The prophecy regarding the King of the North is one of vital importance. Satan hates this prophecy and has sought to create confusion upon this topic. He has managed to hide it for a long time and many who have been indoctrinated by the “new books” do not see the significance of it.

First and foremost, it is evident that Rome (the Papacy) and the KON (King of the North) are two completely separate powers. This can easily be seen by Bible readers and it was properly understood by our church. Let us examine why. We will start with Daniel 11:1.

Also I in the first year of Darius the Mede, even I, stood to confirm and to strengthen him. And now will I shew thee the truth. Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia.  And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will. And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven; and not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others beside those. Daniel 11:1-4

In the beginning of chapter 11, we are given the identity of the powers (KON and KOS) which are the main focus of this prophecy. Many Bible readers skip this verse and historical event completely, and go straight into verse 5 (which, historically, comes years later) and conclude that the KON is the power North of Jerusalem and the KOS is the power south of Jerusalem. Although this is correct at that particuar time in history we are not to ignore what Gabriel outlines in verse 4. According to that verse the KON is the north power, which came into existence from the fall of Alexander’s kingdom and the KOS is the South power, which came into existence from that division. This takes place around 300BC. Several years later the  kingdoms of the North, West and East amalgamated into one kingdom which is what we learn of in Daniel 11:5. However, this amalgamated kingdom was regarded as the King of the North, not because it was simply north of Jerusalem, but because it had, as part of its territory, the original kingdom to the North which came from Alexander’s division. The following historical map demonstrates this:

This map outlines perfectly Daniel 11:4. This is when the KON and the KOS first appear in Bible history, for before the division had taken place, no such powers were yet in existence. From Daniel 11:4 onwards, the KON and the KOS are any countries, states, or kingdoms which possess and control the territories of Lasymycus and Ptolemy respectively. This is the foundation of the prophecy and it was very well understood by Adventist pioneers, not just by Uriah Smith.  Here is an example of this, as seen in the Review and Herald:

“What, then, are the scriptures that relate to Turkey in this time? The last verses of Daniel 11 relate to Turkey, which, as king of the north, with its center at Constantinople, occupies, in direct descent, the place of the original king of the north in the division of the empire of Alexander the Great, as in the fourth verse and onward. And of this Power it is written: “He shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.” Daniel 11:45.” {A. T. Jones, ARSH October 2, 1900, p. 632.11}

Here, A. T. Jones confirms exactly what the Bible clearly depicts. This is crucial to our understanding of the matter as we will see.

Let us take a look now at Daniel chapter 8, which uses the same historical event in reference to another power:

“Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven. And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land. And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them.” Daniel 8:8-10

Let’s make sure we don’t miss this. In this chapter, we see the exact same division of Alexander’s kingdom being presented. These same four generals and their respectful kingdoms are brought to view. According to this vision, the little horn was to come forth from one these kingdoms. Now, if the Papacy were the King of the North in Daniel 11, as many claim, then in Daniel chapter 8, the little horn would have come out of Lysimachus’ kingdom. However, this was not the case. The Papacy comes from Cassander’s kingdom, as history proves, and we as Adventists know very well. Thus, we clearly see, just by this simple comparison that the KON and the Papacy are presented in Scripture as two completely separate entities, kingdoms, or powers. If they were one and the same entity, then both Daniel 8 and Daniel 11 should have introduced them as such. If we are to understand that the Papacy is the KON, then we would be making the Bible contradict itself. This simple comparison of these two passages in Scripture should be more than enough to demonstrate that in 2019, Turkey is indeed the KON, for their territory is almost identical to the territory of Lysimachus’ kingdom.

Over the years many have made the claim that it was only Uriah Smith who held the view of Turkey being the KON and that the church was divided over this subject due to the fact that James White presented the KON as being Rome. However, let us examine a few statements before we jump into any conclusions

“But Turkey, the king of the north, came at him, as the text says, “like a whirlwind,” and, reinforced on land and sea by the English and Russian alliance, drove the French back, and eventually, as stated in verses 41-43, overflowed all the land into Egypt, which again became tributary to Turkey.” {April 1, 1897 EJW, PTUK 195.7}

“Finally in verse 40 he comes again, and at the time of the end,” too, to “the king of the south” and “the king of the north.” The territories of the northern and of the southern division of Alexander’s dominion remain respectively the kingdoms of the north and the south unto the end, and from beginning to end, whatever power might occupy these respective territories would be the king of the north or of the south. Whatever power therefore which, at the time of the end, occupies the territory of Thrace and Bithynia, originally held by Lysimachus, will be the king of the north as certainly as was the power of Lysimachus itself.” {June 8, 1896 ATJ, BEST 171.10}

