Home > Radical Islam, Theology and Eschatology, Wars and Rumors of War > Daniel 9:27 Redux: Will Antichrist Make A False 7-Year Peace Treaty With Israel?

Daniel 9:27 Redux: Will Antichrist Make A False 7-Year Peace Treaty With Israel?


By ICA

Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”

Also see the complementary article titled “Daniel 9:27 And The Confirmation Of The Covenant – A Peace Treaty?” for an in-depth examination of Daniel’s 70th week …

BookOfDanielOne of the most commonly held positions by many premillennial Christians today asserts that the time leading up to the Second Coming of Christ will be immediately preceded by a seven-year “peace treaty” signed between Antichrist and Israel. While I had at one time held to this position myself, subsequent studies have lead me to conclude that there is no solid Biblical basis for this view, only interpretative assumptions. Years of personal study as it relates to Biblical eschatology has also made it apparent to me that, even though we’d all love to believe we have every aspect of the prophetic texts completely figured out, we still continue to see as through a glass darkly. With as many opinions regarding secondary doctrines as there are Christian denominations, one obvious reality is that there is not a single pastor or teacher or author who has a complete and perfect understanding of Scripture or that is free from error, myself included, indicating that one interpretative method or hermeneutical approach alone cannot provide all the answers that we so often seek as students of Scripture.

As brothers and sisters in Christ, we can vigorously debate secondary doctrines (these must never be allowed to divide us) yet remain united on the essentials of our faith. Recently, I had the pleasure of engaging in a spirited debate regarding the prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27 with Joel Richardson, author of “Mideast Beast” (which I highly recommend) and a brother in Christ whom I esteem highly. Following our debate, Joel felt it was necessary to defend the view which posits an upcoming seven-year peace treaty between Israel and Antichrist by writing a subsequent article titled “The Antichrist’s False Peace Treaty” and offering a number of reasons why he believed it to be a sound, tenable position. What I present to you, however, are reasons why I believe it is not.

In his article, Joel begins sharing reasons why he believes in a seven-year peace treaty by writing that:

The notion of Israel entering into a deceptive covenant with the Antichrist is inferred in several other passages, but is directly referred to by Isaiah:

Therefore, hear the word of the LORD, O scoffers, who rule this people who are in Jerusalem, because you have said, “We have made a covenant with death, and with Sheol we have made a pact. The overwhelming scourge will not reach us when it passes by, for we have made falsehood our refuge and we have concealed ourselves with deception. Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, a costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed.’ … Your covenant with death will be canceled, and your pact with Sheol will not stand; When the overwhelming scourge passes through, then you become its trampling place. (Isaiah 28:14-16, 18)

One question we should ask ourselves when reading this portion of Isaiah is whether or not a seven-year peace treaty is mentioned in the text. From the passage itself, it is evident that no such peace treaty is mentioned. In order for one to see a seven-year peace treaty in this chapter, one must first assume a seven-year peace treaty to begin with and then superimpose it into Isaiah’s words. Given the context of Isaiah 28 itself, however, what can be ascertained is the fact that Isaiah is referring to the sin of Ephraim’s false “priests and prophets” who have rejected God and have stumbled in their drunkenness and pride. (Ephraim is completely left out of the list of the 12 tribes of Israel in Revelation 7 because of their disbelief and idolatry, cf. Deut 29:18-21; Hosea 5:9, 11). Isaiah later describes Ephraim’s religious leaders in Jerusalem as making a “covenant with death” — a rejection of God that is in stark contrast to the “covenant of peace and life” made between God and the priests of Levi in Malachi 2:5 who revered and feared the Lord. The rebellion of Ephraim in Isaiah 28 would see them become like a fading flower, for in rejecting God’s covenant these so-called “priests and the prophets” deceived themselves through false visions and stumbling judgments into believing that the wages of their sin would not scourge them. The wages of sin, of course, have always been — and will always be — death.

Satan had the power of death (Hebrews 2:14) and for Ephraim’s religious leaders to reject the Father of Heaven was to embrace the Father of Lies (cf. John 8:44). Fortunately, God sent us His Truth. He sent Messiah — the Cornerstone that the builders rejected (Psalm 118:22) and the Rock of our Salvation (1 Corinthians 10:4) — who would swallow up death and be victorious over it, promising all those who believe in the covenant that He Himself confirmed with His blood (Matthew 26:28) to never taste the death of which He speaks (John 3:16; John 8:52). In my opinion, this appears to be the ultimate focus of Isaiah 28, not a false seven-year peace treaty with Antichrist.

1 Corinthians 15:55-57, “Death, where is your sting? She’ol, where is your victory? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Yeshua the Messiah” (HNV).

Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Messiah Yeshua our Lord” (HNV).

Elsewhere, Isaiah reveals that after being scourged and trampled, Israel will repent of their misplaced trust. No longer will they trust or rely on the Antichrist (which this passage in Isaiah refers to as “the Assyrian”) for their security. Instead “in that day” they will rely solely on the Lord:

Now in that day the remnant of Israel, and those of the house of Jacob who have escaped, will never again rely on the one who struck them, but will truly rely on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel. (Isaiah 10:20)

Any imagined scenario of the future that is informed by Scripture must include the reality that Israel will come to “rely on the one who struck them.”

As before, there is no mention of a seven-year peace treaty in the text, only an assumed treaty that is once again superimposed into it. The emphasis in the above quote to “never again rely on the one who struck them” itself assumes that to “rely” on “the Assyrian” must somehow mean that a seven-year peace treaty had already been signed between Israel and Antichrist and subsequently broken. But the text says no such thing and need not be the case at all. In fact, for the sake of argument, it could very easily mean to rely or depend upon “the Assyrian” in the sense that they were hoping to make peace with him, not that they had already experienced a broken seven-year peace deal before. The Islamic nations and terror organizations surrounding Israel have repeatedly struck against the Jewish state time and again, and continue with plans to do so again this very minute, even after the Camp David and Oslo accords. Yet because of regional realities, Israel is today still being forced to rely on the surrounding “Religion of Peace” nations to actually agree to peace year after year. Israel has no other choice right now but to depend on genocidal enemies who wish nothing more than the complete and total destruction of the Jewish state. As these nations continue to grow increasingly hostile toward Israel, it is also becoming increasingly clear that they will never agree to peace with Israel. True peace will only be achieved when Christ returns as Deliverer:

Micah 5:2,5, “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity… This One will be our peace. When the Assyrian invades our land, When he tramples on our citadels …”

Romans 11:26, “And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: ‘The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob‘”

Next, the article likens the punishing “flood” that Ephraim is promised to suffer in Isaiah 28 to the “flood” of Revelation 12:15 and Daniel 9:26, even though he agrees that words must be scrutinized more closely in their immediate contexts. While the “flood” of Daniel 9:26 could be equated with the “flood” of Revelation 12:15 contextually they cannot be equated with the flood of Isaiah 28, notwithstanding the fact that Ephraim is completely left out of the list of the tribes of Israel in Revelation 7.

So also does Paul refer to the misplaced trust Israel will place in the covenant with the Antichrist just before the time of Jacob’s Trouble (labor pains):

While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. (1 Thessalonians 5:3)

If Scripture does not teach that Israel will engage in a deceptive covenant or peace treaty, then where did Paul get this idea that just before the birth pains (Jacob’s Trouble – the last 3.5 years) Israel would be saying, “Peace and Safety” (or alternately “peace and security)?

The quote above presumes that it is Israel who is saying “peace and safety.” In my humble opinion, this is a common misconception. 1 Thessalonians 5:3 is quoted, but it is the previous verse that identifies when the destruction happens, and thus upon whom the destruction comes. While “Allah” and his false “prophet” are themselves responsible for the never-ending death and destruction running rampant all throughout the Muslim world, the Muslim world blames Israel as the primary source of all the ills that plague them, a claim often echoed by Islamic clerics and Muslim leaders worldwide. They have deceived themselves into believing that in order for there to be peace and safety anywhere upon the earth Israel must first be destroyed. And “peace and safety” (or alternately “peace and security”) is precisely what Israel’s enemies expect to finally achieve as they are gathering together under “Allah’s” divine mandate to come up against Jerusalem, anticipating that Israel will finally be a nation no more in fulfillment of their own false Islamic “prophecies.” But it is not “Allah” that will be gathering them. It is Yahweh. And it is not Israel that will be destroyed. It will be them:

1 Thessalonians 5:2-6, “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when THEY shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon THEM, as travail upon a woman with child; and THEY shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as [do] others; but let us watch and be sober.”

