The prophecies of Daniel are too complex to detail here, but Chapter 11 is a crucial prophecy that, in spite of a typical fulfillment in the second century B.C., is explicitly for the end time. Daniel receives a message from the angel Gabriel which speaks of a king of the north (e.g. north of Israel) and a king of the south (e.g. south of Israel). The final "king of the north" will likely be a a united Europe lead by a European. It is plain that the king of the south will, at the time of the end, be an Islamic power. But which one?
Many today are worried about a resurgence of Islamic fundamentalism. By now everyone knows about the ancient Shiite sect. They originated in a schism between Ali, the fourth Caliph and son-in-law of Mohammed, and the ruling dynasty of the time (661 - 750 A.D.). Shi'ism was originally a political movement, but over time, they developed a theological message to go with it. The political ruler of Shi'ism, the Imam became a manifestation of God and "the primordial light that sustains the universe and bestows true knowledge on man." The Imam alone can convey the hidden and true meaning of the Koran, and the Imam alone is infallible. There are 30 million Shiite Moslems in the world, but relatively few of them are Arabs. A very large number are of Persian or other central Asian stock. Fully 90% of the population of Iran are Shiites.
But what disturbs many observers is that the Shiites are gaining ground, and compose a significant minority among Moslems in the Arabian peninsula. Not long ago, Shiites staged an assault on pilgrims at the Ka'aba Mosque in Mecca. It would be a mistake to assume that the attack was just the work of religious fanatics - in the Islamic world, religion and politics are the same.
Islam is much more than a religion in the diluted sense of the word as it is used in the western world. To Moslems, it is a living and powerful force in the world. Unlike most religions, Islam is very much concerned with government here and now. The doctrine of jihad is far from dead, and it can even be directed at fellow Moslems.
The "moderate" Sunni sect of Moslems is dominant in Saudi Arabia, but here, alcohol is banned, drinkers are flogged, adulterers are stoned, and thieves have their hands cut off. It was Saudi Arabia that, in order to accommodate Islamic law regarding women, declared Queen Elizabeth and two of her ladies in waiting, honorary men when they came on a state visit. It was in Saudi Arabia that a princess who eloped with a commoner was shot dead in a public bazaar before her lover's eyes - he was then beheaded. So much for moderation.
King of the North
According to Daniel's prophecy,
"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" (Daniel 11:40).
The King of the North will enter into Palestine, but Edom, Moab, and most of Ammon will escape. Egypt will not. And since oil is probably at the root of it all, Arabia will not likely escape either. It is not a difficult scenario to write. Europe, unlike the Soviet Union or the United States, is totally dependent on imported oil for its economy - and for Europe, the economy is everything - almost a god.
In the Middle East, there is too much oil, too much money, too much power, too much pride, and too much religion. Sooner or later, something has to explode. Unfortunately, some of the exploding is probably going to be in the west.
The army of Saudi Arabia is a weak army - too dependent on the United States to help. Saudi Arabia, because of the holy city of Mecca and the annual pilgrimage is too vulnerable to infiltration by Moslem fanatics. For years westerners have worried about what could happen if some of those fanatics got hold of a nuclear device. It wouldn't matter if it couldn't be delivered effectively. They could blow themselves up and still precipitate a major disaster.
Could the United States or Russia afford to stand idly by while a European super-state invades the Middle East with all its oil? It does not require a science fiction novelist to see the possibility - even the likelihood - of a spark in the Islamic world igniting World War III.
Europeans and Americans do not understand the Arab people, or their religion - probably because they do not care to understand. That lack of understanding could lead to a disastrous miscalculation. To a western eye, continued instability in the Arab world may seem a more desirable alternative than the only kind of stability the Arab people are likely to find - unity against a common foe. But if we try to play the old Ottoman game of divide and conquer, we may be sowing the wind. We will surely reap the whirlwind.
The Islamic peoples are destined to effect your life in ways you cannot imagine. Failure to understand a people who are positioned to give the world so much grief is a formula for disaster. The sword of Islam has never remained sheathed for long.