“At the time of the end the king of the South will engage him in battle, and the king of the North will storm out against him with chariots and cavalry and a great fleet of ships” (Daniel 11:40)
Several times over the last few years I’ve made mention of my belief that two powerful and opposing forces of Biblical times were in the process of re-emerging to become part of the increasingly complex situation in the Middle East. These two adversaries are called the King of the North and the King of the South in Daniel 11 and recent events show they’ve both taken a giant step toward fulfilling their prophetic destiny.
My most recent study on this subject is not quite two years old and appears under the title “The Three Kings Of Daniel 11”. It’s named that way because in their end times appearance, the Kings of the North and South will not only oppose each other, they will both oppose the anti-Christ, who is called “the King who exalts himself” in Daniel 11:36.
Daniel 11:5-35 is a summary of the historical times of these two kings as they battled each other for control of what we now call the Middle East through several generations. They finally disappeared as the Romans were coming into prominence. It’s amazing to consider that Daniel wrote about all of them before any of them were born, squeezing over 100 historically documented prophecies into the first 35 verses of Daniel 11.
Daniel 11:36-45 are still future to us and require the re-emergence of these kings to be fulfilled. I believe in our current headlines we’re seeing signs that they’re preparing to rise and take their positions on the end times stage.
What Makes You Say That?
In my Mid East Update I reported that Saudi Arabia gave the Egyptian Army substantial assistance in its successful overthrow of the government. We now know that the United Arab Emirates and Kuwaitt were also involved. I mentioned that this concerns the US because of the possibility that these countries are banding together into a Sunni Muslim confederacy to oppose Iran. There’s a likelihood that they will support and even assist Israel in destroying Iran’s nuclear program. (The US is not opposed to a Sunni confederacy, but has been trying to build one around Turkey and the Muslim Brotherhood in a revival of the Ottoman Empire. Saudi Arabia and Egypt have become too independent for American tastes.)
Now, several Middle Eastern news services are reporting that Iran is working to build a Shiite Muslim block to counter this move by the Sunnis. It appears that this block will consist of Iran, Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon. This helps to explain why Iran is so heavily invested in Syria and Hizballah. Iran has sent billions of dollars in advanced weaponry to both and has thousands of soldiers stationed in Syria as well.
And just this week the Syrian state news agency SANA reported that an agreement was signed in Tehran by the Iranian and Syrian central banks, granting Syria a credit line worth $3.6 billion for oil. Damascus will repay Tehran by providing the Iranians “investment opportunities of various kinds” in Syria. According to the mideast intelligence service DEBKAfile, Iran is moving step by step to control the Syrian economy and advance its scheme for drawing Syria, Iraq and eventually Hizballah-dominated Lebanon into a Shiite economic bloc.
Some sources go even farther, claiming that Iran already controls Lebanon through its “wholly owned subsidiary” Hizballah. And recently a senior Iranian cleric boldly stated, “Syria is the 35th province [of Iran] and a strategic province for us.”
A recent article in Commentary magazine confirmed that “Iran is not only arming and training President Bashar Assad’s forces, both regular and irregular, but it has also sent Hizballah, Iranian-backed Iraqi militias, and units of its own Revolutionary Guards Corps to join his fight against the Sunni rebels. Add in the billions of dollars it has given Assad to prop up his regime, and it’s clear that if he survives, Syria will be another wholly-owned Iranian subsidiary.
“Whether Assad stays or goes is becoming irrelevant,” a diplomat in the region told Khaled Yacoub Oweis of Reuters. “The conflict is now bigger than him, and it will continue without him. Iran is calling the shots.”
And finally, the on-line magazine “Iran Focus” confirmed that Assad is not the issue. “Iran is primarily concerned with maintaining the Shiite crescent — which includes Shiites from Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria.”
History Repeating Itself
It can’t be a coincidence that these Shiite nations occupy the same territory formerly controlled by the King of the North, just as the Sunni Muslim block occupies territory formerly held by the King of the South.
