Reggie Kelly at CBETS [VIDEO]

From a breakout session at the Center for Biblical End Time Studies (CBETS) Symposium “The Glorious Return of Our King” in November of 2019. Thank you to CBETS for allowing us to post this clip here.

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The Antichrist, the Millennium and the Kingdom

I would like to know if the restored Kingdom of Israel is the millennial Kingdom. And what is the connection between the antichrist and Islam? Do you believe he will come from there?

To answer your second question first, I have believed the Antichrist would arise from among 10 Arab / Muslim nations since the Yom Kippur War when the Lord revealed to me that the ten kings would be Arab / Muslim, obsessed with a militant hatred of what Daniel will call, “the holy covenant” (Dan 11:28, 30). The general territory from whence the Antichrist takes his rise to power is very clearly denoted in Dan 8:9.

He rises from somewhere within the expanse of territory that was under the Seleucid dynasty of the second century B.C. At its height, this would have reached from Damascus to Babylon. This makes it hard to pinpoint the location exactly, but it does limit the general region of his rise, as it rules out the greater part of the world. This will depend, of course, on a defense of my strongly held position that the ‘little horn’ of Dan 8:9 is none other than the “little horn” of Dan 7:8. Surprisingly, many, perhaps most of the commentaries take the position that the ‘little horn’ of Dan 7:8 is NOT the same person as the ‘little horn’ of Dan 8:9. Therefore, the clue of Dan 8:9 is very largely dismissed from having any future significance.

There are reasons why the list of aggressor nations in Ezk 38:5-6 are not exactly the same as those mentioned in Ps 83. That’s another discussion; but I have always believed that the 10 neighboring nations mentioned in Ps 83 are the very nations that will align with the Antichrist, albeit with the backing of other greater powers to the north.

It is an off topic note, but should we return to this discussion, it is important to note that Ps 83’s mention of the “Hagarenes” does NOT refer to Egypt (see Wikipedia). Egypt is conspicuous for its absence in the list of nations mentioned in Eze 38:5-6. Isa 19 shows why. This is because Egypt is savaged by the Antichrist shortly after he invades Israel.

I believe that Edom, Moab, and Ammon (united today as modern Jordan) “escape out of his (Antichrist’s) hand” (Dan 11:41) because they are sympathetic with his conquest of Israel and he favors them for their profoundly antisemitic, pro-Antichrist sentiment. I infer this on the basis of such scripture as Eze 35:15; 35:5, 10; 36:2-7; Obadiah; Mal 1:4. This is the “ancient hatred” that has boiled in the bosom of Esau since time immemorial.

Now for your first question. The answer is most certainly! The millennial kingdom is the restoration of the Davidic kingdom but now flourishing in the totality of the covenant promises made concerning a particular people and a particular Land. According to the language of the oft reiterated covenant promises, the destiny of the people and the Land are inseparable. God has a point to prove and He will openly vindicate His covenant word concerning Israel, as real ethnic Jews (“natural branches”) in the sight of all nations.

God is going to set forth this astonishing miracle of history on empirical, public display, as the ultimate public demonstration and embodiment of His covenant word, answering forever the great question first put by the Serpent, “hath God really said?” That’s what the cosmic war is all about, the veracity and power of God’s Word, most particularly His purpose “according to election” (Ro 9:11).

He will show His power to bring in, finally and forever, the very nation He first called out of Egypt. He will answer the question that Israel’s historical predicament so eloquently asks. How will a people of such proven inability ever sufficiently keep the requirements of covenant holiness in such a way as to finally realize lasting and secure residence and blessing in the Land?

How will God who first called them out of Egypt and gave them the Land cause them to abide in lasting peace, with no invader ever again threatening? (2Sam 7:10; Amos 9:15, and many more).

It is one thing to bring them in. It is quite another to keep them there! How will such a nation with such a history ever be secure in their own Land as an “everlasting” inheritance, particularly if they are yet in natural bodies as the scripture makes plain? The answer, of course, is the “everlasting righteousness” of the New Covenant (Isa 45:17, 25; 59:21; Jer 31:31-34; 32:40; Dan 9:24).

When this will be established, not only with a remnant, but with “all Israel” (the whole of the nation), then will Israel lie down in safety, none making them afraid again forever. Then will His covenant “with THEM” be satisfied of all its specific promises and implications.

When will He do this?

When the Deliverer comes out of Zion to end the times of the Gentiles (Isa 59:20-21; Dan 12:1-2; Zech 3:9; 12:10 Mat 23:39; Lk 21:24; Acts 3:21; Ro 11:25-26).

For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.

This can only happen at the “set time” (Gen 17:21; 21:2; Ps 102:13; Dan 11:27, 35).

Psalms 102:13

Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion:
for the time to favour her, yea, theset time, is come.

This appointed time is everywhere shown to be the great day of the Lord, often described as “that day”. It is the day of great transition between this ‘present evil age’ and the millennial day of the thousand years. It is the time when “the mystery of God is finished” with His return at the last trumpet (Isa 27:13; Mt 24:31; 1Cor 15:52; Rev 10:7; 11:15-18).

Why will He do this?

There are two main reasons that are inseparably related:

The first is stated in Romans 11:27

For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.

