Part 3 – Gabriel’s “Telescope” Zooms out into the Distant Future
3-A: “Vile Person” Arrives on the Scene (11:21-23)
3-B: Rise to Power of a Modern “King of the North” (11:24-25)
3-C: Who Are the Kings of the North and South?
3-D: Setback to America (11:26-27)
3-E: Setback to “King of the North” and Turning Point (11:28-30)
3-F: The Great Tribulation (11:31-35)
3-G: Nature of the anti-Christ “King of the North” (11:36-37)
3-H: The “God of Forces” (11:38-39)
3-I: Among the Nations, Earth’s Final War (11:40-45)
3-C: Who Are the Kings of the North and South?
Going by what we have learned so far, it would seem logical that, since Syria and Egypt were the kings of the north and south in ancient times, then these nations might very well re-appear in the End Time as the final kings of the north and south. If we go back to Daniel’s vision and the angel’s message of 14-15 years earlier (Daniel 8), we learn there that a “little horn” was to emerge from one of the four divisions of Alexander’s empire – corresponding more or less to modern Egypt, Syria, Turkey, Greece. But the angel doesn’t tell us which division it is.
This “little horn”, like the “little horn” in chapter 7, was symbolic of the Antichrist. This we know because of the angel’s statement that “the vision refers to the time of the end” and that the “little horn” would arise “in the latter time of their kingdom.” (Daniel 8:17,23) The description of his activities also points to the End Time era of the Antichrist. (8:9-12, 22-25)
Each chapter builds on previous ones, adding more information. So here in Daniel 11, intersecting with chapter 8, there is the same “first king” or “mighty king” (Alexander) whose kingdom gets “divided toward the four winds of heaven”. (8:21, 11:3-4) Then, at that point where Daniel 8 goes on to talk about the “little horn” of the End Time, in Daniel 11 the prophecy describes the rise of a figure called the “king of the North”. This “king of the North” ends up the big winner, grabbing Israel in all the wrangling that followed the breakup of the Greek empire in ancient times.
Thus, we can easily conclude that this “king of the North” is the same power or person as the Antichrist “little horn” mentioned in chapters 7 and 8. Eventually, but not until “the time of the end”, this “king of the North” winds up getting the whole Mideast under his control, including Egypt. (11:42) He also desecrates the “sanctuary” with his “abomination of desolation” in verse 31, which is a notable feature about the End Time Antichrist that is mentioned several times elsewhere in the Scriptures. (Daniel 8:11, 9:27, Matthew 24:15, Mark 13:14, Revelation 11:2)
And thus, chapter 11 answers what these previous chapters had left unanswered, namely, the location from which the Antichrist arises. (Or more accurately, we might guess, the location that serves as his funnel into the Middle East, followed by his conquest thereof, which events in turn catapult the Antichrist into world domination.)
And where is that location? As we read through the progression of events in Daniel 11, it is not hard to see. The chapter starts with the conflict between the “king of the North” and the “king of the South”, the wars between the ancient Greek kingdoms of Syria and Egypt. These were the two superpowers who dominated the Greek world some years after the death of Alexander. So that narrows the Antichrist’s nation down from four possibilities (in Daniel 8) to just two – Syria and Egypt.
As the prophecy telescopes into the distant future in verse 21 (with the “prince of the covenant” phrase in verse 22), the two possibilities narrow down to one. Verses 21-45 employ the same terms; the kings of the north and south are still in conflict. Eventually, in verses 40-45 the “king of the North” becomes the winner in this struggle, and total master of the Middle East, including Israel. In the context of this prophecy, he finishes what the ancient ruler Antiochus Epiphanes did not quite succeed in doing; that is, he doesn’t just conquer Israel, but also Egypt. “And the land of Egypt shall not escape.” (11:42).
Chart showing how Daniel’s revelations progressively unfolded to pinpoint the identity of the “little horn” (the Antichrist)
The question may arise about the Antichrist coming out of Syria because of certain predictions suggesting that the Antichrist would come out of Egypt. Most notable is a vision received by the late American mystic and prophetess, Jeane Dixon, which seemed to point to the Antichrist arising out of Egypt. But it would be hard to understand how the Antichrist could arise out of both Egypt and Syria, when the verses we have just studied show plainly that he will come from the north and fight against Egypt.
