thou build Me a house for Me to dwell in? 6 for I have not dwelt in a house since the day that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even to this day, but have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle. 7 In all places wherein I have walked among all the children of Israel, spoke I a word with any of the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to feed My people Israel, saying: Why have ye not built Me a house of cedar? (JPS)

Recall that in the "Characteristics of the Ark" chapter, we discovered that the real Ark of the Covenant is able to move about on its own even though it was usually carried. In fact, it actually propelled the whole entourage including the Kohathites (Levites) that carried it on their shoulders on occasion. It is certainly able to speak because it was used as an oracle and it was called by THE NAME, YHWH. It certainly can do both harm and good and it was dressed in blue and purple when it left its house. In the case of an idol that was made as a representation of some demonic entity, there is some chance that the being that they represent can actually do some harm or even good. Therefore, it is necessary to conclude that this must be speaking of some object that has no supernatural counterpart whatsoever, but something simply on the order of a sculpture. Furthermore, it is obvious that this must be a reference to an object of confusion because there would be no reason to compare these details otherwise. It would be best to consider this verse in its context so that the meaning of the whole passage can be contemplated.

Jeremiah 10:1 Hear ye the word which the Lord speaketh unto you, O house of Israel; 2 thus saith the Lord: Learn not the way of the nations, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the nations are dismayed at them. 3 For the customs of the peoples are vanity; for it is but a tree which one cutteth out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman with the axe. 4 They deck it with silver and with gold, they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. 5 They are like a pillar in a garden of cucumbers, and speak not; they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them, for they cannot do evil, neither is it in them to do good. 6 There is none like unto Thee, O the Lord; Thou art great, and Thy name is great in might. 7 Who would not fear Thee, O king of the nations? For it befitteth Thee; forasmuch as among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their royalty, there is none like unto Thee. 8 But they are altogether brutish and foolish: the vanities by which they are instructed are but a stock; 9 Silver beaten into plates which is brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz, the work of the craftsman and of the hands of the goldsmith; blue and purple is their clothing; they are all the work of skilful men. 10 But the Lord God is the true God, He is the living God, and the everlasting King; at His wrath the earth trembleth, and the nations are not able to abide His indignation. 11 Thus shall ye say unto them: 'The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, these shall perish from the earth, and from under the heavens.' 12 He that hath made the earth by His power, that hath established the world by His wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by His understanding; 13 At the sound of His giving a multitude of waters in the heavens, when He causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; when He maketh lightnings with the rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of His treasuries; 14 Every man is proved to be brutish, without knowledge, every goldsmith is put to shame by the graven image, his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them. 15 They are vanity, a work of delusion; in the time of their visitation they shall perish. 16 Not like these is the portion of Jacob; for He is the former of all things, and Israel is the tribe of His inheritance; the Lord of hosts is His name. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

This passage is obviously comparing small details about an idol with the real G-d and His Ark. Why would Jeremiah do that? Recall again that the Ark was called by the Name, the Name of the Almighty. There really wouldn't be any reason to go into this kind of detail to compare idols of dissimilar form or idols that were clearly idols. The demons represented by most idols are certainly capable of doing both harm and good. If someone were worshipping a different god represented by an idol such as Baal, Moloch or Asherah that person would obviously know it.

Perhaps idolatry is not so recognizable today when people worship their plethora of idols of materialism, but one would certainly think that the idols spoken of in this part of history would have been easily distinguishable from the real G-d. While people worshiping their modern idols of materialism can easily recognize that they are not worshipping G-d, they might not recognize that they worship an idol. For example, the currency of the United States is clearly marked: "In God We Trust." Unfortunately, few people realize or consider that the slogan appears on the actual god - that is to say - the god has nothing to do with the L-rd, that god is money or Mammon.

Nailed Down

In addition to all of that, Jeremiah is also giving us some details about the characteristics of the counterfeit ark's construction. It apparently has nails used in its construction and truly high-quality woodworking or furniture never uses nails, it has joints created in the wood. Considering that G-d gave Bezalel special wisdom as a craftsman to make the real Ark, it is unimaginable that there are any nails in it. After all, he obviously would have been the best craftsman of all time. By the way, this would be an easy way to determine for certain that an ark is a fake. The next ark to appear will be the fake, but if one wants confirmation that an ark is counterfeit, examine it for nails. If it has nails, it is not the real Ark.

Solomon's New Covenant

It is not known for certain what Solomon's new ten commandments say. He may not have changed all of the commands, just some of them. It is possible that they say, "thou shall" instead of "thou shalt not." It is undeniable that this was a diabolically brilliant plot to make them much easier to obey. Nevertheless, this scheme certainly will not come to propitious fruition. While it is impossible to determine the exact wording of all of the counterfeit commands, there is a fair degree of certainty that the Sabbath laws have been changed.

Jeremiah 7:8 Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit. 9 Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and offer unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye have not known, 10 and come and stand before Me in this house, whereupon My name is called, and say: 'We are delivered', that ye may do all these abominations? 11 Is this house, whereupon My name is called, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, I, even I, have seen it, saith the Lord. 12 For go ye now unto My place which was in Shiloh, where I caused My name to dwell at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of My people Israel. 13 And now, because ye have done all these works, saith the Lord, and I spoke unto you, speaking betimes and often, but ye heard not, and I called you, but ye answered not; 14 therefore will I do unto the house, whereupon My name is called, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh. 15 And I will cast you out of My sight, as I have cast out all your brethren, even the whole seed of Ephraim. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

This is a necessary aspect of the counterfeit ark because it is the essence of the activities of the "Man of Sin" in the last days.

Daniel 7:25 And he shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High; and he shall think to change the seasons and the law; and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and half a time. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Idolatry in the Bible

It is necessary to look at some major characteristics of idol worship in the ancient world because the counterfeit ark is frequently referred to as a worthless idol in the Bible. The Bible records various idols that were made and worshiped both inside Israel and elsewhere, but aside from several instances of golden calves, the most commonly mentioned idols are Asherah, Baal and Moloch.

There is not a great amount of definite information about the worship of most of these idols and experts such as archeologists must use a fair amount of guesswork in piecing together details of the practices used in the rituals. The Bible is frequently one of the best sources of information about them. Scholars have found artifacts of these religious practices, but the exact nature and processes of worship are not generally thoroughly understood.

Golden Calves

Golden calves are thought to be important idols in various types of idolatry and the first instance of a golden calf is recorded at the time that Moses was up on the mount to receive the Ten Commandments. This particular incident was a grievous sin and the cloud of the Shekinah appeared upon the mount as a thick-black cloud and Moses later stated that the L-rd was ready to destroy the Israelites completely. Moses was able to intercede so that all of Israelites were not destroyed. Nevertheless, thousands of them were killed as a result of this incident. It is not clear if the golden calves represented any demonic deity, but ancient Jewish legends maintain that the construction of the calves at Horeb was partly the work of Egyptian magicians assisting Aaron.

There are other mentions of golden calves in the Bible including those made by Jeroboam immediately after the kingdom split up after judgment fell upon Solomon. There are few other mentions of them beyond this point. The Torah and other sources contend that the worship of golden calves involved orgiastic indulgences.

Asherah

Asherah was a female demonic deity and god of fertility. She appeared in many different places throughout the ancient world besides Israel. Experts believe that she originated in Canaan, the land that the Israelites possessed. Asherah was closely associated with Baal.

Baal

Another of the gods frequently mentioned in the Bible is Baal or Ba'al. There are many variations of the name of this god and he is thought to have been a localized deity, but occurring in many different places, meaning that there were variations in the practices of worship in various places. It is thought that Baal worship originated in Babylonia. The name Baal changed over time and it eventually became Baalzebub, or Beelzebub. Baal was definitely a demonic deity and some experts believe that all of the hundreds of different Baalim are actually representative of the same deity. Furthermore, some experts believe that several of the other more notable gods such as Chemosh and Moloch were also Baals, or that they are all one and the same.

1 Kings 11:6 And Solomon did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the Lord, as did David his father. 7 Then did Solomon build a high place for Chemosh the detestation of Moab, in the mount that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech the detestation of the children of Ammon. 8 And so did he for all his foreign wives, who offered and sacrificed unto their gods. 9 And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared unto him twice, 10 and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he kept not that which the Lord commanded. 11 Wherefore the Lord said unto Solomon: 'Forasmuch as this hath been in thy mind, and thou hast not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant. 12 Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it, for David thy father's sake; but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son. 13 Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but I will give one tribe to thy son; for David My servant's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake which I have chosen.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)

The worship of these deities frequently involved various forms of forbidden activities like divination and magic. In order to gain the favor of some of these deities, a human sacrifice was thought to be beneficial. Obviously, this was also a forbidden activity under the old covenant of Moses. These gods were also thought to hold fertility powers and debauchery was a common element of most ancient religions. Their worship usually involved unrestrained sexual activities. In some cases, the followers of these gods may have viewed sex as the god, or the creator.

