“For one week he shall make a firm covenant with the many;
Half the week he shall abolish sacrifice and offering;
In their place shall be the desolating abomination
until the ruin that is decreed is poured out upon the desolator.”
All the analyses I’ve looked at interpret this to mean that Israel will make a 7-year peace treaty with her neighbors, but I don’t see that in the text.
“One week” is a common Bible prophecy term for seven years, so I have no problem with that. However, a “firm covenant” is not specifically a “peace treaty.”
FIRM: Solidly in place and stable; having steady but not excessive power or strength.
Synonyms: Stable, steady, steadfast, resolved, wholehearted, secure, resolute, unwavering, committed.
COVENANT: Agreement; legal contract.
Synonyms: Commitment, contract, guarantee, pledge, promise, pact, deal, arrangement, agreement, undertaking, understanding.
Also, I don’t see the text saying Israel will make a treaty with her neighbors. If you look at the structure of the passage, “he” refers to “the desolator”, not to Israel. Therefore, the agreement will not be made by Israel, but by the Anti-Christ.
As for “the many”, there’s no indication in the surrounding text who that refers to, but it could refer to “the great harlot who lives near the many waters” (Revelation 17:1). The angel tells John, “The waters that you saw where the harlot lives represent large numbers of peoples, nations, and tongues” (Revelation 17:15).
I’m thinking it’s possible, even likely, that “the many” is the United Nations in New York City. Not only is this a place of many waters where large numbers of peoples, nations, and tongues reside, but also it is a place where nations routinely gather to make “firm covenants” with each other.
For the Record:
The Catholic Bible (New American Bible Revised Edition) footnotes this passage entirely as a prophecy that was fulfilled in 70 AD.
* [9:27] One week: the final phase of the period in view, the time of Antiochus’ persecution. He: Antiochus himself. The many: the faithless Jews who allied themselves with the Seleucids; cf. 1 Mc 1:11–13. Half the week: three and a half years; the Temple was desecrated by Antiochus from 167 to 164 B.C. The desolating abomination: see note on 8:13; probably a pagan altar. Jesus refers to this passage in his prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem in Mt 24:15.
I believe the Mt 24:15 reference has been misinterpreted. The surrounding text in Matthew 24 makes it very clear that Jesus was talking about the Great Tribulation at the end of all time, not the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.
Look at the line right before it:
Matt 24:14 – “This gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the world as a witness to all nations, and then the end will come.”
The gospel had not been preached to all nations in 70 AD. It has been now.
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