Matthew 24:15–17 talks of a strange power described as the abomination that causes desolation. Jesus interprets this in Luke 21:20 as fulfilled when the Romans crushed Judah— “when you shall see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near.”
Historians tell us how this was fulfilled before Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD. They massacred the small Roman garrison in Jerusalem so the Roman governor of Syria, Cestius Gallus, gathered an army of 30,000 men and marched toward Jerusalem. After trying to enter Jerusalem via Herod’s palace and then the northern wall of the Temple Mount, he surprised the Jews by retreating toward the coast. The Jews drew courage from this retreat and pursued the Romans, wiping out almost 6,000 Roman soldiers.
The Roman armies carried standards, which they worshipped. They were on long poles with crossed arms near the top.
Each legion had its own symbols. To the Jews, this was idol worship. Idol worship was an abomination and the land outside the walls of Jerusalem was considered holy ground.
Therefore, Matthew describes this event as an abomination that causes desolation standing in the Holy Place, while Luke says it more clearly as Jerusalem being surrounded by armies.