Fertility G-ds

Asherah was closely associated with Baal and definitely was a god of fertility. There are many mentions of Asherah in the Bible and it is believed that Asherah poles were routinely constructed next to the altars of Baal. Asherah poles are frequently referred to as Asherim and this word form is masculine, the Hebrew language being gender specific. Some experts believe that Asherim were actually phallus statues. In fact, in translations more true to the Hebrew many passages where the phrase "image of a man" appears are rendered "phalluses."

G-d and gods

Many of the idols that were worshiped in the ancient world are at times referred to as gods in the Bible. These are lower case "g" gods, and many idols were more-or-less sculptural representations of demonic deities. The reason that idols are called gods is because most of them are representative of demons, beings with some supernatural powers - at least when the demon was actually present. In contrast, Yahweh is omnipresent and omnipotent, so both idols and demons are things of naught as compared to Him. For example, Ba'al was represented by images and is a real demon now known as Beelzebub. Beelzebub is not to be considered a powerless deity by any means because demons do have supernatural power. It is important to remember that despite the fact that demons are evil spirits, they are superior to humans and are to be respected, but not worshiped.

The key point of this is that Gentile idol worship was not always to some useless statue, but frequently to a demonic deity represented by a particular image. This application of the word Gentile could be considered synonymous to the word pagan today.

This is very important because, in several instances, the Bible notes that somebody worshiped a particular idol that did not have any power whatsoever. In the 1917 Jewish Publication Society Bible that is widely quoted here, this idol is usually called a no-god. It is also noted that there was a god that recently sprang up, a god unknown to their fathers, speaking of the Israelites. This particular idol provoked G-d to jealousy, so it must have had some special characteristics. Demons existed further back into antiquity than mankind, so these idols were not recent. Moreover, the demon-based idols were certainly known to their fathers.

In many English Bible translations, the distinction between idol and demon has become confused, despite its importance. This is not so obvious of a problem as it appears when it is just simply stated in those exact terms. Idol and demon do not mean the same thing, so this interchange of terms can hide the true meaning. This would not ordinarily be much of a problem, but it is for the exploration here.

Translation is a very difficult undertaking and additional problems are introduced when attempting to translate a thought from an ancient language. In many cases, it is not really possible to translate something exactly from one language to another. Paraphrase is a method that attempts to solve some of these problems, but it relies upon the translator understanding completely what a passage is about. If there are any aspects of meaning that the translator is unaware of, those portions tend to get lost.

There may be some problems with the arbitrary rendering of a certain word as idol when in some cases it should have been rendered demon. This word is ælilim, and several passages in the Septuagint are different than they appear in most English versions of the Bible. The problem arises because translators sometimes render the words ælilim and sjedim in synonymous parallelism, most frequently rendered to English as idol. Sjedim, means demons or evil spirits. The problem is that the words do not mean the exactly the same thing in the original text just as in English the words demon and idol do not mean exactly the same thing.

For example, the Septuagint of Psalm 96:5 reads: "All the gods of the peoples are demons." However, the Revised Standard Version renders the word idols, as do most translations. The 1985 JPS renders the verse as "mere idols." The same verse, more-or-less, appears in 1 Chronicles 16:26.

Psalms 96:5 For all the gods of the peoples are things of nought; but the Lord made the heavens. (JPS)
1 Chronicles 16:26 For all the gods of the peoples are idols; But the Lord made the heavens. (Darby)
1 Chronicles 16:26 For all the gods of the peoples are things of nought; but the Lord made the heavens. (JPS)

Manasseh's Contribution

Manasseh is one of the most notorious kings of Judah and he ruled many years after Solomon. Some Levites and Jewish scholars credited Manasseh with having carefully studied what would anger G-d and creating an object specifically for that purpose. It is well recorded in the Bible that he built and worshiped many idols and he also worshiped the starry host and perpetrated many other forbidden activities as well. If angering G-d was truly Manasseh's objective, he was certainly successful because he was eventually shackled and led into captivity in Babylon by a hook in his nose. Nevertheless, Manasseh made entreaty with the L-rd and repented of his idolatry. G-d was moved by Manasseh's plea and he was soon freed from Babylon and returned to Jerusalem where he removed his detestable idols and dumped them outside town.

For the purpose here, the important event of Manasseh's reign is that he did something that caused the complete desolation of Israel. It is absolutely certain that Manasseh caused the complete desolation because the Bible very clearly tells us that. Therefore, Manasseh committed an abomination that brought desolation. Nevertheless, it was years afterward before the desolation actually occurred. In fact, it is probably not insignificant that six kings followed Manasseh before the fall of Jerusalem.

2 Kings 21:7 And he set the graven image of Asherah, that he had made, in the house of which the Lord said to David and to Solomon his son: 'In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, will I put My name for ever; 8 neither will I cause the feet of Israel to wander any more out of the land which I gave their fathers; if only they will observe to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the law that My servant Moses commanded them.' 9 But they hearkened not; and Manasseh seduced them to do that which is evil more than did the nations, whom the Lord destroyed before the children of Israel. 10 And the Lord spoke by His servants the prophets, saying: 11 'Because Manasseh king of Judah hath done these abominations, and hath done wickedly above all that the Amorites did, that were before him, and hath made Judah also to sin with his idols; 12 therefore thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel: Behold, I bring such evil upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whosoever heareth of it, both his ears shall tingle. 13 And I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria, and the plummet of the house of Ahab; and I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down. 14 And I will cast off the remnant of Mine inheritance, and deliver them into the hand of their enemies; and they shall become a prey and a spoil to all their enemies; 15 because they have done that which is evil in My sight, and have provoked Me, since the day their fathers came forth out of Egypt, even unto this day.' (JPS)

It is clear from the previous passage that the complete desolation of Israel has been decreed and Manasseh caused it (2 Kings 21:12-15). Despite the fact that Manasseh reformed, this decree remained in effect. The following passage is from the time of King Josiah some years later and it is clear from this passage that the complete desolation caused by Manasseh is an irrevocable decree of G-d.

2 Kings 23:25 And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the Lord with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him. 26 Notwithstanding the Lord turned not from the fierceness of His great wrath, wherewith His anger was kindled against Judah, because of all the provocations wherewith Manasseh had provoked Him. 27 And the Lord said: 'I will remove Judah also out of My sight, as I have removed Israel, and I will cast off this city which I have chosen, even Jerusalem, and the house of which I said: My name shall be there.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)

The question is, exactly what did Manasseh do? The bible clearly states what he did, "he set the graven image of Asherah, that he had made, in the house." Bringing an idol of Asherah into the temple provoked G-d to anger. It is likely that the detestable practices that accompanied the worship of Asherah being conducted in the temple might have added to the provocation. Nonetheless, the temple had been used for idolatry before without causing the complete desolation of Israel. While Manasseh acted very wickedly, it is hard to say that he was any more wicked than Athaliah.

Jeremiah 7:30 For the children of Judah have done that which is evil in My sight, saith the Lord; they have set their detestable things in the house whereon My name is called, to defile it. 31 And they have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire; which I commanded not, neither came it into My mind. 32 Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that it shall no more be called Topheth, nor The valley of the son of Hinnom, but The valley of slaughter; for they shall bury in Topheth, for lack of room. 33 And the carcasses of this people shall be food for the fowls of the heaven, and for the beasts of the earth; and none shall frighten them away. 34 Then will I cause to cease from the cities of Judah, and from the streets of Jerusalem, the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride; for the land shall be desolate. (JPS)

It is absolutely certain that Manasseh set up the "Abomination of Desolation" because it is clear that complete desolation was decreed due directly to Manasseh's activities. Despite the fact that Manasseh caused the complete desolation, it is important to keep in mind that by this point, there was only one tribe remaining in the land anyhow. In 2 Kings 21:14 one will notice that Judah is referred to as a remnant. Therefore, it is necessary to conclude that most of the desolation was caused by something that happened earlier and they were only beneficiaries of forbearance by this time. Manasseh could only have placed the last straw, to coin a figure of speech.