The second is stated in 11:28-29, as further drawing out the implications of the great foundational purpose set down in Ro 9:11, 16, 18.

As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

Romans 9:11

(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of Him who calls)

Romans 9:16, 18

So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. … Therefore He has mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom He will He hardens.

So covenant election is why God has loved, appointed, preserved, and yes, predestined Israel. They are His means of demonstrating that His salvation is conducted along the lines of an eternal purpose that is not based on works, but upon His sovereign prerogative to choose on a wholly independent basis. This, since only on this basis can the promise be made “sure to all the seed”. And since only in this way is the glory for the fulfillment of all the requirements and conditions of salvation God’s alone through grace alone.

He MUST fulfill His covenant with them on a basis that brings no credit at all to them, but all the glory to His special initiative in grace towards them in particular (Eze 36:22, 32),

Now here’s an exercise I highly recommend.

Go through the Old Testament. Look for every reference that speaks of the climax of the covenant with Israel, that great time of ultimate transition between their constant exposure to covenant discipline and the great reversal that redeems and exalts this blinded, profoundly chastened people once and for all. Invariably this will always be the day of the Lord, whether or not that specific term is used.

It is always found as the climax of an unparalleled time of affliction and distress, called by Moses, the prophets, and Jesus, the great “tribulation”, a time like no other, ending in the day like no other. This is very simple and plain.

Now do this: see the conditions that prevail before this time and mark how radically Israel’s experience on this earth changes after this time. Observe all the radically transformed conditions that are described in such notable detail. Now ask yourself. How can words be preserved of their original intent and meaning and all of this be transferred, either to a present mystical experience in the Spirit or to the new heavens and earth of final, imperishable perfection? It just can’t be done!

No, quite clearly, if plain, non-figurative language means anything, these unprecedented, never before fulfilled conditions are realized on this present earth. And this, of course, demands an intermediate period between this age and the final perfection, the very millennium of which John gives the duration.

But even before a definite duration was revealed, it would have been clear to anyone that these post-tribulational conditions can only be fulfilled on this earth, in the presence of abiding imperfections that point on to yet another stage of even greater change.

The question is, where and when are all of these highly descriptive details of prophecy and promise to be fulfilled? Is this in a mystical realm?, or a new heavens and earth of ultimate, final perfection? The question answers itself.

Just note what a massive volume of scripture is devoted to Israel’s restoration. Where and when do such conditions prevail that have never before existed? Unless we are willing to discount the plain meaning of plain words, these yet imperfect conditions prevail on this earth AFTER the great and notable day of the Lord.

This simple observation of the radical ‘line of demarcation’ between what lies BEFORE the DOL and what follows AFTER will go far towards keeping the interpreter on course. It will establish, to some real degree, the soundness of one’s hermeneutic (method of interpretation), as the only sensible means of demonstrating the credible harmony of the whole of scripture in what I am fond of calling, “the glory of the story.”

In His great grace, Reggie

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The Plumbline of Simplicity [VIDEO]

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How will we know when the final week has begun?

Exactly what event begins the last seven years? With what certainty can this be recognized?

The usual teaching is that the Antichrist signs a peace treaty with Israel. This is based on Dan 9:27.

27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. Daniel 9:27

“Which covenant is in view?” has been the question that has occupied interpreters. Is it the covenant that God made with Israel on Sinai? Is it God’s covenant to give Abraham’s descendants the Land as an everlasting possession?. Or is it referring to the New Covenant established in Christ’s blood? Commentators of different schools of thought are quite divided.

So, how this verse is translated and interpreted becomes a very delicate matter, in light of nearly identical terms found within the book (e.g. Dan 8:11-14; 11:31; 12:11) as well as other places, whether the reference is to the desecration of the sanctuary (Ps 74:3, 7-8; Isa 63:18; 64:10-11; Mt 24:15; 2 Thess 2:4; Rev 11:2), or to the half week that begins with this event (Dan 7:25; 9:27; 12:7, 11; Rev 11:2-3; 12:6, 14; 13:5).

Whether the last seven years of Daniel’s 70th week is understood as past or future will depend on which of the two princes mentioned in the preceding two verses puts an end to the sacrifice (Dan 9:25-27). If it is Messiah, then the final seven years will be seen to follow the preceding 69 weeks in unbroken sequence. If, on the other hand, the sacrifice is stopped by the future man of lawlessness, then one must recognize a gap between the 69th and 70th weeks.

A gap between the Roman kingdom and the final Antichrist must be observed in chapters 2 & 7 of Daniel. In chapters 8 & 11, the leap is made between the divided Grecian kingdom and the final Antichrist. Rome is passed over.

In many places throughout scripture there is often this mingling and overlapping of near and distant events with no clear distinction of the time that would lapse between them. Often, contemporary events on the near horizon would be portrayed against the background of the climactic completion of the final day of the Lord. This often observed phenomenon, unique to Hebrew prophecy, has been called ‘the near and far” view of prophecy.

This, and the pattern of partial, first-fruits fulfillment that anticipates further completion in the future, lies at the heart of what the NT reveals as the mystery of the kingdom of God, and the mystery of the gospel that reveals an unseen period between the advents. It’s all about the unseen gap! This pattern of a first-fruits, partial fulfillment is seen in the blending of the prophecies that envisioned Israel’s first return from captivity and the ultimate millennial end of exile.

