by Michael Trofern
A popular prophecy teaching says the Antichrist will bring a world government and world peace that will include a covenant of peace with Israel that will last seven years, and in the middle of the agreement he will invade Israel and set up an image of himself in the newly rebuilt temple. This is so far off the mark it is like shooting at the Moon with a bow and arrow; it’s like the old belief that the Sun rotated around the Earth, it’s that bad. We will examine this issue in this article.
First, to properly understand Bible prophecy, several basic things must be understood, such as how the Bible uses the terms “all the earth” and “the whole world.” References to the whole world does not refer to the whole planet, as seen in the following examples:
And all the countries came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe in all the world. (Genesis 41:57)
The whole world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart. (1 Kings 10:24)
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar August, that all the world should be taxed. (Luke 2:1)
So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!” (John 12:19)
All nations on planet Earth did not go to Egypt to buy grain, neither did all nations seek an audience with Solomon, neither was the whole planet taxed by the Romans, neither did the whole planet follow Jesus while he was on Earth. What this shows is that the Bible often speaks of the whole world or the whole Earth, but it really means just a portion of the Middle East, North Africa, and Southern Europe of no certain size. So when the book of Revelation says the whole world will worship the beast, it does NOT refer to the entire planet.
Finally, Paul said, “All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing”?(Colossians 1:6). Clearly, Paul did not mean the whole planet. So the beast will not rule the world as a dictator, but it will bring world war.
Yet there is another verse which seems to indicate the whole planet, “And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation” (Rev.13:7). But it refers to the part of the world that the Roman Empire once ruled, and neighboring areas. Nowhere in Rev. 13 does it say that the beast will actually rule the world or bring peace, it actually says the beast brings war; “Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him??(Rev. 13:4). If the beast gains control of the world by bringing peace, like some teachers claim, who does he make war against?
If the beast will rule the whole planet, then who is the beast going to fight against in World War III and the battle of Armageddon; little gray men from Mars? Rev. 9:15 clearly states that WWIII will kill 1/3rd of all mankind.
The evidence is clear that there will never be a one-world government that actually has control over all nations. It is a fiction promoted as part of the false pre-tribulation rapture teaching (the timing of the rapture is not covered here).
There is no direct reference to the Antichrist bringing world peace, that is something that prophecy teachers have “read” into a verse in Daniel 9 about a future covenant, which I will examine shortly. But what does the Bible directly say about the beast of Revelation that could shed light on this topic of world peace and world government?
Nowhere in Rev. 13 does it say that the beast will rule the world or bring peace, but it does say the beast brings war; “Who?is like the beast? Who can make war against him?”?(Rev. 13:4). If the beast gains control of the world by bringing peace, like some teachers claim, who does he make war against? Again it says, “He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them” (13:7).
Does that sound like world peace to you? If that is not enough, it goes on to say that many will go “into captivity” and many will “be killed with the sword” (Rev. 13:10). Sounds like war to me. Also in Revelation it says the final world war will kill one-third of all mankind (Rev. 9: 15). And how can we forget the last battle of this world war, the battle of Armageddon described in Rev. 16?
So we are supposed to believe that a Jew hating world ruler who has control of all the world’s armies is ruling from Jerusalem, yet he does not wipe out the Jews. So how do we account for the nations that will invade the Middle East for the battle of Armageddon? I guess you can imagine that several nations that no longer have a military because all armies have become the armies of the Antichrist, somehow manage to create new armies and invade Israel for the purpose of killing Jews, because they are not happy that the man they worship as God has not yet killed off the Jews, and these armies somehow become confused and attack each other instead, on the plain of Megiddo. I would not buy that nonsense for a penny, but millions of prophecy books are selling that very thing.
No, the beast of Revelation does not bring world peace, he brings world war. The final battle of this war will be when many different nations invade the Middle East to attack the next empire that has invaded many nations of the world including Israel. These nations will be waging war against this empire that will be ruling most, if not all, Middle Eastern and North African nations. This coming empire will be the cause of World War III, as it will attempt to conquer the world, but it will fail and will be destroyed at the final battle.
