Final Years of the Antichrist
Daniel 11 details much of the evil of the antichrist. Fascinating – it is segmented into storylines representing the Dark Ages (vss 21-28) and, in greater detail, the end of time (vss 29-45). Many scholars view verses 40-45 as describing its final exercise of geo-religious power, which ends only in its demise.
Based on the three subsequent timing periods in the next chapter, it appears that verses 29 to 45 cover a three-and-a-half-year period. The new and dramatic imagery in verses 40 to 45 likely come in the last year of that period (another study).
The symbolism is rich:
“And at the time of the end” (vs 40)
“Time of the end” is es qes (eth qets – Strongs) in Hebrew. Its combined use is found nowhere in the Old Testament except in Daniel, where the seer uses it five times. Looking at each word, and then the Danelic context opens an important timing message:
Es (et or eth): “time” that refers to a “season of opportunity” when God acts (Psalm 119:126), especially when all will be consummated (Daniel 12:9); a set or appointed time when opportunity arrives (I Chronicles 9:25).
Qes (qets): “end” means a point when something is cut off or severed. In the Old Testament it is often used to describe when God’s executive punishment comes (Genesis 6:13, Ezekiel 7:2-3). There is no other opportunity to change after this time.
When used together (es qes), it suggests that earth’s final season of “opportunity,” just before God judicially acts, has come. Daniel first used this in 8:17: “So he came near where I stood: and when he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face: but he said unto me, Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision.” Then in 8:19 he embellished what that means: “And he said, Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be.”
This “time of the end” is an “appointed time,” a set period that God has identified in prophecy, when earth’s last season of redemptive opportunity comes. This is also noted to be when God’s judicial wrath (indignation – zaam – H) will occur (likely beginning with the Seven Trumpets of Revelation) (another study).
Habakkuk 2:2-3 had previously alluded to this brief era of time. Paul later notes, “And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry” (cf. Hebrews 10:36-37).
- This period is at “the end of the world [just before] the return of Christ” at the termination of a tarrying time.
- “There is nothing in the context that would restrict the force of the word ‘end’ and so the end of all things must be meant.”
In Daniel 11:29, where this last-day antichrist prophecy begins (representing a second rise of the papacy within this chapter), Daniel already gave a contextual timing statement:
- “At the time appointed he shall return, and come toward the south; but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter” (Daniel 11:29). This refers to the end-time rise of the antichrist power and its initial conciliatory moves toward the Muslim world.
- Those positive gestures come to an end in verse 40.
“time of the end shall the king of the south push at him:” (vs 40)
Ever since Vatican II’s move to “placate” the Islamic world (the “south”), a superficial coalition with them has existed. They wrote:
“The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place among whom are the Muslims: these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.”
Later: “The Church has also a high regard for the Muslims. They worship God, who is one, living and subsistent, merciful and almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to men. They strive to submit themselves without reserve to the hidden decrees of God, just as
Abraham submitted himself to God’s plan, to whose faith Muslims eagerly link their own. Although not acknowledging him as God, they venerate Jesus as a prophet.”
- Twenty-eight Muslim scholars visited the Vatican in 2008 with a signed document, “A Common Word between Us and You.” Later, many Muslim countries formed diplomatic ties with the Holy See (the Roman Catholic Church combined with the Vatican City State).
- These geopolitical bonds will ultimately unravel, which occur here in verse 40.
The “king of the north” noted in Daniel 11:40-45 represents the papal head of “Christianity” when he becomes a lead geopolitical power. This is detailed in Revelation 17:12-13, followed by chapter 13!
- “And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast” (Revelation 17:12).
- That beast is a religious and political power located in the “city of the seven hills” – Rome (17:9) – the Vatican City State.
This leader’s jurisdiction and prerogatives are suddenly challenged when the “king of the south pushes at him.” “Push” is nagach in Hebrew in the hithphael tense. This is a “reflexive” or reactionary act. It is mainly used in a military sense. The imagery suggests that there will be a unique and intense conflict right at the end between apostate Christianity and this retaliatory “southern king.”
“This battle concludes with the destruction of the Antichrist, apparently in Palestine (v 45), followed by a special resurrection of the saints (12:2). These events have not transpired, and therefore, the ‘end’ in view here must be the final days of the ‘present age.’”
