UCG Again Hedges About Iran Being the King of the South (Plus GCE Update)

Naqsh-e Jahan Square, Iran


The latest Good News magazine (its 100th issue) by the United Church of God (UCG) has the following from its Chairman Melvin Rhodes:

Will Iran Again Influence a U.S. Presidential Election?

Iran is not isolated among Islamic nations. The Iranians dominate an arc of countries that extends both northwest of Iran and eastward. It now includes Iraq, which has a majority Shia population—a population previously kept under control by its late president Saddam Hussein, a nominal but mostly irreligious Sunni Arab. The new democratic system established by U.S. and coalition nations resulted in the majority Shia gaining dominance. And they naturally look to fellow Shiites in Iran…

In the other direction, Iran’s influence extends to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Indeed, in February, the leaders of all three countries met. As the latter two are theoretically U.S. allies in the war against radical Islamists, their meeting should be a serious warning to the United States. The meeting was given little attention by American media.

Furthermore, Iran’s influence is not limited to the Middle East…

As detailed in our free Bible study aid booklet The Middle East in Bible Prophecy, the Bible foretells the coming clash of “the king of the South,” from what is today the Islamic world, and “the king of the North,” leader of a revived Roman Empire composed of a union of nations centered in Europe…

The king of the South will “attack” the North or, as the King James Version of the Bible renders this, “push at” the North.The “push” may imply something other than a direct military attack on Europe. It could be terrorist actions. Or it could be an economic threat. Blocking the Strait of Hormuz or otherwise choking off the West’s oil supplies would certainly come into this category. Europe is far more dependent on Middle Eastern oil than the United States. It’s also possible that American reluctance to take needed military action could be a cause leading to European intervention.

This is not meant to identify Iran as the king of the South—for the southern power may well rise from the majority Sunni Arab nations. Yet Iranian actions could be a catalyst for this.

UCG has in the past indicated that Iran could be the King of the South while also indicating that it could be an Arabic power.  The current issue of its Good News magazine has several articles devoted to Iran and the Middle East and seems to hedge both ways (though the current issue seems to be more tilted towards Iran related to being the King of the South).

Here are some past quotes from UCG on this (the fact that many UCG ministers are now in COGWA suggests that COGWA may be hedging on this as well, though all the quotes shown here are from those still in UCG):

Because Iran is, to this point, intractable in its demand to develop nuclear power, and because it produces the second highest amount of oil in OPEC, neither it nor its new president can be ignored.  Back to Daniel’s enigmatic prediction. He spoke of two geopolitical configurations, kings of the south and north. It’s too soon to tell whether Ahmadinejad will become the first “king,” but it is possible that the group backing that king of the south could well be some form of the Islamic ummah (community) (Maranville C.E. Could Ahmadinejad Be Daniel’s “King of the South”? World News & Prophecy, December 2005).

Eventually Israel will become subject to a European-centered superpower (the “king of the North”) who will invade the Holy Land as a result of a “push” by the “king of the South” (possibly an Islamic group of peoples) as explained in Daniel 11:40-45. Schroeder JR. New Middle Eastern Conflicts: A Wake-up Call for Mankind. World News & Prophecy, August 2006).

…Daniel 11:40-45. These verses tell of a “king of the South” doing something so provocative to a “king of the North” that he reacts by taking over the region of Palestine. On the basis of what we can observe today, we anticipate that the king of the South will be an alliance of Muslim nations from northern Africa through the Middle East and that the king of the North will be a core of European nations, smaller than the present EU configuration (Maranville C.E. China Looks to Africa. World News & Prophecy, June 2007).

UCG’s positions are less defined than the stances of groups such as PCG and LCG.  Gerald Flurry of PCG has repeatedly taught that the inaccurate position that Iran will be the King of the South.  Here  are two examples of that:

Notice this prophecy in Daniel 11:40: “And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.” Iran leads this “king of the south” (Flurry G. From the Editor: Why You Must Watch Europe. Philadelphia Trumpet. Nov-Dec 2006).

