Psalm 22 is cited by Jesus on the Cross: “My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me?” This is recalled even while all the apostles had run away.
In verse 6 of Psalm 22 the statement is “I am a worm and no man.” I’ve read that a million times before, but my eyes glazed over and I just kept reading and that was the end of it.
Being inept, weak, bad and evil most of my life (and not much better now), even though I had studied at the Pontifical Biblical Institute and have had so many of the biblical and so many ancient extra-biblical languages down, I simply continued to let my eyes glaze over with such exclamations as this: “I am a worm and no man.” I’m such a spiritual coward.
More recently I have waxed poetic on this worm-reference having reference to a maggot: “I am a maggot and no man.” You’ll recall that one of the names of the Evil One is Beelzebub, or Lord of the Flies, the reference being to maggots, to death. That’s quite fierce.
That recalls Jesus saying that just as Moses lifted up the serpent of bronze on a stake in the desert so that all of those who should look at it would live, so the Son of Man will be lifted up on a Cross and all who look on Him whom we have all pierced through will live. The serpent looked like the serpents who were killing the chosen people. Jesus looks like us, we who kill each other in sin. Because He stands in our place, Innocent for the guilty, taking on the punishment we deserve for sin, death, He has the right in His own justice to have mercy on us. The irony… He who looks like the brood of Beelzebub is our redemption and, please God, our salvation.
Just the other day I thought I might take a closer look at the worm-maggot reference.
תוֹלַ֣עַת is a writhing creature sucking blood, like a leech, the image of a serpent, only worse.
Wait… What? That’s what Jesus is calling Himself?
σκώληξ is the word in the Septuagint, the ancient Greek translation. Same thing. A writhing creature, the image of a serpent. Those in the Gospels who are damned go to hell where their σκώληξ never dies and the fire is never quenched, with σκώληξ again referring to parasitic worm-esque, serpent-esque, writhing of writhingness.
Dearest Jesus… your Mother had to see you suffer, had to see you mocked in this way…
And it get’s worse.
Of late I’ve been perusing things apocalyptic. There is a multitude of references to the Abomination of Desolation in the Old Testament, in the Gospels, in the Apocalypse.
Let’s see. What’s with the word “Abomination”?
Abomination = ab + omenation = ab + omen.
“ab” – in this case, the understanding of this preposition is taken away from something.
“omenation” – “omen”, from old Latin osmen, from “os” (mouth) + “mens” (mind), therefore, an oracle, in derivative usage, an oracle of foreboding, a sign or symbol of evil. An “abomination”, in the case of these translations of the Scriptures, is one who represents, is an agent of, one who speaks for Satan, one who is possessed by Satan. This speaks to this Abomination referring more to a person, an agent, who can speak, than a mere wooden idol or suchlike.
Desolation is, in modern derivation, a psychological state, so that someone who is desolate is sad, or sorrowful, or depressed. If the intention of this specious translation referred to the most intense state of this desolation, so that we have despair, a demonic despair by which in cynicism one loses all love, all faith, all ability to recognize truth, a willful disability to recognize Him who is Living Truth, then we’re on to something. But, etymologically, the word, in the Greek, is ἐρήμωσις, “desert-like”, referring to the wasteland steppe of the Judaean desert, where one will be destroyed, where one will die with no water, no food, where Christ Jesus went to fast for forty days and forty nights, temped by Satan. The desert is the home of the Evil One. Thus, the one who is bringing about such demonic desertification spiritually is one who is taken over by Satan, the one who is the Abomination.
Having said all that, let’s start over. The word in the Greek of the New Testament for Abomination is βδέλυγμα, but, when you go back, all the way back, maddeningly, into historical philological roots of words, one finds that the original meaning refers to a writhingness, like a serpent, and even more particularly, a worm, more specifically, like a blood-sucking leech monster.
Back in Genesis, when the angelic oracle “serpent” was cursed after he fell into sin by attacking Adam and his wife, the curse was not that he should proceed on his belly. That translation is idiotic. This word draws on vocabulary found only extremely rarely in the more ancient of the Mesopotamian cuneiform tablets, so that what we have is that Satan should now writhe in his writhingness, that is, with the intense and eternal curse of spiritual and intellectual frustration.
I was a bad and evil little kid, and I once hit a snake on the head. Wow… the writhing of writhingness… unforgettable… I brought that to Confession later…
Biblically, this βδέλυγμα, much worse than a serpent, is a blood sucking writhing serpentesque creature, an image of those possessed by Satan drinking the blood of the saints, which will earn them condemnation to hell for all eternity in the writhing of their writhingness. It is an image of despising the life given by God, of mocking God to His Face.
Now, what this means for the man of sin, the man of perdition, the one whose number is 666, the antichrist, the false prophet and so on… well… however much any of those overlap or are figurative or whatever… that will require more delving… Who is that whore of Babylon drunk on the blood of the saints? Would that be Jerusalem? Would Jesus look like Jerusalem, taking on the sins of Jerusalem?
The point about our Lord Jesus in all this is His humility, His founding mercy on justice, His standing in our place, Innocent for the guilty, to the point of His looking like that man of sin. Saint Paul just says it in his shorthand: He became sin for us. Jesus, personally, looks like the man of perdition, destruction, like the one whose number is 666, the antichrist, the false prophet, even like me, like all of us while we were yet sinners.
And dearest Mary watched as the bloodthirsty possessed sinners tortured her Son to death. Jesus hated to see His mother suffer.
To stand with Jesus in His trials is to stand with Mary even if the bloodthirsty leeches should all of a sudden attack in the writhing of their writhingness.
6 responses to “Abomination of Desolation: Jesus and…”
Amen. Thanks be to God for this post.
Father, since we are incorporated into Christ at Baptism, is the whore of Babylon the corporate Anti-Christ?
Satan doesn’t have that… But mock corporate… I could see that…
“Mock corporate” rather than “corporate” makes sense. Thank you, Father. It is good to have someone to bring these questions to. Your clarity is much appreciated.
Great question, Aussi Mum. I would like Father to expound on what it is he sees – so weak is my own sight.
Sounds like the antichrist uses lots of violence and coercion. Self congratulation for being a sophisticated sycophant draws lots of people to the point where they believe their jackboot licking. Then they are utterly conformist, not with love as with the Body of Christ, but with fear, which is all just mutual mockery unto the lowest common denominator of hell.