Will there still be an end-time King of the South in the future, and if so, what nations would be included?
We have been writing and speaking at length about a future king of the South, and we have NEVER said that there will not be one, even though we made clear that there does not HAVE to be one. At the same time, we have pointed out that future confederations of Arab states with and against Europe will be formed, even though technically, those might not be referred to as “the king of the South.”
Let us once again review what we have been stating on the subject, while limiting and confining our comments in this Q&A to the relationship of Middle Eastern nations with continental Europe.
To begin with, we said this in our Q&A, “Who is the king of the South?”
“Many believe, based on prophecies contained in the 11th chapter of the book of Daniel, that immediately before the return of Jesus Christ, a powerful Arab leader or ‘king of the South’ will still arise in the Middle East. Daniel 11:40-41 says: ‘At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack [or: push at] him [the king of the North]; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. He shall also enter the Glorious Land, and many countries shall be overthrown…’
“Historically, and following the entire Biblical prophecy in the 11th chapter of the book of Daniel, we can determine that at the time described in verse 40, the king of the North constituted the ninth resurrection of the ancient Roman Empire… led by Mussolini and Hitler, and that the king of the South was at that time Ethiopia, formerly Abyssinia. And in fact, Mussolini came against Ethiopia like a whirlwind, using airplanes, and conquered it.
“But, what about today or the immediate future? Will there occur another conflict between the king of the North — the final LEADER of the 10th resurrection of the ancient Roman Empire… — and a king of the South, a final LEADER in the Middle East? Perhaps — but not necessarily so.
“Herbert W. Armstrong wrote the following in a personal of the Plain Truth, dated June 1967:
“‘The modern remnant of the “king of the south” of this prophecy is Ethiopia… And the Italians were the remnant and successors, of the people of the king of the north. This prophecy WAS FULFILLED February-March, 1896, when King Menelik II of Ethiopia “pushed at” the Italians, defeating Italy at Aduwa. Italians thirsted for revenge. Finally, their opportunity came, in 1935, under the military machine developed by Mussolini. Continue the prophecy, verse 40: “… and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind [in the air], with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships: and he shall enter into the countries and shall overflow and pass over.” Notice, a whirlwind comes IN THE AIR. So DID Mussolini’s air forces. He sent down many ships, much cavalry, and tanks [modern “chariots”]. And his forces, in planes, “passed OVER.”… Continue: VERSE 41: “He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown …”
“‘There is a TIME-LAPSE between verse 40 and verse 41. After Mussolini captured Ethiopia he added it to Libya, Eritrea, and Italian Somaliland. Mussolini had signed a concordat with the Vatican, and publicly announced the rebirth of the ROMAN EMPIRE, with King Victor Emmanuel Emperor, and himself the Duce or Premier. But Mussolini’s bubble of a Roman Empire was short-lived… But the final seventh head [of the “Holy” Roman Empire, or the tenth resurrection of the ancient Roman Empire] is soon to rise… Verse 41 refers to THAT succession of the Roman power which became the “king of the north” in the prophecy of Daniel 11…’
“… the prophecy in Daniel 11:40 has ALREADY BEEN FULFILLED. And verse 40 is the LAST TIME where the king of the South is mentioned! Beginning with the second half of verse 40, we read exclusively about the king of the North and his activities, and, in verse 44, about rumors from the east and the west. This means, then, that there DOES NOT HAVE TO BE ANOTHER end-time king of the South. If there were to rise one, following the historical and Biblical records, as set forth in the 11th chapter of the book of Daniel, it would have to be — mainly — modern Ethiopia. But, as we said, ALL WHICH STILL NEEDS TO BE FULFILLED (and which the previous king of the North — under Mussolini — did NOT fulfill), is the invasion of the Glorious Land by the future and final king of the North (verse 41), including Jerusalem (verse 45), as well as the overthrow of ‘many countries’ (verse 41), including Egypt, and the ‘Libyans and Ethiopians’ following at his heels (verse 43).
“It is entirely possible that the prophecy in verse 40 is a type of future events to be repeated — but it DOES NOT HAVE TO BE this way. It is NOT necessary, based on Biblical prophecy, that there will still arise an end-time ‘king of the South,’ attacking or pushing at the end-time king of the North. Christ could return without such an event having to occur first.”