In fact, long before the time of Manasseh the nation was reduced to one tribe of Judah and most of the desolation was caused by something that the person that caused the earlier reductions did. Solomon caused the break-up of the kingdom and the only reason that complete desolation did not occur during the days of Solomon was G-d's grace and promise to David.

1 Kings 11:30 And Ahijah laid hold of the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces. 31 And he said to Jeroboam: 'Take thee ten pieces; for thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel: Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee-- 32 but he shall have one tribe, for My servant David's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel-- 33 because that they have forsaken Me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of Moab, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon; and they have not walked in My ways, to do that which is right in Mine eyes, and to keep My statutes and Mine ordinances, as did David his father. 34 Howbeit I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand; but I will make him prince all the days of his life, for David My servant's sake, whom I chose, because he kept My commandments and My statutes; 35 but I will take the kingdom out of his son's hand, and will give it unto thee, even ten tribes. 36 And unto his son will I give one tribe, that David My servant may have a lamp alway before Me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen Me to put My name there. (JPS)

Note that one tribe was actually missing at this point. There are, or were, people in Ethiopia that claimed to be the remnant of the tribe of Dan. Many of them have been repatriated to Israel. There are legends that the Danites migrated to Cush with the Ark. Obviously from 1 Kings 11:30 et seq., some tribe or other is missing. While there are mentions of Dan in scripture beyond this time it is relevant that Dan is also the name of a geographical area of Israel since the land was divided by tribe. Despite the fact that one tribe seems to be missing Ahijah tears the garment into twelve pieces. There just is no accounting for one piece.

Back to the point about the desolation:

2 Kings 17:7 And it was so, because the children of Israel had sinned against HaShem their G-d, who brought them up out of the land of Egypt from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods, 8 and walked in the statutes of the nations, whom HaShem cast out from before the children of Israel, and of the kings of Israel, which they practised; 9 and the children of Israel did impute things that were not right unto HaShem their G-d, and they built them high places in all their cities, from the tower of the watchmen to the fortified city; 10 and they set them up pillars and Asherim upon every high hill, and under every leafy tree; 11 and there they offered in all the high places, as did the nations whom HaShem carried away before them; and wrought wicked things to provoke HaShem; 12 and they served idols, whereof HaShem had said unto them: 'Ye shall not do this thing'; 13 yet HaShem forewarned Israel, and Judah, by the hand of every prophet, and of every seer, saying: 'Turn ye from your evil ways, and keep My commandments and My statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by the hand of My servants the prophets'; 14 notwithstanding they would not hear, but hardened their neck, like to the neck of their fathers, who believed not in HaShem their G-d; 15 and they rejected His statutes, and His covenant that He made with their fathers, and His testimonies wherewith He testified against them; and they went after things of nought, and became nought, and after the nations that were round about them, concerning whom HaShem had charged them that they should not do like them; 16 and they forsook all the commandments of HaShem their G-d, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made an Asherah, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal; 17 and they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and gave themselves over to do that which was evil in the sight of HaShem, to provoke Him; 18 that HaShem was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of His sight; there was none left but the tribe of Judah only. 19 Also Judah kept not the commandments of HaShem their G-d, but walked in the statutes of Israel which they practised. 20 And HaShem rejected all the seed of Israel, and afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of spoilers, until He had cast them out of His sight. 21 For He rent Israel from the house of David; and they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king; and Jeroboam drew Israel away from following HaShem, and made them sin a great sin. 22 And the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they departed not from them; 23 until HaShem removed Israel out of His sight, as He spoke by the hand of all His servants the prophets. So Israel was carried away out of their own land to Assyria, unto this day. (JPS)
Hosea 5:1 Hear this, O ye priests, and attend, ye house of Israel, and give ear, O house of the king, for unto you pertaineth the judgment; for ye have been a snare on Mizpah, and a net spread upon Tabor. 2 And they that fall away are gone deep in making slaughter; and I am rejected of them all. (JPS)
Hosea 5:5 But the pride of Israel shall testify to his face; and Israel and Ephraim shall stumble in their iniquity, Judah also shall stumble with them. 6 With their flocks and with their herds they shall go to seek the Lord, but they shall not find Him; He hath withdrawn Himself from them. 7 They have dealt treacherously against the Lord, for they have begotten strange children; now shall the new moon devour them with their portions. 8 Blow ye the horn in Gibeah, and the trumpet in Ramah; sound an alarm at Beth-aven: 'Behind thee, O Benjamin!' 9 Ephraim shall be desolate in the day of rebuke; among the tribes of Israel do I make known that which shall surely be. 10 The princes of Judah are like them that remove the landmark; I will pour out My wrath upon them like water. 11 Oppressed is Ephraim, crushed in his right; because he willingly walked after filth. 12 Therefore am I unto Ephraim as a moth, and to the house of Judah as rottenness.13 And when Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah his wound, Ephraim went to Assyria, and sent to King Contentious; but he is not able to heal you, neither shall he cure you of your wound. 14 For I will be unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah; I, even I, will tear and go away, I will take away, and there shall be none to deliver. 15 I will go and return to My place, till they acknowledge their guilt, and seek My face; in their trouble they will seek Me earnestly: (JPS)
Hosea 5:5 And Israel's pride doth testify to his face; and Israel and Ephraim shall fall by their iniquity: Judah also shall fall with them. 6 They shall go with their flocks and with their herds to seek the Lord; but they shall not find [him]: he hath withdrawn himself from them. 7 They have dealt treacherously against the Lord; for they have begotten strange children: now shall the new moon devour them, with their allotted possessions. 8 Blow the horn in Gibeah, the trumpet in Ramah; cry aloud [at] Beth-aven: behind thee, O Benjamin! 9 Ephraim shall be a desolation in the day of rebuke: among the tribes of Israel have I made known that which is sure. 10 The princes of Judah are become like them that remove the landmark: I will pour out my wrath upon them like water. 11 Ephraim is oppressed, crushed in judgment, because in selfwill he walked after the commandment [of man]. (Darby)

Antiochus Epiphanes

Some have incorrectly concluded that the term Abomination of Desolation in some way involves the actions of Antiochus Epiphanes through his transformation of the holy temple in Jerusalem to heathen use. It is known that Antiochus Epiphanes sacrificed a pig in the temple, but since the temple had been desecrated long before he arrived this act was insignificant to G-d. Since it is well documented that the Israelites themselves had desecrated the temple in various ways before, it certainly would not be particularly abominable for a heathen to do this as opposed to a Hebrew.

Furthermore, the desolation was a judgment against Israel and since Antiochus Epiphanes was Greek and not an Israelite, why would G-d's judgment fall against Israel for the actions of an oppressor? The judgment that concludes all of these events is called "The Day of Jacob's Trouble" not "The Day of Antiochus Epiphanes Trouble" nor "The Day of Greek Trouble." Keep in mind that idol worship and the like conducted in the temple by the Israelites themselves is certainly converting the temple to heathen use. Notwithstanding conventional wisdom on the matter, it should be obvious that it would be more abominable for a Hebrew to do this than a heathen. After all, when done by a Hebrew, one of G-d's own people, this is in essence more than high treason - it is divine treason. Therefore, it stands to reason that it would be far more irritating for G-d's own people to do such things than for heathens to do them.

Isaiah 29:14 Therefore, behold, I will again do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder; and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the prudence of their prudent men shall be hid. (JPS)

Another obvious problem with construing the Abomination of Desolation to have any reference to Antiochus Epiphanes is simply that the complete desolation occurred long before he existed. Therefore, it should be obvious that the Abomination of Desolation existed long before he did.

