Now that we have the Antichrist becoming completely possessed by Satan, it is time to examine what he does next.
As was explained in the first chapter of this book, the week represents the Antichrist's seven-year reign, so the middle of it would be three and a half years into it. If the "sacrifice and offering" are ended, then they first have to start. And if it's going to start, then the Jews have to have the temple. So this indicates that the construction and use of the temple is one of the issues covered in the seven-year Covenant.
This ban on worship will not just be for Jewish temple. The Antichrist will forbid and abolish all religious worship, declaring himself God and requiring worship of himself, with suppression, persecution, and even death to all who won't bow to him. "He even exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host; and by him the daily sacrifices were taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down. Because of transgression, an army was given over to the [Antichrist] to oppose the daily sacrifices; and he cast truth down to the ground. He did all this and prospered" (Daniel 8:11–12). The "Prince of the host" is believed to mean Jesus or God. So the Antichrist is now saying to everyone that he is God.
"And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the Abomination of Desolation" (Daniel 11:31). By stringing these Scriptures together we can determine that three and a half years after confirming the seven-year Covenant—"in the middle of the week"—he not only forcibly enters the newly rebuilt temple on Mount Moriah, Jerusalem, and "takes away the daily sacrifice" and sets himself up as God, but he also "places" something called "the Abomination of Desolation."
Over five hundred years after Daniel gave this prophecy, Jesus, in His famous dissertation on "the signs of His [second] coming and of the end of the world" in Matthew chapter 24, said: "Therefore when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place"— the Jewish temple in Jerusalem—"whoever reads [the book of Daniel], let him understand" (Matthew 24:15).
Jesus said that we'd better understand, because He was placing this event in the future. He is saying that at the time of His life here on Earth, this event, the placing of the Abomination of Desolation, had not occurred. Some Bible scholars and historians contend that Antiochus Epiphanes (circa 215–164 BC), the Macedonian king of the Hellenistic Seleucid Syrian kingdom (one of the successor states of Alexander the Great's empire), fulfilled the prophecies in Daniel 8 and elsewhere about the Abomination of Desolation in 166 BC, when he captured Jerusalem and forbad the worship of God and all the Jewish rites on pain of death. In the temple an altar to Zeus Olympios was erected, and sacrifices were to be made at the feet of an idol in the image of the king. This event was certainly an abomination in the eyes of the Jews, but because it happened before Jesus spoke of it as happening in the future, that rules it out as being the Abomination of Desolation spoken of by Daniel.
What did Jesus say would happen when this Abomination of Desolation appears? "Therefore when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place … then there will be Great Tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be" (Matthew 24:21). So the placing of this Abomination of Desolation introduces the Great Tribulation period, the second three and a half years of the Antichrist's reign. When you see it standing there, you'll know the Tribulation has begun.
So the big question now is, what is this Abomination of Desolation? Jesus said you'd see it "standing in the holy place." Daniel 11:31 says the Antichrist "places there the Abomination of Desolation." Daniel 12:11 says that "the Abomination of Desolation is set up." He places it, he sets it up and it stands there, so it's some kind of standing object.
In the 13th chapter of Revelation we find out that it's an image of the Antichrist himself. And it's not just a dumb statue like the one that old Seleucid king erected, but it will be a most amazing machine.
Now we must introduce another evil Endtime personality—another beast that exercises all the authority of the Beast we have just been describing in Chapter 3 of this book.
Who is this two-horned beast? We find the answer in Revelation 19:20, which states: "Then the Beast [the Antichrist] was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the Mark of the Beast and those who worshiped his image." This two-horned beast is called the "False Prophet." We don't know who he will be, but it's clear from the passage above that he performs the multiple roles of being the Antichrist's propaganda minister and high priest of the worship of the Antichrist. He has some sort of extraordinary powers or genius, similar to the Antichrist himself, as he "performs great signs."
The order to kill all those who refuse to worship the Image of the Beast is given at the beginning of the Great Tribulation. This meshes with the Scriptures about the Abomination of Desolation being set up at exactly the same time. So this Image and the Abomination of Desolation are the same thing.
From the description of the Image having "breath," it sounds like it's some kind of an automaton, a computer-operated cybernetic robot, programmed so that it can speak and act like it's alive and command the worship of the world.
As far fetched as this would have sounded in John's day, to give “life” to this image is now feasible with the advances that are being made in robotics and artificial intelligence. Futurists—scientists and others who predict what the future holds—even have a name for when artificial intelligence (AI) will no longer be the product of man but will assume control over itself. They call it the "Singularity."
The Image of the Beast will be able to not only speak, but also kill—or cause to be killed somehow. It may even be demonically inspired to where it actually has demonic intelligence, more than just what man has programmed it with. It's apparent that it will be a real wonder, and could really be worshiped by many. It will be the ultimate in idolatry: Man worshiping an abominable demon-possessed machine that desolates the world.