We are galloping, full tilt, to the end now. Next Sunday is the feast of Christ the King and the liturgical year goes out with a bang. I don’t think we should pass over these last weeks so quickly and easily always looking at Advent again. Wait a minute and concentrate on the story now. If you pray the Office the story has been getting more epic by the day. We’ve seen the Maccabees “world end” battle and the miracle of the one days worth of oil lasting 8 days so that the Hanukkah lights could be lit. We’ve seen Daniel’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the great statue and with the 20/20 vision of hindsight we know that the feet of iron and clay was Rome and the little stone was Christ and the mountain is His Church.
We saw the writing on the wall which Daniel interpreted and then the rise of Darius the Mede. (silver on the statue).
Finally it is Darius who allows the remnant to return and rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem.
Daniel then receives another vision, another prophecy, while he stands on the banks of the Tigris. Daniel 12 tells us of the strange things he sees and the role of St. Michael as the guardian of Israel. In the vision of Daniel there is the hint that Michael will also be the angel of the Church (the New Israel) when the time comes.
It seems that just about all Bible prophecy has more than one fulfilment. So when the maiden conceived and bore a son, Hezekiah was born and then much later Jesus. There are plenty of other examples.
This prophecy is layered. It was terrible in that others with Daniel, who didn’t see the prophecy sensed it and ran away. One of the lines that stands out in this is verse 11;” From the time when the daily sacrifice (or perpetual sacrifice in a literal translation) is abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up there will be 1290 days.“
I think the general view is that at the end of the end times the Mass and Divine Liturgy, which is the perpetual sacrifice, “The Lamb who stands as though slain” (Rev) will be banned. It will remain illegal for three and half years and for three years the abomination will stand and then Christ the King returns.
The two men in Daniel’s vision might be Enoch and Elijah but I haven’t read anything on that so I can’t say.
The question that bugs me is this. The number of days are part of the prophecy and could be allegorical or metaphorical. Does the banning of the perpetual sacrifice have to happen in one foul swoop? Or could it be the historical ban on the Mass and Divine Liturgy that has happened all over the world for the last 500 years or so? Wherever tyrannical Governments have had power of the Church both east and Western Rites, and in Communism over the Orthodox Churches, the Mass and Divine Liturgy has either been made illegal outright, or heavily leaned on to make it almost impossible to attend.
In England you can still visit houses with hiding holes where priests and Mass things were hidden from the soldiers under the full scale persecution from the time of Henry VIII, worse under the dreadful Elizabeth and continued under the Stuarts and of course the horrible Cromwell. But Britain is by no means the only country where the perpetual sacrifice was banned. Japan, Vietnam, all the Eastern block countries. North Korea, China and of course Hitler had so many thousands of priests killed to stop Mass in Poland and surrounding areas.
In the north of Russia the Orthodox lost entire monasteries where the priests and monks were murdered, sometimes by being tied up and left to starve to death.
Underground churches and secret Liturgies have been going on against the cruel boot of government interference throughout the last five or six hundred years.
Is there going to be a time when the Sacrifice is banned throughout the world at the same time? Possibly. We can’t say, once we’ve looked at history, that it couldn’t happen can we?