Copyright 1994 - 2017 Bill's Bible Basics
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June 29, 2001
Last Updated :
July 19, 2012
Daniel's Prince Of The Covenant, King Of The North, A Jewish False Messiah: Moshiach ben David, Leader Of An Alliance Or League, Political Maneuvers And Deception, Ill-Fated Treaty, Vile Smooth-Talking Manipulator Who Shares The Spoils Of War, King Of The South Defeated, King Of The North Retreats, Holy Covenant Is Abrogated And Jewish Temple Defiled, Conspiracy Against Holy Covenant, Jesus Warns Of Coming Destruction Of Jerusalem, Jewish False Messiah Is Destroyed By Brightness Of Lord's Coming, New Temple Anticipated For Mount Moriah, King Solomon's Temple, Nebuchadnezzar Destroys Solomon's Temple, Seventy Years of Captivity, Liberated By Persian King Cyrus, Jews Rebuild The Temple Under Zerubbabel's Leadership, King Herod Rebuilds And Expands Temple, Which Is A Third Temple?, Jerusalem And The Temple Compound Destroyed In 70 AD, First Jewish-Roman War, Jews Were Not Ignorant Of Impending Divine Wrath, Jesus Predicts Temple Destruction, Jewish Religionists Plot Against Jesus, One Million Jews Slaughtered Crucified and Burned Alive By The Romans, Eusebius Pamphilius' Comments
In some of my articles which discuss topics surrounding the Endtime -- such as "The Kings of the North and the South" -- I suggest that the mysterious "prince of the covenant", who is broken by a foreign invader who the Prophet Daniel refers to as the "king of the north", may possibly be the Jewish false messiah; that is, Moshiach ben David. Please consider the following verse that is found in the eleventh chapter of the Book of Daniel, where this "prince of the covenant" is mentioned:
"And with the arms of a flood shall they be overflown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also the prince of the covenant."
Daniel 11:22, KJV
I find it interesting that this is the only verse in the entire KJV Bible where the phrase "prince of the covenant" is used. In fact, as I believe I mention in "The Kings of the North and the South", I have been intrigued, mystified and perplexed by the actual identity of this Biblical figure for over forty years now, and I still remain stumped. Much of Daniel chapter eleven remains a significant mystery to me, no matter how many times I have endeavored to fully and properly understand it over the years.
Utilizing Strong's numbers in conjunction with the Brown, Driver, Briggs, Gesenius Hebrew Aramaic English Lexicon, I discovered that the phrase "prince of the covenant" finds its origin in two Hebrew words. These are "nagiyd b@riyth". "Nagiyd" -- which is pronounced naw-gheed' -- refers to a leader, ruler, captain, prince or governor. About half the time, it is translated as "ruler" in the King James Bible. "B@riyth" -- which is pronounced ber-eeth' -- refers to a covenant, alliance, pledge, treaty, league or confederacy. So the "prince of the covenant" seems to be the leader or primary architect of some kind of an alliance, confederacy or league. Perhaps it even means that he is the leader of a particular political bloc. This idea of a league or alliance is carried over into the very next verse where we read the following:
"And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people."
Daniel 11:23, KJV
In this case, the word "league" is derived from the Hebrew word "chabar". Pronounced khaw-bar', it refers to joining or uniting together, or to make an ally of another party. So again, we see that these events involve some kind of treaty or alliance between one of the kings -- or leaders -- of the north, and the "prince of the covenant". This group of verses in Daniel chapter eleven indicates that this particular "king of the north" is a very deceptive person. He chooses to join the alliance, not because he really supports it, but simply to gain time, so that he can marshall his forces; that is, to raise up his army. Furthermore, unlike other leaders who keep the spoils of war, we are told that he wins the heart of the people by sharing the spoils of war with them.
We are also informed that the king or leader of the northern country is a very vile person. Derived from the Hebrew word "bazah", it means that he is despised, held in contempt, and viewed as being despicable and worthless. At the same time, he is a very smooth talker, and seems to talk his way into power. In short, even though royalty doesn't seem to care for him, this person raises an army with a small group of people, wins the heart of the common people by sharing the spoils of war with them, and then talks his way into power. At the same time, he acts very deceptively with the mysterious "prince of the covenant", who may possibly be the "king of the south". Consider the following verses:
"And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries. And with the arms of a flood shall they be overflown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also the prince of the covenant. And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people. He shall enter peaceably even upon the fattest places of the province; and he shall do that which his fathers have not done, nor his fathers' fathers; he shall scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches: yea, and he shall forecast his devices against the strong holds, even for a time."
