In the book of Daniel, the term “the time of the end” is used several times. In employing this phrase, Daniel described a time immediately preceding the second coming of Jesus Christ. During this period a leader designated as “the king of the South” will launch some type of attack against a powerful European coalition led by a ruler designated as “the king of the North.” Whatever method this assault will take, either by economic means, such as an oil embargo, or by military force, it will provoke a powerful and violent counter attack.
Daniel 11:40 Daniel 11:40And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.
American King James Version×describes what will happen: “At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through.”
Who are these two personalities that Daniel references? In ancient times, the “king of the South” represented a line of Egyptian pharaohs (the Ptolemy dynasty) that waged war against the kingdom of Syria (Daniel 11:4 Daniel 11:4And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven; and not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others beside those.
American King James Version×). The Syrian “king of the North” (of the Seleucid dynasty) was Antiochus IV. (Also known as Antiochus Epiphanes, this king invaded Judah and set up an idol in the temple in Jerusalem in 167 B.C.—Daniel 8:23-27 Daniel 8:23-27 23 And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. 24 And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practice, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. 25 And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand. 26 And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true: why shut you up the vision; for it shall be for many days. 27 And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king’s business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.
American King James Version×; Daniel 9:27 Daniel 9:27And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the middle of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured on the desolate.
American King James Version×). But then in 64 B.C. the Roman Empire conquered Syria and made it a Roman province. As a result, Rome assumed the role of “king of the North” (Daniel 11:36-39 Daniel 11:36-39 36 And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. 37 Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all. 38 But in his estate shall he honor the God of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honor with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things. 39 Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain.
American King James Version×).
But the prophecy of Daniel 11:40 Daniel 11:40And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.
American King James Version×is specifically intended for a much later phase in world history. It refers to the “the time of the end,” which is the period just prior to Christ’s return to earth to set up the world-ruling Kingdom of God. Therefore, the ancient Egyptian and Syrian human rulers were simply “types” of the two future political/military leaders who will fulfill the end-time prophecy of Daniel 11.
The dream of Muslim unity
What is the story behind this impending, prophesied clash of civilizations—between a traditionally Christian Europe and an Islamic culture and religion based in the heart of the Middle East? For many years the dream of Muslims everywhere has been the restoration of a respected, influential caliph (meaning a successor to Muhammad). Known also as “The Prophet,” Muhammad established the Islamic religion in the early 600s A.D. A future successor’s trans-national caliphate (denoting the dominion and authority of the caliph), is greatly desired in order to bring much needed order and unity to all Muslims around the globe.
After the death of Muhammad in 632 A.D., four great caliphates successively governed in the Middle East and North Africa. This included the Turkish Ottoman Empire, which collapsed following the first World War. Since that time the fervent and persistent desire among conservative Muslims has been to restore the caliphate.
Additionally, many Muslims yearn for the future appearance of a powerful, authoritarian Islamic messiah referred as “the guided one” or al-Mahdi. They believe this individual will be divinely led and will lead Islam to become the predominant religious force throughout the world. Whether al-Mahdi or the leader of a restored Islamic caliphate becomes the prophesied “king of the South” remains to be seen. Nonetheless, there is certainly a strong possibility that the dream of Muslim unity could again be realized at “the time of the end,” at least for a short time.
Let’s now return to the scriptural discussion about the coming “king of the South.” The Bible does not explain why this leader launches his aggressive action against the “king of the North” (as we read earlier in Daniel 11:40 Daniel 11:40And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.
American King James Version×). Even so, we could conjecture that he perceives it is his duty to protect Muslim immigrants in Europe from mistreatment and persecution or to magnify Islam’s influence by force of arms (jihad or “holy war”) or for some other reason.
Whatever the motive, the retaliatory attack launched by the “king of the North” (also called “the Beast” in Revelation 13:1 Revelation 13:1And I stood on the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads the name of blasphemy.
American King James Version×) will be absolutely devastating. Although a few predominately Islamic nations will be excluded from the onrushing and powerful military blitzkrieg, this monstrous armed incursion will utterly overpower and vanquish other Islamic-majority states.
Continuing in Daniel 40:41-43 Daniel 40:41-43
American King James Version×we read: “He [‘the king of the North’] shall also enter the Glorious Land, and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon. He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels.”
What should we do?
Although we certainly do not know who the Kings of the North and of the South will be, events will bring them to the forefront of world awareness in the coming years. As the verses we just read describe, shattering, brutal war and destruction lay ahead for the people of the Middle East and North Africa. It will however, also affect many other nations around the world. Why? Because world order will be turned upside down, which will promote violence and cruelty in nations around the earth (see Matthew 24). Plus where warfare occurs, scarcity, suffering and starvation are not far behind (Luke 21:21-24 Luke 21:21-24 21 Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the middle of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.
22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.
23 But woe to 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 on this people.
24 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.
American King James Version×).
Therefore since we are forewarned with key prophesied knowledge (through the scriptures we read and in many others) what should we do? We would be well advised to carefully watch world news and stay focused clearly on unfolding events in the Middle East and Europe. Furthermore, we ought to clearly recognize that the source of our physical and spiritual guidance and protection comes only from our Eternal Creator. Therefore it’s essential that we prepare for what is ahead by wholeheartedly submitting ourselves to God in repentance and obedience and through the faith in His Son Jesus Christ (Luke 5:32 Luke 5:32I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
American King James Version×; Acts 5:32 Acts 5:32And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God has given to them that obey him.
American King James Version×; Colossians 1:4 Colossians 1:4 Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which you have to all the saints,
American King James Version×).
There is a lot to unpack in the prophecy about this end-time clash of the king of the North and the king of the South. These two articles help shed more light on the subject: