Thursday, November 25, 2010

He Will Confirm a Covenant With Many

Headlines continue to be filled with news about the Middle East peace process and most everyone understands that the tiny nation of Israel has an important role in the eyes of the world.  Christians that understand the Bible also know that it's not just important to world leaders, it is important to God Himself.  Students of Bible prophecy have an even richer understanding of that concept given the abundance of prophecy that speaks to that, and they know the following verse well:
He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.  (Daniel 9:27)
Otherwise known as "Daniel's 70th week", it addresses one of the most recognizable events of the end times.  While we can't be certain, most scholars believe the covenant being referred to is most likely pointing to a future peace deal with Israel.  We can also draw that conclusion based on what the apostle Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 5:3 wherein he refers to the fact people will be saying "peace and safety" before a sudden destruction comes upon them. 

Although we have to be careful not to force scripture to fit current events (that is, current events should always fit into what scripture says), it would seem that with decades of news about Middle East peace, that is the likely covenant that someone will finally be able to supernaturally broker.  Upon doing so, that person would certainly be heralded as an incredible "peacemaker" that which the world has never seen before.  It would make a great political platform on which the Antichrist could stand. We do know for sure that the confirmation of the covenant, whatever it may be for sure, brings the Antichrist onto the scene, for he is the one that "confirms" the covenant and later breaks it in the middle of the seven year period.  Interestingly, 2 Thessalonians 2:3-10 suggests his identity will not actually be known until a rebellion occurs (after a covenant is confirmed).  

Much analysis has been provided about Daniel's 70th week, so for the purpose of this article I would like to point out an interesting news-related event.  On November 22, 2010 Israel's parliament passed a bill that would require a two-thirds majority vote to cede land in east Jerusalem to the Palestinians or in the Golan Heights to Syria.  If the two-thirds majority vote is not achieved, it would require a referendum to pass.  In other words, it would require a lot more than just a few people in Israel's parliament agreeing to the deal.

"Any peace agreement requires national agreement and the bill promises that," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement. "The Israeli public is involved, aware and responsible and I trust that when the day comes it will support a peace agreement that answers the national interests and security needs of the state of Israel."

Of course the spin in the news media, and particularly with Israel's critics, is that the bill will hamper the peace process because it will now take more effort for Israel to give up her land in some type of deal; but I think that is only appropriate given the far-reaching implications of such a deal.  That is, unlike some other law that could later be rescinded, when a nation makes an agreement with another nation, it can not just later rescind it because a new political administration takes office or it's later deemed it is not the will of the citizens.  Moreover, this particular agreement would not be one that could later be rescinded, because the Palestinian mindset, via the Koran, is that it will not give in to any deal that gives land back to it's sworn enemy.  Of course, the whole deal of the Israeli people giving land that is rightfully theirs smells of extortion, wherein we see a hostile group of people  (the Palestinians) being rewarded for their continual violence against Israel.
What makes Israel's bill all the more curious in light of all this is that it supports Daniel 9:27 all the more.  For we don't read that a covenant is simply "made with Israel" as much as we are pointed to a very interesting way of putting it: Namely, the covenant will be made "with many", suggesting the process may be more than just routine politics wherein a few people in political office make a decision.  If we see such a covenant come about due to a majority vote or, even more dramatic, becomes a referendum item that is passed by the Israeli citizens, it would indeed fit the text even more so; and the new bill is pointing us to at least one of those scenarios.  As we have seen many times, every word in scripture has meaning and it seems that the more literal we interpret it, the more accurate it becomes.

We are living in very interesting times.  Paul wrote in Thessalonians 5:1-4:

Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you,  for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.  While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.   But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 

One more concept we must understand is that the Rapture is imminent.  Thus, it requires no other prophetic event to precede it and could occur at any moment.  It could occur in the near future, tonight while you sleep, or even moments from now.

Are You Ready?

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