Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by
International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House.
© Copyright 2010 All rights reserved.
The Mamluks, early Ottomans, and the Vision
In those times many will rise against the king of the South. The violent
men among your own people will rebel in fulfillment of the vision, but
As indicated by this verse, the Mamluks held their position as “king of the South”
for the next two-centuries while the north made several changes. The “vision”
refers to the founder of the Ottoman Empire, which would later rule the Middle East
for 400 years (verses 15-19). However, the Ottoman’s first attempt to spread into the
Middle East was unsuccessful, as the verse says. Also, the Ottomans were Turkish
and Sunni, the same as the Mamluks, which explains the reference to “your own
The well-known vision occurred around 1277, when Osman was 19 years old and
spending the night at the home of his mentor, Sheik Edebali, an Islamic scholar and
friend of his father. Osman dreamt of a crescent moon that came out of Edebali’s
chest and went into his chest. After that, a huge tree sprang forth with roots that
spread through three continents with foliage that covered distant lands. Some report
that the city of Constantinople appeared as a diamond, centered on a ring, which he
was putting on his finger when he awoke. Anyway, Edebali interpreted the crescent
as being his daughter, who would marry Osman and their offspring would create a
mighty empire. Four years later, Osman became the leader of a small emirate on the
eastern border of the Byzantine Empire (left).
The Byzantines were still clinging to a small kingdom in western Turkey while
Osman’s emirate attracted a large number of Islamic warriors, seeking refuge from
the Mongol Ilkhanate. Osman proved to be an effective organizer of those warriors
and led them on several conquests of Byzantine cities. His last and greatest conquest
was the city of Bursa, which became the capital of his emirate. Osman died in 1324
and his grandson, Murad, is considered the first sultan of the Ottoman Empire.
Meanwhile, the Ilkhanate suffered a vacuum of power and divided into several
territories but in 1383, Timur, a Mongol descendant, restored control (left).
The Timurid dynasty was characterized by exceptional brutality. In 1400/1401,
they defeated the Mamluks in Syria and massacred the inhabitants of Damascus.
They also destroyed Baghdad and massacred about 20,000. In 1402, they scored a
decisive victory over the Ottomans at Ankara, which deterred the Ottoman expansion
into the Middle East for over a century. The Timurid Empire remained in control of
Persia until 1501.
From 1501-1722, the Safavid Empire took control of Persia and reasserted Iranian
culture in the region and made a change that is significant to end times. The
founder, Shah Ismail I, changed Persia’s official religion to Shiite Muslim,
which it remains today. Perhaps, he just wanted to be different from the Turks but
regardless of the reason, the change was huge. According to research in 2009, Iran
contains up to forty percent of the Shiites worldwide. If the surrounding countries
are included, that percentage is much higher. The Shiites are critical to end times
because of their deep-seeded rival with the Sunni. Without the resurgence that the
Safavids provided, that rival might not have the same vigor that it has today. That is
typical of how God works to achieve the outcome He desires.
In summary, many empires rose against the Mamluks in their two centuries as
“king of the south”. The Ottomans were not successful following the vision because
they were defeated by Timur in 1402. It took many decades for them to recover and
they chose to expand into Europe rather than fighting with Timur. Yet, the Ottoman’s
vision would come true in the next verse.
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The Safavid Empire
The Ottomans (400+ yrs)
Daniel 11: 15-19
Page 8 on Daniel 11
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Daniel 11 Explained
Condensed “one page” Commentary