Chapter 1: The King of the South
Nothing helps us understand events in the world around us like biblical prophecy. God recorded and preserved a great many prophecies, and He brings them to pass (Isaiah 46:9-10). He does this for our benefit—to make clear the fact that He is alive, and that He “ruleth in the kingdom of men” (Daniel 4:17).
Most of the prophecy in the Bible relates to “the time of the end”—that is, the time just before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. We are living in this time right now.
One crucial prophecy we must watch for is found in 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.”
The Prophet Daniel recorded this about 2,500 years ago. As I will explain, this passage describes in detail the major powers that would dominate the Middle East—then, over the course of four centuries, this prophecy was fulfilled! It is astonishing proof of God’s power and of the accuracy of biblical prophecy.
In verse 40, though, we read of a part of this prophecy that remains to be fulfilled “at the time of the end.” Compare what the Bible forecast with history and with current events, and you will realize that this end-time period is the modern era.
“The king of the north” and “the king of the south” are two great powers prophesied to clash in this end time. So God intends that we know who they are.
Both of these powers are rising rapidly on the world scene right now. This clash will shake the world as never before. In fact, it will lead to World War iii!
Do you know the identity of these “kings”? It is critical that you do! They play crucial roles in events that will ring down the curtain on the age of man.
The Time of the End
Consider the expression “time of the end.” That, Daniel 11:40 reveals, is when the king of the north and the king of the south arise and clash. Daniel 12:4 also mentions the “time of the end.” So too does verse 9: “And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.”
The phrase “time of the end” in these three verses comes from the same Hebrew words. Daniel 11:40 begins an end-time story flow that continues through chapter 12. Daniel 12:1 discusses “at that time.” What time? “The time of the end” spoken of in Daniel 11:40. “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book” (Daniel 12:1). At that time, there is unparalleled world cataclysm, and God’s people are delivered from this Great Tribulation. So this is a “now” prophecy!
Verse 9 tells us the time of the end began when the meaning of Daniel’s prophecies was revealed. This has happened! It happened in God’s true Church, led for decades by Herbert W. Armstrong until he died in 1986. (Read about this in our free book Raising the Ruins.) God revealed the profound prophetic meaning of Daniel’s major prophecies to Mr. Armstrong. After he died, God has revealed many more specifics of Daniel’s book to the Philadelphia Church of God.
So the king of the south must arise and “push” at the king of the north after the meaning of Daniel’s prophecy was revealed in this end time. We are in that time now. You can know the identity of these two pivotal “kings” in end-time prophecy.
To understand the identity of these kings, let’s examine their history.
History of Two Kings
The relevant history is found in the scriptures leading up to the end of Daniel 11.
The context is revealed in Daniel 10:1, which says that God gave Daniel this prophecy in the third year of the reign of King Cyrus of the Persian Empire, which was around 555 b.c. A “man”—probably the archangel Gabriel (Daniel 9:21)—describes events to occur “in the latter days” (Daniel 10:14).
Daniel 11:2-3 read: “And now will I shew thee the truth. Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia [after Cyrus]; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia. And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will.”
These prophesied events occurred hundreds of years later, but now this is all history. Mr. Armstrong accurately explained it in his booklet The Middle East in Prophecy. Here is what he wrote concerning these verses: “Actually there were 12 more kings in the Persian Empire, but only the first four following Cyrus were of importance for the purpose of this prophecy. They were Cambyses, pseudo-Smerdis, Darius and Xerxes. It was the last, or Xerxes, who was the richest of all and stirred up war with Greece.
“Then King Philip of Macedonia planned a great war to conquer the Persian Empire, with an army made up mostly of Grecians. He died before the plans were completed. But his son, Alexander the Great, took over his plans and invaded Persia. He met the Persian army at the Battle of Issus, 333 b.c. (Daniel 8:2, 5-6). Then he swept down into Egypt, and then to a final crushing defeat of the Persian Empire at the Battle of Arbela, 331 b.c., after which Alexander marched on a conquest clear to India, sweeping all before him.”
Daniel 11:4 continues the story: “And 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.” This prophecy came to pass with perfect accuracy and great drama.
George Rawlinson explained in his authoritative book A Manual of Ancient History, “Cut off unexpectedly in the vigor of early manhood [at age 33 in June 323 b.c.], he [Alexander] left no inheritor, either of his power or of his projects.”
Mr. Armstrong continued: “The empire was left leaderless and in confusion, but out of this emerged, by the year 301 b.c., four divisions, just as prophesied, as a result of a division of the empire into four divisions by Alexander’s generals. They were: 1) Ptolemy (Soter), ruling Egypt, part of Syria, and Judea; 2) Seleucus (Nicator), ruling Syria, Babylonia and territory east to India; 3) Lysimachus, ruling Asia Minor; 4) Cassander, ruling Greece and Macedonia. Thus was the prophecy of verse 4 fulfilled to the letter.
“Now notice what follows. From here the prophecy foretells the activities only of two of these four divisions: Egypt, [anciently] called ‘king of the south’ because it is south of Jerusalem; and the Syrian kingdom, [anciently] the king of the north, just north of Judea” (emphasis mine throughout).
Today I believe that much of the king of the south’s territory will be south of Jerusalem, but not all, as I will explain in this booklet. But all of it is south of the end-time king of the north.
“It is because the Holy Land passed back and forth between those two divisions,” Mr. Armstrong wrote, “and because their different wars were principally over possession of Judea, that the prophecy is concerned with them.”
Mr. Armstrong said of these two kings that “their different wars were principally over possession of Judea”—the land called Israel today. And it appears they go to war again over the land of Judah, specifically Jerusalem.
During the Crusades, Jerusalem was always the main prize. This city is of supreme religious importance to Jews, Christians and Muslims. The so-called Christian Crusades were really Catholic crusades. The Roman Catholics generally clashed with Muslim armies.
It is important that we understand this history. It is about to be repeated! After prophecy, history is our next indication of what the future holds.
Anciently, Jerusalem was the capital of Israel—that is, all 12 tribes of Israel. That means that in the end-time prophecies that speak of “Jerusalem,” the United States and Britain are included. The British peoples (biblical Ephraim), America (biblical Manasseh) and the Jewish nation in the Middle East (biblical Judah) are all prophesied to fall at the same time (Hosea 5:5).
Prophecy shows that shortly after the king of the north conquers the king of the south, its ambition will grow beyond simply conquering Jerusalem. (Read about this in our free booklet Jerusalem in Prophecy.)
The King of the North Today
Here is how these two kings came into being anciently: “In history, we learn that the original Ptolemy i, called Soter, became strong and powerful, developing Egypt [anciently, the king of the south] beyond the greatest dreams of Alexander,” Mr. Armstrong explained. “One of his princes, or generals, Seleucus Nicator, also became strong and powerful. And in 312 b.c., taking advantage of Ptolemy’s being tied up in a war, he established himself in Syria and assumed the diadem [crown] as king [anciently, the king of the north]” (ibid).
It is important to note, briefly, that there is another dimension—a spiritual dimension—to this prophecy. You can see this in verses 34 and 35 of Daniel 11, which advance the time frame toward the present day: “Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries. And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.” “Some of them of understanding” is referring to God’s own people—saints in the New Testament Church who “fall.” Mr. Armstrong explained, “Here is described in general the whole course of God’s people, from the days of Christ to the present. Compare with such passages as Revelation 12:6, 11, 13‑17. And notice the vision carries on down to this present time of the end.” Daniel 11:36 describes this spiritual dimension in even greater detail: “And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.” This all has a tragic spiritual fulfillment in the true Church of God in this end time. I explain all of this in my free booklet Daniel—Unsealed at Last!, especially in Chapter 5.
Yet regarding this prophecy’s physical end-time fulfillment, Mr. Armstrong made this crucial point: “The king of the north—who is he, now in the early and middle New Testament times, to which our prophecy has come? In 65 b.c., Syria was swallowed up by the Roman Empire and became a Roman province. The Roman emperor now controlled Judea, and therefore the king of the north, here referred to, is, at this time, the emperor of the Roman Empire.”
This is a critical piece of the puzzle. The Bible prophesies of 10 resurrections of this Roman Empire, the last seven of which are guided by the Roman Catholic Church. (We explain this in our free booklet Who or What Is the Prophetic Beast? and our free book The Holy Roman Empire in Prophecy.) History shows that all but one of these resurrections have already come and gone. The last resurrection is nearly upon us!