Who is this southern king?
The Future that Began in the Past:
Isaac: The “son of promise” (Genesis 21:12) was in Paul’s thinking when writing to the Roman church: “In Isaac shall thy seed be called” (Romans 9:7). Canaan, the land of promise, was associated with the “north,” as it related to Egypt. God had also told David that the “north” was where “Zion” was – God’s dwelling place (Psalm 48:2). Satan even aspired to be “in the sides of the north” (Isaiah 14:13-14).
Ishmael: “He will be hostile to everyone, and everyone will be hostile to him” (Genesis 16:13). It is intriguing that studies have been conducted (over 3000 years later), noting:
“In all these places [the geographical line between Muslims and others], the relations between Muslims and peoples of other civilizations – Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, Hindu, Chinese, Buddhist, Jewish – have been generally antagonistic; most of these relations have been violent at some point in the past; many have been violent [since] the 1990s. Wherever one looks along the perimeter of Islam (which claims Ishmael as its ancestor heritage), ‘Muslims have problems living peacefully with their neighbors.’”
“The 12 sons of Ishmael, and his Egyptian wife, became princes and progenitors of … many tribes… Today all Arabs, following Mohammed's example, claim descent from Ishmael. Those who claim Islam as their sacred tradition teach that Mohammad’s ancestors came directly from this son of Abraham, whom they say is the ‘son of promise.’” 
The Ishmaelites became the Bedouin Tribes, along with the people of Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen and Saudi Arabia. The followers of Mohammed were south of the world of other religions noted above, including across northern Africa.
Mohammad Abdulla (570–632 A.D.), the founder of Islam, was born in Mecca, Arabia. He is purported to have had divine revelations, leading to the writing of the Quran. The residents of Mecca did not accept his “new religion.” In anger, Mohammad moved to Medina, where he mustered a following.
- His “dogma” was then to be spread by force.
- Plundering the possessions of others was frequent.
- “Infidels” (those not identifying with Mohammad’s beliefs) were considered to be a lower class and could be killed with little provocation.
Coercion and force were so successful that conquest of nations followed. After Mohammad died, his successor was called a Caliph. This lead role was eventually done away with in 1924. Divisions of Muslim rule are often called a caliphate, with a caliph in charge.
The demographics of this terrorist movement are fascinating. Notice again the distinction:
- The “north” mainly related to those claiming the Holy Bible as God’s Word – Christianity.
- The “south” related to Ishmaelites/Islam (Mohammad’s followers), claiming the Holy Quran as God’s Word.
Many Protestant leaders today are raising the question as to whether Islam might be described in the Biblical narrative as the antichrist. Satan would love to see that diversionary assumption expanded. There are uncanny similarities – but the antichrist conquers through peace (Daniel 8:25) – a unique clue.
No matter where we enter “time,” the geographical distinction between the “north”
(Christianity/Catholicism) and the “south” (Islam/Muslims) remains the same.
The “North” and the “South” have remained a distinct “separation” since God began to set aside people He called “His own.” Yet, intriguingly, most of His “loyalists” will rebel against Him, with only a “remnant” who will be saved.
“Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved” (Romans 9:27).
- The rebellion of Ishmael and, later, the rise of Islam was anticipated – even though Scripture says: “God was with the lad” (Genesis 21:20). His behavior was to become Satan-like (Genesis 16:12).
- The rebellion of Isaac’s descendants was anticipated. Wonderfully, out of his lineage the “ruler of Israel” was to come (Micah 5:2). Sadly, when He did come, the world “knew him not” (John 1:10).
The antichrist in Daniel 11 is initially called a vile person. His military power was against the king of the south during the Crusades, noted especially in verse 25.
“In the 7th century A.D. Arab Muslims conquered Palestine. Then, during the 11th century the fierce Seljuk Muslim Turks from central Asia invaded the near east and became conquers of the Byzantines (Battle of Manzikert in Asia, 1071 A.D.), capturing many lands, including Palestine, from the Arab Muslims. They then blocked all Christian pilgrimages to the area.
“The Byzantine Emperor Alexius Commenus (1048-1118 A.D.) asked Pope Urban II for the help of the Catholic Church in fighting the Muslim Turks. Urban II was competing with a rival ‘pope’ and thought this a unique way to consolidate his power and prestige.
