I think it is important to remember that this particular part of the Vision does not have one specific moment that defines it’s beginning. The Desolation of Abominations is a result of choices that individuals and societies make.
I will describe where the term comes from to set an appropriate backdrop. Back in the 4th Seal, around the time that Lehi left Jerusalem (600 BC) we see many of Lehi’s contemporaries speaking of the destruction of Jerusalem that is imminent. Indeed it is the word’s of these prophets that causes Lehi to pray and receive his own Prophetic calling. There appears to be some variance in the dates but at 600 BC Jeremiah is in Jerusalem prophesying. About 6 years before, Daniel, Ezekiel and other royal and influential households are taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar. Habbakuk was likely another contemporary. First, I turn to Ezekiel 8. He reports this being in the 6th year of the captivity (so right there at 600 BC). He is taken in vision by the Spirit to Jerusalem to the temple. He sees an “image of jealousy”, presumably a statue of Nebuchadnezzar or one of the pagan gods. The Spirit uses the word abominations many times. Ezekiel beholds a hole in the wall, (symbolizing the attempt of the wicked to hide their abominations) and digging through finds a door. He enters and finds creeping things, abominable beasts and idols portrayed on the walls inside the temple. I think these are most likely Egyptian gods and idols, due to the fact that Jerusalem had formed a confederacy with Egypt (contrary to Prophetic warnings of both Isaiah and Jeremiah) 2 Nephi 18:12, Isaiah 8:12 , Jeremiah 37 in their plots to revolt from Nebuchadnezzar. He sees 70 “men of the ancients” or in other terms Elders, standing with incense. By the description, they were likely circled around Jaazaniah as they all pray to these false God’s. (Incense was offered with the prayers in the Temple). I also think it important to note, this was likely in the Holy Place near the entrance to the Holy of Holies, in their day considered as near as a man could get to the presence of God. He sees women outside of the Temple weeping for Tammuz, an Amorite idol, and 25 men worshipping the sun to the East. The sun god being the Egyptian father of the gods. From the warnings of various Prophets, it appears that idol worship was going on for quite awhile before this, with many into astrology and making pagan sacrifices in groves of trees. Ezekiel is shown these things and the Spirit tells him that these will be dealt with in His fury. Ezekiel 9 accounts a symbolic event. 6 men that have charge over the city (likely representing Angels or Prophets) enter the city. 5 hold slaughter weapons, the 6th has a writers inkhorn. He is told to “set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done” or to mark those that are troubled by the wickedness and still serve The Lord. The others are told to follow and smite all who have not the mark, beginning at the sanctuary (temple). This symbolizes the destruction of Jerusalem only a few years later 588 BC. About the same time as Ezekiel’s vision, Nephi is learning firsthand of the corruption among the higher ranks of the city. He is commanded to kill the wicked Laban (1 Nephi 4) and disguise himself in the ceremonial armor in order to obtain the brass plates. Zoram, Labans servant, thinks he is Laban and attempts to speak to him many times about the elders of the Jews. These would be the very same one’s that Ezekiel saw in his vision. Hugh Nibley has some thoughts on why Laban was out by night in the first place.
“Returning by night in a third attempt to get the records, Nephi stumbled upon the prostrate form of Laban, lying dead drunk in the deserted street (1 Nephi 4:7). The commander had been (so his servant later told Nephi) in conference with “the elders of the Jews . . . out by night among them” (1 Nephi 4:22), and was wearing his full dress armor. What a world of inference in this! We sense the gravity of the situation in Jerusalem which “the elders” are still trying to conceal; we hear the suppressed excitement of Zoram’s urgent talk as he and Nephi hasten through the streets to the city gates (1 Nephi 4:27), and from Zoram’s willingness to change sides and leave the city we can be sure that he, as Laban’s secretary,41 knew how badly things were going. From the Lachish letters it is clear that informed parties in Jerusalem were quite aware of the critical state of things at Jerusalem, even while the sarim, “the elders,” were working with all their might to suppress every sign of criticism and disaffection. How could they take counsel to provide for the defense of the city and their own interests without exciting alarm or giving rise to general rumors and misgivings? By holding their meetings in secret, of course, such midnight sessions of civil and military leaders as Laban had just been attending.”
With this thought along with the evidence of idol worship, it is easy to imagine Laban and the Elders having a good old time. Laban’s sudden death would only be the first in the destruction of Jerusalem.
