As all readers know, there is a rising new radical Islamic nation state called ISIL or ISIS in the region of Syria and Iraq. Their original title, ISIL, stood for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The “Levant” generally identifies the entire region of the Mideast that borders the Mediterranean Sea. That title indicates that this radical Islamic state lays eventual claim to ruling over Lebanon and Israel, not just Syria and Iraq. This entity has also threatened the life of the king of Jordan and threatened to invade Jordan in the future (as a recent post noted).
So far, no one except the Kurds seems willing to fight ISIL/ISIS on the ground. The USA has halted the ISIL/ISIS advance into the Kurdish region and helped the Kurds reclaim control of the Mosul Dam, but the US airstrikes have merely been pinprick attacks on ISIL/ISIS, not true strategic strikes that could really cripple this ultra-radical Islamic State. Europe is preoccupied with Russia in its confrontation with Russia and Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, local Sunni nations, have so far inexplicably done nothing to halt the spread of ISIL/ISIS. President Obama gave a TV address that calls for wider actions vs. ISIL/ISIS, but it was long on rhetorical generalities and short on military specifics. I found his message to be underwhelming. In a seeming disconnect with reality, Obama asserted that ISIL is not Muslim, but every analyst and media outlet I’ve heard or read names them as the radical Sunni Moslem Jihadis that they are. Personally, I think there are nations that are willing to commit ground forces to stop ISIL/ISIS, but they are unwilling to follow the USA into action as long as it is led by Obama because Obama is so indecisive and his “red lines” have proven to be meaningless. They simply cannot trust him.
I assume that many readers have read my article, written years ago, entitled A New Look at Prophecy. It examines the possibility that the first and second Iraqi wars under President Bush could have fulfilled the prophecy in Daniel 11:40-43 (but not verses 44-45). It notes that while much of Christianity long assumed there would be a great Mideast war between the Israelis and the Arabs that would fulfill this prophecy, such an event wouldn’t actually fulfill this prophecy of Daniel. Daniel knew the Jews were called “Judah” and he knew the Arabs were the Ishmaelites. God, who inspired this prophecy of Daniel’s, also knew those facts. However, the prophecy in Daniel 11:40-43 never mentions “Judah” or “Ishmael” as participants in this latter-day regional Mideast war. I urge readers to read that article of mine if they have not done so. For purposes of this post, let’s consider some facts about this prophecy.
Who are the “kings of the north and south” in our latter day period of time? Let’s consider the context of the prophecy to seek an answer as Daniel’s prophecy does not give specific identifications. The prophecy in Daniel 11 has been identified by many biblical scholars as foretelling, in incredible detail, aspects of a long warfare between the Seleucid and the Ptolemaic Empires, which developed out of the fall of Alexander the Great’s mighty empire. The Ptolemies were centered in Egypt and Africa and were the “king of the south.” The Seleucids governed a far larger territory spreading at its maximum reach from the modern regions of Israel, Lebanon and Syria as far east as ancient Bactria, Persia and to the Indus River (the modern regions of Iran, Afghanistan and part of Pakistan). The Seleucids were the “king of the north,” and their empire was based in modern Syria. The wars between these kings of the north and south raged for centuries. Later, when the Seleucid Empire collapsed, the vast majority of its territory was taken over by the Asian Israelite Empire of Parthia while Rome took a small slice of it in the west. Daniel 11:1-39 examines events between the two rival, ancient empires and then leaps far ahead in time to the latter days in verse 40. While we are not told who the final kings of the north and south are, the context of the chapter strongly infers that the final two rivals will have been rivals for centuries, just as the Ptolemies and Seleucids were. The focus of the prophecy is still the Mideast, so we need to look to that region for the war prophesied in Daniel 11:40-43. There has been a very long rivalry between a force based in the Mideast and another force located to the north of the Mideast. The Muslims of the Mideast and the Christians of Europe fought many crusades in the Mideast, but the Muslims also invaded Christian Europe on at least three occasions that I recall. The Muslims were stopped from invading Europe via Spain by Charles Martel in the 8th century AD and the Muslims were driven back from central Europe when they were besieging Vienna in 1683 (the second Islamic siege of Vienna).
There is a very good article about this Islamic invasion of Europe that was written by William McPeak in Military Heritage magazine in its June 2010 issue. It had the long title of: Concussion weapons such as war hammers rose in popularity after the development of plate armor and form-fitting mail. It documents that just as the Muslims were about to conquer Vienna and invade throughout the European continent, an army of Poles, Austro-Germans and others arrived “literally in the nick of time” to lift the siege and save Europe from a Muslim invasion. For the benefit of readers of Polish descent, I will mention that the relief force of 80,000 soldiers was led by King Jan Sobieski of Poland. King Sobieski led a cavalry charge of 20,000 against the Muslim forces and shattered their lines and forced them to retreat back to the Ottoman Empire’s borders. The article called it the “largest cavalry charge in history.” Can you even imagine the size of a cavalry force of 20,000? To get an idea of a force of that size, I remind readers of the cavalry charge of the “Riders of Rohan” to rescue the Gondorian city of Minis Tirith in the final episode of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. That cavalry force was 6,000 riders and it filled the screen on a giant wide-screen shot. The actual cavalry charge of 20,000 Christians vs. the Moslem besiegers of Vienna was over three times the size of the fictional cavalry force of Rohan in the movie cited above!
