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Part Nine of The Giza Discovery

This article is the conclusion of a series that has become the book, The Second Coming of the Antichrist

 

The Mighty One

By Peter Goodgame

 

"The Lord has sent death upon Jacob, and it has come upon Israel. And all the people of Ephraim, and they that dwelt in Samaria shall know, who say in their pride and lofty hearts, 'The bricks are fallen down, but come, let us hew stones, and cut down sycamores and cedars, and let us build for ourselves a tower.'" Isaiah 9:8-10, Septuagint Bible (LXX), Brenton's translation

 

Nimrod the Insignificant?

The primary thesis of this study is that the Biblical figure known as Nimrod will be resurrected at the end of the age to fulfill the prophecies of the Antichrist. One of the most common arguments against this thesis is that Nimrod can't possibly be the Antichrist because many see him as only a minor Old Testament figure who is rarely mentioned in the Bible. It is true that the name "Nimrod" appears only four times in the entire Bible: twice within the chronology of Genesis 10, once within a similar chronology in 1 Chronicles 1:10, and once in an obscure reference to the "land of Nimrod" in Micah 5:6. With only four Biblical references to "Nimrod" it seems unlikely that this figure could fulfill the role of the greatest deceiver and most powerful Satanic agent that the world has ever seen. Yet there are other reasons why we should not disregard Nimrod so easily.

In Part Eight of this study we examined evidence that Nimrod was known in Egypt as King Narmer, who was later deified as the god Osiris, the Lord of the Underworld. In Part Five we looked at evidence that Nimrod was known to the ancient Sumerians as the great King Enmerkar who attempted to build a huge tower to the gods in the ancient city of Eridu—a city referred to as the original "Babylon" by the historian Berossos.[1] Traditionally the Tower of Babel event has been associated with Nimrod, and Jewish commentaries as well as the Jewish historian Josephus both seem very emphatic on this point. Regarding the Sumerian name Enmer-kar, the suffix "kar" means "hunter,"  and so "Enmer-kar" is in fact "Enmer the Hunter," just as Nimrod is referred to as the "Mighty Hunter" in Genesis 10. Furthermore, Enmerkar is named on the Sumerian King List as "the one who built Uruk," just as Nimrod is described in Genesis 10:10 as having a kingdom that began in "Babel (Eridu) and Erech (Uruk)... in the land of Shinar." After Enmerkar's death he became honored in Sumerian myth as the semi-divine hero Ninurta, and  eventually this cult evolved into the great cult of Marduk, which became the state religion of Babylon after the conquests and religious innovations of Hammurabi. At first glance Nimrod may appear to be an insignificant figure from a Biblical perspective, but if our analysis of Nimrod's legacy is correct then it is clear that he was a very important figure from a pagan perspective, both during his life and after his death.
 

The Tower of Babel

For the Pagan World it all began at the Tower of Babel. Paganism is a religious system that is based on the worship of fallen angels, and in Part Six we examined how the fallen angels were given authority over the nations of the world as a result of mankind's rebellious attempt to build the Tower of Babel. It was then that the nations were divided "according to the number of the sons of God" (Deuteronomy 32:8) and given their different languages. It was a spiritual as well as a linguistic division of mankind. There are seventy names given in the Table of Nations in Genesis 10 which gave rise to the symbolic number of seventy Gentile nations and seventy Gentile languages in Jewish tradition. In fact the nation of Israel made atonement for the sins of the Gentile nations once each year on the Feast of Sukkoth when seventy bulls were sacrificed at God's Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Regarding the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD a Jewish Rabbi is quoted as saying, "Wo to the nations! They had suffered a great loss without realizing what they had lost. While the Temple existed the altar atoned for them; but now who will atone for them?"[2] What this Rabbi did not know was that the final atoning sacrifice on behalf of the nations had already been offered in the form of Jesus the Messiah.

While on this earth Jesus Himself made a symbolic reference to the "seventy" nations of the pagan world. Recall that at the beginning of His ministry Jesus was confronted by Satan, who boasted over the fact that he possessed authority over all the kingdoms of the world and that they had been "handed over to me" (Luke 4:6). This "hand-over" occurred as a result of the Tower of Babel event. In the New Testament Jesus refers to Satan as the "ruler of this world" (John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11), yet during His ministry Jesus also preached about the coming of the Kingdom of God that would put an end to Satan's worldly kingdom that was made up of "seventy" Gentile nations. In Luke 9:2 Jesus instructed his twelve disciples to "proclaim the kingdom of God," and then in Luke 10 Jesus appointed seventy (KJV, NASB) more disciples to travel throughout Israel and proclaim the very same thing. After this group of seventy disciples returned to Him, Jesus proclaimed that He had seen Satan "fall like lightning from heaven." The appointing of the seventy was a symbolic "shot across the bow" that signaled the inevitable triumph of God's kingdom over Satan and his fallen angelic host that ruled over the nations of the world.

In reading the different versions of the story related in Luke 10 it can be seen that some translations (NIV, ESV) record that the number of disciples that were appointed was seventy-two. Whether the original number was seventy or seventy-two the meaning behind Jesus' symbolic actions remains clear: He was announcing to the world that Satan's kingdom would fall and that God's kingdom was soon to arrive. The discrepancy between seventy and seventy-two crops up in other places as well. For instance, the Greek Septuagint translation of the Old Testament  was traditionally completed by seventy Hebrew scribes. Yet in the preface to the Brenton edition it states that the name Septuagint "derives from the tradition that it was made by seventy (or seventy-two) Jewish scholars..." The heretical Jewish mystical tradition known as Kabbalah explains that seventy refers to the number of nations ruled over by the (fallen) angels, but the more astrologically and mathematically-convenient number of seventy-two is arrived at by adding "Israel" and "Satan" to the seventy Gentile nations.[3] The 20th Century occult scholar Manly P. Hall even goes so far as to say that "wherever this round number is used by the Hebrews it really means seventy-two."[4] The early Kabbalists were strongly influenced by Egyptian paganism and Gnosticism, and within each of these traditions the number seventy-two was favored over seventy (see Part Six). Seventy-two is divisible by twelve, and is itself a divisor of the all-important number of 360, which is perhaps the simplest and best explanation for why the number seventy-two is preferred in religious texts of all types.

Despite the pagan preference for the number seventy-two there still exist pagan references to the original number of seventy. In the Ugaritic literature that has been unearthed by archaeologists in Syria it has been shown that the ancient Canaanites understood that the high god El had a council of exactly seventy divine sons. The Canaanites viewed El as an otiose, or inactive deity who had surrendered his authority over the earth to his sons who were ruled over by the god Baal. Scholars who have examined the epic known as the Baal Cycle have determined that Baal is simply the Canaanite form of the Babylonian god Marduk. In examining the evolution of pagan mythology in its Sumerian, Babylonian, Canaanite, and Greek forms, what we discover is an evolutionary process of "generational layering" that has distanced mankind from any sort of connection to an original, omnipotent, transcendent, and personally-attentive Creator. In Sumerian myth the "heavenly" god is the otiose god Anu, yet the Sumerians were disconnected and separated from Anu and ruled over by the combative brothers Enlil and Enki. In Babylonian mythology the epic known as the Enuma Elish names Marduk as the son of Enki, and Marduk becomes installed as the ruler of the "council of the gods" and of the world. In Greek myth Marduk is equated with Zeus, whose father was Kronos, whose father was Ouranos the far-distant and otiose deity that represented "heaven." Near the end of the Greek Empire the stage was set for yet another generational step that would have seen Apollo overthrow his father Zeus, just as Zeus had overthrown Kronos, and Kronos had overthrown Ouranos.

The number seventy also crops up in Egyptian traditions of Nimrod who was mythologized as the god Osiris. As pointed out in Part Six, the constellation Orion (the "Great Hunter" in the sky) was viewed as a representation of the spirit of Osiris, and this constellation disappeared from the night sky during the summer months for a period of seventy days. Orion was known as the constellation Sah, which is also the Egyptian word for "mummy," as well as the word for "spirit" or "soul." The seventy days of Orion's disappearance in the night sky was understood as the length of time between the death of Osiris and his "resurrection". This strange "resurrection," it must be pointed out, was not a resurrection to the world of the living, but a "resurrection" to a position of ruler of the land of the dead where Osiris became the "Lord of the Underworld." According to Egyptian tradition Osiris was the very first king to be mummified, which was a strange practice copied by the Egyptian rulers that followed him for almost three thousand years. In the strictly-controlled and highly-ritualized mummification process there was a waiting period of exactly seventy days between the embalming process and the actual burial of the corpse in its tomb.

The most provocative tradition that is associated with Osiris concerns his manner of death, as explained by classical historians such as Plutarch and Diodorus Siculus. According to Plutarch, Osiris was killed as a result of a great conspiracy involving his brother Set, the Queen of Ethiopia, and seventy-two other conspirators. Plutarch does not reveal the identity of these other conspirators, but Diodorus Siculus does. He writes [5] that the killers of Osiris were the titans, who were the gods allied with the Greek god Kronos, who is the same as the Sumerian god Enki identified in Part Six as Satan himself. From this information we can begin to recreate the "divine council" scene when God decreed the destruction of Nimrod and his global empire, which was necessary to enable the "division of the nations" into the hands of the fallen angels at the momentous Tower of Babel event. God's response to the Tower of Babel is explained in Genesis 11:6-7, which includes an appeal from God to a group of beings that surrounded Him:

"The Lord said, 'Behold, they are one people and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and there confuse their language so that they will not understand one another's speech.'"

The Book of Jasher is a non-canonical book that is mentioned in Joshua 10:13 and 2 Samuel 1:18, and it explains the identity of the "us" that God refers to in Genesis 11,

"And they built the tower and the city, and they did this thing daily until many days and years were elapsed. And God said to the seventy angels who stood foremost before him, to those who were near to him, saying, ‘Come let us descend and confuse their tongues, that one man shall not understand the language of his neighbor,’ and they did so unto them." (Jasher 9:31)

These seventy "angels" are in fact the very same titans that conspired in the decision to kill Nimrod/Osiris. They are the fallen angels who took part in the program to divide mankind by giving the nations different languages. However, to begin this "division" it was necessary to eliminate Nimrod himself, which was a judgment to which the fallen angels/titans willingly agreed.

The Egyptians knew Nimrod as Osiris the son of Geb, who was the Egyptian "earth god" linked with Nut the "sky goddess." The Greeks knew Geb as Kronos whom they also connected with the early Sumerian god Enki, which is a name that means "Lord of the Earth." In Part Six of this series it was shown that Enki was a direct representation of the fallen angel known as Satan the "ruler of this world." In examining the historical Nimrod we find that he was the first Satanically-inspired king to expand his kingdom by means of murder after the flood, which was a crime that was expressly prohibited in Genesis 9:6. Prior to the flood the fallen angels had interacted with humanity with very negative consequences and then, after the flood, it appears that Satan himself crossed this boundary again and became the primary influence on Nimrod. Through Nimrod mankind became united against the Creator, by conquest and by seduction, which was a rebellion that culminated in the attempt to build the Tower of Babel.

The "division of the nations" was the consequence of this rebellion. It was a judgment against both Nimrod and the entire world. A global empire was dissolved, but in its place appeared a divided world of many nations and many languages, with each nation spiritually controlled and manipulated by a fallen angelic power, who were themselves subservient to their leader Satan. At the Tower of Babel Satan agreed to give up his united world kingdom under Nimrod in exchange for a divided world of many kingdoms, with the understanding that his period of authority over the earth would be temporary and that he would ultimately face judgment. Before his judgment, however, Satan will once again exercise authority over a united world empire which will, once again, be ruled by Nimrod after his resurrection from the dead. In examining the symbol in the book of Revelation of the seven heads that represent seven Satanic kings we find that Nimrod the Antichrist is the first and the last; he is of the seven, but also an eighth, because he appears a second time when his soul comes out of the Abyss. In this way the Pagan Era, during which the majority of mankind has been ruled over by the fallen angels, will come full circle before it is brought to an end at the Second Coming of the true Christ, the true "Alpha and Omega," Jesus of Nazareth.
 

