The Kings of the South and the North

by Mike Ratliff

20 Then he said, “Do you understand why I came to you? But I shall now return to fight against the prince of Persia; so I am going forth, and behold, the prince of Greece is about to come. 21 However, I will tell you what is inscribed in the writing of truth. Yet there is no one who stands firmly with me against these forces except Michael your prince. Daniel 10:20-21 (NASB) 

As we saw in the last post, there are evil powers behind the “kingdoms” of the world. Satan is the lord of this present age. In this post we will attempt to exposit Daniel 11. This is a very interesting chapter in that it covers the history of spiritual conflict in Israel (11:2-35) to the tribulation (11:36-42) where Michael comes to the aide of the Jews to assist in fully delivering them (12:1). The history section of this prophecy (vv2-35) is so accurate that skeptics have railed against the veracity of this prophecy. They cannot understand how someone could write with such accuracy several hundred years earlier than the events. However, as believers, we should look at this part of Daniel and rejoice in the fact that when God says something will happen, it will happen. However, this prophecy, which extends into chapter 12, looks into the future from Daniel’s time into what is future for us as well. We will see a preview of the Antichrist given to Daniel by God over 2 millennia ago.

1 “In the first year of Darius the Mede, I arose to be an encouragement and a protection for him. 2 And now I will tell you the truth. Behold, three more kings are going to arise in Persia. Then a fourth will gain far more riches than all of them; as soon as he becomes strong through his riches, he will arouse the whole empire against the realm of Greece. 3 And a mighty king will arise, and he will rule with great authority and do as he pleases. 4 But as soon as he has arisen, his kingdom will be broken up and parceled out toward the four points of the compass, though not to his own descendants, nor according to his authority which he wielded, for his sovereignty will be uprooted and given to others besides them. Daniel 11:1-4 (NASB) 

When Cyrus overthrew the Babylonians, the Jews were given their freedom and allowed to return to Israel if they desired. The Persians treated the Jews kindly. Why? Gabriel and Michael were upholding the Persian rulers. The three kings after Cyrus were Cambyses (530-522 BC), Psuedo-Smerdis (522 BC), and Darius I Hystapes (522-486 BC). The fourth Persian king who was far richer than all of them was Xerxes I. He is the Ahasuerus we read of in Esther. He reigned from 486 BC to 465 BC. There were other kings of Persian after Xerxes I, such as Artexerxes, the king who allowed Nehemiah to return and build the wall of Jerusalem. This prophecy does not mention them though. Some believe that the failed military campaigns of Xerxes I against the Greeks (481-479 BC) started the downward spiral for Persia. Alexander the Great conquered Persia in 331 B.C. (v3). Alexander died in 323 BC. His kingdom was divided into four parts each ruled by one of Alexander’s generals. Cassander ruled Macedonia. Lysimachus ruled Thrace and Asia Minor. Seleucus ruled Syria and Babylonia. Ptolemy ruled Egypt and Arabia. None of these four ruled with power or lineage that Alexander had. None of them will be able to hold onto their kingdoms as Alexander would have.

5 “Then the king of the South will grow strong, along with one of his princes who will gain ascendancy over him and obtain dominion; his domain will be a great dominion indeed. 6 After some years they will form an alliance, and the daughter of the king of the South will come to the king of the North to carry out a peaceful arrangement. But she will not retain her position of power, nor will he remain with his power, but she will be given up, along with those who brought her in and the one who sired her as well as he who supported her in those times. 7 But one of the descendants of her line will arise in his place, and he will come against their army and enter the fortress of the king of the North, and he will deal with them and display great strength. 8 Also their gods with their metal images and their precious vessels of silver and gold he will take into captivity to Egypt, and he on his part will refrain from attacking the king of the North for some years. 9 Then the latter will enter the realm of the king of the South, but will return to his own land.
10 “His sons will mobilize and assemble a multitude of great forces; and one of them will keep on coming and overflow and pass through, that he may again wage war up to his very fortress. 11 The king of the South will be enraged and go forth and fight with the king of the North. Then the latter will raise a great multitude, but that multitude will be given into the hand of the former. 12 When the multitude is carried away, his heart will be lifted up, and he will cause tens of thousands to fall; yet he will not prevail. 13 For the king of the North will again raise a greater multitude than the former, and after an interval of some years he will press on with a great army and much equipment.
14 “Now in those times many will rise up against the king of the South; the violent ones among your people will also lift themselves up in order to fulfill the vision, but they will fall down. 15 Then the king of the North will come, cast up a siege ramp and capture a well-fortified city; and the forces of the South will not stand their ground, not even their choicest troops, for there will be no strength to make a stand. 16 But he who comes against him will do as he pleases, and no one will be able to withstand him; he will also stay for a time in the Beautiful Land, with destruction in his hand. 17 He will set his face to come with the power of his whole kingdom, bringing with him a proposal of peace which he will put into effect; he will also give him the daughter of women to ruin it. But she will not take a stand for him or be on his side. 18 Then he will turn his face to the coastlands and capture many. But a commander will put a stop to his scorn against him; moreover, he will repay him for his scorn. 19 So he will turn his face toward the fortresses of his own land, but he will stumble and fall and be found no more.
20 “Then in his place one will arise who will send an oppressor through the Jewel of his kingdom; yet within a few days he will be shattered, though not in anger nor in battle. 21 In his place a despicable person will arise, on whom the honor of kingship has not been conferred, but he will come in a time of tranquility and seize the kingdom by intrigue. 22 The overflowing forces will be flooded away before him and shattered, and also the prince of the covenant. 23 After an alliance is made with him he will practice deception, and he will go up and gain power with a small force of people. 24 In a time of tranquility he will enter the richest parts of the realm, and he will accomplish what his fathers never did, nor his ancestors; he will distribute plunder, booty and possessions among them, and he will devise his schemes against strongholds, but only for a time. 25 He will stir up his strength and courage against the king of the South with a large army; so the king of the South will mobilize an extremely large and mighty army for war; but he will not stand, for schemes will be devised against him. 26 Those who eat his choice food will destroy him, and his army will overflow, but many will fall down slain. 27 As for both kings, their hearts will be intent on evil, and they will speak lies to each other at the same table; but it will not succeed, for the end is still to come at the appointed time. 28 Then he will return to his land with much plunder; but his heart will be set against the holy covenant, and he will take action and then return to his own land.
29 “At the appointed time he will return and come into the South, but this last time it will not turn out the way it did before. 30 For ships of Kittim will come against him; therefore he will be disheartened and will return and become enraged at the holy covenant and take action; so he will come back and show regard for those who forsake the holy covenant. 31 Forces from him will arise, desecrate the sanctuary fortress, and do away with the regular sacrifice. And they will set up the abomination of desolation. 32 By smooth words he will turn to godlessness those who act wickedly toward the covenant, but the people who know their God will display strength and take action. 33 Those who have insight among the people will give understanding to the many; yet they will fall by sword and by flame, by captivity and by plunder for many days. 34 Now when they fall they will be granted a little help, and many will join with them in hypocrisy. 35 Some of those who have insight will fall, in order to refine, purge and make them pure until the end time; because it is still to come at the appointed time. Daniel 11:5-35 (NASB) 

