Author: Rabbi Baruch
We learned in the previous article that the Messiah must come prior to the destruction of the Second Temple 68 AD; that He would offer His life in atonement for sin and thereby establish a covenant through His blood. In this article we will see that after these events the false messiah will arise and establish his own covenant. However this covenant is not with HaShem, but is more of an international agreement between the false messiah and world leaders. It will be the false messiah who secures the building of the Temple in Jerusalem and will restore the sacrifices there. He will also be the one that will abruptly bring an end to these sacrifices and after being rejected by Israel, begin a time of persecution of the Jewish people. Let us take a look at these matters as they are recorded in the Scriptures.
Daniel says that after the true Messiah is cut off,
"… the Messiah will be cut off, but not for Himself, the city and the sanctuary (holy of holies) will be destroyed and the people of the prince will come and his end will be (swept away as) in flood until the end of war and the desolation is determined. Daniel 9:26b
This verse is full of important information. We have already discussed the significance of Messiah being "cut off" and the city and sanctuary being destroyed; therefore let us focus in on the latter half of this verse. We are told that the "people of the prince will come..." This is of course a reference to Rome and Titus. Rome represented a world empire and Titus came in the spirit of the false messiah. This verse ends with the phrase, "until the end of war and the desolation is determined." One is to learn from this that these events are necessary in order to fulfill what we are told earlier in the prophecy—that G-d will bring an end to sin and iniquity and bring in everlasting righteousness (see Daniel 9:24).
In the next verse it says that,
"And he will forge a covenant with many for a week (seven years) and at half a week (three and a half years) he will cause sacrifice and grain offering to cease and upon the wing of an abomination of desolation until the end and the determination which has been decreed upon the desolation." Daniel 9:27
Although the prince of the previous verse was Titus, the one who will forge a covenant (political agreement) with many for seven years will be the false messiah. Throughout the ages there have risen those whose sole desire was to destroy the Jewish people. Haman, Antiochus, and Hitler are just a few of the most famous of these satanic tyrants. In the same evil spirit as these, Titus made war with Israel and destroyed the Holy Temple. Titus is a typology who assists one in understanding what the false messiah will do and be like.
We have seen in our study of the prophecy of Zechariah that Messiah will unite both Jews and Gentiles in the worship of the G-d of Israel. He will rule over a Kingdom that obeys the laws and commandments (Torah) of HaShem. The false Messiah will also bring about unity in the world for a brief moment. However this unity will not be based in the laws of G-d, but in lawlessness. In the New Covenant the false messiah is called the "man of lawlessness" (see the second Letter to the Thessalonians 2:3). This title shows his contempt and opposition to the Torah. Why does the false messiah hate the Torah so much? The Torah has several purposes, one of which is to reveal the character of G-d. The true Messiah walked in perfect obedience to the Torah, hence manifesting His Father's character in this world, while the false messiah will live and rule in a world empire that will set itself against the truth of G-d's laws.
In the same way that the true Messiah is G-d in human form, the false messiah will be the embodiment of Satan. The Bible teaches that Satan was the chief angelic being in charge of heavenly worship, but he rebelled against this and desired to be the one who was worshipped (see Isaiah 14:12-15). This fact plays an important role in understanding Daniel's prophecy. It is not first and foremost the Jewish people that Satan hates, but it is G-d whom he hates. Because the Jewish people are the ones that G-d has entrusted to lead the world in the worship of G-d, Satan desires to destroy them. But prior to waging war against Israel, Satan will offer the Jewish people a way to avoid death. What is this way? If the Jewish people will depart from the true living G-d and cease from worshipping Him and pledge their allegiance to Satan and worship him, then Satan will spare them; if not, then he will move to destroy the Jewish people from the face of the earth. The first half of Daniel's seventieth week will be Satan's attempt to court the Jewish people into worshipping him.