All of this is in perfect keeping with the mystery of Christ’s twofold coming, and the two great mysteries of incarnation that circumscribe this age. The first is the “mystery of godliness” (1 Tim 3:16), fulfilled in Christ’s incarnation and atoning death at the end of the 69th week. The second is what Paul calls, “the mystery of iniquity” (2 Thess 2:7). This is fulfilled when the spirit of Satan is fully manifest in the flesh of the risen beast, in the middle of the final seven years.

Nothing else so well explains the mystery of the gap as these two mysteries, which perfectly incarnate the woman’s seed in Jesus, and the serpent’s seed in the now-fully empowered man of sin (“all power” …2 Thess. 2:9). The age is appropriately bounded by these two climactic mysteries embodying the great enmity originally put between the two seeds.

This is not the place to enter upon a defense for the view that the 70th week of Daniel is yet future and that the one who removes the regular sacrifice is not the Messiah, but the self-exalting “prince who shall come” (Dan 9:26 with Dan 8:11; 11:31, 36-37; 12:11; 2 Thess 2:4). My question is to those who already take our view: What is the nature of this covenant that begins the seven years?

Is the covenant of Dan 9:27 a newly formed peace agreement, or is it a covenant that already exists? Does the one who ends the sacrifice make ‘a’ firm covenant? Or, does he make firm ‘the’ covenant (in the sense of strengthen, recognize, endorse, or cause to prevail)? On a strictly linguistic, technical basis, either translation is equally legitimate, but what does the context indicate?

Our first interest should be to discover how the word is used in all other instances within the book. We should also be very reluctant to conclude that the reference to the covenant would be something entirely different than Daniel’s first readers would have understood.

The covenant with which they were familiar is the “holy covenant” mentioned in Dan 9:4; 11:28, 30, 32. As understood at the time, this would include more than God’s covenant oath to Abraham concerning the Land, or His new covenant promise to Jeremiah. It would also include all the holy assignments and ordinances connected to the temple and the law.

We see this in the use of the term in Dan 9:4, where Israel’s violation of the covenant receives all the penalties threatened in Lev 26, Deut 28-32, and Dan 9:7-14. Clearly, Daniel’s first readers would have made no such dissociation between the covenant of Dan. 9:27 and the holy covenant mentioned in Dan 11:28, 30.

What then has inclined interpreters to so completely dissociate the covenant of Dan 9:27 from the holy covenant of Dan 11:28, 30? Since Paul so clearly cites Dan 11:36-37 in 2 Thess 2:4, there is usually little disagreement that the Antichrist and the final events of the end are in view from Dan 11:36 to the end of chapter 12.

With only a few very notable exceptions, the consensus among most contemporary academic commentaries is nearly monolithic: Dan 11:21-35 was all fulfilled within the 2nd century B.C., between the rise of Antiochus IV in 175 B.C. and the end of his persecution of the Jews (167-165 B.C.). This means that conservative scholars of all schools will usually (but not always) put the gap between verses 35 and 36.

Those who see the covenant as confirmed by Jesus consider it to be the everlasting/new covenant promised in the prophets, not the ‘holy covenant’ that was attacked by Antiochus. Accordingly, they see the covenant as a peace treaty or alliance signed by a future Antichrist, but make no connection at all between this and anything that could be called holy.

Others, most often those of liberal leaning in their view of prophecy, see Antiochus Epiphanes as the one who removes the sacrifice in all four references in Daniel (Dan 8:11; 9:27; 11:31; 12:11). For them, the covenant in view is the same throughout, as most readily recognized by Daniel’s first readers.

The discussion is too involved to enter upon a defense of our position at this point, but all lines of evidence, both from within the text and a careful reading of the documented history of Antiochus IV, lead us to conclude that many commentators have been far too hasty to assume that all the events of Dan 11:21-35 were entirely fulfilled in the person of Antiochus. Other scholars (some highly acclaimed – Jerome, Tregelles, Watson, Keil, Lang, Emerson) argue that many of the details of the text were not sufficiently met in the history of Antiochus’ rise and fall. This, of course, demands that we look for a future fulfillment.

Futurists very reasonably infer that the covenant is related to a peace agreement, since a number of scriptures show that the Antichrist invasion of the Land takes place at a time when the fledgling new nation is dwelling securely (Eze 38:8, 11, 14; 39:26, with Isa 28:15, 18; Dan 8:25; 11:21, 24; 1Thess 5:3).

Ezekiel depicts Israel as dwelling securely, enjoying millennial-like conditions. However, this security is very clearly not millennial, but a false security, since the attack by Gog ends, not with the eternal state, but with the day of the Lord (Eze 39:8 with Rev 16:17), the burying of bodies and burning of weapons (Eze 39:9-16), but most importantly with Israel’s final and complete redemption (Eze 39:22-29). This tells us that the invasion of Gog takes place before Israel comes to faith on the day of the Lord (Eze 39:8, 22 with Rev 16:14-17).

