By Bill Salus
A blogger recently stated - "Another person wrote in yesterday asking pretty much the same thing - if Syria's wiped out by Psalm 83 and "the king of the North" is always a reference from Daniel that has been historically corroborated as Syria, then how can Syria be bothering Israel and the Antichrist later in the Tribulation. Very good question! I don't know, though, and can only speculate that as a vassal of Israel the ruler of Syria rebels at some point."
The blogger alludes to Daniel 11:40, which foretells the coming of two kings that war against the Antichrist near the end of time. These kings are identified as the “king of the south” and the “king of the north”. Daniel chapter eleven references a “king of the south” eight times and a “king of the north” seven times. Most expositors believe that seven of the eight king of the south references, and six of the seven king of the north, have already found fulfillment in connection with Egypt (south) and Syria (north). Thus the common teaching is that the king of the south is an Egyptian, and the king of the north a Syrian.
Both Bloggers, questioner and responder, appear familiar with this traditional teaching. They also preclude the possibility that Israel defeats their Arab enemies, including Syria, in the Psalm 83 War prior to the fulfillment of Daniel 11:40. Thus, the legitimate question is raised that if Syria is wiped out as per Psalm 83 how can the Daniel 11:40 king of the north be a Syrian.
Another school of thought regarding the Daniel 11:40 king of the north connects with the Ezekiel 38 Gog of Magog invasion. Some believe because this invasion is led by Russia in the latter years (Ez. 38:8) from the uttermost parts of the north as per (Ez. 38:15), that this king is a Russian rather than a Syrian.
However, it is possible that in addition to the prior fulfillment of Psalm 83 that the fulfillment of Ezekiel 38 may also occur prior to the events described in Daniel 11:40. Many commentaries suggest that Daniel 11:40 occurs during the final three and one-half years of the Great Tribulation period and that the Ezekiel 38 invasion occurs prior. If so then the Daniel 11:40 king of the north may turn out to be neither Syrian nor Russian.
Furthermore, should Psalm 83, which could include the destruction of Damascus as per Isaiah 17:1, and Ezekiel 38 occur prior to the fulfillment of Daniel 11:40, the geopolitical Mideast and world landscapes could be entirely different then, than today. Enormous portions of land, natural resources, fragile governments, and national wealth, will presumably be available for the taking at that time. This land grab may extend beyond the Middle East into territories currently possessed by the Ezekiel 38 invaders of Russia, Iran, Ethiopia, Libya, Turkey, etc.
World leaders left in place might seize the opportunity to seek sovereignty over the damaged lands, defeated peoples, and destroyed governments of the war torn nations. Thus, wide scale political debate and / or military debacle should be expected within the remaining members of the International Community in the aftermath of these powerful prophetic wars.
Additionally, the ten future Kings described in Daniel 7:24 and Revelation 17:12 will probably be presiding over the world on or about the time of these territorial disputes. Some scholars suggest that the world is eventually rezoned into ten sizeable provinces one for each of these ten kings.
Amidst the backdrop of all the above, undoubtedly, Israel will attempt to annex more Promised Land. This is precisely what they did in the aftermath of the six day war in June of 1967. Israel nearly tripled its size back then and stands to quadruple its size after victories in Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38 & 39. However, as is the case today, these future world leaders will probably contest Israel’s rightful claims. These ten kings will probably seek their say as to how the future land of Israel will be divided.
Joel 3:2 informs us of a time coming when “all nations” are guilty of dividing God’s Land. This suggests the entirety of the international community at some future time will, not may, reapportion the Promised Land. Many believe Joel’s prophecy is being fulfilled presently in the political attempts to craft land for peace. They could be partially correct; however, Joel’s prophecy seems to be very end times specific and alludes to the last of the last days. I believe the international community will be contesting Israel's greater land claims in the aftermath of Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38 & 39. The future ten kings, like their political predecessors today, will probably be guilty of dividing the Promised Land at that critical time in Israel’s future.
It is entirely possible that a similar scenario could manifest in the Mideast then, like what occurred with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in 1917. The French and British obtained greater sovereignty over much of the Middle East. These were two kingdoms existing among many others at the time. They could be likened to a precursor of two future kings or kingdoms among ten total kings or kingdoms ruling in the last days. Ultimately, Arab and Persian agonizing eventually caused the French and British to relinquish their Mideast strongholds.
Daniel 11:40 declares At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him [the Antichrist]; and the king of the North shall come against him [the Antichrist] like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. (NKJV)
Many commentaries attempt to decipher the identities of these two of the future ten kings without considering all the geo-political possibilities listed above. We are told in Daniel 7:20-24 that the Antichrist will subdue three of the ten kings. The Hebrew word is, “shephel” and it is only used by Daniel in the Old Testament. (Dan. 4:37,5:19,22) It essentially means to humble them or to make them lower than he. Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum believes, as do I, the Daniel 11:40 kings are among the three kings subdued by the Antichrist. (Footsteps of the Messiah chapter 11b “The Second Worldwide Conflict – Daniel 11:40-45)
Daniel 11:40 appears to tell us how at least two of three subdued kings meet with their humbling. The Antichrist overwhelms them and then makes his way into the Glorious Land according to Daniel 11:41. The Glorious Land probably includes a much GREATER ISRAEL at the time. This Greater Israel will likely possess parts of Jordan (Jeremiah 49:2), Southern Syria (Isaiah 17:1,9), and Northern Egypt (Isaiah 19:18) at the time. This future Greater Israel may be more representative of the Promised Land described in Genesis 15:18 and could be why Daniel labels it the “Glorious Land”.
Damascus, the capital of Syria, will likely already be destroyed by the time the Antichrist comes into the Glorious Land in Daniel 11:41 and thus any king of Syria then, will probably be of little to no threat to the Antichrist. Daniel 11:42 places the Antichrist in Egypt, seemingly, subsequent to his humbling of the King of the South in Daniel 11:40. This seemingly argues against the possibility that the King of the South is merely an Egyptian king as many commentaries suggest.
In conclusion, the verdict is far from rendered when it comes to the true origin and identity of these two kings. The traditional tendency to classify the king of the south as an Egyptian, and the king of the north a Syrian, is understandable. However, it is important for us to envision the geo-prophetic future of the Glorious Land when interpreting Daniel 11:40-45. The prophecies of Psalm 83, Isaiah 17:1, and Ezekiel 38 & 39 will probably have been fulfilled, and the ten kings of Daniel 7:24 and Revelation 17:12 will likely be in place by then.
Thus when Daniel 11:40 identifies two kings, they are probably two of these ten end time’s kings. Therefore, it is quite possible that these two kings are sovereign over greater kingdoms than modern day Egypt and Syria, as was the case with Britain and France after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Furthermore, the potential political, economic, and military conditions of Egypt and Syria at that time make it feasible that these two kings are not, simply the kings of Egypt and Syria.
Footsteps of the Messiah - Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum (Book)
The Most High God: A Commentary on the Book of Daniel - Renald Showers (Book)
Isralestine: The Ancient Blueprints of the Future Middle East - Bill Salus (Book)
The Prophecies of Daniel - Lehman Strauss (Book)