Nimrod's Other Name

It is a misconception that Nimrod does not appear as a major figure in the Old Testament. In this next section we will show that Nimrod appears throughout the prophetic writings of the Old Testament as the primary human adversary of the people of God and of God Himself. Isaiah repeatedly refers to Nimrod, as does Ezekiel, and the minor prophets Hosea, Micah, and Habakkuk prophesy about Nimrod as well. Often the predictions and prophecies of Nimrod, the false Messiah of Paganism, appear immediately before or after prophecies that are given of the true Messiah of the God of Israel. This all becomes clear once we realize that Israel's prophets simply referred to Nimrod by another name.

Nimrod's other name is given in Genesis 10:11, but this fact has gone entirely unnoticed (as far as I know) by all Biblical scholars except for David Rohl and James Lloyd. Even when I first read Rohl's explanation of this fact several years ago I allowed it to pass by without grasping its importance. Here is Genesis 10:9-12 as given in the KJV, which in this case is faithful to the original Hebrew:

"And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah, and Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same [is] a great city."

Nimrod's other name is Asshur. His kingdom began in Babel (Eridu) and Erech (Uruk), but then he moved north and established Ninevah, which became the capital of the Assyrian nation, whose people worshiped Asshur, a fierce war god identical to the Babylonian god Marduk. Nimrod was the founder of Ninevah, and Greek legends ascribe the founding of Ninevah to Ninus, a ruler who allegedly "founded the first empire" and "conquered in 17 years the whole of western Asia."[6] Nimrod's presence in the region is also confirmed by the ancient city known as Nimrud, located just south of Ninevah, also known as Kalhu in ancient times, which is the Biblical Calah established by Nimrod according to Genesis 10:12.

Identifying Nimrod as Asshur is complicated, however, by two problems. The first involves alternate translations of Genesis 10:11, such as those provided by most modern Bibles such as the ASV, NASB, NIV and ESV. Here is how the ESV gives the text:

"From that land he went [referring to Nimrod] into Assyria [Asshur] and built Nineveh, Rehoboth-Ir, Calah, and Resen between Nineveh and Calah; that is the great city."

The question revolves around whether the word "Asshur" is intended as the name of an individual or as the name of a region. Modern translators are disposed to view it as a region precisely because they know that Nimrod founded Ninevah, and because a second reference to Asshur appears several lines later in Genesis 10:22 where Asshur is named as a son of Shem.

This brings us to a second problem: Were there two "Asshurs" or only one? David Rohl solves the problem by arguing that there was only one, and that this Asshur is identical with Nimrod the descendent of Ham. Rohl simply concludes that the reference to Asshur as a son of Shem is a Biblical error. On the other hand, Bible translators solve the problem by concluding that there is only one Asshur, and that he is the son of Shem, unrelated to Nimrod the descendent of Ham. They argue that the first reference to Asshur refers to a region rather than an individual. However, this conclusion was rejected by the scholars who translated both the KJV and the Septuagint (LXX), and for good reasons.

The Hebrew text of Genesis 10:11 begins (see below and read right to left) with the compound word min-haaretz, which is translated as "from the land."  The second word is hahi, meaning essentially "that," and connects "from the land" back to the land of Shinar mentioned previously in verse 10 where Nimrod's kingdom began. The third word is the verb yatza which means "(he) went forth." The fourth word is Asshur. The fifth word is vayben which is derived from the verb banah ("to build") and means "(he) builded," and the sixth is et-Ninevah.

מִן־הָאָ֥רֶץ הַהִ֖וא יָצָ֣א אַשּׁ֑וּר וַיִּ֙בֶן֙ אֶת־נִ֣ינְוֵ֔ה

The most straightforward translation of this text corresponds to the translations found in the KJV and Septuagint (LXX) and it reads,

"Out of that land went forth Asshur, and he built Ninevah..."

The modern translations of this text are in error. Nimrod did not go forth into Asshur because there is nothing in the text that suggests that Asshur is the destination. If Asshur was intended as the destination Asshur would either be prefixed with the prepositional article el, or would end with a final suffix of the letter He, giving either "yatza el Asshur" or "yatza Asshurah". Because neither of these forms are used it should be concluded that Asshur is meant either as an adjective that applies to Nimrod, or that Asshur is simply another name for Nimrod. As an adjective the word asshur could be related to the word asher giving a meaning of "prosperous" or "successful." The verse might then read, "Out of that land he (Nimrod) went forth successfully and built Ninevah." However, this was not the interpretation arrived at by the translators of the Greek LXX or the English KJV. These scholars simply viewed Asshur as the name of the individual who built Ninevah, and from numerous sources we know that this individual was in fact Nimrod. He established his kingdom in Shinar and then he campaigned to the north and built the city of Ninevah. Eventually this city became the capitol of the kingdom of Asshur that we know as Assyria, whose people worshiped Nimrod as the god Asshur, their primary deity. [7]

But if Asshur is another name for Nimrod then what are we to make of the appearance of a second Asshur in Genesis 10:22? The answer is that there are no Biblical errors here and there are in fact two distinct Asshurs—one is a descendent of Ham and the other is a descendent of Shem. This is not unprecedented in the book of Genesis and should not be viewed as an improbable conclusion. If we compare the genealogies of the line of Seth with the line of Cain in Genesis 4-5 we find that there are two "Enochs" and two "Lamechs". Also, in the LXX version of Genesis 10 we find that there is an "Elisa" named as a son of Japheth, and then another "Elisa" named as a nephew of the first "Elisa". Names can be shared by two or more people, and the appearance of two "Asshurs" may seem strange but should not distract us from viewing Asshur as another name for Nimrod. The writings of the Old Testament prophets fully support our conclusion that Asshur is another name for Nimrod, and they also provide some amazing evidence that Asshur is in fact the Antichrist, as we will now begin to show.
 

The Assyrian Threat

Israel's relationship with Asshur the individual, identified in this study as Nimrod the Antichrist, is closely connected with Israel's relationship with the nation of Asshur, or Assyria. This great heathen nation emerged as a threat to Israel in the years after Israel had split into two kingdoms, Israel and Judah, after the death of King Solomon in 931 BC. The southern kingdom of "Judah" was named after the tribe of Judah, and included the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. The Kingdom of Judah controlled Jerusalem and was responsible for the holy temple. Judah also carried with it the Messianic Promise of Genesis 49:10. The northern kingdom of "Israel" controlled the region known as Samaria, and was often referred to as "Ephraim" which was the most important member of the ten-tribe confederation. During the period of the "divided monarchy" Israel and Judah often fought against each other in addition to facing outside adversaries such as Moab, Edom, and the Kingdom of Aram with its capital at Damascus. However, the rise of Assyria overshadowed any previous threats that either kingdom had faced in the past. Biblical historian Eugene H. Merrill explains the situation:

"It is clear that the eyes of the world, including Aram and Palestine, were riveted on one nation—mighty Assyria. The revived empire had begun a sustained westward movement under Adad-nirari II (911-891). This was intensified under Tikulti-Ninurta II (890-884) and, by the time of Ahab and Jehoshaphat, had achieved extremely threatening dimensions under Aššur-nasirpal II (883-859). By about 875 he had pressed west as far as... the upper Euphrates, bringing all the Aramean states of that region under Assyrian control. It was his successor, Shalmaneser III (858-824), who first made it clear, however, that Assyria's objective was to extend her hegemony over the entire western world." [8]

King Shalmaneser ascended to the throne in 858 BC, and a year later he mustered his forces and moved west in a massive campaign that ended with the conquest of Carchemish (located in southern Turkey), a city that dominated an important ford across a northern section of the Euphrates River. At this time the wicked King Ahab of Israel signed a pact with King Ben-Hadad of Damascus and both nations, Israel and Aram, faced off against Shalmaneser in 853. This was Israel's first brush with Assyria and the combined armies caused Shalmaneser to retreat with his forces back to his capital at Calah (Nimrud).

In 841, under strange circumstances, the prophet Elisha anointed Hazael as the successor to Ben-Hadad of Damascus, even as he openly wept with the knowledge that King Hazael would do evil against Israel (2 Kings 8:7-15). That same year Hazael's kingdom was attacked again by the Assyrian army of Shalmaneser, but this time Israel, led by King Jehu, refused to side with Aram, and instead signed a pact with Shalmaneser and paid him tribute. The grovelling of King Jehu on his knees before King Shalmaneser of Assyria is shown on the famous Black Obelisk, excavated from Nimrud and now located in the British Museum in London. The text reads,

"Tribute of Jehu, son of Omri. Silver, gold, a golden saplu (bowl), a golden vase with pointed bottom, golden goblets, pitchers of gold, tin, staves (staffs) for the hand of the king, puruhtu (javelins?), I received from him." [9]

The monarchy of King Jehu was an improvement over that of King Ahab, but Jehu did not serve the Lord faithfully with all his heart (2 Kings 10:30-31). For this reason, and because he had betrayed Aram and allied with Assyria, the Lord allowed Hazael to take portions of land away from Israel during the years of Jehu's reign (841-814) and afterwards.

After King Jehu died he was succeeded by his son Jehoahaz (ruled 814-798), who continued to do "evil in the sight of the Lord." Eventually, however, Jehoahaz turned to the Lord in repentance and asked for deliverance from the kingdom of Aram. The Bible records that the Lord answered the prayer of Jehoahaz and sent him a "deliverer" (2 Kings 13:5). The identity of this "deliverer" is not explained, but we do know that around this time the Aramean attacks against Israel ceased because Damascus was crushed by Assyrian forces under Adad-nirari III in 803 BC. A stela that was unearthed in 1905 explains the result of this conflict from the Assyrian point of view. Note the reference to "Assur" the god of Assyria:

"Against Aram I marched. Mari, king of Aram, in Damascus his royal city, I shut up. The terrifying splendor of Assur... overwhelmed him and he laid hold of my feet, he became my vassal. 2300 talents of silver, 20 talents of gold, 3000 talents of copper, 5000 talents of iron, colored woolen and linen garments, an ivory bed, an ivory couch...his property and his goods, in immeasurable quantity, in Damascus, his royal city, in his palace, I received." [10]

For the next fifty years or so the kingdoms of Israel and Judah experienced a period of relative peace, even though they were led by kings who did not always obey God's commandments. The Assyrian Empire remained in a defensive posture and sometime during the reign of King Assur-dan III (772-755) the prophet Jonah fulfilled his mission to the city of Ninevah. Around this same time the prophet Amos began to speak words of warning to the children of Israel who had become comfortable and complacent, and who were forgetting to fulfill their obligations to the Lord. Amos prophesied against King Jereboam II saying that he would die in battle (fulfilled in 753), and Amos was the first to predict that Israel would be taken away into captivity: "...your sons and your daughters will fall by the sword, your land will be parceled up by a measuring line and you yourself will die upon unclean soil. Moreover, Israel will certainly go from its land into exile" (Amos 7:17).