Daniel 11:21-24, KJV
In the verses that follow, we discover how the "king of the south" is defeated by this "king of the north", due in part to treachery and deception by both parties:
"And he shall stir up his power and his courage against the king of the south with a great army; and the king of the south shall be stirred up to battle with a very great and mighty army; but he shall not stand: for they shall forecast devices against him. Yea, they that feed of the portion of his meat shall destroy him, and his army shall overflow: and many shall fall down slain."
Daniel 11:25-26, KJV
In addition to describing other military encounters between these two kings, or leaders, we also discover that something about this covenant -- or alliance, treaty -- makes it holy. As I explain in "The Kings of the North and the South", what seems to make it holy is the fact that it is somehow related to the daily sacrifice -- or oblation -- which is performed by the Jews at the Temple in Jerusalem. Due to his military plans being foiled, the "king of the north" angrily returns to his own country, more intent than ever to find a way to work against the covenant, or treaty; so much so that we are told that he has "intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant". Consider these verses:
"And both these kings' hearts shall be to do mischief, and they shall speak lies at one table; but it shall not prosper: for yet the end shall be at the time appointed. Then shall he return into his land with great riches; and his heart shall be against the holy covenant; and he shall do exploits, and return to his own land. At the time appointed he shall return, and come toward the south; but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter. For the ships of Chittim shall come against him: therefore he shall be grieved, and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant: so shall he do; he shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant. And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate. And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits."
Daniel 11:27-32, KJV
If you are familiar with the Lord's sermon that is found in the twenty-fourth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew -- which is commonly referred to as the Olivet Discourse -- as well as in Mark chapter thirteen and Luke chapter twenty-one -- which together are referred to as the Synoptic Gospels -- then you will know that Jesus referred to the events which are described in the previous verses from the Book of Daniel. Consider the following:
"When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened."
Matthew 24:15-22, KJV
"But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains: And let him that is on the housetop not go down into the house, neither enter therein, to take any thing out of his house: And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment. But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter. For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be. And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect's sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days."
Mark 13:14-20, KJV
"And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."
Luke 21:20-24, KJV
Being as I discuss the previous verses from the Synoptic Gospels in detail in other articles, I won't be examining them here.
The previous paragraphs are a small recap of some of the events which I discuss in "The Kings of the North and the South". Since writing that article in 1998, I have had some second thoughts concerning the possibility that the "prince of the covenant" and the Jewish false messiah -- Moshiach ben David -- may be one and the same person. One thing which casts doubt upon Moshiach ben David being the "prince of the covenant", is the fact that in Paul's second Epistle to the brethren at Thessalonica, he informs us that the Jewish false messiah is destroyed by the brightness of the Lord's Coming. Consider the following verses which describe how the "man of sin" -- a.k.a. "son of perdition" -- exalts himself, claims to be "God", sits "in the temple of God" and deceives the Jews, and is then destroyed when Christ returns:
"Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God . . . And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:"
2 Thessalonians 2:1-4, 8, KJV
As I point out in articles such as "Who Hindered the Antichrist?", it is commonly believed by many Christians of our current time, that the Orthodox Jews may soon build a final Temple on the summit of Mount Moriah in the Old City of East Jerusalem. I have likewise embraced this futurist interpretation of Paul's writings for quite a few years now. However, more recently, I have begun to wonder if this is an accurate interpretation of Paul's words. I will discuss the reasons for my new hesitation at some point in the future, after I have solidified my position.
As you may already know, the construction of the very first Temple compound was begun by the order of King Solomon -- King David's son -- four hundred and eighty years after the Israelites were freed from Egyptian bondage, as we see by this verse:
"And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD."
1 Kings 6:1, KJV
As I explain in the series "The Fruits of Disobedience", and in a number of other article as well, several hundred years after the aforementioned events, as a result of their blatant disobedience and seriously backslidden condition, the Jews of Jerusalem and Judah experienced the Wrath of God when the the military forces of Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar sieged Jerusalem on three different occasions, and then ultimately destroyed Jerusalem -- along with Solomon's Temple -- in the approximate year of 587 BC.
