For instance, what marks the conclusion of the Great Commission? It is a given sign beyond argument, but is it even possible to discern when the last one who needs to be reached in order for it to be completed has been reached? The Abomination of Desolation, in contrast, is well defined, and (even though episodic) distinct enough not to be confused between one occurrence and the other. Though it has already been modeled for us, as it was for Christ, by Antiochus Epiphanes, there will be no way to miss its ultimate fulfillment in the days of the Antichrist.
The description of this event starts with the advent of Antiochus Epiphanes at verse 21 in Daniel chapter 11, but ends with the actions of the Antichrist starting with verse 36. In effect, the actual, specific occurrence of the Abomination of Desolation (v. 31) is the fulcrum of a prophetic teeter-totter. On one end is the antetype, Antiochus Epiphanes, and how he relates to the prophecy. On the other end, is the antitype, the Antichrist and how he relates to the prophecy, and the middle references both of their involvements.
It's almost as if Daniel 11 was a preview trailer tracking at normal historical speed until the fulcrum was reached. Then, the reel was fast-forwarded until the time of its secondary and ultimate fulfillment. If that sounds a bit stretched to you, I understand your reticence. Yet Jesus said there was still life in the prophecy, despite being fully familiar with the history of Antiochus, the Maccabees, and the battles between the Ptolemies and Seleucids. How else can one understand something of this nature apart from invoking dual fulfillment?
John, the Revelator, saw the same event from the isle of Patmos millenia before its ultimate fulfillment. Strangely enough, even his insight was presaged by antetype within the Book of Daniel. God surely must have wanted to get the point across, to repeat it so many times from so many different vantage points. I never liked the bit, but perhaps it wouldn't hurt to see God, Bill Engvall-like, handing us a sheet saying, "Here's your sign!"
Truth be told, I don't get Engvall's joke. What does it mean? I would to God, though, that we could get the bellwether significance of this sign. Perhaps then we'd stop going into a frenzy every time a large earthquake strikes or another war starts. Better yet, the market for the latest Nostradamus wannabe would dry up and vanish like dust in the wind.