The great prophet Isaiah's ministry began around the year 740 BC near the end of King Uzziah of Judah's reign. According to 2 Kings 15-16 both King Uzziah and his son King Jotham were faithful to the Lord. However, with Jotham's passing Judah became ruled by his son King Ahaz who turned away from God and embraced the pagan practices of the surrounding nations (2 Kings 16:1-4). For this reason we are told that God raised up the surrounding nations to punish Judah. At this same time Assyria was once again beginning to assert its dominance, and to resist this the nations of Israel and Aram (with its capital of Damascus) formed an alliance. However, King Ahaz refused to join this alliance and so, in 735 BC, the armies of Israel and Aram invaded Judah. With the appearance of this threat God called up the prophet Isaiah to speak to King Ahaz, but God's message was rejected by the king (Isaiah 7:1-12). Instead of putting his faith in God King Ahaz honored the gods of Damascus (2 Chronicles 28:23,) and he reached out to the kingdom of Assyria (Asshur) as his potential savior:

"Ahaz sent messengers to say to Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria, 'I am your servant and vassal. Come up and save me out of the hand of the king of Aram and of the king of Israel, who are attacking me.' And Ahaz took the silver and gold found in the temple of the LORD and in the treasuries of the royal palace and sent it as a gift to the king of Assyria. The king of Assyria complied by attacking Damascus and capturing it. He deported its inhabitants to Kir and put Rezin to death." (2 Kings 16:7-9)

The destruction of Damascus took place in 732 BC, which marked the end of the ancient Kingdom of Aram. Assyrian armies also ravaged Israel and took many captives. During this chaotic time King Pekah of Israel was assassinated and King Hoshea took his place. Hoshea immediately pledged his allegiance to Assyria and began paying a yearly tribute. However, some years later he stopped paying this tribute and turned to Egypt for protection. As a result of this disobedience King Shalmaneser V of Assyria swept into Israel with his armies in 722 BC and completely destroyed the kingdom of Israel, deporting hundreds of thousands of captives to Assyria. According to 2 Kings 17 this happened only because of the obstinate disobedience of the people of Israel.


The Prophets Speak

Israel's prophets during this period had the task of declaring Israel's sins and predicting God's judgment. The sins were grievous and the judgments were harsh, but these were always contrasted with the eventual blessings that were promised to come with the appearance of the Messiah. There were "near" judgments and there were "far" judgments, and Asshur is an important figure in both. On one hand Asshur is the great nation used by God to punish Israel for her idolatry at the end of the period of the divided monarchy, and on the other hand Asshur is the primary figure who will deceive and oppress Israel during the Day of the Lord that will immediately precede the Messianic Kingdom.

The prophet Hosea began his ministry shortly before the death of Israel's King Jereboam II in 753. God's call to Hosea began in a very unique way when God spoke to him and told him to marry a woman who would become a prostitute and have children from her illicit affairs. Hosea's unfaithful wife thus became a symbol of Israel's unfaithfulness to God, and her illegitimate children were given names that predicted the future of the northern kingdom: from punishment, to rejection, and ultimately destruction. Yet God told Hosea that His people would one day repent and finally turn back to God and experience His blessings, just as Hosea was finally told to purchase the favors of his own wife and to forgive her and take her back as his own (3:1-3). In Hosea 4-5 (probably written after 732 BC) the northern kingdom of Israel (Ephraim), is rebuked again for dishonesty, violence, willful ignorance, adultery and idolatry. Judah is also accused of similar sins and both kingdoms are told to expect God's wrath:

"Ephraim will be laid waste on the day of reckoning. Among the tribes of Israel I proclaim what is certain. Judah's leaders are like those who move boundary stones. I will pour out my wrath on them like a flood of water. Ephraim is oppressed, trampled in judgment, intent on pursuing idols. I am like a moth to Ephraim, like rot to the people of Judah. When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah his sores, then Ephraim turned to Assyria [Asshur], and sent to the great king for help. But he is not able to cure you, not able to heal your sores. For I will be like a lion to Ephraim, like a great lion to Judah. I will tear them to pieces and go away; I will carry them off, with no one to rescue them." (Hosea 5:9-14)

The accusations against Israel continue through chapters 6, 7 and 8, and again we find the accusation that Ephraim has turned to Asshur for help, rather than turning to God as their Savior:

"Israel is swallowed up; now she is among the nations like a worthless thing. For they have gone up to Assyria [Asshur] like a wild donkey wandering alone. Ephraim has sold herself to lovers. Although they have sold themselves among the nations, I will now gather them together. They will begin to waste away under the oppression of the mighty king... Israel has forgotten his Maker." (Hosea 8:8-10,14)

The harsh message against Israel continues until God recounts His relationship with His people, giving us a sense of God's sadness regarding what will soon happen:

"When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. The more they were called, the more they went away; they kept sacrificing to the Baals and burning offerings to idols. Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk; I took them up by their arms, but they did not know that I healed them. I led them with cords of kindness, with the bands of love, and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws, and I bent down to them and fed them. They shall not return to the land of Egypt, but Assyria [Asshur] shall be their king, because they have refused to return to me. The sword shall rage against their cities, consume the bars of their gates, and devour them because of their own counsels. My people are bent on turning away from me, and though they call out to the Most High, he shall not raise them up at all. How can I give you up, O Ephraim? How can I hand you over, O Israel?" (Hosea 11:1-8, ESV)

Hosea's message continues with further references to Asshur and to God's anger against Ephraim's sins:

"Ephraim has surrounded me with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit... Ephraim feeds on the wind and pursues the east wind all day long; they multiply falsehood and violence; they make a covenant with Assyria (Asshur), and oil is carried to Egypt." (Hosea 11:12-12:1, ESV)

If Nimrod is indeed the Antichrist, and if his name is also Asshur, then we know that the end-times 70th week covenant of Daniel 9:27 will be a covenant between Israel and Asshur. It is true that Hosea's message above was intended to apply to the nation of Israel after 732 BC when Israel became a vassal of Assyria, yet might there also be an end-times fulfillment that is intended within Hosea's message? I believe that the answer is clearly "YES!" because of the words that are written in Hosea's next chapter:

"But I am the Lord your God from the land of Egypt; you know no God but me, and besides me there is no savior. It was I who knew you in the wilderness, in the land of drought; but when they had grazed, they became full, they were filled, and their heart was lifted up; therefore they forgot me. So I am to them like a lion; like a leopard I will lurk beside the way. I will fall upon them like a bear robbed of her cubs; I will tear open their breast, and there I will devour them like a lion, as a wild beast would rip them open." (Hosea 13:4-8, ESV)

The end-times symbolism contained in this passage is clear for all who have eyes to see. The conclusion that can be drawn from Hosea's message is that when Israel makes a covenant with Asshur, and trusts Asshur as their savior instead of God, then God's judgment against Israel will take the form of a lion, a leopard, a bear and a beast. The symbolism is the same, and given in the same order, as found in Daniel's vision of the Four Beasts (Daniel 7) which is a vision that is not completely explained until Revelation 13:1-3:

"And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was astonished and followed the beast."

In Hosea the passage continues with a reference to "He" who destroys Israel. This "He" is Asshur, who will be resurrected from the dead to become the ruler of the whole world. Asshur is the great Beast of Revelation who comes out of the Abyss, and his name is given in Revelation 9 as Abaddon and Apollyon, which are names that mean "Destroyer" in Hebrew and Greek:

"He destroys you, O Israel, for you are against me, against your helper. Where now is your king, to save you in all your cities? Where are all your rulers—those of whom you said, 'Give me a king and princes'? I gave you a king in my anger, and I took him away in my wrath. The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; his sin is kept in store. The pangs of childbirth come for him, but he is an unwise son, for at the right time he does not present himself at the opening of the womb. Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol? Shall I redeem them from Death? O Death, where are your plagues? O Sheol, where is your sting? Compassion is hidden from my eyes." (Hosea 13:9-14)

As we continue our study we will find that references to Asshur are frequently accompanied by references to Sheol (Hell) and Death. This is explained by the fact that after his death Nimrod/Asshur became viewed as the Lord of the Dead by many ancient cultures. The Egyptians knew Nimrod as Osiris, whose symbol was the constellation Orion, and Osiris was the original prototypical Underworld deity. Nimrod was also known as Adonis in Byblos, as Melqart in Tyre, and as Nergal and Tammuz in Mesopotamia, to name only a few, and all of these deities had strong Underworld connections. When Asshur is resurrected near the beginning of the Day of the Lord he will proclaim that he has conquered Death and defeated Hell, and much of humanity will immediately believe him, including the leaders of Israel with whom he will make a covenant.

The prophet Micah began his ministry near the end of King Jotham of Judah's reign (740-731 BC) and like Isaiah and Hosea he predicted, and then witnessed, Assyria's invasion and destruction of Israel. Micah begins his message with accusations and warnings against Israel and Judah, and against the leaders and false prophets who were deceiving the people. In chapter 4 Micah then turns to a glorious description of the Messianic Kingdom, and then in chapter 5 he predicts the coming of the Messiah Himself. However, what many scholars miss is the fact that after predicting the appearance of the true Messiah Micah also gives a very clear end-times prophecy of Asshur the false Messiah:

    "Marshal your troops, O city of troops, for a siege is laid against us. They will strike Israel's ruler on the cheek with a rod. But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times. Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor gives birth and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites. He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. And he will be their peace.
    When the Assyrian [Asshur] invades our land and marches through our fortresses, we will raise against him seven shepherds, even eight leaders of men. They will rule the land of Assyria [Asshur] with the sword, the land of Nimrod with drawn sword. He will deliver us from the Assyrian [Asshur] when he invades our land and marches into our borders. The remnant of Jacob will be in the midst of many peoples like dew from the LORD, like showers on the grass, which do not wait for man or linger for mankind. The remnant of Jacob will be among the nations, in the midst of many peoples, like a lion among the beasts of the forest, like a young lion among flocks of sheep, which mauls and mangles as it goes, and no one can rescue. Your hand will be lifted up in triumph over your enemies, and all your foes will be destroyed." (Micah 5:1-9)

Micah predicts that the Messiah will come from Bethlehem and that his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. Micah then predicts that Asshur will invade Israel (see Daniel 11:41,45), but Israel will be defended by "seven shepherds, even eight leaders of men." Furthermore, "He" (meaning the Messiah) will deliver Israel from Asshur. After this final Messianic deliverance all of Israel's foes will be destroyed.

Clearly this predicted deliverance from Asshur must be viewed in an end-times context. It is certainly no coincidence that when Asshur arises—as the Antichrist who is one of the seven but also an eighth (see Revelation 17:11)—Israel will produce "seven shepherds, even eight leaders of men" who will defend the faithful remnant of Israel during the Day of the Lord until the triumphant return of the true Messiah.
 

To Rebuild the Tower

The idea that Israel's prophets combined predictions of both "near" and "far" events in a single prophecy is proven by examining the words of Isaiah that were proclaimed at this tumultuous time in Israel's history. We have already mentioned how Isaiah attempted to influence King Ahaz of Judah, and how the king rejected the word of God and chose to put his faith in Assyria instead. Isaiah offered to prove that his words were from God, but the king did not even bother to seek confirmation:

"Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, 'Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.' But Ahaz said, 'I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test.' And he said, 'Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. He shall eat curds and honey when he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. For before the boy knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land whose two kings you dread will be deserted.'" (Isaiah 7:10-16, ESV)

In this passage Isaiah predicted that a virgin would conceive a child, and that the enemies of King Ahaz (Israel and Aram) would be annihilated before the child becomes old enough to know right from wrong. In the following verses we learn that such a son was born and God then reiterated his prediction saying, "before the boy knows how to cry ‘My father’ or ‘My mother,’ the wealth of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria will be carried away before the king of Assyria." Furthermore, the Assyrian menace would also "sweep on into Judah."

Isaiah's prediction of the birth of a child had both a near and a far fulfillment. In the near term it was fulfilled with the birth of the child to the prophetess as related in Isaiah 8:3, but the ultimate fulfillment of a child to be named Immanuel ("God with us") would come only with the birth of the Messiah. After explaining the near term fulfillment of the prophecy as it would be fulfilled through the invasions of Assyria (8:6-22) Isaiah then begins to explain its ultimate Messianic fulfillment:

"The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined. You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil. For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this." (Isaiah 9:2-7)

After giving one of the most beautiful Messianic prophecies ever written the prophet Isaiah then turns his attention back to the present situation and focuses on the apostasy of the northern kingdom of Israel and on the judgment of destruction that will come upon it. Isaiah's words make it clear that God's anger against Israel is white-hot and that His judgment will not be held back:

    "The Lord has sent a word against Jacob, and it will fall on Israel; and all the people will know, Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria, who say in pride and in arrogance of heart: 'The bricks have fallen, but we will build with dressed stones; the sycamores have been cut down, but we will put cedars in their place.' But the Lord raises the adversaries of Rezin against him, and stirs up his enemies. The Syrians on the east and the Philistines on the west devour Israel with open mouth. For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still.
    The people did not turn to him who struck them, nor inquire of the Lord of hosts. So the Lord cut off from Israel head and tail, palm branch and reed in one day—the elder and honored man is the head, and the prophet who teaches lies is the tail; for those who guide this people have been leading them astray, and those who are guided by them are swallowed up. Therefore the Lord does not rejoice over their young men, and has no compassion on their fatherless and widows; for everyone is godless and an evildoer, and every mouth speaks folly. For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still.
    For wickedness burns like a fire; it consumes briers and thorns; it kindles the thickets of the forest, and they roll upward in a column of smoke. Through the wrath of the Lord of hosts the land is scorched, and the people are like fuel for the fire; no one spares another. They slice meat on the right, but are still hungry, and they devour on the left, but are not satisfied; each devours the flesh of his own arm, Manasseh devours Ephraim, and Ephraim devours Manasseh; together they are wagainst Judah. For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still.
    Woe to those who decree iniquitous decrees, and the writers who keep writing oppression, to turn aside the needy from justice and to rob the poor of my people of their right, that widows may be their spoil, and that they may make the fatherless their prey! What will you do on the day of punishment, in the ruin that will come from afar? To whom will you flee for help, and where will you leave your wealth? Nothing remains but to crouch among the prisoners or fall among the slain. For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still." (Isaiah 9:8-10:4, ESV)

In the passage above there are four accusations against Israel, followed by four judgments against Israel, yet with each judgment Isaiah concludes by saying, "For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still." Clearly Israel's apostasy was complete, and the level that it had reached is illustrated within the first accusation. Unfortunately the Masoretic Text, which almost all modern Bibles are based on, does not include the complete text of this accusation and we must turn to the Septuagint translation of the Old Testament to understand Isaiah's divinely-inspired accusation (see footnote 11 for a comment on the MT vs. LXX debate). Here is the passage that I believe contains the original and unedited accusation:

"The Lord has sent death upon Jacob, and it has come upon Israel. And all the people of Ephraim, and they that dwelt in Samaria shall know, who say in their pride and lofty hearts, 'The bricks are fallen down, but come, let us hew stones, and cut down sycamores and cedars, and let us build for ourselves a tower.'" (Isaiah 9:8-10, Septuagint, Brenton's translation)

The apostasy of Israel had become so deep, and so complete, that it was as if the people were ready to rise up and rebuild for themselves the Tower of Babel! The baked bricks of the Tower of Babel had long ago fallen down, but it was as if Israel was ready to build a new tower with stone and wood. The Tower of Babel is the ultimate symbol of pride, arrogance, and rebellion against God, and nothing could better illustrate Israel's complete and total rebellion against God at this time. For all this God's anger could not be turned away and His hand was stretched out in judgment. In fact, God's divine anger is not turned away until it is expressed through God's chosen vessel of judgment, which is the nation of Assyria (in its near fulfillment), as well as Asshur himself in its ultimate fulfillment:

"Ah, Assyria [Asshur], the rod of my anger; the staff in their hands is my fury! Against a godless nation I send him, and against the people of my wrath I command him, to take spoil and seize plunder, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets." (Isaiah 10:5-6, ESV)

It is through Asshur that God's anger is finally satisfied and His hand of judgment finally pulled back. Yet the career of Asshur continues and Isaiah goes on to show how God's judgment, at first expressed through Asshur, will finally come against Asshur:

"But he does not so intend, and his heart does not so think; but it is in his heart to destroy, and to cut off nations not a few; for he says: 'Are not my commanders all kings?'" (10:7-8, ESV)

Asshur's statement of "Are not my commanders all kings?" may have both a "near" and a "far" application, with the "far" fulfillment directly related to the fact that the Antichrist's authority at the time of the end will be given to him by the ten kings that rule over the world (Revelation 17:12-17). In the next passage the Septuagint translation preserves another reference to the Tower of Babel that the Masoretic Text does not provide:

"Then shall he [Asshur] say, 'Have I not taken the country above Babylon and Chalanes, where the tower was built? And have I not taken Arabia, and Damascus, and Samaria? As I have taken them I will also take all the kingdoms: howl, ye idols in Jerusalem, and in Samaria. For as I did to Samaria and her idols, so I will do also to Jerusalem and her idols." (Isaiah 10:9-11, Septuagint)

Isaiah continues with a prediction of the inevitable judgment against the pride and arrogance of Asshur:

    "When the Lord has finished all his work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, he will punish the speech of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria and the boastful look in his eyes. For he says: 'By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom, for I have understanding; I remove the boundaries of peoples, and plunder their treasures; like a bull I bring down those who sit on thrones. My hand has found like a nest the wealth of the peoples; and as one gathers eggs that have been forsaken, so I have gathered all the earth; and there was none that moved a wing or opened the mouth or chirped.'
    Shall the axe boast over him who hews with it, or the saw magnify itself against him who wields it? As if a rod should wield him who lifts it, or as if a staff should lift him who is not wood! Therefore the Lord God of hosts will send wasting sickness among his stout warriors, and under his glory a burning will be kindled, like the burning of fire. The light of Israel will become a fire, and his Holy One a flame, and it will burn and devour his thorns and briers in one day. The glory of his forest and of his fruitful land the Lord will destroy, both soul and body, and it will be as when a sick man wastes away. The remnant of the trees of his forest will be so few that a child can write them down." (Isaiah 10:12-19, ESV)

Once again there is both a near and a far fulfillment to this prophecy. In the near term the nation of Assyria felt God's judgment in a powerful way at least twice: once when Sennacharib's armies were destroyed by the angel of the Lord during the time of King Hezekiah (Isaiah 37:36), and then again when Ninevah was destroyed by Babylon in 612 BC. However, the final judgment against Asshur will not take place until the coming of the Messiah, when God's Holy One will be as a flame to Asshur. Isaiah continues in his prediction regarding the downfall of Assyria, and he also predicts that there will be a righteous remnant within Israel who will survive the Assyrian menace. After concluding his message against Asshur Isaiah then immediately gives another prophecy about the coming of the true Messiah:

"There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear, but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins." (Isaiah 11:1-5, ESV)

Isaiah predicts that the Messiah will destroy "the wicked" with the breath of his lips. In the overall context of Isaiah's message the "wicked" that Isaiah refers to could certainly be Asshur. To support the possibility that Isaiah is predicting that the Messiah will destroy Asshur the Antichrist at the time of the end we need only turn to a later prophecy that comes from the pen of Isaiah. In this passage Isaiah predicts the apocalyptic coming of the "Name of the Lord" which is simply a reference to the Messiah:

"Behold, the name of the LORD comes from a remote place; Burning is His anger and dense is His smoke; His lips are filled with indignation and His tongue is like a consuming fire; His breath is like an overflowing torrent, which reaches to the neck, to shake the nations back and forth in a sieve, and to put in the jaws of the peoples the bridle which leads to ruin. You will have songs as in the night when you keep the festival, and gladness of heart as when one marches to the sound of the flute, to go to the mountain of the LORD, to the Rock of Israel. And the LORD will cause His voice of authority to be heard, and the descending of His arm to be seen in fierce anger, and in the flame of a consuming fire in cloudburst, downpour and hailstones. For at the voice of the LORD Assyria [Asshur] will be terrified, when He strikes with the rod. And every blow of the rod of punishment, which the LORD will lay on him, will be with the music of tambourines and lyres; and in battles, brandishing weapons, He will fight them. For Topheth [a funeral pyre] has long been ready, indeed, it has been prepared for the king. He has made it deep and large, a pyre of fire with plenty of wood; The breath of the LORD, like a torrent of brimstone, sets it afire." (Isaiah 30:27-33, NASB)

The wickedness of Asshur the king is so great that God views him as a pile of wood that is ready and waiting to be incinerated. He is a pyre that will be lit by the very breath of the Messiah Himself. Make no mistake about it—Asshur is the Antichrist king who will be destroyed at the glorious and triumphant Second Coming of Jesus Christ. A third passage that talks about the death of the Antichrist is provided by Isaiah within a prophecy that contrasts the wickedness of the "Destroyer" with the power and righteousness of God:

    "Woe to you, O destroyer, while you were not destroyed; and he who is treacherous, while others did not deal treacherously with him. As soon as you finish destroying, you will be destroyed; As soon as you cease to deal treacherously, others will deal treacherously with you.
    O LORD, be gracious to us; we have waited for You. Be their strength every morning, our salvation also in the time of distress. At the sound of the tumult peoples flee; at the lifting up of Yourself nations disperse... The LORD is exalted, for He dwells on high; He has filled Zion with justice and righteousness. And He will be the stability of your times, a wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is his treasure...
    'Now I will arise,' says the LORD, 'Now I will be exalted, now I will be lifted up. You have conceived chaff, you will give birth to stubble; My breath will consume you like a fire. The peoples will be burned to lime, like cut thorns which are burned in the fire. You who are far away, hear what I have done; and you who are near, acknowledge My might." (Isaiah 33:1-6,10-13, NASB)

These three prophecies from Isaiah all point to the fact that the Messiah will one day save Israel and that He will destroy Asshur, the great "destroyer" who is the oppressor of Israel, with the very breath of His mouth. This very same prediction about the destruction of the Antichrist is re-stated in the New Testament by the Apostle Paul:

"Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God. Don't you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.  (2 Thessalonians 2:1-8, NIV)

In this way the wicked man who inspired mankind's rebellion at the Tower of Babel will finally come to his end. During his first appearance 5000 years ago he was the king of a global empire with a capital at the original "Babylon" where the Tower of Babel was located. After Asshur was killed his empire was shattered and the peoples of the world were divided up. When Asshur appears again, after his soul is released from the Abyss and reunited with his body, there will be another global empire for him to conquer and rule over, known also as Babylon, as predicted in Revelation 17-18.
 

Asshur, King of Babylon

Isaiah's predictions about Babylon begin in chapter 13 and, as is often the case, these predictions involve both near and far fulfillments. In this particular passage Isaiah seems to begin with a prophecy that has a far fulfillment because it refers to events that will occur during the apocalyptic Day of the Lord that immediately precedes the Second Coming of the Messiah. The near fulfillment, on the other hand, begins with verse 17 and speaks of Babylon's destruction at the hands of the Medes. Here is the prediction regarding Babylon that has not yet been fulfilled:

"An oracle concerning Babylon that Isaiah son of Amoz saw: Raise a banner on a bare hilltop, shout to them; beckon to them to enter the gates of the nobles. I have commanded my holy ones; I have summoned my warriors to carry out my wrath-- those who rejoice in my triumph. Listen, a noise on the mountains, like that of a great multitude! Listen, an uproar among the kingdoms, like nations massing together! The LORD Almighty is mustering an army for war. They come from faraway lands, from the ends of the heavens-- the LORD and the weapons of his wrath-- to destroy the whole country. Wail, for the day of the LORD is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty. Because of this, all hands will go limp, every man's heart will melt. Terror will seize them, pain and anguish will grip them; they will writhe like a woman in labor. They will look aghast at each other, their faces aflame. See, the day of the LORD is coming --a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger-- to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it. The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light. The rising sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light. I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless. I will make man scarcer than pure gold, more rare than the gold of Ophir. Therefore I will make the heavens tremble; and the earth will shake from its place at the wrath of the LORD Almighty, in the day of his burning anger." (Isaiah 13:1-13, NIV)

In the Septuagint the underlined passage above reads, "For the stars of heaven, and Orion, and all the host of heaven, shall not give their light." The Day of the Lord will end with the destruction of Asshur, known also as Nimrod, whose symbol was understood by the pagan nations to be the constellation Orion. What Isaiah tells us through the Septuagint is that during the Day of the Lord, when the time for God's judgment arrives, Asshur's heavenly symbol will not give its light.