Furthermore, some translations of Eze 39:26 show this interval of security to be a period during which Israel’s sins increase, placing it in marked contrast to the righteousness that attends the security that will be Israel’s in the millennium. This raises the question: is this peace the result of the Antichrist’s support for the “holy covenant” that implies recognition of Israel’s right to the Land and acceptance of Jewish worship on the forbidden Temple Mount?

Isaiah will show that the final desolation comes when Jerusalem’s rulers will lightly dismiss the prophetic warning of impending invasion because they have (evidently very recently) entered into a “covenant with death and hell” (Isa 28:15-18). Paul is doubtless referring to these OT prophecies when he speaks of those who will be “saying ‘peace and safety’” when sudden destruction comes upon them like birth pangs upon a woman (1 Thess 5:3 with Isa 13:8; 26:16-17; 66:8; Mic 5:3; Jer 30:6-7; Dan 12:1).

Daniel, however, will speak of one who comes in ‘peaceably’ (KJV), “in time of security” (ASV), “in a time of tranquility” (NASU), “when its people feel secure” (NIV), and obtain the kingdom ‘by flatteries”, variously translated as fair words, intrigue (Dan 11:21). Depending on which translation best captures the meaning, it appears there is already some measure of security already existing in the region  when he comes to power.

Can we imagine this? Our translations differ, but the question will depend on whether we understand the best reading as “at a time of peace”, or “peaceably”. The translation that seems most consistent in its use of similar language in Dan 8:25; 11:21, 24 appears to indicate that perhaps not peace itself, but the promise of peace is being extended, but as a strategy of deceit, to obtain political advantage.

And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people. Daniel 11:23

It appears that immediately after the fateful “league” is made with him, he begins to work deceitfully, and from the larger context, this deceitful working takes the form of plotting against the conditions that were caused to prevail by his confirmation of the covenant centered at Jerusalem.

If we are correct to interpret Dan 11:21-45 of the future Antichrist as only prefigured by Antiochus, it appears that this alliance takes place at the same time that he, with many others, confirms “the holy covenant”. This would seem to suggest that the covenant of Dan 9:27 is being confirmed at the same time that the alliance of Dan 11:23 is being made between the Antichrist, Israel, and evidently many other nations.

Commentators have also taken different views of the identity of the “many” in Dan 9:27. Is the covenant being ratified between Israel and the Antichrist only, or is this something that the Antichrist does together with other participating nations? We think the latter.

In any event, the single most important question, decisive for all else, is whether or not the covenant of Dan 9:27 is the “holy covenant” of Dan 11:28, 30.  We note that in both places, there is the abolition of the sacrifice. This is often overlooked by the popular view. The covenant in Dan 9:27 stands in the same connection with the sacrifice as the holy covenant in Dan 11:28-32. This must not be missed!

Therefore, if the taking away of the sacrifice in Dan 11:31 is the same event described in Dan 12:11, then how can it be reasonably denied that this is the event that begins the half week of Dan 7:25; 9:27; 12:7, 11? From Dan 12:1-2, 7, 11, it becomes clear that the half week ends in nothing short of the deliverance of Israel and the resurrection of the dead.  By solid, irrefutable exegesis, it is the same covenant violated by the same act of desecration.

But this brings the supreme paradox. How does the AC “confirm” (in the sense of approve or strengthen) a covenant that is holy if this is indeed the same covenant that he so vehemently hates and conspires to destroy? (Dan 11:23-24, 28-31). We are about to see why this is such a mystery that has defied clear resolution until these end days (Dan 12:4, 9).

Whatever else recognition of the holy covenant might include (such as Jewish right to the Land), it must also include the presence of the “holy place” in Jerusalem (Mt 24:15-16; 2 Thess 2:4). The standing again of the “temple of God” (2Thes 2:4) is certainly required if there is to be a sacrifice that is taken away only 3 ½ years (the half week) before the end (Dan 9:27; 12:1-2, 7, 11).

A comparison of texts within Daniel will show the following: the Antichrist begins as a “little horn” (Dan 7:8; 8:9). Is this metaphor only to indicate that he will arise in a kingdom that is lesser in size and strength than any of the four divisions of Alexander’s kingdom? If we observe the language of Dan 11:23, it seems that the term ‘little horn’ signifies a “small people”. This may suggest a kingdom that is even lesser in size and strength in its beginning than the ten kingdoms he unites in common cause against the covenant.

He comes from the north of Israel. According to Dan 8:9; 11:20-21, this could be anywhere within the general region of the ancient Seleucid (Syrian) empire that ruled from Damascus to Babylon.

Judging from the use of the prepositions in Dan 7:8, 24, it appears that the kingdom that gives rise to the Antichrist is one that comes up “among” the ten, sometime “after” they have already been established as kingdoms. Taken together, the evidence suggests that the Antichrist takes his rise in a fledgling new power after a predecessor has ruled only a “few days” (Dan 11:20). Nothing in history has adequately fulfilled these details of Daniel’s prophecy. Antiochus, whom most commentaries credit with fulfilling vs. 20, ruled, not a “few days” (even if taken metaphorically), but a full twelve years!

From the text, we see that after rising to power an ill-fated alliance is struck by Israel with the AC (Dan 11:23-24) – the proverbial ‘deal with the Devil’. Is this human alliance the same as the holy covenant that the Antichrist does not make, but only confirms? There is an important difference.