Verse 2 puts the destruction as occurring on the day of the Lord, which occurs at the Second Coming of Christ according to Scripture. A future seven-year tribulation, however, would require that we stretch the day of the Lord to include the entire seven years, despite the fact that there are passages that absolutely forbid the day of the Lord from overlapping into the tribulation. The two are mutually exclusive. Here are five examples (courtesy of Tim Warner):

1. Throughout the Old Testament, very specific “celestial signs” are associated with the coming of the Day of the Lord. The darkening of the sun and moon will usher in that day (Isa 13:9,10, Isa 24:19-23, Joel 3:13-15). Here is one example.

Joel 2:31, “The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD.

Matthew 24:29, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”

These verses establish a clear sequence of events. They place the cosmic signs, the darkening of the sun and moon, between the end of the tribulation and the beginning of the day of the Lord. This absolutely forbids any overlapping of the tribulation into the day of the Lord. They are distinct events. No other interpretation is possible.

2. The very first time the day of the Lord is mentioned in the Bible, the text clearly forbids associating it with the tribulation. Isaiah describes the “day of the Lord” as follows:

Isaiah 2:10-19, “Enter into the rock, and hide in the dust, From the terror of the LORD And the glory of His majesty. The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, The haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, And the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. For the day of the LORD of hosts Shall come upon everything proud and lofty, Upon everything lifted up — And it shall be brought low — Upon all the cedars of Lebanon that are high and lifted up, And upon all the oaks of Bashan; Upon all the high mountains, And upon all the hills that are lifted up; Upon every high tower, And upon every fortified wall; Upon all the ships of Tarshish, And upon all the beautiful sloops. The loftiness of man shall be bowed down, And the haughtiness of men shall be brought low; The LORD alone will be exalted in that day, But the idols He shall utterly abolish. They shall go into the holes of the rocks, And into the caves of the earth, From the terror of the LORD And the glory of His majesty, When He arises to shake the earth mightily.”

Twice these verses indicate that the Lord alone will be exalted in the Day of the Lord. This is an exclusive statement. No one else can be exalted or worshipped during the day of the Lord. Yet, during the tribulation, Antichrist is worshipped as God (Rev 13:3-8,14, 2 Thess 2:4) and the image of the Beast will be worshipped as well. Isaiah’s statements about the Lord alone being exalted, and the idols being abolished during the day of the Lord forbids any overlapping with the tribulation and reign of Antichrist.

3. Zechariah 14:7 indicates that the day of the Lord may just be one literal day. The Hebrew text says “one day”:

Zechariah 14:1,7, “Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee… But it shall be one day (echad yowm) which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, [that] at evening time it shall be light.”

Also see Isaiah 10:17:

Isaiah 10:17, “And the light of Israel shall be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame: and it shall burn and devour his thorns and his briers in one day (echad yowm)”

4. In Isaiah 13:9, Joel 2:1 and Zech 14:1 we read in each of these verses that “the day of the Lord cometh”, and in each verse the text immediately begins to describe the battle of Armageddon. The word “cometh” or “at hand” is the Hebrew word “bow” and it means “to come” or “arrive”, and it implies the beginning of the day of the Lord. In each case the arrival of the day of the Lord brings about the battle of Armageddon.

5. Joel 3:9-17 describes the gathering of the armies of the nations around Jerusalem for the battle of Armageddon, the cosmic signs, and the coming of the Lord. After the armies are gathered, but before the cosmic signs, Joel wrote that the day of the Lord is “near.” The Hebrew word means “at hand,” “imminent,” or “next in sequence”. The day of the Lord must begin after the surrounding nations are gathered for the battle, which occurs at the end of the tribulation, according to Revelation 16:13-16.

Those who believe in a future seven-years of tribulation assume that Israel is the one saying “peace and safely” years earlier than the day of the Lord, essentially stretching the day of the Lord into a seven-year tribulation which scripture absolutely forbids, as we can see above. But it will be the enemies of Israel who will be the ones declaring “peace and safety” immediately prior to the day of the Lord, the day in which sudden destruction comes upon them. It is impossible for Israel to be declaring “peace and safety” while she is being attacked and surrounded on all sides. Consider some of the following recent quotes, for instance, which are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg:

Turkey’s Erdoğan Blames Israel for Mideast Insecurity, Calls Israel A Threat To Middle East Peace – “Turkey’s prime minister stepped up criticism of Israel on Wednesday and scoffed at remarks by Israel’s prime minister, a sign of escalating distrust between the Jewish state and its only ally in the Muslim world… Erdogan told reporters in Paris that he perceived Israel as the principal threat to Middle East peace…” Read more.

Pakistani Cleric: World Peace Will Be Established Only When All The Jews Are Wiped From The Earth – “Pakistani cleric Pirzada Muhammad Raza Saqib Mustafai argued that world peace will be established only when all the Jews are wiped out from the earth. In the video entitled ‘Yahodi Islam Kay Aur Aman Kay Asal Dushman Hain’ (Jews Are the Real Enemy of Islam and Peace), Muhammad Raza Saqib Mustafai states: ‘And all the troubles that exist around the world are because of the Jews. When the Jews are wiped out, then the world would be purified and the sun of peace would begin to rise on the entire world.’” Read more.

Ground Zero Mosque Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf: For Peace Israel Must Be Destroyed – “Imam Rauf stated that there will not be peace until Israel ceases to exist. He says that Israel is destined to collapse and ‘In a true peace, Israel will, in our lifetimes, become one more Arab country, with a Jewish minority.’ To this day, Rauf has not said that Israel has a right to exist and has chosen to work with those dedicated to the country’s elimination.” Read more.

Former President of the Palestinian Authority, Yasser Arafat: Peace For Us Means Israel’s Destruction – “We shall never stop until we can go back home and Israel is destroyed… The goal of our struggle is the end of Israel, and there can be no compromises or mediations… the goal of this violence is the elimination of Zionism from Palestine in all its political, economic and military aspects… Peace for us means Israel’s destruction and nothing else.” Read more.

“For World Peace, Israel Must Be Destroyed” – “‘It is time, Brothers and Sisters, for Al Quds [Jerusalem] to be liberated. For Islam and people of the world who wish to pray there to the one God. And we say here today to you Israel, we see your crimes and we loathe your crimes. And to us your nation does not exist, because it is a criminal injustice against humanity. We want to see Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt go to the borders and stop this now. Liberate Al Quds! March to Al Quds!’” Read more.

Iran: World Forces Must Strive To Annihilate Israel To ‘Solve All The World’s Problems’ – “In a speech published on his website Thursday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the ultimate goal of world forces must be the annihilation of Israel… Ahmadinejad added that ‘liberating Palestine’ would solve all the world’s problems … ‘Qods Day is not merely a strategic solution for the Palestinian problem, as it is to be viewed as a key for solving the world problems … Anyone who loves freedom and justice must strive for the annihilation of the Zionist regime in order to pave the way for world justice and freedom.’” Read more.

Hamas MP: ‘The Jews Are Behind Each And Every Catastrophe On The Face Of The Earth’ – “The Jews are behind each and every catastrophe on the face of the Earth. This is not open to debate. This is not a temporal thing, but goes back to days of yore. They concocted so many conspiracies and betrayed rulers and nations so many times that the people harbor hatred towards them. Throughout history — from Nebuchadnezzar until modern times… They slayed the prophets, and so on. Any catastrophe on the face of this Earth — the Jews must be behind it.” Read more.

Elsewhere, Daniel also speaks of the Antichrist’s use of deceptive peace promises to attain power:

“And through his shrewdness he will cause deceit to succeed by his influence; and he will magnify himself in his heart, and he will destroy many while they are at ease (or feel secure). (Daniel 8:25)

In my opinion, “feeling secure” in no way necessitates that a seven-year peace deal be signed. A friend of mine visited Israel not too long ago and enjoyed it greatly. Israel has prospered and grown immensely since its rebirth and restoration in 1948. Sure, there are certain areas that are under constant watch due to terror threats from Islamic militants (just as there are in the United States and other countries), but overall Israel is a safe place to visit and the defensive wall separating Israel from the Palestinians has reduced suicide bombings by 90%+, so much so that Israel has been able to reduce the amount of soldiers required on security deployments. They feel secure. In fact, I’d be much more at ease visiting virtually any city in Israel than I would visiting many American cities.