In a subsequent Q&A on the “king of the South,” we added the following:
“Hours of research have established that Mr. Armstrong has never written that the final fulfillment of the prophecies about the coming king of the South are certainly yet to come. In fact, Mr. Armstrong wrote an Editorial in 1967, which was published in the Plain Truth, pointing out that the prophecy of Daniel 11:40 WAS fulfilled. There is no further mention of a king of the South after Daniel 11:40. It is clear that Mr. Armstrong, since 1967, never taught that there would definitely be a future king of the South, ‘attacking’ or ‘pushing at’ the future king of the North or Europe.
“Further, Mr. Armstrong never taught that the king of the South would be a confederacy of Arab nations, in some way led by Egypt, as some teach today. In 1983 Mr. Armstrong wrote, ‘Ethiopia… is the only possible government that could be the king of the South…
“Mr. Armstrong expressly rejected the idea that Egypt would or could be the king of the South. He clearly taught that at the time of Daniel 11:42, Egypt is NOT the king of the South. Compare his booklet on ‘Middle East in Prophecy.’ He wrote that for the last 2,000 years since 31 B.C., the ‘king of the south… cannot be the king of Egypt.’…
“Prior to his death in 1986, Mr. Armstrong wrote one more time on the subject in the September 1983 issue of the Plain Truth, once again stating the historical fulfillment of Daniel 11:40. He at that time also wrote: ‘Ethiopia… is the only possible government that could be the king of the south.’”
He also wrote regarding Daniel 11:43: “Verse 43 says the Libyans and Ethiopians (observe that after its conquest by Mussolini, Ethiopia is not again referred to as the king of the south) shall be at his steps — and he will then control them.”
We elaborated on the entire question in our Q&A, “How can we know that Christ’s return is near? (Part 9)”
This Q&A was subsequently incorporated in our free booklet with the same title:
“The last European revival of the ancient Roman Empire and the powerful military leader (the beast) will cause the Great Tribulation. Just prior to that time, they will begin, at first, to temporarily collaborate, to an extent, with Arab nations (including Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Jordan) and Turkey in their common goal of destroying ‘Israel’ (Psalm 83:1-8). This collaboration might not endure until the return of Christ…”
To interject, the collaborating nations mentioned in Psalm 83 are Ishmaelites—the kingdom of Saudi Arabia—as well as other Arabic tribes, such as the Hagrites, who will enter into an anti-Israeli confederacy with nations such as Edom (Turkey); Moab (parts of Jordan and perhaps Iraq); Ammon (Jordan); Amalek (perhaps today violent groups like the PLO); Philistia (Palestinians); Lot (Jordan); and, most noteworthy, Assyria or modern-day Germany.
These are some of the nations which will “escape” the hands of the beast. Daniel 11:41 says: “… these shall escape from his hands: Edom (Turkey), Moab (Jordan and Iraq), and the prominent people of Ammon (Jordan).”
At the same time, we are also informed in Daniel 11:42 and 43 that “the land of Egypt shall not escape… also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels.”
How do we have to understand the phrase, “…shall follow at his heels”?
Barnes’ Notes on the Bible writes: “The proper sense of the Hebrew would be, that they accompanied him; that they marched with him or followed him; and the phrase would be applicable either to those who were allies, or who were led captive…”
Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible agrees, saying: “And the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps; at his command and pleasure; shall follow him, being taken captive, or go where he orders them; that is, in all things shall be obedient to him.”
Since Libya will be allied with Egypt at that time [discussed below] and since Egypt will be overthrown by Assyria, it appears that Libyans and Ethiopians will also be overthrown and become captives of the Assyrians. In any event, they will all be subject to modern Assyria, either because of volition or compulsion.
