Main article: Key Players and Terms in Prophecy
The King of the South is a future world leader that will come into play at the end of Daniel’s seventieth week. He will have a confederacy, consisting of Egypt, Libya, and Ethiopia (Dan. 11:43; Ezek. 30:4-5), as well as other African Nations. This apocalyptic King of the South will be the final form of the Ptolemaic empire of antiquity.
Daniel 11 traces the ancient conflict between the King of the South (the leader of the Ptolemaic Dynasty) and the King of the North (leader of the Seleucid Dynasty). These two kingdoms are traced in the book of Daniel to two of the four quadrants of Alexander’s empire. The strife between the kings of the north and south are documented in precise detail in Daniel 11. The ancient conflict was brought to a halt (6th Syrian War) when the Roman Empire interfered in the conflict (Daniel 11:29-30a). Rome had an alliance with Ptolemaic Egypt because of the grain Egypt supplied to the growing western power. Sensing that Antiochus IV (last historical King of the North) would likely wipe out the Ptolemies (and Rome’s grain supply with them), the Roman Empire sent the “ships of Kittim” to interfere. That brought an end to the Syrian Wars… until now. The players in this final conflict have been absent for centuries, or even millennia. But, like a global-scale chess match put on hold for 2000 years, God has already begun assembling the pieces, and when the last is put in place, the game clock will be set in motion.
The Final Syrian War. In Daniel 11:40 we get the final Syrian War, the seventh, if you will.
“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 overflow and pass through.” Dan. 11:40
The King of the south will push north against “him” (Antichrist, in Israel). This is an attempt to reclaim for the south that ancient possession (Palestine) that was last stripped away by Antiochus III (Daniel 11:13) of the Seleucid dynasty. It is possible that the apocalyptic King of the South will be an ally to the Western confederacy, and upon seeing the armies of the Assyrian amassing on the eastern border, could “push” north as a preemptive strike on behalf of the Beast. Such an alliance would be consistent with Daniel 11:29-30a. Like Pharaoh of old, the King of the South just can’t let Israel go, and will push north to his own destruction.
“Who is this that cometh up as a flood, whose waters are moved as the rivers? Egypt riseth up like a flood, and his waters are moved like the rivers; and he saith, I will go up, and will cover the earth; I will destroy the city and the inhabitants thereof. Come up, ye horses; and rage, ye chariots; and let the mighty men come forth; the Ethiopians and the Libyans, that handle the shield; and the Lydians, that handle and bend the bow.” Jeremiah 46:3-9
His end. This movement will provoke the King of the North to come down… and he will do so with alarming speed (“as a whirlwind”) and force (“chariots, horsemen, many ships”). The relative strength of the King of the north, who is a global superpower, will overwhelm the King of the south. Once again, just like in the Sixth Syrian War, Rome will move to interfere. But the Beast will arrive too late, and will be destroyed by the Lord before intercepting the King of the North.
“And he shall stretch forth his hand upon the countries; and the land of Egypt shall not escape. And he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps.” Daniel 11:42-43
“And the Egyptians will I give over into the hand of a cruel lord, and a fierce king shall rule over them, saith the Lord, Jehovah of hosts” Isaiah 19:4.
The great aim of the Seleucid Empire will finally be reached… the King of the North will destroy the King of the South, taking possession of Egypt and her allies. The “the treasures of gold and of silver” indicate that Egypt will be enriched by this time. In Isa. 7:18-19 this very sequence is described again.
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that Jehovah will hiss [or, whistle] for the fly which is at the extremity of the streams of Egypt, and [whistle] for the bee which is in the land of Assyria; and they shall come…” Isaiah 7:18-19
Just as a man whistles for his dog or cat to come, Jehovah has the movements of nations in His hand, and He alone can command them for His purposes. He whistles once, and the King of the South comes up. He whistles again, and the King of the North comes down.