Let me begin with a point I have often made in my writings and in my lectures on Bible prophecy, fulfilled and unfulfilled. The principle is this: Bible prophecy is never fulfilled approximately; it is always fulfilled exactly as it is written, as it is prophesied. Therefore, we must avoid what I call “newspaper exegesis.” This is the tendency of many believers to read the daily press and start speculating. Due to one point of similarity between a current event and a biblical prophecy, they believe that the prophecy has been fulfilled. I can give many past and current examples of this tendency.
Yet, the proper procedure to interpret the Scriptures is to first exegete the text in its own context and then check related passages and see exactly what the text actually teaches. However, when the text stops, then we must stop too and not engage in speculations as to how the prophecy may or may not be fulfilled. Then, if a current event actually fits exactly into a prophecy, then that prophecy is fulfilled, but not before.
So, what do the Scriptures actually teach about the covenant that will begin the seven years of tribulation? There are two key passages: Daniel 9:27 (in the context of verses 24-27) and Isaiah 28:14-22. The details of both passages are found in our work The Footsteps of the Messiah: A Study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events (also available in ebook, Kindle, eSword, and audiobook formats), and so the following is only a summary of what is found in this book.
The covenant is made specifically between Israel and the Antichrist. In the Bible, it is never called a peace covenant, although it will be a covenant that will guarantee Israel’s military security. It is because the leadership of Israel will put their trust in this covenant and in the Antichrist, who pretends to be their friend, and not in the God of Israel, that the signing of this covenant will trigger the tribulation. Only in the middle of the seven-year period, when the covenant is broken, will the leadership of Israel finally recognize the true nature of the one with whom they signed the covenant.
Does the Trump plan fit what the Bible actually says? The simple answer is: No! Trump’s peace plan is intended to be a treaty between Israel and the Palestinians. It is to be signed by Israel and by the Palestinians and not by Israel and by Trump. If Israel does sign this covenant, it will not be because she puts her trust in the Palestinians to guarantee her military security. No Israeli leader—whether he is right wing, left wing, or centrist—will ever accept or trust any Arab leader to guarantee the military security of Israel.
What actually will happen with the Trump peace plan is unknown at this stage. However, regardless of the outcome, it is not the biblical covenant prophesied. What is known at the present time is this: The Palestinians have already rejected the Trump proposal, and in fact, they already rejected it before it went public. Hence, at this point in time, the treaty is a dead issue. If the Palestinians do not come to the conference table, Israel may choose to annex those parts of the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) that have Jewish settlements. But again, none of the outcomes can be determined with clarity at this point. Whatever eventually will become definite will not fit the biblical details of the covenant that will begin the tribulation.
One more point that needs to be made is this: Our blessed hope does not lie in looking for the Antichrist, when the seven-year covenant will be signed, who will win the next presidential election, or who the next Israeli leader will be. Our blessed hope is to look forward to the day when our Messiah will come into the atmosphere and resurrect the dead New Testament saints. He will then suddenly catch up or rapture the living believers to take them into heaven. This event can happen at any moment between right now and the signing of that seven-year covenant.
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Arnold Answers with founder and director of Ariel Ministries, Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum.