Confirming the Covenant: Part 2 :: By Randy Nettles

God’s covenant promise to Abraham and Isaac was offered to Jacob as well. Jacob was the younger twin son of Isaac and Rebekah, while Esau was the oldest. As the boys grew into adulthood, Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of stew; so Esau despised his birthright (Genesis 26:33-34). Later, Jacob followed his mother’s advice and deceived Isaac into giving him the blessing usually reserved for the oldest son. Esau hated Jacob for this and planned to kill him.

Isaac sent Jacob away to Haran, the land of Rebekah’s family, to find a wife. Jacob travelled as far as Bethel before nightfall began. This was the place where Abraham made one of his first sacrifices to God when he entered the land initially. As Jacob slept, he dreamed a very unusual dream.

“And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God Ascending and descending on it. And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham your father, and the God of Isaac: the land where you lie, to you will I give it, and to your seed; and your seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north and to the south: and in you and in your seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 28:12-14).

Thus, the Lord made his covenant with Jacob as he had with Abraham and Isaac.

Jacob spent 20 years in Haran. He worked for his mother’s brother, Laban, during this time. Seven years were spent there in lieu of wages for marrying his daughter Leah, and seven years wages for marrying his other daughter, Rachel. The last 6 years’ wages were for accumulating his flock. During this time eleven sons and one daughter were born to Jacob and his wives (and their handmaids).

Jacob and his entourage came to Shalem, a city of Shechem which is in the land of Canaan, and lived there for a while. Jacob’s sons Simeon and Levi killed Shechem, a prince of the city, for raping their sister Dinah. They also killed his father Hamor and all the males of the city. They spoiled the city and took all of their flocks and wealth, their wives and little ones, and took them captive.

After this tragic event, God told Jacob to go to Bethel and dwell there. The Lord instructed him to build an altar unto God, who appeared unto him when he fled from the wrath of Esau his brother. God appeared again unto Jacob and confirmed his covenant with him. He also changed his name to Israel which means “a prince who prevails with God.”

“And God said unto him, Thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be your name; and he called his name Israel. And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of you, and kings shall come out of your loins; and the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to you I will give it, and to your seed after you will I give the land” (Genesis 35:10-12).

Just as God changed Abram’s name during the original confirmation of the covenant, so he did with Jacob. Therefore, the land of Canaan was given to the 12 sons of Jacob (Israel) and their descendants by God himself.

As God promised, kings eventually came out of the loins of Israel ’s descendants and ruled in the land of Canaan, which came to be called Israel. They ruled and reigned in the land of Israel (which later split up into two nations – Judah and Israel) from 1050 BC until 586 BC. The nation of Israel was destroyed by the Assyrians in 722 BC because of their idol worship and evil ways. Later, God allowed the Babylonians to conquer Judah for the same reason. The Babylonian army entered Jerusalem in 586 BC and burned down the Temple, tore down the city’s walls, and carried off the people into captivity.

In 537 BC, Cyrus the Great of Persia conquered the Babylonian Kingdom and proclaimed that the Jewish people could return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple. They did so, but never regained status as a world power and were conquered by several Gentile Kingdoms. In AD 70, the Roman army destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple. In AD 135, Rome stopped a revolt by the Jews and decimated their troops. The entire Jewish population of Judea was deported and replaced with Gentiles. The province’s name was changed from Judea to Syria-Palestine.

Israel ceased from being a nation until May 14, 1948, when the Jewish state of Israel announced its Declaration of Independence to the world. This event is the number one sign from God that the end of human history is at hand. Most eschatological prophecies regarding Israel and the return of Jesus Christ must take place with the Jewish people back in the land that God promised them as an everlasting covenant. One such prophecy is given to Daniel in approximately 539 BC.

As Daniel was praying for the completion of the 70-year exile (into Babylon) to occur, which was spoken of by the prophet Jeremiah, the angel Gabriel appeared unto him and told him what the future would be for the nation and people of Israel. This prophecy is known as the “70 sevens” prophecy.

“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.

“And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate” (Daniel 9:24-27).

Daniel and other learned men of Israel had always believed that after the 70-year captivity of the Jews, the Messiah would come and would then set up his Millennium Kingdom. Gabriel explained to Daniel that this was not the case and that the Messiah would not come until 483 years (69 sevens) had elapsed and would then be “cut off” or killed.

In verse 26, Gabriel tells Daniel that the people of the prince that shall come (the antichrist) would destroy the city and the sanctuary. The Romans fulfilled this prophecy in AD 70 by destroying Jerusalem and the temple. Therefore, the antichrist would come out of the peoples that made up the Roman Empire.

In verse 27, Gabriel explains to Daniel that this prince (antichrist) would confirm a covenant with the many (Israel) for one week (7 years). In the middle of the 7 years, he would break his promise by no longer allowing the Jews to worship and make sacrifices on the altar in the Temple at Jerusalem. He would also defile the Temple by performing some kind of act that the Jews would consider an abomination. 3.5 years later (the 490th or 70th seven), the end would come and the Messiah would return to make an end of sin and reconcile his people.

The end-time Jews will make a covenant with a world leader and will later confirm or strengthen this covenant with the antichrist. Instead of making a covenant with God – like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob of old – the Jews will make a covenant with Satan through his man the antichrist. This covenant could possibly be a peace covenant (or an alliance of forces for mutual protection). In return, Israel must give up some land, such as the West Bank and Golan Heights (possibly even some of Jerusalem). I also believe part of the agreement will be for Israel to give up their nuclear weapons. They will no longer have the “Samson Option” available to them.