While there are sub-groups on both sides, Sunnis make up about 80% of the world’s Muslim population with Shiites comprising the remaining 20%. Many people who aren’t familiar with Islam don’t realize that the relationship between the two groups has not always been friendly, even when they would appear to have common goals. For example, after the 2006 Lebanon war, when much of the Arab world was claiming victory, Osama bin Laden (Sunni) publically criticized Hizballah (Shiite) for “jumping the gun” and attacking Israel before the time was right.
Current examples of sectarian strife can be seen in the fact that according to Gulf News, Hamas (Sunni) has lost the financial support of Iran (Shiite) for backing the rebels in Syria against the Assad government and has been told to switch sides if they want their aid restored.
Also, in the US there’s a fear that 10 years of “progress” in Iraq is being undone by Sunni/Shiite violence. Iraq has a Shiite majority being governed by a Sunni minority. The American advisors have never successfully addressed that issue and are now concerned that Iraq may soon erupt in civil war. Most observers see a not so subtle Iranian influence at work behind this.
The rivalry between these two sects of Islam goes back to the death of Mohammed when there was a battle over the right to succeed him and continues to this day. Most of their beliefs are identical but there are some differences. For example, they both believe in al Mahdi, but they don’t agree on who he will be or what he will do. Shiites believe he’s the 12thImam, who will appear at a time of great crisis in the world to establish the Islamic Caliphate, or Kingdom, and enforce world wide conversion to Islam. Sunnis believe he will revive the faith, but will not necessarily be connected with the end of the world.
What Does That Mean?
A growing number of observers believe this rivalry could easily escalate into an all out Islamic war for control of the Middle East in a repeat of ancient history. Even though both sects have the capture of Jerusalem as their ultimate goal, each one wants to be the group that does it, and they’re apparently willing to fight each other for the privilege. The Bedouin saying, “I against my brother, my brothers and I against my cousins, then my cousins and I against strangers” comes to mind.
Of course, anyone familiar with the years of Catholic vs. Protestant strife in Northern Ireland knows that sectarian violence is not unique to Islam. But what would cause both Sunnis and Shiites to attack the anti-Christ as Daniel clearly prophesied (Daniel 11:40)? Especially if, as I believe, Islam will be the end times religion and alMahdi will likely turn out to be the anti-Christ?
We could understand their difference of opinion over who alMahdi will be to cause one or the other to oppose him, but what could cause both to do so?
I think the Bible gives us the answer.
“He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God” (2 Thes. 2:4)
“The beast and the ten horns you saw will hate the prostitute. They will bring her to ruin and leave her naked; they will eat her flesh and burn her with fire” (Rev. 17:16)
Satan has always used used man’s need for a religion to help him achieve his goal of world dominance, but eventually he will have to make himself the only object of worship, unencumbered by any religious system. And just like the Jews were incited to murder when Jesus claimed to be God, so these Islamic kings will be outraged when the one they thought was the promised servant of Allah makes the claim that he actually is Allah.
In Islam there’s a saying, “Allah was not begotten nor does he beget.” When the anti-Christ proclaims himself to be God he will be committing blasphemy against both Allah and God. And when he and his 10 kings move to destroy Islam, it’s easy to see how the kings of the North and South, with massive armies under their command, could forget their differences and unite against him.
Students of Biblical history will recognize in this a strategy frequently employed by God, that of turning his enemies against each other. You can find examples in Judges 7:22, 1 Sam 14:20, 2 Chron. 20:23, Ezek. 38:21,and Zech. 14:13.
Of course there’s a lot of ground to cover between where we are now and the fulfillment of Daniel 11:40. Thankfully the Church won’t be here for most of the journey. My purpose is to alert us to the possibility that one more sign of the times could be in the early stages of fulfillment. Because every sign of the times we see strengthens our conviction that we’re living in the times of the signs.