Tuesday, May 3, 2016

GCG's Talk of the "King of the South" (February 1993)

Issues of Global Church News and other letters made by GCG's leaders can be viewed in doc format here.

Armstrongism has long scare mongered against the nations of the Middle East teaching that they will soon unify under a future "King of the South." This idea has been changed and altered over the decades of Armstrongism's existence. At first HWA applied this label to Ethiopia. But in 1993 in the early days of Meredith's Global Church this idea was applied to the Middle East.

In the first issue of Global Church News (February 1993) Ron Nelson wrote an article scare mongering that some sort of Muslim superstate would soon emerge. (gcnmag93, pp. 9-10.)

Nelson's article is entitled "Islam: Preparing to be a Power".

The title of this article confusingly presents a religion that is divided into numerous movements within many nation states as though it were a singular political movement. This is incorrect. Rather Muslim societies are divided into many nation states. And even within these nation states there are numerous competing political factions. Some are right wing. Some are left wing. Some are rich. Some are poor. Some are somewhat religious. Some are firmly secular. Some are strongly religious.

But despite this Nelson insists on imagining this diverse group of nation states as a singular movement in the future. And though he says the "King of the South" is to arise in the future he cannot help himself in viewing the Middle East as though it were but one thing. This may be noticed in how he quickly discusses Iran, Egypt and Algeria with little attempt to understand each issue on its own terms.

Nelson is well aware that there are numerous political movements and religious divisions among Muslims in the Middle East.
Islam has not played a significant role in most of modern world affairs. It has been a religion mostly fragmented and disunited from nation to nation and sect to sect (Shiite, Sunni, etc.). There was a rise in assertiveness of the Shiite Muslims in Iran under the Ayatollah Khomeini. However, after his passing even Iran became more moderate. But Islamic fundamentalism is making its presence felt in more and more countries in North Africa, the Middle East and on into Southeast Asia.
But even though Nelson is aware that Islam is not a singular political movement he discusses Muslims in the Middle East as though Islam was a singular political movement by mentioning Iran, Egypt and Algeria. This gives the inaccurate impression that Islam is a singular political movement.
The secular government of Egypt is very concerned. It recently staged a huge security operation aimed at breaking up the troublesome Islamic militants that have been a thorn in the government's side at least since the: [sic] assassination of President Sadat in 1981.

Heavily armed troops sealed off an area of Cairo known to harbor dissidents and arrested 400 Islamic militants. Afterward, President Mubarak's press secretary said, "This operation should finish them off. We estimate that 90 percent of them have been captured now and the rest are on the run, homeless. The terrorist movement has felt the full force and magnitude of the government: " (New York Times News Service, Dec. 10, 1992.)

Some critics of the government in Egypt fear the military operation will have a backlash, causing further instability in the country. In fact, fundamentalists have struck back after the crackdown by shooting foreign tourists in Southern Egypt.
What does Egypt have to do with Iran? Are they not two different countries far away from each other?

The civil war in Algeria is mentioned.
Algeria's military-backed government has also been fumbling for ways to control that country's very assertive fundamentalists wanting to form an Islamic republic. A Los Angeles Times report of Nov. 23, 1992 said, "The collapse of Algeria's government would have an impact particularly in Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt, but also on countries as far away as Jordan and even some of the Muslim former Soviet republics in Central Asia. "

The same report added, "European governments are also worried about the repercussions of their own large Muslim communities. "The [sic] threat to secular governments is real because the Islamists' agenda includes conforming national law to Islamic tenets which are viewed as harsh, inflexible and stifling to the Western-style secular societies.
What does Algeria have to do with Egypt and Iran?

Nelson mentions that relations with Iran have not improved.
Iran's Muslim clerics who run the government see Western values, particularly those of the U. S., which they characterize as "Satan-­America," as an enemy to the religious society they want to enforce on their people. After a moderate faction led by President Hashemi Rafsanjani had taken government control, it was believed that better relations with the United States and Europe would prevail. This is not the case. As Los Angeles Times reported from Tehran, "The expected debut of a kinder, gentler Islamic republic will have to wait. The mullahs [clerics] are back. " (Los Angeles Times, Sept. 29, 1992.)
Nelson then gets to the point: He scare mongers that some sort of united, Muslim superstate will arise in the near future.
A King of the South is prophesied to arise (Dan. 11:5) and have conflict with the king of the North (v.40). The "king of the South" will be a powerful nation in the mideast (south of Europe which is "the North" in prophecy) or a confederation of Islamic countries. It is conceivable that the notoriously disunited Arab countries could forge a viable alliance held together with the "glue" of the common religion and culture of Islam with its unique world view.

This prophesied Southern king, or kingdom, will be sufficiently strong enough to be a serious concern to the "king of the North," causing him to come down into the area of the holy land and establish a military presence there (Daniel 11:41).
Even though he knows the Arab countries are "notoriously disunited" this detail is ignored and minimized in order to justify the dogma taught by GCG at the time of this "King of the South". This dogma taught him to view the Arab nations as a Muslim whole ignoring the fact that there are many Arabs who happen to be Christian or happen to belong to numerous other religions in the region.

Since the 1930s Armstrongites have constantly insisted that some kind of catastrophe will soon occur to the United States. Their predictions have never been fulfilled. There is no need to fear their dire predictions. They are but false prophets.

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