As a result of their grave sins against the Lord, the Jews were forced to endure Seventy Years of Captivity in the land of Babylon, before many thousands of them were permitted to return to Israel and Jerusalem. The political maneuvers to liberate the Jews began with an edict which was declared by Persian king Cyrus -- or Koresh -- as we see by the following verses:
"Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem."
Ezra 1:1-3, KJV
I discuss the details regarding the Jews' return to Israel -- and the construction of the Second Temple in such articles as "The Two Sackcloth Witnesses of Revelation 11". Following is an excerpt from that article:
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As the following verses reveal, Zerubbabel was the leader of the first group of exiles who returned from Babylon. He was eventually appointed Governor over Judah. Along with men such as Ezra, Nehemiah, Joshua and the Prophets Haggai and Zechariah, he was responsible for overseeing and inspiring the construction of the Second Temple. Not only that, but he was a direct ancestor of Jesus Christ. While rebellious King Zedekiah and his sons were slain by the Babylonian forces, in His Divine Wisdom and Foresight, the Lord had Jehoiachin taken to prison, where the seed of Judah, and thus the line of Jesus Christ, would be preserved until the captivity had ended:
"Then stood up Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and his brethren, and builded the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon, as it is written in the law of Moses the man of God . . . Now in the second year of their coming unto the house of God at Jerusalem, in the second month, began Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and the remnant of their brethren the priests and the Levites, and all they that were come out of the captivity unto Jerusalem; and appointed the Levites, from twenty years old and upward, to set forward the work of the house of the LORD."
Ezra 3:2, 8, KJV
"And the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and did work in the house of the LORD of hosts, their God . . . Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the LORD; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the LORD, and work: for I am with you, saith the LORD of hosts . . . In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the LORD, and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the LORD of hosts."
Haggai 1:14, 2:4, 23, KJV
"And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel;"
Matthew 1:12, KJV
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According to what I have read, the Second Temple wasn't quite as lavish as the original Temple which had been built by King Solomon. Furthermore, about five hundred years after these events, the Temple which had been rebuilt under Zerubbabel's leadership was completely replaced when King Herod the Great undertook a project to rebuild and greatly expand the Temple compound. According to a statement which was made by the unbelieving Jews in the Gospel of John -- right after Jesus kicked the moneychangers out of the Temple with a whip -- it took forty-six years to build Herod's Temple, as we see by the following verses:
"Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body."
John 2:18-21, KJV
Published in 1832, Adam Clarke's "Commentary on the Bible" notes the following concerning Herod the Great's work on the Temple compound. As you can see, Clarke draws upon the work of Jewish historian Flavius Josephus and his "Antiquity of the Jews":
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The temple of which the Jews spake was begun to be rebuilt by Herod the Great, in the 18th year of his reign: Jos. Ant. b. xv. c. 11, s. 1; and xx. c. 9, s. 5, 7. But though he finished the main work in nine years and a half, yet some additional buildings or repairs were constantly carried on for many years afterwards. Herod began the work sixteen years before the birth of our Lord: the transactions which are here related took place in the thirtieth year of our Lord, which make the term exactly forty-six years. Rosenmuller. Josephus, Ant. b. xx. c. 8, s. 5, 7, has told us that the whole of the buildings belonging to the temple were not finished till Nero's reign, when Albinus, the governor of Judea, was succeeded by Gessius Florus, which was eighty years after the eighteenth year of Herod's reign. See Bp. Pearce.
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Technically-speaking, it may be correct to say that Herod's Temple was actually a Third Temple. The reason why I suggest this is because according to the writings of Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, when Herod the Great undertook the project to rebuild and expand the Temple during the First Century BC, he went so far as to replace the actual foundation stones. Furthermore, he smoothed off the surface of the Temple Mount. In essence them, he really did build a brand new Temple. He didn't just expand upon what was already there.
Thus, King Solomon built the First Temple; which was followed by Zerubbabel's Second Temple; which was then followed by King Herod the Great's Third Temple. As you may imagine, this idea poses a stiff challenge to modern theologians and Bible students; some of whom are inclined to embrace a futurist interpretation of the Scriptures, and who thus insist that the Third Temple has not been constructed yet. In fact, much of the futurist point of view centers around a satanic leader -- who many Christians refer to as the Antichrist -- declaring himself "God", and sitting in a newly-constructed Temple. But what if this Third Temple already came and went two thousand years ago? Where would that leave us insofar as Bible prophecy is concerned, and our understanding of it?
