by Bill Salus -
The Treaty of Versailles signed on June 28, 1919, ended World War One. United Nations Resolution 181 of November 29, 1947, i.e. the Partition Plan, reestablished the Jewish State of Israel. The December 13, 2007, Treaty of Lisbon, established the constitutional basis for the creation of the European Union. These three monumental agreements of the 20th Century were significant because World Wars, the reestablished State of Israel and the Revived Roman Empire are relevant end times prophetic topics.
As notable as these three past accords were, they will all pale in comparison to a forthcoming covenant predicted in Isaiah 28:15-18 and Daniel 9:27. Something about this covenant, which will likely be confirmed soon in the 21st Century, causes the world to experience seven-years of its severest tribulation. During this period, many seas and rivers will turn into blood, the sun will scorch men with great heat and fire and great earthquakes will cause islands to crumble and mountains to topple. (Revelation 16)
What is it about the content of this covenant that provokes the Lord to pour out His wrath upon the earth? This article presents the biblical clues that seemingly identify the TRUE CONTENT of this FALSE COVENANT. This covenant kicks off what is commonly referred to as the "Seven-Year Tribulation Period," (Trib-Period), which is also called "Daniel's 70th Week."
THE TRIBULATION COVENANT
The primary verses that provide details about the covenant are listed below.
"Then he (the Antichrist) shall confirm a covenant with many for one (seven-year) week; in the middle of the week (after three and one-half years) 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." (Daniel 9:27; emphasis added)
Daniel informs us that the Antichrist will confirm a seven-year covenant with many, meaning between Israel and some other party or parties. Moreover, the confirmer of the covenant will also be the one who annuls it by ending the sacrifices and offerings in the middle of the seven-years.
Daniel provides some important facts, but we turn to Isaiah to ascertain additional pertinent prophetic information.
"Therefore hear the word of the Lord, you scornful men, Who rule this people who are in Jerusalem, Because you have said, "We have made a covenant with death, And with Sheol we are in agreement. When the overflowing scourge passes through, It will not come to us, For we have made lies our refuge, And under falsehood we have hidden ourselves." Therefore thus says the Lord God: "Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, A tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; Whoever believes will not act hastily. Also I will make justice the measuring line, And righteousness the plummet; The hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, And the waters will overflow the hiding place. Your covenant with death will be annulled, And your agreement with Sheol will not stand; When the overflowing scourge passes through, Then you will be trampled down by it. (Isaiah 28:14-18)
Isaiah points out the following crucial details:
* The leaders of Israel are "scornful men" at the time the covenant is ratified
* The other party of the covenant with Israel is "Death and Sheol"
* The reason Israel covenants is to avoid "the overflowing scourge"
* The covenant is deceitful, it is based upon "lies" and "falsehood"
* The covenant is made "hastily"
* The covenant will be "annulled"
* Israel will not avoid "the overflowing scourge," but will be "trampled down by it"
Bible prophecy expert Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum states the following concerning this problematic covenant.
"The Tribulation begins with Israel signing a seven-year covenant. Two key passages bear this out. The first passage is Daniel 9:24-27, the famous prophecy of the seventy weeks or seventy sevens of the prophet Daniel.... The second passage is Isaiah 28:14-22. In Isaiah 28:14, God calls the ones making this covenant scoffers. He considers them mockers rather than serious leaders. Isaiah 28:15 gives the reason for this and provides God's viewpoint of the covenant itself. It is obvious that the leaders of Israel will enter into this covenant to obtain some measure of security and to escape the overflowing scourge. Hence they will believe that entering the covenant will free them from further military invasions. However, God declares that this is not a covenant of life, but a covenant of death. It is not a covenant of heaven, but a covenant of hell. Rather than gaining security, they will gain a strong measure of insecurity."(i)
WHO ARE DEATH AND SHEOL?
We know from Daniel 9:27 and Isaiah 28:14-18 that the Antichrist confirms a covenant between Israel and Death and Sheol. These two sinister characters bear a striking resemblance to the dual riders of the pale horse of the Apocalypse.
When He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, "Come and see." So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades, (Sheol in the Hebrew), followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth. (Revelation 6:7-8)
These two horsemen have authority over a quarter of the world's population to kill people. This could mean that they kill a quarter of mankind, or that they have governing authority over a quarter of mankind to kill an untold number of people. Whichever is the case, among those being killed are Christian believers. This is confirmed in the verses below.
When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed. (Revelation 6:10-11)
These slain souls appear to be the victims of Death and Hades. These saints have been martyred for believing and preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, which must contradict the counterfeit gospel being presented by Death and Hades. Whoever Death and Hades represents, and whatever gospel they are preaching, it is not a message that the fifth seal saints agree with. However, according to Isaiah 28:15, the scornful leaders of Israel will be in agreement with it, at least for politically expedient purposes. They will agree, even if it involves lies and falsehood, to avoid the overflowing scourge being perpetrated by Death and Sheol/Hades.
