If a peace treaty is signed in Israel soon, is that THE COVENANT that we are looking for to be fulfilled? I believe the answer to this question is NO, and I will attempt to explain why!
And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed.
And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.
(Daniel 9:26-27 ESV)
Like many of you, I have studied that the “strong covenant with many” that will be made as per Daniel 9:27 involves the Antichrist making, or confirming, a peace or land (or land for peace) treaty with Israel. This is the traditional pre-tribulation, dispensational teaching, and it goes something like this (from GraceThruFaith):
“The Bible says a false peace will precede war in the Middle East. Through a series of events such as preliminary battles (Psalm 83, Isaiah 17) and meaningless peace agreements the Israelis will come to believe the threats to their national security have been removed, and they’ll let down their guard. A that point a coalition of Moslem nations will attack with such force that nothing short of God’s direct intervention will save them. But He will intervene and Israel’s enemies will be defeated (Ezekiel 38).
That’s when a powerful man will come forward with the suggestion that it’s time to enforce a covenant that’s already been negotiated between the combatants. This time the world will be convinced that real and lasting peace has finally come, and this man will be hailed as a great peace maker, unlike any the world has ever seen (Daniel 8:25).
After presenting himself as their savior, he’ll turn out to be their destroyer and once again they’ll find themselves on the brink of utter defeat. That’s when the Lord will pour out His spirit of grace and supplication, Israel’s eyes will be opened to their true Messiah, and He will again intervene on their behalf to destroy their enemies (Zechariah 12:10, 14:3). This time the peace will be real and the remnant of Israel will be ushered into their glorious Kingdom Age. You can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah. 09-18-10″
Is there any reason to doubt this view?
And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed. Daniel 9:26 ESV
The Anointed One
First let’s discuss Daniel 9:26. I’m going to assume you’re on the same page with me here and we both understand that the “anointed one” who was “cut off”, but not for Himself, was Jesus.
The People of the Prince Who Is to Come
The “people of the prince who is to come”, the Romans, literally destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 AD. Titus, the Roman prince who was “still to come” in Daniel’s time, opposed the destruction of the Temple and actively tried to stop it 3 times while his people (or mercenaries, as the case may be) destroyed it.
It was literally the “people” of the “prince who was to come” who destroyed the Temple. Daniel 9:26 may be specifically describing that it was the people, not the prince, who was acting because that would have been very unusual (normally armies follow the commands of their leaders). The end of Jerusalem and the Second Temple did come very suddenly, “like a flood”. For a detailed discussion of the destruction of Jerusalem, please see this post – The 70 Weeks of Daniel.
The intervening time would then involve wars and desolations for the Jewish people. Dictionary.com defines desolation as “a state of complete emptiness or destruction; anguished misery or loneliness”. It comes from the Latin desolare – ‘to abandon’ – and for all intents and purposes, it will seem that God has abandoned His chosen people for almost 2000 years. This fulfilled their scattering among the nations, which was foretold repeatedly in scripture.
Now on to Daniel 9:27. Does the main character remain the same (the people of the prince who was to come), or does it change? In the different prophecy views, there is a lot of discussion over that little word, “he”.
And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator. Daniel 9:27 ESV
Who, Exactly, are the “he’s”?
And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. Daniel 9:27a
The First “he”:
The Antichrist – The futurist view of Biblical prophecy considers there to be a break (of about 2000 years) between Daniel 9:26 and 9:27. All rapture timings within this view traditionally teach that the “he” who makes the covenant, causes sacrifices and offerings to cease, and makes desolate, is the antichrist. This makes a lot of contextual sense, as Daniel’s visions are repeatedly of the end times and of the antichrist. Until very recently I also agreed that the “he” was the antichrist. I still think it’s a definite possibility. Because this view is well described elsewhere, I won’t expand on it here. However, a new twist on the traditional view is that the antichrist may try to confirm the MOSAIC covenant.
The False Prophet – Since we are told in Revelation 13 that the false prophet is the one who organizes the setting up of the image that will be worshiped (the abomination of desolation), it is possible that the “he” who makes the strong covenant with “many” is actually the false prophet on behalf of the antichrist.
Israel – Chris White, in his book “False Christ”, takes the futurist view but suggests that the covenant may be initiated by Israel herself instead of by the antichrist. From memory, I think he suggests that the covenant Israel makes is with the antichrist and surrounding countries, but that she is the one in the powerful position to propose the terms and conditions. Regardless of who initiates the covenant, this view still holds that the covenant is made with the antichrist or Israel’s enemies. I think this is an interesting twist on the usual interpretation. (Note that he holds a pre-wrath rapture view and we disagree on that).