2 Chronicles 36:15 And the Lord, the God of their fathers, sent to them by His messengers, sending betimes and often; because He had compassion on His people, and on His dwelling-place; 16 but they mocked the messengers of God, and despised His words, and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against His people, till there was no remedy. 17 Therefore He brought upon them the king of the Chaldeans, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or maiden, old man or hoary-headed; He gave them all into his hand. 18 And all the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king, and of his princes; all these he brought to Babylon. 19 And they burnt the house of God, and broke down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof. 20 And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; and they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia; 21 to fulfil the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had been paid her sabbaths; for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Jeremiah 25:4 And the Lord hath sent unto you all His servants the prophets, sending them betimes and often--but ye have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear to hear-- 5 saying: 'Return ye now every one from his evil way, and from the evil of your doings, and dwell in the land that the Lord hath given unto you and to your fathers, for ever and ever; 6 and go not after other gods to serve them, and to worship them, and provoke Me not with the work of your hands, and I will do you no hurt.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Jeremiah 25:7 Yet ye have not hearkened unto Me, saith the Lord; that ye might provoke Me with the work of your hands to your own hurt. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Jeremiah 25:8 Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts: Because ye have not heard My words, 9 behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the Lord, and I will send unto Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, My servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about; and I will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and a hissing, and perpetual desolations. 10 Moreover I will cause to cease from among them the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones, and the light of the lamp. 11 And this whole land shall be a desolation, and a waste; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Furthermore, the temerity perpetrated by Antiochus Epiphanes more nearly involved actions and not things since his supreme transgression seems to have been sacrificing a pig on the altar. Nevertheless, Daniel states that the next Abomination of Desolation will be set up after the sacrifice is suspended so it should be readily apparent that the Abomination of Desolation in no way involves sacrifice. It is also extremely relevant to note that Daniel clearly maintains that he is living through the desolation. Therefore, it is absolutely certain that the important historical desolation occurred long before Antiochus Epiphanes existed. It certainly had little to do with the destruction of the second temple.

Daniel 9:11 Yea, all Israel have transgressed Thy law, and have turned aside, so as not to hearken to Thy voice; and so there hath been poured out upon us the curse and the oath that is written in the Law of Moses the servant of God; for we have sinned against Him. 12 And He hath confirmed His word, which He spoke against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil; so that under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem. 13 As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us; yet have we not entreated the favour of the Lord our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and have discernment in Thy truth. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Deuteronomy 11:26 Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse: 27 the blessing, if ye shall hearken unto the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day; 28 and the curse, if ye shall not hearken unto the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Daniel 9:16 O Lord, according to all Thy righteousness, let Thine anger and Thy fury, I pray Thee, be turned away from Thy city Jerusalem, Thy holy mountain; because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us. 17 Now therefore, O our God, hearken unto the prayer of Thy servant, and to his supplications, and cause Thy face to shine upon Thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord's sake. 18 O my God, incline Thine ear, and hear; open Thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city upon which Thy name is called; for we do not present our supplications before Thee because of our righteousness, but because of Thy great compassions. 19 O Lord, hear, O Lord, forgive, O Lord, attend and do, defer not; for Thine own sake, O my God, because Thy name is called upon Thy city and Thy people.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)

It is necessary to point out that the Book of Daniel was sealed until the time of the end and this means that the meaning of Daniel's prophecy was largely unfathomable until then. Nevertheless, many have poured over it without its being unsealed to them introducing countless errors in interpretations of other prophecy and scripture despite the fact that the book clearly states that it was sealed. It stands to reason that if the angel Gabriel delivered the prophecy to Daniel then Gabriel or the L-rd or both would be able to unseal the book of Daniel.

Daniel 12:4 But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Daniel 12:8 And I heard, but I understood not; then said I: 'O my Lord, what shall be the latter end of these things?' 9 And he said: 'Go thy way, Daniel; for the words are shut up and sealed till the time of the end. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Matthew 24:14 And these glad tidings of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole habitable earth, for a witness to all the nations, and then shall come the end. 15 When therefore ye shall see the abomination of desolation, which is spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in [what is a] holy place, (he that reads let him understand,) 16 then let those who are in Judaea flee to the mountains; 17 let not him that is on the house come down to take the things out of his house; 18 and let not him that is in the field turn back to take his garment. 19 But woe to those that are with child, and those that give suck in those days. 20 But pray that your flight may not be in winter time nor on sabbath: 21 for then shall there be great tribulation, such as has not been from [the] beginning of [the] world until now, nor ever shall be; 22 and if those days had not been cut short, no flesh had been saved; but on account of the elect those days shall be cut short. 23 Then if any one say to you, Behold, here is the Christ, or here, believe [it] not. 24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall give great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. 25 Behold, I have told you beforehand. (Darby) (Emphasis added)

Since the Book of Daniel was sealed it has been futile to try to understand it.

It should be evident from direct references to the Abomination of Desolation by Daniel (Daniel 9:27, 11:31, 12:11) that it must necessarily be some kind of thing or three-dimensional object - something on the order of an idol. This can be deduced simply from the usage of the phrase. In all three passages Daniel mentions that the Abomination of Desolation will be "set up" and this generally tends to infer an object of some type. In Daniel 11:31 and 12:11 one might observe that "they shall set up the detestable thing that causeth appalment," so this thing must be a thing. Notice also that in most cases there are mentions of a covenant in close proximity to the mentions of the Abomination of Desolation. In the following quotes from the 1917 Jewish Publication Society Tanakh, that which is usually rendered Abomination of Desolation in many translations is rendered "that which causeth appalment."

Daniel 9:27 And he shall make a firm covenant with many for one week; and for half of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the offering to cease; and upon the wing of detestable things shall be that which causeth appalment; and that until the extermination wholly determined be poured out upon that which causeth appalment.'
Daniel 11:31 And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall profane the sanctuary, even the stronghold, and shall take away the continual burnt-offering, and they shall set up the detestable thing that causeth appalment. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Daniel 12:11 And from the time that the continual burnt-offering shall be taken away, and the detestable thing that causes appalment set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Antiochus Epiphanes is credited with sacrificing a pig on the altar in the temple and converting the temple to heathen use and many have interpreted these acts to have been the supreme abomination. This leaves an obvious problem in reasoning, however, because the judgment falls against Israel. Antiochus Epiphanes was not an Israelite and this obviously leaves a gaping hole in reasoning as to why G-d would judge Israel for the actions of a heathen. If one wants to discover the nature of the supreme abomination, all that is necessary is to read the many mentions of it such as this one:

Jeremiah 25:6 and go not after other gods to serve them, and to worship them, and provoke Me not with the work of your hands, and I will do you no hurt.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Furthermore and finally, Antiochus Epiphanes could not possibly have entered Jerusalem or the temple if G-d had still been with them.

Hosea 5:1 Hear this, O ye priests, and attend, ye house of Israel, and give ear, O house of the king, for unto you pertaineth the judgment; for ye have been a snare on Mizpah, and a net spread upon Tabor. 2 And they that fall away are gone deep in making slaughter; and I am rejected of them all. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

The Future of the Abomination of Desolation

It is clear that the object known as the Abomination of Desolation must still exist because it will be installed in the next temple in Jerusalem during the Time of Jacob's Trouble or the Great Tribulation. It had to be installed in the temple before and this was what caused the complete desolation of the land of Israel. This definitely happened during the time of Manasseh as the Bible clearly says.

To determine exactly what Manasseh did, one can find the answer directly in the scripture, but one must consider that he did not do much of anything that had not been done before, so he undoubtedly added a special touch to his abomination or did it in a special way.

2 Chronicles 33:7 And he set the graven image of the idol, which he had made, in the house of God, of which God said to David and to Solomon his son: 'In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, will I put My name for ever; 8 neither will I any more remove the foot of Israel from off the land which I have appointed for your fathers; if only they will observe to do all that I have commanded them, even all the law and the statutes and the ordinances by the hand of Moses.' (JPS)
2 Kings 21:7 And he set the graven image of Asherah, that he had made, in the house of which the Lord said to David and to Solomon his son: 'In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, will I put My name for ever; 8 neither will I cause the feet of Israel to wander any more out of the land which I gave their fathers; if only they will observe to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the law that My servant Moses commanded them.' (JPS)

From the above passage of 2 Chronicles 33 and the passage of 2 Kings 21, it is clear that Manasseh's greatest transgression involved setting up an Asherah pole in the temple. It is well understood that this would provoke G-d to anger because He has continually given warnings that He is a jealous G-d and has never responded favorably before when the Israelites have worshiped their plethora of other gods. Nevertheless, upon careful consideration, it is clear that the Asherah pole cannot be the whole story here because this had been done long before Manasseh's time. In fact, it had been done several times before. Keep in mind that G-d is still angry many years later and the desolation will still take place.

Jeremiah 11:13 For according to the number of thy cities are thy gods, O Judah; and according to the number of the streets of Jerusalem have ye set up altars to the shameful thing, even altars to offer unto Baal. (JPS)
Isaiah Prophesies Sennacherib's Fall
2 Kings 19:20 Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying: 'Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel: Whereas thou hast prayed to Me against Sennacherib king of Assyria, I have heard thee. (JPS)

This was not the first time that the temple had been used for idolatry. Ezekiel notes many instances of idolatry in the temple and even the priests are involved in it according to him. It is well understood that Asherah was an integral part of Baal worship and they worshiped several Baals, the plural of Baal in Hebrew being Baalim.

