Theology and Politics from a Conservative, Biblical Perspective
In part six of this series, we took at closer look at verse 27 of Daniel 9, where several things are said to occur and one particular individual is brought to the fore. Among other things, we pointed out that the “he” pointed out immediately in verse 27 brokers some sort of agreement/covenant with the “many” for “one week.” In the middle of this week, he ends the sacrificial system.
What we present in this series is opinion based on allowing Scripture to interpret itself. There are many multi-faceted interpretations of this part of Daniel, many of which seriously stretch the credulity of the text. There is no one consensus on the entire issue. This is our opinion and it’s not open to debate. We respect the right and privilege of each reader to discern for themselves what the Scriptures teach. Debating and arguing about it serves no purpose except to puff up and while it is very important to be able to defend the actual faith (salvation, deity of Christ, His virgin birth, eternal security of the believer, etc.), aspects of Eschatology do not necessarily fall into the category of defending the faith in our opinion. Even in defending the faith, there does come a time when it is simply best to agree to disagree and let God work as He chooses.
There are other doctrinal issues we plan to take up here to help more people understand what we believe the Bible teaches, but in presenting these positions, it should not be taken as an invitation to debate. Each reader is encouraged to study the Scriptures for themselves and determine what the Bible teaches. If someone arrives to a position opposite ours on a specific subject, that does not mean we should welcome debating with one another. The task at hand is to be involved in the Great Commission, not debating others until that’s all we end up doing. There are unfortunately too many who claim the name Christian who appear to live to tear others down who do not understand the Bible as they do. That should not be the goal. This doesn’t mean we don’t defend against heresy. It means we choose our battles and arguing over aspects of Eschatology is not a battle that’s really important to win, yet some believe it is their calling in life. We believe a correct understanding of Eschatology allows for greater insight into His Word and God’s overall, redemptive plan through the ages.
With this in mind, let’s look again at verse 27 of Daniel 9 to see what else we need to see that we did not touch on previously.
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. (ESV)
We’ve discussed the fact that a certain “he” makes a strong covenant with many for “one week.” We believe this “one week” was very likely the final or 70th week of the “times of the Gentiles,” who shall be allowed to trample the holy places under foot and keep Israel in some form of subjugation. Even though Israel became a nation again in 1948, gaining their independence, they have continued to be subjugated by the United Nations, the United States, and the many Arab nations that surround her. The fact that several Islamic mosques exist on the very place where Abraham was ready to sacrifice Isaac and where Jesus voluntarily gave Himself as a propitiation for our sin proves the fact that in some form, even though we’re in a “gap” or “time-out,” the Gentile subjugation of Israel remains firmly in place.
With respect to verse 27, when the “he” brokers a covenant with Israel’s leaders for “one week” or seven-years, we believe it is this act that the entire world will witness. This act in itself will signal the actual start of the 70th week (Tribulation). Until that time, many things can occur that resemble various judgments of the Tribulation period, but no matter how closely they resemble them, they won’t be those actual judgments. Unfortunately, this is why people see every massive fish or bird death in which hundreds or thousands of those animals mysteriously die without any logical explanation as if it is a sign from heaven. It is far more likely that humanity’s pollution of earth and Monsanto’s crippling of nature are bringing about this type of large-scale death. Certainly God may choose to use some of these things during the Tribulation, but it is not those actual upcoming judgments because we are not inside the Tribulation period yet.
In His Olivet Discourse of Matthew 24, Jesus speaks to the terrible reality of the time when this “he” referred to in Daniel 9:27 creates a situation that causes an “abomination” (Matthew 24:15). The apostle Paul also refers to it in his second letter to the Thessalonians (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4). In both cases, this individual does something terrible. Jesus calls what he does the “abomination that desolates” and specifically reminds his listeners (or Matthew added it for his readers) that this was essentially what Antiochus Epiphanes IV did a few generations before in 168 BC. Every Jew alive during Jesus’ day would have understood immediately what Jesus was referring to by way of example and that He was saying “Look out because another is coming who will also do the same type of thing!”
In 2 Thessalonians 2, Paul refers to the lawless acts of this coming tyrant who, like Antiochus Epiphanes IV, will also waltz into the Holy Place and declare himself to be God. This is essentially what Antiochus Epiphanes IV did in 168 BC by slaughtering a pig on the altar of the Jewish Temple standing at that time, then set up a statue of Zeus with some historians noting Epiphanes placed a mask over Zeus’ face in his own likeness. Antiochus Epiphanes IV was saying “I am GOD! You Jews shall worship ME!” It brought about the Maccabean Revolt.
But both Jesus and Paul point to a future time when another individual – the Antichrist (Paul calls him the “man of lawlessness”) – will broker an agreement between Israel and surrounding Arab nations. This covenant will allow the Jews the opportunity to build yet another Jewish Temple, which will allow them to begin the sacrificial system once again. But clearly, Antichrist’s plan according to Daniel 9:27, is to allow them to do this for his own purposes. He doesn’t do it because he likes the Jews or wants them to succeed or even that he wants peace in the Middle East (though it will appear to be this reason to the rest of the world). He does it because he wants to declare to the entire world and especially to the Jews that he – Antichrist – is God and should be worshiped as such!
So Antichrist brokers a covenant that no one has any success in brokering before. Think of all the presidents of the United States and others from countries surrounding Israel who have tried and found no success in brokering any real, lasting peace for Israel and Arab countries who detest Israel. God’s timing had not arrived.
However, at some future point, Antichrist will succeed in brokering a seven-year covenant with Israel and surrounding Arab nations and it will only happen when God’s timing arrives. This will do several things.
These are the main things that this seven-year covenant creates when Antichrist is given power to bring it to fruition. Until God’s timing is right, it will not happen, no matter who tries it and no matter how many times it is tried. The key is God’s timing and we’re not there yet.
The last portion of Daniel 9:27 says, “until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.” Notice that Antichrist is allowed to broker a seven-year (week) covenant with Israel and surrounding Arab nations. God and God alone allows him to do this. In the end though, Antichrist desolates God’s Holy Place here on earth and for that, he must pay. It is no different from Gog in Ezekiel 38-39. Though Gog is allowed to attack Israel and even thinks it’s his idea, ultimately God takes credit for it but Gog pays the price. So too does the Antichrist.
And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming (2 Thessalonians 2:8).
And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur (Revelation 19:20).
Paul tells us that as Jesus returns physically to this earth, He destroys Antichrist with the breath of His mouth. We learn the same thing in Revelation 19:11-21, when Jesus returns, He’ll deal directly with Antichrist. Scripture interprets Scripture.
Now, we need to take a step or two back and deal with the Antichrist, the Ten Kings and how Antichrist rises among them to take full control of the world for his own benefit.