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the 70th Week covenant

The “ruler who will come,” in the angel Gabriel’s prophecy to Daniel (Dan. 9:26b), would be the same person who “...will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven’” (9:27a).  This covenant or treaty would be confirmed for a period of one “week” (seven years) with “many”—that is, with many of the Jews of Israel (Daniel’s people) and probably with many Arab neighbors as well.  Remember, when Jesus was crucified (at the end of the 69th “week”), the countdown of the 70 “weeks” was halted.  Thus, upon the ratification of this treaty, the time count would resume, with only the last one of the 70 “weeks” (which I will refer to as the 70th Week—see C-12) remaining to transpire.  But when?

At no point has any ruler or leader of the Roman Empire made a covenant, treaty, or pact involving the Jews in Israel.  Therefore, such an occasion, if the prophecy is correct, must necessarily take place at a time yet in our own future.  And for someone to be the “ruler who will come” of the “people” (of the Roman Empire) who destroyed Jerusalem and the temple at the end of the seventh decade A.D., then there must first be some type of a revival (or revisal) of the Roman Empire (see “fulfillment of Nebuchadnezzar’s first dream”: P-I) of which this man will be a leader.

The terms of the 7-year covenant are not listed in the Bible.  Apparently, it will be an agreement of non-aggression, probably involving an exchange of some kind (most likely land for peace, I suspect).  Some type of military alliance also could be involved (since, for decades, the Middle East has been a virtual “powder keg” ready to explode, as evidenced by the 1990-1991 Gulf War, though this war was a small-case example).  I feel there no doubt will be included some type of provision for “peace,” most likely assuring the alleged security of the people of Israel for seven years.  I also suspect that an agreement will be made allowing the Jews in Jerusalem to rebuild their long-awaited temple (which was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D.) and to reinstitute temple worship, rituals, and animal sacrifices.

This covenant, however, will not be a wise move on the part of the Israeli government.  I believe this agreement (probably written), which will be enacted at the beginning of the final seven-year period of this age, is the same one referred to by the prophet Isaiah:

You boast, “We have entered into a covenant with death, with the grave we have made an agreement.  When an overwhelming scourge sweeps by, it cannot touch us, for we have made a lie our refuge and falsehood our hiding place” (Isa. 28:15).

However, the Sovereign Lord’s reply is,

“Your covenant with death will be annulled; your agreement with the grave will not stand.  When the overwhelming scourge sweeps by, you will be beaten down by it.  As often as it comes it will carry you away; morning after morning, by day and by night, it will sweep through.”  The understanding of this message will bring sheer terror (Isa. 28:18,19).

I feel that some recent history is important here.  On May 14, 1948, in Tel Aviv, David Ben-Gurion, who later would become the first Prime Minister of Israel, declared Israel to be a nation.  The very next day, the Arab nations of Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Transjordan invaded Israel; but, on January 9, 1949, Israel emerged victorious in her War of Independence.  Israel also was triumphant in another war with Egypt in 1956.  During the Six-Day War of June, 1967, reacting to antagonism primarily from Egypt and Syria, Israel seized the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt; the Golan Heights from Syria; and East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip (where Jordanians were terrorizing Jews and Arab Palestinians) from Jordan.  Israel then narrowly triumphed in the Yom Kippur War, which began October 6, 1973, with another attack by Egypt and Syria.  God has sustained the new nation of Israel against its aggressors in every case.

The Palestinians living in the West Bank have been abandoned for years by Jordan, whose responsibility it has been to take them in and care for them.  It never has been Israel’s obligation to do this, nor to hand over any of its land to the Palestinians (especially if the new owners intend to form their own state, arm themselves, and remain hostile toward Israel, as history has proven them to be).  No “peace” covenant should stipulate that any land be given up by Israel.  However, the historic Israeli-Palestinian “peace” accord of September 13, 1993, did involve forfeiture of some land by Israel.  This pact and the “peace” declarations of July 25 and October 26, 1994, supposedly ending a 46-year state of war between Israel and Jordan, undoubtedly foreshadow future agreements in this volatile region—including probably one with Syria and certainly the inevitable 7-year (70th Week) covenant involving many Jews and Arabs.

abomination, desolation, and distress

Once the 7-year covenant has been confirmed, Israel’s “time clock” again will be ticking.  Israel (wrongfully) will assume that a period of peace surely has come.  (Many Jews evidently will look upon the originator of this covenant as their long-awaited “Messiah.”)  But it will be a pseudo-peace.  The appalling activities of “the ruler to come” for the first half of the 70th Week (see C-12, P-II), as well as the dreadful events to take place during the balance of the 70th Week (see C-12, P-III and C-12, P-IV), will stagger the mind.