Jesus – Those who believe the 70 weeks of Daniel were fulfilled historically (the historicist view), state that the “he” who confirmed the covenant was Jesus back in ~32AD. These believe that there was no break between Daniel 9:26 and 9:27. There are a number of problems with this view, but perhaps the greatest is the specific term “abomination of desolation”. This view is well described by historicist scholars and I also won’t expand on this view here as I personally believe the covenant of Daniel 9:26-27 is future. Jack Kelley explains the problem of the abomination of desolation this way:
“Some say this prophecy was fulfilled during the Roman destruction, but most believe it’s yet future, partly because of the term Abomination that causes Desolation. It’s a specific insult to God that has happened only once previously. Antiochus Epiphanes, a powerful Syrian king, had attacked Jerusalem and entered the Temple area in 168BC. There he had sacrificed a pig on the Temple altar and erected a statue of the Greek god Zeus with his own face on it. He then required everyone to worship it on pain of death. This rendered the Temple unfit for worshiping God and so incensed the Jews that they revolted and defeated the Syrians. This is all recorded in Jewish history (1st Maccabees) where it’s called the Abomination of Desolation. The subsequent cleansing of the Temple is celebrated to this day in the Feast of Hanukkah.”
(Father) God – Another possibility that I have seen circulated recently (I apologize, I can’t find links), is that God Himself confirms the covenant. This also takes the futurist stance, but states that there will be a “dueling of the covenants” in which God will confirm His covenant with Israel while the antichrist ALSO makes a covenant of his own. Despite the confusing way this view was presented, is it possible that God Himself is confirming a covenant? This is what I set out to explore.
There is no first “he” – An interesting translation of Daniel 9:27 has been brought to the surface this week. I became aware of it through Dan Matson at watchfortheday HERE. On his website he posted (bolding mine):
“And one week shall establish the covenant with many: and in the midst of the week my sacrifice and drink-offering shall be taken away: and on the temple shall be the abomination of desolations; and at the end of time an end shall be put to the desolation.”
(Daniel 9:27 LXX Interlinear Translation, Samuel Bagster and Sons, London, 1792)
I have this Septuagint translation in Appendix A of Israel: The Handwriting on the World. In most English translations, there is a “he” supplied that is not there because the Hebrew is ambiguous. This LXX translation fits the Rapture scenario at the start of the 70th Week since there is no requirement for some covenant signing or peace agreement to initiate it. And really this Covenant here is The Covenant between God and Israel. After these 7 years the 70 Weeks are fulfilled bringing to completion all of the promises in Daniel 9:24.
What if the actual meaning of Daniel 9:27 goes something like this: And the covenant with [the Hebrew people] shall be strengthened / reconfirmed for one week [7 years], and in the middle of the week [God’s] sacrifice and offering shall be taken away. In the temple, the abomination that causes desolation shall be set up until the decreed end comes upon the desolator [i.e. the second coming of Jesus when He tosses the antichrist into the lake of fire]. Could this meaning fit? I will explore this as well.
What Does the Second “he” Do?
And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator. Daniel 9:27 ESV
If there is a “he” confirming the covenant, it would make sense that the “he” is also the one putting an end to sacrifice and offering, to be gramatically consistent. This could be the antichrist OR the false prophet. As mentioned previously, they are two of the members of the “unholy trinity”, who both bring worship to the third member – the dragon (satan).
In all the translations there seems to be an interesting divide between the “he” associated with the covenant and the sacrifice and offering, and the “one” who makes desolate. Here is where the LXX interlinear translation proves interesting:
“And one week shall establish the covenant with many: and in the midst of the week my sacrifice and drink-offering shall be taken away: and on the temple shall be the abomination of desolations; and at the end of time an end shall be put to the desolation.” Daniel 9:27 LXX Interlinear
Is there a second he? It doesn’t specify in the LXX how the covenant is (re)established, or who is doing it. However, it does state that it is God’s sacrifice and drink offering that will be taken away in the middle of the week. This version also doesn’t spell out who is placing the abomination of desolation, and it suggests that an end comes to the desolation itself (not discussing the fate of the desolator).
I’m not convinced that we can conclusively state that the “he” who confirms the covenant is also the desolator who places the abomination of desolation.
