(Daniel 11:40-44)

In studying the events described in Dan. 11:40-44, one logical fact is that the "him" and the "he" refers to the papacy. This is the basis on which it can be understood that it is the papacy which will "plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain," (a reference to Jerusalem; Dan. 11:45.)

Upon careful examination, two problems can be perceived in trying to understand the prophecies of Dan. 11:40-44. The first is the description of "chariots" and "horsemen," a portrayal of ancient conflict bearing no resemblance to modern warfare, and "many ships." Obsolescence apart, this seems to be a description of warfare by nations, which leads to the second problem. In the modern context, the Western nations associated with Rome are so powerful that it seems improbable that either Egypt ("King of the South") or any nation of the former Seleucid Empire ("King of the North") would or could dare to make a frontal attack on them. Given that these verses are expressly prophetic of "the time of the end," one is driven to the conclusion that the chariots and horsemen, and probably even the ships, are not to be understood literally. Indeed, by what other description that would be intelligible to Daniel could the conflict have been shown in vision? The conclusion can also be drawn that "King of the South" and "King of the North" are primarily indications of the locations from which the aggressions originate, especially since there are now many nations in the territories once comprising the Seleucid Empire.

In looking at current events, there is one other problem. There is no obvious connection between Egypt and the ISIS threat emanating from Syria and Iraq. (However, worthy of note is the fact that ISIS has established a presence in Lybia, which was a part of the Ptolemaic (Egyptian) Empire.)*

The question is why could attacks by ISIS on European countries and the USA be synonymous with attacks on the papacy. As to Europe, the evidence is overwhelming that the European Union was created as the brainchild of the papacy, and is substantially influenced in its policies by the papacy. In the case of the United States, it is well documented that the Church of Rome wields tremendous influence by the adoption and enactment into laws of the principles of its Social Doctrine, and not least of all its take over of the Republican Party. Moreover, on the authority of Eugene V. Rostow "the policy of the Vatican, and the foreign policy of the United States since the days of Point Four and the Marshall Plan, are ONE." This identification of the European Union and the United States with the papacy makes it reasonable to conclude that offensive actions against them can be regarded as taken against Rome under certain circumstances. Similarly, given that the papacy no longer has its own army, it is valid to view the armies of the European Union and the United States, individually and collectively, as the military forces of Rome, offensively and defensively.

There are aspects of the identity, ideology, and terrorist activities of ISIS which command attention in connection with Dan. 11:40, either as being in the process of fulfillment or as a precursor to fulfillment of the prophecy:

What ISIS Really Wants

Our ignorance of the Islamic State is in some ways understandable: It is a hermit kingdom; few have gone there and returned. Baghdadi has spoken on camera only once. But his address, and the Islamic State’s countless other propaganda videos and encyclicals, are online, and the caliphate’s supporters have toiled mightily to make their project knowable. We can gather that their state rejects peace as a matter of principle; that it hungers for genocide; that its religious views make it constitutionally incapable of certain types of change, even if that change might ensure its survival; and that it considers itself a harbinger of—and headline player in—the imminent end of the world. . .

If al-Qaeda wanted to revive slavery, it never said so. And why would it? Silence on slavery probably reflected strategic thinking, with public sympathies in mind: when the Islamic State began enslaving people, even some of its supporters balked. Nonetheless, the caliphate has continued to embrace slavery and crucifixion without apology. “We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women,” Adnani, the spokesman, promised in one of his periodic valentines to the West. “If we do not reach that time, then our children and grandchildren will reach it, and they will sell your sons as slaves at the slave market.” . . .

For certain true believers—the kind who long for epic good-versus-evil battles—visions of apocalyptic bloodbaths fulfill a deep psychological need. Of the Islamic State supporters I met, Musa Cerantonio, the Australian, expressed the deepest interest in the apocalypse and how the remaining days of the Islamic State—and the world—might look. Parts of that prediction are original to him, and do not yet have the status of doctrine. But other parts are based on mainstream Sunni sources and appear all over the Islamic State’s propaganda. These include the belief that there will be only 12 legitimate caliphs, and Baghdadi is the eighth; that the armies of Rome will mass to meet the armies of Islam in northern Syria; and that Islam’s final showdown with an anti-Messiah will occur in Jerusalem after a period of renewed Islamic conquest.

The Islamic State has attached great importance to the Syrian city of Dabiq, near Aleppo. It named its propaganda magazine after the town, and celebrated madly when (at great cost) it conquered Dabiq’s strategically unimportant plains. It is here, the Prophet reportedly said, that the armies of Rome will set up their camp. The armies of Islam will meet them, and Dabiq will be Rome’s Waterloo or its Antietam. . .

The Prophetic narration that foretells the Dabiq battle refers to the enemy as Rome. Who “Rome” is, now that the pope has no army, remains a matter of debate. But Cerantonio makes a case that Rome meant the Eastern Roman empire, which had its capital in what is now Istanbul. We should think of Rome as the Republic of Turkey—the same republic that ended the last self-identified caliphate, 90 years ago. Other Islamic State sources suggest that Rome might mean any infidel army, and the Americans will do nicely.

ISIS magazine shows flag flying in Vatican

The black flag of Islamic militant group ISIS is shown flying above St. Peter's Square on the cover of the group's magazine Dabiq, which called in its latest issue for a war against the Catholic Church.

With the headline The Failed Crusade, the photo-shopped cover of Dabiq caps new threats against Rome and the Vatican as well as forces led by the United States in a bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria against ISIS militants.

It threatens to "conquer" Rome and "break your crosses," referring to the symbol of Christianity.

Apocalypse NOW: The battle sites that ISIS predict will bring about the end of the world

DERANGED Islamic State (ISIS) leaders have predicted the world will come to a brutal and bloody end with an almighty clash between jihadist and 'infidel' armies in the heart of Europe.

The savage terror group was founded on the belief that all civilisations will crumble in an imminent apocalypse, with their wild theory also identifying four likely locations for a battle they claim will bring about the end of the world.

Three of those sites exist in the Middle East, including two in Syria and one in Israel.

But the fanatics have also pinpointed Italy's capital Rome as the site of another great clash between their soldiers and the West.

"The Muslim armies are supposed to take over Rome, and eventually they are supposed to take over the whole world," explained William McCants, a US expert on jihadism, who has written a new book on the ISIS obsession with the apocalypse.

"The group believes that Muslims will conquer the Italian capital in the course of conquering the entire world. There will be an ultimate victory for Islam and then the end of the world comes."

The United States is in the process of degrading and pushing ISIS out of the territories that it over-ran in mid-2014. The course of current events will ultimately clarify the questions which hang over the ISIS "caliphate." How long will it continue? Will it be destroyed before the fulfillment of Dan. 11:40-44 can clearly be discerned? By watchfulness of the events in Iraq and Syria, combined with following events in the United States and Palestine, that we will discern with certainty where the world stands in the stream of prophetic time.

*After the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC, his commander Ptolemy 1 Soter founded the Ptolemaic State in Egypt.

Egypt became one of the great powers of the Hellenistic world, at various times extending its rule over parts of Syria, Asia Minor, Cyprus, Libya and Phoenicia.