Well, similar contradictions arose in predictions regarding the first coming of Christ. Three different prophecies stated that he would come out of Bethlehem, Egypt, and Galilee. (Micah 5:2, Hosea 11:1, Isaiah 9:1-2) Anyone trying to figure this out before Jesus’ coming would have been stumped. It could not have been understood until a few years after He came into the world. So, perhaps it’s the same kind of difficulty cropping up in these seemingly conflicting prophecies about the Antichrist.
Another possible key to understanding this may lie in the fact that the End Time superpower will not be ruled by only one person. In Revelation 13, we understand that there are actually two key figures involved, the earth-Beast (False Prophet) and the sea-Beast (Antichrist). In effect, there are two Antichrists, yet they are seen as one because they work so closely together.
Judging from the description in Jeanne Dixon’s vision – of a serpent having great wisdom – the False Prophet might be the fulfillment rather than the Antichrist. He is the one equipped with diabolical wisdom, much of which started in ancient Egypt. Perhaps Egypt was his base or home country at one time, or perhaps Egypt, the first of the superpowers to control Israel, just happens to be the place where this ancient diabolical wisdom lies buried and which the False Prophet has been given access to. Well, this is all just speculation, but for sure these seemingly contradictory predictions about the future will in time be understood.
Because the “king of the North” will be the first conqueror since the Greek and Roman empires to subjugate Israel at a time when the Jewish people are actually living there, then that puts him in the same category as the other “beasts” mentioned in Daniel 7, those empires which had conquered Israel in times past. So, undoubtedly, the “king of the North” is the Antichrist. (“Antichrist” is the term applied to the final “beast” to conquer Israel, the one who arrives on the historical stage just prior to the second coming of Christ.)
The logical question to ask now, does this mean that modern Syria and modern Egypt are going to be waging war against each other sometime in the near future? And does it mean that tiny Syria is the Antichrist power that will take over much of the modern world? Well, of course, that latter possibility doesn’t make much sense. So how are we supposed to understand all of this if we want the prophecy to remain sensible and yet maintain a certain degree of consistency – that is, the ancient struggle between Syria and Egypt tying in somehow with the Mid East wars of modern times?
Will these two ancient nations serve as staging grounds for the future conflicts between Russia and America? And will these two superpowers fight a proxy war in the Middle East through their client states who might possibly be none other than Syria and Egypt, the modern day nations who once struggled against each other in ancient times? As noted in the previous post, there is a hint of this happening already. With Russia’s intervention into the Syrian civil war, this has brought the northern power into conflict against American-supported rebel forces.
That the “king of the North” represents, not just Syria, but also the superpower of Russia, can be easily understood from Ezekiel 38-39, the companion chapters for Daniel 11. These Scriptures paint a clear picture of the northern power of Russia invading the Middle East and Israel in the time of the End. Since the “king of the North” in Daniel 11 is also pictured as invading the Middle East and Israel in the time of the End, then there shouldn’t be any difficulty connecting Daniel 11 with Ezekiel 38-39 and understanding that “king of the North” represents a much larger entity than just tiny Syria; it includes the great northern power of Russia. Ezekiel 38-39, therefore, pinpoints the superpower from which the Antichrist (called “Gog” in that prophecy) arises, while Daniel 11 seems to pinpoint the area in the Middle East from which he arises to conquer that whole region, including Israel, and thereby catapult himself into world domination.
If it so happens that Syria and Egypt become the main protagonists in future Mideast conflict, and if they continue to be backed by Russia and America, then it will prove to be a remarkable resurfacing of the ancient rivalry in these modern times. It will still be the “king of the North” and “king of the South” waging war, just like old times. What will be different is the background presence of the superpowers of Russia and America who may even try to install themselves in these same territories that once had fought each other for control of the Mid East way back in ancient times.
