In light of the fact that the abomination that causes desolation is said to have been present in the holy place which as stated above signifies the Temple everywhere else in the Bible, it is also possible that the abomination that causes desolation are the Zealots whose vile murders in the Temple grounds desecrated the Temple. In 2 Kings 23:13, Ezekiel 5:11; 8-10; 22:1-16 idolatry and unjust bloodshed are said to be abominations. One of the problems with this interpretation is that Daniel 9:26-27 links the abomination that causes desolation with the prince who is to come which as explained above is Caesar Titus, not the Jewish rebels.
Furthermore, a previous abomination that causes desolation is mentioned in Daniel 11:31-32. In these verses the abomination of desolation denotes the Greek armies who placed an idol of Zeus in the Temple and offered pagan sacrifices on the Temple altar in the second century B.C. (1 Macc 1:59). 1 Macc 6:1-2 refers to these acts as “a desolating sacrilege.” The abomination that causes desolation at the end of the age is given the same name since essentially the exact same thing occured in A.D. 70. After capturing the Temple, the Romans worshiped the ensigns, the main one being Aquila who was Zeus’ messenger, while offering sacrifices to these idols in the Temple. In other words, both the Greeks and the Romans set up some type of idol of Zeus or his messenger in the Temple and both offered pagan sacrifices inside the Temple. Here we can see why the same name is given to both events.
If the first instance of the abomination that causes desolation was setting up an idol and offering pagan sacrifices in the Temple, the second is likely to be something similar. If the murderous acts of the Zealots are the abomination that causes desolation in Matthew 24:15 then this interpretation conflicts with the precedent set in Daniel 11:31-32 and unjustifiably and irrationally ignores the similarities in what the Romans and Greeks both did in the Temple.
Another argument against this view is the fact that the Zealots continuously defiled the Temple from the beginning of the Jewish War in A.D. 66 until the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Given the fact that the Zealots desecrated the Temple with murder and various diverse lawless acts over the course of roughly four years, at which point amidst all these abominable acts were the people supposed to drop everything and flee as Jesus warned in vs. 17 and 18? Similarly, if the zealot’s lawless deeds are the abomination that causes desolation, this interpretation of the abomination of desolation in Matthew 24:15 conflicts with its synoptic equivalent in Luke 21:20. In Luke 21:20-21 Jesus says to drop everything and flee when they “see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies” If someone is told to drop everything and flee it does not make sense to have two temporally disparate signs–zealots in the Temple vs. armies outside.