It appears that there are two sides to the arrangement: as part of a treacherous human alliance, the Antichrist apparently agrees to confirm (support and endorse) what the Jews regard as holy. This is something he personally hates and begins very shortly to plot against (Dan 11:23-24, 28-30).

On one side, it is confirmation of the holy covenant that recognizes Jewish right to land and temple service. On the other side, Jewish obedience has been made to depend on the frailty of a human alliance, this time the Antichrist himself. This is what Isaiah is calling an ill-fated “covenant with death and hell” (Isa 28:15, 18).

This resolves the paradox of how it is that something can be at once a covenant with death and hell where the Jews are concerned, yet show the great desolator who will take away the sacrifice to be one among many who confirms the holy covenant (Dan 9:27; 11:23).

[Note: Contrary to popular opinion, the anger of God does not burn against the Jews because some want to rebuild the temple and offer sacrifice according to the law. Far from it, His deep umbrage with them will be on the basis of what it has always been: trust in the arm of the flesh. This longstanding misplaced trust will at last sell them into the hand of the final Antichrist. It is the deadly presumption that lasting peace can exist apart from lasting righteousness, that is, the “everlasting” righteousness” (Dan 9:24) that can come only through the Spirit of “the Lord our righteousness” (Jer 23:5-6).]

For these reasons we are led to expect a multinational peace agreement between many nations. This particular peace must include within its provisions a formal recognition of the holy covenant. This will necessarily include, not only recognition of safe borders, but rights of access to the presently forbidden Temple Mount, particularly to attend to the service of the temple according to the law of Moses.

Many nations will oppose and rage against what the Antichrist with many nations have agreed to confirm. We know this because it is with such nations that the Antichrist will have secret intelligence, plotting to overthrow the covenant and recapture Jerusalem (Dan 11:28-30). We can safely add the word, “secret” intelligence, because it is plain from scripture that Israel will not be expecting the invasion of the united forces under the Antichrist.

As noted, some translations imply that the alliance with the AC takes place at a time of security (Dan 8:25; 11:21, 24). Others indicate only trickery and surprise. Even now, as of the recent “Abraham Accords”, regional nations, some of longstanding antagonism, are beginning to pursue normalized relations with Israel. So it is entirely possible that there will be a comparative measure of peace before the many confirm the covenant. It appears that the Antichrist is one among many who “confirm the covenant” (holy covenant) at the same time the “league” is being made with him (Dan 9:27; 11:23).

In this way something holy is being confirmed (supported, endorsed) by one who secretly (or perhaps not so secretly) despises what he has so recently confirmed. This is the great paradox! Little wonder it has not been more recognized by the exegetical commentaries. What scenario of political expediency could possibly incline the Antichrist to enter into an agreement (alliance / league) that will evidently entail his support for something that he vehemently hates and begins almost immediately to plot against? (Dan 11:23-34; 11:28-30). Does his compliance owe to some political pressure?, or, is this a planned strategy intended to pretend compliance until the passionately pursued opportunity presents itself?

If we are correct to identify the covenant of Dan 9:27 with the holy covenant of Dan 11:28, 30, it would appear that the holy covenant is confirmed at the same time certainly Israel, evidently with other nations, enter into the deadly “league” with the man who will prove their greatest adversary. This is the dark side, the “human” side of the agreement that is rightly called, “a covenant with death and hell,” precisely because its basis is a naive trust in man. This is the very deep contention that God has always had with His covenant nation.

So all scriptural evidence, duly considered, contemplates a two sided phenomenon that takes place paradoxically at the same time. This is how something can be at once a covenant with death and hell, even while unholy nations unite to confirm an ancient covenant that is holy. Most apparently, this is a multi-national agreement to recognize Jewish right to the Land of promise and freedom to practice their commanded worship in the appointed place. This will likely take place in connection with a human peace arrangement that will be enforced by a multinational peace keeping force.

But note carefully:

The peace that will be in place when the AC confirms the covenant to start the last seven years must be one that is completely without precedent. We know this because scripture shows that Israel’s guard is relaxed, leaving the nation quite unsuspecting of what’s about to hit them (Isa 28:15-18; Eze 38:8, 11, 14; 39:26; Dan 11:23-24; 1Thess 5:3). And not only Israel, but I speculate that this shock and the fire that the ten will bring upon the harlot (Rev 17:16) will doubtless include, not only Jerusalem, but the west, with even some of the moderate Arab nations that were favorable toward  the peace. This would include the Gulf States of the Arabian Peninsula (ancient Sheba and Dedan; see Eze 38:13), and most certainly Egypt (see Isa 19).

If, with all of this, one could remain uncertain of the time, it will soon enough become very clear that the covenant so lately confirmed by the Antichrist is the one that begins the seven years. This will be known by the starting again of the daily sacrifice. According to Dan 8:11-14, the sacrifice does not start immediately after the covenant is confirmed. It starts 2300 days (6 1/3 years) before the end, and is stopped 3 1/2 years before the end (Dan 12:7, 11).

This means the sacrifice begins somewhere between the eighth and tenth months of the first year after the covenant has been confirmed. The reason the exact time is not easy to fix is because the 2300 days do not end with the return of Jesus (the precise day and hour unknown), but with the “cleansing of the sanctuary” (Dan 8:13).