This fits perfectly with the statement in Daniel 12:1 about unparalleled global cataclysm. It connects with many other biblical prophecies about this coming Great Tribulation—sparked by this king of the north! The “time of the end” discussed in Daniel 11:40 through chapter 12 involves the king of the north, which is the seventh and final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire. This European “king” will inflict that tribulation on the nations of biblical Israel (primarily the U.S., Britain and the Jewish state in the Middle East).
So much of the prophecy recorded in Daniel 11 has already been fulfilled—and in astonishing detail! Verse 40, however, skips to the present day: “And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him ….”
This refers to a king of the south in our day.
The king of the north is comprised of several nations, led by one nation, Germany. It makes sense that the king of the south would have a similar composition.
Who is this “king” that rules a collection of people, south of Europe, and that has the character to push and provoke a catastrophic war? We will also look at other details in prophecy showing that this “king” will ally with Egypt, Libya and Ethiopia, and not with Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. This means that the king of the south could not be any of these other nations. Other prophecies reveal what these powers will do in the latter days, during the same period that the king of the south is pushing against the king of the north. So none of these nations can be the king of the south.
When you carefully analyze world events and compare them to the end-time prophecies scattered throughout your Bible, you can piece together the truth about this modern king of the south—and who that king is.
More and more, it is becoming undeniably clear that the king of the south is Iran!
Since the early 1990s, we have believed and taught that Iran would lead the radical Islamist world and be the king of the south. Today in the Middle East, Iran is “king”!
The Root of Terrorism
History teaches us some powerful lessons, especially about our future—if we are willing to learn.
When Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi led Iran beginning in 1941, he was a strong ally of America. Over time, our liberal press and politicians thought he was too undemocratic, so they helped drive him from power. As he was falling, America gave him little to no support.
Then in 1979, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini overthrew the shah in the Iranian Revolution. He supported the crisis in which 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days by militants who supported the revolution. Khomeini sought to export the Islamist revolution and transform the Middle East; he called it a “revolution without borders,” united under the leadership of the new theocratic state in Iran. In pursuing this aim, he established Iran as the world’s number one state sponsor of terrorism.
History shows how Islamic extremism and terrorism can dramatically change the politics within a country. One telling example occurred in Egypt, where one assassination turned the course of the entire Middle East!
A few years before the fall of the shah of Iran, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was the warrior leader of Egypt and of the Middle East. He was the key leader of the Arab world in the 1973 Yom Kippur War against the Jews.
But then the world—especially the Arab world—was shocked: About the time Iran’s shah fell, Sadat was becoming an astounding peacemaker. He enraged Arab radicals by speaking at the Jewish Knesset (parliament).
One man was literally swinging the Middle East toward peace with the West. But he was working against the tide of radical Islam being promoted by Khomeini.
It is interesting that Mr. Armstrong visited with two Egyptian presidents: Sadat and Hosni Mubarak. He gave both men a strong warning that we would not have peace until Allah—God—gives it to us!
In 1979, Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes interviewed Ayatollah Khomeini (who had come to power that year). He told the ayatollah that Sadat had called him a “lunatic.”
Within two years, President Sadat was assassinated! That is the kind of power the leader of radical Islam has.
America and the world allowed this evil power to flourish in the Middle East. Now terrorism is rampant around the world! America didn’t have the will to stop such state-sponsored madness when it would have been relatively easy to do so.
When the Sadat assassination occurred, Mr. Armstrong said it was a turning point in Middle East history! That was almost an understatement. But virtually nobody in the media recognized what a world-changing event that was! Perhaps they refused to see it.
Iran’s terrorist network was working frighteningly well.
President Sadat was in the process of changing the Middle East for the good of the world. He took a stand against many of his own people and the Arab world to make peace with Israel. He proved to be a truly great man by putting the interests of the world and Egypt above his personal safety. Had the leaders of the U.S. and Britain demonstrated such courage, they would have dealt with Iran then. But because of America’s weakness, the Middle East began to look to the king of terror for leadership. It all happened because of American, British and Israeli cowardice.
Only after it was too late did some observers begin to see what a terrible mistake liberals had made in assisting the shah’s downfall. More than any other nation (apart from Iran itself), America is responsible for the ushering in of Khomeini. Our weakness could prove to be the most catastrophic foreign-policy disaster of the 20th century!
