The “King of the South” and the “King of the North” Identified

The verses referred to are in the concluding section of Daniel 11, verses 40-45, which are identified at the outset as occurring at “the time of the end”. This time is to be characterised by an overwhelming invasion of the Middle East by “the king of the north”. This invasion shall involve “the glorious land”, Israel (so described also in Daniel 11:16), as well as Egypt, as we note in verses 42 and 43. The opening verses of Daniel 12 (without attempting to review them in detail) speak of the time of deliverance, resurrection and the coming of Christ as being “at that time” (Dan 12:1-4), that is at “the time of the end” (11:40).

The time period of this latter section of Daniel 11 is then clearly in what we consider is the near future when Christ will return. The northern invader of what Yahweh describes as “my land” in Ezekiel 38:16, “the land of Israel” in Ezekiel 38:18 and “the glorious land” in Daniel 11:41 will appear, at first, to be seemingly irresistible but in the event will be utterly destroyed (Dan 11:45). Before attempting to define “the king of the south” and “the king of the north” in this “time of the end” scenario, it might help to see these terms emerging earlier in Daniel chapter 11.

The Grecian kings of the south and north

Daniel 11:2 speaks of the time of the Persian Empire and four kings who would reign from about 536 to 331 BC. Their rule over the Middle East and Israel in particular was followed by “a mighty king,” a term which undoubtedly refers to the aggressive young Alexander of Macedon, who, in ten whirlwind years, conquered the world (Dan 11:3), spreading Greek language and culture far and wide. On his death, at the age of 32 years, Alexander’s Grecian Empire was “divided toward the four winds of heaven” (Dan 11:4), among his four generals, Ptolemy, Seleucus, Lysimachus and Cassander. The territories of Seleucus to the north (of Israel) and Ptolemy in Egypt to the south (of Israel) were of most relevance to the outworking of God’s purpose with Israel. So the term, “king of the south” (Dan.11:5 etc) related to the power dominating Egypt, the Ptolemys. And of course the term “king of the north” (Dan.11:6 etc) related to the power dominating Syria, Mesopotamia, Persia and much of Turkey. Most of the record of Daniel 11 deals with the ongoing rivalry between these two powers, “the king of the south” and “the king of the north”.

Eastern Rome and Constantinople

Daniel 11:36-39 introduces the Roman power and, in particular, the power of Rome centred in the East, in connection with what had been the territory of “the king of the north”. Constantine, who made his Empire at least nominally Christian, established his throne in Constantinople (modern Istanbul) from about 324 AD. The Eastern Roman Empire, centred in Constantinople, later known as the Byzantine Empire, continued for a thousand years beyond the empire centred in Rome in the west. On 29 May, 1453, the Ottoman armies of the 21 year old Sultan Mehmed ll overthrew the great fortress that was Constantinople, conquering the city and its last emperor, Constantine XI. The Ottoman Empire ruled from Constantinople for almost 500 years. It was at its peak under Suleiman the Magni cent, 1520-1566, who expanded the empire into Hungary and to the gates of Vienna. It occupied significant elements of the territory of “the king of the north” and controlled Jerusalem from 1517 to 1917. So the Byzantine and Ottoman occupiers of Constantinople carried Gabriel’s outline of history to Daniel right down to “the time of the end”.

The time of the end

So now let us consider the period in Daniel 11 designated as “the time of the end” at verse 40. We believe “the king of the south” in Daniel 11:40 is the British power. Remember that “the king of the south” became the designation in this chapter for the power in control of Egypt, originally the Ptolemies. In (relatively) modern times, Britain took control of Egypt in 1882 and retained that control for about 75 years. She had commercial interests in the Suez Canal in particular. So Britain, as the power occupying Egypt, assumed the role of “king of the south”. Britain pushed at “him” (the Ottoman power based in Istanbul but controlling much of the Middle East and Palestine) during the First World War. The Turks were pushed out of Palestine and Syria. On 11 December, 1917, British General, Allenby, walked into Jerusalem through the Jaffa Gate and 400 years of Ottoman rule over Palestine came to an end. Note that when Britain relinquished its power in Egypt in the 1950s it could no longer rightly be called “the king of the south”. So when the “king of the north” moves south, it is against a self governed Egypt, called “Egypt” in the text of v42 & 43, not “the king of the south”, there being no power now bearing rule over a subservient Egypt and, hence, no “king of the south” extant at all when the latter day “king of the north” moves south into Israel and Egypt.

It remains for the “king of the north” to carry out the role determined for him in verse 40 to 45. We believe the Russian power, with its confederates, will assume the designation, “king of the north,” when it shall “push at him” (“him” is the Turkish power in Istanbul) and take control of the ancient territory of “the king of the north” in Syria and the Middle East. Bearing that ancient designation, this northern power will sweep south by land and sea. The identity with Gog of Ezekiel 38 is unmistakable.

The king of the north; Gog, prince of Rosh#rowspan#rowspan
8 points of identityDaniel 11Ezekiel 38
The originv.40 the king of the northv.15 out of the north parts
The targetv.41, 42 the glorious land & the land of Egyptv.8 the mountains of Israel
The timingv.40 at the time of the endv.8 the latter years
v.16 the latter days
The mannerv.40 like a whirlwindv.9 like a storm
The alliesv.43 Libyans and Ethiopiansv.5 Persia, Ethiopia & Libya with them
The plunderv.43 gold & silver & all the precious thingsv.13 silver & gold, cattle & goods, a great spoil
The interruptionv.44 tidings out of the east & out of the northv.13 Sheba & Dedan & the merchants of Tarshish ... art thou come to take a spoil
The defeatv.45 he shall come to his endv.21, 23 I will call for a sword against him ... they shall know that I am Yahweh”

Conclusion

So in Daniel 11:40-45 in the “time of the end,” which is still unfolding right now, the “king of the south” (v.40) had been represented by Britain until it lost its power in Egypt in the 1950s. “The king of the north” is the Russian Gog and its allies, who will for a time occupy the ancient territory of “the king of the north” and so earn that title, before being brought to an end. This will not be by the inadequate response of “Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish” (the British power with its “young lions” as allies) but by irresistible divine power in the hands of Christ and the saints.