Now, “ the middle of that ‘seven,’ he [the ruler who will come] will put an end to sacrifice and offering” (Dan. 9:27b).  Historically, the primary place where there have been sacrifices and offerings in Israel has been in the Jerusalem temple, destroyed in 70 A.D.  Thus, the temple (which still remains in ruins) must be rebuilt and regular sacrifices and offerings resumed.  With constant Arab resistance to the rebuilding of the temple, I believe that a “peace” pact of some type, in fact, is essential for there to be a go-ahead to begin reconstruction of the temple.  (It is permissible, though, to commence performing sacrifices as long as an altar is used—Deut. 12:27; a temple does not have to be present for sacrifices to start again.)

Bruce Cohen, of the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America (MJAA), has stated that he believes Israel may remove the Arab threat surrounding the nation by simply expanding her national boundaries (Isa. 11:14; Obad. 19,20; Zech. 10:10, 11:1) (2), thus bringing on a time of peace for Israel.  With the recent flood of great numbers of Jews from Russia and other countries into Jerusalem (Jer. 30:3; Zeph. 2:1), the implication is that Israel must have more land upon which these immigrants can settle.  Yet, there presently is great Arab and Palestinian opposition to this, and natural expansion of Israel may not come (prior to the supernatural expansion promised by God, which eventually is inevitable, as promised to Abraham through Isaac—see “great nation from Abram (Abraham)” and “Abraham’s complete trust in God”: C-2, P-II).

At some point after the temple is rebuilt, “abominations” will take place inside (evidently, a sacrilegious image of the ruler will be put in place, and the sacrifice of a contemptible animal, probably a pig, will be made); the result will be a “desolation” (Dan. 9:27c).  There are at least two views on the latter:  1) after the abominations, religious Jews no longer will worship in the temple, thereby leaving it desolate, or 2) the armies of the ruler will desolate (lay waste) the city because many people will refuse to worship the ruler and his abominable image.  I suspect both of these views are correct.

A time of great tribulation and affliction will be in store for Jerusalem and Israel.  God described this time as an “overwhelming scourge” (Isa. 28:18c).  An angelic being, speaking to Daniel, said that this “...will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then” (Dan. 12:1b).  (See also “‘beast,’ ‘red dragon,’ and ‘little horn’”: P-I.)  The angel reiterated that from that time until the end will be “...for a time, times and half a time” (12:7b)—that is, for a year, two years, and half a year, or 3½ years (the last half of the final 7 years).  However, the one responsible for all of this defilement and devastation has an “...end that is decreed...” for him, a certain punishment which will be “...poured out on him...” (9:27c); “...he will come to his end, and no one will help him” (11:45bc).

preparations for the future temple

Obviously, the temple in which the future ruler to come will cause abominations and desolation (Dan. 9:27c) does not yet exist.  However, for the first time since its destruction in 70 A.D., serious steps preparing for its reconstruction are being taken in Israel.  There is no doubt that it will be in place by the midpoint of the 70th Week, because the angel Gabriel told Daniel about it (9:27c) and John saw it in his vision (Rev. 11:1).

Presently, a group of Jewish rabbis, of the Jerusalem Temple Institute, is compiling computerized lists of descendants of biblical high priests (or cohanim in Hebrew) who potentially qualify as priests for the temple.  At a yeshiva (school), the Ateret Cohanim, young men named Cohen and Levi are being trained in the temple laws and rituals in accordance with the Talmud (Jewish Scriptures).

Temple worship cannot commence without the presence of garments to be worn by the priests and articles to be used in services.  Most of the priestly garments (including a gem-studded breastplate for the high priest—Exo. 28:15-28), as well as many items required for temple rituals (including a copper wash basin used by the priests to wash their hands and feet, the high priest’s gold crown, a silver six-foot high menorah, silver trumpets to call worshipers, incense utensils, and other objects described in Exo. 28:4-43, 30:1-38), have been produced or are under construction.

The lottery box, used to select which one of two goats will be the sin offering and which one will be the “scapegoat” on Yom Kippur (Lev. 16:8-10—see “the slain goat and the ‘scapegoat’”: C-5, P-II), has been fashioned.  Also, early in the summer of 1992, a cache of incense was uncovered by archæologists in a dig on the Qumran Cliffs.  A chemical advisor, Marvin Antelman, from the Weizmann Institute, is 80% convinced that it was the type of incense, pitum haketoret, used in the temple (Exo. 30:1,7-9a).  It had passed all the preliminary tests.  If it is genuine, it may be reproduced and used in temple services.