Now to Daniel 11 in which he is shown the kingdoms of the Gentiles from his time to the latter days. I will go into more detail on this later, but the important part is that a “vile person” will become a ruler of a modern kingdom. He will be against the holy covenant (referring to the Gospel as well as the return of the House of Israel to their home lands) and they will pollute the sanctuary and place “the abomination that maketh desolate” Daniel 11:31 . This phrase repeats again in Daniel 12:11. From the text, this doesn’t seem so significant that one should begin using it as a title. Now let’s look at Matthew 24:15. The abomination of desolation is referred to by Christ. ( see Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:12,32, also) In Doctrine and Covenants 45:16-25,30-34 Christ further explains His statement to His Apostles. Apparently, the destruction of Jerusalem that was soon to follow after His death (about 70 AD) is to be considered a Desolation of Abominations. He then clarifies between when He speaks of that imminent destruction and of our time. In our time vs 31 He speaks of an overflowing scourge, a desolating sickness that shall cover the land. So with the two previous Desolations as a backdrop, we will now explore the time that is now and is yet to come.
The times of the Gentiles is fulfilled. The time of the Gentiles is now, when Gentile nations are prosperous. There will come an end of this time of prosperity preceding the Lord’s coming. There are wars and rumors of wars and the whole earth is in commotion. The time of the Gentiles is fulfilled by the destruction and end of all nations which gradually occurs among the world. This comes largely, because of unbelief. If the gentiles reject the Gospel, then these things begin to come forth.
We learn that the beginning of the wrath of God on Babylon is with the Civil War which is a domino effect causing all the wars after it Doctrine and Covenants 87. There are many secret combinations built up among all nations and these fight among themselves or combine into worse combinations. They will be moved to fight against God and each other and the consumption decreed will make a full end of all nations. The desolation of abominations is poured out on all the earth. A desolating scourge and sickness will cover the land. The disciples will stand in holy places and be not moved. Unrepentant American gentiles shall be vexed by the former inhabitants of the Americas with a sore vexation (they shall go in like young lions that tear and treadeth in pieces 3 Nephi 21:11-21). The scriptures specify that a major part of accepting the Gospel is accepting the Book of Mormon. If any rejects the Book of Mormon, they will be standing on one foot spiritually and that leg will fail them. The scriptural term states “for unto him that creceiveth I will give dmore; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.” 2 Nephi 28:30
They that fear God shall be looking for Him and see signs and wonders in heaven and earth. The righteous in the world shall also suffer but the Lord will protect them from perishing and will continue to gather them together. The righteous will mourn for their loved ones who did not repent and who suffered the wrath of God in their midst. All churches built up to get gain or power over the flesh or to be popular in the eyes of the world shall be destroyed. (The churches, not the people of them). Each church has blind (deceived) but righteous people who will be protected. All churches have corruption that will be destroyed as God sanctifies. The time of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled when they reject the Gospel, there shall be wars and rumors of wars, all earth in commotion, men’s hearts shall fail them, the love of men shall wax cold, they say He delayeth His coming. Wicked will curse God and die. There will be earthquakes and many desolation’s They shall behold blood, fire, and vapors of smoke. The sun, moon, and stars shall be darkened, turned to blood , and fall. Directed to America: Ye hear of foreign wars, war is right on your doorstep, fear and terror seize upon the wicked at His coming.
This is also a time of purifying and sanctification. Much of the destruction referred to in Revelation has multiple purposes. Each of them cause destruction among the wicked (and yet another invitation to repent), and each of the events that relate to this planet are changes to it, so that it may be sanctified at the Lord’s coming. As we approach nearer to God, we must be purged of weaknesses in Spirit and character, and the earth reflects physically, what we must allow spiritually if we want to become Saints. 2 Nephi 14:4
It is also important to remember that much of the destruction and prophesies can be avoided, if we as individuals, families, communities, and nations repent and serve the Lord. In every prophesy, this condition has been left. America is not doomed to destruction no matter what, The Book of Mormon is an invitation for us to repent and not make the same mistakes as the two mighty nations before us.
At the same time as this Desolation of Abominations, the Lord will begin again the physical gathering of His people.
It seems that this specific section would benefit from a timeline style of events being listed:
Beginning with the sign of the 6th Seal, Revelation 6:12-17 , Doctrine and Covenants 88:87, Matthew 24:29-31 The earth will reel to and fro, the sun hide his face and give not light, the moon shall be bathed in blood, the stars shall cast themselves to the earth as a fig casts untimely (ripened too early) fruit.
The account of the earth, sun, moon, and stars given in Doctrine and Covenants 88:87 states “For not many days hence and” then these things occur. This revelation was given to Joseph Smith in December 27-28, 1832 and January 3, 1833. Joseph Smiths Journal, 1832–1834 (pg 18-19) reveals some interesting occurrences on Nov. 13, 1833:
5–13 November 1833 • Tuesday–Wednesday
November 13th nothing of of note transpired from the 4th ofNoveber u[n]til this day in the morning at 4 Oh clock I wasawoke by Brother Davis29 knocking at <my> door saying Brother Joseph [p. 18] come git <up> and see the signs in the heavens and I arrose and beheld to my great Joy the stars fall from heaven yea they fell like hail stones30 a litteral fullfillment of the word of God as recorded in the holy scriptures and a sure sign that the coming of Christ is clost at hand31 Oh how marvellous are thy worksOh Lord and I thank thee for thy me[r]cy unto me thy servent OhLord save me in thy kingdom for Christ sake Amen [p. 19]
It appears that this was a fulfillment of the recorded prophecies, with more to follow. The chronology of Doctrine and Covenants 88:88-94 suggests all of the stated events occur before the opening of the 7th Seal. These events include testimonies of elements of the earth to the majesty of God in the form of earthquakes, thunder and lightning, tempests, the sea heaving itself beyond its bounds, and all things in commotion. Angels shall be sounding the trumps to Prepare for the Bridegrooms coming. A great sign, the sign of the son of Man, will appear in the sky. An angel will announce the great and abominable church being bound in bundles for the desolation to come. Silence in heaven for half an hour will be the opening of the 7th seal. Half an hour according to God’s time would be about 20.8 years (2 Peter 3:8, Abraham 3:3-4) Plenty of time for people to return to “business as usual” and forget the great things they had beheld. The Nephites demonstrate this occurring in the years from the sign of Christ’s birth to His death and resurrection 3 Nephi 1. After this time, “the curtain of heaven be unfolded, as a cscroll is unfolded after it is rolled up, and the dface of the Lord shall be unveiled.” Doctrine and Covenants 88:95
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Next: Zion, the New Jerusalem
1 Nephi 15:4 Nephi knows his seed will be destroyed from the things he saw in vision and is grieved.
1 Nephi 20:1-8,22 There are many who have been baptized and call themselves Zion but are not staying on the Lord. The Lord reveals their foolishness in assuming they are great.
1 Nephi 22:13-23 The great and abominable church will destroy itself. The plans and traps laid to destroy the Saints will backfire and destroy themselves.
2 Nephi 1:7,10-13,17-18,22 The Lord has made the America’s sacred and if a nation ceases to serve Him, He will bring other Nations and give them power to overrun the land.
2 Nephi 6:13-18 The Lord will deliver those who believe in Him, even if it’s by destruction of their enemies
2 Nephi 7:1, 8-11 The Lord does not depart from us, we depart from Him by our iniquities.
2 Nephi 8:7-8,12-14,17-19,23 If you are afraid of your enemies, you are not trusting in the Lord as you ought.
2 Nephi 10:13-18 He that raiseth a king against me shall perish (specifically in the Americas?), all who fight against Zion shall perish, Gentiles may be numbered among Zion if they serve God.
(I have felt to include the Isaiah quotations in 2 Nephi because these are dualistic. While they speak of the soon to be destruction, they also speak to our day and soon to be circumstances. Thus Christ himself urged us to pay careful attention to the words of Isaiah.If you aren’t in the mood to look at Isaiah right now, Nephi sums up chapters 11-25 in chapter 26 with information relevant for his people)2 Nephi 12:12-21, 2 Nephi 13:1-26, 2 Nephi 15:2-30, 2 Nephi 17:23-29, 2 Nephi 18:1-9,12,14-15,19-22 , 2 Nephi 19:5-12,15-21, 2 Nephi 20:1-16,23-25,28-34, 2 Nephi 21:4, 2 Nephi 23:1, 5-22, 2 Nephi 24:4-6,9-25,28-31 , 2 Nephi 25:9,14
2 Nephi 26:3-6,1-11,17-18,29-33 Nephi revisits the destruction of his people in the future. All the righteous were saved and allowed to see the Savior after His resurrection.
Doctrine and Covenants 29:15-21 The great hailstorm destroys crops, the Lord will take vengeance on those who refuse to repent, the Abominable Church will be cast down by devouring fire. Revelation 16:21, Ezekiel 38:22
Doctrine and Covenants 49:10 Demonstrates our option to bow to the Lord in worhsip, or be brought low by the weight of our sins. (speaking to nations but applicable to individuals)
Doctrine and Covenants 101:10-12,40,51,57-66,89,98 The wrath of His indignation will be poured out upon all Nations. They whom He finds on the watchtower will be saved.
Doctrine and Covenants 45:2,25-27,30-34,41,63,73 There are wars and rumors of wars, the time of the gentiles ends and some who see this end will live to see an overflowing scourge, and desolating sickness.
Doctrine and Covenants 97:7,21-26 Zion- the Pure in Heart may bypass the destruction preceding His coming if they serve Him and remain Pure in Heart.
Doctrine and Covenants 87 Prophesy on Civil War and all war thereafter
Doctrine and Covenants 86:5,7 Angels are prepared to reap and harvest, the Lord will wait until we are ripe as either wheat or tares.
Doctrine and Covenants 84:114-119 Specific warnings given to New York, Albany, and Boston