Update: Israel passed a law in 2014 requiring a referendum for any peace deal requiring a withdrawal of territory.
Many of you are probably aware that the Israeli government is attempting to pass a new bill in the Knesset (the Israeli parliament) that would require practically any peace deal reached to be subject to a referendum (a nationwide public vote).1 The following video summarizes the Israeli government’s current efforts to get this bill passed in case there are some people who have not heard about this recent development.
The purpose of this article is to discuss the implications that a referendum may have on the future fulfillment of Daniel 9:27, particularly the “covenant with many”.
Many people believe that the seven year “covenant with many” mentioned in Daniel 9:27 may relate to a Mideast peace deal.
“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.” (Dan 9:27)
The term “covenant with many” implies that the covenant is agreed upon by multiple parties or individuals instead of by only two parties or two individuals.
- One way to interpret the word “many” is that it could refer to many parties involved in an agreement, including Israel, the Palestinians, the Antichrist, and their surrounding neighbors. This is a strong possibility because Mideast peace may not be possible without the cooperation of the countries involved in the region and at least someone willing to enforce it.
- Another way to interpret the word “many” is it could refer to many people within Israel who agree to the conditions of the covenant. This is an alternative that becomes a greater possibility if this new bill requiring a referendum on practically any peace deal becomes law since many people within Israel would need to vote in favor of a proposed peace deal to get it approved if/when it is brought to a referendum.
Many of you are probably aware that Antiochus Epiphanes IV is viewed by Bible prophecy commentators as a foreshadower of the Antichrist since there are parallels between the careers of Antiochus and the Antichrist. The Book of Daniel speaks about the careers of both men, including the removal of the daily sacrifice in the temple of Jerusalem and the establishment of an abomination of desolation. I mention the parallels between the two leaders because it is possible that the parallel between the two careers may extend to the confirmation of a covenant with the people of Israel. Although the Book of Maccabees should not be considered inerrant like the Bible should be considered inerrant (only the Bible is inerrant), it described how “wicked men” in Israel persuaded many to agree to the idea of making a covenant with Antiochus.
(10) And there came out of them a wicked root Antiochus surnamed Epiphanes, son of Antiochus the king, who had been an hostage at Rome, and he reigned in the hundred and thirty and seventh year of the kingdom of the Greeks. (11) In those days went there out of Israel wicked men, who persuaded many, saying, Let us go and make a covenant with the heathen that are round about us: for since we departed from them we have had much sorrow. (12) So this device pleased them well. (13) Then certain of the people were so forward herein, that they went to the king, who gave them licence to do after the ordinances of the heathen:” (1 Maccabees 1:10-13)
Perhaps a national referendum may need to take place in Israel on a peace deal involving Israel, the Antichrist, the Palestinians, and/or others if the parallels between the career of Antiochus and the career of Antichrist apply to the confirmation of a covenant.
Another potential impact of a future referendum on a Mideast peace deal is that we would probably have more opportunities to identify the “covenant with many” before the seven years begin than if a referendum is not required. The referendum on a major Mideast peace deal would likely attract a lot of media attention within Israel and outside of Israel given the stakes in the volatile region in the days and weeks leading up to the vote. In contrast, a peace deal without needing a referendum for approval could get approved secretly by the parties involved and get publicly announced shortly before or on the day it goes into effect. In essence, a strong referendum requirement may make it easier for us to identify when the seven years will begin.
According to the Jerusalem Post, the bill cannot become law until October 2013 at the earliest unless an emergency vote takes place. I think many people within Israel and outside of Israel will be curious to see what happens…