2 Chronicles 24:7 Now the sons of that wicked woman Athaliah had broken into the temple of God and had used even its sacred objects for the Baals. (NIV)
2 Chronicles 24:7 For the sons of Athaliah, that wicked woman, had broken up the house of God; and also all the hallowed things of the house of the Lord did they bestow upon the Baalim. (JPS)

What Manasseh Did

If one carefully considers all of the details of the cause of the desolation with its disparate elements, one can conclude that Manasseh must have set up an Asherah pole in a special way. It is not simply because he set up his pole in the temple. Whatever he did involved an idol and this caused G-d to become especially angry. This idol is the idol described as the idol that provokes to jealousy. It is also important to remember that this had to involve repeating something that was done earlier because they have only been living on pure grace since the time of Solomon.

1 Kings 11:11 Wherefore the Lord said unto Solomon: 'Forasmuch as this hath been in thy mind, and thou hast not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant. 12 Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it, for David thy father's sake; but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son. 13 Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but I will give one tribe to thy son; for David My servant's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake which I have chosen.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Incorporating all of the other pieces of information, it is then logical to conclude that what Manasseh did exactly was set up his Asherah pole on top of the counterfeit ark. One could rephrase this as enshrining the Asherah pole atop the counterfeit ark. The result of that was that it made the Asherah pole a counterfeit of the living G-d. Manasseh's Asherah pole was enthroned between the two cherubim and one would think that if Manasseh's objective were to provoke G-d to anger this would certainly do the trick. This amalgamation of the Asherah pole atop the counterfeit ark was the idol that provoked G-d to jealousy, and this was the Abomination of Desolation that Manasseh made. If one considers that an Asherah pole might have been a phallic image, that person might see why this would be especially detestable. One might even call it Manasseh's fallacy.

In the following passage, there is a clear indication that an idol was enshrined and this is what was especially detestable. Recall that the ark could be considered a shrine.

Amos 5:26 You have lifted up the shrine of your king, the pedestal of your idols, the star of your god [3] - which you made for yourselves. 27 Therefore I will send you into exile beyond Damascus," says the LORD, whose name is God Almighty. (NIV)
(Footnotes: 5:26 Or lifted up Sakkuth your king / and Kaiwan your idols, / your star-gods; Septuagint lifted up the shrine of Molech / and the star of your god Rephan, / their idols)
Amos 5:26 So shall ye take up Siccuth your king and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves. 27 Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, saith He, whose name is the Lord God of hosts. (JPS)

In the passage of Amos from the Jewish Publication Society version, one will notice two obscure terms. The first of these is Siccuth and this word is a variation of the word Succoth. It has several other variants and it appears several times in the Bible. It means booths. Remember that the Hebrews lived in booths made of sticks part of the time that they wondered in the wilderness. They were supposed to commemorate this in an annual festival of the Feast of Tabernacles. The other obscure word is Chiun, and it means shrine. This word only appears in the Bible here.

Be aware that the counterfeit ark was made near Succoth, a city in the plain of the Jordan. Therefore, it is possible the word Succoth is used here where all of its several meanings could apply.

The verse is translated differently in other versions of the Bible and the word Rhemphan is sometimes used in place of the word Siccuth.

Referencing Strong's Concordance about Remphan, we see:

4481 Rhemphan [hrem-fan'] by incorrect transliteration for a word of Hebrew origin 3594; n pr m AV - Remphan 1; 1 Remphan = "the shrunken (as lifeless)" 1) the name of an idol worshipped secretly by the Israelites in the wilderness."
3594 Kiyuwn [kee-yoon'] from 3559; n pr dei AV - Chiun 1; 1 Chiun = "an image" or "pillar" 1) probably a statue of the Assyrian-Babylonian god of the planet Saturn and used to symbolise Israelite apostasy."

If one substitutes the word Remphan, then it is clear the verse is speaking of a lifeless idol. This is important because there is a distinction between a lifeless idol and an idol that represented a demon. The Strong's definition of Chiun or Kiyuwn notes that it is an image or pillar.

It is also useful to consider that they have lifted up this idol themselves. Furthermore, one might observe that in some translations of the Bible, the word shrine or siccuth is rendered tabernacle. Therefore, this must be a reference to a false ark.

Jeremiah 5:11 For the house of Israel and the house of Judah have dealt very treacherously against Me, saith the Lord. 12 They have belied the Lord, and said: 'It is not He, neither shall evil come upon us; neither shall we see sword nor famine; (JPS)

Abomination of the Future

Despite the fact that Manasseh's idol caused the complete desolation of Israel, something like it will be set up one more time. While it is now known what Manasseh did, that he enshrined his Asherah atop the counterfeit ark, this is not exactly what the future Abomination of Desolation will be.

The future Abomination of Desolation will be the counterfeit ark, but an Asherah pole will not be the key element that makes it especially detestable to G-d. In place of an Asherah pole, the Man of Sin will take his seat on top of the counterfeit ark and this will be the final Abomination of Desolation. In this way, he will attempt to exalt himself above the Most High and actually claim to be G-d. However, he is not G-d, only a man. The following verses are widely considered to reflect many characteristics about the Man of Sin.

Isaiah 14:13 And thou saidst in thy heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, above the stars of God will I exalt my throne, and I will sit upon the mount of meeting, in the uttermost parts of the north; 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High.' 15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to the nether-world, to the uttermost parts of the pit. (JPS)
Ezekiel 28:1 And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying: 2 'Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyre: Thus saith the L-rd GOD: because thy heart is lifted up, and thou hast said: I am a god, I sit in the seat of God, in the heart of the seas; yet thou art man, and not God, though thou didst set thy heart as the heart of God-- 3 Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel! there is no secret that they can hide from thee! 4 By thy wisdom and by thy discernment thou hast gotten thee riches, and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures; 5 In thy great wisdom by thy traffic hast thou increased thy riches, and thy heart is lifted up because of thy riches-- 6 Therefore thus saith the L-rd GOD: because thou hast set thy heart as the heart of God; 7 Therefore, behold, I will bring strangers upon thee, the terrible of the nations; and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of thy wisdom, and they shall defile thy brightness. 8 They shall bring thee down to the pit; and thou shalt die the deaths of them that are slain, in the heart of the seas. 9 Wilt thou yet say before him that slayeth thee: I am God? But thou art man, and not God, in the hand of them that defile thee. 10 Thou shalt die the deaths of the uncircumcised by the hand of strangers; for I have spoken, saith the L-rd GOD.' (JPS)

Here are two different passages about the characteristics of the "Man of Sin." In the passage from Ezekiel, one will notice that this person must have been particularly noted for his wisdom. There are several other references to this man's great wisdom. If one could think of anybody in particular that was especially noted for wisdom, that person might have uncovered a prime candidate for the Man of Sin.

In both passages from Isaiah and Ezekiel, a person sits upon a throne exulting himself above the Most High. Since the Ark is the throne of G-d, it is certain that the Son of Perdition will enthrone himself upon the counterfeit ark and in this way he will attempt to convince himself and others that he is actually G-d. Except, this person is not G-d, only a man.

Jeremiah 8:7 Even a stork in the heavens knoweth her appointed times, and the turtle-dove and the swallow and the crane observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the Lord. 8 How do ye say, We are wise, and the law of the Lord is with us? Behold, certainly the lying pen of the scribes hath made it falsehood. 9 The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: behold, they have rejected the Lord's word; and what wisdom is in them? (Darby)
Isaiah 66:3 He that slaughtereth an ox, smiteth a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, breaketh a dog's neck; he that offereth an oblation, [it is as] swine's blood; he that presenteth a memorial of incense, [is as] he that blesseth an idol. As they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations, 4 I also will choose their calamities, and will bring their fears upon them; because I called, and none answered, I spoke, and they did not hear, but did that which was evil in mine eyes, and chose that wherein I delight not. (Darby) (Emphasis added)
Jeremiah 8:11 And they have healed the hurt of the daughter of My people lightly, saying: 'Peace, peace', when there is no peace. 12 They shall be put to shame because they have committed abomination; yea, they are not at all ashamed, neither know they how to blush; therefore shall they fall among them that fall, in the time of their visitation they shall stumble, saith the Lord. 13 I will utterly consume them, saith the Lord; there are no grapes on the vine, nor figs on the fig-tree, and the leaf is faded; and I gave them that which they transgress. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Isaiah 66:6 Hark! an uproar from the city, Hark! it cometh from the temple, Hark! the Lord rendereth recompense to His enemies. (JPS)

Throne of the L-rd

While all of this makes an interesting theory, one particular element certainly makes it more than a theory. Recall Solomon's second anointing. There are accounts of this in both Kings and Chronicles. Solomon was anointed twice and the narrative of the second ceremony appears in 1 Chronicles 29:21-24.