Isaiah's oracle against Babylon concludes by predicting the restoration of Israel when God's people will settle in their own land and rule over the surrounding nations that had once oppressed them (Isaiah 14:1-2). And then at that time, only after Israel has received the blessings of the Messianic Kingdom, will they take up a taunt against the king of Babylon. It is important to understand the context of this next passage because it has too often been misunderstood. This king is not Sennacharib, and the text does not drift into a description of Satan. The King of Babylon that Isaiah refers to, whom the restored nation of Israel taunts, is none other than Asshur the Antichrist. Asshur will rise once again to become the ruler of the nations and with his power he will also become Israel's greatest oppressor. Here is the passage in its entirety:

    "When the Lord has given you rest from your pain and turmoil and the hard service with which you were made to serve, you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon:
    “How the oppressor has ceased, the insolent fury ceased! The Lord has broken the staff of the wicked, the scepter of rulers, that struck the peoples in wrath with unceasing blows, that ruled the nations in anger with unrelenting persecution. The whole earth is at rest and quiet; they break forth into singing. The cypresses rejoice at you, the cedars of Lebanon, saying, ‘Since you were laid low, no woodcutter comes up against us.’ Sheol beneath is stirred up to meet you when you come; it rouses the shades to greet you, all who were leaders of the earth; it raises from their thrones all who were kings of the nations. All of them will answer and say to you: ‘You too have become as weak as we! You have become like us!’ Your pomp is brought down to Sheol, the sound of your harps; maggots are laid as a bed beneath you, and worms are your covers.
    “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ But you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit. Those who see you will stare at you and ponder over you: ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, who made the world like a desert and overthrew its cities, who did not let his prisoners go home?’
    “All the kings of the nations lie in glory, each in his own tomb; but you are cast out, away from your grave, like a loathed branch, clothed with the slain, those pierced by the sword, who go down to the stones of the pit, like a dead body trampled underfoot. You will not be joined with them in burial, because you have destroyed your land, you have slain your people. May the offspring of evildoers nevermore be named! Prepare slaughter for his sons because of the guilt of their fathers, lest they rise and possess the earth, and fill the face of the world with cities.
    “I will rise up against them,” declares the Lord of hosts, “and will cut off from Babylon name and remnant, descendants and posterity,” says the Lord. “And I will make it a possession of the hedgehog, and pools of water, and I will sweep it with the broom of destruction,” declares the Lord of hosts.
    The Lord of hosts has sworn: “As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand, that I will break the Assyrian [Asshur] in my land, and on my mountains trample him underfoot; and his yoke shall depart from them, and his burden from their shoulder.”
    This is the purpose that is purposed concerning the whole earth, and this is the hand that is stretched out over all the nations. For the Lord of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?" (Isaiah 14:3-27, ESV)

The traditional interpretation of this passage holds that Satan is referred to in verse 12, which is translated in the KJV as, "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!" We must remember, however, that this is a taunt against the king that is voiced by the people that he had oppressed. They say to him mockingly, "Oh how you have fallen from heaven," yet it is clear that the King of Babylon is only a man (and not a fallen archangel) and that he only imagined in his heart that he could ascend to heaven. In fact in the end, despite his lofty ambitions, he finds that he has only descended to Hell. As long as the conclusion in verses 24-28 is not separated from the body of the prophecy in verses 3-23 it is clear that Asshur is the subject of the entire prediction and that he is the "King of Babylon" whom Israel will taunt. The final reference in this passage to the Lord's "outstretched hand" points back to the original accusation that began in Isaiah 9:8 with the reference to the "tower" that Ephraim wished to rebuild, which was a metaphorical description of Ephraim's deep apostasy. Through Isaiah God then predicted that Asshur was the "rod of my anger," and finally in Isaiah 14:24-28 God concludes by saying that His outstretched hand of judgment that will affect "all the nations" will be felt through Asshur. Yet Asshur will fall on the mountains of Israel. This is God's plan and God's purpose, and no one will be able to change it.

The name "Lucifer, son of the Morning," comes from the Hebrew Helel ben Shakar, also translated as "Shining One, son of the Dawn." But if Satan is Lucifer, then who is his father "Shakar"? The only being that can be viewed as Satan's father is God the Creator, but why would God be named as Shakar? However, if we view Lucifer as Asshur who will one day return as the Antichrist, and view Shakar as Satan his father (the former chief of the "morning stars" - see Job 38:7), then Isaiah's entire prophecy with all of its apocalyptic overtones makes much more sense. [12]

One last item that is important to point out (which was made clear to me through the insight of Julieta Franco), is the statement regarding the judgment of Asshur the King of Babylon in Isaiah 14:21: "Prepare slaughter for his sons because of the guilt of their fathers, lest they rise and possess the earth, and fill the face of the world with cities." This command is essentially the very opposite of the mandate that was given in Genesis 9:1 to the sons of Noah, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth." This was the original command, but because of the wickedness of Asshur God commands that his descendents are to be killed so that they cannot "fill the earth" as they were first instructed to do.

There is yet one more passage from Isaiah that identifies Asshur as the King of Babylon, and it is found within an oracle given against the city of Tyre. This city worshiped a form of Nimrod known as Melqart, whom the Greeks knew as Heracles. The Greeks were careful to distinguish the Tyrian Heracles, whom they equated with Zeus, from their own hero Heracles about whom they told many tales. Tyre's Heracles was seen as a supreme god, whereas their hero was insignificant in comparison and understood to be only partially divine. During the time of Alexander the Great when the Greeks conquered Egypt they identified Osiris as a supreme God and referred to him as the "Egyptian Heracles," and when in India they gave similar honor to the god Krishna whom they referred to as the "Indian Heracles." Tyre was always known as an important cult center that worshiped a form of Nimrod, and perhaps that is why Isaiah mentions him directly within his oracle against Tyre:

"Behold the land of the Chaldeans; this people was not, till the Assyrian [Asshur] founded it for them that dwell in the wilderness: they set up the towers thereof, they raised up the palaces thereof; and he brought it to ruin." (Isaiah 23:13, KJV)

Asshur was the post-flood founder and king of the original city of Babylon that was built in the land of the Chaldeans, but through his pride and arrogance he brought his entire empire to ruin. In the future, when Asshur comes again and brings the history of Paganism full circle, he will do the very same thing just as Isaiah 14:20 says of Asshur, "...you have destroyed your land, you have slain your people."
 

A Covenant With Asshur

After giving his oracle against Tyre in chapter 23 the prophet Isaiah then proceeds into a lengthy predictive narrative of the judgments that will befall Israel, the earth, and all its nations and people, which continues from chapter 24 to the end of chapter 35. The overall subject is the Day of the Lord, and Israel is warned of what will happen during this time and encouraged to remain faithful to God. Within this lengthy narrative we find a warning that is given to Israel regarding a covenant that the leaders of Israel will make with an unnamed party:

    "Therefore, hear the word of the LORD, O scoffers, who rule this people who are in Jerusalem, because you have said, 'We have made a covenant with death, and with Sheol we have made a pact. The overwhelming scourge will not reach us when it passes by, for we have made falsehood our refuge and we have concealed ourselves with deception.'
    Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, 'Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, a costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed. I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the level; then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies and the waters will overflow the secret place. Your covenant with death will be canceled, and your pact with Sheol will not stand; when the overwhelming scourge passes through, then you become its trampling place. As often as it passes through, it will seize you; for morning after morning it will pass through, anytime during the day or night, and it will be sheer terror to understand what it means.'
    The bed is too short on which to stretch out, and the blanket is too small to wrap oneself in. For the LORD will rise up as at Mount Perazim, He will be stirred up as in the valley of Gibeon, to do His task, His unusual task, and to work His work, His extraordinary work. And now do not carry on as scoffers, or your fetters will be made stronger; for I have heard from the Lord GOD of hosts of decisive destruction on all the earth." (Isaiah 28:14-22, NASB)

Many Bible scholars believe that this covenant is the very same covenant that is referred to in Daniel 9:27, which will be a covenant between Israel and the Antichrist:

"And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate."

The signing of this covenant marks the beginning of a final seven year period of judgment that will come upon Israel and all the earth prior to the return of Israel's true Messiah. Bible scholar Arnold Fruchtenbaum points out several areas of similarity between Daniel's covenant and Isaiah's "Covenant with Death."[13] First, it should be noted that according to Isaiah the rulers of Israel will enter into this covenant because they believe it will protect them from the "overwhelming scourge." However, this covenant will be broken and Israel will become a "trampling place" when the "overwhelming scourge passes through." In Daniel we also find that the covenant will be broken, which will occur at the midpoint of the seven year period when the Antichrist causes the sacrifices to stop. In Daniel's account we also see that the Antichrist is referred to as "one who makes desolate," and in Isaiah's account we find that Israel does indeed experience desolation from the repeated terror of the "overwhelming scourge," which Fruchtenbaum takes to be the armies of the Antichrist. The final similarity is found from the "destruction" that will come as a result of the covenant. In Daniel it is predicted that the Antichrist will come to his destruction, and in Isaiah there is a warning of "decisive destruction on all the earth."

Further insight into Isaiah's "Covenant with Death and Hell" can be gained when we identify the resurrected Asshur as the Antichrist with whom Israel will sign the covenant. When Asshur rises up out of his tomb to the great astonishment of the entire world it will appear that he has cheated death and overcome Hell. After this miraculous appearance he will be embraced by the kings of the world and then he will turn his attention to Israel. Through deception and flattery Israel's leaders will accept Asshur as their protector and say, "We have made a covenant with death, and with Sheol we have made a pact." But in the end the leaders of Israel will realize their betrayal and they will not find peace until they turn to Yeshua as their faithful and true Messiah.


Delayed Justice

Hosea, Micah and Isaiah all ministered near the end of Israel's period of the divided monarchy and all of them witnessed the rise of Assyria and the destruction and exile of the northern kingdom of Israel that took place in 722 BC. The next group of prophets that were called up by God were Nahum, Habakkuk and Zephaniah. They ministered in the years preceding the destruction of Ninevah in 612 BC at the hands of the newly risen empire of Babylon. The prophet Nahum warned of God's wrath against the wickedness of Ninevah and he predicted the city's complete destruction. The prophet Zephaniah predicted the fall of Ninevah as well, but he focused primarily on the end-times judgment that will come against all nations during the Day of the Lord. The ministry of the prophet Habakkuk came during this same time, and his message begins with a lament regarding the rise of wickedness and injustice in the land of Judah:

"The oracle that Habakkuk the prophet received:
    'How long, O LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, "Violence!" but you do not save? Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted."

The response that Habakkuk receives from the Lord is very troubling, because God tells the prophet that He will raise up the cruel and brutal kingdom of Babylon to punish Judah for her sins:

"Look at the nations and watch--and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told. I am raising up the Babylonians, that ruthless and impetuous people, who sweep across the whole earth to seize dwelling places not their own. They are a feared and dreaded people; they are a law to themselves and promote their own honor. Their horses are swifter than leopards, fiercer than wolves at dusk. Their cavalry gallops headlong; their horsemen come from afar. They fly like a vulture swooping to devour; they all come bent on violence. Their hordes advance like a desert wind and gather prisoners like sand. They deride kings and scoff at rulers. They laugh at all fortified cities; they build earthen ramps and capture them. Then they sweep past like the wind and go on-- guilty men, whose own strength is their god."

When Habakkuk hears this word from God he becomes even more perplexed and distraught. How is it that God can use a nation that is even more evil than Judah to punish Judah?

"O LORD, are you not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One, we will not die. O LORD, you have appointed them to execute judgment; O Rock, you have ordained them to punish. Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves? You have made men like fish in the sea, like sea creatures that have no ruler. The wicked foe pulls all of them up with hooks, he catches them in his net, he gathers them up in his dragnet; and so he rejoices and is glad. Therefore he sacrifices to his net and burns incense to his dragnet, for by his net he lives in luxury and enjoys the choicest food. Is he to keep on emptying his net, destroying nations without mercy? I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint."