The Third he – The One Who Makes Desolate
Clearly, the one who makes desolate is the antichrist, regardless of who confirms the covenant and who stops the sacrifice and offerings. We are told that he will place an abomination that makes desolate a number of times in scripture (Daniel 11:36; Matthew 24:15-16,21; Revelation 13:13-15; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4).
A Covenant of Peace?
So… will the covenant in Daniel 9:27 be a new covenant or reconfirm an old one?
The traditional futurist interpretation of the covenant that is made, or strengthened, or confirmed, is that it involves peace. If you re-read the verse, you will note that the word “peace” is not there. Neither is land. Let’s look again:
And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. (ESV)
And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease (KJV)
What we know about the covenant:
- It will last for a week of years (7 years). Whether this covenant is specifically made for 7 years, or if we are simply being told that it will last for 7 years, is not stated. I have read that the covenant may be presented as open-ended or “eternal”, but that God is telling us that it will last for only “one week”. This may be supported by the verse that the antichrist will “seek to change the times and the law” (Daniel 7:25), but we have been given the foreknowledge that God will cut short his days and he will come to his decreed end (Matthew 24:22, Daniel 9:27).
- The strong covenant must include the people of Israel (the 70 Weeks prophecy is about Daniel’s holy people – Jews, and his holy city – Jerusalem), but it might include others as well.
What we can surmise about the covenant:
- It may or may not be a “new” covenant. It might be a new covenant made; it might be a strengthened or restored pre-existing covenant.
- It will likely include Old Testament-style Jewish worship and sacrifices in a rebuilt Third Temple in some fashion. We can surmise this because in the same sentence, sacrifice and offering is ended – which means it likely started occurring as part of the “strong covenant”.
- The covenant seems to continue on for the full 7 years, even though sacrifices and offerings cease in the middle of it. It only ends when the “decreed end is poured out on the desolator” (at the second coming of Jesus Christ).
Is the Covenant a Bad Thing?
Land / Peace Covenant:
We have been assuming that the covenant is a bad thing, and so it would be if made with the antichrist. To understand why, we see that when leading Israel to their promised land for the first time, God repeatedly commands the Israelites not to enter into covenant with the nations or peoples around them:
You shall make no covenant with them and their gods. (Exodus 23:32; Exodus 34:12; Deuteronomy 7:2 ESV).
God knew that if Israel made covenants with the peoples around them, they would fall into spiritual idolatry, which is exactly what ended up happening. History often repeats itself, and any covenant made for peace/land will also lead to spiritual harlotry. If the covenant is made with the Antichrist and the “many”, it may offer compromise on the Promised Land, which isn’t Israel’s to give. The holy land belongs to God and is His alone to allot and possess.
Chris White, in his book The False Christ, suggests that the “Jewish view of the phrase ‘new covenant’ is no more than a renewed national commitment to abide by God’s laws”. In this view, the antichrist will re-confirm the Mosaic covenant by authorizing the starting of sacrifices and allowing the rebuilding of the Temple. Not only may he confirm it, he may actively be involved in the process. For more on this, please see: Why Israel Rejected Jesus at His First Coming. This would fulfill Jewish messianic expectation and also take focus off the true Messiah – and His “New Covenant”.
Three and a half years later he will stop the sacrifices and break the Mosaic covenant, possibly introducing a “new covenant”:
“Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah”. Jeremiah 31:31 ESV
If the covenant is a re-confirmation of the Old Testament Mosaic Sacrificial Law, by either the antichrist or Israel herself, it blatantly rejects Jesus Christ as Messiah and His atoning sacrifice. When Jesus came, He made a new covenant, a better covenant, in His blood. Jesus fulfilled Jeremiah’s new covenant prophecy through His death and resurrection:
But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second. For he finds fault with them when he says:
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord,
when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel
and with the house of Judah,
not like the covenant that I made with their fathers
on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt.
For they did not continue in my covenant,
and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord.
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws into their minds,
and write them on their hearts,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor
and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’
for they shall all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest.
For I will be merciful toward their iniquities,
and I will remember their sins no more.”
In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
Hebrews 8:6-13 ESV
Alternately, Israel herself may try to return to the Mosaic covenant. God would not want the Mosaic Covenant re-instated, as it was a temporary covenant that has been replaced. 2 Corinthians 3 discusses this, as well as the passage in Hebrews above.
