Many modern scholars conclude that "the only available guide" to political scientists is human logic and patterns of human behavior that can be discerned over time (The Improbable War, Christopher Coker, pp. 1–2). However, this secular academic approach overlooks a source that has and does predict the future in the dynamic field of international relations. The God of the Bible boldly claims that He alone can predict the future and bring it to pass (Isaiah 41:21–24; 46:8–11) and that "He removes kings and raises up kings" (Daniel 2:20–21; 4:35). Contrary to what modern scholars assert, the Bible has long foretold that specific nations will be involved in major end-time conflicts just before Jesus Christ returns to this earth—and those prophecies are coming alive today!
When His disciples asked Jesus, "What will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?" He told them to watch for a specific series of events that will include wide-spread religious deception, wars and rumors of wars, natural disasters and disease epidemics—the "Four Horsemen" of the Apocalypse—that He said would be the "beginning of sorrows"—signposts that the end of the age is near (Matthew 24:3–8; Revelation 6:1–8). The Scriptures state that "wars and rumors of wars" and other calamities will culminate in a great tribulation that will threaten the future existence of human civilization unless Jesus Christ returns to intervene and save mankind from utter destruction (Matthew 24:21–22).
Prophecies in the book of Daniel add more details to this end-time scenario. About 550bc, Daniel recorded, "At the time of the end" the king of the South will attack the king of the North, but the king of the North will retaliate and move his forces into the Middle East to occupy Jerusalem and overrun Egypt, Libya and Ethiopia. The king of the North will then be disturbed by "news from the east and the north" (Daniel 11:40–45). Prophecies in Daniel 2 and 7 indicate this king of the North will have historical links to the ancient Roman Empire. Prophecies about two beasts in Revelation 13 reveal that the king of the North (the beast from the sea) will be motivated by Satan and aided by a prominent religious figure (the beast from the land) who will work miracles. Revelation 17 pictures this religious figure "riding" the beast—promoting and influencing the policies of the king of the North. Ten kings or nations will give their power to the king of the North for a short period to establish a trading network with the merchants of the earth, before eventually turning on the religious leader (Revelation 17:12–13, 16).
The king of the South mentioned in Daniel 11:40 appears to be an Arab-Muslim confederation that will arise at the end of the age (Psalm 83:1–8) to challenge the traditionally "Christian" powers of Western Europe that have dominated the Arab world for centuries. The news out of the east and north that disturbs the European king of the North appears to come from China and Russia. Prophecies in Daniel 11:44 and Revelation 9:1–12 indicate the king of the North will launch an attack toward nations in the east. Revelation 9:13–18 and 16:12 indicate that "the kings of the east" will then counter-attack with a large army from east of the Euphrates River and move into the Middle East to face the king of the North. However, these combined armies will be confronted and defeated by the returning Jesus Christ (Revelation 17:14; 11:15). This is the detailed end-time scenario recorded in ancient Bible prophecies.
Current events appear to be moving in the direction outlined in the Scriptures. Today, European nations are striving to form a joint defense force in the face of threats from Islamic extremists and growing numbers of unassimilated Moslem immigrants. Europe is also threatened by Russia's attempts to reclaim influence and control of territory in Eastern Europe. The rise of ISIS and its attempt to establish a caliphate by violence and brutality is bringing together fractious Arab-Moslem countries who are seeking to establish a united front against this rising power ("A Pan-Arab Military Remains Elusive," Stratfor, February 24, 2015). This reaction to ISIS could foster the appearance of the biblical king of the South.
In Europe, Germany is emerging as the economic and political leader of the troubled European Union (German Europe, Ulrich Beck). Calls are also being heard for Germany to play a bigger military role to counter Russia's aggressive moves (see "Bring back the Panzers to bolster NATO," The Times, February 20, 2015). Gathered around Germany, representatives of ten European nations have formed a Berlin Club to discuss ideas for Europe's future (presseurop.com, March 21, 2012—see Revelation 17:12). Also in Europe, the pope in Rome is attempting to pull together the separated branches of Christendom. These efforts to deal with internal Muslim problems, Islamic threats from the south and Russian threats from the east could result in the emergence of the biblical king of the North aided by a powerful religious figure prophesied in Revelation 13, 17 and 18 (see "Resurgent Germany: A Fourth Reich," Tomorrow's World, Sept-Oct, 2007).
As for the "kings of the east," recent decades have witnessed the rise of China—a nation with memories of centuries of humiliation and exploitation at the hands of the West and a strong desire to take its rightful place on the world stage as the leading nation in Asia (see "Is This China's Century?," Tomorrow's World, September-October 2013). The fact that China and Russia have conducted joint military maneuvers and Chinese military leaders have stated that it is "absolutely necessary that we quietly nurse our sense of vengeance… We must conceal our abilities and bide our time," indicates the kings of the East will be ready when the time comes to fulfill ancient biblical prophecies (Bernstein and Monro, The Coming Conflict with China, p. 3).
Surprisingly absent from this end-time prophetic scenario is the current global superpower—the United States—along with its long-time ally Great Britain. However, Bible prophecies reveal that Israelite-descended nations will be in deep trouble in the last days because they have turned away from God (Deuteronomy 32:29; Jeremiah 3:21; 30:7). Numerous prophecies indicate their allies will turn against them (Jeremiah 30:14; Ezekiel 16:37; 23:4–10) and their downfall will come suddenly (Isaiah 9:14; 29:5; 30:13). Another terrorist attack in the U.S. or a coming clash in the Western Pacific with China (which sees America's satellites and Internet coordination of its battle groups as its Achilles' heel; see Asia's Cauldron, p. 26) could hasten that demise and lead to the fulfillment of ancient Bible prophecies that have long predicted these coming end-time conflicts. As these prophetic events come together, we need to prepare for Christ's return!