Taking Over the Region
After Khomeini’s death in 1989, his successor, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has ruled ever since, oversaw an intensification of Iran’s international network of terrorism. As this was occurring in the 1990s, America’s leaders did almost nothing to combat it. In 1994, U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher correctly called Iran “the world’s most significant state sponsor of terrorism.” But how pathetic to make such a statement and do nothing about it!
Just how much of a superpower is America? America has known for decades now who “the world’s most significant state sponsor of terrorism” is. But it lacks the will to hold Iran accountable for its terrorist acts of war. And the U.S. “superpower” allows Iran to continue sponsoring violent terrorism to this day.
After the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on America, the U.S. targeted Afghanistan, then Iraq. Both of these campaigns absorbed an enormous amount of America’s resources in its “war on terror.” But where did all this world terrorism begin? Iraq and Afghanistan may be dangerous parts of the equation, but they are not the head of the terrorist snake.
It is not enough to destroy the branches of terrorism. To deal with the problem, America should have pulled the terrorist tree up by its roots. That would be Iran! Yet rather than confronting Iran, America actually asked Iran for help in its “war on terrorism.”
In May 2003, after America led what was seen as a decisive allied military victory in Iraq, the surrounding countries, including Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iran, saw the U.S. as the ascendant power in the region and recognized the need to accommodate U.S. demands. However, as events on the ground changed and Iraq’s stability deteriorated, these nations began to see things differently. The U.S. was no longer viewed as the ascendant force: It was seen as weak and needing help.
This change had the most impact on Iran, which strongly influences the Shiites in Iraq.
“The situation in the region is, in our view, reaching the crisis stage for the United States,” Stratfor wrote. “The threat of an Islamist rising from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf no longer is an interesting theoretical concept. Except for Jordan, it is becoming a reality” (Aug. 22, 2003). The reality of an Iran-led Islamist rising throughout the region has dramatically come to pass in the years since Stratfor wrote those words! This influence and control now extends even beyond the Mediterranean into North Africa. And all because America didn’t confront Iran!
Prof. Barry Rubin wrote in 2007, “Iran tries to extend its influence in three ways: propaganda and incitement; the promotion of client groups; and projecting the state’s own power” (Global Politician, July 25, 2007). Using this three-pronged approach, Iran has spread its radical Islamic influence all over the Middle East. It has nearly taken over Iraq, helped the Taliban oust the United States from Afghanistan, intimidated many of the moderate Arab nations into compliance, and heavily infiltrated Yemen, Bahrain and several African nations.
Islamic radicals are terribly effective in assassinating top leaders. In 1990, they probably assassinated the speaker of Egypt’s parliament, Rifaat al-Mahgoub (the country’s second-ranking official at the time); gunmen on motorcycles sprayed his chauffeured sedan with automatic rifle fire. Radicals likely were also behind the killing of Algerian President Mohammed Boudiaf in 1992. Radical forces aimed at bringing down what was the moderate, pro-Western government of Lebanon assassinated Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005 in a car bomb, beginning a series of assassinations of prominent anti-Syrian Lebanese figures. In 2008, Lebanon’s governing coalition capitulated and a new government favoring Hezbollah was formed. In January 2011, Hezbollah ousted Lebanon’s U.S.-backed Prime Minister Saad Hariri in a “soft coup” and replaced him with its own candidate. These are just a few examples of how Islamic extremism can transform Mideast politics.
In Israel, the real power behind the extreme Palestinian factions is Iran. No other nation would dare finance and blatantly encourage terrorism in Israel. Iran has been caught sending vast supplies of weapons to the Palestinians. Virtually the whole world knows what Iran is doing yet will not confront Iran.
“Iran is pursuing a parallel policy of surrounding Israel with implacable enemies,” the Islamic Affairs Analyst of Gloucester, England, wrote in August 1994. This has been its well-known, established policy for decades now!
To Israel’s north, Iran has flooded Hezbollah in Lebanon with money and weapons. With Hamas in control of Gaza, Tehran could ignite another conflict on Israel’s western and northern borders at any moment, as it has done repeatedly. Iran is also opening another front in the West Bank, which crawls with zealots sympathetic to if not in the pay of Iran. And in recent years, Egypt has threatened to discard its peace treaty with Israel and to shift into Iran’s camp.
Israel is grappling with an Iranian-sponsored terrorist problem while America and Britain have all but surrendered the Middle East to Iran.
