Who Is the ‘King of the North’?

The Prophet Daniel was inspired to write a fascinating prophecy in Daniel 11 concerning a “king of the north.” Much of this prophecy has already come to pass exactly as Daniel foretold. It is now history. But a riveting final phase remains to be fulfilled—and will come to pass in a very short time!

Verse 3 records events that occurred some 200 years after Daniel died: In 334 b.c., a mighty Grecian king stood to “rule with great dominion.” His name was Alexander the Great. He arrived and crushed what remained of the declining Persian Empire.

Verse 4 foretold of Alexander’s reign being cut short—which happened as a result of his untimely death in 323 b.c. at age 32. This verse also prophesied that his kingdom would subsequently be divided into four parts. History shows that after he died, each of four sections was ruled by one of Alexander’s generals: Cassander reigned over Greece and Macedonia; Lysimachus ruled Asia Minor; Ptolemy captured Egypt, Judea and part of Syria; and Seleucus took the far-eastern territory from what is now Syria to India, the general region of ancient Assyria.

The chapter goes on to describe numerous clashes between the last two kingdoms. Calling the Ptolemaic Empire “the king of the south” and the Seleucid Empire “the king of the north,” it describes generations of war between the two, partially over control of “the glorious land.” These events all later unfolded in such precise alignment with Daniel’s prophecies that skeptics say Daniel must have written after those developments occurred. But the facts show that Daniel wrote long before, proving that these were God’s prophecies fulfilled.

And there is more to come. Daniel 11:36 bridges this prophecy into the modern day. The immediately preceding verses were fulfilled by a successor of Seleucus, a “king of the north” named Antiochus Epiphanes. After his death in 164 b.c., the territory of the Seleucids was gradually swallowed up by the Roman Empire. The region became a Roman province.

Here is a key point: Because the Roman emperor now controlled Judea, references to the “king of the north” from verse 36 onward in Daniel 11 refer to the Roman Empire.

Elsewhere in Daniel—chapters 2 and 7—God prophesied of four world-ruling empires that would succeed each other right up to the return of Christ at the end of this age. The Roman Empire was the fourth and final one. True, that empire was crushed in a.d. 476, but passages in Daniel and Revelation prophesied of seven resurrections of what became known as the “Holy” Roman Empire.

Justinian began the first of these restorations in a.d. 554. Since then, five more have come and gone: The Frankish kingdom under Charlemagne, Otto the Great’s empire, the Habsburg dynasty, Napoleon’s kingdom and the German-Italian axis. A simple count shows that there will be one more resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire before Jesus Christ returns. And that’s what makes this prophecy at the end of Daniel 11 so critical today.

Notice now how this prophecy in Daniel 11 bridges into the “time of the end” and how it will affect everyone on Earth. Verse 40 states: “And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.”

At this point, the prophecy jumps to the time we are living in now. It brings us right up to date with today’s news. God says that in this modern era, the king of the north, which for the last 1,500 years has resided in the heart of Europe, will be pushed at by a “king of the south.” The word “push” here means to strike or to wage war against.

Anciently, the king of the south was the Ptolemaic Empire, including the area south of Jerusalem in Egypt. In this end time, it will comprise a conglomerate of nations much larger and more powerful. Much of this end-time force will be south of Jerusalem, but not all of it. Certainly, though, we know it will be south of the resurrected Europe-based, modern king of the north. Since the early 1990s, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has identified the end-time king of the south as radical Islam led by Iran. Today Iran is the world’s worst state sponsor of terrorism. Its foreign policy could scarcely be any “pushier.” And with the support of many other Islamic nations such as Iraq, Algeria, Egypt and Libya, it is easy to see how Iran will be able to deliver a formidable “push” against the king of the north.

But this passage in Daniel 11 reveals that this Islamist power will be no match for the king of the north. We can already see this king rising in the modern project to unify Europe, but the extent of its staggering power will not be unveiled until just after this “push.” In response, it will obliterate the king of the south. And this potent final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire won’t stop there. Revelation 13:5 reveals that it will go on to rampage for 3½ years. “Many countries,” Daniel 11:41 says, “shall be overthrown.”

Today a European conglomerate is on path to becoming a world superpower. The rise of Islam is also on display for all to see. These two powers will clash spectacularly. And just as surely as those events will unfold, Jesus Christ will return to this Earth in power and glory, as dozens of scriptures confirm!

For a thorough examination of the scriptures proving that the king of the north will be a German-led, Vatican-guided European bloc, read our free book The Holy Roman Empire in Prophecy.