Friday, March 12, 2010

Thoughts on the History of the King of the South Teaching

It is taught that the Arabs will unite themselves together under the King of the South.

This article, Seeing the World through Islamic Eyes, is an early introduction of the end time King of the South doctrine, written in 1979. It was around this time that the entire world's attention focused on the Iranian Revolution.

Now at first HWA said the King of the South was Ethiopia. This can be traced way back in 1939. When he developed this doctrine it was made with the understanding that Mussolini is 'the Beast' who will fight Christ at his coming.

Even after his prophetic framework completely disintegrated with the Allies' victory, he still retained various ideas from the discredited prophetic narrative. He still believed that Ethiopia was the King of the South, but only until it was conquered by Mussolini.

Even though Haile Selassie was restored as Emperor of Ethiopia, HWA no longer regarded him as the King of the South, insisting that his prophetic role had already been fulfilled. So there is no King of the South now. HWA's post-WWII understanding of this doctrine may be seen in his booklet, The Middle East in Prophecy

LCG apologist Bob Theil has an article all about this topic, Is there a Future King of the South?

Here, in order to support LCG's teaching that the Arabs will later become the King of the South, he argues that HWA's WCG taught a future fulfillment of the King of the South. He cites a 1974 article by Raymond McNair which says Danial 11:40-45 will have a future fulfillment.

Thiel also cites a 1963 Garner Ted Armstrong article, which taught that an expanded Egypt would later become the King of the South. At the time Egypt was called the United Arab Republic, because from 1958-61 it was united with Syria, and Egypt retained that name till 1971. Even though Syria got out of it in 1961 GTA was still insisting that it would later expand into the King of the South two years later. This assertion, like many others he made, would fail.

So it is clear even as early as 1963 some were trying to update this prophecy and provide it another interpretation that could be used to frighten the eternally abused flock.

But what on earth links the Arabs with Hellenistic Egypt?

This is the explanation HWA gave to link Ethiopia to ancient Hellenistic Egypt. Egypt was destroyed by the King of the North so they were a part of Rome. Then the mantle of King of the South passed to Ethiopia because they had escaped Roman rule. Much later Ethiopia is conquered a revival of the Roman Empire, reunified Italy, even though Ethiopia soon regains independence it is now no longer King of the South.
[Daniel 11] Verse 42 says Egypt shall not escape, proving Egypt is not now the "king of the south." Verse 43 says the Libyans and Ethiopians (observe that after its conquest by Mussolini, Ethiopia is not again referred to as the king of the south) shall be at his steps — and he will then control them. Italy lost control of Libya and Ethiopia after the war. (HWA, The Middle East in Prophecy.)
So by this standard the King of the South is gone. There is no one to pass the baton to. HWA said there was no King of the South. However this written before 1972. HWA expected WWIII to start in 1972. Once 1972 came and went this doctrine was left alone for awhile.

So again, how are the Arabs linked to the King of the South?

I do not know.

When I first read HWA's booklet I thought that Ethiopian interpretation made more sense than the modern Arab interpretation because HWA created a link with Hellennistic Egypt, which is taught to be the original King of the South.

Interpretations which assume that the Arabs will produce the King of the South do not have a similar link with Hellenistic Egypt. But I believed LCG's was where God was working so I believed them. And besides Meredith had assured us that the time of the end could only have begun in 1948 with the establishment of Israel or even 1957.

Now because there was no Ethiopian King of the South this doctrine was now useless. But how can you use this to scare followers about the future?

You cannot, so the prophecy needs to be changed. So this idea needed to be somehow updated to be used in modern times.

HWA had originally made no allowance for the possible revival of the King of the South, assuming WWII wold lead to Armageddon, but such a hindrance had never stopped them before.

So it was updated to say the Arab Muslims will unite together.

Now the King of the South which followers had thought was passed away was now revived again, pushed back into tomorrow, where it could be useful in scaring the ever abused flock. Even as early as 1963 this idea began to be fostered upon members, but it was only after 1979 that this idea gained potent life and became a prominent part of COG eschatology.

Members thought the King of the South was passed away, now they were told to be scared again. When the fear was thought to have passed, it came back again with a vengeance. The King of the South had been resurrected. It is a maneuver done with depressing regularity.

1 comment:

  1. I have never understood the COG obsession with the KOTS. Ultimately, it's going to be whoever each COGmeister needs it to be to fit his own interpretation of Armstrong's mongrel theology. Ultimately, even in their own warped worldview, the identity of the KOTS should be irrelevant, because each group is hoping to be huddled in their own cozy confines of Petra by the time anything of prophetic significance involving the KOTS is supposed to take place.