“In the autumn of 1095 A.D. he [Urban] met with church leaders in Clermont, France” and appealed to his European parishioners to unite and fight to regain Palestine. He offered spiritual and physical rewards, including forgiveness of sins, if they would join this crusade.
“From 1096 A.D. through 1270 A.D. Crusades against the Turks (symbolic of the south) were conducted. Knights and princes, the common people and the wealthy joined. This added greatly to the trade and economic growth of Europe. Their immediate goals were reached. With a ‘very great and mighty army,’ Palestine was retaken. Biblical prophecy was fulfilled. But the Ottoman Empire continued to resist. Their control of the ‘glorious land’ was regained and then lost again. By 1453 A.D. the Byzantine Empire fell and the Muslim Turks were permanently in charge.” That anti-Christian power was anciently, for a time, the “king of the south.”
Those battles between the Christian world in the north and the Muslim world in the south became a type of what will occur at the end of time, as described in verses 40 and following.
The death toll from the crusade wars was estimated to be 1.5–2 million people.
“The Muslims repeatedly showed their resiliency. Their goal was to conquer the European Christian world. The Crusades were, in part, an attempt to turn back those conquests.
From this event-driven historical data, one concludes that the “king of the south” was tied to the Muslim world. Daniel 11 now fast-forwards to the present graphic account when the “king of the south” is on the attack, once again, against the “Christian north.” Reference from history helps to inform the student of the meaning of this end-time prophecy.
The king of the south has attacked (see verses page 2): Then, “the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind,” (vs 40).
- The Christian world, under its papal leader (led and supported by the ten-horn world leaders noted in Revelation 17:12-13), fights back at the “king of the south,” who is aggressively attacking.
- There are strong Biblical and extra-Biblical links showing that this northern king can also be seen as the prophetic “king of Babylon” (which is more deeply embellished in Revelation).
- Another key Hebrew word is “whirlwind,” sa’ar, which is used as a reflexive verb. The northern king is responding mercilessly, like a storm that sweeps something away. Because the terms “north” and “south” are used again, the picture suggests rival powers of equal magnitude (otherwise the “king of the south” would not have embarked on such a daring venture).
- Something unstated provokes the king of the south to “attack” the “Christian” northern leadership. The context of Daniel 11 and 12 strongly favors a “geo-religious” contention.
What power hates Christianity enough to fight and even annihilate it (even though it may be apostate also)? There is one collective force that could mount such resistance. Intriguingly, the Islamic world (the global competitor of Christianity) easily meets this description. Their global “membership” rivals Christianity with 1.2 plus billion people. They are driven by such “sacred” text from the Qur’an as:
- Qur’an 5:51: “O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and Christians for friends. They are friends one to another. He among you who taketh them for friends is (one) of them. Lo! Allah guideth not wrongdoing folk.”
- Qur’an 2:21b: “Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and ye love a thing which is bad for you. But God knoweth, and ye know not.”
- Qur’an 8:12: “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.”
- Qur’an 5:33: “The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement.”
This imagery is provocative, hideous, and likely partly what justifies their violent aggression noted in Daniel 11:40. It is an evil world power that despises Christianity. It is big enough to take on the Christian world. Two of earth’s greatest religions by number are depicted in conflict! By now they also share equal interest in world control, coercion, moral failure, deception, and violence.
In the past, atheism, Marxism, communism and fascism were great threats to Christianity. They have often been identified as the “king of the south” by Bible students. But in this end-time setting, nothing is emerging with greater antagonistic power than Islam – the Religion of the Sword (aka, politically, “The Religion of Peace”). Is this really a threat to the Christian world?
- Tens of thousands have been brutally killed in the last three decades (mainly Christians), driven by this religious ideology.
- This prophetic narrative suggests that there will soon be a major standoff between Christianity and Islam, marking that period called the “time of the end” at the end-of-time period.
- Nothing else properly matches the context, which intimates those two competing religious powers.
The description of “the king of the north[’s]” “attack apparatus” is:
“with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships;” (vs 40)
These “implements” suggest hostile movements on both land and sea. Though in Daniel 8 to 12 many symbolic illustrations depict the final struggle between Christ and His host (people) and Satan and his host (people) here in verse 40, a major war between two evil forces is suggested. This is the only apocalyptic prophecy that addresses these two antagonistic powers in conflict.