I am referring to the fact that just as had occurred with Solomon's Temple, due to their continuous and stiff rebellion against the Lord -- which was epitomized by their Crucifixion of their very own Savior around 30 AD -- the Jews once again experienced the Wrath of God in 70 AD. As we've already seen, these events had been prophesied by both Daniel and Jesus. As you may know, after years of tolerating the Jews' rebellion, Rome had enough. As I more amply explain in other articles, during what is called the First Jewish-Roman War of 66-73 AD, Roman General Titus -- who was the son of Emperor Vespasian, who later became an emperor himself -- invaded the city of Jerusalem.
Together with his father, Vespasian, they had initiated their campaign against Jerusalem in the northern regions of Israel. When Vespasian was called back to Rome in order to attend to matters there, it was left to his son Titus to complete the campaign in Israel. After subduing the rest of the country, his forces finally engulfed Jerusalem in a great siege wall. Thousands of Jews were crucified on the wall when they tried to escape from Jerusalem during the course of the siege. Eventually, Jerusalem and the Temple were utterly destroyed, and close to one million Jews were slaughtered according to some sources.
Tragically, as I amply explain in such articles as "The Great Tribulation and the Rapture", there are quite a few verses in the New Testament where we are informed that God's Wrath was going to be poured out upon the people of Jerusalem, due to their rebellion and sin of unbelief. In other words, the Jews were not ignorant of these facts. They knew exactly what was coming; and yet in their stubbornness, they refused to desist in their rebellion against the Lord. For example, perhaps you may recall that during Jesus' trial before Pontius Pilate, the Jews not only demanded that Jesus be crucified, but they also said the following. Please notice carefully that it was not just the Jewish Elders who demanded Jesus' blood; it was "all the people":
"Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children."
Matthew 27:25, KJV
As I mentioned a moment ago, close to one million Jews were slaughtered during the First Jewish-Roman War. Even by our modern standards of war, that is a major slaughter. Whether or not that death toll is inflated, I honestly do not know. According to what I have read, just prior to the destruction of Herod's Temple, many of the Jews actually ran inside of it, because they erroneously thought that God would protect them from their Roman persecutors, thus revealing the level of their deception. As I said, the Jews were not ignorant of these soon-coming events. Even Jesus Himself clearly warned them of the Divine Wrath which would be poured out upon them in about forty years time. Let me remind you again of what Jesus said concerning God's Wrath in the Olivet Discourse:
"But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people."
Luke 21:23, KJV
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down."
Matthew 23:37-24:2, KJV
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord."
Luke 13:34-35, KJV
The high priest and the Sanhedrin -- the Jewish religious council -- were fully aware of the growing threat from Rome. They foresaw an eventual confrontation with Rome, if Jesus' rising popularity was not kept in check. Thus, to maintain the status quo, and to keep intact their cozy relationship with Rome, and with King Herod who was Rome's puppet king, they plotted to kill their very own Messiah. This is made apparent by the following verses:
"Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation. And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death."
John 11:47-53, KJV
"Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people."
John 18:14, KJV
So even though they knew what awaited them, many of those foolish Jews still chose to trust in their false religious system. Forty years later when the situation with Rome came to a head, and Titus and his legions laid siege to the city of Jerusalem, in the final days and hours, many of the Jews -- particularly the Zealots and the Sicarii -- sought refuge in the Temple compound, where they were burned alive. Many more of them died by the Roman sword or suffered an agonizing death by crucifixion.
As I have mentioned before, according to information I have read, the heat from the inferno was so intense, that all of the golden items in the Temple melted down between the blocks of which the Temple was constructed. It was precisely for this reason that, in precise fulfillment of Jesus' prophecy, the Romans tore apart the Temple remains stone by stone, in order to retrieve the melted gold.
In his Fourth Century work entitled "Historia Ecclesiae" in Greek -- or "Church History" in English -- which chronicles the development of the early Christian Church from the time of Jesus Christ and the First Apostles in the First Century, up until his own time, "church father" Eusebius Pamphilius states that the utter destruction of Jerusalem by Titus was God's judgment against the Jews, due to their direct hand in murdering Jesus. Eusebius writes as follows:
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". . . that from that time seditions and wars and mischievous plots followed each other in quick succession, and never ceased in the city and in all Judea until finally the siege of Vespasian overwhelmed them. Thus the divine vengeance overtook the Jews for the crimes which they dared to commit against Christ."
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Please go to part two for the continuation of this series.
⇒ Go To The Next Part . . .