“According to a study conducted by the University of Haifa’s Center for the Study of Crime, Law & Society, Israel’s murder rate is one of the world’s lowest, which shows the murder rate in Israel is declining. The murder rate per 100,000 residents has remained virtually unchanged over the past 28 years, and has declined during the past few years. The study says that the crime rates have to be examined in relation to the population size. From this perspective, the research shows that the number of murders per 100,000 people was 2.35 in 1980 and 2.29 in 2006. This data is low compared to other countries. For instance, in Russia, the number of murders per 100,000 people was 18 in 2004, and in the United States, the number of murders per 100,000 people was 7.5 during the same year.” (The Jerusalem Post, June 26, 2008)

Israel is the most secure nation in the Middle East. But, if conditions and events on the ground are any indication, a threat is looming on the horizon. Not a peace treaty.

In conclusion, the idea that the Antichrist will confirm or forcefully make a covenant with Israel does not depend on Daniel 9:27, but is in fact well established in other portions of Scripture.

I respectfully beg to differ with my friend on this topic for a number of reasons:

1. The word “covenant” in Daniel 9 is used in a Messianic context. This suggests that the “covenant” is between God and man, not between nations. Additionally, the word “gabar” in Daniel 9:27 suggests that a covenant already in place is what is strengthened (which would be the Abrahamic covenant), not that a new one is created. How can a covenant be strengthened if it doesn’t already exist?

2. What good is a watchman if they know precisely when destruction is coming yet, instead of telling people to leave in advance, only tells them to flee once it is nearly too late? In Matthew 24:15-20, Jesus tells his readers to flee immediately when they see the Abomination of Desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel. Why doesn’t Jesus tell His readers to look for the “seven-year peace treaty” to make sure they were out of harm’s way before the Abomination was set up in the middle of it? Since a seven-year peace treaty would be as observable as any Abomination that causes desolation, would it not have made perfect sense for Jesus to give His readers ample time by instructing them to flee certain trouble up ahead rather than waiting until the last possible moment? If a seven-year peace treaty were in fact true then it certainly begs such questions. But telling them to wait until they see the Abomination that is so horrendous they can’t even return to their homes to retrieve a single item because their very lives now hung in the balance makes absolutely no sense if they could have left much earlier. This seems to point to one inescapable conclusion: Jesus did not mention the “seven-year peace treaty” because no seven-year peace treaty will ever exist.

3. It makes little sense that an Islamic Antichrist, already able to “destroy the city and the sanctuary” (Daniel 9:26), would then develop a sudden change of heart and decide to forcefully impose a seven-year peace treaty with Israel — the very nation that Islam seeks to destroy today — particularly when “the end thereof shall be with a flood” after seeing the city and sanctuary destroyed. If “the end thereof shall be with a flood” of wars and desolations, how can there be “peace” for a full 50% of the time remaining until the Second Coming of Christ?

4. The Hebrew text of Daniel 9:27 says that He confirms the covenant “one” week, not in the sense that the covenant itself only lasts for the duration of “one week”, but rather that the confirmation of the covenant is what happens in the one week. The Hebrew text says “gabar bĕriyth rab echad shabuwa” which means “strengthen covenant many one week”. We cannot say dogmatically that the covenant is confirmed “for” one week (7-years) since “for” isn’t in the original Hebrew text, even though the full futurist view absolutely requires it. Some translations like the Lexham English Bible and the Darby Translation put the word “for” in brackets to let the reader know it isn’t in the original. I understand the need to insert something in there to improve the syntactical or linguistic flow/readability of our receptor language, but we need to be aware that it could just as easily be “in one week” or “for the one week” every bit as much as “for one week.” The LXX renders Daniel 9:27 to say “And one week shall establish the covenant with many”. Douay-Rheims says “And he shall confirm the covenant with many, in one week”. Young’s Literal Translation says “he hath strengthened a covenant with many — one week.”

In conclusion, it is my firm conviction that Isaiah never speaks of a seven-year peace treaty between Israel and the Islamic world. The expectation of “peace and safety” not being declared until the end of tribulation by Israel’s enemies suggests no peace will ever exist between Israel and the Islamic world. The fact that “covenant” in Daniel 9:27 is being used in a Messianic context suggests no peace will exist between Israel and the Islamic world. The fact that Christ pointed to the Abomination of Desolation that takes place in the middle of a supposed seven-year peace treaty and not the peace treaty itself suggests no peace will ever exist between Israel and the Islamic world. The fact that Antichrist will destroy the city and the sanctuary and that wars and desolations would then come like a flood per Danial 9:26 suggests no peace will ever exist between Israel and the Islamic world. Finally, given the fact that we have the 7 weeks plus the 62 weeks plus the 1 week certainly suggests that the covenant is strengthened “during” or “in” or “for the” one week, not “for one week” in the sense that it only lasts for 7 years. The full futurist doctrine that posits a seven-year peace treaty is built around a word (“for”) that isn’t even in the original Hebrew text. Obviously, this is not the best pillar upon which to build an entire doctrine.  But a word that is in the original Hebrew — “gabar” — suggests a covenant that already exists is what is strengthened (the Abrahamic covenant), not that a new covenant is created. Something cannot be strengthened if it does not already exist. When all is said and done, the partial-futurist position that I hold (that we are only waiting upon 3.5 years of great tribulation and not 7-years of tribulation) does not depend upon the understanding that the covenant must be confirmed “during” the one week. The position of hyper-futurists, however, absolutely requires that it be “for” one week, otherwise it crumbles. But don’t take my word for it. Do what all good Bereans must do: Test everything in light of Scripture, and hold fast that which is good …

2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness …”

Daniel 9:27, “Then he shall confirm a covenant [‘the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ’ (Gal 3:17)] with many [‘this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many’ (Matt 26:28)] for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering [‘For the law … can never with these same sacrifices … make those who approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered?’ (Heb 10:1-2)][<– Christ | Antichrist –>] And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate. [‘when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel … then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again (Matt 25:15,21)].”

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Update: December 11, 2013

Joel Richardson has updated his article in response to my critique. I’ll take a moment to comment briefly:

To be fair, my article never says or even infers that Isaiah mentioned “a seven-year peace treaty.” In the world of debate, this is called a straw man argument. It involves misrepresenting your opponent or their argument in a way that is very easy to tear down (like a straw man), and then proceeding to do so.

Brother Richardson’s article did not say that Isaiah 28 wrote about “a seven-year peace treaty” specifically, I agree. However, I disagree strongly that his position is misrepresented by a straw man argument. The reason why is very simple. My friend’s article began by specifically stating that: “Most premillennialists hold that the beginning of the final seven years before the return of Jesus will be marked by some form of deceptively made ‘peace treaty’ or covenant between the Antichrist and the leadership of Israel. Opponents of this view argue that this belief is only found in Daniel 9:27 and no where else. This claim, as we will see, is simply false.” Thus the article itself infers that what it believes to be a seven-year peace treaty in Daniel 9:27 is found elsewhere in Scripture. In the very next paragraph, we read that: “The notion of Israel entering into a deceptive covenant with the Antichrist is inferred in several other passages, but is directly referred to by Isaiah.” Even though Isaiah does not say “a seven-year peace treaty” in those exact words, anyone reading the first two paragraphs of the article alone is given the distinct impression that this is exactly what Isaiah was referring to. No straw man argument was required.

The word used in the text is “covenant”. It is referring to a vey well know historical security alliance that Judah made with Egypt. Instead of acknowledging the historical context of the passage, MW limits the meaning to a mere “rejection of God”. MW states that the meaning of the passage concerns Ephraim’s sins

Even though there existed an historical alliance between Judah and Egypt, Isaiah 28 uses the example of Ephraim to demonstrate the consequence of sin, the futility of rebellion, yet gives the hope of Messiah. In my humble opinion, the context of Isaiah 28 is not merely speaking of a “covenant” between nations, but rather the breaking of a covenant that existed between God and Ephraim. If Isaiah was merely referring to a covenant or security alliance between nations, then why does he point to Christ (Isaiah 28:16-17), the One whom Malachi calls the “messenger of the Covenant” (Malachi 3:1)? “God is speaking to scoffers and boasters when He refers to the Cornerstone — His precious Son — who provides the firm foundation for their lives, if they would but trust in Him. Isaiah uses construction terminology (measuring line and plumb line) to make his point; these are things the people would understand.” (Read more at Got Questions.org). Instead of a covenant with God, they made a “covenant with death” and an “agreement with Sheol” (the grave), but God promises that this covenant with death would one day be annulled (implying, it seems, by a covenant that would never be annulled) and that the agreement with Sheol would be broken (Isaiah 28:18). When Christ confirmed the covenant with His blood for the remission of sins (Matthew 26:28) it was final. Even the law “cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ” (Galatians 3:17). Death no longer had its sting, Sheol no longer its victory (1 Corinthians 15:55-57).

Ephraim is not one of the twelve tribes. Ephraim is not one of Jacob’s 12 sons. Ephraim and Manasseh were the two sons of Joseph.

Ephraim was indeed considered one of the 12 tribes. Joel is, of course, correct that Jacob had 12 sons (Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, Gad and Asher) and that Joseph had two sons (Manasseh and Ephraim). According to Genesis 48:5-6, however, the reason for Ephraim (and Manasseh) being full tribes is due to the fact that Jacob adopted them as if they were his very own sons:

Genesis 48:5-6, “And now your two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine. Your offspring whom you beget after them shall be yours; they will be called by the name of their brothers in their inheritance.”

This is vital. Both Ephraim and Manasseh are now Jacob’s sons, thus the 12 tribes of Israel are: Reuben, Simeon, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Ephraim, Manasseh, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, Gad and Asher. Levi was not given an inheritance (Joshua 13:14). This is precisely how the 12 tribes of Israel are listed in Numbers 1:

Numbers 1:1-16, “Now the LORD spoke to Moses in the Wilderness of Sinai … ‘Take a census of all the congregation of the children of Israel, by their families, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of names, every male individually, from twenty years old and above—all who are able to go to war in Israel. You and Aaron shall number them by their armies. And with you there shall be a man from every tribe, each one the head of his father’s house. These are the names of the men who shall stand with you: from Reuben, Elizur the son of Shedeur; from Simeon, Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai; from Judah, Nahshon the son of Amminadab; from Issachar, Nethanel the son of Zuar; from Zebulun, Eliab the son of Helon; from the sons of Joseph: from Ephraim, Elishama the son of Ammihud; from Manasseh, Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur; from Benjamin, Abidan the son of Gideoni; from Dan, Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai; from Asher, Pagiel the son of Ocran; from Gad, Eliasaph the son of Deuel; from Naphtali, Ahira the son of Enan.’ These were chosen from the congregation, leaders of their fathers’ tribes, heads of the divisions in Israel.”

The reason that Ephraim is not included in Rev. 7 is simply because Ephraim is not one of the 12 tribes.

If Ephraim was not included in Revelation 7 simply because Ephraim was not one of the 12 tribes, then why is Manasseh included? If it was simply to replace Dan, why would Manasseh replace Dan and not Ephraim when it was Ephraim who was given favor?

Genesis 48:13-14, 20, “And Joseph took them both, Ephraim with his right hand toward Israel’s left hand, and Manasseh with his left hand toward Israel’s right hand, and brought them near him. Then Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on Ephraim’s head, who was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh’s head, guiding his hands knowingly, for Manasseh was the firstborn… So he blessed them that day, saying, ‘By you Israel will bless, saying, ‘May God make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh!’ ’ And thus he set Ephraim before Manasseh.”

As we can see above, Ephraim was one of the 12 tribes and is even acknowledged as such by the Lord Himself. Jacob adopted both Ephraim and Manasseh. They are his and therefore received all the inheritance that a natural son would received. God does the same for us when He adopts us into His family through Christ (Ephesians 2). So the question remains, why was Ephraim not included in Revelation 7, but Manasseh was? Given the fact that the “144,000” are sealed servants of God, I think a very good reason why is due to Ephraim’s disbelief and idolatry. This condition does not exist in those who follow Christ:

Hosea 5:9-11, “Ephraim shall be desolate in the day of rebuke; among the tribes of Israel I make known what is sure… Ephraim is oppressed and broken in judgment, because he willingly walked by human precept.”

Hosea 13:1, “When Ephraim spoke, trembling, he exalted himself in Israel; but when he offended through Baal worship, he died.”

The only tribe not included in Revelation 7 is the tribe of Dan. Manasseh fills his place.

Why is Dan not included? Likely for the same reason as Ephraim. See Judges 18.

The notion that Ephraim is forever rejected, as MW seems to infer by repeatedly stating that they are not included in Rev. 7 is simply refuted by the fact that Ezekiel 37 makes clear that the future unification of “Ephraim” and Judah will take place in the Messianic Kingdom at the resurrection.

Ephraim is not forever rejected, evidenced by Ezekiel 37, as Joel correctly notes. As Coffman’s Commentary of Ezekiel 37 points out, however, “It is significant here that God through Ezekiel did not recognize Ephraim as ‘the Israel of God,’ a title that Ephraim had arrogantly usurped for themselves. He appeared here in his true status as Ephraim with whom certain tribes of Israel were associated. Judah, through whom the great Davidic king would come, was always the true center of the ancient Israel, not Ephraim.” As my article titled “The 144,000 and the Great Multitude – It’s Not What You May Think” points out, the list of the 12 tribes as they appear in Revelation 7 reveal who the Israel of God is.

Not only does MW fail to recognize the difference between the two kingdoms, but he also fails to see the two subjects of chapter 28. Verses 1-13 relate to Ephraim, while verse 14 shifts to speaking about Judah, the Southern Kingdom. The prophetic warning is directed specifically to the rulers of Jerusalem … The “covenant” spoken of in Isaiah 28 is made between the rulers of Judah and Egypt. Ephraim has nothing to do with this portion of the chapter.”

The entire oracle was spoken in the hope that Ephraim’s fall would serve as Judah’s warning, so it seems to me that Judah is addressed from about verses 5 to 13, or possibly 9 to 13. In my view, both are addressed from verse 14 onward. Regardless, my focus is upon the assertion that the covenant of Daniel 9 is spoken of (or equated with) the covenant mentioned in Isaiah 28. Both of these chapters ultimately point to Messiah (Daniel 9:24-27; Isaiah 28:18).

Isaiah 28:14, 16, 18,  “Therefore, hear the word of the LORD, O scoffers, who rule this people who are in Jerusalem … ‘Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, a costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed’ … Your covenant with death will be canceled, and your pact with Sheol will not stand …”

Acts 4:10-11, “[L]et it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’”

Sadly, more outright straw man arguments [regarding MW’s response to Isaiah 10:20]. I never claim that this passage infers a seven year peace treaty. I simply hold that the passage is (1) prophetic and (2) the historical background concerns a security pact, treaty or alliance. Again, anyone can consult any number of solid commentaries on this passage to confirm this.

Again, no straw man argument was needed. Joel’s article specifically stated in the opening paragraphs that: “The notion of Israel entering into a deceptive covenant with the Antichrist is inferred in several other passages, but is directly referred to by Isaiah.” Which “covenant” is Joel referring to? The seven-year peace treaty he believes will be signed between Israel and Antichrist.

Despite the fact that virtually all premillennialists, including the earliest Church writers very much disagree that verse 27 is Messianic (we believe it refers to the Antichrist, who abominates and desolates the Temple) MW never says, “in my opinion” or includes any such qualifier. It simply is Messianic because MW says it is. For those who are not informed about the historical debates surrounding this passage, such comments can be very misleading.

Joel is right, I should state “in my opinion” in areas where we differ. I should also point out, however, something that is not my opinion, but is fact. Teaching the 70th Week of Daniel as still awaiting a full future fulfillment was largely popularized relatively recently, aside from Ireneaus and his student Hippolytus who put a date on Christ’s second coming around 500 AD that has long since come and gone (I presume this is who Brother Joel is referring to when he says “including the earliest Church writers”). The belief that it was anyone other than Christ who confirmed the covenant of Daniel 9:27 is virtually nonexistent prior to the 19th century. We can verify this by reading any pre-19th century books on the matter. If there are any, I will acknowledge it. To date, however, I have not seen any.

The word gabar simply means strong or firm. Once again, MW doesn’t even acknowledge that there are a few very solid possible options as to how to interpret this verse. Some scholars say that it means that “he” will confirm a covenant, as MW holds, while many others understand it to mean that he will, through strength, actually enforce a covenant. Some say that he will make a strong covenant.