Now I will explain the correct interpretation of the passage that is supposed to speak of a peace agreement with Israel, which is Daniel 9:27, but let’s begin with 9:26. Daniel 9 speaks of a vision Daniel had about 70 weeks of years, which totals 490 years. The 70 weeks were divided into three periods, one of 7 weeks of years (49 years), one of 62 weeks of years (483 years), and one of 1 week of years (7 years).
26 After?the sixty-two `sevens,’ the?Anointed One will be cut off?and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. (NIV)
This passage says after the first two periods are completed, the Messiah will be killed; of this most commentaries agree. This leaves one period of seven years yet to happen, which is supposed to be the 7-year Great Tribulation.However, some interpreters believe the first 69 weeks does not end with the death of Christ, but at his baptism. It says “after” the end of the 483 years, not “at the end of” the 483 years. So “after” could mean some space of time after the end of the first 69 weeks.
The first sentence of the above verse refers to Jesus, but the second verse refers to a totally different person. The “ruler who will come” is not Jesus, though the wording would lead one to that assumption. The people of a future ruler “will destroy the city and sanctuary.” This must refer to the Romans, which means the ruler is Titus and the people of the ruler were the Roman troops under his command that destroyed Jerusalem and the temple. The desolations that were decreed included the scattering of the Jews into other nations because of their rebellion against Rome and God. This scattering, is called the Diaspora, or dispersion.
In the above verse 26, reference is made to two different people. The first sentence refers to Jesus, the Anointed One; the second and third sentences to the ruler of the Romans and his troops. So also verse 27 refers to two different people, not one as is supposed:
27 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.” (9:27) (NIV)
The popular view of Daniel 9:27 is that it refers to the Antichrist making a 7-year agreement with Israel, then breaking it in the middle and stopping the sacrifice in the Temple that is expected to be rebuilt. Stopping the sacrifice and setting up the image is supposed to be the abomination of desolation. However, a few Bible interpreters believe that it refers to Jesus instituting the New Covenant and bringing an end to Old Covenant sacrifice and offering.
The covenant the Antichrist is supposed to make will be with “many,” but the Jews in Israel are not large in number. According to the Zondervan NIV Bible Commentary, the original text?“indicates” ‘the many‘ rather than ‘many’” (V.1, p.1389). The NAS translation says “the many.” If it refers to the Jews, why didn’t it just say so? But “the many” refers to a particular group that did not exist at the time of Daniel, and would be large in number.
Isaiah 53 describes Jesus with such well known passages as, “he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities” (53:5) (NIV). That chapter goes on to say, “my righteous servant will justify many?. . . For he bore the sins of many” (53:11-12) (NIV).
This reference to “many” and “the many” is also seen in the New Testament.Jesus said he came to give his “life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28) (NIV); and “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many?for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:28) (NIV).
Hebrews says, “Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many?people” (9:28) (NIV). Paul said, “For just as through the disobedience of the one man?the many?were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many?will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19) (NIV). And, “not seeking my own profit, but the profit of the many, that they may be saved” (1 Corinthians 10:33) (NAS). Clearly, Paul knew what he was speaking about with that term, “the many.” Christ died for the sins of the whole world, even those who will never become Christians. The covenant with the many?can only be the New Covenant.
The Letter to Diognetus also refers to the many; “… the injustice of the many was to be covered by the One who is righteous, and the righteousness of the One was to justify the many sinners!” (The Early Christians in Their Own Words, by Eberhard Arnold, The Plough Publishing House, Farmington, PA, 1997, page 298)
The usual interpretation of Daniel 9 completely skips the Gospel Age by placing Daniel’s 70th week after the end of the Gospel Age. But since Daniel’s 70 weeks is the unfolding plan of God, and includes to “bring in everlasting righteousness” (9:24), it must include the Gospel Age. How the Gospel Age is within the 70th week is beyond the scope of this article. Suffice it to say thatthe covenant refers to the New Covenant.
