06 Dec The Antichrist’s false peace treaty
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.
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. A bit of background is necessary. In the 8th century BC the Hebrew people were divided between (1) the Northern Kingdom of Israel, often referred to as as Samaria, or Ephraim, and (2) the Southern Kingdom of Judah, whose capital was Jerusalem. In Isaiah 28, the chapter is broken up into two sections. The first section (vv. 1-13) is a rebuke directed toward “Ephraim” or the Northern Kingdom of Israel. The second section (vv. 14-29) is a rebuke and a prophetic warning directed against the Southern Kingdom of Judah. The looming threat of the day for both Kingdoms was the ever expanding Assyrian Empire to the east. To protect themselves from Assyria, Ephraim had entered into agreements with Aram-Damascus as well as Assyria itself, while Judah had entered into a security-alliance with Egypt. So this is where we pick up Isaiah’s prophetic warning and rebuke. Here, Isaiah is warning Judah that though they boast that they have achieved peace and security, their security covenant will be broken and the invasion which they sought to avoid will overwhelm them. While this is all well known information concerning the history of Jewish people, for those who recognize the Day-of-the-Lord emphasis of the Bible, the eschatological implications must not be ignored.
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)
It is important to highlight several realities established by the text. The “covenant of death,” or the “pact with Sheol” is (1) made by the rulers of Judah, (2) made with “death”, (3) instead of trusting in Messiah, the “tested stone” they rely on the covenant, (4) they enter into the covenant specifically for the purpose of avoiding “the overwhelming (flooding) scourge”, yet (5) the covenant “will be cancelled” or broken. And so, (6) instead of providing Judah with deliverance from the flooding scourge, they will be “trampled” by it.
This passage in Isaiah literally contains every element of the view that Israel will the Antichrist will enter into a “covenant” or security alliance with the Antichrist (death). The result will be a broken covenant and the overwhelming military “flood” of the Antichrist will sweep into the land. The specific element of the covenant being seven years of course is not found in this passage, but is seen in Daniel 9 and in Jesus’ exposition of that passage in the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24).
Elsewhere, Isaiah prophesies that in the Messianic Kingdom, after having been 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)
This passage is crucial. 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.”
It is also important to note that the motif of the flooding scourge of Isaiah 28 is alluded to in Revelation 12, where the military rage of Satan and the Antichrist is specifically referred to as “The Flood”:
And the serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, so that he might cause her to be swept away with the flood. (Revelation 12:15)
Remember that everything in the Book of Revelation is build on allusions to images, symbols, and prophecies found throughout the Old Testament. We must ask ourselves then, where does this passage in Revelation find the motif of “The Flood”? Not surprisingly then, the allusion to the rage of the Antichrist as “the flood” is found specifically in Daniel 9:26, where the angel Gabriel also directly alludes to the scourging flood when he describes the destruction of Jerusalem by the Antichrist who is here called, “the prince to come”:
“[T]he people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.” (Daniel 9:26b-c)
Clearly, the reference to the attack of the Antichrist in Revelation 12 as “The Flood” finds its basis in both Isaiah 28 and Daniel 9:27.
Next, though many interpret Daniel 11:21-35 as speaking exclusively of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, many others such as myself, understand Antiochus to be merely a shadow, with Antichrist as the ultimate subject of this passage. There Daniel specifically mentions two key elements: (1) An alliance, (2) made in conjunction with deception. The Scriptures show that this is the repeated method employed by the Antichrist:
“After an alliance is made with him he will practice deception, and he will go up and gain power with a small force of people. (Daniel 11:23)
Elsewhere, both Daniel and Ezekiel also speak of the Antichrist’s purposeful deception in conjunction with invading those who have been lulled into a false sense of security:
“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)
When the richest provinces feel secure, he will invade them and will achieve what neither his fathers nor his forefathers did. He will distribute plunder, loot and wealth among his followers. He will plot the overthrow of fortresses—but only for a time. (Daniel 11:24
You will say, “I will invade a land of unwalled villages; I will attack a peaceful and unsuspecting people—all of them living without walls and without gates and bars. (Ezekiel 38:11)
Notice that When Israel is invaded, she is described as not only experiencing a false sense of security, but she is also unsuspecting. Can it be said of Israel today that they are not “suspect” concerning the motives of the surrounding nations? Something would seem by necessity to take place whereby Israel will be lulled into a false state of security and unsuspectingness. When we see that the Antichrist will use deceit for the purpose of prospering, then we have a very strong suggestion that we are dealing with some form of deceptive peace agreement or security alliance as has been foreshadowed through Israel’s history in the prophecies of Isaiah.
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.
After posting this article, the blogger MidnightWatcher, whom I had banned a few days earlier from any future involvement on this site, posted a fairly extended critique of my position on his own site. My reason for banning MW was because I felt he was using this blog to promote his own personal agenda. This included pasting several of his own rather extended articles in the comments section despite being aware that I very strongly disagreed with his views. Although this is no doubt, entirely acceptable in some forums, it is not something that I allow on this site for several reasons. After reading his critique however, I in turn wrote a response, to which this blogger then responded again, and so forth. Further examination of MidnightWatcher’s rather extensive “responses” prove to use significant portions of plagiarized material simply cut-and-pasted from other sources on the internet. These segments are not “cited” as if they are someone else’s work, but passed off as his own words. After prayerful consideration, I’ve decided to remove my response entirely. After banning this individual from my site specifically because of what I felt was a spirit of contention, self-promotion, and dishonesty, I absolutely should not have responded at all. And so I confess my own immaturity and genuinely repent for not modeling a more Christ-like behavior in this matter.
Thanks for your understanding,