“At the time of the end (1798) the kings of the north and the south again contended. From the founding of Constantinople by Constantine in 330, the power which held that city had maintained control of the Mediterranean, for Constantinople is recognized by all nations as the key to both Asia and Europe. In the time of the end, history will again center about this city.” {1901 SNH, SDP 245}

“Dear Brother,

Your letter of recent date received. Yesterday I mailed to you a copy of the book on the sealing message. And I have sent a dime to the Pacific Press requesting them to mail to you a copy of “Prophetic Gift in the Gospel Church.” As to where you can get information on “the king of the North,” I think you will find it in Bro. Daniel’s book on “The World War.” Brother Uriah Smith laid no claims to inspiration,” but his view on the king of the North is well established by Sister White in speaking of one occasion when he spoke on the Eastern Question.” This you can read in Volume 4 of the Testimonies, page 278-279 where she called the discourse “a subject of special interest.” etc. It would bother those holding another view than what he advocated to find a word from her favoring their views.

One Brother who had intimated in his writing on the subject that the king of the North might be the pope, told me that Sister White told him he “never should have intimated any such thing, and that his idea would only create confusion.” This was not put in print, but it was what he told me in Autumn 1878. {J. N. Loughborough Letter to Wilfrid Belleau, California. March 25, 1915}

Sabbath School Quarterly March 12, 1904:

The sabbath school lesson was given to every single church member to study in 1904. Can we then say that Ellen White would have been in disagreement and remained silent? I don’t believe so. After all, she was partaking of these sabbath school studies. Furthermore, we have a small booklet that was written by A. T. Jones which was distributed by the church for almost a decade prior to this lesson.

All these statements clearly show that the entire SDA denomination (Ellen White included) understood and agreed upon the fact that Turkey, which was the Ottoman Empire at the time, was the King of the North. To state otherwise would be a misrepresentation of what history has clearly presented.

But what about James White? We have clear statements from him that say otherwise. Before we get to the article that many cite in order to promote the view of the Papacy being the KON, let us first notice that James, himself, had written of Turkey being the KON in his earlier years:

“It is our opinion that any power that reigns over Syria is – for the time being – “the king of the north,” spoken of [in] Daniel XI; hence that the Turkish Dynasty is now [1854] that power. If Russia, Austria, England, or France should become possessed of supreme power over Syria, then it – which ever it might be – would become “the king of the north.” Till then none but the Turkish Dynasty occupies that position, in our opinion.” {James White, Review and Herald, Dec. 12, 1854}

Nevertheless, there are indeed a few statements in which James White makes the exposition of Rome being the KON. The statement most cited is found in the Review and the Herald back in 1877:

“Let us take a brief view of the line of prophecy four times spanned in the book of Daniel. It  will  be  admitted  that  the  same  ground  is  passed  over in  chapters  two,  seven,  eight,  and eleven, with this exception, that Babylon is left out of chapters eight and eleven. We first pass down the great image of chapter 2, where Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome are represented by the gold, the silver, the brass, and the iron. All agree that these feet are not Turkish but Roman. And as we pass down the lion, the bear, the leopard, and the beast with ten horns, representing the same as the great image, again all will agree that it is not Turkey that is cast into the burning flame, but the Roman beast. So of chapter 8, all agree that the little horn that stood up against the Prince of princes is not Turkey but Rome. In all these three lines thus far Rome is the last form of government mentioned.” {James White, Review and Herald, November 29, 1877}”

It is interesting to note that James completely misses the point that these two chapters make, as discussed above. He fails to see that Rome came about from the western division of Alexander’s kingdom and not from the northern. Furthermore, it appears that there were non-biblical factors which influenced James with respect to his view on this topic. His son, Willie White, was asked about his father’s views on this subject on at least two occasions. One of the individuals who addressed this was LeRoy Froom. Froom sent a letter to Willie White to acquire about his father’s view on Daniel 11 and we are given a rather interesting response by Willie White:

“Regardless the views of Elder James White on the King of the North, I can only give a brief outline of a very interesting experience. In order to give anything which approaches to a correct view of this experience, you must take into consideration that Elder White was an Adventist preacher for many years before he was a S.D. Adventist, and by study of the literature of the 1844 movement, you will find that prominent writers took the position that Rome was the King of the North, and in this undoubtedly Elder White was to a considerable extend in agreement.

Another matter you must consider is this, – Elder White was not primarily a theologian. He was a business man, a publisher and administrator of Conference affairs, and did not have the time to give to theological questions that study which he greatly desired to do.

From 1872 to 1878, his soul was filled with the burden of helping S. D. Adventists to understand and accept the necessary burdens of the broadening work which was laid before them through Revelation.  The Battle Creek College was built largely with borrowed money.  During 1872 and 1873, Elders Haskell and Butler obtained many pledges for the college, but we did not have at that time such a system as we now have for following up and making collections.

With the assurance felt by our leading men in these pledges, the College was largely built with borrowed money. Our people were in the habit of depositing their money with the Review and Herald and the Review and Herald lent many thousands to the College and the Sanitarium.

During 1877 and 1878 Elder White carried a tremendous burden of soul over the matter of securing payment of the pledges and clearing the College debt, and he came up to the General Conference of 1878, held in the Battle Creek fair grounds in a big pavilion standing very near where Dr. Kellogg’s mansion now stands, with determination to do everything in his power to help our brethren to get broader views and to make greater sacrifices.

During the earlier part of this year or possibly the last of 1877, there appeared in the Review an article by Elder Smith under the title “Without excuse”. This you will read with deep interest because it intimates that the existing war between Russia and Turkey was probably the beginning of Armageddon. This might have passed like many other Review editorials without serious results, but at the beginning of the great camp meeting in which was combined the annual session of the General Conference and the Michigan Conference and the Annual meetings of the Review and Herald and the Sanitarium and the college, with representatives from all parts of the field, Elder Smith in one of his earliest discourses presented in a very thrilling way the same thoughts as were in the Editorial.

To Elder White this was a great shock because if the logic of Elder Smith’s discourse was taken seriously, the people would naturally conclude that Elder White’s burden was too late in the day and entirely out of place.

The natural result of the full acceptance of Elder Smith’s article and sermon would be for our brethren to say that the end is at hand. Take an armful of tracts, go out and distribute them and then watch for the Son of Man in heaven. The acceptance of this view would undermine all the plans and all the efforts that Elder White was making to clear the debt from our Institutions, and to get out people to adopt broader views and make stronger efforts for the promulgation of the truth.

In response to this, Elder White walked into the pulpit and presented the old, old view regarding the king of the North.

Both Elder Smith and Elder White were seriously in error in presenting their views without counsel, but Elder White was the most in error because it was his discourse that made it plain to the people that our leaders were not in agreement. The day following or possibly the second day during the season of prayer, in their tent, Sister White was taken off in vision and shown very many things which you will find in the Published Testimony as given at that date, and among other things she was given a severe reproof for Elder White for taking a course that would lead the people to observe differences of opinion and to cherish lack of confidence.

During the few months preceding this meeting, I had read Daniel and Revelation by Elder Uriah Smith. I loved the writer; I admired his style; I loved his teaching; and I was shocked when Elder White presented another view regarding the King of the North. One day I said to him, “Father, I have just read Elder Smith’s book and his exposition seems clear to me. Do you really belief that Rome is the Kind of the North.”  His answer was, “I think Elder Smith is going to fast in his exposition, and I thought it was time to present something to check the current of belief that what is transpiring was the beginning of Armageddon.” {Letter from Willie white to Leroy Froom Dec 12, 1930}

In 1919, Willie wrote a similar letter to Elder Vuilleumier of the Ontario Conference:

“Early in the meeting, Eld. Uriah Smith presented the great congregation the same thoughts that he had been presenting in the Review, that the Turco-Russian war of 1877-8 was a beginning of Armageddon. In father’s efforts to arouse our brethren to clear off the B.C. College debt, and to raise monefy for the B.C. San. And for the European Mission, and the proposed British Mission, and other things, he had met the plea, “It is too late, Eld. White to plan for all these things. Too late, too late.

And when he heard Eld. Smith’s presentation, fear seized his soul, and he threw in his exposition of Daniel II, not so much that he really believed it, as that he thoughts it would check a movement that he thought was bordering onto fanaticism, and might lead to the hindrance of the work to be done.”  

These two letters speak for themselves. The fact that LeRoy Froom knew of this is absolutely astonishing. Froom wanted to erase all of Adventism’s, viz. God’s important teachings, and it was during his time that our church began teaching that the Papacy is the KON. Yet, the light of God’s truth continues to be available to those willing to see it. These two letters, alongside everything the church has published for decades about this subject clearly outline the unity in the understanding of this important Bible prophecy. It was Ellen White herself who not only endorsed “Daniel and the Revelation” by Uriah Smith, but encouraged S. Haskell to write “The Story of Daniel the Prophet” in which he clearly presents Turkey again as the King of the North.

It was this very subject that attracted people in the time of the pioneers, and it is this same subject that is to be used by our church today as a way to introduce the three angels’ messages. History is being repeated and Turkey is again coming back to the forefront of world news. We, like the pioneers, need to do use this prophecy, so that people understand the times that we are living in. However, we cannot do this unless we correctly understand the identity of the King of the North. May God continue to guide and lead His people in truth and understanding.

Bill Cave