The prophet was deeply troubled at the thought of a Babylonian onslaught and he wondered how long God would tolerate such wickedness. Apparently God was moved by the sincere questioning that came from Habakkuk because He provides a very important answer and tells Habakkuk to write it down and preserve it on tablets:

"Then the LORD replied: 'Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.'
    "See, he is puffed up; his desires are not upright-- but the righteous will live by his faith -- indeed, wine betrays him; he is arrogant and never at rest. Because he is as greedy as the grave [Sheol] and like death is never satisfied, he gathers to himself all the nations and takes captive all the peoples. Will not all of them taunt him with ridicule and scorn, saying, "Woe to him who piles up stolen goods and makes himself wealthy by extortion! How long must this go on? Will not your debtors suddenly arise? Will they not wake up and make you tremble? Then you will become their victim. Because you have plundered many nations, the peoples who are left will plunder you. For you have shed man's blood; you have destroyed lands and cities and everyone in them.
    "Woe to him who builds his realm by unjust gain to set his nest on high, to escape the clutches of ruin! You have plotted the ruin of many peoples, shaming your own house and forfeiting your life. The stones of the wall will cry out, and the beams of the woodwork will echo it.
    "Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed and establishes a town by crime! Has not the LORD Almighty determined that the people's labor is only fuel for the fire, that the nations exhaust themselves for nothing? For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
    "Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbors, pouring it from the wineskin till they are drunk, so that he can gaze on their naked bodies. You will be filled with shame instead of glory. Now it is your turn! Drink and be exposed! The cup from the LORD's right hand is coming around to you, and disgrace will cover your glory. The violence you have done to Lebanon will overwhelm you, and your destruction of animals will terrify you. For you have shed man's blood; you have destroyed lands and cities and everyone in them.
    "Of what value is an idol, since a man has carved it? Or an image that teaches lies? For he who makes it trusts in his own creation; he makes idols that cannot speak. Woe to him who says to wood, 'Come to life!' Or to lifeless stone, 'Wake up!' Can it give guidance? It is covered with gold and silver; there is no breath in it.
    "But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him."

At the beginning of the message Habakkuk is told that the revelation applies to the time of the end. The prophet is told that he must wait patiently for fulfillment, but that it will certainly come. We must also bear in mind that God's response is meant to satisfy Habakkuk's desire to see God's justice applied to Babylon. For these reasons I believe that God's response is directed squarely at Nimrod the original King of Babylon who will appear a second time as the Antichrist. Only then will Nimrod feel the full force of God's justice.

God describes this unnamed individual as "puffed up" and "arrogant" which certainly describes the attitude of Nimrod.  He is also compared to Sheol and Death which, as we have seen, are often mentioned in connection with Nimrod/Asshur. Prior to the career of Nimrod in Genesis 9:6 we see that God gave a direct commandment against murder, and we know that Nimrod built his empire by shedding the blood of man. In building his empire he also destroyed lands and cities, took captives, and gathered all nations to himself.

Nimrod also oversaw the building of the Tower of Babel. Josephus writes that this tower was built so that Nimrod would be able to escape God's judgment if it came again in the form of a flood. It was built high above the flood level and it was made of bricks sealed with bitumen so that "it might not be liable to admit water,"[14] just as God's response to Habakkuk says, "Woe to him who builds his realm by unjust gain to set his nest on high, to escape the clutches of ruin."

Another accusation that can be directly applied to Nimrod is that this figure was responsible for promoting the drinking of wine. When we turn to the Greek writings on Nimrod in his guise as the Egyptian god Osiris we find that Diodorus Siculus gives him due credit:

"And the discovery of the vine, they say, was made by Osiris and that, having further devised the proper treatment of its fruit, he was the first to drink wine and taught mankind at large the culture of the vine and the use of wine, as well as the way to harvest the grape and to store the wine."

"Of Osiris they say that, being of a beneficent turn of mind, and eager for glory, he gathered together a great army, with the intention of visiting all the inhabited earth and teaching the race of men how to cultivate the vine..." [15]

The Greek writers were unanimous in their belief that the god they worshiped as Dionysos was merely a form of Osiris that had been transplanted from Egypt. The Romans knew Dionysos as Bacchus, and both Bacchus and Dionysos were closely identified with wine and drunkenness. Nimrod's personal connection with wine can perhaps be traced back to his ancestor Ham who committed an indiscretion against his drunken father Noah as described in Genesis 9:20-24, which seems to be hinted at within Habakkuk's prophecy.

Nimrod can also be given credit for bringing Paganism to the post-flood world, which is simply the worship of fallen angels as gods. According to Plutarch in his re-telling of the story of Isis and Osiris it was Osiris who first taught the Egyptians how to properly "honour the gods." We know that from the very beginning of the Egyptian religion, as in all forms of Paganism, the "gods" were worshiped and represented through idols. In this way we can see how it is possible to view Nimrod as one of the first promoters of idolatry, which is another of the accusations against the unnamed individual found in Habakkuk's message.

The final accusation from Habakkuk's message that must be mentioned is very brief, yet it points undeniably to Nimrod. The unnamed figure is warned: "your destruction of animals will terrify you." Certainly this refers to Nimrod's fame as a "mighty hunter" as mentioned in Genesis 10:9. Perhaps Nimrod trained his armies for battle by sending them out on great hunts, which is an activity that is represented in the Egyptian artifact known as the Hunter's Palette that dates to the very same time period as the Narmer Palette (both of which are analyzed in Part Eight). Nimrod brought death and destruction to the animal world but through Habakkuk God seems to be saying that Nimrod will find terror in the memory of his killings.

The message that God gives to Habakkuk is intended to satisfy the prophet's desire to see justice applied to Babylon. What we see is that God views Nimrod as the great wicked influence over Babylon and judgment against Babylon cannot be complete until Nimrod himself is judged. Nimrod is accused of arrogance and greed, and of plundering the nations of the world, and he is warned that he will one day be plundered. He is accused of promoting drunkenness throughout the world, yet he will one day be forced to drink from the Lord's own cup and come to shame instead of glory. Nimrod is also accused of killing humans and animals and of bringing violence and destruction to cities and nations, and for these many sins violence will come against Nimrod and he will be destroyed. In this way divine judgment against Babylon will finally be complete.


Egypt and Asshur

When God made His covenant with Abraham God gave his descendents all of the land from "the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates" (Genesis 15:18). This original Promised Land was bordered by the kingdom of Egypt on the west and the kingdom of Assyria on the east, and throughout its existence Israel has often been threatened by these two great nations. During the time of Hosea, Micah and Isaiah, when Assyria was dominant, the prophets had to repeatedly warn Israel's leaders to put their faith in God rather than trying to gain peace and safety by forming alliances with these nations.

The prophet Hosea admonished Israel for its alliance with Assyria: "When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah his sores, then Ephraim turned to Assyria, and sent to the great king for help. But he is not able to cure you, not able to heal your sores" (5:13). Israel looked everywhere for help except to the Lord: "Israel's arrogance testifies against him, but despite all this he does not return to the LORD his God or search for him. Ephraim is like a dove, easily deceived and senseless-- now calling to Egypt, now turning to Assyria" (7:10-11). Hosea also compared Israel to a donkey wandering aimlessly: "For they have gone up to Assyria like a wild donkey wandering alone. Ephraim has sold herself to lovers" (8:9).

Israel was destroyed by Assyria, the very nation their leaders had put their faith in. Soon after this disaster the prophet Isaiah warned Judah against making a similar mistake by forming an alliance with Egypt:

"Woe to the obstinate children," declares the LORD, "to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin; who go down to Egypt without consulting me; who look for help to Pharaoh's protection, to Egypt's shade for refuge. But Pharaoh's protection will be to your shame, Egypt's shade will bring you disgrace... Through a land of hardship and distress, of lions and lionesses, of adders and darting snakes, the envoys carry their riches on donkeys' backs, their treasures on the humps of camels, to that unprofitable nation, to Egypt, whose help is utterly useless. Therefore I call her Rahab the Do-Nothing." (Isaiah 30:1-7)

"Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses, who trust in the multitude of their chariots and in the great strength of their horsemen, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel, or seek help from the LORD. Yet he too is wise and can bring disaster; he does not take back his words. He will rise up against the house of the wicked, against those who help evildoers. But the Egyptians are men and not God; their horses are flesh and not spirit. When the LORD stretches out his hand, he who helps will stumble, he who is helped will fall; both will perish together." (Isaiah 31:1-3)

Many times Israel's leaders looked to Egypt and Assyria as allies and potential saviors but through the prophets God repeatedly warned Israel that He was their only Savior, that Israel should only look to Him, and that they would only come to ruin by putting faith in their enemies. Egypt and Assyria would deceive and oppress Israel even to the very end but then, after the return of the Messiah, God would gather Israel and turn to Egypt and Assyria with blessings:

"In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the sea. He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth... The LORD will dry up the gulf of the Egyptian sea; with a scorching wind he will sweep his hand over the Euphrates River. He will break it up into seven streams so that men can cross over in sandals. There will be a highway for the remnant of his people that is left from Assyria, as there was for Israel when they came up from Egypt." (Isaiah 11:11-16)

"So the LORD will make himself known to the Egyptians, and in that day they will acknowledge the LORD. They will worship with sacrifices and grain offerings; they will make vows to the LORD and keep them. The LORD will strike Egypt with a plague; he will strike them and heal them. They will turn to the LORD, and he will respond to their pleas and heal them. In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth. The LORD Almighty will bless them, saying, "Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance." (Isaiah 19:21-25)

"In that day the LORD will thresh from the flowing Euphrates to the Wadi of Egypt, and you, O Israelites, will be gathered up one by one. And in that day a great trumpet will sound. Those who were perishing in Assyria and those who were exiled in Egypt will come and worship the LORD on the holy mountain in Jerusalem." (Isaiah 27:12-13)

"In that day people will come to you from Assyria and the cities of Egypt, even from Egypt to the Euphrates and from sea to sea and from mountain to mountain." (Micah 7:12)

The story of the relationship between Egypt and Assyria continues within the writings of the prophet Ezekiel. He lived after the fall of Assyria and he witnessed the rise of Babylon. Ezekiel was deported from Israel in 597 BC after one of Nebuchadnezzar's invasions and Ezekiel was in Babylon when Jerusalem was destroyed in 586. It was during the long siege of Jerusalem that Ezekiel received from God the first of seven prophecies that were directed against Pharaoh of Egypt, which can be found in Ezekiel 29-32. In the time leading up to Babylon's invasion Israel was faced with the choice of either submitting to Babylon willingly, or holding out against Babylon and hoping for a great victory. This was also the time of the prophet Jeremiah, and he warned the leaders of Jerusalem that they should submit willingly to Babylon, because Babylon's triumph had been ordained by God (see Jeremiah 27). However, the leaders of Israel were swayed against the words of Jeremiah by the predictions of false prophets such as Hananiah (Jeremiah 28), and because they received assurances from Pharaoh Hophra of Egypt that he would lead his armies in defense of Jerusalem. After Babylon attacked, however, the aid from Egypt never materialized, and it was because of this treachery that God's wrath turned against Egypt, and the nation received the judgment from God predicted by Ezekiel.