It is always difficult to look at the political situations of today and say exactly how things will turn out in the future. About the best we can do is speculate. Nevertheless, the situation in the Mid East does present an eerie closeness to the prophetic messages in Daniel 11 and Ezekiel 38-39: Egypt has continued as an American ally and is still upholding its peace agreement with Israel; Russia has strengthened ties with her longtime ally, Syria, by aiding the Assad regime militarily in the civil war that is going on right now. Another point to keep in mind: There has always been a certain rivalry between Syria and Egypt that could ignite into open conflict at some future time. To conclude: Beyond these general considerations, however, it is difficult to project much further or go into any great detail on what may or may not come to pass. For a little more concrete information, the news articles in Appendix 1: Clash in the Middle East may provide some helpful glimpses as to where things are heading nowadays in the Middle East.
Those news articles are helpful because they explain the different levels of conflict in the Middle East. Because the world has expanded since ancient times, then we should expect that these terms, “king of the South” and “king of the North” should also expand, in these End Times, to include greatly enlarged versions of the ancient kings of the north and south. In a sense, the terms seem to perform double-duty, reflecting both the regional struggles going on in the Middle East and the larger geopolitical struggles going on internationally. We have studied how verses 1-20 describe the ancient conflict, which in those days was “big”, but in the modern world a “big” conflict would have to include much more than just Egypt and Syria. The world stage has grown larger, and it is obvious that the Mid East conflict has this extra outer international layer to it that did not exist in the days of the Ptolemy’s and Seleucid’s.
These two different levels – the regional and the international – are using one other, each to further its own agenda: the regional players require the support of their superpower patrons to fight their wars while these international players need the smaller nations to inject their power and influence into this strategic and wealthy part of the world. Already, we see these forces converging together on the Mid East battlefield, which, like a dangerous powder keg, is bound to explode eventually… and ominously, to drag humanity into another World War.
Now regarding this conflict between the superpowers, there is a comparison we can make here with the World Wars of the last century: World War II was little more than a revival of World War I between Germany and the empires of England, France, and the U.S. And the coming war between America and Russia will be little more than the revival of the Cold War of the last century when America and Russia were constantly vying with each other for influence in the Middle East (and in nations around the world).
What we are experiencing now is a temporary lull in the storm that has been brewing ever since the end of World War II, the war which catapulted the Soviet Union onto the center of the world stage and made her the chief rival to the American superpower. And in these days of late 2015, we can start to foresee that “lull” coming to an end. Now that Russia has joined the fray in the Middle East to protect her ally Syria, this is likely to bring her and America into open conflict, and God only knows how that will end up.
During all those years of the Cold War, the conflict never heated up to the point of turning into atomic war. This fear of atomic war probably kept the lid on things, so that the international situation never got so out of hand that it escalated into a world war. But unfortunately, this kind of a stalemated situation cannot last forever.
Sooner or later, the forces of Darkness, aiming as always to destroy God’s creation, will precipitate World War III and whatever terrible destruction that will bring. According to the prophecies here in Daniel 11 and Ezekiel 38-39, Russia will come out victorious in this future war. But not for long. According to other Scriptures (Revelation 19-20), God will step in at the Second Coming and the Battle of Armageddon. Jesus the Messiah will re-claim the world that has been held captive by Satan and his legions during the thousands of years of human history.
But for now the superpowers are vying against each other, yet trying desperately to avoid direct engagement with each other because of the dreadful prospect that such a confrontation could escalate into nuclear war. Thus, the strategic value of using client states to fight wars by proxy has grown considerably in the warfare tactics of modern times. So, although it may appear to be Syria and Egypt, for example, fighting each other in the Mid East, in reality it would be a struggle between their backers, the major superpowers of Russia and America.
This ancient struggle between Syria and Egypt, however we might want to look at it, was at the least a sort of foreshadowing of events that were to happen in modern times. Just as they had once fought each other for control of the land of Israel and the Mid East, we can easily foresee that the U.S. and Russia will also grapple with each other for control of the same territory. (In fact, it was already happening during the Cold War days and seems to be revving up again in these very recent times.)
At present Israel lies within America’s orb of influence, just as ancient Israel was once a client state of ancient Egypt. And just as ancient Syria fought for and plucked Israel out of the hands of the Egyptians, so modern Russia will fight for and gain control over Israel (according to Ezekiel 38-39 and this chapter we are now studying, Daniel 11).
