The Middle East has been called the world’s powder keg. This region is a volatile mix of history, culture, trade, religion and constant conflict. Wars have been fought between tribes, nations and great empires. Today, world powers are again heavily involved in advancing their interests in the region. They fear what will happen if the oil stops pumping and the tanker ships stop moving. A disruption in energy exports from the Middle East would start major chain reactions around the globe, upsetting situations inside of nations and relationships between nations.
The Middle East is already smoldering with terrorism, proxy conflicts and wars. The right spark would ignite a conflict that would engulf the world.
But there is an even more important reason why you should watch developments in the Middle East very closely: Bible prophecy.
The Bible describes a major power called “the king of the south” that will spark an enormous clash that chain-reacts into global warfare far worse than World War i and World War ii combined!
Here is what I wrote in the Philadelphia Trumpet in “King of the South—Is He Now on the World Scene?”: “Herbert W. Armstrong prophesied for decades that we should focus on the Middle East. That is where the world order would begin to unravel—triggering World War iii!”
Mr. Armstrong recognized a truth that most other Christians ignore: The Bible is filled with prophecy—about a third of all scriptures are prophetic. Jesus Christ was a prophet. And these forecasts of the future that He and other prophets made are amazingly detailed. More than that, they are amazingly accurate!
The Bible challenges those who read it to test its prophecies—all of which are thousands of years old—against history. If you accept this challenge, you will find that not one single Bible prophecy has been wrong! But some are yet to be fulfilled, which makes prophecies like the one involving the king of the south very intriguing and very urgent.
Mr. Armstrong correctly identified “the king of the north” of Bible prophecy, as well as Assyria, Babylon, Gog and Magog; symbols of prophecy like the figure in Daniel 2 and the beasts in Daniel 7, Revelation 13, Revelation 17 and elsewhere; and crucially, the modern nations represented in Bible prophecy by the terms Ephraim, Manasseh, Jacob, Israel, Jerusalem and Judah. You can read about these by requesting a free copy of his book The United States and Britain in Prophecy.
Mr. Armstrong also correctly taught that the Soviet Union would not attack the United States, that East Germany and West Germany would reunite, that a “United States of Europe” would form, that Britain would leave the European bloc, that the Roman Catholic Church would revive in power, that Russia and China would form an alliance, that Japan would militarize, that the U.S. economy and especially the dollar would become fatally vulnerable, that America and Britain would lose their strategic overseas possessions, and that America had won its last war. We have spelled out the fulfillment of all these prophecies in our booklet He Was Right, also free upon request.
He also correctly taught that Bible prophecy revolves around the city of Jerusalem and the Middle East. He correctly taught that the Arabs are among the descendants of Ishmael, whom God prophesied would be a “wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s against him …” (Genesis 16:12). This perfectly describes the present and the past history of the Arab peoples and their interactions with other peoples and nations.
Knowing that 90 percent of Bible prophecy is for the end time, Mr. Armstrong also looked for the identity of the king of the south of Daniel 11:40: “And 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.”
As I wrote in that Trumpet article, Mr. Armstrong taught from the Bible “an outline of prophecy that has been fulfilled precisely. However, his understanding of the king of the south was incomplete. Partly because he couldn’t see what we see today, Mr. Armstrong erred about when this king would appear on the world scene. …
“Egypt was the king of the south in past history. But who is this mysterious man and nation today? This king is a key player in the book of Daniel—and at the very end time.”
Mr. Armstrong thought Daniel 11:40 occurred in World War ii and expected the global war prophesied in the Bible to occur during his lifetime. A number of prophecies were fulfilled or began to be fulfilled before he died in 1986, but some did not click into place until after his death, and some still have yet to unfold.
The rise of the king of the south is one of these prophecies that was revealed after Mr. Armstrong died. Yet this understanding is still consistent with the correct overall outline of prophecy that he received and taught.
In that Trumpet article, I emphasized the phrase “push at him” in Daniel 11:40: It indicates a violent action that directly causes a counterattack that is like a “whirlwind.” I wrote, “The big question is when did the king of the south push at the king of the north, or the Holy Roman Empire—in the recent past? … From [the unification of Italy in] 1870 to the present, no king of the south pushed at the king of the north! … No such push has caused the king of the north to respond in kind—yet! But the stage is being set—right now—for this to occur!”
Only God can reveal the meaning of Bible prophecy. He did so through Mr. Armstrong with many prophecies that other churches never taught correctly or at all. But God waited until after Mr. Armstrong was gone to make clear the timing of the king of the south prophecy. And He did so through the work that kept alive the same message and prophecy that Mr. Armstrong had taught. This was not just Herbert W. Armstrong’s interpretation of prophecy: This is God’s interpretation, which He reveals to His servants.
Later in that article, I wrote, “So we see that Daniel 11:40 through Daniel 12:13 comprises the ‘time of the end.’ It is all triggered by the king of the south! It doesn’t have to be Saddam Hussein—though it could very well be. Even if it isn’t Saddam Hussein, the king of the south shall rise in that part of the world—and soon! Oil and money gives the king of the south power to ‘push.’”
I wrote this in the very first year of the Philadelphia Trumpet, 1990, when it was a rudimentary black-and-white publication of only 12 pages and perhaps a few hundred subscribers. God was continuing His Work of prophecy with a key piece of knowledge about the king of the south prophecy in Volume 1, Issue 5!
At that time, journalists, analysts, war planners and politicians were focusing on Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. After fighting an eight-year war with Iran through the 1980s, Hussein attacked Kuwait in 1990. In the following issue of the Trumpet, I wrote that Iraq appeared to be fulfilling that role, but also stated, “The king of the south still hasn’t applied the ‘push’ of Daniel 11:40.”
In the July 1992 Trumpet, I returned to the subject of the king of the south. The Islamic Republic of Iran had reportedly obtained or tried to obtain nuclear weapons from another Islamic nation, the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan. I wrote: “Much of the world is unaware of what a powerful and dangerous force the Islamic camp is becoming. …
“The king of the south could rule Iraq or Iran or both countries. But it is looking more now like Iran may produce this king. Here is what the Islamic Affairs Analyst of May 13, 1992, said (emphasis mine): ‘The main strategic aim of Iran is to dominate the Persian Gulf and environs. An important step in achieving this goal is to gain undisputed leadership of the radical Islamic camp. …’ It looks very much like the end-time king of the south will rule the radical Islamists! Iran is a natural leader for many of them today. Iran also has a goal to lead this group.”
It was 1992. This was almost a decade before the 9/11 radical Islamist attacks, more than two decades before the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear compromise, and three decades prior to the current situation with Iran—a very different world in which Iran is now infamous, consolidating its leadership over radical Islam, and working to build its own nuclear weapons.
Iran now has strong influence over several other important Islamic nations. In December 1994, I wrote a Trumpet article titled “Is Iraq About to Fall to Iran?” which stated: “The most powerful Arab country in the Middle East is Iran. Can you imagine the power they would have if they gained control of Iraq, the second-largest oil-producing country in the world? If so, there seems to be little doubt that Iran would lead the king of the south (Daniel 11:40).”
In 2003, Saddam Hussein fell to the second invasion of Iraq by the United States. And in the aftermath, Iraq fell to Iran.
Bible prophecy is alive! God has recorded the future of nations and empires in the pages of His Word, and He reveals what these prophecies mean—in a way you can prove and understand—to those willing to humble themselves, read the prophecies, watch world events, and accept the truth.