World Events and Prophecy
Is it possible that current world events are setting the stage for what will happen before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ to Earth? Only God knows the answer. But the Bible foretells significant things concerning nations that are in the news today.
A Significant World Leader
Daniel 7:7–27 reveals that, before Christ’s Second Coming, a revived Roman Empire will be established as a 10-division federation ruled cooperatively by 10 kings. Eventually, an 11th king will rise from within it, over-throw three original kings, become the dominant ruler, and blaspheme God.
Daniel 11:36–39 reveals this blasphemous, strong-willed ruler will oppose all established forms of worship, will want to be exclusively worshiped as God, and will be a man of war (2 Th. 2:3–4). He is called the “Antichrist” in 1 John 2:18; 4:3.
Future Wars Against Israel
Daniel 11:40 states, “At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships.”
What is meant by “the time of the end”? The Bible divides history into two ages: the age before the Second Coming of Jesus the Messiah to Earth to rule the world (Mt. 13:39–43) and the age when the Messiah is on Earth ruling the world. The first could be called “this present age.” Hebrews 6:5 calls the second “the age to come.”
It appears that, when Daniel 11:40 speaks of “the time of the end,” it refers to the end segment of this present age before Christ returns. More specifically, it refers to the last seven years of this present age. Today those years are frequently called the Tribulation.
Who are the kings of the South and North in verse 40? Verses 1–35 of Daniel 11 were fulfilled before Christ’s birth. They indicated the king of the South was the ruler of Egypt (south of Israel), and the king of the North was the ruler of Syria (north of Israel). Verse 40 has not yet been fulfilled. Since Daniel was not told the kings of the South and North in verse 40 differ from those in verses 1–35, we can conclude verse 40 refers to the rulers of Egypt and Syria during the last seven years of this present age.
Who is the “him” of verse 40 whom Egypt and Syria will attack during the last seven years before Christ’s Second Coming to Earth? Since the Antichrist is described immediately before verse 40, it is obvious he is the one whom Egypt and Syria attack.
How will they attack him? They are located in the Middle East, but the end of verse 40 indicates the Antichrist is not there then. Daniel 9:24–27 records a program God has designed exclusively for the people of Israel and Jerusalem. The original language of verses 26–27 reveals that, at the beginning of the last seven years of this unique program, the Antichrist will establish a strong, binding, seven-year covenant with Israel. In fact, it will so strongly bind Israel to him and his revived Roman Empire that he will regard Israel as an extension of himself and his empire in the Middle East. Therefore, any attack against Israel will be an attack against him and his empire.
How will the Antichrist react when Israel has been jointly attacked by Egypt and Syria? Daniel 11:40 says, “He shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through.” He apparently will attack Syria, north of Israel, first. Then he will move his forces south through Israel, “the Glorious Land,” but won’t take time to cross the Jordan River to conquer Edom, Moab, and Ammon (modern Jordan, v. 41) because he will want to get to Egypt.
The Antichrist will conquer all of Egypt to its western border with Libya and its southern border with Sudan.(The “Ethiopia” of Daniel’s day was not the same nation as modern Ethiopia, vv. 42–43.) It appears he will get complete control of that part of the Middle East.
But while the Antichrist plunders Egypt’s wealth, he will receive disturbing news from the east and north (v. 44) of another attack against his ally Israel: the multinational attack foretold in Ezekiel 38. The Jewish prophets Ezekiel and Daniel lived at the same time. The names of those nations in Ezekiel’s time were “Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya,” and the tribes of Gomer and Togarmah (vv. 5–6). Today they are Iran, Sudan, Libya, and Turkey. Gomer and Togarmah were two tribes located in what today is Turkey. These nations will be led by “Gog, of the land of Magog” (v. 2). Gog will come from his “place out of the far north” (v. 15), meaning Russia.
This attack will take place “in the latter days” (v. 16) and “latter years” of this present age before the Messiah comes to rule the world and after the Jewish people have been “gathered from many people” and been “brought out of the nations” (v. 8) and back to their homeland. This gathering has been taking place, particularly since 1948. The attack will take place after the Jewish people have made wasteland productive and feel so safe they have let down their own defenses (v. 11).
Clearly, this is not Israel’s attitude today. But Israel will feel safe during the first half of the last seven years before Christ’s return as a result of the Antichrist’s seven-year covenant to protect it. However, in the middle of that seven-year period, he will turn against Israel and desolate it until Christ’s return (Dan. 9:27).
The disturbing news the Antichrist will hear in Egypt will come from the east and north. Iran will come against Israel from the east. Russia and Turkey will come from the north. Sudan and Libya would normally come against Israel from the south and southwest. But it appears they will be unwilling to go through Egypt while the Antichrist and his armies are there. So they will take ships north through the Mediterranean Sea to join forces with Turkey and Russia coming from the north.
Once the Antichrist receives the news of this attack, “he shall go out with great fury” with the goal “to destroy and annihilate many” (11:44). But before he arrives, God will have destroyed the invading forces (Ezek. 38:18–23). Now the Antichrist will have a free hand in the Middle East. Perhaps he will claim credit for the supernatural destruction of these forces.
He will come to Jerusalem in the middle of the seven-year period, take his seat in Israel’s new Temple, claim to be God, and desolate Israel for three and one-half years (Dan. 9:27; 11:45; Mt. 24:15–21; 2 Th. 2:3–4) until Messiah Jesus returns to rescue Israel and destroy him.