The term abomination refers to an image or an idol. This even is also mentioned in Matthew 24:15-16: . . . The only clue given is that it will be something standing (like an image or idol) in the Holy Place. . . . the Abomination of Desolation must include something more than merely the Antichrist’s self-proclamation of deity. Furthermore, the Daniel and Matthew passages implied an image or idol that would be erected in the Temple. . . . Thus, the two stages of the Abomination of Desolation, lasting a total of 1,290 days will be the declaration of deity by the Antichrist in the Holy of Holies followed by the setting up of his image in the same place.2The fact that nothing like what is recorded in our text happened in the first century represents no problem for preterists who find fulfillment in the time of Nero. The details are simply swept aside. Typical of preterism’s refusal to interpret the text at face value is the example found in Gregg:
The making of an image to the beast (v. 14), or an image of the beast (v. 15), the giving breath to the image, and the requirement that all men worship it are difficult features to correlate with any action known to have occurred in Israel in the first century. This need not be taken literally, however, and can simply refer to the Jew’s general homage to Rome’s authority. [emphasis added]3Here we see a first-rate example of the exegetical gearshift we mentioned related to the Preterist Interpretation of this book. Their technique is to search first century documents for an approximate “fulfillment” of the literal text. When the documents cannot produce even an approximate connection, then the gear shifts to non-literal interpretation in order to move over the “speed bump.” With such a fluid means of interpretation, the authority of Scripture to specify what constitutes fulfillment is subverted.Worship of the image made to the Beast is a flagrant violation of the second of the Ten Commandments: “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them” (Ex. 20:4a).See #19 - Image of Beast.
1 We have no information as to the size of the image. Since Paul informs us that the Beast will “sit as God in the temple of God” (2Th. 2:4), and Jesus tells us that the abomination stands in the “holy place” (Mat. 24:15), it would seem unlikely for the image to be a colossal statue for it would require the removal or modification of the temple in order to stand in the holy place.
2 Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of Messiah, rev ed. (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 2003), 257,259,260.
3 Steve Gregg, Revelation Four Views: A Parallel Commentary (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1997), 300.