The Antichrist Prophecy of Daniel 11: Investigating the Antichrist's Enmity Against the Holy Covenant
by Steve Sterling 11/18/2011 / Prophecy
"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." Dan. 11:29, 30 (KJV)
The enmity of the king of the north in Daniel 11 against the holy covenant seems to be provoked by the "ships of Chittim". It appears that there is some relationship between the holy covenant and the ships of Chittim why this end-time enemy of Christ resorted to violence against the holy covenant when resisted by these ships. From the latter part of verse 30 it seems as if the king of the north will not be alone in his work of rebellion against the covenant; according to the scriptures, he will be in collusion with those who will, likewise, manifest the same kind of hostility against the holy covenant.
One of the significant things I have learnt in the interpretation of Bible prophecy is the value of coordinating parallel prophecies. We need to understand that this prophecy is not to be interpreted in isolation with other prophecies. You do not need a keen insight in the prophetic word in order to see that Daniel 11 is the fourth in the series of parallel predictions of events leading up to the setting up of God's kingdom. The three other corresponding prophecies are found in chapters 2, 7, and 8. Therefore, if we are to make any headway with chapter 11, it is necessary for us to draw information from its parallel counterparts.
The overall picture that is painted from the parallel predictions in the book of Daniel is that there will be a four-kingdom reign from Babylon to Rome. From a study of Daniel 7 you will see that it is during the time when the Roman kingdom was divided that the little horn emerges. Thus when you compare the activities of that little-horn king with that of the king of the north you will see a striking sameness between the two. Here are some of the major points of sameness between them:
They persecute the saints of God
They blaspheme the name of God
The duration of their rule is 1260 days
Their demise will mark the end of the present order of things
Now let's get back to Daniel 11 and see the significance of what is being said about the hatred of the king of the north for the holy covenant. Firstly, we need to figure out what the Bible means by the 'holy covenant'. Contrary to what many theologians are propagating, this covenant is clearly not speaking about any 7-year peace deal. We cannot verify any such agreement from any of the parallel prophecies. Therefore, we can safely ignore that view.
What I find interesting about the confederacy against the covenant is that it is closely linked with a level of hostility towards the sanctuary. Referring to the complicity between the antichrist and those who hate the covenant, the scriptures declare, "they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength" Dan. 11:31. If the enmity against the covenant is also a manifestation of antagonism toward the sanctuary, it means that there is a close connection between the two. This is the first clue as to what is being referred to when the Bible speaks here of a covenant.
In the scriptures, the only covenant that is associated with the sanctuary is undoubtedly the Ten Commandments. The proof of this is not wanting in the Old Testament. Here are two representative pieces of evidence:
"At that time the Lord said unto me, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first, and come up unto me into the mount, and make thee an ark of wood. And I will write on the table the words that were in the first tables which thou brakest, and thou shalt put them in the ark." Deut. 10:1, 2 (KJV)
"There was nothing in the ark save the two tables which Moses put therein at Horeb, when the Lord made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of Egypt." 2Chron. 5:10 (KJV)
In the New Testament the apostle Paul affirms the inseparable association between the sanctuary and the covenant in the following description of the second apartment of the sanctuary:
"And after the second vail, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant." Heb. 9:3, 4 (KJV)
Interestingly, the ark in the sanctuary was called the 'Ark of the Covenant' and the 'Ark of the Testimony' solely because of the tables of the Decalogue that was put therein. Therefore, the antichrist enmity will be directed against the moral law and thereby pollute the sanctuary of the new covenant. This attempt to tamper with the Decalogue can easily be verified in the parallel prophecy of Daniel 7. Here is what it says of the little horn power:
"And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and dividing of times." Dan. 7:25 (KJV)
The antichrist's attempt to change God laws is a brazen attempt to legitimize his idolatrous religious scheme by which he directs worship to himself. The Ten Commandments prohibits this practice, so he will seek to modify its precepts to suit his satanic designs without totally destroying its moral obligations. The ships of Chittim is an Old Testament imagery which has its modern definition, just like when the Bible refers to Edom and Moab, it is not really speaking of the literal nations but to sinners in general, the modern definition of heathen.
Therefore, the 'ships of Chittim" is a reference to a people in the last days who will be known for their strict obedience to the Decalogue. That's the reason why the king of the north will be so angry and want to do away with the covenant; his campaign will be invaded by these covenant keepers who discern his evil intent. No wonder why his anger will be intensified when good tidings concerning the activities of Chittim began to reach him (Dan. 11:40). This enmity against the people with whom the Lord made a covenant (Heb. 8:8-10) is precisely what is prophesied in Revelation 12:
"And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus." Rev. 12:17 (KJV)
The end-time battle between the dragon and the covenant-keeping remnant of Chittim will be fought when the image of the beast is set up. According to Daniel 11, in the last days there will be two classes of people: those who are aboard the ships of Chittim upholding the covenant, and those who will join forces with the king of the north in rebellion against the holy covenant.