The final prophetic portion of the book of Daniel focuses a great deal on two powers which dominate the stage of world history right down to the time of the end. They are the kings of the North and the South. Under this symbolism, God gives us an extremely detailed description of the conflict among the nations of the Middle East and Europe during the past 2500 years. This prophetic history brings us right down to our day and beyond. The subject of the King of the North in particular, has been one which has always generated a great deal of interest because, according to the prophecy, when this power comes to its end, it will mark the beginning of the greatest time of trouble the world has ever seen as well as the time of the deliverance of God's people.
Part 1: Continual conflict
And the king of the south shall be moved with choler, and shall come forth and fight with him, even with the king of the north: and he shall set forth a great multitude; but the multitude shall be given into his hand. (Dan 11:11)
What event in the history of the Greek kingdom resulted in the kingdom being broken up into four parts? Dan. 11: 3,4
"Having overthrown the Persian empire, Alexander "became absolute lord of that empire, in the utmost extent in which it was ever possessed by any of the Persian kings." - (Prideaux, Vol.I, p.477). His dominion was great, including "the greater portion of the then known habitable world;" and he did according to his will. His will led him, B.C.323, into a drunken debauch, as the result of which he died as the fool dieth; and his vainglorious and ambitious projects went into sudden, total, and everlasting eclipse." _ Smith, Daniel and The Revelation, p.234
Into what two major divisions did the kingdom of Greece eventually resolve itself? Dan. 11: 5,15
". . . . When Alexander's empire was divided, the different portions lay toward the four winds of heaven, west, north, east, and south. . . .
"whatever power at any time should occupy the territory which at first constituted the kingdom of the north, that power, so long as it occupied that territory, would be the king of the north; and whatever power should occupy that which at first constituted the kingdom of the south, that power would so long be the king of the south. We speak of only these two, because they are the only ones afterward spoken of in the prophecy, and because, in fact, almost the whole of Alexander's empire finally resolved itself into these two divisions. . . ." _ Smith, Daniel and The Revelation, p.235-6
What indication is there in Daniel chapter 11 that the meaning of the terms, "king of the north" and "king of the south" may have changed in the latter part of the chapter? Dan. 11: 29
In the first portion of Daniel 11 it is clear that the conflict is between political powers. However as we come to the final portion of this chapter, we find the same power introduced which is the enemy of God, His truth and His people in chapters 7 and 8. The symbolism of the kings of the North and South continue, but it becomes clear that the symbols are now to be interpreted , not in a physical way (not geographical north and south), but that we are to identify these kings applying different rules.
Part 2: Blasphemies of the northern king
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. (Dan 11:36)
"The power of the north in Daniel 1:40 is not the literal kingdom of Babylon but rather a power in the last days of this earth's history which displays the same characteristics as literal Babylon _ a power which manifests the same spirit of self-exaltation above God; which also seeks to cause all to worship an image, a false or `strange god. Daniel 11:37, 39. It professes to honor God as the `God of gods' and yet assumes the worship that belongs to God alone." _ Rafferty, Tidings of a Whirlwind.
What description of the king of the North in the "time of the end" identifies this king with the Papacy? Dan. 11: 37_39
This glorification of, and worship of a `strange god' is another critical description which points unerringly to the Papacy as the power here referred to as the `king of the north.' This has been fulfilled in more than one way in the career of the Papacy. First of all the Papacy has been responsible for introducing the Trinity into the Christian Church; a god which was not known to the Christians of the New Testament or to the people of God in the Old Testament. This `strange god' which his fathers knew not' has been glorified and exalted by the Papacy and has also been accepted by most of the other Christian churches. The Papacy has also introduced the `veneration' of Mary, and has, to all intents and purposes elevated her to the status of a goddess. Interestingly there has been for a few years a major push in the Catholic Church for the pope to declare that Mary is a co-mediatrix with Christ.
What similarities are there between the description of the Northern King and the "man of sin" spoken of by Paul? 2 Thess. 2: 3,4
The teachings of the New Testament have their foundation in the Old Testament, and many of the New Testament writers quoted heavily from the Old Testament. Paul's description of the `man of sin,' in 2 Thessalonians 2, is very similar to the description given by Daniel in chapter 11. It is important that we see this connection because Paul gives us another clue which is vital in identifying this desolating power. He tells us that the man of sin `sits in the temple of God.' This clearly identifies the antichrist as being somebody who claims to be a Christian. He sits in the temple of God, or the Christian Church.
Part 3: The king of the south
He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape. (Dan 11:42)
"The word "south" is derived from a Hebrew word which occasionally translates "Egypt.' It also Biblically symbolizes the country of Egypt (Isa. 30:1-7)." Egypt denotes an atheistic power which denies the existence of God. (Exodus 5:2). Therefore the power of the south in Daniel 11:40 is atheism. In the `time of the end,' beginning in 1793-1798, this atheistic power emerged in the country of France.