The only way to win such a war is to deal with the main source of the terrorism, or cut off the head of the terrorist snake. But neither the U.S. nor Israel has the will to tackle Iran. Our people are too weak, and lack the will, to fight and win a real war. Mr. Armstrong said over four decades ago that “America has won its last war.” He saw then that the pride in our military power had been broken!
The fruits and evidence of the past four decades overwhelmingly prove where the king of state-sponsored terrorism is! The terrorist movement flows from Iran. The whole world can see that. However, the solution to Iran’s terrorism lies in fighting it forcefully! We should have confronted the source.
The entire geographic area that Stratfor discussed in 2003 is now strongly influenced by Iran. The king of the south wields the weapon of state-sponsored terrorism. That is how Iran became king! The Daniel 11:40‑43 passage is an end-time prophecy. It is about a nation that is always pushy in its foreign policy. It pushes until it starts a war. Having such power implies that it is very likely a large oil-producing country. This prophecy shows that this king is geographically close to Jerusalem, Egypt, Ethiopia and Libya.
Who else could it be in this end time but Iran?
History’s Lessons Not Learned
Most of our politicians, the press and our universities do not understand radical Islam—nor do they understand history! Winston Churchill said that “the history of man is war.” Misinformed people like to hide from this truth.
Consider this statement from an Iranian 11th-grade schoolbook, quoting the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini: “I am decisively announcing to the whole world that if the world devourers wish to stand against our religion, we will stand against their whole world and will not cease until the annihilation of all of them! Either we all become free or we will go to the greater freedom, which is martyrdom. Either we shake one another’s hands in joy at the victory of Islam in the world, or all of us will turn to eternal life and martyrdom. In both cases, victory and success are ours.”
Khomeini referred to the West as “world devourers”! Eighty-five percent of 81 million Shiites in Iran believe in Twelver Shiism, which Khomeini espoused. This is an ideology that embraces death.
Former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Dore Gold said that a nuclear Iran can’t be deterred like the Soviet Union was during the Cold War. The Iranians have a much more radical belief system. They think their savior—the 12th imam, or mahdi—will return sooner if they cause more apocalyptic chaos and violence. As Gold pointed out in 2008: “[A]nyone who says with confidence that the West can get used to a nuclear Iran and rely on classic deterrence models has absolutely no idea what he is up against.”
Superpowers cannot survive in this evil, warring world without the will to wage long, hard wars. This is the real world in which we live; fantasies won’t change that reality.
Any nation or bloc of nations that knocks off the number one superpower becomes the number one superpower! This is the lesson of human nature and of our history books. A superpower cannot run and hide.
Iran is extremely radical—the king over radical Islam. Where is this nation’s pushiness leading? To war! Just as it has in the past. It is leading inevitably to terrifying war with weapons of mass destruction. It can lead nowhere else. Iran is preparing itself to trigger a nuclear World War iii! At this point, America has ample power to stop it but not the will. We cannot negotiate a victory. The only way to stop Iran is through superior power and the will to use it. A basic understanding of human nature and history should tell us this.
Iran and other nations keep arming the endless stream of terrorists in Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank. The only way to turn it around is to stop Iran. If America and Britain held the terrorist-supporting nations accountable, we would drain the terrorist swamp. If the Iranian leadership were eliminated, the whole course of Mideast history would change radically for the better, because it is the king. Sadly, Bible prophecy reveals that will not happen.
In Leviticus 26:19, God warned that if our peoples descended into abject sin, He would break the pride of our power. And so He has! The Prophet Daniel related that this is an end-time prophecy (Daniel 12:9; 9:12-14). Little Israel has more military might than Iran but fears to use it. The same is the case with Britain. And certainly that is true of America. Our nations fear to use their power—because of our sins. The “pride of [our] power” has been broken! We have seen a complete collapse of will and power in America. Our shameful surrender in Afghanistan is proof of that! What a terrible end to a superpower!
The terrorist nations see America’s shameful division and weakness and are encouraged to support terrorism even more. Iran and terrorists are preying on our weakness. State-sponsored terrorism exists because of America’s cowardice.
In fact, as we will see in the next chapter, America has been led by a man who was and is actively, intentionally empowering Iran! This is an even more grievous curse!
Our ultimate success will be determined by our relationship with God. If God is for us, we cannot lose. But if God is against us, we cannot win. And Bible prophecy relates that God is against us and is cursing us.
So brace yourself for a terrifying future.