“He will come all the way to his end, and there will be no helper for him.”—DAN. 11:45.
SONG 95 The Light Gets Brighter
1-2. What will we consider in this article?
WE HAVE more evidence than ever before that we are living at the end of the last days of this system of things. Soon, Jehovah and Jesus Christ will destroy all governments that oppose the Kingdom. Before that event occurs, the king of the north and the king of the south will continue their conflict with each other and with God’s people.
2 In this article, we will consider the prophecy recorded at Daniel 11:40–12:1. We will identify the current king of the north and discuss why we can face with confidence the challenges that lie ahead.
A NEW KING OF THE NORTH EMERGES
3-4. Who has emerged as the king of the north? Explain.
3 After the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, God’s people in that vast region enjoyed “a little help”—a period of freedom. (Dan. 11:34) As a result, they were able to preach freely, and before long the number of publishers in the former Communist bloc rose to hundreds of thousands. Gradually, Russia and its allies emerged as the king of the north. As discussed in the preceding article, for a government to fill the role of the king of the north or the king of the south, it must do three things: (1) interact directly with God’s people, (2) show by its actions that it is an enemy of Jehovah and his people, and (3) compete with the rival king.
4 Note why we can say that today the king of the north is Russia and its allies. (1) They have had a direct impact on God’s people, banning the preaching work and persecuting hundreds of thousands of brothers and sisters who live in areas under their control. (2) Those actions show that they hate Jehovah and his people. (3) They have been competing with the king of the south, the Anglo-American World Power. Let us see how Russia and its allies have filled the role of the king of the north.
THE KING OF THE NORTH AND THE KING OF THE SOUTH CONTINUE PUSHING
5. What time period is described at Daniel 11:40-43, and what happens during that time?
5 Read Daniel 11:40-43. This part of the prophecy provides an overview of the time of the end. The passage highlights the rivalry between the king of the north and the king of the south. As foretold by Daniel, in the time of the end, the king of the south would engage with the king of the north “in a pushing,” or he would “lock horns with him.”—Dan. 11:40; ftn.
6. What evidence is there that the two kings have been pushing each other?
6 The king of the north and the king of the south continue to compete for world domination. For example, consider what happened after World War II when the Soviet Union and its allies gained influence over much of Europe. The actions of the king of the north forced the king of the south to form an international military alliance, known as NATO. The king of the north continues to compete with the king of the south in an expensive arms race. The king of the north fought his rival in proxy wars and insurgencies in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. In recent years, Russia and its allies have spread their influence across the globe. They have also engaged with the king of the south in cyber warfare. The kings have accused each other of using destructive computer programs in an effort to damage their economies and political systems. And as foretold by Daniel, the king of the north continues his attack on God’s people.—Dan. 11:41.
THE KING OF THE NORTH ENTERS “THE LAND OF THE DECORATION”
7. What is “the land of the Decoration”?
7 Daniel 11:41 says that the king of the north will enter into “the land of the Decoration.” What is that land? In ancient times, the literal land of Israel was considered to be “the most beautiful of all the lands.” (Ezek. 20:6) But what made that land especially precious was that it was the location where true worship was practiced. Since Pentecost 33 C.E., that “land” is not a single, literal geographic location; it cannot be, for Jehovah’s people are spread throughout the earth. Rather, “the land of the Decoration” today is the realm of activity of Jehovah’s people that includes such things as their worship of Jehovah through meetings and the field ministry.
8. How has the king of the north entered into “the land of the Decoration”?
8 During the last days, the king of the north has repeatedly entered into “the land of the Decoration.” For example, when Nazi Germany filled the role of the king of the north, particularly during the second world war, that king entered into “the land of the Decoration” by persecuting and killing God’s people. After World War II when the Soviet Union took on the role of the king of the north, that king entered into “the land of the Decoration” by persecuting God’s people, exiling them.
9. In recent years, how have Russia and its allies entered into “the land of the Decoration”?
9 In recent years, Russia and its allies have also entered into “the land of the Decoration.” How? In 2017, this current king of the north banned the work of Jehovah’s people and threw some of our brothers and sisters into prison. He also banned our publications, including the New World Translation. Further, he confiscated our branch office in Russia as well as Kingdom Halls and Assembly Halls. After these actions, in 2018 the Governing Body identified Russia and its allies as the king of the north. However, even when Jehovah’s people are severely persecuted, they refuse to participate in any action to subvert or change human governments. Rather, they follow the Bible’s counsel to pray for “all those who are in high positions,” especially when such ones are making decisions that could affect freedom of worship.—1 Tim. 2:1, 2.
WILL THE KING OF THE NORTH CONQUER THE KING OF THE SOUTH?