I concede with Joel that there are other options. But it means more than just strong or firm. It also means to make strong, to strengthen, to prevail. The word “gabar” has only three Hebrew letters which are, from right to left, the following Paleo Pictograph characters:

Gimmel = Foot or burden-bearer, to gather, carry away.
Beyt = the House of Israel.
Resh = the head of a man, first, beginning, chief ruler.

A Messianic Jew named Maria Merola of Double Portion Inheritance points out that the word “gabar” paints a picture of the Messiah who is the “gimmel” גָּ the one who “bore the burdens” (Psalm 55:22; Isaiah 14:25; Jeremiah 23:33-38; Matthew 11:30) for the “beyt,” בַ the House of Israel, and is the chief ruler, the “resh” ר for the “government shall be upon his shoulder.” Merola also notes that the Hebrew word for “shoulder” in Isaiah 9:6 is “shekem” which literally means “the neck between the shoulders as the place of burdens.” The word “gabar” is therefore synonymous with the words “strengthen” and “prevail.” Thus, as Merola also points out, we could accurately read Daniel 9:27 as, “And he shall strengthen the covenant with MANY for one week …”. If Daniel 9:27 was describing Antichrist, confirming (or strengthening) a covenant with Israel would necessitate that there would already be a covenant in place.

Moreover, “From a grammatical standpoint the pronoun ‘he’ must refer to its antecedent. If we do this it will be immediately plain that it means the Messiah. This will be apparent if we quote the passage again from the 25th verse and connect up the main events pertaining to the Messiah and leave the portion pertaining to the ‘prince’ to its proper place at the end of the chapter. Quote: ‘Know therefore and understand that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto MESSIAH the Prince shall be seven weeks and threescore and two weeks . . . and after the threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off . . . and He, (the Messiah) shall confirm the covenant with many for one week.’ You will notice mention is made of seven weeks plus sixty-two weeks and last of all one week. This accounts for all seventy. It is after the sixty-ninth week that Messiah is cut off. That fact definitely places it in the seventieth week—that last remaining week of the prophecy. It was during this week that Christ did confirm His covenant with many according to Matt. 26:26-28. On this solemn occasion Christ instituted the most sacred of Christian ordinances, the Lord’s Supper, saying, ‘This is My blood of THE NEW TESTAMENT (literally covenant), which is shed for MANY for the remission of sins.’

Conclusive Proof Links Christ With the Covenant. The death of Christ very definitely instituted the New and Everlasting Covenant, and Christ emphatically confirmed that covenant with many during the three and a half years of His ministry on earth. Even the words of Daniel are almost identical with those of Matthew — ‘He shall confirm the covenant with many’ — ‘this is My blood of the New Testament which is shed for many.’

The evidence is very conclusive. There are 281 references to ‘covenant’ in the Scriptures according to Young’s Analytical Concordance. Not one of these references in any way introduces the idea of a covenant between the Jews and the Anti-Christ. ‘There is not a hint anywhere that such a covenant is suggested, intended, proposed or prophesied at any time. Concerning the covenant between the believers and the Messiah there are many scores of such references. They are found in almost every book in the Bible. The reason is because when the Jews broke the Old Covenant, (see Jer. 31:31-33) then God purposed to make a new and everlasting covenant with His people. Consequently all the prophets refer to it and Daniel foretold that it would be ratified in the 70th week of his prophecy. cp. Heb. 8:7-10.

Even more convincing is the testimony supplied by the Hebrew word for Covenant used in the phrase, ‘He shall confirm the covenant.’ The word for covenant is ‘Bereeth’ according to the Pulpit Commentary ; it is spelled ‘berith’ in Young’s Analytical Concordance. In the Pulpit Commentary, Vol. 29, p. 275, a lengthy exposition points out that ‘Bereeth’ is only used in connection with a Divine Covenant. It is never used to designate a ‘league’ with any other power or force but is always reserved to describe a covenant between God and man. For that reason the covenant cannot apply to anyone except the Messiah. It cannot possibly describe a covenant with the Anti-Christ or any political group involving apostate Jews.” Read more at Historicist.com.

In conclusion, beyond the fairly significant historical and textual errors (ie. confusing the northern and southern kingdoms, and failing to acknowledge the context of the passage as one of a well known historical security alliance), there are also the various straw man arguments

I should have made it more clear that my focus was not upon the history, but upon the theology. If I was not clear enough, the fault is mine.

I would also qualify this discussion by pointing out the my primary reason for arguing my position as I do is because those who interpret verse 27 as Messianic also use this same argument as the basis for replacement theology, a theology that I find outright demonic.

Though I wouldn’t classify replacement theology as “demonic” I am in complete agreement with my friend Joel regarding the err of replacement theology and in fact take it one step further by also rejecting the notion that the New Testament church alone is the Bride of Christ. From what I read in Scripture, it is believing Israel that is the Bride, not the NT church alone. Although I do not adhere to traditional dispensationalism (that replaces the Bride with the NT Church), I also do not adhere to covenant theology that replaces Israel with the Church. I adhere much more closely to progressive dispensationalism because, as Gentile believers, we do not replace the Bride, believing Israel. Rather, we are grafted in to the commonwealth of Israel and are now fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built together as one body per Ephesians 2. In my view, the traditional dispensational understanding is therefore itself another form of replacement theology, which I reject in all its forms. At the end of the day, we should not view believing Jews as being a part of the Church because they believe in Jesus, but rather it is we as Gentiles who are now a part of the Church because we believe in Yeshua.

I am not saying that MW holds to replacement theology, but his hermeneutic of spiritualizing very literal passages is precisely the method used by replacement theologians.

Replacement theology over-spiritualizes many portions of Scripture while ignoring the plain and straightforward teachings of others, such as Ephesians 2. It is my belief, however, that one interpretative method or hermeneutical approach alone cannot provide all the answers that we so often ask as students of Biblical eschatology.

As I replied to a comment yesterday below, given what has happened throughout history to the nation of Israel and to the Church and what is now happening today within the epicenter of prophecy, I decided to approach Scripture in a way similar to those who’ve now developed Progressive Dispensationalism — a refinement of the older Traditional Dispensationalism — by studying other views to appropriate more of a “complementary” or “correlative” hermeneutical framework. By not being confined to one narrow view and carefully studying the work of others and understanding why they believed what they believed, we can adopt what merit other positions have to augment our own understanding. Although some who staunchly maintain a certain eschatological paradigm may feel somewhat apprehensive with this approach much like a Traditional Dispensationalist, for instance, would reject the approach of a Progressive Dispensationalist, keeping the good meat of other views and spitting out the bones does seem to provide answers that other positions in and of themselves do not fully address as it relates to Bible prophecy.

We’ll agree to disagree. It’s ok to not always agree on every point and to have differences of opinion. Truth be told, that’s why Brother Joel is an author, because “Mideast Beast” (which I highly recommend) was a view that was different from the mainstream. And authors rely on differences of opinion.

Update 2: December 12, 2013

Brother Joel has updated his article again, perhaps in response to mine. Instead of saying that Ephraim “was not one of the twelve tribes” he now notes that Ephraim was not one of the “original” twelve tribes. I’m not sure what he means by “original.” Joseph never received a tribe, so the original twelve tribes always included Ephraim as one of the twelve. There is a difference between the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve sons of Israel.  At any rate, I’ll try to be brief in addressing a few more of his points.

MW’s view although not entirely his (it has also been articulated by 119 Ministries and a few others) is a relatively new view and somewhat unique in that while it is technically Premillennilalist it relies on arguments that are typically made by Amillennialists or Preterists.

It is not just “technically” Premillennialist. It is completely Premillennialist. As for the understanding that it was Messiah who confirmed the covenant of Daniel 9:27, this is a view that has been held almost exclusively by the Church for the first 19 centuries. This is not new. The understanding, however, that the 70th week was “split” into two 3.5 year periods where the second period is still yet awaiting a future fulfillment was, to the best of my knowledge, introduced in the 16th century by Francisco Ribera. As for Amillennialism and Preterism (I prefer the term Historicism over Preterism), though I spit out much of what it teaches, it still has some meat worthy of a good chew.

Those who hold this view most often argue that the expectation of a seven year period is potentially setting up the Church for deception, as there are no genuine signs to look for prior to the Antichrist setting up the Abomination of Desolations.

Personally, I don’t think the Church will be deceived when the Abomination of Desolation is revealed. If there is any genuine sign to look for before the Second Coming, it would be the AoD, not a seven-year peace treaty.