In addition to predicting the judgments that would befall Egypt Ezekiel also recorded a strange message from God that was to be delivered to Pharaoh. In this message God asks the king of Egypt who he compares himself to. The question is rhetorical because God continues and compares the king of Egypt to Asshur. Understand that this comparison is probably meant to refer to both the nation of Assyria that had recently been defeated, as well as to Asshur the individual who plays such a prominent role in both Egyptian and Assyrian history and religion. Here is God's message to Pharaoh:

"In the eleventh year, in the third month, on the first day of the month, the word of the Lord came to me: Son of man, say to Pharaoh king of Egypt and to his multitude:
    'Whom are you like in your greatness? Behold, Assyria [Asshur] was a cedar in Lebanon, with beautiful branches and forest shade, and of towering height, its top among the clouds. The waters nourished it; the deep made it grow tall, making its rivers flow around the place of its planting, sending forth its streams to all the trees of the field. So it towered high above all the trees of the field; its boughs grew large and its branches long from abundant water in its shoots. All the birds of the heavens made their nests in its boughs; under its branches all the beasts of the field gave birth to their young, and under its shadow lived all great nations. It was beautiful in its greatness, in the length of its branches; for its roots went down to abundant waters. The cedars in the garden of God could not rival it, nor the fir trees equal its boughs; neither were the plane trees like its branches; no tree in the garden of God was its equal in beauty. I made it beautiful in the mass of its branches, and all the trees of Eden envied it, that were in the garden of God.'
    Therefore thus says the Lord God: 'Because it towered high and set its top among the clouds, and its heart was proud of its height, I will give it into the hand of a mighty one of the nations. He shall surely deal with it as its wickedness deserves. I have cast it out. Foreigners, the most ruthless of nations, have cut it down and left it. On the mountains and in all the valleys its branches have fallen, and its boughs have been broken in all the ravines of the land, and all the peoples of the earth have gone away from its shadow and left it. On its fallen trunk dwell all the birds of the heavens, and on its branches are all the beasts of the field. All this is in order that no trees by the waters may grow to towering height or set their tops among the clouds, and that no trees that drink water may reach up to them in height. For they are all given over to death, to the world below, among the children of man, with those who go down to the pit.'
    Thus says the Lord God: 'On the day the cedar went down to Sheol I caused mourning; I closed the deep over it, and restrained its rivers, and many waters were stopped. I clothed Lebanon in gloom for it, and all the trees of the field fainted because of it. I made the nations quake at the sound of its fall, when I cast it down to Sheol with those who go down to the pit. And all the trees of Eden, the choice and best of Lebanon, all that drink water, were comforted in the world below. They also went down to Sheol with it, to those who are slain by the sword; yes, those who were its arm, who lived under its shadow among the nations. Whom are you thus like in glory and in greatness among the trees of Eden? You shall be brought down with the trees of Eden to the world below. You shall lie among the uncircumcised, with those who are slain by the sword. This is Pharaoh and all his multitude,' declares the Lord God.” (Ezekiel 31, ESV)

Before we analyze this text we should recall the end of a particular passage from Isaiah that also describes Asshur as a great tree of Lebanon,

"Behold, the Lord God of hosts will lop the boughs with terrifying power; the great in height will be hewn down, and the lofty will be brought low. He will cut down the thickets of the forest with an axe, and Lebanon will fall by the Majestic One." (Isaiah 10:33-34)

We have already determined that the prophet Habakkuk refers to Nimrod when he says, "The violence you have done to Lebanon will overwhelm you" (2:17), and Isaiah's prophecy of the King of Babylon says that at his death "Even the pine trees and the cedars of Lebanon exult over you and say, 'Now that you have been laid low, no woodsman comes to cut us down'" (14:8). From these texts we know that Nimrod conquered Lebanon, that he pillaged its forests, and that he then became identified with the region. In fact, a word virtually identical to "Asshur" became the Sumerian name for  the mighty "cedar" or "cypress tree" that dominated the mountains and valleys of Lebanon. Bible scholar John Walvoord writes,

"Some scholars think that ”Assyria“ (’aššűr) should be emended to read ”cypress tree“ (or ”pine tree“) (te’aššűr) because of the difficulty in understanding why Ezekiel would mention Assyria in his prophecies against Egypt." [16]

There are two reasons why Pharaoh was compared to Asshur. In the first place the king of Egypt held ambitions of leading his nation to achieve glory similar to that previously experienced by the nation of Assyria. Yet God wanted to make it clear that although Assyria had achieved great glory she had been cut down and destroyed, which is the same fate that is predicted for Egypt.

The second reason for comparing Pharaoh to Asshur was probably understood by Pharaoh to be much more personal. For Pharaoh, the god Asshur was known as Osiris, and all of the royal dynasties of Egypt traced their origin back to this god who, before his death, had been the first king to unite Egypt within a single kingdom, and who also went forth with his armies and conquered the known world. It was only natural for the king of Egypt to honor, admire, and compare himself to Osiris who, it was believed, held the keys to the afterlife. Egyptian religion worshiped Osiris as the ruler of the land of the dead, and it was Osiris who presided over the judgment of souls after death, which is a belief made clear in the Egyptian Book of the Dead, and in many other Egyptian texts. For these reasons I believe that this text could also be read as, "Whom are you like in your greatness? Behold, Osiris was a cedar in Lebanon..."

Author and scholar David Rohl agrees that both the Egyptian god Osiris and the Assyrian god Asshur originated with the historical King Nimrod, whose origins can be traced back to Eridu (the original Babel - see Part Five) where he became worshiped as the god Asar. Rohl explains how he comes to this conclusion by referring to the Enuma Elish, the Babylonian Creation Epic:

"Both Marduk and Ashur had their origins in the Sumerian deity Asar (or Asar-luhi) 'son of Enki and Damkina' originating from Eridu. Damkina (Sumerian Damgalnuna) seems to have been another name for Inanna.

After Eya (Enki) had vanquished and trampled his foes, had secured his triumph over his enemies, and had rested in profound peace within his sacred chamber which he named 'Abzu' ..., in that same place he founded his cultic shrine. Eya and Damkina, his wife, dwelled there in splendour. There in the chamber of fates, the abode of destinies, a god was born – the most able and wisest of gods. In the heart of Abzu, Marduk (alternatively Ashur) was created. In the heart of holy Abzu, Marduk was created. He who begat him was Eya, his father. She who bore him was Damkina, his mother. [Babylonian Creation Epic]

At his names may the gods tremble and quake in their dwellings. Asar-luhi is his foremost name which his father Anu gave him. ... Asar, bestower of the cultivated land, who establishes its boundaries, the creator of grain and herbs who causes vegetation to sprout forth. [Babylonian Creation Epic]

The new god's Sumerian name – Asar – was written with the sign for throne which was also one of the two hieroglyphs used to write the name Osiris. Of course, Osiris is the Greek vocalization for the Egyptian corn-god of the dead. The people of the Nile valley simply knew him as Asar. The Sumerian epic 'Dumuzi and Inanna' tells us that the fertility-goddess Inanna 'married' King Dumuzi (Asar) of Uruk just as the Egyptian Isis, goddess of fertility, was the wife and queen of King Osiris (Asar)." [17]

A further analysis of the origins of the name "Osiris" can be found in a recent reference work entitled The Ancient Gods Speak: A Guide to Egyptian Religion (2002), edited by Donald B. Redford. The analysis below is found under the heading "Osiris" and is provided by Dr. J. Gwyn Griffiths, the former professor who taught Egyptology at Cairo, Bonn, Tubingen, and Swansea, Wales:

The god's name Wsir (in Coptic, Oycipe or Oycipi) was written at first with the sign for a throne, followed by the sign for an eye; later the order was inverted. Among the many meanings suggested is one cognate with Ashur, implying a Syrian origin; but also "he who takes his seat or throne;" "she or that which has sovereign power and is creative;" "the place of creation;" "seat of the Eye," with the Eye explained as the Sun; "the seat that creates;" and "the Mighty One," deriving from wsr ("mighty"). [18]

From this reference we can see that even modern Egyptologists find a possible connection between the Egyptian god Osiris and the Assyrian god Asshur. Furthermore, the idea that the name "Osiris" could possibly be translated as "The Mighty One" is most interesting. Consider again the text of Genesis 10:8-12 with this translation and see how it makes perfect sense:

"And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord: wherefore it is said, even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. Out of that land went forth "The Mighty One" and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah, and Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great city."

The Hebrew word for "mighty one" is gibbor, but in referring to Nimrod as "Asshur" it seems that Moses simply wrote down a Hebrew vocalization of Nimrod's Egyptian name (Wsir or Asar) which itself derives from the Egyptian root word wsr which means "mighty." Confirmation for the possibility that "Asshur" can be translated as "The Mighty One" can be found in Young's Analytical Concordance to the Bible under the heading "asshurim." This word is simply the word "Asshur" with a plural ending, and the concordance provides a meaning of "mighty ones." If the plural form of Asshur is to be translated as "mighty ones," then surely the singular form should be translated as "The Mighty One."

But if Nimrod is so closely connected with Egypt then why did Moses not make any mention of such a connection in Genesis 10:8-12? According to a plain reading of the text it would appear that the conquests of Nimrod were confined to Mesopotamia which is also clearly identified as the place where his empire began: "And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar."

Moses was himself a prince of Egypt, and he was surely intimately familiar with both Egyptian history and religion. Why would he not speak clearly of Nimrod's relationship with Egypt if Nimrod's conquests marked the beginning of Egyptian history, and if Nimrod's death was the central theme of Egyptian religion, as we have so far postulated? For an answer to this important question we must turn back and take a second look at the story of the descendents of Ham.

According to Genesis 10:6 there were four "sons" of Ham and their names were Cush, Mizraim, Put and Canaan. First of all we must understand that "sons" does not necessarily mean "sons" as we understand it and can simply be translated as "descendents" in many cases. For instance, in Genesis 10:4 two of the "sons" of Javan are the Kittim and the Rodanim. These "sons" are not two individuals, but are rather understood to refer to two different groups of people who descended from the line of Javan. The primary clue that leads scholars to this conclusion is the plural ending of -im, which is simply the Hebrew letter Mem. Again, let us consider the names of the four "sons" of Ham: Cush, Mizraim, Put and Canaan. Notice that the name of the second "son" contains just such a plural ending. What we see is that the descendents of Ham appear to be listed in a geographical manner rather than a strictly genealogical manner. Cush (singular) settled in Ethiopia, Mizraim (plural) settled the land of Egypt, Put (singular) settled west of Egypt on the north coast of Africa, and Canaan (singular) settled east of Egypt on the coast of the Mediterranean. Three of Cush's "sons" are individuals, but one of them refers to a group of people. We turn now, once again, to the expertise of David Rohl for an analysis of what this name Mizraim might actually mean:

    "...this name [Mizraim] is, in reality, no more than an epithet. It means 'follower of Asra' or 'Asar' (Arabic m-asr with the Egyptian preposition m 'from'). Mizraim is merely m-Izra with the majestic plural ending 'im'. Likewise, that other great Semitic-speaking people – the Assyrians – called the country of the pharaohs 'Musri' (m-Usri). We thus learn that the Semitic name for Egypt – Masr (Arabic) / Mizr (Hebrew) / Musri (Akkadian) – derives from an epithet for the leader of the Mesopotamian conquerors of the Nile valley.
    ...[Asar] was also, in all likelihood, one and the same as Ashur – the mighty eponymous god of the Assyrians whose holiest city was named after him.
    ...'Asar' is how the ancient Egyptians wrote the name of their great god of the dead whom we know through the Greek form of his name – Osiris. ...Every modern Egyptian still calls himself 'el-Masri' – which we may thus translate as 'the one who is descended from Osiris.'" [19]

So it seems that Moses does provide evidence of a connection between Nimrod and Egypt, and it comes simply from the name that he gave to the people of Egypt when he referred to them as Mizraim which means "the followers or descendents of Asar/Asshur." Perhaps Moses went no further in clarifying this connection simply because, as an adopted son of Egypt, he viewed such an elaboration as self-evident and unnecessary. Whatever the case may be there is ample evidence that the conquests of Nimrod, after beginning in the land of Shinar, extended through Ethiopia and Egypt, throughout the Mediterranean Basin, throughout Mesopotamia and even into India and other parts of Asia. It was the largest kingdom of the post-flood world the like of which has never been seen... at least not yet.
 

