Libyans and Ethiopians in the Last Days

Question:  "In Daniel 11:43 we read that the army of the King of the North (the Antichrist) contains Libyans and Ethiopians. But these will also are part of the army of Gog/Magog [Ezekiel 38:5]. This is strange. They have been slaughtered on the mountains of Israel, how then can they reappear in the army of the Antichrist?"

Setterfield: Please bear with me while I isolate the problem that is causing you the confusion over "Libya" and "Ethiopia" as recorded in Daniel 11:43 when compared with Ezekiel 38:5. There is a very definite answer to this problem, but it means going back to the original Hebrew or Greek and some tribal history.

Let us deal first with the word translated "Ethiopia". It is translated that way from both the ancient LXX Greek and the Hebrew. In Greek it is Aethiopos in both cases. In Hebrew it is Kuwsh (Cush) or its derivative in each case. The key to the situation here is that the Greeks recognized two Ethiopias and the Hebrews recognized two areas where the descendants of Cush settled.

Take the Greeks; the word Ethiopia comes from their words Aethi-opsis meaning "burnt faces". Herodotus speaks of two separate groups of Ethiopians; the western and the eastern. He records that the western Ethiopians had "woolly hair" while the eastern Ethiopians had "straight hair". From the other details given, the eastern Ethiopians are therefore from the areas near Pakistan and Afghanistan. while the western Ethiopians are the dark-skinned, curly-haired Africans from what we call Ethiopia today. In the context in Ezekiel 38, the group involved is associated with Persia or Iran and is therefore most likely the eastern Ethiopians, while the context of Daniel 11 is of the region around Egypt which indicates the western Ethiopia in Africa.

This is borne out by the Hebrew tradition which has two major regions where the descendants of Cush settled. The most commonly understood is the one in Africa. However, there was an eastern segment. This is preserved inn the old names of Khuzistan (Cushistan) and the Hindu-Kush range to the east of Persia or Iran. So the two traditions are the same. Again, it seems that the Eastern Cush comes with Persia or Iran in Ezekiel 38, while the western, or African, Cush is the one in view in Daniel 11 where Egypt is in focus.

As far as "Libya" is concerned, two different words have been translated "Libya" in those same passages. In Ezekiel 38 the word used is Phut or Put in Hebrew. In Daniel 11, the Hebrew word translated "Libya" is Luwbiy which literally means "desert or dry area as in Africa". So in Daniel 11 the desert areas of north Africa are in view, which is in agreement with the link with Egypt in the same passage.

In contrast, the Ezekiel passage has Phut or Put. This was actually a Persian tribe and the language of Pharsee  or Parse  derives from this word. So in the Ezekiel context, an area associated with Persia or Iran is again in view.

So in answer to your question, the confusion you have experienced here is due to some errors in translation and lack of knowledge of ancient tribal lands. The battles involved are with two different groups and probably at two different times. I hope that resolved your dilemma.