It appears that they are in competition for world religious dominance. For Islam it is a firm objective. For the papacy, this fascinating observation:
“Romanism as a system is no more in harmony with the gospel of Christ now than at any former period in her history. The Protestant churches are in great darkness, or they would discern the signs of the times. The Roman Church is far-reaching in her plans and modes of operation. She is employing every device to extend her influence and increase her power in preparation for a fierce and determined conflict to regain control of the world, to re-establish persecution, and to undo all that Protestantism has done…. These things should awaken the anxiety of all who prize the pure principles of the gospel.”
This verse describes the time when these two religious forces will be seeking geopolitical control.
By then the antichrist (“vile person,” this “king”) will have become an eschatological world kingdom.
The following thoughts have already been inserted into Daniel’s narrative as orientation reminders:
- “And they [God’s true people] that understand among the people shall instruct many” (Daniel 11:32a) (a prophecy related to that final gospel call).
- “Some of the wise [God’s people] will stumble [from weariness and defeat], so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time.” (Daniel 11:35) (partially repeating 8:17, 19).
- At that period of final opportunity, God has a people who understand prophetic truth.
- They are “instructing many” – the final gospel cry.
- Persecution is the lot of some (Daniel 12:7). Many will appear defeated.
- Because of their success, however, this king becomes livid (Daniel 11:44).
This papal power is devoid of a military arm. Its fighting action is dependent on the forces of other powers and nations. This is dramatically depicted in Revelation 13, where an earth beast, a nation of global might, executes the wishes of the sea beast, a symbol of the Vatican city-state.
“and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over” (vs 40)
The king of the north is depicted as sweeping through many lands like an overflowing river or flood. The counterattacks against the south will involve many geographical areas where Islam is resisting Christianity. These “military” maneuvers will succeed. There will be major conflicts (like the Crusades) between these two religious powers. The intensity increases against the Islamic world in the next two verses. This is what sets the stage for the “king of the north” to fully command the geopolitical world!!!
In all this there is a subtle message that doors might then open for the gospel to uniquely move forward as Islam is defeated. At this writing (2022) the ability to penetrate the Islamic world with the gospel remains severely restricted. God’s commission is global. A change in how the gospel will penetrate every heart must occur. Though these prophecies reveal conflict between satanic forces, the evidence suggests that it will benefit heaven’s final work!
Franklin S. Fowler, Jr., M.D.
Prophecy Research Initiative – non-profit 501(c)3 © 2022
EndTime Issues…, Number 259, June 2, 2022
 Harris, R. Laird; Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, vol. 2, p. 680.
 Ibid., p. 809.
 Steinmann, Andrew E.; Daniel (Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis), p. 544.
 Leopold, Daniel, p. 520, as quoted in Miller, op. cit., p. 309.
 Second Vatican Council, Lumen Gentium 16, November 21, 1964.
 Second Vatican Council, Nostra Aetate (3), October 28, 1965.
 cf. White, The Great Controversy, p. 565.
 Miller, Stephen R.; The New American Commentary, vol. 18 (Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1994), p. 309.
 White, Gospel Workers, 1892, p. 214.
 Huntington, Samuel; The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (Simon and Schuster), 1996.
 The Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary, “Ishmaelite” (Zondervan Publishing House; Grand Rapids, MI; 1963), p. 387
 http://www.milestonedocuments.com/documents/full-text/ urban-iis-call-to-crusade/
 The World Book Encyclopedia, 1996 Edition (World Book Inc, a Scott Fetzer Company;
Chicago, London, Sydney, Toronto), 1995.
 Mackay, Charles; Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (1841).
“The Crusades.” Archived from the original on 11 May 2006. http://web.archive.org/web/20060511083818/ http://www.bootlegbooks.com/NonFiction/Mackay/PopDelusions/chap09.html.
 Doukhan, Jacques B.; Secrets of Daniel (The Review and Herald Publishing Association; Hagerstown, MD 21740; 2000), p. 173.
 Miller, op. cit., p. 309.
 White, The Great Controversy, p. 565 (emphasis added).
 Steinmann, op. cit., p. 539.