On the 23rd of November 1793 atheism in France reached its extreme point, by a decree of the municipality ordering the immediate closing of all the churches, and placing the whole priesthood under surveillance
Infidelity and atheism reigned supreme. The National Convention abolished the Sabbath, and the leaders of the Paris Commune declared that they intended to dethrone the King of heaven as well as the monarchs of the earth.
thus the power of the `south' (atheism) emerged in France in the period 1793-1798, in fulfillment of Bible prophecy. This power is better known today as Communism." _ Rafferty, Tidings of a Whirlwind.
How has the king of the south provoked the king of the north in modern times? Dan. 11:40
From the overthrow of the "See of Rome" at the "time of the end" and into the 20th century, atheism has consistently warred against Papal Rome. Notice the account given in this recent Time magazine article:
"Until recently, the battalions of Marxism seemed to have the upper hand over the soldiers of the Cross. In the wake of the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, Lenin had pledged toleration but delivered terror. `Russia turned crimson with the blood of martyrs,' says Father Gleb Yakunin, Russian Orthodoxy's bravest agitator for religious freedom. In the Bolsheviks' first five years in power, 28 bishops and 1,200 priests were cut down by the red sickle. Stalin greatly accelerated the terror, and by the end of Khrushchev's rule, liquidations of clergy reached an estimated 50,000. After World War II, fierce but generally less bloody persecution spread into the Ukraine and the new Soviet bloc, affecting millions of Roman Catholics and Protestants as well as Orthodox." Time, December 4, 1989.
Basically, communism for the greater portion of the 20th Century provoked the Papacy by consistently establishing itself in Catholic countries and oppressing the Roman Catholic churches in those countries when it took over. Examples of this are Cuba, Romania, Poland, and in fact most of the countries of Europe which became a part of the Soviet Union.
Part 4: The Northern king's response
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. (Dan 11:40)
The word "push" means "to war against." It is a simple definition but it holds for us a key to unlocking Daniel 11:40. It describes the conflict which has been taking place between the "king of the south," (atheism) and the "king of the north," since the "time of the end." (1793-1798).
The role of the Papacy in the overthrow of the former Soviet Union is a striking fulfillment of the prophecy which states that the king of the North would come against him (atheism) like a whirlwind. Many highly respected journals such as Time, and Life magazines have given the credit to the Papacy for engineering and orchestrating the downfall of communism in Europe.
How does the Bible describe the restoration of the Papacy's power in the end-time? Rev. 13: 3,8
". . . . it was none other than the papal head that was wounded to death, and his deadly wound was healed. This wounding is the same as the going into captivity. Rev.13:-10. It was inflicted when the pope was taken prisoner by Berthier, the French general, and the papal government was for a time abolished, in 1798. Stripped of his power, both civil and ecclesiastical, the captive pope, Pius Vl, died in exile at Valence in France, Aug. 29, 1799. But the deadly wound was healed when the papacy was re- established, though with a diminution of its former power, by the election of a new pope, March 14, 1800. " - Smith, Daniel and the Revelation, p.567
Which nations will be able to stand against the northern king in the end-time? Dan. 11: 43; Rev. 13: 7
It is the Papacy on whose part "arms shall stand," that is "force," whose "power shall be mighty, but not by his own power, and who shall have "an host" or "a mass of persons, an army, a campaign," given into his hands. Daniel 11:31; 8:12,24. The Papacy shall again work through the military and political power of other great nations to enforce its dogmas and teachings.
The Bible speaks in every place of this final desolating power in the end-time as a force which will be unstoppable by human means. Not only will he be able to call upon great military and political support, but he will also be supported by the masses of the people. "All the world wondered after the beast." This is the testimony of the word of God. (Rev. 13:3).
Part 5: He enters the glorious land
He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon. (Dan 11:41)
Does the term, "glorious land" here, refer to physical Palestine, or should we interpret this according to New Testament symbolism and identify this "glorious land" as God's Church? If we identify the northern and southern kings applying New Testament interpretations, then it is reasonable that we should also apply New Testament rules in identifying this "glorious land."
What descriptions of Jerusalem identifies it as the "glorious land? Ps. 48: 2
There can be no question that for the Jews and for Daniel, Palestine was the "glorious land. " It was their homeland, promised to, and given to them by God. A place which had been favored with His blessings for centuries. When Daniel heard the term, "the glorious land," his mind would immediately think of his homeland Palesine. However, Daniel also thought that several other things referred to himself, the Jews, their sanctuary and their homeland. For example, the cleansing of the sanctuary (Dan. 8:4) clearly did not refer to the Jewish temple, but to the antitypical sanctuary. The deliverance of the people in Daniel 12:1, does not refer to the deliverance of Jews (though they are referred to as "thy people") but to the deliverance of Christians. It is therefore worth exploring the idea that the "glorious land" here in Daniel 11:44 might refer to the antitypical Palestine or holy land, rather than to physical Palestine.
