“In the time of the end the king of the south will engage with him [the king of the north] in a pushing.” Daniel 11:40.
[From ws 05/20 p.2 July 6 – July 12, 2020]
This Watchtower study article concentrates on Daniel 11:25-39.
It claims to be able to identify the king of the north and the king of the south from 1870 to 1991.
We take no issue with the understanding in paragraph 4 which says, “The titles “king of the north” and “king of the south” were initially given to political powers located north and south of the literal land of Israel. Why do we say that? Notice what the angel who delivered the message to Daniel said: “I have come to make you understand what will befall your people in the final part of the days.” (Dan. 10:14) Until Pentecost 33 C.E., the literal nation of Israel was God’s people.”
Neither do we take issue with the following portion in the same paragraph: “the identity of the king of the north and the king of the south changed over time. Even so, several factors remained constant. First, the kings interacted with God’s people [Israel] in a significant way. …. Third, the two kings engaged in a power struggle with each other.”
The claimed 2nd factor is more difficult to substantiate. These kings showed they loved power rather than people, but as they did not know Jehovah it is unprovable to say “they showed by their treatment of God’s people that they hated the true God, Jehovah.” You cannot truly hate what you do not know.
The Watchtower is correct therefore in saying that Daniel 10:14 is referring to the nation of Israel or the Jewish nation, and what will happen in its final days, the Jewish system’s time of the end, but this scripture is not talking about the end of days, the last day, judgment day.
What we do take issue with is the statement in paragraph 1 which claims: “What does the near future hold for Jehovah’s people?” We do not have to guess. Bible prophecy gives us a window through which we can see major events that will affect all of us”.
Yet, guessing is exactly what they are doing. Firstly, they have no proof they are Jehovah’s people, only an unsubstantiated claim. Furthermore, they are ignoring the warning Jesus gave regarding such people as those who claim to understand Bible prophecy being fulfilled, and hence can allegedly understand the future prophecies if these prophecies are indeed still awaiting fulfillment.
What did Jesus say? Matthew 24:24 records Jesus’ words “For false anointed ones [Christs] and false prophets will arise and will give great signs and wonders so as to mislead, if possible, even the chosen ones. Look! I have forewarned you. Therefore, if people say to you: Look! He is in the inner chambers, [or, he is already present invisibly], do not believe it. For just as the lightning comes out of eastern parts and shines over into western parts, so the presence of the Son of man will be.”
Yes, lighting can light up the whole sky even on the darkest night and be so bright that it can wake us up through blackout curtains and closed eyes. “Then the sign of the Son of man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will beat themselves in lamentation, [because they can see and know who has come], and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven.”
Despite this warning from Jesus, the article then takes a leap by assuming that the identity of God’s people as regards to this prophecy, changed at some point in the past, just because of the rejection of the Jewish nation as a whole in the late first century. Indeed, it is easy to come to such conclusions if we do not look at the scriptures in context and look at the translation of the wording carefully.
Ignoring the context (the rest of the prophecy of the king of the north and the king of the south), and wanting a future fulfillment with which to try and guess when Armageddon will come, means that the Organization, like some other religions, then apply eisegesis to their understanding. That means, they are convinced that this prophecy of Daniel relates to the world situation today and only, therefore, try to understand the prophecy in that context.
The Organization, therefore, stretches credulity, by trying to identify the King of the North and the King of the South in the 19th,20th and 21st Centuries. The reasoning given is that “from 1870 onward, God’s people began to get organized as a group”. In summation, on the basis that Jehovah’s Witnesses are God’s organized group of people today on earth, (which is an unproven claim), they then identify Britain as king of the South along with the United States. This can be viewed effectively as disguised nationalism, especially as the Organization started in the USA and soon after in Britain.
Let us all, instead of jumping to conclusions, take a deeper look at the context of Daniel 11:25-39, as the Bible usually helps us understand by the context, rather than picking out a scripture on its own.
Before reading this comparison, please review the following article, which is a referenced investigation into the prophecy in Daniel 11 and Daniel 12, commonly referred to as the king of the south and king of the north prophecy. You may or may not agree with all its conclusions, but it provides an examination of the context, the whole prophecy and the environment in which it was given, and numerous historical references. Indeed the author did not have the understanding that is arrived at in the article until he did the research for himself and looked at the whole prophecy in context and at history, – in particular the accounts of the period by Josephus.
Paragraph 5 inadvertently lends weight to the understanding given in the linked article, that the prophecy only applied to the nation of Israel. In summary, the Watchtower article says that because Christianity became apostate in the 2nd century “until the late 19th century, there was no organized group of God’s servants on earth.” Therefore, as a result, the prophecy of the king of the south and the king of the north could not apply to rulers and kingdoms during that time, because there was no organized group of God’s people for them to attack!!!
Where in the prophecy, indeed, where in the Bible does it say that a lack of an Organization meant a pause in the fulfillment of the prophecy? Please search the NWT 1983 Reference Edition of the Bible for the words ‘Organize’, ‘Organized’, and ‘Organization’. You will only be able to bring up just two references, neither of which is anything to do with the nation of Israel or its replacement.