If the covenant spoken of in Daniel 9:27 is a re-confirmation of God’s Abrahamic Covenant, His eternal promise to Abraham for descendants and land – this would actually be a GOOD thing. This is an eternal covenant, promised to Abraham, which has yet to see complete fulfillment.
What covenant are we talking about here?
I am increasingly leaning towards the view that the covenant that is strengthened in Daniel 9:27 is the Abrahamic covenant God has with Israel. This could also be a dual fulfillment of the “generation sign”, as some scholars state that “genea” can also refer to race, i.e. the Jewish race:
Assuredly, I say to you, this generation [genea] will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Matthew 24:34 ESV
Let’s review what God’s covenants are all about!
God’s 7 Covenants
Question: “What are the covenants in the Bible?”
Answer: The Bible speaks of seven different covenants, four of which (Abrahamic, Palestinian, Mosaic, Davidic) God made with the nation of Israel. Of those four, three are unconditional in nature; that is, regardless of Israel’s obedience or disobedience, God still will fulfill these covenants with Israel. One of the covenants, the Mosaic Covenant, is conditional in nature. That is, this covenant will bring either blessing or cursing depending on Israel’s obedience or disobedience. Three of the covenants (Adamic, Noahic, New) are made between God and mankind in general, and are not limited to the nation of Israel.
The Adamic Covenant can be thought of in two parts: the Edenic Covenant (innocence) and the Adamic Covenant (grace) (Genesis 3:16-19). The Edenic Covenant is found in Genesis 1:26-30; 2:16-17. The Edenic Covenant outlined man’s responsibility toward creation and God’s directive regarding the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The Adamic Covenant included the curses pronounced against mankind for the sin of Adam and Eve, as well as God’s provision for that sin (Genesis 3:15).
The Noahic Covenant was an unconditional covenant between God and Noah (specifically) and humanity (generally). After the Flood, God promised humanity that He would never again destroy all life on earth with a Flood (see Genesis chapter 9). God gave the rainbow as the sign of the covenant, a promise that the entire earth would never again flood and a reminder that God can and will judge sin (2 Peter 2:5).
Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 12:1-3, 6-7; 13:14-17; 15; 17:1-14; 22:15-18). In this covenant, God promised many things to Abraham. He personally promised that He would make Abraham’s name great (Genesis 12:2), that Abraham would have numerous physical descendants (Genesis 13:16), and that he would be the father of a multitude of nations (Genesis 17:4-5). God also made promises regarding a nation called Israel. In fact, the geographical boundaries of the Abrahamic Covenant are laid out on more than one occasion in the book of Genesis (12:7; 13:14-15; 15:18-21). Another provision in the Abrahamic Covenant is that the families of the world will be blessed through the physical line of Abraham (Genesis 12:3; 22:18). This is a reference to the Messiah, who would come from the line of Abraham.
Palestinian Covenant (Deuteronomy 30:1-10). The Palestinian Covenant, or Land Covenant, amplifies the land aspect that was detailed in the Abrahamic Covenant. According to the terms of this covenant, if the people disobeyed, God would cause them to be scattered around the world (Deuteronomy 30:3-4), but He would eventually restore the nation (verse 5). When the nation is restored, then they will obey Him perfectly (verse 8), and God will cause them to prosper (verse 9).
Mosaic Covenant (Deuteronomy 11; et al.). The Mosaic Covenant was a conditional covenant that either brought God’s direct blessing for obedience or God’s direct cursing for disobedience upon the nation of Israel. Part of the Mosaic Covenant was the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) and the rest of the Law, which contained over 600 commands—roughly 300 positive and 300 negative. The history books of the Old Testament (Joshua–Esther) detail how Israel succeeded at obeying the Law or how Israel failed miserably at obeying the Law. Deuteronomy 11:26-28 details the blessing/cursing motif.
Davidic Covenant (2 Samuel 7:8-16). The Davidic Covenant amplifies the “seed” aspect of the Abrahamic Covenant. The promises to David in this passage are significant. God promised that David’s lineage would last forever and that his kingdom would never pass away permanently (verse 16). Obviously, the Davidic throne has not been in place at all times. There will be a time, however, when someone from the line of David will again sit on the throne and rule as king. This future king is Jesus (Luke 1:32-33).
New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34). The New Covenant is a covenant made first with the nation of Israel and, ultimately, with all mankind. In the New Covenant, God promises to forgive sin, and there will be a universal knowledge of the Lord. Jesus Christ came to fulfill the Law of Moses (Matthew 5:17) and create a new covenant between God and His people. Now that we are under the New Covenant, both Jews and Gentiles can be free from the penalty of the Law. We are now given the opportunity to receive salvation as a free gift (Ephesians 2:8-9).