What reasons are there why we should not regard Palestine or Jerusalem as the "glorious land" in these days? Matt. 23: 37-39; Matt. 21: 43
The Hebrews were once the favored people of God. He placed them in a location (Palestine) where they were at the crossroads of the nations and God purposed to bless the world, by blessing them and their land. However when the Hebrews failed God and rejected their destiny, did He continue to hold some special purpose for the land itself? Did the land remain special in God's eyes, or was its uniqueness in God's eyes dependent on the status of the Jews as God's people? Today God's people are a universal nation, scattered in every corner of the earth. Our homeland is heaven, our sanctuary is in heaven, our king is in heaven. It is not consistent with the revelations of the New Testament to regard the land of Palestine as still having the special blessing and favor of God.
Part 6: tidings from the east
But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many. (Dan 11:44)
The southern king provokes the northern king and arouses his wrath, but something else infuriates him even more. Tidings from the east and from the north trouble him. What kind of news from the "north" and the "east" troubles the Papacy in the end-time, resulting in the furious persecution of "many."
". . . . Men of faith and prayer will be constrained to go forth with holy zeal, declaring the words which God gives them. The sins of Babylon will be laid open. The fearful results of enforcing the observances of the church by civil authority, the inroads of spiritualism, the stealthy but rapid progress of the papal power—all will be unmasked. By these solemn warnings the people will be stirred. . . .
"The power attending the message will only madden those who oppose it. . . . The church appeals to the strong arm of civil power, and in this work, papists and Protestants unite. As the movement for Sunday enforcement becomes more bold and decided, the law will be invoked against commandment keepers. . . ." - Faith I Live By p. 330
What important event having a critical relation to God's people in the end-time is represented as coming from the east? Rev. 7: 2,3
". . . . In Rev. 7:2 the work of preparing a people to stand when the great day of God's wrath shall come is symbolized by an angel "ascending from the east," or, as some translate, "like the rising of the sun." Behold the dawning of the day-first appear the rays of light in the east; these blend into greater clearness until the sun's broad, distinct disk is seen. As the "King of Day" ascends to the zenith, its light, heat, and power become more and more vivid." - Loughborough, The Great Second Advent Movement, p. 464
What event in the history of Israel, having a future antitype brought deliverance to God's people which originated in the east? Isa. 41: 2; 45: 1-6; Rev. 16: 12
To Cyrus belongs the high honor of having been designated by name by the God of Heaven, many years before his birth, as one that should act an important part in the restoration of Jerusalem. The commandment of the God of Heaven came to him, and from him issued authority that embraced an essential part of the work. Such of the Jews as pleased were authorized to return to Jerusalem, and were empowered to rebuild the temple. This laid the foundation of the entire work, and naturally drew after it all that followed." - J.N. Andrews, The Commandment to Restore and to Rebuild Jerusalem, p.8
Part 7: The end of the northern king
And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him. (Dan 11:45)
We do not know exactly when or how the northern king will come to his end. However, the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation do give us a definite description of this event in more than one place.
In Daniel 7:11 it says the beast will be given to the burning flame.
In Daniel 8:25 it says the little horn will be broken without hand.
In Daniel 11:45 it says he shall come to his end and none shall help him.
What wonderful event will immediately follow the destruction of the "king of the north?" Dan. 12: 1
Though we do not know the day nor the hour of Jesus coming, yet the Bible gives us definite events which will make us know that it is at hand. Here we are given a very plain indicator. "At that time shall Michael stand up. . . . and thy people shall be delivered. . . ." When the Northern king comes to his end, then we may know that we are about to be delivered. Of course by that time we will have already endured the trials of the great tribulation, and passed through the great test associated with the Mark of the Beast crisis. Those who wish to wait until that time to begin to prepare for the coming of the Lord will by then have joined the ranks of the enemy and will have received the Mark of the Beast. Yet, God makes us know that this event signals the end of mankind's rebellion against God. In that time, when the forces of apostasy are all around and bent on the destruction of God's people this sign of the destruction of the Northern king will be a great comfort to the faithful.
How does Gabriel describe the end of the great end-time enemy of God's people? Dan. 8: 25
This description of the final overthrow of the Papacy is similar to the one found in Daniel 2:34, in the description of the great image. There we are told that the stone which destroyed the image was cut out "without hands." Here in Daniel 8:25 we are told that the horn is broken "without hand." By whatever means the papacy will be finally overthrown, it is clear that God Himself will especially intervene to accomplish that event, therefore the consistent emphasis that the end of this anti-Christ power will be "without hand."
"In the mad strife of their own fierce passions, and by the awful outpouring of God's unmingled wrath, fall the wicked inhabitants of the earth,--priests, rulers, and people, rich and poor, high and low. "And the slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth; they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried." _ Great Controversy, p. 656