The Abraham Accords and the "Covenant with Many"

Are the Israel-UAE-Bahrain normalization deals predicted in Daniel 9?

When big news happens in Israel, God’s people should pay special attention.

I’m glad to say that many of them are. People keep asking, “Jimmy, do you think the Abraham Accords could be a precursor to the ‘covenant with the many’ which initiates the Rapture and Great Tribulation?”

They are referring to this passage in the Book of Daniel:

“Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week;
But in the middle of the week
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

I’ve written about the Abraham Accords recently. I believe they are a significant step toward peace, which we should generally welcome. At the same time, they fall well short of returning God’s land to His people, which is a necessary step that must happen before Christ’s return. If anything, I believe this peace treaty could hasten the Gog-Magog War, where peace-seeking nations like Bahrain and the UAE side with Israel. (The friendly nations “Sheba and Dedan” in Ezekiel 38:13 may represent Bahrain and the UAE).

But could these Abraham Accords somehow be tied to the “covenant with many”—the Antichrist’s peace treaty with Israel in Daniel 9:27? To answer that question, it helps to know the context when Daniel wrote those prophetic words.

Praying for Restoration

The year was 539 BC, and Babylon had just fallen to the Persians and the Medes. One day, Daniel came across Jeremiah 29:10-11, which prophesied the restoration of Jerusalem from captivity after 70 years. Jerusalem had been in captivity for 66 years, so Daniel went to his knees in prayer.

He prayed for restoration, and the angel Gabriel came to him “swiftly” (Daniel 9:21). God didn’t just answer Daniel’s prayer about the physical restoration of Jerusalem. He also addressed the root of the problem, which was the need for spiritual restoration. Here’s the prophecy:

“Seventy weeks are determined
For your people and for your holy city,
To finish the transgression,
To make an end of sins,
To make reconciliation for iniquity,
To bring in everlasting righteousness,
To seal up vision and prophecy,
And to anoint the Most Holy.

25 “Know therefore and understand,
That from the going forth of the command
To restore and build Jerusalem
Until Messiah the Prince,
There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks;
The street shall be built again, and the wall,
Even in troublesome times.

26 “And after the sixty-two weeks
Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself;
And the people of the prince who is to come
Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.
The end of it shall be with a flood,
And till the end of the war desolations are determined.
27 Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week;
But in the middle of the week
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 9:24-27

In western culture, we measure long spans of time in sequences of ten—for instance, decades. But Israel measured time in sevens. Daniel refers to these as “weeks.” When Daniel 9:24 says “seventy weeks are determined for your people…” he isn’t talking about 70 literal weeks, or 490 days. He means 490 years, with each “week” representing seven prophetic years. 

And what will happen in 490 years?

The First Period

The prophecy divides the time span into four periods. The first period is seven weeks, or 49 years (see verse 25). The key issue to zero-in on is the date of the decree. The decree of Cyrus is too early for this timeframe (538 BC), and it’s primarily focused on the Temple (Ezekiel 1:2-4).

Therefore, this points us to the decree of Artaxerxes around 445/444 BC to rebuild the city walls and restore the gates of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2:5-8).

The Second Period

The second period is 62 weeks, or 434 years (see verse 26). The key event happens at the end of the first two periods: 49 + 434 = 483 cumulative years. At that point, we are told that a “Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself.” The biblical term we translate “cut off” is sometimes used to describe execution (see Genesis 9:11 and Exodus 31:14). It undoubtedly refers to the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ.

When we count 483 solar years from the first of Nisan, 445 BC (that’s March 14—see Nehemiah 2:1), our calculation corresponds to a probable date for Christ’s triumphal entry, which would have been April 6, AD 32.

If we instead choose 444 BC, the 69th week terminates on March 30, 33AD, which could possibly be the actual date of our Lord’s crucifixion. 

We can’t know with perfect precision the date of every ancient event, but this should be enough to convert even the greatest skeptic! And it has. Here’s a quote from the Bible scholar John Trapp:

“Others of the Jewish [scholars], by the evidence of these words, have been compelled to confess that Messiah is already come, and that he was that Jesus whom their forefathers crucified.”

After Jesus was crucified, the Jews were granted a generation to acknowledge their Messiah. By 70 AD, many had not. Roman armies then desolated Jerusalem and the Temple, annihilating more than million Jews. Those armies are the “people of the prince who shall come” (Daniel 9:26) and that prince is the future Antichrist.

The Gap

Now let’s move to the third period, which many call “the Gap” or “the Parenthesis.” After Jesus died on the Cross to conclude the 69th week, the prophetic timetable zooms forward to a future Antichrist, so there is a gap between Daniel 9:26 and 27. We know this gap exists because Jesus was crucified 2,000 years ago at the conclusion of the 69th week (Daniel 9:26), but the 3.5 year “half-week” of Daniel 9:27 is still in the future (Daniel 7:25 and 12:7; Revelation 11:2-3, 12:6, 12:14, 13:5).

It might sound strange to have a two-thousand-year gap between the 69th and 70th week, but this wouldn’t be the first gap in Bible prophecy (compare Isaiah 61:2 and Luke 4:19). The reason for the gap is that the “church age” was a mystery to Jewish believers, including Daniel, until God revealed it to the Apostles and Prophets (Ephesians 3:1-13). In His gracious providence, God paused the Jewish prophetic timetable in order that the “fullness of the Gentiles” might be grafted in (Romans 11:25). Only afterward will God resume His timetable for the salvation of Israel (Romans 11:26), which is Daniel’s 70th week.

The Fourth Period

Finally, this brings us to the fourth period of Daniel 9:27—when the Antichrist signs a covenant with the Jews:

“Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week;
But in the middle of the week
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.”

Many think this covenant could be a precursor to the Abraham Accords. But there are two major reasons we know that these are not directly tied to the Antichrist’s covenant.

Sacrifice and Offering

First, Daniel 9:27 tells us that “in the middle of the week” (that is, 3.5 years into the Great Tribulation), the Antichrist will “bring an end to sacrifice and offering.” This tells us something about the nature of the “covenant with the many”—it’s directly connected to “sacrifice and offering.”

It’s likely the Antichrist’s covenant with Israel will allow her to rebuild the Temple and resume sacrifices on the Temple Mount. After making a covenant to build the Temple, the Antichrist will then break the covenant by profaning the Temple. The Abraham Accords clearly don’t even address “sacrifice and offering.” This is the first reason we know that the two covenants are not the same.

The second reason should be obvious to readers of my articles. I’ve written here and here that I am convinced the Rapture will happen before the Tribulation. If the Abraham Accords were the same as the “covenant with the many,” we’d all be dining with Jesus in heaven right now! When the Antichrist signs that covenant, you and I will be raptured. God’s intends His followers to avoid the Great Tribulation, which is the final “week” of our present age. 

Now, please understand that the Abraham Accords are not prophetically insignificant. They probably do accelerate the Gog-Magog War between Israel and her neighbors. In turn, this accelerates the Antichrist’s peace treaty. It’s right for us to pay attention to what happens in Israel.

But let’s not confuse normalized relations between Israel and these Middle Eastern countries with the much larger peace treaty the Antichrist will break. As soon as he signs his name to that treaty, you and I will be flying!