So Which Covenant Are We Talking About?
God made 4 of these covenants specifically with the nation of Israel, and since Daniel’s prophecy is about his holy people (Hebrews) and holy city (Jerusalem), we can surmise that the covenant Daniel is talking about is also about Israel.
If Israel is the one re-confirming her covenant with God, the only one she is capable of initiating herself is the Mosaic Covenant. The Law of Moses, the sacrificial system, is what defines Judaism. It is clear that Israel will indeed re-start sacrifices and offerings. Will that be an attempt to re-institute the Mosaic Covenant? If Israel were to re-confirm the Mosaic covenant, it would be with “the One” – God – which doesn’t fit the verse, because the covenant is confirmed with the “many”. However, from Zechariah we know that while many Hebrews will come to Christ (~1/3), many will not (~2/3). It is highly probable that the Jews who are shaken into returning to God, but still continue reject Jesus, will desire to return to the Mosaic Covenant. If it is the antichrist appearing to confirm the Mosaic Covenant with Israel, this would fit the verse.
If God is the one confirming His covenant with Israel (the many) in Daniel 9:27, which covenant would He confirm? Well, we’ve already discussed that the Mosaic covenant has been replaced with the New Covenant. The unconditional Davidic covenant will be fulfilled at the second coming of Christ, when Jesus comes to establish His millennial kingdom. There are two left (and many scholars view them as one single covenant – Abrahamic). What if the covenant mentioned in Daniel 9:27 is a re-confirmation of the unconditional, eternal covenants made with Abraham? That he would have offspring more numerous than the stars in the sky, and that he would be given a specific plot of land:
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Genesis 12:1-3 ESV
On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites.” Genesis 15:18-21 ESV
If this is the correct interpretation, and God confirms He Abrahamic covenant with Israel, what could possibly lead Him to do so?
What Rouses God out of His Silence?
I believe it is event-driven.
There is only one event in the Bible where God is described as rising out of His silence towards Israel. Only one event that could drive Israel to finally rebuild their Temple, and restart sacrifices and offerings to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
I have discussed the Gog-Magog war, and the possible encircling wars of Psalm 83 and Isaiah 17, before. I believe there are strong connections between Seal 6, the beginning of birth pains (Olivet Discourse), Ezekiel 38-39, and the rapture of the church.
Basically, in the Gog-Magog war, God Himself will raise Israel’s enemies up against her in such a way as to appear that Israel is on the brink of annihilation. He will then rise up out of His “silence” to protect her. God will break His silence with Israel for the purpose of announcing to an unbelieving world – Israel herself and all the nations – that He is still here! He intends to fulfill His covenant promises and reclaim Israel as His people and His land. God mentions this purpose 70 times in the book of Ezekiel; four times in these two chapters alone, to ensure He gets His point across. However, He has one final test for Israel. When God intervenes, what will Israel do? God will send His 2 Witnesses to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ. Will Israel finally accept Jesus as her true Messiah?
Sacrifices and Offerings
Israel appears to rebuild the Temple (it’s basically ready to go already). She then appears to restart sacrifices and offerings in that Temple. Are these an abomination to God?
As one of my fellow watchmen reminded me, Israel is going to be a real “mixed bag” in the latter days. About 1/3 of the Hebrews, starting with the 144,000, will come to Christ, and may offer pleasing sacrifices in worship to God. Or, maybe they won’t participate in the Temple and Sacrifices. I’m not sure, but it is likely that the 2 Witnesses will guide this process. It seems that the other 2/3 of Israel attempt to worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob while continuing to reject the New Covenant of Jesus Christ. Their sacrifices, in an attempt to atone for sin in an Old Covenant way, would be unacceptable to God.
The sacrifices and offerings in and of themselves aren’t necessarily bad, as these will be re-instituted in the Millennial Kingdom by God Himself as a memorial of what Jesus has done. It will be the heart of why the sacrifices are being done that will make them either pleasing or an abomination to God.