It most often necessitates that the references to the Temple mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2:4, Rev. 11 and four times in Daniel (8:11-14, 9:27, 11:31 12:11) all be taken as spiritual and not literal. This despite the fact that there is no basis within any of these actual passages to understand them in a non-literal sense. Those who espouse this view most often look to various examples in the NT where of the Temple is used in a metaphorical sense as his basis to reinterpret the literal references in the NT to the Temple and retroactively reinterpret passages that speak of the Temple in the OT. The argument is that because the Temple is used in a spiritual sense in some passages, we may now go back and reinterpret passages that were always understood as literal and see them as spiritual. But this is the precisely the hermeneutic of replacement theology.

Remember, keep the meat and spit out the bones. Brother Joel evidently takes issue with separating replacement theology from the understanding that the temple in the eschaton is the Church. However, it needs to be understood that the temple being the Church is not an invention of replacement theology. This is how the temple today is defined for us in the New Testament. In fact, each and every single time the Apostle Paul speaks about the temple of God and uses the Greek word “naos” (G3485) in Scripture he is referring to believers both individually and collectively. He is referring to the Church:

1 Corinthians 3:16, “Do you not know that you are the temple [naos] of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”

1 Corinthians 3:17, “If anyone defiles the temple [naos] of God, God will destroy him. For the temple [naos] of God is holy, which temple you are.

1 Corinthians 6:19, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple [naos] of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?”

2 Corinthians 6:16, “And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple [naos] of the living God …”

Ephesians 2:19-22, “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple [naos] in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”

Even the Apostle Peter agrees in 1 Peter 2, the only time he ever refers to God’s temple:

1 Peter 2:4-5, “Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

Every time Paul refers to the temple as the Church he uses the word “naos” (G3485) and always calls it the temple of God or the temple of the Holy Spirit or an equivalent expression. In 2 Thessalonians 2:4 Paul again refers to the temple of God (“naos” ) which, as in each and every other usage of the expression, would in my opinion again be referring to the Church as it always had before, not a physical temple. According the position espoused by Brother Joel and other traditional dispensationalists, however, we’re now being told to believe that in 2 Thessalonians 2:4 Paul suddenly changes what he consistently referred to in previous epistles when speaking about the temple of God. But if Paul spoke of the Church each and every time he wrote about the temple of God before, then it only stands to reason that he was again referring to the Church when writing about the temple of God in his letter to the believers in Thessalonica. In other words, we’re now being told to interpret 2 Thessalonians 2:4 in light of a doctrine, not in light of Scripture. Doing so forces Scripture to conform to our understanding when what we all need to be doing is forcing our understanding to conform to Scripture:

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple [naos] of God, showing himself that he is God.”

The only other times Paul spoke about a physical temple were in 1 Corinthians 9:13, Acts 25:8 and Acts 17:24. In both 1 Corinthians 9:13 and Acts 25:8 he uses the word “hieron” (G2411) specifically to refer to the physical temple in Jerusalem, not “naos.” In Acts 17:24, however, he uses the word “naos” to refer to physical temples in general, however his entire point was that it was no longer a physical temple in which God dwells. Why? Because the Church was now that temple. In these instances where Paul spoke about a physical temple he never referred to it as “the temple of God” or an equivalent expression.

Acts 17:24, “God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands.”

The unwillingness to accept the New Testament’s explicit definition of the temple of God as being the Church forces one to see inconsistencies when, in my view, inconsistencies do not exist. We’re dealing with types and prophetic foreshadowings of events that took place during the time of Antiochus, Christ and maybe even Titus, and how we can see fulfillment in the eschaton. We’re still seeing through a glass darkly, but if Scripture now defines the temple of God as being the Ekklesia, then it is a definition that I must accept.

If the references in Daniel, 2 Thess and Rev 11 to the Temple are literal however, then it also stands to reason that the Temple must be built before the Antichrist can desecrate it.

Daniel’s prophecies often spoke about the last days leading up to the Second Coming of Christ. As we can see from above, the New Testament tells us that the “temple of God” is the Church and that we, as believers, now offer up the sacrifice of praise (cf. Romans 12:1; Hebrews 13:5; 1 Peter 2:5). Even if the prophet Daniel himself believed the prophecies he received of the end times referred to a physical temple would not change this reality. The revelation that the Church would become the temple of God was progressive and prophets were evidently not always granted a full understanding of the prophecies they were given, which is quite apparent in Daniel 12 itself:

Daniel 12:8-10,Although I heard, I did not understand. Then I said, ‘My lord, what shall be the end of these things?’ And he said, ‘Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand.'”

Even though Daniel was not always granted full understanding, he was faithful in recording the prophecies he was instructed to write down. Not knowing that the temple of God would one day be the people of God, however, would have conceivably been somewhat bewildering to Daniel if he had himself assumed that it was a physical temple that would be defiled during the time of the end. This could very well have been one of the reasons why Daniel did not understand all that he was receiving. According to the words of the Apostle Paul in Acts 17:24, a physical temple today would be little more than an empty building, void of the presence of God. I am sure that Christ would have known this as well, suggesting that Jesus would in no way have been referring to a physical temple as the “holy place” in Matthew 24:15 when referring to the Abomination of Desolation spoken of by Daniel, nor would Paul have depicted an empty rebuilt temple as being the “temple of God” in 2 Thessalonians 2:4.  A building absent of God is just another building. But the “holy temple” that is the Church in which God dwells, however, is a whole other matter. This may have been why Jesus said “let the reader understand” in Matthew 24:15 — because Daniel did not:

Matthew 24:15, “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand–“

Ephesians 2:19-22, “… you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”

In 2 Thessalonians 2:3-8 we read about the “man of sin” or “lawlessness” setting himself “eis” (in or against) the temple of God, seeking to defile it, and then being destroyed by God at the brightness of His coming. In 1 Corinthians 3:17 Paul stated the exact same thing, saying, “If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.” In my view, this is certainly not a coincidence. Most translations say that before the “man of sin” is destroyed he will “sit” or “take his seat” in the temple of God. The Greek word for “sit” is “kathizō” (G2523) but it means more than to simply sit down physically, as one would sit on a chair. It also means to appoint, or to set or to confer a kingdom on someone. When we say that we have a sitting President or Head of State, for instance, it does not mean that they are physically sitting down. It means that they have taken their seat in office. According to the Greek, it appears that the “man of sin” will likewise be taking his seat or official position, which could possibly be referring to Islam’s Mahdi as he takes his seat as the self-proclaimed “Savior of Humanity” in defiance of Yahweh and His people. Thus the “man of sin” is called the “man of sin” for a very good reason: he sins against God and against His people — the Temple of God — whom he sets himself against once he assumes his “office” as “Savior.” This, of course, would be showing himself as God because according to Yahweh “apart from me there is no savior… I am God, and there is none like me” (Isaiah 43:11, 46:9b).

In Revelation 11 we see what happens when this “man of sin” sets himself against God and against God’s Temple. The following four quick points reinforce why this temple is not physical:

1. The Angel who speaks to John uses the exact same expression in Revelation 11:1, saying, “Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.” Even the word “naos” is used when referring to the temple of God, the same word the Apostle Paul used when referring to the temple of God as the Church, not a temple made of stone.

2. The very first time we find the word “temple” in Revelation is in 3:12a regarding the Church in Philadelphia when Christ says, “He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more.” To be made a pillar in the temple of God must mean that the temple in view here is not one made of stone, but rather one that is made of people.

3. Lampstands/candlesticks were important items that were found in the physical temple in the Old Testament, yet John shows us that this time the lampstands/candlesticks in the temple of God are represented by the two witnesses (11:4), which again would indicate that the temple in view is not a physical temple made of stone, but rather one of people.

4. In the Old Testament a priest was one who served within the physical temple. In Revelation 1:6 and 5:10 we are told that anyone who has been washed by the blood of Christ is a priest, and the Christian understanding of this according to 1 Peter 2:5 is that as priests we now “offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” We no longer offer animal sacrifices in a temple made of stone.

Indeed, we are being built together upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone in whom the whole building is fitted together, growing into a holy temple in the Lord for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit (Ephesians 2:19-22). Considering all that we have just learned, could it not therefore stand to reason that when John speaks of the “holy city” being trampled in 11:2 that he is referring directly to God’s people, and not a physical third temple built in Jerusalem? In my opinion, there is no doubt (cf. Psalm 46:4, “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells”; also see Matthew 5:14).