1 Chronicles 29:21 And they sacrificed sacrifices unto the Lord, and offered burnt-offerings unto the Lord, on the morrow after that day, even a thousand bullocks, a thousand rams, and a thousand lambs, with their drink-offerings, and sacrifices in abundance for all Israel; 22 and did eat and drink before the Lord on that day with great gladness. And they made Solomon the son of David king the second time, and anointed him unto the Lord to be prince, and Zadok to be priest. (JPS)
1 Chronicles 29:23 Then Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord as king instead of David his father, and prospered; and all Israel hearkened to him. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

In this passage, Solomon was anointed king a second time before the L-rd and Zadok was also anointed to be a priest. This was a second anointing for Zadok as well. Reconstructing this scene from the details presented, it is clear that for this ceremony the group went to the tent tabernacle in Jerusalem that David had pitched to house the Ark of the Covenant. As we discovered earlier, going before the L-rd usually meant going before the Ark. Now, notice in verse 23 that Solomon sat on the throne of the L-rd. Obviously, this must mean that Solomon sat down on the Ark - between the two cherubim. This is only thing that this could mean because this is the only place where the phrase that someone "sat on the throne of the Lord" exists in the Bible regarding a person. There are only two other incidents of the phrase "throne of the Lord" being used in the Bible. Where this phrase does occur, it is found in Exodus 17:16 and Jeremiah 3:17. In both of these passages, the throne of the L-rd definitely refers to the Ark of the Covenant.

The phrase does occur in different passages in the Contemporary English Version of the Bible and these are 2 Samuel 6 and Psalms 132:7. This search was conducted using searchable text of the following translations: NIV, NASB, MSG, AMP, NLT, KJV, ESV, CEV, NKJV, KJ21, ASV, WE, YLT, DARBY, WYC and NIV-UK. In Psalm 132 in the CEV, the "throne of the Lord" refers to the Ark of the Covenant and in other translations this passage definitely refers to the Ark, but the phrase is rendered "footstool" or "dwelling place" of the L-rd. In 2 Samuel 6 in the CEV, there is a description of the Ark. Recall that G-d was enthroned between the two cherubim on the Ark of the Covenant and this is the phrase that occurs most frequently in respect to the Ark - that He was enthroned there. Therefore, 1 Chronicles 29:23 has to mean that Solomon sat down on the Ark of the Covenant.

Deuteronomy 27:15 Cursed be the man that maketh a graven or molten image, an abomination unto HaShem, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and setteth it up in secret. And all the people shall answer and say: Amen. (JPS)
Jeremiah 8:15 We looked for peace, but no good came; and for a time of healing, and behold terror!' 16 The snorting of his horses is heard from Dan; at the sound of the neighing of his strong ones the whole land trembleth; for they are come, and have devoured the land and all that is in it, the city and those that dwell therein. 17 For, behold, I will send serpents, basilisks, among you, which will not be charmed; and they shall bite you, saith the Lord. 18 Though I would take comfort against sorrow, my heart is faint within me. 19 Behold the voice of the cry of the daughter of my people from a land far off: 'Is not the Lord in Zion? Is not her King in her?'-- 'Why have they provoked Me with their graven images, and with strange vanities?'- 20 'The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.' 21 For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I seized with anguish; I am black, appalment hath taken hold on me. 22 Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered? 23 Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people! (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Nearly every ill thing that has happened to the Israelites since the time of Solomon was caused by the events that occurred during Solomon's kingdom. There is not one single thing recorded about Solomon that should be recorded about anyone. Putting this into slightly different words, there is not one single positive point about Solomon in the entire Bible, not one. But wait, what about his wisdom? That will be examined shortly. Recall that if David did the slightest misdeed, he underwent terrible judgments from the L-rd. However, Solomon can seemingly do anything in direct opposition to G-d and there is no judgment at all. Granted he received many warnings, but yet nothing really happens to him until he is about ready to go out to pasture anyhow. That is, unless some things were not done right away and he was singled out for special treatment.

Deuteronomy 29:18 lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the Lord our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood, 19 and it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart, to sweep away the drunken with the thirsty. 20 the Lord will not pardon him, but the anger of the Lord and his jealousy will then smoke against that man, and all the curse shall be upon him that is written in this book; and the Lord will blot out his name from under the heavens; 21 and the Lord will separate him for mischief out of all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant that is written in this book of the law. (Darby)
1 Chronicles 28:9 And thou, Solomon my son, know the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts, and discerns all the imaginations of the thoughts. If thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cut thee off for ever. (Darby)
Deuteronomy 4:23 Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the Lord your God, which He made with you, and make you a graven image, even the likeness of any thing which the Lord thy God hath forbidden thee. 24 For the Lord thy God is a devouring fire, a jealous God. 25 When thou shalt beget children, and children's children, and ye shall have been long in the land, and shall deal corruptly, and make a graven image, even the form of any thing, and shall do that which is evil in the sight of the Lord thy God, to provoke Him; 26 I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto ye go over the Jordan to possess it; ye shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall utterly be destroyed. 27 And the Lord shall scatter you among the peoples, and ye shall be left few in number among the nations, whither the Lord shall lead you away. 28 And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men's hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell. 29 But from thence ye will seek the Lord thy God; and thou shalt find Him, if thou search after Him with all thy heart and with all thy soul. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Deuteronomy 4:30 In thy distress, when all these things are come upon thee, in the end of days, thou wilt return to the Lord thy God, and hearken unto His voice; 31 for the Lord thy God is a merciful God; He will not fail thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which He swore unto them. 32 For ask now of the days past, which were before thee, since the day that God created man upon the earth, and from the one end of heaven unto the other, whether there hath been any such thing as this great thing is, or hath been heard like it? (JPS)
Deuteronomy 29:21 And the generation to come, your children that shall rise up after you, and the foreigner that shall come from a far land, shall say, when they see the plagues of that land, and the sicknesses wherewith the Lord hath made it sick; 22 and that the whole land thereof is brimstone, and salt, and a burning, that it is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass groweth therein, like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, which the Lord overthrew in His anger, and in His wrath; 23 even all the nations shall say 'Wherefore hath the Lord done thus unto this land? what meaneth the heat of this great anger?' 24 then men shall say: 'Because they forsook the covenant of the Lord, the God of their fathers, which He made with them when He brought them forth out of the land of Egypt; 25 and went and served other gods, and worshipped them, gods that they knew not, and that He had not allotted unto them; 26 therefore the anger of the Lord was kindled against this land, to bring upon it all the curse that is written in this book; 27 and the Lord rooted them out of their land in anger, and in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as it is this day'.-
Deuteronomy 29:28 The secret things belong unto the Lord our God; but the things that are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Abomination of Desolation

The counterfeit ark is simply a worthless idol by itself, apparently more worthless than most idols, because this idol has no supernatural counterpart whatsoever. It is, however, an item of idolatry that gets dangerously close to being an actual counterfeit of the real G-d. Nevertheless, by itself it is not the Abomination of Desolation.

What makes it the Abomination of Desolation is when another idol or something is placed on top of it. Then that object sits as the real G-d on His throne. In the case of Manasseh, he set an Asherah pole up in this way. This is not what the "Man of Sin" will do, however, because he will sit on the counterfeit ark himself. This will be the Abomination of Desolation that will be set up during the "Great Tribulation" or "Day of Jacob's Trouble."

This was the idol that provoked to jealousy and anger and therefore caused the complete desolation of Israel. It is important to emphasize the word complete.

While this is undoubtedly the Abomination of Desolation, it is also certain that one can determine Manasseh is not the person that will singled out for mischief as described in Deuteronomy 29. This is because Manasseh repented completely and never returned to his idolatry after his Babylonian experience. the L-rd made a believer out of Manasseh.