In the Bible, death deals with the material departure of a being from its body and hades is concerned with the immaterial aspect of a person after death, which is their soul. Presently, when someone dies their soul is delivered to its destination, which is either heaven if they're saved or hades if they're not. However, the Death and Sheol/Hades that is martyring believers and that Israel signs a covenant with represents a tangible, rather than an intangible entity. Israel cannot confirm an agreement with a non-entity.
So, who does Death and Hades represent? Their identity is found by recognizing that there exists only two killing crusades of Christians after Death and Hades come into the world. These two are the Harlot and the Antichrist. Per Revelation 17:6, the Harlot is "drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus." Per Revelation 13:15-17 and 20:4, the Antichrist will kill believers for refusing to receive the "Mark of the Beast."
Unless Death and Hades represents a third campaign of Christian martyrdom, which is not likely, then it must find association with either the Harlot or the Antichrist. It can't be related to the Antichrist for two reasons.
1. The Antichrist is the White Horseman, (Rev. 6:1-2), and Death and Hades are the Pale Horsemen, (Rev. 6:7-8), of the Apocalypse. These two horses carry distinctly different riders who operate independent of each other. The Antichrist is given a crown and instructed to go out conquering and to conquer. Death and Hades are given authority over a quarter of the earth's population to kill, namely Christian believers.
2. The Antichrist's killing crusade doesn't start until the middle of the Trib-Period, but Death and Hades begin their targeted murders beforehand.
Therefore, based upon the minor premises above, the major premise is that Death and Hades seemingly finds association with the Harlot world religion. Or, more boldly and directly stated; DEATH AND HADES are associated with "MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH." If this is the case then whoever THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS represents, is the likely embodiment of the fourth horsemen of Death and Hades.
And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement. (Revelation 17:5-6)
WHAT IS THE OVERFLOWING SCOURGE THAT CONCERNS ISRAEL?
What is the overflowing scourge that compels Israel to become a signatory to the false covenant? If Death and Hades represents the Harlot world religion, and if that system is perpetrating a killing campaign upon those who descent from it, then the obvious answer is that the scourge has a connection with the killing crusade of the Harlot. In other words, the Jews don't want Revelation 17:6 to read;... I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus and the BLOOD OF THE JEWS. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement.
The fact is, that like the Fifth Seal Saints won't believe the counterfeit gospel of the Harlot, neither will the Jews. Coming off decisive prophetic war victories in Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38, which will have likely happened prior, they will be on a fervent quest to reinstate their ancient Mosaic Law. This means that they will want to build their third temple to perform animal sacrifices and offerings again, which they believe will hasten the coming of their Messiah. They don't now, and they won't then, believe in Jesus as the Messiah.
Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38 are distinctly different prophecies. Psalm 83 is an ancient prophecy that predicts the conclusion of the Arab-Israeli conflict. It foretells that Israel will defeat their Arab neighbors in an epic war and end the oppression of those peoples once and for all. Ezekiel 38 prophesies that God will stop a massive invasion of Israel supernaturally. Because of both biblical wars, the Jewish state will be emboldened and recognized by the Harlot as a force that must be reckoned with.
(The Inner Circle map overlays the ancient names of Psalm 83:6-8 over their modern-day counterparts. Note that the Inner Circle is mostly comprised of Arab states and terrorist groups that share common borders with the Jewish state. These ancient civilizations have been Israel's most notorious enemies from time immemorial.)
(The Outer Ring map superimposes the historic names of the Ezekiel 38:1-5 coalition over their present equivalents. The arrows depict the location of the coalition members. Note that the Outer Ring of nations does not share common borders with Israel, include any of the Inner Circle countries or notable terrorist organizations, involve any of Israel's historic enemies, apart from Persia at the time of Esther, or incorporate many Arab states).
WHAT IS THE TRUE CONTENT OF THE TRIBULATION COVENANT?
If the wars of Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38 have concluded prior to the confirmation of the false covenant, then the content of the covenant does not likely concern the Arab-Israeli conflict. This bitter entanglement is probably over with because of these two major wars. The Dome of the Rock that presently sits on the Temple Mount and is an obstacle to the Jews for building their temple, will probably be destroyed or demolished after Psalm 83. It could easily vanish in little to no time. Additionally, there is nothing in the Scriptures that talks about the content of the covenant having anything to do with the Arab's and the Jews.
THE 3 CLUES ABOUT THE COVENANT AND THE TEMPLE CONNECTION
However, there are at least three important biblical clues that suggest that some of the content of the covenant is concerned with the building of the Jewish Temple. The first clue is contained in Isaiah 28:16-17. These two verses are sandwiched in between Isaiah 28:15 and 18, which are the verses referring to the overflowing scourge and the false covenant.
Therefore thus says the Lord God: "Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, A tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; Whoever believes will not act hastily. Also I will make justice the measuring line, And righteousness the plummet; The hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, And the waters will overflow the hiding place. (Isaiah 28:16-17)
These passages use terms like a "tried stone," a "precious cornerstone," a "sure foundation," a "measuring line" and a "plummet." These are terms that can find association with constructing a Jewish Temple. To build the Temple, you start with a tried stone that becomes the precious cornerstone. This cornerstone has a sure foundation built around it. The length and width dimensions of a building needs to be calculated with a measuring line, and the vertical accuracy of a structure is determined with a plummet, (plumb-line).