10. Will the king of the north conquer the king of the south? Explain.
10 The prophecy recorded at Daniel 11:40-45 focuses mainly on the activity of the king of the north. Does this mean that he will conquer the king of the south? No. The king of the south will still be “alive” when Jehovah and Jesus destroy all human governments at the war of Armageddon. (Rev. 19:20) Why can we be so sure? Consider what the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation indicate.
11. What does Daniel 2:43-45 indicate? (See cover picture.)
11 Read Daniel 2:43-45. The prophet Daniel describes a series of human governments that have had an impact on God’s people. They are described as the various parts of a giant metal image. The last human government in that series is depicted as the feet of the image that are made of iron mixed with clay. The feet represent the Anglo-American World Power. That prophecy indicates that the Anglo-American World Power will still be functioning when God’s Kingdom strikes and destroys human governments.
12. What does the seventh head of the wild beast represent, and why is that significant?
12 The apostle John also describes a series of world powers that have had an effect on Jehovah’s people. John depicts these governments as being like a seven-headed wild beast. The seventh head of that beast represents the Anglo-American World Power. This is significant because the beast is not shown as growing any other heads. The seventh head of this beast is still dominant when Christ and his heavenly forces destroy it along with the rest of the beast.*—Rev. 13:1, 2; 17:13, 14.
WHAT WILL THE KING OF THE NORTH DO IN THE NEAR FUTURE?
13-14. Who is “Gog of the land of Magog,” and what may provoke him to attack God’s people?
13 A prophecy recorded by Ezekiel gives some insight into what may happen during the last days of the king of the north and the king of the south. If we view the prophecies of Ezekiel 38:10-23; Daniel 2:43-45; 11:44–12:1; and Revelation 16:13-16, 21 as speaking about the same time period and events, it appears that we can expect the following developments.
14 Sometime after the start of the great tribulation, “the kings of the entire inhabited earth” will form a coalition of nations. (Rev. 16:13, 14; 19:19) That coalition becomes what the Scriptures call “Gog of the land of Magog.” (Ezek. 38:2) That coalition of nations will make one final all-out assault on God’s people. What will provoke the attack? Speaking of this time, the apostle John saw a storm of unusually large hailstones raining down on God’s enemies. That symbolic hailstorm may take the form of a hard-hitting judgment message delivered by Jehovah’s people. It could be that this message provokes Gog of Magog into attacking God’s people with the intention of wiping them off the earth.—Rev. 16:21.
15-16. (a) To what event may Daniel 11:44, 45 be referring? (b) What happens to the king of the north and the rest of Gog of Magog?
15 This hard-hitting message and the final attack by God’s enemies may be the same events referred to at Daniel 11:44, 45. (Read.) There, Daniel says that “reports out of the east and out of the north” disturb the king of the north, who goes off in “a great rage.” The king of the north intends “to devote many to destruction.” The “many” referred to seem to be Jehovah’s people.* Daniel may here be describing the final all-out assault on God’s people.
16 This attack by the king of the north, acting along with the rest of the world’s governments, provokes the Almighty and brings on the war of Armageddon. (Rev. 16:14, 16) At that time, the king of the north, along with the rest of the nations that make up Gog of Magog, comes to his end, and there will be “no helper for him”.—Dan. 11:45.
17. Who is Michael “the great prince” mentioned at Daniel 12:1, and what does he do?
17 The very next verse in Daniel’s account gives more details about how the king of the north and his allies will come to their end and how we will be saved. (Read Daniel 12:1.) What does this verse mean? Michael is another name for our ruling King, Christ Jesus. He has been “standing in behalf” of God’s people since 1914 when his Kingdom was established in the heavens. In the near future, he will “stand up,” or take significant action, at the war of Armageddon. That battle will be the final event in what Daniel calls the greatest “time of distress” in history. John’s prophecy recorded in Revelation refers to the time leading up to this battle as “the great tribulation.”—Rev. 6:2; 7:14.
WILL YOUR NAME BE “WRITTEN DOWN IN THE BOOK”?
18. Why can we face the future with confidence?
18 We can face the future with confidence because both Daniel and John confirm that those who serve Jehovah and Jesus will survive this unparalleled time of distress. Daniel says that the survivors will have their names “written down in the book.” (Dan. 12:1) How do we get our names in that book? We must give clear evidence that we have faith in Jesus, the Lamb of God. (John 1:29) We need to get baptized in symbol of our dedication to God. (1 Pet. 3:21) And we must show our support for God’s Kingdom by doing what we can to help others learn about Jehovah.
19. What should we do now, and why?
19 Now is the time to build trust in Jehovah and his organization of loyal servants. Now is the time to support God’s Kingdom. If we do, we will be saved when the king of the north and the king of the south are destroyed by God’s Kingdom.
SONG 149 A Victory Song
Who is “the king of the north” today, and how will he come to his end? Knowing the answers to these questions can strengthen our faith and help prepare us for the trials we will face in the near future.
For more information, see the May 15, 2015, issue of The Watchtower, pp. 29-30.