Since this point has most likely to do with the “anointing of the most holy place” as one of the end goals of Dan 9:24, the reference to cleansing the sanctuary seems to be part of the dedication ceremony of the new temple. Precisely where this event will fall within the mysterious extension of days in Dan 12:11-12 is difficult to say.

In all other instances where the sacrificed was stopped (Nebuchadnezzar; Antiochus, Titus), it had been in session for centuries. Unlike any of these examples, the sacrifice is one that has not been only recently restarted. Our interpretation of Dan 8:11-14 as future is further confirmed by the observation that the temple that the Antichrist enters to desecrate is one that has only recently come back into Jewish possession (see Isa 63:18; 64:10-11).

By this we know that well before the Antichrist invades Israel and enters the temple, the saints will have opportunity to see many things that will confirm that they have entered the final seven. This will be a tremendous gift to the body and the world. But for those who persist in unbelief in the face of such massive evidence of fulfilled prophecy will become much more accountable and without excuse.

It is another discussion, but knowing the time when it is ‘time to know the time’ will be an unspeakably invaluable gift to the saints. This is because of all that God has invested in the use he intends to make of that complete certainty when the time comes.

“When this agreement shall have been confirmed, the wise will know that the final Seven of years has commenced, that the end days are present, that the consummation of the age has arrived. They will expect the violation of the covenant after three years and a half, and will not be overwhelmed with surprise, have been told beforehand by this prophecy. Then will it be seen in fullness that the knowledge of the prophetic Scripture is simply priceless.” (G.H. Lang, “The Histories and Prophecies of Daniel”; 1940)

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Lest We “Jump the Gun”

In assessing the significance of the recent Abraham Accord for its present impact and future portent, we must be careful to distinguish things that differ, lest we overstate and discredit the testimony. Let me explain.

The particular peace agreement that begins the last seven years must be one that not only includes multi-national support for a peace arrangement that brings unprecedented peace to the region (Isa 28:15, 18; Eze 38:8, 11, 14; 39:26; Dan 8:25; 11:21, 24; 1Thes 5:3). It must also include recognition and support for “the holy covenant” in particular (see Dan 9:27 in light of Dan 11:28, 30, 32). This is something far more than a mere peace agreement signed by the Antichrist. That theory is in timely need of serious re-examination!

So what is the “holy covenant”? In Dan 11:28, 30, where this particular phrase is used, it clearly has to do with Jewish temple worship at Jerusalem. Whatever else the holy covenant includes (Jewish right to the Land promised to Abraham’s descendents, etc.), it must include the presence of the temple (or at least the beginnings of a temple) and Jewish return (recent return; Isa 63:18; 64:10-11, with Dan 8:13-14) to the daily offering of sacrifice on the temple mount in Jerusalem (Dan (9:27; 11:31; 12:11; Mt 24:15-16; 2Thes 2:4). It is precisely “the holy covenant” situated at Jerusalem that the AC so vehemently hates and, with other dissenting nations (Dan 11:27, 30), conspires to destroy (Dan 11:23-31).

The single question that so greatly affects our interpretation of all else is this: is the covenant that is “confirmed” in Dan 9:27 the same covenant that is called “holy” in Dan 11:28, 30? If it is, this brings the consummate paradox. How does the AC “confirm” (in the sense of approve or strengthen) a covenant that is holy? We are about to see why this is such a mystery that has defied clear resolution until these end days (Dan 12:4, 9).

From the larger context of Daniel, with key related passages in Isaiah and Ezekiel especially, we see that the AC takes advantage of what appears an already existing peace (he comes in ‘peaceably’; Dan 8:25; 11:21, KJV; others translate, “at a time of security / tranquility” ASV; NASB, “when its people feel secure” NIV). It is in this already existing climate of relative security (many translate “prosperity”; cf. Eze 38:12-13; Joel 2:3; Dan 11:41) that he “obtains the kingdom (already existing kingdom) by flatteries / stealth / treachery (Dan 11:21).

Whether at that time, or some point shortly after, “many” (we infer ‘many’ nations; see Dan 9:27) enter into an alliance with him.

23”And AFTER the league (treaty) made with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people.”

Remember, compared to other regional powers, he is called a “little horn” (Dan 7:8; 8:9).

It appears that he has very lately risen to power in a comparatively small, possibly new nation somewhere to the north of Israel (Dan 8:9). Judging by the use of prepositions ‘in’ and ‘among’ in Dan 7:8, 24, we may safely infer that the ten nations that he will later unite against the covenant are already in existence when he comes to power in what is evidently a fledgling new nation that has recently emerged. (“out of one of them”, i.e., one of the four primary divisions of Alexander’s empire; Dan 8:9; 11:20-21).

From the text, we see that after rising to power in a comparatively small (and possibly recently formed nation from somewhere within the former Seleucid kingdom that once stretched from Damascus to Babylon), during a time of what appears an already existing regional security (Dan 11:21, 24), an ill-fated alliance is struck with the AC (Dan 11:23-24), the proverbial ‘deal with the Devil’. Is this human alliance the same as the covenant that is ‘confirmed’ in Dan 9:27?