The passage above from v5 through v35a discusses the wars and intrigues between the Ptolemys and Selucids for control of Palestine. In v30 we see Antiochus Epiphanes’ soldiers profaning the Temple, committing unclean acts that made it impure and defiled. In v33 we are given a very short summary of the wars between Antiochus Epiphanes and the Maacabees. Some Jews refuse to fight the Greeks on the Sabbath and are martyred (v35). From that verse back through v5 is all part of the historical record. This is an amazing prophecy. The Jews called the profaning of the Temple the abomination that causes desolation. In Daniel 9:27 and Matthew 24:15 we see that this abomination that causes desolation is only a preview of what the Antichrist will do during the Tribulation. In v35b we have the phrase, “until the end time…” this points to a forward leap across multiple millennia of history from Antiochus Epiphanes to the Tribulation.

36 “Then the king will do as he pleases, and he will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will speak monstrous things against the God of gods; and he will prosper until the indignation is finished, for that which is decreed will be done. 37 He will show no regard for the gods of his fathers or for the desire of women, nor will he show regard for any other god; for he will magnify himself above them all. 38 But instead he will honor a god of fortresses, a god whom his fathers did not know; he will honor him with gold, silver, costly stones and treasures. 39 He will take action against the strongest of fortresses with the help of a foreign god; he will give great honor to those who acknowledge him and will cause them to rule over the many, and will parcel out land for a price.
40 “At the end time the king of the South will collide with him, and the king of the North will storm against him with chariots, with horsemen and with many ships; and he will enter countries, overflow them and pass through. 41 He will also enter the Beautiful Land, and many countries will fall; but these will be rescued out of his hand: Edom, Moab and the foremost of the sons of Ammon. 42 Then he will stretch out his hand against other countries, and the land of Egypt will not escape. 43 But he will gain control over the hidden treasures of gold and silver and over all the precious things of Egypt; and Libyans and Ethiopians will follow at his heels. 44 But rumors from the East and from the North will disturb him, and he will go forth with great wrath to destroy and annihilate many. 45 He will pitch the tents of his royal pavilion between the seas and the beautiful Holy Mountain; yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him. Daniel 11:36-45 (NASB) 

The “king” in v36 is no longer referring to Antiochus Epiphanes. This is a leap forward to a time that is future to us. Antiochus Epiphanes was a forerunner or type of this “king.” Much of what the former did the latter will do on a much greater scale. In vv36-45 we have a summary of Daniel’s Seventieth Week. God gave this prophecy to Gabriel to give to Daniel to give to us. This summary is found nowhere else in scripture. God used the evil of Antiochus Epiphanes as the perfect transition point from the type of the Antichrist to the Antichrist himself. This evil person will exalt and magnify himself above every god, claiming to be god. Antiochus Epiphanes was evil and bad, but he never did this. There have been many antichrists, but this man will be the last one.

This “king” does not regard the gods of his upbringing. His god is one of fortresses. The word for “fortress” is used six times in this chapter. It means “a strong place.” This “king” worships power. He uses money and power to seduce others into assisting him. He rewards them by giving them authority and riches. There will be another North vs. South war (v40). The “king” strikes back and defeats both powers. Then he will enter Israel. Some believe that it is at this time that he commits the Abomination of Desolation that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24:15. In vv44-45 we read of his final battle as he takes a stand against a power for which he has no answer.

19 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.
20 And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh. Revelation 19:19-21 (NASB) 

Yes, things will get very bad on planet Earth before they get better. However, we have prophecies in the Word of God that go beyond the evil and tribulations and wars to the victory of the Kingdom of God by our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen and come soon Lord Jesus!

Soli Deo Gloria!