Peace and Safety

What do we do with the fact that Daniel 11 seems to clearly predict a lot of conflict and even war sparked by the AC. And yet we know it is a time of false peace and prosperity. It seems much conflict is going on, so seems a bit out of sync with other passages.

Very good question. Here’s my ‘over answer’. ?

I think a few observations of context will help to reconcile the apparent inconsistency. The simplest answer would be that while Israel is at peace with her neighbors during the first half of the week, they are not all at peace with one another. 

That seems to be exactly the case if we understand that the Antichrist makes three consecutive southward advances “AFTER the league / alliance made with him” (Dan 11:23). This would be during the first 3 1/2 years of false peace that many scriptures show to be an ill-fated presumption on Israel’s part that is doomed to give way to disaster (compare Isa 28:2-18; Dan 8:25; 11:23-24; Eze 38:8, 11, 14; 39:26; 1Thes 5:3). 

If taken as future (as I know you agree that many of the details of Dan 11:21-35 were not fulfilled in the past but demand a future fulfillment), then it follows that the AC’s war against the king of the south comes some short while “after” Israel has entered into a “league” with the AC (Dan 11:23). 

The question then to be determined is whether this “alliance” is taking place at the same time the AC (the “prince that shall come” of Dan 9:26) “confirms” (to strengthen / cause to prevail) the covenant of Dan 9:27. Is the covenant of Dan 9:27 the “holy covenant” of Dan 11:28, 30? If so, then we have a very explicit series of events that takes us from the beginning of the week in Dan 11:23 to the start of the tribulation in the middle of the week (Dan 9:27; 11:31; 12:7, 11).

This would mean that some short while “after the league made with him”(Dan 11:23), the AC attacks a king to his south (not necessarily Egypt). Due to internal treachery and betrayal, the king of the south is conquered but his life spared (Dan 11:25-27).

It is then that the two kings, the conquered and the conqueror, sit together “at one table”, evidently conspiring what appears to be the overthrow of the “holy covenant” that is now again operational in Jerusalem. That is what the language would seem to imply in a modern context. But the plot fails to take place only because the “appointed time of the end” is not yet (Dan 11:27). 

The “end” begins in earnest in Dan 11:31 (compare Dan 9:27; 12:11; Mt 24:15; 2Thes 2:4; Rev 11:2) when the AC and his supporting confederation of ten nations sweep down upon the Land to recapture Jerusalem. This begins the final desolation and trampling down the holy city (Rev 11:2).

So after the alliance of verse 23, the AC makes a total of three southward advances. The first is successful against the king of the south (Dan 1:25-28). The second advance is checked and repulsed by the “ships of Kittim” (Dan 11:29-30; Kittim or Chittim is typically identified with the coastlands of the Mediterranean). The third southward advance is his irresistible invasion and capture of Jerusalem, desecration of the temple edifice, and removal of the regular sacrifice (Dan 9:27; 11:31; 12:11; Mt 24:15; 2Thes 2:4).

Exactly who the nation, or coalition of nations is represented by “the ships of Kittim” becomes an especially fascinating question, for the following reasons:

When we observe that within the brief space of time represented between verses 30 & 31, the AC who was turned back in verse 30 returns with a force of arms that none can successfully resist (see Dan 11:31 with Rev 13:4). This begs the question: What formidable power, or coalition of nations with a naval presence in the Mediterranean, would be strong enough to intercept and turn back the man who in the very next verse (Dan 11:31) cannot be stopped? 

And what immense transition has happened between verses 30 & 31 to make such a radical difference? For one thing, between verses 30 & 31, Satan has been cast down and a mortal wound has been healed that has made all the world to marvel (Rev 11:7; 12:7-14; 13:3-4; 17:8, 10), but that’s another, rather involved discussion, as you know.

So if careful exegesis demands we see Dan 11:29-30 as a future event, what nation or nations is being represented by the “ships of Kittim / Chittim”? My best guess would be that when the AC “confirms” the covenant of Dan 9:27 “with many”, this is not simply a transaction between himself and Israel (many Jews). Rather, he confirms the covenant with many nations as part of an internationally recognized agreement. 

This suggests that other nations, even one or more of the superpowers, have united to pledge their support and defense of the peace that has provided for Jewish return to at least some part of the forbidden Temple Mount to practice again the commanded ordinances of the covenant.

So shortly after the intervention by the ships of Chittim, the AC, filled with furious rage against the “holy covenant” (Dan 11:28-30) returns to his own Land to have what the KJV will translate as “intelligence” with those nations who, like the king of the south with whom he plotted against the covenant, share a mutual intolerance for the holy covenant. These are described as those who “forsake” the covenant and “do wickedly” against it (Dan 11:30, 32). Doubtless it is this Muslim animus towards Israel and now especially towards the covenant ritual that he will greatly exploit to unify these nations against Israel. Apparently, his plan to invade Israel is known only among the ten nations that are mobilizing to invade. We may be sure Israel does not expect this. It is certain that Israel’s religious leadership will be dismissive of the prophetic warnings of imminent invasion (Isa 28:1-19; 1Thes 5:3). The great tribulation (“Jacob’s trouble”) is depicted as coming upon them “suddenly”, like a woman’s labor pains (Jer 30:6-7), like an overwhelming “flood” (Isa 28:2; 59:19; Dan 9:26; 11:22), and “like a cloud to cover the Land” (Eze 38:9, 16). It will come upon them just as they are saying “peace and safety”, just when it will appear that a safe and lasting peace has been secured, apparently by the “alliance” of Dan 11:23.

