First of all, it is important to realize that we must receive our teachings from the Bible; so even IF Mr. Armstrong HAD taught that there would still have to be a future king of the South, we still would have to be able to back up such a teaching with Scripture. We have published several articles in previous Updates (Q&A in Update 154; Comments from our Readers in Update #156), and we have also placed a StandingWatch program regarding the king of the South on our Web, showing that Scripture does NOT DEMAND a future king of the South. In addition, we are also pleased to state that Mr. Armstrong did NOT teach something contrary to this fact, several false claims of some notwithstanding.
Hours of research have established that Mr. Armstrong has never written that the final fulfillment of the prophecies about the coming king of the South are certainly yet to come. In fact, Mr. Armstrong wrote an Editorial in 1967, which was published in the Plain Truth, pointing out that the prophecy of Daniel 11:40 WAS fulfilled. There is no further mention of a king of the South after Daniel 11:40. It is clear that Mr. Armstrong, since 1967, never taught that there would definitely be a future king of the South, “attacking” or “pushing at” the future king of the North or Europe.
Further, Mr. Armstrong never taught that the king of the South would be a confederacy of Arab nations, in some way led by Egypt, as some teach today. In 1983 Mr. Armstrong wrote, “Ethiopia… is the only possible government that could be the king of the South.”
The idea of an Arab confederacy at odds with Europe seems to somewhat contradict, to an extent, the prophecy in Psalm 83, implying a confederation between Arab nations AND the future leading nation of Europe, Assur or Germany, AGAINST Israel.
Mr. Armstrong expressly rejected the idea that Egypt would or could be the king of the South. He clearly taught that at the time of Daniel 11:42, Egypt is NOT the king of the South. Compare his booklet on “Middle East in Prophecy.” He wrote that for the last 2,000 years since 31 B.C., the “king of the south… cannot be the king of Egypt.”
It is true that there have been occasional articles published in the Church, suggesting or stating that there still will be a future king of the South. None of these articles were written by Mr. Armstrong. It is correct that in December of 1980 and in June of 1983, a staff writer wrote in two Plain Truth articles that some type of Arab-Moslem confederation is coming as a king of the South, but Mr. Armstrong did not teach this. In his articles, the staff writer omitted to mention Mr. Armstrong’s strong belief that Daniel 11:40 HAS already been fulfilled.
We cannot assume that Mr. Armstrong agreed with the staff writer’s articles, only because they were published in the Plain Truth. Mr. Armstrong wrote in the Good News of October/November 1979, page 1, in response to a personal letter from a member concerning a discrepancy between what he preached and what the Church published: “With all the day-to-day administration responsibilities over the entire globe-girdling Work, it is difficult for me to read every article in The Good News and The Plain Truth before publication.” Thus it is clear that we cannot be certain of Mr. Armstrong’s approval for every article and idea presented in the Church’s publications during this time period. Especially when important details of prophecy were omitted [such as the fulfillment of Daniel 11:40] and thus by default the teaching contradicted what he himself wrote.
Prior to his death in 1986, Mr. Armstrong wrote one more time on the subject in the September 1983 issue of the Plain Truth, once again stating the historical fulfillment of Daniel 11:40. He at that time also wrote: “Ethiopia… is the only possible government that could be the king of the south.” This article appeared in the very next issue in the publishing cycle after the staff writer’s article, so it appears to be a correction of erroneous doctrine done with as little humiliation for the author as possible on Mr. Armstrong’s part.
In conclusion, it is important to let the Bible be our guide. The Bible is not clear that there needs to be a future king of the South, since history has shown that the prophecy in Daniel 11:40 concerning the king of the South was fulfilled, and Scripture could allow for, but does not demand, that this prophecy be dual in fulfillment. The current view of some, which DEMANDS the coming of another king of the South and identifies him as a confederation of Arab nations, under Egpyt’s leadership, is certainly in contradiction to the clear teachings of the Bible.