In fact, for the whole of the period of time, starting from the return from the Babylonian exile to the destruction of the nation in the late first century, the only time the nation of Israel had any organization whatsoever was under the rule of the Maccabees (Hasmonean Dynasty) from around 140 BC to 40 BC, only 100 years out of the 520+ years covered by Daniel 11 and Daniel 12, and that period is not discussed in the prophecy, just how it came about and how it ended.
The biggest problem with the Watchtower Article is that the whole understanding given is based on the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses being God’s chosen people. If they are not God’s chosen people, then the whole interpretation falls. A very shaky foundation on which to understand scripture.
So just to reiterate, the article says we can identify the king of the north and the king of the south in the last 140 odd years, by how they affected Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Let us examine then how the kings of the north and the kings of the south, the Organization proposes have affected Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Paragraphs 7 and 8 claims to identify the king of the south as the United States and Britain. Do you notice the complete absence of any evidence as to how they have allegedly affected either natural Israel, or Jehovah’s Witnesses? The sole basis for identification seems to be on the basis that Britain defeated France, Spain and the Netherlands, an interpretation of Daniel 7, not Daniel 11, and that the Anglo-American world power amassed “an exceedingly large and mighty army” Daniel 11:25. That’s it.
Paragraphs 9-11 claims to identify the king of the north as the German Empire on the basis that it is because it challenged the Anglo-American world power and was the second most powerful nation at that time.
Paragraph 12 states that the claimed king of the north is such because the British and American governments put in to prison the Bible Students who refused to fight. There were other groups and individuals who also refused to fight, but these are ignored.
Paragraph 13 mentions the persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses by Hitler. “The opposers killed hundreds of Jehovah’s people and sent thousands more to concentration camps. Those events were foretold by Daniel”. If we are looking for a large-scale attack on God’s people by Hitler, why ignore the millions of Jews who were murdered, by Hitler’s death squads and extermination camps? The study article also claims, “The king of the north was able to “profane the sanctuary” and “remove the constant feature” by severely restricting the freedom of God’s servants to praise Jehovah’s name publicly. (Dan. 11:30b, 31a) “.
So far, the identification is based on 3 dubious claims:
- The Organization known as Jehovah’s Witnesses today is God’s people and where chosen as such in the 1870’s.
- A few members were put in prison for refusing military service in the First World War, (greatly outnumbered by other conscientious objectors)
- The persecution of the Organization by Hitler (whose persecution may have been in part, provoked by Judge Rutherford’s stinging letter to Hitler, and whose numbers pale into insignificance alongside the extermination of the Jews)
Paragraph 14 then changes the identification of the king of the north to the USSR
Dubious claim no. 4:
The king of the north changes to the USSR, because they banned the preaching work and sent Witnesses into exile. This is despite the fact that the Witnesses were not singled out for special treatment. The communist regime treated any group that resisted its ideology in the same way.
Dubious claim no. 5:
We then have the claim (paragraphs 17,18) that “the disgusting thing that causes desolation” is the United Nations, of which the Watchtower Organization became a non-governmental organization member. The United Nations is identified as “the disgusting thing”, not because it “causes desolation”, but because it claims it can bring world peace. Can you see the logic and full, fulfillment even of the partial phrase taken out of context of “the disgusting thing that causes desolation”? I certainly cannot.
As for the application, it is a pure fabrication when it says, “And the prophecy says that the disgusting thing “causes desolation” because the United Nations will play a key role in the destruction of all false religion”. Where does the prophecy of Daniel 11 talk about the destruction of all false religions? Nowhere!!! This appears to be something imported from the Organization’s interpretation of the book of Revelation.
So, has the United Nations had any effect on the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses? Other than confirming that the Organization is a hypocrite and was a member of the “disgusting thing”, nothing. [i]
So how is this identification correct when it has had no effect on those claiming to be God’s people. The League of Nations and the United Nations have had far more effect on the Nation of Israel in the 20th century than on Jehovah’s Witnesses.
(NOTE: We are not suggesting that the prophecy is being fulfilled today but on the natural nation of Israel instead of the Organization)
The following week’s Watchtower Study will attempt to understand who the king of the north is today (due to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991)!!!
For those interested in confirming the Organization’s exact interpretation of the Daniel 11 prophecy, the following resources are of great use:
The main sources of the Organizations teaching on Daniel 11 are found in “Your Will be done On Earth”, Chapter 10[ii], and “Pay Attention to Daniel’s Prophecy” (dp), Chapter 11 (available in WT Library on mobile and pc).
In the “Daniel’s Prophecy” book in Chapter 13, from paragraph 36-38 you can notice a complete absence of trying to match the events they highlight, with the prophecy in Daniel. Why?
The Organization gives no reason as to why Daniel’s prophecy (in chapter 11), all about the Jewish nation suddenly jumps some 2,000 years into the future.
[i] Please see https://beroeans.net/2018/06/01/identifying-true-worship-part-10-christian-neutrality/ for an examination of the Watchtower Organization’s involvement with the UN.
[ii] The “Your Will be done on Earth” book Chapter 10 is contained in WT 12/15 1959 p756 para 64-68, which is available in the PC WT Library.