Raised from the dead, Solomon will be the man to sit on the Abomination of Desolation in the temple and bring disaster upon the whole earth as has never been seen before and will never be seen again. At times, references from the New Testament can add great clarity to the details and these events even though the author has tried to avoid using it as much as possible. The following passage from Thessalonians gives real clarity to what the Abomination of Desolation must be because it reveals its use very clearly.

2 Thessalonians 2:1 Now we beseech you, brethren, touching the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together unto him; 2 to the end that ye be not quickly shaken from your mind, nor yet be troubled, either by spirit, or by word, or by epistle as from us, as that the day of the Lord is just at hand; 3 let no man beguile you in any wise: for [it will not be,] except the falling away come first, and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, 4 he that opposeth and exalteth himself against all that is called God or that is worshipped; so that he sitteth in the temple of God, setting himself forth as God. (ASV) (Emphasis added)

It is logical to conclude that if this man sits in the temple of G-d projecting himself to be G-d, then he must sit on an ark of the covenant because that was the throne of G-d. This ark will be the counterfeit ark with its counterfeit ten commandments. It seems exceedingly probable that this counterfeit ark is the ark discovered by Ron Wyatt. There are several reasons why this ark must be the counterfeit. One of the main reasons is because Mr. Wyatt stated that he saw the stone tables of the covenant. It is highly improbable that he could gaze upon the real stone tables and live. The reasoning behind this will be covered in the chapter entitled: "The Great Mystery." Nevertheless, whichever ark is first placed into the next temple, it will definitely be the wrong ark.

Jeremiah 8:5 Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? They hold fast deceit, they refuse to return. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

There is some question as to whether the real ark is in Axum, Ethiopia in a chapel known as Saint Mary of Zion. This is because the only thing that anyone has ever seen from that repository has been a rectilinear box that does not match the description of the ark with the cherubim mounted upon it as noted in scripture. However, there may be an explanation for this. It is possible that the chariot of the cherubim is not with the ark at the present time. This would give the Ethiopians the advantage of not having to be entrusted with a substantial quantity of valuable gold. In that case, the Ethiopians would only be the keepers of the acacia wood box with the stone tables placed therein by Moses at Horeb. It is relevant to note, and this will be important later, that only the stone tables that Moses cut and then were inscribed by the finger of G-d are in this box.

2 Kings 2:11 And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, which parted them both assunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. 12 And Elisha saw it, and he cried: 'My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and the horsemen thereof!' And he saw him no more; and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. (JPS)

It is important to compare the concept of the ark made at Horeb and its feature of the two cherubim at either end of it between which G-d was enthroned with the following description of the creatures that Ezekiel saw in his vision. Recall that at times the ark is referred to as the chariot of G-d or the chariot of the cherubim.

Ezekiel 1:4 And I looked, and, behold, a stormy wind came out of the north, a great cloud, with a fire flashing up, so that a brightness was round about it; and out of the midst thereof as the colour of electrum, out of the midst of the fire. 5 And out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: they had the likeness of a man. 6 And every one had four faces, and every one of them had four wings. 7 And their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf's foot; and they sparkled like the colour of burnished brass. 8 And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and as for the faces and wings of them four, 9 their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward. 10 As for the likeness of their faces, they had the face of a man; and they four had the face of a lion on the right side; and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four had also the face of an eagle. 11 Thus were their faces; and their wings were stretched upward; two wings of every one were joined one to another, and two covered their bodies. 12 And they went every one straight forward; whither the spirit was to go, they went; they turned not when they went. 13 As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like coals of fire, burning like the appearance of torches; it flashed up and down among the living creatures; and there was brightness to the fire, and out of the fire went forth lightning. 14 And the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning. 15 Now as I beheld the living creatures, behold one wheel at the bottom hard by the living creatures, at the four faces thereof. 16 The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the colour of a beryl; and they four had one likeness; and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel within a wheel. 17 When they went, they went toward their four sides; they turned not when they went. 18 As for their rings, they were high and they were dreadful; and they four had their rings full of eyes round about. 19 And when the living creatures went, the wheels went hard by them; and when the living creatures were lifted up from the bottom, the wheels were lifted up. 20 Whithersoever the spirit was to go, as the spirit was to go thither, so they went; and the wheels were lifted up beside them; for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. 21 When those went, these went, and when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up beside them; for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. (JPS)

The ark that Solomon made still exists today and it will play an important role in the future. The counterfeit ark of the covenant is about 66.6% of the abomination of desolation that will be set up in the temple in Jerusalem during the Tribulation. Solomon sitting upon it again claiming to be G-d makes it a complete abomination. Incidentally, it is highly probable that Solomon was indeed the prince of Tyre, a postulation that will be examined in greater detail in the subsequent chapter about Solomon. One may wish to ponder just exactly who could be wiser that Daniel. That attribute limits the field of possible candidates a great deal.

Ezekiel 28:1 And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying: 2 'Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyre: Thus saith the L-rd GOD: because thy heart is lifted up, and thou hast said: I am a god, I sit in the seat of God, in the heart of the seas; yet thou art man, and not God, though thou didst set thy heart as the heart of God-- 3 Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel! there is no secret that they can hide from thee! (JPS)

Sitting upon a counterfeit ark in the Holy of Holies with a counterfeit set of stone tables with false commandments inscribed upon them would seem to be plenty of provocation to make G-d very angry. In this way, this person attempts to project himself to be G-d, but he is not G-d, only a man.

Deuteronomy 27:15 Cursed be the man that maketh a graven or molten image, an abomination to the Lord, a work of the craftsman's hand, and putteth it up secretly! And all the people shall answer and say, Amen. (Darby) (Emphasis added)
Ecclesiastes 12:13 The end of the matter, all having been heard: fear God, and keep His commandments; for this is the whole man. 14 For God shall bring every work into the judgment concerning every hidden thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Ecclesiastes 1:9 That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, 'See this is new?' It has already been in ancient times before us. (JPS)

Ecclesiastes

As an endnote, it would be highly profitable for many readers to digress onto a brief examination of the true nature of the book of Ecclesiastes. This information is portable to any other references from Ecclesiastes included elsewhere in this work - or found anywhere else, for that matter. The point being, when one sees a reference from Ecclesiastes included, it would be extremely pertinent to bring to mind the true character of Ecclesiastes because that aspect alone in highly enlightening.

The Book of Ecclesiastes was written by Solomon toward the end of his life and expresses many of his personal thoughts. It would not be far-fetched to refer to the book as Solomon's lament. Apart from Ecclesiastes, Solomon wrote several portions of the Bible including the Song of Songs known to many as the Song of Solomon, many Proverbs and several Psalms. It is also probable that he wrote several other books that are not part of the canonical Bible. It should be conspicuous that some of the ideas presented in these books that are included in the canonical Bible conflict with other Biblical doctrine, especially from the Torah. Some of the other books apart from the Tanakh that are attributed to him lend great support to the evidence that he was heavily involved in the occult.

The author is not admonishing anyone in any way to reject the canonical teaching of Solomon because it should be noted that G-d put the wisdom into his heart and he was the wisest man that ever lived. The reason for the philosophical dichotomy is that Solomon's thoughts are those of a man opposed to G-d in juxtaposition with the precepts of G-d. It is revealing to consider Solomon's words as those of one in a great plight - the greatest dilemma of all time - rather than a model for living as most scripture is.

In Ecclesiastes, Solomon reflects and laments upon his life and examines some aspects of it such as his pursuit of wisdom and knowledge, his wild living and hedonism, his immersion into work and his unbridled pursuit of wealth. It is useful to note that Solomon achieved a great deal in all of these pursuits and probably eclipsed the success of all other men that ever existed in each area of endeavor, nevertheless he found that his successes were unsatisfying and empty. Actually, what appear to be great successes among men were actually catastrophic failures, but this has never been fully appreciated.

We know for certain that Solomon was both the richest and wisest man that ever lived. Since he had a harem of 1000 women, it is safe to purport that he would at least be a contender for the title of all-time-greatest hedonist. Perhaps the main thesis of Ecclesiastes is that Solomon concluded that without G-d, everything is futile and meaningless in the end. So many times, Solomon mentions that everything was simply striving after the wind and he was undoubtedly the most successful man by the world's standards that has or ever will live. In retrospect, after completion of the book at hand, the reader may conclude that Ecclesiastes records, reflects and laments upon the greatest tragedy of all of history.