This view absolutely requires that Jesus’ ministry last exactly 3.5 years in order to fulfill the first 3.5 years of the final 70th week. The problem however is that very few scholars today believe that Jesus’ ministry lasted more than 3 years. While one can surf the web and find all sorts of online characters offering their views, among those who have genuinely researched the data in a scholarly and responsible fashion, one will not find any support for Jesus’ ministry to have lasted 3.5 years. Briefly, Jesus was crucified on Passover, and there are only three total Passovers mentioned in the Gospel of John. This limits Jesus ministry to roughly two years, certainly less than three years.

Brother Joel prefaces his argument by asserting that anyone who believes Christ’s ministry lasted for 3.5 years must have somehow done so irresponsibly, so let’s consider a few facts ourselves and see if we can come to a responsible conclusion. According to my own studies and research, Tiberius was appointed as co-regent with Augustus in AD 11. In Luke 3:1 we learn that John the Baptist began his ministry about 15 years later, which brings us around 26 AD. Jesus obviously began His ministry sometime thereafter per Luke 3:23, giving us a date of around 26 or 27 AD. During Christ’s ministry, scripture specifically tells us that He attended at least three Passovers (John 2:13, 6:5, 11:55), as Joel notes. Another feast mentioned in John 5:1 was likely also a Passover, the reason being that in John 4:35 we read that it is 4 months till harvest, which take place one month after Passover. No other feasts take place between that time and Passover. Thus, Christ’s ministry would have been between 3 and 4 years. (Also see Luke 13:7. Some commentators/scholars believe this may even allude to Christ’s ministry, indicating it lasted for at least 3 years).

the very notion that Jesus ministry was 3.5 originated with Origen (who was later declared a heretic) and Eusebius (a Roman apologist with strong anti-Semitic supercessionist theology) who specifically argued for this in order to justify their pagan / anti-Semitic / supercessionist understanding of Daniel 9:27.

Joel is correct. However, this has little bearing. Even the heathens can occasionally get something right. Look at Muslims, for instance. They’re monotheistic.

This view absolutely requires that we interpret “the covenant” as taking place “during” rather than “for” one week. If the “covenant” is “for one week” then it cannot be applied to Jesus, as the covenant which he made is eternal and not merely a seven year covenant. The problem with this of course is that not only are there no translations that insert “during,” but all but a few obscure translations do translate it as “for one week”. This view must literally reject as wrong the translations of the KJV, NKJV, NASB, ESV, RSV, ASV, NIV, NLT, DBY, WEB, HNV, and several others. This view must stake its entire case on the notion that all of the translations got it wrong.

Obviously, I disagree with my friend’s conclusion. These translations are not in err. What is in err, however, is how we’re likely understanding it in our receptor language. Again, the Hebrew text of Daniel 9:27 says that He confirms the covenant “one” week, not in the sense that the covenant itself only lasts for the duration of “one week”, but rather that the confirmation of the covenant is what happens in the one week. The Hebrew text says “gabar bĕriyth rab echad shabuwa” which means “strengthen covenant many one week”. We cannot say dogmatically that the covenant is confirmed “for” one week (for only seven years) since “for” isn’t in the original Hebrew text, even though the full futurist view absolutely requires it. Some translations like the Lexham English Bible and the Darby Translation put the word “for” in brackets to let the reader know it isn’t in the original. I understand the need to insert something in there to improve the syntactical or linguistic flow/readability of our receptor language, but we need to be aware that it could just as easily be “in one week” or “for the one week” every bit as much as “for one week.” The English translation of the LXX (the Greek version that Christ Himself would have used) renders Daniel 9:27 to say “And one week shall establish the covenant with many”. Douay-Rheims says “And he shall confirm the covenant with many, in one week”. Young’s Literal Translation says “he hath strengthened a covenant with many — one week.” The partial futurist position that I hold does not depend upon the understanding that the covenant must be confirmed “during” the one week. The position of full futurists, however, absolutely requires that it be “for” one week, otherwise it crumbles.

This view divides the final week in half and inserts a 2000 year gap into the middle of the week. Needless to say, this would be a very unusual way to organize the timing of the prophecy, without stating that this was the meaning. Instead, the division of the 70 weeks within the prophecy is broken up into 7 weeks + 62 weeks + 1 week. Notice that it is not broken up into 7 + 62.5 + 3.5.

This is addressed in the original article which can be read here.

This view requires that the 69th week concludes at Jesus’ baptism, ;eating 3.5 years for His ministry. Yet of the four “decrees” which are considered by scholars to fulfill Daniel’s decree, none aligns with 483 years from Jesus’ baptism.

The starting date for the decree to rebuild Jerusalem was announced by Artaxerxes in 457 BC (cf. Ezra 7:13, 20). Others contend that the command to rebuild Jerusalem was already given to the Israelites by Cyrus per Ezra 1:3, however they were commanded to stop rebuilding by Artaxerxes according to Ezra 4:21, 23. Another command was later given by Artaxerxes to begin rebuilding again. According to Daniel 9:24-25 the Messiah would be anointed after 69 weeks had been fulfilled, which is 483 years (69×7). 457 BC plus 483 years brings us to the year 27 AD — which was the year that Jesus was baptized by John and anointed by the Holy Spirit to begin His ministry. This was the beginning of Daniel’s 70th week.

In my view, the decree of Artaxerxes in 457 BC is the best of the four separate decrees we find in Scripture and is, in my opinion, a sound logical deduction (the others are either too early or too late) since this one lines up perfectly with the prophecy. Daniel wrote in 9:25 that “From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One [Messiah], the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’”. Daniel did not say that “from the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Messiah rides into Jerusalem on a donkey” or “until the Messiah is killed”. Jesus had already been well known for a few years prior to His “Triumphal Entry” into Jerusalem. Daniel said “until the Anointed One comes”, which is to say, is made known publicly or is revealed. When did this happen precisely? According to Scripture, it happened the day He was baptized by John the Baptist, when “John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.’” (John 1:29-30). Notice what John says next: “I myself did not know Him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that He might be revealed to Israel.” (v 31). And indeed, the Messiah [meaning “the Anointed One”] has now come, “And John bore witness, saying, ‘I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him’” (v 32). The Anointed One is now revealed to Israel in fulfillment of Daniel 9:25.

This view must see the Antichrist as responsible for the Abomination of Desolations and the ceasing of offerings in Daniel 8:11-14, 11:31 and 12:11, while seeing Christ as responsible in 9:27. This view fails to acknowledge the clear connection between these our passages. It interprets 9:27 in an inconsistent manner from the other references to the Abomination that Causes Desolations and the ceasing of offerings.

One of the primary reasons why I ascribe Christ to the one who confirmed the convenant with many, aside from the fact that Christ said His blood was the blood of the covenant that was shed for many, is because the Apostle Paul himself — who was an expert when it came to the Old Testament scriptures — obviously believed that Christ was the One who confirmed the covenant and caused the sacrifices to cease, almost quoting Daniel 9:27a verbatim in Galatians 3:17 and Hebrews 10:2. Why would an expert of the Old Testament do that, unless it was because Christ was indeed the One who confirmed the covenant and caused the sacrifices to cease because Christ Himself was the final sacrifice? We’re dealing with types or prophetic foreshadowings of events that took place during the time of Antiochus, Christ and maybe even Titus, and how we can see fulfillment in the eschaton. Forcing the usage of a hermeneutic that always interprets such passages in a wooden literal sense will make other views seem inconsistent, but we’re still seeing through a glass darkly. If the Apostle Paul clearly believed that Christ confirmed (strengthened)  the promises of the Abrahamic covenant (cf. Galatians 3:14) per Daniel 9:27a, then so must I.

That being said, Daniel 9:26 speaks of two subjects, namely, the Messiah and the “people of the prince that shall come.” Even the original Hebrew of Daniel 9:27 again infers that two separate subjects are in view. Contextually, this would have to be the Messiah and “the people of the prince that shall come” per the preceding verse. As Don Henson of Life, Hope & Truth ministries explains, “a careful reading shows that ‘he’ [of verse 27] does not refer to the prince, but rather to the Messiah. Notice the phrase in verse 26 ‘the people of the prince.’ It is not grammatically correct to assign the singular pronoun ‘he’ in verse 27 to the plural ‘people’ in verse 26. If ‘he’ were to refer to the prince, the phrase should have been stated differently: ‘the prince of the people.’ But since the verse refers to the ‘people of the prince,’ the prince is not the proper antecedent of the pronoun. ‘Messiah’ is the only person mentioned in verse 26 that can be the antecedent of the pronoun he. So the phrase ‘he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week’ refers to the Messiah. (Read more).

