31. And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.
31. Et brachia ab ispso stabunt, et profanabunt sanctuarium roboris, aut virtutis, et abolebunt juge, sacrificium scilicet, et ponent abominationem quae obstupefaciet.
32. And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.
32. Et impie agentes contra foedus abducet in errorem blanditiis, et populus intelligentes Deum suum roborabuntur et facient.
Here the angel describes the intestine evils of the Church, and more fully explains what he touched on in the last verse. He says, The arms shall stand up for Antiochus Some explain this of the garrison which that tyrant imposed on Jerusalem But it is seems too far-fetched. I do not hesitate to suppose the angel to refer here to the apostates and forsakers of the Law. Arms, then, shall stand up from him, meaning, he shall not contend in his own strength, but shall rely upon the people's assistance. Many should offer themselves in obedience to him, and thus Antiochus would find a party devoted to himself at Jerusalem, which should willingly prostitute itself to his will. He afterwards adds, They shall profane the sanctuary of strength The angel here joins together Antiochus and these impious apostates. (2 Maccabees 5:2.) To favor him, the temple is said to be polluted, and this was fulfilled when the statue of Jupiter Olympius was erected there. The tyranny and violence of Antiochus continued long afterwards, as we shall see in its own place. He brought the statue of the Olympian Jove into the temple, for the purpose of overthrowing the worship of God, and then he introduced other corruption's, which vitiated the purity of God's service. He might in one moment have overthrown the whole Law, but he first tried to mingle many superstitions with God's Law, and thus to estrange the Jews by degrees from true and sincere piety. The angel speaks of the sanctuary of power, to shew the faithful that Antiochus is not the conqueror of God, who was never deprived of his power, but continued the guardian and keeper of his temple even unto the end. He uses this epithet for the temple, to assure the pious that God had not given way to the violence of the tyrant. His authority stood untouched and untainted, although his temple was exposed to such foul pollution.
Lastly, he wished the faithful to retain by this teaching a sense of God's unconquered power in choosing that temple for his dwelling-place, although for a time Antiochus was so insulting, and was permitted to profane it with his impious crew. This instruction urged the pious to look upon God's power with the eye of faith, although it was then hidden from their view, and was trampled under foot by the impious in the pride of their audacity. Sorrowful indeed was the spectacle of this statue erected within the temple, for God, according to our previous statement, promised to be the defender of that sacred mountain. When the impious were raging thus insultingly, who would not have thought God to be altogether conquered and unable to defend his residence any longer? The angel then here encourages the faithful to cultivate far different thoughts from those suggested by the prospect before them. The temple, then, seemed weak and deprived of every protection, and yet with respect to God it was still a sanctuary of strength. He next adds, And they shall abolish the continual sacrifice, which really occurred; but I pass it over shortly now, as I shall have another opportunity of explaining it suitably and fully. And they shall place, or set up, that abomination which shall cause astonishment For who would not have been astonished when he saw the temple deserted by the Almighty? For if God cared for the temple services, why did he not resist rage like this? Why did he suffer himself to be subjected to such disgraceful indignity? The angel meets such temptations as these by saying, even if the very best men are astonished at such disgrace, yet nothing happens by chance; for God had already foreseen and decreed all things. They would not have been predicted, unless God had wished to prove the people's faith, and to exact the penalty for their ingratitude. But I cannot complete the subject to-day.