But, as mentioned, the AC may not be the only participant in this alliance. The language of Dan 9:27 can be understood to suggest that the “many” with whom he confirms the covenant may be other heads of state. In such a case, other nations will participate in the negotiations that secure not only peace, but a required acknowledgement and support for Israel’s right of access to honor the ordinances of the holy covenant. 

Therefore, if the covenant of Dan 9:27 is the same as the “holy covenant” of Dan 11:28, 30 (as we believe on far more evidence than space permits to show here), then, very clearly, this is what is being violated in the middle of the week. It is much more than a mere political peace agreement. It also means that the AC begins the final week by consenting to the Jewish observance of their covenant ritual on the Temple Mount. As his later actions will show, he harbors a studied hatred for the very covenant that confirms, apparently strictly out of political expediency.  

All of this adds up to strongly imply that the peace / “tranquility” (NASB) of Dan 11:24 is the result of the “league made with him” in Dan 11:23. Contrary to perhaps the greater consensus of Daniel scholarship, we believe it is the “holy covenant” of Dan 11:28, 30 that the Antichrist (“coming prince” of Dan 9:26) confirms in Dan 9:27. It is the same covenant. This we conclude because a close comparison will show that the “despicable person” of  Dan 11:21, and the “flood” of Dan 11:22, and the “holy covenant” of Dan 11:28, 30 is very manifestly parallel to the “prince that shall come”, the “flood” and the covenant of Dan 9:26-27. Only the momentum of a strongly held, overriding presupposition could hide from commentators the otherwise obvious fact that chapters 11 & 12 perfectly parallel chapter 9. In both places, the covenant is desecrated, the sanctuary defiled, and the sacrifice removed in the middle of the week, approximately 3 1/2 years before “the end” (compare Dan 7:25; 9:27; 11:31; 12:7, 11). 

Therefore, it is very likely that the “alliance” Dan 11:23 is the occasion for the Antichrist’s recognition and support of Israel’s right to honor their covenant obligations on the Temple Mount. This would appear to be the start of the seven years and the cause of Israel’s ill-fated presumption of security (see Isa 28:2-18; Dan 8:25 (KJV); 11:24 (NASB); Eze 38:8, 11, 14; 39:26; 1Thes 5:3). Note also that Jesus‘ warning to flee Judea at the recognizable sign of the abomination (Mt 24:15-16) shows that the Jews are not in immediate peril of destruction until the middle of the week, when the sacrifice is removed and the temple invaded (Dan 9:27; 12:11; Mt 24:15-16, 21). Only then does the final desolation and trampling down of Jerusalem become immediately imminent (Isa 28:3, 18; 63:18; Mic 5:5; Dan 8:13; Mt 24:15-16, 21; Lk 21:24; Rev 11:2).

So, the OT background for Paul’s statement, “when they shall say peace and safety” is NOT a general declaration of peace, nor simply a misguided quest for peace on human terms, but a deceptive presumption of peace on the part of pre-tribulation Israel in particular. 

1 Thessalonians 5:3
For when they (the Jews of the Land) shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

Obviously, Paul’s language echoes the recurrent theme of Zion’s final travail that immediately precedes the birth of the kingdom of God on earth (Isa 13:6-7; 26:16-17; 66:8; Mic 4:9-10; 5:3; Jer 30:6-7). Then will the totality of the nation (i.e., so many as survive the tribulation; see Zech 13:8-9) come to faith in “one day” (compare Ps 102:13; Isa 27:12-13; 59:20; 66:8; Eze 39:22, 28-29; Zech 3:9; 12:10 with Mt 23:39; Acts 3:21; Ro 11:26; Rev 1:7; 10:7; 11:15).

This is the context of Dan 11:23-30. If the alliance of Dan 11:23 is, as we believe, simultaneous with the AC’s endorsement of the covenant of Dan 9:27, then these verses reveal a detailed chronological sequence of events that take us from the start of the week to its midpoint in verse 31. If this interpretation best fits the evidence, then here we have in detailed order of sequence the conditions and events that lead up to the particular sign that Jesus gives for the start of the “great tribulation”, which we know is the second half of the Daniel’s 70th week (Dan 9:27; 11:31; 12:1, 7, 11; Mt 24:15; 2Thes 2:4). Until the middle of the week, Israel is dwelling securely in the deceived presumption that they will NOT be overwhelmed by the flood of invading armies. So what do we make of the conflict that breaks out between the king of the north and the king of the south in Dan 11:25-30? Does this imperil the peace that has lulled Israel into a state of unsuspecting false security?

Apparently not, since the peace that Israel boasts is not disrupted until the overwhelming invasion of Dan 11:31 in the middle of the week. Israel’s profoundly misplaced trust in a man made peace will seem all the more invincible when the AC’s second southward advance is quickly intercepted and repulsed by a formidable show of force from the ships of Chittim. It will seem as though the peace is impregnable, but in the very next verse, Israel is suddenly overwhelmed (Dan 11:31) now to be inundated by invading troops and holy city to be “trodden down of the gentiles” for a final 42 months (Lk 21:24; Rev 11:2).

So many details, so difficult to sort out, will only become perfectly clear when the actual time of fulfillment arrives (Dan 12:4, 9). Yet some events such as the restoration and cessation of the sacrifice are to manifest and clear to be missed if the scripture be at all believed. Still, we are to be aware of the details and to be on the lookout, not only that we might be prepared to “instruct many” in those final days of ultimate transition, but that the Word of the Lord might be glorified in it’s amazing power to inerrantly fulfill every jot and tittle of what stands written in “the scripture of truth”.  


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First Half of the Last Seven, The Seventieth Seven
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