The Holy Covenant
While I believe that Daniel 11:29-35 was fulfilled by Antiochus Ephiphanes historically, it seems possible that the antichrist may also be in view as a type of dual fulfillment in this passage. Starting in verse 36 there is really no debate that the antichrist himself is in view. What may be happening here is a type of dramatic fade from one character to the next (as occurs when describing a literal king fading into a description of satan in both Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28):
“At the time appointed he shall return and come into the south, but it shall not be this time as it was before. For ships of Kittim shall come against him, and he shall be afraid and withdraw, and shall turn back and be enraged and take action against the holy covenant. He shall turn back and pay attention to those who forsake the holy covenant. Forces from him shall appear and profane the temple and fortress, and shall take away the regular burnt offering. And they shall set up the abomination that makes desolate. He shall seduce with flattery those who violate the covenant, but the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action. And the wise among the people shall make many understand, though for some days they shall stumble by sword and flame, by captivity and plunder. When they stumble, they shall receive a little help. And many shall join themselves to them with flattery, and some of the wise shall stumble, so that they may be refined, purified, and made white, until the time of the end, for it still awaits the appointed time. “And the king shall do as he wills. He shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak astonishing things against the God of gods. He shall prosper till the indignation is accomplished; for what is decreed shall be done. Daniel 11:29-36 ESV
If this passage describes the antichrist, it would seem to support the view that the covenant that is confirmed with Daniel’s holy people in 9:27 is indeed a “holy covenant” with God. This passage describes those who know their God as standing firm, while those who rebel against God would seem to violate or forsake the covenant.
Types and Shadows
Update Mar 2/18: Tonight as I was reading my children’s Bible to my kids, we read the passage where John the Baptist was born. Remember that John came “in the spirit of Elijah”. John proclaimed that the kingdom of heaven was near, and prepared the way for the Lord at His first coming. The relevant passage is in Luke chapter 1:
“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has visited and redeemed his people
and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David,
as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
that we should be saved from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us;
to show the mercy promised to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant,
the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us
that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
might serve him without fear,
in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
to give knowledge of salvation to his people
in the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
Luke 1:68-79 ESV
Reading this just struck me with the mention of Jesus coming to redeem his people and to be salvation for them, tied together with God remembering his holy covenant that he swore to Abraham. We know that in the latter days, God will again send 2 witnesses – one of them who is expected to be Elijah – to prepare the way for the Lord and to announce that the kingdom of heaven is at hand. These will give knowledge of salvation to His people. Is this again tied to God “remembering” His holy covenant with Abraham’s bloodline descendants?
I have come to believe that the covenant that is confirmed with the “many” in Daniel 9:27 quite possibly refers to God re-establishing His Abrahamic (lineage and land) Covenant with the people of Israel. God, in His own perfect timing, will “hook the jaws” of Gog and make it appear that Israel is on the verge of annihilation. He will do this specifically so that He can intervene and prevent her destruction – thus re-confirming His covenant with her.
I believe that the event that causes the impending destruction upon Israel, and results in the strengthening of the Abrahamic Covenant, is most likely to be the Ezekiel 38-39 War (likely coincident with the rapture of the church). This will mark the fullness of the gentiles having come into the New Covenant and release the partial hardening that has been on Israel for the last 2000 years (Romans 11:25). This will begin her national restoration (Romans 11:26).
I believe that Israel’s response to God’s miraculous intervention will involve rebuilding the Third Temple and restarting sacrifices and offerings to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Two Witnesses may guide or oppose this process, I’m not sure. It depends on the heart of why the sacrifices are being done that will make them either pleasing or offensive to God. Daniel 11 seems to indicate that the sacrifices and offerings might be a pleasing thing to God, as an act of worship (not to atone for sin, as that has been completed once and for all through Jesus Christ).
Following this, it seems that the majority of Israel will continue to look for a “new” messiah… and that they will find and embrace one who comes “in his own name”.
“And one week shall establish the covenant with many: and in the midst of the week my sacrifice and drink-offering shall be taken away: and on the temple shall be the abomination of desolations; and at the end of time an end shall be put to the desolation.” (Daniel 9:27 LXX Interlinear Translation, Samuel Bagster and Sons, London, 1792)
In the middle of the week of years, the antichrist will claim to be “god”, stop sacrifices and offerings to God, and set up the abomination of desolation. When Jesus Christ appears at the Second Coming, 1260 days later, He will put an end to the desolation and the Desolator.
For Further Reading:
Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt? Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape? If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.
The Bible is infallible. I am not. I am merely challenging traditional models and testing them against Scripture. I believe that traditional pretribulation teachings provide a solid backbone upon which to lay the musculature of details. I encourage you to consider my thoughts as you also examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!