I interpret Isaiah 28:16-17 as a warning to the scornful rulers that drag Israel into being a signatory of this dreadful covenant. These leaders seem to think that they are going to build a Temple and hasten the coming of the Messiah, but Isaiah cautions them not to hastily enter into this covenant, because the Messiah, Jesus Christ, has already come as the, tried stone (1 Peter 2:4-8), precious cornerstone (Matthew 21:42, Ephesians 2:19-22,) and sure foundation (1 Corinthians 3:11).
A second clue is found in Daniel 9:27, which also is a proof text verse regarded with the false covenant.
"Then he, (the Antichrist), shall confirm a covenant with many, (the Harlot religion), for one week; (of seven years), But in the middle of the week, (after three and one-half years), He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering, (taking place in the Temple). 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." (Daniel 9:27; emphasis added)
Jesus Christ foretells that this event predicted by Daniel happens in the holy place, which represents the Third Jewish Temple at the time.
"Therefore when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place" (whoever reads, let him understand), "then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains." (Matthew 24:15-16)
The intimations in these related verses above, are that by the middle of the Trib-Period the Third Jewish Temple will exist. The Antichrist will make a bold statement by entering this Temple and stopping the priestly sacrifices and offerings occurring therein. This is in fulfillment of Isaiah 28:18, which says the false covenant will be annulled. What better way to dissolve a covenant than to void out its terms?
If the true content of the false covenant allowed the Jews to build their Temple and perform sacrifices and offerings inside of it, then the action taken by the Antichrist to go into the Temple and stop the sacrifice and offering terminates the contract.
A third clue is in the book of Revelation. Several important details are provided in these passages below concerning the benefits to both signatories of the covenant. These verses describe what happens in the immediate aftermath of the ratification of the false covenant.
"Then there was given me a measuring rod like a staff; and someone said, 'Get up and measure the temple of God and the altar, and those who worship in it. Leave out the court which is outside the temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months. And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.'" (Rev. 11:1-3, NASB)
The time frame of "forty-two months" is associated with one-half of the seven years of tribulation. The same increment of time is used in the ensuing verse but worded differently as, "twelve hundred and sixty days." It is commonly taught that both usages allude to the first half of the Trib-Period.
Thus, the very first thing that appears to happen as part of the implementation of the covenant, is that the Temple gets measured for its construction. The apostle John is given a measuring rod and instructed to measure the temple of God, alluding to the Third Temple. If the covenant called for the construction of the Temple, then this would be one of the first order of events. Measure it so that it can be built.
Isaiah 28:16 issues a stern warning for the Jews to not become a signatory of the FALSE COVENANT, but rather to recognize that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, the TRIED PRECIOUS CORNERSTONE, the SURE FOUNDATION. Unfortunately, the Israeli leaders at the time will mock all the mounting evidence that supports this biblical truth! They will blatantly turn a deaf ear to the true gospel message of the 5th Seal Saints and a blind eye to their killings by the Harlot world religion.
Isaiah 28:18 declares that their scornful behavior will be to the detriment of the Jewish state. At that time, the Jews will trust that the content of the covenant will enable them to build their Third Temple. They will mistakenly believe that the completion of this Temple will cause the coming of their Messiah, who will promptly end the overflowing scourge being perpetrated by the Harlot. After their Messiah comes and promptly remedies the Harlot problem, the Jews expect that he will usher in the Messianic Kingdom, which is the high point of their Old Testament teachings. Unfortunately for these Jewish leaders, the Antichrist who confirms the covenant will be the one who annuls it!
The Antichrist will kill two religious birds with one stone in the Middle of the Trib-Period. First, he will enlist ten powerful kings to desolate signatory #2 of the covenant in Revelation 17:12-17. Shortly after eliminating Death and Sheol/Hades, which typologically represents the Harlot world religion, the Antichrist will enter the third Jewish Temple and stop the priestly offerings and sacrifices. This abominable act will ANNUL the FALSE COVENANT in fulfillment of Isaiah 28:18 and Daniel 9:27. Then, the Antichrist will proceed to eliminate signatory #1 of the covenant by committing the final genocide attempt of the Jews. Zechariah 13:8 informs that two-thirds of the Jews will be killed during this time.
In the end analysis, many Christian believers, Jews and the pagan Gentiles of the Harlot world religion are ultimately going to be killed at the cost of this terrible covenant. Israel's participation in this accord acknowledges their general acceptance of the Christian persecutions by the Harlot. Unwittingly, they and the Harlot trust the Antichrist to meet their mutually exclusive ends, which are the advancement of their own respective religious agendas. However, the Antichrist has his own different religious agenda as per Revelation 13 and elsewhere. Upon annulling the false covenant, his plans to entirely control the world are implemented.
Now we know why the TRUE CONTENT of the FALSE COVENANT amounts to nothing more than a truly BAD DEAL that comes out from the PITS of HELL!