The NAS translation says,?“he will make a firm covenant.” Some Bible commentators want us to believe that the Antichrist will make a firm seven-year agreement with modern Israel, then break it in the middle. That does not sound like a “firm” covenant. The New Covenant is very firm because it is “everlasting” (9:24).
The words “of the temple” in the NIV are not in the original text. And the last he and him are not in other translations. The NKJ gives a more accurate reading of this verse:
“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.” (9:27)(NKJ)
Notice the change from “he” to “one” in the above verse. The most literal translations use the term?“one.” If the Antichrist stops the sacrifice and causes the abomination, then why does the language change from “he” to “one“? The New American Standard version says:
“And he?will make a firm covenant with the many?for one week, but in the middle of the week he?will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one?who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one?who makes desolate.” (NAS)
The change in language from “he” to “one” indicates a change in the person or object being referred to. The term “one” might refer to Satan, who is behind all evil events and evil systems of this world, but it probably refers to the Antichrist who will bring great destruction during World War III. It says this person?“makes desolate” and as a result he will receive?“complete destruction.“
Some commentators believe the 70 weeks are continuous, from 457 B.C. to A. D. 34, which would mean that Christ confirmed the covenant through his ministry of three and one-half years, followed by the apostles continuing to confirm the covenant among the Jews until the completion of the seven years, at which time they turned to the Gentiles. But?Halley’s Bible Handbook?relates another point of view:
Some think that God’s chronology was suspended at the death of Christ, to remain so while Israel is scattered, and that the last half of the “one week” belongs to the time of the End. (p. 349)
This view is almost accurate. I believe the first half of the 70th week was the first three and one-half years of the Gospel Age, which was the ministry of Jesus on Earth, and the final half will be the final 3 1/2 years of the Gospel Age; the Great Tribulation.
But what about the part that says the sacrifice will be taken away? The aforementioned wrong interpretation has lead to the belief that the Jewish Temple will be rebuilt and when the Antichrist takes over Jerusalem he will stop the sacrifice.
But Christ did more than bring in the New Covenant, he also “put an end to sacrifice and offering” which is the Old Covenant. He did this by dyeing on the cross and rising again on the third day.
In closing this section I will include two other pieces of evidence which I found in May of 2000. Below is the English Translation of the Septuagint, also know as the LXX, which is the Old Testament translated into Greek; it was Hebrew into Greek, then Greek into English, but it provides a fresh view of the verses in question:
And one week shall establish the covenant with many: and in the midst of the week my sacrifice and drink-offering shall be taken away: and on the temple shall be the abomination of desolations; and at the end of time an end shall be put to the desolation. (Septuagint, English translation of The Septuagint by Sir Lancelot Charles Lee Brenton, originally published in 1851.)
John Wesley, one of the founders of the Methodist church, wrote about this passage before the modern pre-tribulation theory was invented:
He shall confirm— Christ confirmed the new covenant by the testimony of angels, of John the Baptist, of the wise men, of the saints then living, of Moses and Elias. By his preaching, by signs and wonders, by his holy life, by his resurrection and ascension. By his death and blood shedding.?Shall cause the sacrifice to cease— All the Jewish rites, and Levetical worship. By his death he abrogated, and put an end to this laborious service forever. (John Wesley’s Notes of the Bible)
John Calvin also agrees with this view, as does the 1599 Geneva Study Bible.
So the reader can now see Daniel 9:27 in a new light, “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” (NIV). Christ died in the middle of the 70th week, and the Gospel Age is contained inside the final week; the last half of the 70th week will be the Great Tribulation which is never said to be anything but 1,260 days in the book of Revelation. Nowhere in the Bible does it make any mention of a 7-year tribulation, but only 3 1/2.