Continuing with the above-quoted Q&A:
“Many believe, based on prophecies contained in the 11th chapter of the book of Daniel, that immediately before the return of Jesus Christ, a powerful Arab leader— a religious ‘Mullah’ or Madhi, many times imagined to be the ‘king of the South’— will still arise in the Middle East… [They teach] the concept [that] a future religious figure, a Mahdi… will allegedly unite many Muslim nations and attempt to establish the Muslim religion in all the world. This is strictly a Muslim concept. The Bible nowhere says that a Muslim Mahdi will appear in the Middle East or elsewhere, in an attempt to unite Arab and Muslim nations (which would also require healing the long-time animosity between Shias and Sunnis) and to establish a power bloc, ruled by the Muslim religion…”
Some have objected to our conclusions by pointing out that Daniel 11:40 speaks specifically about the time of the end, and that therefore a future king of the South must still arise just prior to Christ’s return.
We answered this objection, as follows, in the above-cited Q&A:
“However, the book of Daniel includes several examples where the terms ‘the last days’ or the ‘time of the end’ are used, without necessarily referring to just a few years prior to Christ’s return.
“For instance, we read in Daniel 2:28 that a dream about a statue was to reveal to Nebuchadnezzar ‘what will be in the latter days.’ The dream described four successive world empires which would arise on the world scene, and the fourth empire (the Roman Empire) would survive (through ten successive revivals) until the return of Christ. Much of the dream related to events a long time prior to the last revival of the Roman Empire with ten kings at the time of Christ’s return—the ‘stone’ or Rock which would smite and destroy the ten toes of the statue (verse 44-45).
“Something similar can be found in Daniel 8:17, 19, which talks about ‘the time of the end’ and the ‘latter time of the indignation.’ The entire passage starts with the time of ancient Media and Persia, followed by Alexander the Great and, sometime later, Antiochus Epiphanes, and culminating in certain events which apparently end with the last King of the North at the time of Christ’s return. (We understand of course the dual application of this prophecy…)
“When reading Daniel 12:4, 9, we are told that the book of Daniel would be sealed ‘until the time of the end,’ but that then ‘knowledge’ in general and the right understanding of the book would increase. This has most certainly started to occur under the late Herbert W. Armstrong (the human leader of the now-defunct Worldwide Church of God) who died in 1986…”
At the same time, we emphasized a very important fact which must not be overlooked. Even though it nowhere says in the Bible that Egypt is the future king of the South or that Egypt will become the leader over other Arab nations in opposition to Europe, we do read that Ethiopia (whether or not fulfilling the function of a future king of the South) could be leading several Arab nations against Europe.
We stated in the above-mentioned Q&A:
“Of course, Ethiopia could be a leading nation in collaboration with other Arab nations. We read in Ezekiel 30:1-9, 18-19 that at the time of the ‘day of the LORD’ (a reference to the end time), the sword will come upon Egypt, as well as on additional countries like Ethiopia (Cush), Libya (Put), and Lydia (or Lud; compare Jeremiah 46:8-9, showing that Egypt, Ethiopia, Lydia and Libya will be allies at that time of the end). [Regarding “Lydia,” not much is known, but it has been contended that it designates an African nation in Western Asia Minor, descended from Egypt.]
“Verses 4-5 refer to Chub, which is nowhere else mentioned in Scripture; the passage could also read, ‘and ALL (Chub) the men of the lands who were allied…’ We also read specifically in verse 18 that at that time of the ‘day of the LORD’, Egyptians will go into captivity (through the king of the North, compare Daniel 11:42).
“Even though Ezekiel 30 does not refer to those nations as being the king of the South, they seem to describe a power bloc in opposition to the final European revival of the ancient Roman Empire, under Assyrian (German or Austrian) leadership. None of these countries referred to in Ezekiel 30 are mentioned in Psalm 83:1-8. It appears, then, that the countries mentioned in Psalm 83, which are allied WITH Assyria, are different from the countries, mentioned in Ezekiel 30, which are apparently allied AGAINST Assyria.
“As the ninth revival of the ancient Roman Empire, under Mussolini, was comprised of several nations and powers, including Hitler’s Germany, and as the final revival of the king of the North will consist of ten European nations or groups of nations, under Assyrian leadership, so if there is to be a future king of the South, he might very well constitute a coalition of Middle Eastern nations, under Ethiopian leadership.”
