Russia in Syria

Summary

Since 2015 Russia has had an increasingly strong presence in Syria and an increasing involvement in Iraq and Iran.  This is what is expected to happen prior to Christ’s return based on the prophecy of Daniel chapter 11.

Daniel 11 prophesies in amazing detail what would happen after the time of Alexander the Great.  It accurately predicted that Alexander’s empire would be divided amongst his 4 generals and in relation to the nation of Israel there would be a King of the North to the north of Israel, whose territory was controlled by the Seleucids for many years and a King of the South to the south of them (in Egypt) whose territories would be controlled by the Ptolemies for many years.  See map.

The last section of the chapter outlines what will happen at the time of the end (v40-45).  It outlines how the King of the North will invade the land of Israel but be destroyed by the intervention of God.  The chapter does not state who the King of the North is at the time of the end.  However by comparing the actions described of the King of the North with the actions described of Russia in Ezekiel 38 it is evident that Russia must be the King of the North.

Hence Christadelphians have for over 150 years been expecting Russia to take control of the territory of the King of the North.  Now this is happening before our very eyes.

Now some detail …

Daniel Chapter 11 is written “in the first year of Darius the Mede” (V1).  This is BC538.  The angel that came to Daniel in Chapter 10 (verses 10-13) continues to show Daniel what will happen to “his people (Israel) in the latter days” (10:14).

Chap 11 verse 2 “There shall stand up  yet three kings in Persia and the fourth shall be far richer than they all“.  And so it was.  The three kings are Cambyses, Smerdis and Darius Hystaspes.  The fourth was Xerxes, and indeed his kingdom was richer than all.  The verse then reads “he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia“.  Herodotus the historian, in book 7 of his Histories records the huge campaign Xerxes mounted against the Greeks, as the Bible predicted he would.

Verse 3 – “A mighty king shall stand up” – this refers to Alexander the Great.  In several quick and decisive battles he conquered the Persian empire BC333 to 331

Verse 4 – “His kingdom shall be broken and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven” – Alexander the Great died in Babylon in BC323.  His generals divided the Greek Empire between themselves.  Within a few years the empire was divided into 4 parts (as the prophecy said) headed by Cassander, Lysimachus, Ptolemy and Seleucus.  The next section of Daniel 11 focuses on the kingdoms of Ptolemy and Seleucus, because these were the kingdoms that impacted Israel and the Jews (see map above).

Verses 5 to 32 – Ptolemy & Seleucid Battles

These verses give an amazingly accurate prediction of the history of the battles between the Ptolemies and the Seleucids.  The Ptolemies are called “the king of the south” and the Seleucids “the king of the north” – because they were south and north of Israel respectively.  The terms King of the North and King of the South are only used when a foreign power is in charge of those territories.  Both the Seleucid’s and Ptolemy’s were foreign powers – they were Greeks.

V5-9   Ptolemies victorious over the Seleucids (BC 311 – 221)

V10-12 Antiochus the Great (of the Seleucids) beaten by Ptolemies (Bc221-198)

V13-19 Antiochus the Great – his excursions, victories and defeats (BC198-187)

V20 The rise and fall of Seleucus Philopater (king of the North) (BC187-176)

V21-32 Antiochus Epiphanes conflict with Ptolemies  (BC176-166)

Verses 33-35 – The Maccabees 

This covers the Jewish revolt against the Seleucids led by the Macabees family (Hasmoneans) BC166 – BC64

Verses 36-39 – The Roman Period

This brief section covers the period of Rome’s influence over Israel, from about BC63 when the Roman Pompey conquered Israel, through to the end of the Roman occupation around 636AD.  There is no mention of King of the North or King of the South in this section.  Why might just 4 verses be allocated to a period of 700 years, when there are many more verses on shorter periods of time before this?  It is suggested that this is because the Jewish people were only in the land of Israel up to 70AD.  After this they were in exile.  Because Daniel is being told about what affects his people, the Jews, the times when they are not in Israel are not important.

Verses 40-45 – The Time of the End

This covers the period from 1917 to the time of Jesus Christ’s return.

It begins in v40 “at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him“.  This refers to Britain as a foreign power in occupation of Egypt (hence King of the South) pushing up out of Egypt and pushing the Turks out of Palestine in 1917 (First world war).  The British issued the Balfour Declaration that year to allow Jewish people to return to the land of Israel.

The next words of verse 40 are “and the King of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind“.   This King of the North then goes on to invade the land of Israel (v41), has support in doing this from Libya and Ethiopia (v43) and is destroyed in the land of Israel near Jerusalem.

Who is this King of the North?  The King of the North has to be a foreign power in control of the area of Syria (and possibly Iraq) – the old Seleucid territory.  Russia is now in control of Syria, but does Russia qualify to be the King of the North as outlined in Daniel 11?

Ezekiel 38 describes Russia coming into the Land of Israel at the time of Christ’s return to earth.  The table below shows that there are many similarities between what Russia is described as doing in Ezekiel 38 and what the King of the North does as described in Daniel 11.  Hence it fits that Russia is King of the North.

Similarities Daniel 11 Ezekiel 38–39
1. North of Israel v40  the king of the north shall come against him … v15  thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts…
2. Adversary & Invader of Israel v41  He shall enter also into the glorious land… v9  Like a cloud to cover the land…

v16  thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land…

3. Invades in Time of End v40  At the time of the end …  the king of the north shall come against him. v8  in the latter years thou shalt come…

v16  it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land…

4. Same Peoples with Him v43  the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps… v5  Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them…
5. Same Fate
Same Place
11:45  Come to his end with none to help… on the glorious holy mountain… 38:18–20   Gog smitten by the Lord GOD

39:4  … upon the mountains of Israel…