The fringe or tassels of some of the priests’ garments requires an expensive blue dye, techelet, from a unique snail (the “segulit”) which, for about 1,400 years, was thought to be extinct.  In 1990, the snails were found miraculously in abundance along the Mediterranean coast; and the dye has been extracted and used for the garments’ tassels (Num. 15:38).

A special kind of red heifer “...without defect or blemish and that has never been under a yoke” (Num. 19:2) must be used as a special sacrifice for sin purification (19:2-10).  The requirement that the heifer be “without defect” includes a stipulation that every single hair on the heifer must be red.  Specially-bred red heifers, meeting all of the biblical requirements, have been shipped from Texas to Israel.  (The heifers to be used in the ceremony must be born in Israel; therefore, second or future generations of these heifers must be used.)

I have little doubt that all of these and other preparations precede the certain reconstruction of the third Jewish temple in Jerusalem, which I presume will begin after the 7-year “peace” covenant has gone into effect.  And I sense the latter will occur in the relatively near future, as historic Israeli-Palestinian (September, 1993), Israeli-Jordanian (July and October, 1994), and Israeli-Palestinian-Jordanian-Egyptian (September, 1995) “peace” accords already have been negotiated and formally announced.

identity of the end-time ruler

If you carefully have read and understood this chapter, it should be apparent to you that the same person has been described in three different places.  After “the ruler who will come” has confirmed a 7-year pseudo-peace covenant with Israel, he will breach it after taking 3½ years to come to world power.  He will walk into the newly-built Jerusalem temple, put an end to sacrifice and offerings, and place abominations in the temple, thereby desolating the temple spiritually.  His armies also will “...trample on the holy city for 42 months” (Rev. 11:2c), thereby desolating Jerusalem physically.  This 42-month period will be the final 3½-year period of the 7 years (70th Week).

This “little horn” or “beast,” who will rule for the last half of the final 7 years over the greatest man-made empire (having a core of ten—or possibly seven—nations) that the world has ever known, will speak proudly and boastfully about himself and blaspheme the God of Israel.  Paul says of this man, “He opposes and exalts himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, and even sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God” (2 Ths. 2:4).  This man will be none other than the infamous and notorious Antichrist.

The word “antichrist” was used by John to describe any “...spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus...” (1 John 4:3).  He also said, “Who is the liar?  It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ.  Such a man is the antichrist—he denies the Father and the Son” (2:22).  “Antichrist” will be the perfect description of the end-time false-Messiah—the opposite of and replacement for the actual Messiah, as shown next.

Antichrist’s purposes and end

“Anti-” can mean “opposite,” “substitute,” or “against.”  This Antichrist will be the opposite of Jesus Christ in his character, beliefs, and intents.  He will have a dual purpose: 1) initially to counterfeit or to be a substitute for the long-awaited Messiah (Christ) of Israel (and of the world) by claiming to be able, finally, to bring peace to a peace-starved nation (and world), and 2) ultimately to come against and attempt to overcome the true Messiah (Jesus), first by deceiving and then causing great distress for the Jews of Israel (the people and homeland of Jesus), and then attempting to conquer Jesus Himself as He sits as King in Jerusalem—Jesus, Who is God in flesh, Who initially came to save the world, and Who later will come again to judge and rule it.  Instead, however, this man ultimately will be exposed for the fraud that he is, and then he will be defeated.  John, in describing the end-time motives of the “beast” (Antichrist) and the nations in his empire, said,

They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers (Rev. 17:14).

I believe the time the latter will occur is during a short (30-day) period following the 70th Week, part of an extension mentioned by Daniel in yet another prophecy (see “Daniel 12:11,12,” “30-day extension,” and “destruction of Antichrist and his armies”: C-12, P-IV, S-3; and the comprehensive chart, “The 70th Week & Extensions: “Pre-Wrath” Rapture,” at the end of C-12, P-V, S-2).

Jesus, the Christ, is the “Rock” which will smash to pieces the final man-made kingdom on earth and set up His own Kingdom, which will last forever (Dan. 2:34,35,44,45—see “Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams”: P-I).  And if you personally choose Jesus as your Lord and Savior (see “real eternal choice”: C-15, P-III), He, in turn, will choose you to accompany Him in His triumphal victory over His enemies.  The victory will be His—and also yours.  You do have a free choice, but it is to your advantage to choose Jesus.  A more detailed look at the activities of the future 70th Week (including the awesome “Day of the Lord” period) is included in the next chapter.

Proceed to Chapter 12

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Copyright © 1998– by Ted M. Montgomery, O.D.  Most rights reserved.