The King of the North is a future world leader that will come into play at the end of Daniel's seventieth week. He will have a huge confederacy of Arab nations that will be allied with him; ten nations, to be exact (listed in Psa. 83). The leader will be from the same area as the old Seleucid empire, from modern-day Turkey. The scripture speaks more about the Assyrian (the King of the North) than about either the Beast or Antichrist! He is always described as the great foe of the Jews in the last days. He is connected with a king from even farther north, with whom he has an alliance. That is Gog, prince of Russia. There is evidence that Russia will be supporting the Arabs in some way, whether it be munitions, or something else (Daniel 8:25).
His origin. Daniel 11 traces the origin of the King of the South (the leader of the Ptolemaic Dynasty) and the King of the North (leader of the Seleucid Dynasty) back 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, and it was brought to a halt (6th Syrian War) when the Roman Empire interfered in the conflict (Daniel 11:29-30a). But soon that ancient conflict will be resumed, and there will be a King of the South (Egypt) and a King of the North (Turkey).
The Attack of the King of the North. In Daniel 11:40 we get the final Syrian War. The King of the south will push north into Israel, and this movement will provoke the King of the North to come down. He will attack with alarming speed (“as a whirlwind”) and force (“chariots, horsemen, many ships”). His confederacy will number 200,000,000 men! (Rev. 9:16). For the time, his soldiers will be invincible (Joel 2:1-11, Isa. 5:26-30). The relative strength of the King of the north, who is a global superpower, will overwhelm and destroy the King of the South, taking possession of Egypt and her allies, along with the spoils; “the treasures of gold and of silver”. As he passes through the land of Israel, he will wreak havoc along the way. As such his army is pictured as locusts in the prophet Joel; leaving nothing behind. Miraculously, God will preserve those of the faithful remnant who are in the land at that time. But the apostate Jews who have rejected the gospel of the kingdom and have followed the Beast will be consumed. This first attack is called "the consumption" (Isa. 10:22; 28:22; Dan. 9:27).
Timing. It is the attack of the King of the North that brings the Great Tribulation to a close (1260 days from the middle of Daniel's 70th week), for then the terrible persecution of the faithful remnant will abruptly cease, when the apostate Jews are destroyed and the Antichrist flees. This attack is the great fear of the Jews. It is for fear of the Assyrian (the "overflowing scourge") that the Jews enter into the covenant of protection with the Beast. Ironically, that covenant is what seals their fate:
"Because of the protection of abominations [the unholy covenant] there shall be a desolator [the King of the North], even until that the consumption and what is determined shall be poured out upon the desolate." Daniel 9:27
"Your covenant [the unholy covenant] with death shall be annulled, and your agreement with Sheol shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge [the King of the North] shall pass through, ye shall be trodden down by it." Isa. 28:18
Even today we can see the hatred of the Arab nations surrounding Israel. But God will not allow them to attack until the moment that He has appointed. This moment is pictured in Revelation as the drying of the great river Euphrates (sixth bowl, Rev 16:12) to open up "the way of the kings from the rising of the sun".
His end. Daniel 11:44-45 document the fall of the King of the North. When the King of the North is down in the south (Egypt), he hears troubling rumors from the north and east (Dan. 11:44). Most likely the "rumors" are regarding the landing of a massive western army, and the commotion that follows. On his way north, back in Palestine, he will set up his temporary military base “between the [Mediterranean] sea” and Mount Zion in Jerusalem (Dan. 11:45). This will occur after the Lord has appeared, but before He has revealed Himself to the Jews. The King of the North will meet the Lord in battle at 1290 days from the middle of Daniel's 70th week. By the sound of His voice, the Lord will break the power of the King of the North in the mountains below the city (Isa. 14:24-25), then drive him “afar off” into a desert place, with his back to the Mediterranean and his front to the Dead Sea (Joel 2:20). His end is sudden and conclusive. The Lord will consume them with fire; his vast army will be destroyed in one day (Isa. 10:17-18). Then the King of the North will be cast into the Lake of Fire (Isa. 30:33). So ends the King of the North.
Figures applied to the King of the North:
- A “Whirlwind” (Dan. 11:40b-42) - stressing his swiftness in action.
- The “Overflowing Scourge” (Isa. 28:15-18) - stressing his role as the instrument of judgment.
- The “Bee that is in the land of Assyria” (Isa. 7:18) - stressing his potential to inflict pain.
- The “wild boar” out of the woods (Psa. 80:8-16) - stressing his desire to ruin God's earthly people.
- A “Forest fire” (Zech. 11:1-3) - stressing his path of utter destruction.
Five names of the King of the North:
- The Assyrian (Isaiah 14:25) - stressing his similarity to the historical Assyrian.
- The King of the North (Daniel 11:40) - stressing his connection to the Seleucid Dynasty.
- The Desolator (Daniel 9:27) - stressing his role as the instrument of judgment on Apostate Israel.
- The Exacter (Zechariah 9:8) - stressing his character of ruthlessness against his enemies.
- The King of Bold Countenance (Daniel 8:23) - stressing his warlike power.