Ecclesiastes 12:8 "Meaningless! Meaningless!" says Koheleth. "Everything is Meaningless!" (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Ecclesiastes 12:13 The end of the matter, all having been heard: fear God, and keep His commandments; for this is the whole man. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Ecclesiastes 12:14 For God shall bring every work into the judgment concerning every hidden thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Ecclesiastes 1:9 That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, 'See this is new?' It has already been in ancient times before us. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

The Shepherd

There is a bit more revealing information in Ecclesiastes 12:11. This verse is extremely enlightening when considered with other passages of scripture. The full implications are monumental. Notice at the end of Ecclesiastes 12:11 that Solomon refers to himself as a shepherd.

Ecclesiastes 12:9 And besides that Koheleth was wise, he also taught the people knowledge; yea, he pondered, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs. 10 Koheleth sought to find out words of delight, and that which was written uprightly, even words of truth. 11 The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails well fastened are those that are composed in collections; they are given from one shepherd. 12 And furthermore, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh. 13 The end of the matter, all having been heard: fear God, and keep His commandments; for this is the whole man. 14 For God shall bring every work into the judgment concerning every hidden thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Zechariah 11:15 And the Lord said unto me: 'Take unto thee yet the instruments of a foolish shepherd. 16 For, lo, I will raise up a shepherd in the land, who will not think of those that are cut off, neither will seek those that are young, nor heal that which is broken; neither will he feed that which standeth still, but he will eat the flesh of the fat, and will break their hoofs in pieces.' 17 Woe to the worthless shepherd that leaveth the flock! The sword shall be upon his arm, and upon his right eye; his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened. (JPS)
Ezekiel 34:2 'Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, even to the shepherds: Thus saith the Lord GOD: Woe unto the shepherds of Israel that have fed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the sheep? 3 Ye did eat the fat, and ye clothed you with the wool, ye killed the fatlings; but ye fed not the sheep. (JPS)
Ezekiel 34:8 As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely forasmuch as My sheep became a prey, and My sheep became food to all the beasts of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did My shepherds search for My sheep, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not My sheep; 9 therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 10 Thus saith the Lord GOD: Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require My sheep at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the sheep; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; and I will deliver My sheep from their mouth, that they may not be food for them. (JPS)
1 Kings 5:2 And Solomon's provision for one day was thirty measures of fine flour, and threescore measures of meal; 3 ten fat oxen, and twenty oxen out of the pastures, and a hundred sheep, beside harts, and gazelles, and roebucks, and fatted fowl. (JPS)
(Appears at 1 Kings 4:22 in many translations)

It is useful to note that there is quite a bit of historical legend apart from the Bible that supports the position that Solomon became relatively heavy in later years due to the abundance of fine food. Some Jewish legends maintain that each of his 1000 wives and concubines prepared a meal for him daily in hopes of attracting his attention and affection.

Solomon's Realm
On account of his modest request for wisdom only, Solomon was rewarded with riches and an unprecedentedly glorious reign (comp. I Kings iii. 13, v. 1 et seq.). His realm is described by the Rabbis as having extended, before his fall (see below), over the upper world inhabited by the angels and over the whole of the terrestrial globe with all its inhabitants,including all the beasts, fowls, and reptiles, as well as the demons and spirits. His reign was then so glorious that the moon never decreased, and good prevailed over evil. His control over the demons, spirits, and animals augmented his splendor, the demons bringing him precious stones, besides water from distant countries to irrigate his exotic plants. The beasts and fowls of their own accord entered the kitchen of Solomon's palace, so that they might be used as food for him. Extravagant meals for him (comp. I Kings iv. 22-23) were prepared daily by each of his thousand wives, with the thought that perhaps the king would feast on that day in her house (Meg. 11b; Sanh. 20b; B. M. 86b; Gen. R. xxxiv. 17; Cant. R. l.c.; Eccl. R. ii. 5; Targ. Sheni l.c.).
(Jewish Encyclopedia; Solomon; By: Emil G. Hirsch, Ira Maurice Price, Wilhelm Bacher, M. Seligsohn, Mary W. Montgomery, Crawford Howell Toy) (Emphasis added)
Deuteronomy 32:15 But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked--thou didst wax fat, thou didst grow thick, thou didst become gross--and he forsook God who made him, and contemned the Rock of his salvation. 16 They roused Him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations did they provoke Him. 17 They sacrificed unto demons, no-gods, gods that they knew not, new gods that came up of late, which your fathers dreaded not. 18 Of the Rock that begot thee thou wast unmindful, and didst forget God that bore thee. 19 And the Lord saw, and spurned, because of the provoking of His sons and His daughters. 20 And He said: 'I will hide My face from them, I will see what their end shall be; for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faithfulness. 21 They have roused Me to jealousy with a no-god; they have provoked Me with their vanities; and I will rouse them to jealousy with a no-people; I will provoke them with a vile nation. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Jeremiah 5:26 For among my people are found wicked [men]: they lay wait, as fowlers stoop down; they set a trap, they catch men. 27 As a cage full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit: therefore they are become great, and have enriched themselves. 28 They are become fat, they shine, yea, they surpass in deeds of wickedness; they judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, and they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not adjudge. 29 Shall I not visit for these things? saith the Lord; shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this? 30 An appalling and horrible thing is committed in the land: 31 the prophets prophesy falsehood, and the priests rule by their means; and my people love [to have it] so. But what will ye do in the end thereof? (Darby) (Emphasis added)

Koheleth

In Ecclesiastes 12:9 from the Jewish Publication Society Tanakh, Solomon coins as a pseudonym the name Koheleth. In Hebrew the book is actually named Keholet and the name Ecclesiastes comes from the Greek word Ekklesiastes. Since most other translations came from the Greek, Ecclesiastes was carried forward as the name of the book in most non-Hebrew texts. The word Koheleth actually means "one who calls or addresses an assembly."

Ecclesiastes 1:1 The Words of the Koheleth, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Since Solomon uses the pen name Koheleth, it has been observed by some that the actual author of the book of Ecclesiastes is unknown; however, since the author of the book clearly declares at the very beginning of the book that he is the son of David and king in Jerusalem, the author must necessarily be Solomon.

1 Kings 4:1 And king Solomon was king over all Israel. (JPS)

There are a number of monumental implications to Solomon's coining the name Koheleth in and of itself. Evidently the significance of this has been overlooked, but the name Koheleth means one that addresses an assembly. In that sense, the word should obviously be limited to use by the Levites. This is greatly inferred since the word is actually a derivative of the root of the name for the descendants of Aaron. Solomon was not of the seed of Aaron and this is the whole point. In most English translations, Koheleth is simply translated into English as preacher or teacher and it could also be rendered rabbi. Rabbi is the Hebrew word for preacher or teacher and this term was and is limited to use by the Levites. Not only that, but the word Rabbi in Hebrew could be literally defined as "My great one," and this implies divinity. By using the name Koheleth, Solomon is flagrantly violating the special position of the Levites and in fact manifesting his role as a counterfeit of the Messiah.

Venturing into etymology, it is worthwhile to contrast the Hebrew word Koheleth with the Hebrew word Kohein. The word Kohein indicates direct descendants of Aaron and is ordinarily the source of the common Jewish surname Cohen. There are several variations of that name. Notwithstanding that etymology, as a practical matter there are some with the name Cohen or variants thereof that are not Kohein, just as there are Kohein not named Cohen; and the plural form of Kohein is Kohanim. The point is that Solomon was not a Levite and no one was to usurp the position of the Levites - not even a king.

Numbers 3:5 And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying: 6 'Bring the tribe of Levi near, and set them before Aaron the priest, that they may minister unto him. 7 And they shall keep his charge, and the charge of the whole congregation before the tent of meeting, to do the service of the tabernacle. 8 And they shall keep all the furniture of the tent of meeting, and the charge of the children of Israel, to do the service of the tabernacle. 9 And thou shalt give the Levites unto Aaron and to his sons; they are wholly given unto him from the children of Israel. 10 And thou shalt appoint Aaron and his sons, that they may keep their priesthood; and the common man that draweth nigh shall be put to death.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Chapter Epilogue

Ecclesiastes 12:13 The end of the matter, all having been heard: fear God, and keep His commandments; for this is the whole man. (JPS)
(Emphasis added)
Ecclesiastes 12:14 For God shall bring every work into the judgment concerning every hidden thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Ecclesiastes 1:9 That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, 'See this is new?' It has already been in ancient times before us. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
It's cohesive!
The reader's appropriate response to this material:
Acts 17:11 And these were more noble than those in Thessalonica, receiving the word with all readiness of mind, daily searching the scriptures if these things were so. (Darby) (Emphasis added)