How could I have known so long ago that Iran would be the king of the south and clash with the Holy Roman Empire? Because of what was happening in Iran and the Middle East, coupled with Bible prophecy…

So you need to watch Libya and Ethiopia. They are about to fall under the heavy influence or control of Iran, the king of the south. (Flurry G. Libya and Ethiopia Reveal Iran’s Military Strategy. Philadelphia Trumpet, April 2011)

In contrast, LCG’s Roderick C. Meredith has repeatedly and publicly stated that Iran will not be the King of the South (e.g. Meredith R.C. Last Great Day Sermon. Clearwater, Florida. October 25, 2005).

Dr. Meredith has also specifically stated,

The King of the South is not Iran…The King of the South cannot be Iran. Iran is north of Jerusalem (Meredith RC. Endure with Faith. Sermon, Charlotte (NC), September 10, 2005).

I should probably add here that the Iranians are Persian, and not Arabic. They primarily speak Farsi, which is not an Arabic language. While the Iranians tend to be strict Muslims, they are NOT Arabs ethnically, but could provide some support to the King of the South.

Because I do not believe that it will be the final King of the South of Bible prophecy (cf. Daniel 11:4-43), I have tended to believe that Iran may somehow get “neutralized” before this final king rises up. A serious regional conflict in the Middle East may neutralize Iran and neutralize much of its influence. And Syria (Isaiah 17:1) and parts of Lebanon and others may be involved.

UCG’s hedging on this is not hot, nor is it cold enough that if Iran becomes neutralized (as I and others in LCG believe will happen) that UCG will be proven wrong.  Only proven to not to be sure.

Anyway, despite UCG’s hedging and Gerald Flurry’s insistence, IRAN will NOT be the FINAL King of the South.  The final King of the South will be a confederation of primarily Arabic nations of North Africa and the Middle East (the confederation of the final King of the South may go from around Western Sahara and/or Mauritania to perhaps Afghanistan), with Turkey involved, and with likely some support from Iran,  and perhaps some coordination with further eastern nations like Pakistan and Indonesia.  And if there is a significant regional war in the Middle East this year involving Iran, this may serve as a catalyst for the Islamic confederation to form.

Watch! (Mark 13:37)

On other UCG matters, it posted the following:

Amongst other business, the GCE chose two new members for their Council of Elders: Carmelo Anastasi and Mark Mickelson. They will each serve a three-year term. Two incumbents, Scott Ashley and Melvin Rhodes, were returned for another three year term each, and two councillors decided not to run for office again: Bill Eddington and Roy Holladay.

Roy Holladay has been a past president and past GCE (General Council of Elders) chairman for UCG.  I believe that I met Carmelo Anastasi over twenty years ago at one or two FOT sites (in Italy); I am less familiar with Mark Mickelson.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

The Arab World In the Bible, History, and Prophecy The Bible discusses the origins of the Arab world and discusses the Middle East in prophecy. What is ahead for the Middle East and those who follow Islam? What does Islam teach about the Imam Mahdi?
Is There A Future King of the South? Some no longer believe there needs to be. Might Egypt, Islam, Iran, Arabs, or Ethiopia be involved? Is he the Imam Mahdi? What does the Bible say?
Who is the King of the North? Is there one? Do biblical and Roman Catholic prophecies for the Great Monarch point to the same leader? Should he be followed? Who will be the King of the North discussed in Daniel 11? Is a nuclear attack prophesied to happen to the English-speaking peoples of the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand? When do the 1335 days, 1290 days, and 1260 days (the time, times, and half a time) of Daniel 12 begin? When does the Bible show that economic collapse will affect the United States?
Differences between the Living Church of God and United Church of God This article provides quotes information from the two largest groups which had their origins in WCG as well as commentary.
Concerns about Church of God, a Worldwide Association Known as COGWA, this seems to be the largest group that came out of the United Church of God.  Here is some history and concerns about it. UCG’s former president Clyde Kilough and UK CEO Peter Hawkins are part of it.
Teachings Unique to the Philadelphia Church of God Simply calling oneself ‘Philadelphia’ does not make one so (see Revelation 3:7-9), nor does Gerald Flurry calling himself “that prophet” make it so. This article provides many quotes from this group which tries to look faithful.
Are the Laodiceans the Modern Sadducees and Pharisees? Discusses similarities of the Sadducees and Pharisees to various COGs in this end-time.
The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D. The old Radio Church of God and old Worldwide Church of God, now basically the Living Church of God.
The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. These are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG.

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