It seems obvious then that the modern superpowers – America and Russia – will battle it out against each other from their client states in the Middle East. (See news articles in Appendix 2: Clash between the superpowers.) We might guess this by the statement in verse 42: “the land of Egypt shall not escape.” It doesn’t say, “the king of the south shall not escape”. This suggests then that the “king of the South” is a larger entity than just the land of Egypt – although Egypt, likely, will be very much a part of the king of the south’s domain – an ally or even a staging ground for the “king of the South”. This would be similar to how the term “king of the North” is a broader designation for, not just ancient (and modern) Syria, but also for the superpower of Russia.
Now of course, there is no mention of America in the Scriptures. Logically, we can deduce that, if “king of the North” includes Russia, then “king of the South” should include Russia’s main rival in the modern world. And who else could that be but the American superpower, along with America’s allies in the Middle East, especially Israel and probably Egypt? In those days 2,500-plus years ago, no one knew about a U.S.A.; there wasn’t any. So how is the angel going to refer to this future superpower? He calls him the “king of the South”, whose domain in ancient times included Israel. In modern times America’s domain includes Israel. As a longtime and ardent supporter of Israel, America seems to be playing a role similar to that of the ancient “king of the South”.
And chances are that “king of the South” will also include Egypt, which is still upholding her peace treaty with Israel. It is said that politics makes strange bedfellows, and even in spite of a temporary setback (Egypt’s flirtation with the Islamic Brotherhood government), the pendulum has swung back to where it was before; Egypt has returned to her former pro-American position and may well end up supporting, maybe even fighting on, the side of Israel and America in future Mid East wars.
Continue to Part 3D: Setback to America
Appendix 1: Clash in the Middle East (News Excerpts)
Threats of war cloud hopes for Middle East
By Liz Sly, Washington Post, February 11, 2012
Unlike Libya, Tunisia and Egypt, whose relatively limited regional reach ensured that their revolts [of the “Arab Spring”] were contained within their borders, Syria lies at the nexus of a web of strategic alliances, geopolitical interests and religious jealousies that would be upended were the regime there to fall.
“Libya imploded. Syria will explode,” said a diplomat from a non-Western country interviewed in Damascus. “And it will explode across the whole region.”
Assad’s own record, and that of his father before him, as a champion of anti-Western causes, his alliances with groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas, and above all his close relationship with Iran also puts his regime on the frontline of a far broader struggle for influence.
“Regime change in Syria would have an impact on the entire region, because Syria has geopolitical importance for Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, everywhere…” said Iraq’s Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari…
“The American presence was a form of deterrence,” Zebari said. “Now people feel there is some kind of vacuum, and they are competing to fill it.”
Among those powers is Russia, which thinks it was tricked by the West in Libya, and has now stepped up forcefully in defense of Assad, letting it be known that it will not stand by while a U.S.-backed alliance works to unseat its chief Mideast ally.
Underpinning the struggle for Syria, however, is a far older battle for supremacy between Iran and the West, Sunnis and Shiites, Arabs and Persians, which appeared to have been suppressed by the popular clamor for change that erupted across the Arab world last year but which now has resurfaced as a key dynamic driving the competition for power.
Syria’s three-decade-old strategic alliance with the Islamic Republic of Iran places it firmly at the heart of what Jordan’s King Abdullah dubbed in 2006 the Shiite crescent, an arc of territory stretching from Tehran to Beirut, through Baghdad and Damascus, that is governed by Shiite-affiliated leaders sympathetic to Iran.
If Syria were to be ruled by its Sunni majority, Damascus would anchor what some are already calling a Sunni crescent, stretching from Saudi Arabia to Turkey and severing Iran’s lifeline to the Mediterranean.
Syria Coming to a Boil
By Eric Margolis, The UNZ Review – March 29, 2011
Libya, in spite of its oil treasures, is strictly a sideshow in the great game of nations. We should be keeping our eyes on highly strategic Syria, a potentially combustible nation of 22.5 million that lies at the very heart of what we call the Mideast.
