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War in the Middle East and the coming king of the South

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There is a new war now erupting in Iraq and Syria, one which is quickly becoming a prelude to much more traumatic events, including the rise of a revived Islamic caliphate. Whether or not Iranian forces, Shi’ite militia, or the United States and others help the Iraqi government repel the latest wave of fanatic Islamists, you need to understand what Scripture reveals is unfolding in the Middle East right now. You need to understand how the spirit forces behind these events are setting the stage for coming world war between a European-based “king of the North” and the rising “king of the South” spoken of in the Bible prophecies of Daniel.

After a cost to the U.S. of more than $2 trillion, after immeasurable suffering, countless executions, beheadings, rapes, starvation, torture and nearly 500,000 people dead in Iraq from war-related causes since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, the United States and her allies have largely abandoned the region, and now a new war has exploded. Now, half a million people have fled the latest “jihadist onslaught.” The fierce Islamist fighters sweeping through Iraq and Syria are from the al-Qaeda affiliate known as ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria). They are “capturing city after city” prompting U.S. President Barack Obama to declare “I don’t rule out anything” in order to make “sure these jihadists are not getting a permanent foothold in either Iraq or Syria.”

These Sunni militants are sweeping across hundreds of miles of Syrian and Iraqi territory, threatening Baghdad, implementing strict Sharia law, proclaiming they will create an Islamic caliphate, and declaring they will “liberate” Jerusalem. Aided by ex-Saddam-era military leaders, they have already overrun Iraq’s second-largest city, Mosul, as well as Saddam’s birthplace, Tikrit, and numerous other cities. They are threatening “repent or die,” demanding an Islamic caliphate, and clashing with the Iraqi government, Kurdish peshmerga militia, Iranian backed Shia militia and others. Analysts now describe the situation as “spinning out of control.”

As terrible as these events are, and regardless how unprepared the Iraqi government and various Western administrations have appeared, this drama is actually only the harbinger of what the Church of God has warned since the 1930’s and 1940’s, something that the Bible reveals is one of the major events to occur as humanity careens toward the Great Tribulation and Day of the Lord Jesus Christ warned of in Matthew 24:21–22. Regardless which Islamic forces are victorious in these escalating skirmishes, this is in fact just another prelude toward an Islamic caliphate and all-out war in the Middle East and beyond. What are the spiritual forces at work here and how can we know this based on Scripture?

Daniel 11:40–44 warns that immediately before Christ’s return, an Arab-based leader known as the “king of the South” (located “south” of Jerusalem) will lead a group of Islamic nations (a “caliphate”) against a professing-Christian, European-based “king of the North” (also called the “the Beast”), who will be promoted and supported by an end-time great false-religious leader known as the “man of sin” (2 Thessalonians 2:3). This religious leader will perform miracles and will cause most of the professing Christian world to “worship” the Beast (Revelation 13:13–15) who will rule over the final resurrection of the ancient “Holy Roman Empire”—an “iron and clay” confederation of ten nations or groups of nations (Daniel 2:34). (For much more detail, please read The Beast of Revelation: Myth, Metaphor, or Soon-Coming Reality?)

God is in control of the timing, and faithful Christians can be fortified in their faith remembering that He reigns supreme (Psalms 115:3, Daniel 4:32)! But, there is no doubt that before Christ’s return, these end-time powers will clash in world war. The “Beast” will prevail and will ultimately enter and occupy the Holy Land (Daniel 11:41). Only Christ’s return in power will ultimately crush this end-time empire, stop the violence, and will bring all people and all nations under His glorious and sovereign reign (Daniel 2:40–45, Romans 14:11, Revelation 17:12–14).

Please order the detailed booklets Fourteen Signs Announcing Christ’s Return, and The Middle East in Prophecy and read the Tomorrow’s World articles, “Understanding End-time prophecies“ and “An Islamic Wind?” for more understanding.