Although it could be a duel fulfillment prophecy, I believe the prophet Isaiah spoke of it in Isaiah 28:15:

“Because you have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves.”

God had to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah after his confirmation of the covenant with Abraham. He had to cleanse the land for future generations. Only a remnant survived…three to be exact: Lot and his two daughters. The future confirmation of the covenant by the antichrist will begin the greatest tribulation the world has ever known. Only one third of the Jews (a remnant) will survive through the 7-year Tribulation. It is described in the book of Revelation and other prophetic books of the Bible.

Revelation never mentions a seven-year Tribulation…it only talks about forty and two months; or a time, and times, and half a time; or a thousand two hundred and threescore days. These are all descriptions for 3.5 years. Only in the book of Daniel does it mention a 7-year time frame. This is why you must read the whole Bible, both Old and New Testaments, to get the whole picture of eschatology. Revelation is a book that collaborates with Daniel 9:24-27 and parts of Daniel 11 and 12.

God always uses two or more witnesses to establish His truth. “But if he will not hear you, then take with you one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established” (Matthew 18:16).

The covenants, both past (described in Genesis) and future (described in Daniel), have a few things in common:

1)  They both are agreements between two parties.

2)  The two parties agree on who is to possess/occupy the land of Canaan/Israel.

3)  Both parties agree on a time limit.

4)  There is an original covenant, and then there is a confirming of the covenant.

During the end times, the antichrist will try to take the place of God, just as his father Satan did a long time ago. Anti doesn’t just mean “the opposite of” or “against,” but rather “in place of.” In this piece, we will call God’s covenant with His chosen people the “righteous” covenant and will call the antichrist’s covenant the “unrighteous covenant.” There are stark differences between the two, and they are numerous:

1)  The righteous covenant was between God and Israel. The unrighteous covenant will be between the antichrist and Israel.

2)  The righteous covenant was an everlasting one. The unrighteous covenant will be for a time limit of 7 years.

3)  The righteous covenant will be honored forever. The unrighteous covenant will not be honored, but broken midway through the 7 years.

4)  The righteous covenant required circumcision as a physical sign of acceptance. The unrighteous covenant will require the mark of the beast as a sign (Revelation 13:16-17).

5)  The righteous covenant gave land to Israel and his descendants. The unrighteous covenant will take land away from Israel’s descendants (Matthew 24:15-20).

6)  The righteous covenant only sacrificed clean animals. The unrighteous covenant (midway through the Tribulation) will place an unclean animal on the altar to be sacrificed (Daniel 9:27). Daniel referred to it as the “abomination of desolation.”

7)  During the righteous covenant, God (Holy Spirit) was there in the form of a smoking furnace and a burning lamp as He passed between the parts of the animals. During the unrighteous covenant (midway), Satan will indwell the antichrist after he apparently dies of a head wound (Revelation 13:14). The antichrist’s false prophet will then require every human on earth to place an image of the ‘beast’ in their home or city. This could be some sort of 3D image that is transmitted through a computer, smart phone, or television, etc. This image of the antichrist can talk and record a person’s activities to see if a person is worshipping the antichrist or not. If a person is found to be not in compliance with the required regulation concerning worship, he or she will be killed (Revelation 13:15).

8)  After the confirming of the righteous covenant, God changed Abram’s and Jacob’s name. In Greek isopsephy and Hebrew gematria, every letter has a numeric value. Summing these numbers gives a numeric value to a name. Evidently the antichrist’s numeric value is 666 (Revelation 13:18). When worshipers of the antichrist take the mark of the beast (666), they are essentially changing or adding to their names.

God was serious when He gave the land to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and his 12 sons (and their descendants) for an everlasting possession. He did not wish for the land to be occupied by Ishmael or Esau and their descendants or any son of Ham. God’s will and his plan for mankind will be accomplished according to His word. The ancient promised land of Canaan, now known as Israel, will forever be occupied by the Jewish people; and they will once again become the “favorite son” of the nations.

God’s word, spoken through his chosen prophets, proclaims that He will make one final covenant with the Jews after the seven-year time period known as Jacob’s Trouble. Jesus the Messiah will return to save the remnant of his people (and Tribulation believers) and then set up his Millennium Kingdom. God’s final covenant with Israel will begin at this time.

“But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; after those days, says the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, says the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

“Thus says the Lord, which gives the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divides the sea when the waves thereof roar; The Lord of hosts is his name: If those ordinances depart from before me, says the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. Thus says the Lord; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, says the Lord” (Jeremiah 31:33-37).

“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. In that he says, a new covenant, He has made the first old, now that which decays and waxes old is ready to vanish away” (Hebrews 8:10-13).

The Messiah, whom the Jews have always been looking for, will finally be found and accepted as such.

“And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn” (Zechariah 12:10).

The new covenant will be confirmed when Jesus is anointed as king of Israel and all the nations of the earth.

The prophecy of Daniel 9:24 determines that when God’s last 7 is complete, all the sins of Israel will be eradicated and prophecy will no longer be necessary:

“Seventy weeks (sevens) are determined upon your people, and upon your holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.”

The end will then become a new beginning in the history of mankind, as Jesus will rule and reign from the holy city of Jerusalem for a thousand years.

“And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD and his name one” (Zechariah 14:9).

Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20).

Randy Nettles