…Damascus is under siege from the United States because of its opposition to Israel and championing of the Palestinians…
Persistent hostility from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iraq, all three dominated by the US, have further isolated Syria among the Arabs…
Israel regularly threatens war against Syria because of the vital support Damascus gives to Lebanon’s Hizbullah movement and Palestinians. Israel’s virtual annexation of Syria’s Golan Heights and expulsion of over 125,000 Syrians from the Heights by Israel in 1967, and land expropriation by 19,000 Israeli settlers, remain inflammatory issues. Israeli heavy artillery atop Golan is within range of Damascus.
…Syria’s 1980’s-vintage air and land forces face Israel’s mighty military machine that could crush Syria in days. [If a nation is weak militarily, they have to call on the help of someone stronger. As a result Syria could easily become a Russian protectorate, a staging-ground for the “king of the North”.]
…Syria has always been one of the two poles of the Arab world, along with its rival Egypt. [“king of the North” versus “king of the South”?]
…Syria was and remains a key ally of Iran, the only Arab one, and Tehran’s beachhead in the Levant…
…Syria is no place for the usual US bull in the china shop behavior.
Appendix 2: Clash between the superpowers (News article excerpts)
The American Empire: A Finale
By Justin Raimondo, Antiwar.com – March 23, 2009
…America seems fated to become the world’s military arsenal, a natural development of its role as the self-appointed global cop. Like the Romans, the Americans will keep the peace and provide a ready market for consumer goods produced by its colonies, protectorates, and allies…
…An American empire of bases spans the globe and gives the U.S. military the ability to strike anywhere with a fair amount of speed. The Bush doctrine of preemption wasn’t just empty talk: America, as crippled by spasms of economic pain as she is, retains its status as the hyperpower, in purely military terms…
…the entire ring of former Soviet states bordering the battlefield will take on new strategic significance as the central arena in America’s endless war on terrorism shifts eastward.
This means an all-out confrontation with Russia, and the groundwork has already been laid for that…
With NATO troops stationed practically at the gates of Moscow, and NATO’s massed armies protected by a missile shield, Putin is staring down a gun barrel… Yet Putin is unlikely to cooperate… The price of dropping that gun to his head is that he must forget about forging an independent foreign policy in a multi-polar world, because that is what represents a real threat to the imperial restoration project…
The implosion of the Communist empire in 1989 ended whatever rationale NATO may once have had, and yet still, like the immortal vampire, the beast lives on! Georgia, Ukraine, and Azerbaijan are actively seeking NATO membership…
There can be no doubt that the U.S. has been engaged in a long-term project to encircle the former Soviet Union… That’s what the so-called color revolutions were all about. Funded and supported politically by U.S. government agencies, and given plenty of cover in the international media, these supposedly “spontaneous” rebellions that installed pro-U.S. governments from in Georgia, Ukraine, and elsewhere, were and are a direct threat aimed at Moscow, with the ultimate color revolution meant to take place in Russia itself. “Soft power” is… much more comforting and pacific-sounding than “regime change” or just plain old “war,” yet it is a war executed sometimes with violence but most often by other means.
The fear that the end is upon us, that the entire economic structure of the West could come tumbling down, has our ruling elites in a panic…
…our rulers… are still living inside the bubble of fake prosperity and breathing air permeated by their own hubris… are too far gone to ever change. Their very idea of themselves is imbued with a sense of entitlement and aristocratic noblesse oblige. They feel that they are doing us all a very great favor by consenting to rule over us and determine the fate of entire peoples, indeed of the entire globe.
…An impoverished people who have once known prosperity is prey to all sorts of demonic explanations for its plight… they turn to leaders, to mass movements, to anything to which they can surrender their individual will and find glory–however phony–in something greater than themselves… War is the essence of their foreign policy, very often, because it is necessary for the governing party to direct the anger and frustration of the people outward, rather than inward, at themselves.
…Trading partners don’t make war on each other: the moment trade barriers go up, the prospects for armed conflict rise.
In times of economic stress, the authority and power of the central state tends to expand, and this provides the War Party with the perfect war-making instrument…
…Having reached the pinnacle of power, we are still the hyperpower, albeit a bankrupt one–that is, America is a power that can yet do a lot of damage in the world. We may be going down, but we’re sure to take more than a few of you along with us.
The end of the American empire has been proclaimed many times, yet it has always defied the prophets of doom. This time, however, there is a difference–because this time the crisis is real.