Daniel says, "And he will forge a covenant with many for a week (seven years)…" That is, the false messiah will establish this political agreement that will accomplish the following. Prophecy reveals that the world will go through a time of great suffering and hardship. There will be social problems, natural disasters, wars, and a general sense of chaos. As a result of these serious problems a world agency will be utilized or established in order to centralize the effort to combat these woes. Due to the intense social, economical, and political problems nations will move quickly to empower this agency and make it into a world government. Individual nations will be forced into giving up their sovereignty. In an effort to bring about unity; tolerance and pluralism will be embraced as the foundational principles of this new world government.
There will soon be an agreement that religious extremeness is one of the primary causes of conflicts in the world. One of the first acts that this new world government will do is move to establish a religious pluralism as a core value for the world and this in essence will empty the Judeo-Christian religion of much of its value. It will be from within this world government that the false messiah will assume power. Because of a desire to court Israel into accepting him in the beginning and then worshipping him as the end goal, the false messiah will use his political power to provide Israel and the Jewish people with many things for which they have longed.
One can expect the false messiah to be a most charismatic figure who will use his influence to grant Israel security, bring peace to the region, and even allow the Temple to be rebuilt on its proper location. To the vast majority of the Jewish community throughout the world the false messiah will seem as a much needed friend and to some even the messiah. Despite the fact that he will make many concessions that religious pluralism demands, many of the rabbinical leaders will embrace him and his leadership. It is important to note that there will be a remnant of orthodox Jews and Bible believing Christians that will see through his deceit and reject both him and the one world government that he will head.
During the first half of his administration he will indeed bring about a temporary peace and prosperity in the world. This will cause the masses to embrace him. The small remnant that will see him for who he is and reject him will be persecuted by his government. They will be thrown in jail and even murdered. This tribulation upon believers was spoken about in the New Covenant in several places. For example John informs the reader in the book of Revelations that many will be slain because of the word of G-d and the testimony they maintained (Rev. 6:9). John also says that Satan in the last days will persecute those who obey the commandments of G-d; i.e. the Torah and hold to the testimony of Messiah Jesus (Rev. 12:17).
It is clear that many believers will give their life in martyrdom for their faith rather than unite with the anti-Torah values of the false messiah. The false messiah will nearly wipe out the believers as the half way point of the seventieth week approaches. This is a most significant juncture in the prophetic time table. It is vital to remember that when the final seven year period begins (a biblical week) the Temple will begin to function with its offerings and sacrifices. The persecutions will begin and increase up to the event that occurs at the half way point called the "Abomination of Desolations",
"… and at half a week (three and a half years) he will cause sacrifice and grain offering to cease and upon the wing of an abomination of desolation…" Dan. 9:27
What is this "Abomination of Desolation"? This is when the false messiah, who has courted Israel for three and half years places before Israel his real desire from them, that they respond to him as their god and worship him as they had worshipped HaShem. It is only from the New Covenant that one learns the specifics of this event. Rav Shaul says,
"Concerning the coming of our L-rd Messiah Jesus and our gathering to Him: we beseech you my brothers do not lose your perspective or be fearful…thinking the Day of the L-rd has come (the gathering of believers in the clouds to meet the Messiah and remaining with Him in the heavens until His Second Coming). Do not allow any man to mislead you in any manner, because this will not occur until first there is a great falling away (apostasy) and the man who is against the Torah is revealed, the son of destruction. Who will oppose and exalt himself above all that is called godly or holy, unto the extent that he will sit in the Holy of Holies and proclaim himself as the true G-d."
These verses tell the reader that after three and a half years of courting the Jewish people that the false messiah will enter the Holy of Holies. Why this place? According to the Torah, the dwelling presence of HaShem dwelt in the Holy of Holies upon the covering for the Ark of the Covenant,
"And when Moses came into the tent of meeting to speak with Him (HaShem), he heard the voice (of HaShem) speaking to him from above the mercy seat which is upon the Ark of Testimony between the two cherubim and He spoke with him."
TO BE CONTINUED