This digression was necessary to set the stage for identifying the final kings of the north and south in the modern world that will fulfill the prophecy in Daniel 11:40-43. I believe they can be none other than some Muslim force in the Mideast and a European/American force as the king of the north. Although it is barely Christian any longer, the modern European nations and nations they founded (such as the USA, Canada, etc.) are the only real candidate to fulfill the king of the north role in our time. More could be said on this subject, but it is too long to include in this post.
The Mideast war in Daniel 11:40-43 is not a world war like the final age-ending Gog-Magog war of Ezekiel 38 or the age-ending Armageddon war of Revelation 16 (which I think is the war mentioned in Daniel 11:43-44), but rather it will be a regional war. It describes a coalition of forces led by a final “king of the north” who enters the Mideast from outside of that region and invades the territory of this latter-day “king of the south.” However, there are a number of important Mideast nations which are not involved (or are not targeted) in this war. As mentioned earlier, “Judah” (the Israeli nation) is not mentioned at all and neither are the Ishmaelites (the Arab nations). The prophecy states that Edom, Moab and the chief of the children of Ammon… “will escape out of his hand.” That means they will be either allies of the northern “king” or non-combatants. In a modern context, I see this at the very least as foretelling that Turkey, Jordan and other nations in the region will not be targeted by the king of the north’s invasion. For new readers, I see Turkey as Edom because the former name of Turkey was the Ottoman Empire, with the consonants of “TT-m-n,” the same as the chief tribe of the Edomites (Teman) as named in Genesis 36. Turkey is just one Edomite nation though. Another Edomite name is “Bozrah” (Genesis 36:33), and there is a Shiite Iraqi city named Bosra where Iraq meets the Persian Gulf. Omar is another Edomite name (Genesis 36:15) and a large mosque in Istanbul is called the Mosque of Omar. Another “mosque of Omar” is the Golden Dome mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. These identifications argue that Turkey, the Shiite central-government region and the Palestinian region of the Holy Land will also not be targeted by this invasion. Daniel 11:40-43 also foretells Egypt will be subject to the king of the north, but will it be as an ally or just a non-combatant? It adds Libya and Ethiopia will be “at his borders” (KJV), which is cryptic. It may mean that those nations will mark the furthest range of this military conflict. Libya has become radicalized under Jihadi warlords since the USA/NATO bizarrely bombed Libya and drove the pro-western regime of Muammar Khaddfy out of office. There are ISIL/ISIS allies now in Libya so it could be targeted in this war.
Daniel 11:40 adds the invasion is triggered by the king of the south “pushing” at the king of the north. In other words, this king of the south somehow provokes the king of the north into an invasion. The prophecy does not say the king of the south invades the king of the north. While not widely reported, the leader of the ISIL/ISIS force has declared himself the head of a new Islamic “Caliphate.” In other words, he has declared himself, in Islamic historic terms, to be a “king.” His forces’ cruel, devilish, inhumane actions in executing, crucifying and expelling people has outraged the world. He says his forces have sent two messages to America via the beheading of two Americans and distributing videos of these heinous acts globally. He is already “pushing” at the USA and the West. It is a testimony to the innate weakness of Barrack Obama that he didn’t respond forcefully to these anti-American provocations. Indeed, he hardly responded at all. However, if ISIL/ISIS launches terrorist acts on American/European home-soil and beheads the over 40 Turkish captives under his control, the rage of the USA, Turkey and other nations will demand a war of annihilation vs. ISIL/ISIS. Another interesting parallel exists. In the crusades of the Middle Ages, the Popes of Rome organized and blessed the coalitions that went to war in the crusades in the Mideast. In a modern parallel, the current Pope came out in favor of military action vs. ISIL/ISIS (see first two links [1, 2]). [As an aside, I was surprised that a Google Search on this topic resulted in finding two of my posts at the top of the Google search list (see third link)]. Given President Obama’s weak leadership and actions to date, it is possible that another western leader may step to the forefront in the future and leads a coalition that attacks ISIL/ISIS and ends its threat. Such an invasion may have the full backing of the Vatican. There is certainly no such coalition yet.
There are enough similarities between what is happening now between ISIL/ISIS and the West and the prophecy of Daniel 11:40-43 that merits consideration that a possible military invasion may eventually occur to put an end to ISIL/ISIS which fulfills that prophecy. However, the prophetic words about a naval armada being a part of the king of the north’s forces (Daniel 11:40) fits George Bush’s Persian Gulf wars (the subject of my aforementioned article) far better than any currently foreseeable scenario involving ISIL/ISIS. Nevertheless, we need to watch how this crisis unfolds carefully. I represent no church or religious group and am funded by none of them, so I can “turn on a dime” in my biblical-based commentary if events deem it necessary.
One last thought. The parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25:1-11 makes a central point that Christian believers in the latter days will be greatly surprised when it becomes obvious that Jesus Christ’s return will occur far earlier than they expected. One reason for latter-day believers to be deceived into thinking, “they had much more time” before the Second Coming would be “stealth” fulfillments of biblical prophecies in the latter days. Many Christians believe firmly that their denomination’s or religious teacher’s prophetic expectations “have to be” fulfilled before Jesus Christ can return at all. Because they put the teachings of a denomination or a religious teacher ahead of the Bible, they will not see the actual fulfillments of prophecy because they were looking in the wrong direction for them to be fulfilled or God did not fulfill them in the way that they assumed God would “have to” fulfill them. God is not bound by the expectations of mere mortals in how he fulfills biblical prophecies.
This was a wide-ranging post, but I hope it has stimulated your thinking about current world events and how biblical prophecies may be fulfilled.