In regard to this ultimately hostile constellation of Arab nations (Ethiopia, Egypt, Libya etc.) against Europe, we also explained that there would previously exist a more friendly economic relationship with Europe, but nothing is mentioned of a military confederacy between these nations and Assyria. In other words, while we read in Psalm 83 about an anti-Israel military “confederacy” or contract between Assyria and certain identified Middle Eastern nations (including Edom, Ishmaelites, Moab, Ammon etc.), we read nothing about a “confederacy” or a contract between Assyria and nations such as “Egypt, Cush and Put,” while we read that they will end up forming a military alliance AGAINST Assyria.
We state this in our free booklet, “Middle Eastern and African Nations in Bible Prophecy”:
“Notice also that modern Babylon or mystical Tyre—referring to the end-time resurrection of the ancient Roman Empire in Europe—is described as an economic power in Ezekiel 27, with whom all nations have been dealing, up to a point, including Russia, Persia (modern Iran), Syria and Israel…
“Ezekiel 27:10 tells us that ‘Persia (modern Iran), Lydia and Libya Were in your army [the military apparatus of modern Babylon] as men of war; they hung shield and helmet in you; they gave splendor to you.’
“In Nahum 3:9, we read that mercenaries from Libya had at one time supported Nineveh: ‘Ethiopia and Egypt were her strength; And it was boundless; Put (Libya) and Lubim (perhaps a part of Libya) were your helpers. Yet she was carried away, she went into captivity.’… Ethiopia, as well as Egypt and Put (Libya), will be modern Nineveh’s helpers (that is, the modern Babylonian system under Assyrian or German leadership)…”
However, this at one time more or less “friendly” relationship will change, and a hostile relationship will develop between modern Germany and its allies on the one hand, and nations such as Ethiopia, Egypt and Libya on the other hand.
Continuing with our booklet:
“But we also read that this particular alliance will change—as alliances change often and quickly in wars… the modern king of Babylon or Assyria will attack and conquer Ethiopia, Egypt and Libya (Ezekiel 30:1-9; 29:10; compare also Isaiah 18:1-6)…
“Ezekiel 30 gives us a prophecy dealing with the day of the LORD (verse 3)—describing a time just preceding the return of Jesus Christ. We read in Ezekiel 30 that Egypt and her allies will fall at that time. As we may recall, verses 5 and 6 designate Egypt’s allies in that way: ‘Ethiopia, Libya, Lydia, all the mingled people, Chub, and the men of the lands who are allied, shall fall with them by the sword—those who uphold Egypt shall fall…’
“We can take from this passage that in the very end time, Libya will be allied with Egypt and Ethiopia, and that they will fall together. A similar alliance occurred in the past with equally devastating consequences… In ancient times, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon fought against and conquered Egypt and her allies, including Libya. Since this prophecy is dual and refers particularly to the day of the Lord, it is reasonable to conclude that a modern king of a modern Babylon will be fighting against Egypt and her allies. It is indeed the beast or the king of the North—the leader over a modern Babylonian system—who will fulfill that future role…”
We see then that a somewhat friendly relationship between Ethiopia, Egypt, Libya and Germany (when mercenaries serve in armies of European nations) will gradually deteriorate, while an alliance between Middle Eastern nations, including Ethiopia, Egypt and Libya against Germany and Europe will develop.
In conclusion, the Bible does not teach that a future king of the South, as mentioned in Daniel 11, must still appear, but we have always understood and taught that he might very well arise. If so, this would have to be Ethiopia which might lead other Middle Eastern nations in opposition to the king of the North.
In addition, the Bible shows that a confederacy of nations including Ethiopia, Egypt and Libya (even though this confederacy is technically not referred to as the king of the South) will arise which will be hostile towards the king of the North (even though at one time, those individual nations or mercenaries of those nations were not necessarily enemies of Europe).
While an anti-Israel confederacy between Assyria (the king of the North) and OTHER Middle Eastern nations will be formed, some of which will “escape” the hands of the king of the North (including Turkey, Iraq and the prominent people or chiefs of Jordan), countries such as Egypt, Ethiopia and Libya will not “escape.”
Lead Writer: Norbert Link