If the covenant of Dan 9:27 is indeed the “holy covenant” of Dan 11:28, 30, then the answer is no; they are not the same. There is a crucial distinction, but this alliance is, without doubt, the “covenant with death and hell” (Isa 28:15, 18) that we may infer takes place at the same time that the AC confirms the holy covenant “with the many” (Dan 9:27).

This suggests a satisfying resolution to the paradox of how something can be at once a covenant with death and hell, while at the same time ‘the’ holy covenant is being confirmed by the Antichrist (probably as one among others; Dan 9:27; 11:23). It is different sides of the same coin, evidently occurring at the same time.

[Note: Contrary to popular opinion, the anger of God does not burn against the Jews because some want to rebuild the temple and offer sacrifice according to the law. Far from it, His deep umbrage with them will be what it has always been, trust in the arm of the flesh, which long standing misplaced trust will at length sell them into the hand of the final Antichrist. It is the deadly presumption that lasting peace can exist apart from lasting righteousness, that is, the “everlasting” righteousness” (Dan 9:24) that can come only through the Spirit of “the Lord our righteousness” (Jer 23:5-6).]

Apparently, a multinational peace agreement includes within its provisions, formal recognition of Israel’s right to exist in the land that will now, at last, be recognized as theirs, not by all, but by the moderate nations seeking normalization at the probable expense of Turkish, Iranian, and Palestinan insult and rage.

[Note: I have shown elsewhere that the best interpretation of Dan 8:11-14 argues that the sacrifice does not start immediately after the covenant is confirmed, but somewhere between the eighth and tenth months of the first year, depending on where one sees the finishing point within the added days of Dan 12:11-13.]

We know the alliance with the AC takes place at a time of security / tranquility (implied in Isa 28:15, 18; Eze 38:8, 11, 14; 39:26; Dan 8:25; 11:21, 24). Could this state of affairs pre-exist the AC’s confirmation of the covenant? I think that is a possibility. Even now, as of the recent “Abraham Accords”, regional nations, some of long standing antagonism, are beginning to pursue normalized relations with Israel. So it is entirely possible that there will be a comparative measure of peace before the peace. But note carefully. The peace that will be in place when the AC confirms the covenant to start the last seven years must be one that is completely without precedent. We know this because scripture shows that Israel’s guard is relaxed, leaving the nation quite unsuspecting of what’s about to hit them (Isa 28:15-18; Eze 38:8, 11, 14; 39:26; Dan 11:23-24; 1Thes 5:3). And not only Israel, but I think this shock and the fire that the ten will bring upon the harlot will doubtless include, not only Jerusalem, but the west and evidently the moderate nations that were favorable of the peace. This would be the Gulf States of the Arabian Peninsula (ancient Sheba and Dedan; see Eze 38:13), and most certainly Egypt (see Isa 19).

It seems clear that the AC confirms the covenant at the same time he and other nations enter into the deadly alliance that ends in disaster for Israel. We also know that disaster comes 3 ½ years after the covenant of Dan 9:27 has been confirmed by the AC, evidently as one among ‘many’ others.

As stated above, it is one thing to enter into an agreement with Israel and other nations that secures a regional peace. It is quite another matter to “confirm” (not make in the sense of create, but to ‘make firm’ in the sense of strengthen, support, give formal approval or recognition) a covenant that is shown within the same book of Daniel to be, not ‘a’, but THE “holy covenant” (Dan 11:28, 30). So why would the AC “confirm” (in the sense of approve or strengthen) a covenant that is holy? No wonder this has been so overlooked by commentators!

If we are correct to understand that the “holy covenant” of Dan 11:28, 30 to be none other than the covenant that the AC confirms in Dan 9:27, we see that from the beginning of the alliance of Dan 11:23, he immediately begins to “work deceitfully”, as he swiftly increases in power.

If we are correct to make the connection between the covenant of Dan 9:27 and the holy covenant of Dan 11:28, 30, this means that the AC despises and plots to overthrow the same holy covenant he has so recently confirmed (Dan 11:27, 30). Of course, with few exceptions, this is not recognized by scholars in most of the commentaries on Daniel. This is because most tend to apply Dan 9:27 either to Antiochus IV (died 164 B.C.), or to Jesus who, it is claimed, terminated the sacrifice, not literally or actually (until 40 years later in 70 A.D), but ended its spiritual efficacy (it was never efficacious) by the once and for all sacrifice of His blood.

The interpretation will depend on which prince stops the regular sacrifice. Was it Antiochus, Jesus, or a future Antichrist (man of lawlessness)? If Antiochus, the math is fuzzy at best, as even admitted by the advocates of that view. If Jesus, then we must ask what great “consummation” or end came exactly seven years after He confirmed the covenant?

Moreover, if Jesus caused the sacrifice to cease, this is at variance with every other mention throughout the book. In every instance, it is always the evil, self exalting “prince who shall come” who stops the sacrifice, and this event always sets in motion the “time of the end” (cf. Dan 8:11; 9:26-27; 11:31; 12:11). What significant “end” did the seventh year after Jesus’ baptism bring? Advocates of this view are divided, but usually suggest that the end of the seventieth week came with either the death of Stephen or the conversion of Paul. Rather anticlimactic I’d say; especially when the whole book of Daniel designs to answer the question, “how long”?. The nation will be delivered at the “time of the end”, the same time the dead are raised (Dan 12:1-2), and this will happen exactly “a time, times, and a half”, somewhere within the approximate range of the 1260 -1290 -1335 days AFTER the stopping of the daily sacrifice. Clearly, this is the half week of Daniel’s 70th week that so greatly occupies the Revelation (Rev 11:2-3; 12:6, 14; 13:5).