This view must reject Jesus’ words according to their normal meaning in Matthew 24:8 as being a reference to birth pangs. For if Jesus used the image of birth pangs to refer to the signs that come before the Abomination of Desolations, then He is seen to be clearly dividing up the signs that precede his coming into two distinct episodes (beginning of birth pangs and actual birth pangs) divided by the Abomination that Causes Desolation.

There are numerous translations that do not render Matthew 24:8 as “birth pains” at all, but rather as “sorrows” or “sufferings” or “troubles.”  For instance, the King James Version, the New King James Version, 21st Century King James Version, Young’s Literal Translation, Webster’s Bible, the Aramaic Bible in Plain English, the Jubilee Bible, the Douay-Rheims Bible, the Geneva Bible, the Wycliffe Bible, Darby, Common English Bible, Contemporary English Version, the Living Bible, the New Life Version, the Revised Standard Version CE and the Worldwide English NT. There are others I’m sure.

According to Strong’s ōdin is defined as “a pang or throe, especially of childbirth” which suggests that even though it usually refers to pains of childbirth, it is not always the case. We have clear proof of this in Acts 2:24 which refers to the “pains ōdin of death”. There is not a single translation I could find that said the “birth pains of death.” Thayer’s notes that ōdin also means “intolerable anguish”, not of childbirth but “in reference to the dire calamities [that] precede the advent of the Messiah.” Vine’s Expository Dictionary defines ōdin as “a birth-pang” as well as just “pain” in general and as “sorrows.”

The only verse where we know that ōdin refers to “birth pains” with absolute certainty is 1 Thessalonians 5:3, but this is referring to the sudden destruction that comes upon the enemies of God on the Day of the Lord. The Day of the Lord is post-tribulational:

1 Thess 5:2-3, “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.”

Sudden destruction comes upon them on the Day of the Lord like birth pains upon a woman about to deliver. This happens virtually the same day of their destruction. However, if we take the position that ōdin in Matthew 24:8 refers to the beginning of birth pains and that birth pains only “take place at the end, at the conclusion of the pregnancy” according to Joel’s position, then how can birth pains possibly begin at the signing of a 7-year peace treaty or at the AoD, which takes place years before the actual “deliverance”? Unless Joel wishes to believe that birth pains begin much sooner than the day of deliverance, it diminishes his own argument. Regardless, even if ōdin in Matthew 24:8 should be understood as “birth pains” it would still be moot in my opinion considering the fact that it is simply describing what the initial events leading up to the “deliverance” are like, and not what they are.

This view must understand the passage in a way that violates the normal rules of grammar. The subject of a pronoun normally follows its antecedent. This is true in both English and Greek.

If we adhere to the normal rules of grammar, we are forced to identify Messiah as the one who confirms the covenant of Daniel 9:27, and the Antichrist as the one who sets up the Abomination of desolation. “There is another pronoun in verse 27 that also requires an explanation. In the New King James translation we see the phrase ‘one who makes desolate.’ Who or what is this ‘one’? … Obviously the one who is responsible for the ‘appalment’ (desolation) is the evil prince referred to in verse 26… There is an alternating pattern in verses 26-27 that is a common Hebrew usage. The first half of verse 26 refers to the Messiah, the second half to an evil prince. The first half of verse 27 refers to the Messiah and the second half refers to the abomination in the temple introduced by the evil prince.” (Read more).

Daniel 9:26, And after the sixty-two weeks
Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself;
And the people of the prince who is to come
Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.
The end of it shall be with a flood,
And till the end of the war desolations are determined.

Daniel 9:27, Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week;
But in the middle of the week
He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.
And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate,
Even until the consummation, which is determined,
Is poured out on the desolate.”

To again quote Historicist.com: “From a grammatical standpoint the pronoun ‘he’ must refer to its antecedent. If we do this it will be immediately plain that it means the Messiah. This will be apparent if we quote the passage again from the 25th verse and connect up the main events pertaining to the Messiah and leave the portion pertaining to the ‘prince’ to its proper place at the end of the chapter. Quote: ‘Know therefore and understand that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto MESSIAH the Prince shall be seven weeks and threescore and two weeks … and after the threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off . . . and He, (the Messiah) shall confirm the covenant with many for one week.’ You will notice mention is made of seven weeks plus sixty-two weeks and last of all one week. This accounts for all seventy. It is after the sixty-ninth week that Messiah is cut off. That fact definitely places it in the seventieth week — that last remaining week of the prophecy. It was during this week that Christ did confirm His covenant with many according to Matt. 26:26-28. On this solemn occasion Christ instituted the most sacred of Christian ordinances, the Lord’s Supper, saying, “This is My blood of THE NEW TESTAMENT (literally covenant), which is shed for MANY for the remission of sins.’

Conclusive Proof Links Christ With the Covenant. The death of Christ very definitely instituted the New and Everlasting Covenant, and Christ emphatically confirmed that covenant with many during the three and a half years of His ministry on earth. Even the words of Daniel are almost identical with those of Matthew — ‘He shall confirm the covenant with many’ — ‘this is My blood of the New Testament which is shed for many.’

The evidence is very conclusive. There are 281 references to ‘covenant’ in the Scriptures according to Young’s Analytical Concordance. Not one of these references in any way introduces the idea of a covenant between the Jews and the Anti-Christ. ‘There is not a hint anywhere that such a covenant is suggested, intended, proposed or prophesied at any time. Concerning the covenant between the believers and the Messiah there are many scores of such references. They are found in almost every book in the Bible. The reason is because when the Jews broke the Old Covenant, (see Jer. 31:31-33) then God purposed to make a new and everlasting covenant with His people. Consequently all the prophets refer to it and Daniel foretold that it would be ratified in the 70th week of his prophecy. cp. Heb. 8:7-10.

Even more convincing is the testimony supplied by the Hebrew word for Covenant used in the phrase, ‘He shall confirm the covenant.’ The word for covenant is ‘Bereeth’ according to the Pulpit Commentary; it is spelled ‘berith’ in Young’s Analytical Concordance. In the Pulpit Commentary, Vol. 29, p. 275, a lengthy exposition points out that ‘Bereeth’ is only used in connection with a Divine Covenant. It is never used to designate a ‘league’ with any other power or force but is always reserved to describe a covenant between God and man. For that reason the covenant cannot apply to anyone except the Messiah. It cannot possibly describe a covenant with the Anti-Christ or any political group involving apostate Jews.

It is further explained that when the covenant is confirmed the sacrifice and oblation ceases. The Massoretic text renders it : ‘And one week shall confirm a covenant to many, and in the middle of the week MY sacrifice and offering shall be taken away.’ The use of the pronoun ‘my’ removes all doubt concerning what sacrifice and oblation is meant. It was the Mosaic sacrifices which God ordained and honored until the death of Christ. That is the only sacrifice God could call ‘MY’ sacrifice.

The death of Christ on Calvary DID institute the New and everlasting covenant and Christ Himself DID confirm that covenant with many during His earthly ministry. When Christ died on the cross the veil of the temple was rent from top to bottom, thus signifying that the old sacrifices and oblations had ceased to have any spiritual or efficacious value. At the best they were but a shadow of good things to come, (Heb. 10:1), and when Christ died on the cross the ‘better covenant was established.’ Heb. 8:6. The old covenant with its sacrifices and oblations became null and void immediately Christ died, and in that sense He caused them to cease.” (Read more).

Update: December 15, 2013

Sadly, Brother Joel had decided to remove his response, stating in part that “Further examination of MidnightWatcher’s rather extensive ‘responses’ prove to use significant portions of plagauiarized (sic) material simply cut-and-pasted from other sources on the internet. After prayerful consideration, I’ve decided to remove my response entirely.” Citing other sources is part and parcel of a healthy debate. In my opinion, our disagreement was not one that was debated in “a spirit of contention.” Naturally, both sides will defend what they’ve come to believe and why they believe it, but differences of opinion in this respect should not be something that allows division. I am saddened to see Joel remove his response and to disengage from the discussion, but that is his prerogative. I wish Brother Joel and his great ministry all the best for many years to come. May our Heavenly Father continue to use him for His glory.

If you have not already done so, I recommend his book titled “Mideast Beast” which can be purchased here.

In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity.

Revised 12/15/2013
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