It is also typical for scholars (certainly not all) to apply Dan 11:21-35, not to the future Antichrist who enters the temple “in Jerusalem” (Mt 24:15-16; Rev 11:2), takes away the sacrifice, and declares himself God above all (Dan 11:31, 36-37; Mt 24:15; 2Thes 2:4), but rather to Antiochus IV of the second century B.C. But such an interpretation makes poor observation that while Antiochus may have been a significant type of the coming Antichrist, in so many particulars within the text itself, he falls far short of the many outstanding details that received no adequate fulfillment in the second century B.C., clearly demanding a much more complete and plenary fulfillment in the future, but that’s another rather involved discussion.

It appears then that it is the holy covenant itself that the AC confirms, apparently at the same time Israel (with many other nations), enters into an alliance with him. We judge this because this marks the time he begins to “work deceitfully” (evidently against the covenant). This he does as he “comes up and becomes strong” (grows swiftly in power), either by means of “a small people”, or perhaps by his exploitation of a small people (insignificant people, or few in number?, the word, “number” is supplied by the translators in some translations).

After a strategic power grab (of a nation to his south, not necessarily Egypt; Dan 11:25 with Dan 11:42), he begins to secretly court the support of other dissenting nations in his plot against the holy covenant. This obviously implies his passion to capture Jerusalem (compare Dan 11:27, 30). I insert the word, “secretly”, because the “intelligence” he has with those who share his hatred of the covenant is manifestly a secretive conspiracy to invade. This is evident since the final destruction comes suddenly and without notice (see Isa 28:15-18; Eze 38:8-13; Mt 24:15-16; 1Thes 5:3; Rev 12:6, 14).

So from the very first, immediately “AFTER the league made with him”, he is seen plotting and planning against the “holy covenant” that he confirmed with other nations, granting Israel’s right to exist, not only exist, but to practice their ancient worship on the divinely designated temple mount. This is the covenant he confirms with many. There may be other peace treaties, signed by any number of participants, but this is what begins the seven years, nothing less!

Whether out of necessity or strategic opportunity, the AC confirms what he, with other dissenting nations, passionately despises. Yet he apparently breaks ranks with the others who vehemently oppose the covenant (Iran, Syria,Turkey, etc.). Until his strategic plotting solidifies into the union of the ten, the AC is apparently only one among the “many” more moderate nations that confirm the covenant. This means he pretends an initial support for what he begins very early to plot against. As events of the first half of the week progress (Dan 11:23-30), his intentions are disguised as he secretly courts compliance and unification with the disaffected resistors who evidently refuse this powerfully imposed, but passionately hated peace that includes forced recognition of the holy covenant.

Whether under necessity or opportunity, the AC will agree to make this highly deceptive concession to Jewish worship on the Temple Mount, but only for a time. From the very beginning of the alliance, he “works deceitfully” to plot and plan against what he so recently confirmed. When the time is right, he covertly courts the union of the ten. This is apparently those nations who are stalwart resistors of the peace, particularly any peace that grants Jewish ritual and worship on the forbidden temple mount.

A modern application of Dan 11:21-32 will suggest that those “who forsake the holy covenant” in Dan 11:30, 32 are not only the dissenting nations that wanted no part of the peace, but also those who after the peace is broken, begin to forsake and flee from any identification with the Jews in flight. Favorable relations with Jews will be a death sentence, as experienced, not only be Christians, but be some of the moderate nations that supported the peace (compare Eze 38:13, Sheba and Dedan, modern Gulf States, and Egypt; Isa 19). to Israel will certainly attract Antichrist rage, as so well demonstrated in the tribulation assault on Egypt (Isa 19). Relation to Israel association with the Jews .

In modern terms, this would be recognition, (whether voluntarily or constrained) of Israel’s right to exist in their own land, with particular formal recognition and acceptance of the right of Jewish attendance to situate their sanctuary on the forbidden Temple Mount and to shortly begin the regular sacrifice. That is what the idea of the “holy covenant” in Dan 11:28, 30, 32 (and therefore, we would argue, Dan 9:27) has particularly in view.

As best I can see, this is what the cumulative evidence, taken in strictest context, would seem to indicate. This is not to minimize the huge, on time stride in the right direction that the Abraham Accord represents. We do well to take heed, especially if we believe that we are nearing the end of Hosea’s two days (Hos 5:15 – 6:2). It is just to say, there remain some formidable political mountains that must be removed before the seven years can begin.

Recognizing this will keep us from premature declarations, so that when the time does confirm itself beyond question by the more definite signal events, we may move as one man with holy boldness, instructing many, and turning many to righteousness (Dan 11:32-33; 12:3, 10; Rev 7:9, 13-14). It will be the church’s finest hour!

These be the days! Reggie

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