Slain by the Sword

We turn back now to the prophet Ezekiel and to the strange correspondence that took place between the God of Israel and Pharaoh Hophra the king of Egypt. Ezekiel received seven messages from God concerning Pharaoh and now we will examine the seventh and last of these messages. God's correspondence to Pharaoh ends with a prediction of his fate and a description of what Pharaoh will face after he is killed and descends into Hell. As you read remember the earlier message in which Pharaoh was compared to Asshur, referring perhaps to Nimrod/Osiris in whom Pharaoh put his trust for a blessed afterlife. The following translation is from the Septuagint and differs in several places from the Masoretic Text:

    "Son of man, lament over the strength of Egypt, for the nations shall bring down her daughters dead to the depth of the earth, to them that go down to the pit. They shall fall with him in the midst of them that are slain with the sword, and all his strength shall perish: the giants also shall say to thee, Be thou in the depth of the pit: to whom art thou superior? yea, go down, and lie with the uncircumcised, in the midst of them that are slain with the sword.
    There are Assur and all his company: all his slain have been laid there: and their burial is in the depth of the pit, and his company are set round about his tomb: all the slain that fell by the sword, who had caused the fear of them to be upon the land of the living.
    There is Elam and all his host round about his tomb: all the slain that fell by the sword, and the uncircumcised that go down to the deep of the earth, who caused their fear to be upon the land of the living: and they have received their punishment with them that go down to the pit, in the midst of the slain.
    There were laid Mosoch, and Thobel, and all his strength round about his tomb: all his slain men, all the uncircumcised, slain with the sword, who caused their fear to be in the land of the living. And they are laid with the giants that fell of old, who went down to Hades with their weapons of war: and they laid their swords under their heads, but their iniquities were upon their bones, because they terrified all men during their life. And thou shalt lie in the midst of the uncircumcised, with them that have been slain by the sword.
    There are laid the princes of Assur, who yielded their strength to a wound of the sword: these are laid with the slain, with them that go down to the pit.
    There are the princes of the north, even all the captains of Assur, who go down slain to Hades: they lie uncircumcised among the slain with the sword together with their terror and their strength, and they have received their punishment with them that go down to the pit.
    King Pharaoh shall see them, and shall be comforted over all their force, saith the Lord God. For I have caused his fear to be upon the land of the living: yet he shall lie in the midst of the uncircumcised with them that are slain with the sword, even Pharaoh, and all his multitude with him, saith the Lord God." (Ezekiel 32, Septuagint, Brenton's translation))

After Pharaoh is killed in battle God predicts that he will descend into Hell and there he will see Asshur, Elam, Meshech and Tubal, along with the princes and captains of Asshur, all of whom were slain by the sword. Pharaoh will see that "Osiris" does not reign gloriously in an after-life paradise, but is instead confined to the depth of the pit as a punishment from God, because he and his armies brought fear and terror to the land of the living. Yet, strangely, the sight of Asshur and his allies will bring comfort to Pharaoh because he will at least have familiar company as he endures a similar infernal punishment from God.

This passage from the pen of Ezekiel is important in identifying the Antichrist in two ways. First, it provides evidence that Asshur was indeed slain by the sword, and second, it provides evidence that the soul of Asshur is indeed confined in the Abyss, which is located in the deepest recesses of Hell or "in the depth of the pit." In the book of Revelation we are told that the Antichrist was killed and that his death came from a wound of the sword:

    "And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was astonished and followed the beast.
    ...Then I saw another beast, coming out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon. He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. And he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men. Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth. He ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived." (Revelation 13:1-3,11-14, NIV)

The text above tells us that the Antichrist is a figure who will be resurrected from the dead. Another passage in Revelation tells us that this king is from the past—he existed on this earth prior to the first century AD (when the Book of Revelation was written) but he will one day come again when he rises up out of the Abyss:

"Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a desert. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns. ...Then the angel said to me: 'Why are you astonished? I will explain to you the mystery of the woman and of the beast she rides, which has the seven heads and ten horns. The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and will come up out of the Abyss and go to his destruction. The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because he once was, now is not, and yet will come. This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits. They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for a little while. The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction.'" (Revelation 17:3,7-11)

The eighth king is also one of the seven. He "once was" so he must be one of the five that had already "fallen" when the angel spoke to John as written in Revelation. This once and future king is Nimrod, who was the first of these five, who will be resurrected and come again out of the Abyss to rule once more as an eighth king. There are only seven kings, but there are eight appearances of these kings because Nimrod appears twice. The opening of the Abyss and the second coming of the Antichrist is described in Revelation 9:

"The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss. When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss. And out of the smoke locusts came down upon the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth. ...They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon." (Revelation 9:1-3,11)

The true Messiah will come down from Heaven after Heaven is shown "open" in Revelation 19:11, whereas the false Messiah, the Antichrist, will come up from Hell after Satan is given the keys and allowed to "open" the shaft of the Abyss in Revelation 9:2. For a further explanation of how this "angel of the Abyss" can only be the Antichrist please refer to Part Seven of this series.
 

Son of the Most High?

Egypt and Assyria are the two great pagan nations bordering either side of Israel who have been Israel's enemies from the very beginning. Certainly this must be understood as a reflection of the fact that both nations worshiped versions of the historical figure who will return as the Antichrist, all while Israel's history was focused on bringing forth the true Messiah who would save the world from its sins.

We have seen how the name of the Antichrist is given throughout the Old Testament as "Asshur," which is a name usually (mis-)translated simply as "the Assyrian" in modern Bibles (and even in the Septuagint). The prophet Daniel predicted the rise of a king whose origin would be Syria, which was fulfilled Antiochus IV Epiphanes. He was a Greek but he ruled over the Seleucid kingdom that encompassed ancient Assyria. Daniel's prophecy begins with a prediction of Antiochus but then it transitions into a prediction of the reign of the final "Assyrian," the Antichrist whose name we know as "Asshur," who will rule over (almost) every nation, invade Israel, and occupy Jerusalem:

"Then the king will do as he pleases, and he will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will speak monstrous things against the God of gods; and he will prosper until the indignation is finished, for that which is decreed will be done. He will show no regard for the gods of his fathers or for the desire of women, nor will he show regard for any other god; for he will magnify himself above them all. But instead he will honor a god of fortresses, a god whom his fathers did not know; he will honor him with gold, silver, costly stones and treasures. He will take action against the strongest of fortresses with the help of a foreign god; he will give great honor to those who acknowledge him and will cause them to rule over the many, and will parcel out land for a price. At the end time the king of the South will collide with him, and the king of the North will storm against him with chariots, with horsemen and with many ships; and he will enter countries, overflow them and pass through. He will also enter the Beautiful Land, and many countries will fall; but these will be rescued out of his hand: Edom, Moab and the foremost of the sons of Ammon. Then he will stretch out his hand against other countries, and the land of Egypt will not escape. But he will gain control over the hidden treasures of gold and silver and over all the precious things of Egypt; and Libyans and Ethiopians will follow at his heels. But rumors from the East and from the North will disturb him, and he will go forth with great wrath to destroy and annihilate many. He will pitch the tents of his royal pavilion between the seas and the beautiful Holy Mountain; yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him." (Daniel 11:36-45, NASB)

What we see is that the Antichrist will pitch his tent in the land of Canaan, he will subdue Egypt, and he will have Libya and Ethiopia as his allies. It is interesting that these four regions that are mentioned are the very same regions originally occupied by the four "sons" of Ham: Cush, Mizraim, Put and Canaan. The area that the Antichrist does not conquer (Edom, Moab, and Ammon) is the mountainous desert region to the east of Israel to which the faithful remnant of Israel will flee to escape the Antichrist as predicted in Matthew 24:16 and Revelation 12:6-14.

The Antichrist will conquer Egypt, and he will also "gain control over the hidden treasures of gold and silver and over all the precious things of Egypt." It seems as if the Antichrist will be a great archaeologist as well, and his reign will bring further amazing discoveries from out of the sands of Egypt. The prophet Isaiah gives an end-times prophecy of Egypt that seems to point to the Antichrist as Egypt's end-times king:

    "The oracle concerning Egypt: Behold, the Lord is criding on a swift cloud and is about to come to Egypt; The idols of Egypt will tremble at His presence, and the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them.
    'So I will incite Egyptians against Egyptians; and they will each fight against his brother and each against his neighbor, city against city and kingdom against kingdom. Then the spirit of the Egyptians will be demoralized within them; and I will confound their strategy, so that they will resort to idols and ghosts of the dead and to mediums and spiritists. Moreover, I will deliver the Egyptians into the hand of a cruel master, and a mighty king will rule over them,' declares the Lord God of hosts." (Isaiah 19:1-4, NASB)

Through Isaiah God predicts that Egypt will one day be plunged into civil war before being subdued by a cruel and mighty king. The prophecy continues by saying that the Nile River will completely dry up and bring great hardship to the people. The wise men and the princes of Egypt will be deluded and provide only foolish advice. The end-times focus of this prophecy is made clear in the passages that follow:

    "In that day the Egyptians will become like women, and they will tremble and be in dread because of the waving of the hand of the Lord of hosts, which He is going to wave over them. The land of Judah will become a terror to Egypt; everyone to whom it is mentioned will be in dread of it, because of the purpose of the Lord of hosts which He is purposing against them.
    In that day five cities in the land of Egypt will be speaking the language of Canaan and swearing allegiance to the Lord of hosts; one will be called the City of Destruction. In that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the Lord near its border. It will become a sign and a witness to the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt; for they will cry to the Lord because of oppressors, and He will send them a Savior and a Champion, and He will deliver them.
    Thus the Lord will make Himself known to Egypt, and the Egyptians will know the Lord in that day. They will even worship with sacrifice and offering, and will make a vow to the Lord and perform it." (Isaiah 19:16-21, NASB)

Terror will come upon the people of Egypt because they will realize their sins against the people of Israel and they will have a great fear for the God of Israel. In the end, however, those who oppress the people of Egypt (including their cruel and mighty king) will be defeated by a Savior and Champion. This Savior is none other than the Messiah who will return from heaven to defend the people of Egypt at the time of their greatest need.

There are many scholars, (primarily those with a Rosicrucian or Masonic background), who believe that the "pillar" that will be raised up in Egypt "as a sign and witness to the Lord" refers to the Great Pyramid of Egypt. Some say that this so-called "pillar" was even built by Enoch before the flood. However, the evidence that has been collected by Egyptologists over the past few centuries provides overwhelming evidence that the Great Pyramid was built long after the flood by King Khufu of the Fourth Dynasty, just as Egyptian records attest. Furthermore, as explained in Part Two of this series, the Great Pyramid has long been known as the Tomb of Osiris. If the ancient necropolis of Giza is mentioned by the prophet Isaiah then it is surely mentioned as the "City of Destruction" rather than as the "pillar" that will one day be built in the future to honor the God of Israel.

The prophecies of Daniel and Isaiah make it clear that the Antichrist will one day rule as the King of Egypt, even as his name "Asshur" suggest his historical "Assyrian" origin. Prior to and into the first century AD the land of Israel was filled with Messianic expectations, but prophecies such as these led Israel's scholars to also look forward to the coming of an anti-Messiah who would bring terror to Israel and deceive the nations. In 1947 the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered which included many scrolls that documented the apocalyptic expectations of the scholars based at Qumran during this time. Here is what they believed regarding this future anti-Messiah, from a fragmented scroll translated by Geza Vermes:

I ... [the spirit of God] dwelt on him, he fell down before the throne ... O [K]ing, you are angry for ever and your years ... your vision and all. For ever you ... [the gre]at ones. An oppression will come to the earth ... a great massacre in the provinces ... the king of Assyria [and E]gypt ... he will be great on earth ... will make and all will serve ... he will be called (or: call himself) [gran]d ... and by his name he will be designated (or: designate himself).
II The son of God he will be proclaimed (or: proclaim himself) and the son of the Most High they will call him. Like the sparks of the vision, so will be their kingdom. They will reign for years on the earth and they will trample all. People will trample people (cf. Dan. vii, 23) and one province another province vacat until the people of God will arise and all will rest from the sword. Their (the people of God's) kingdom will be an eternal kingdom (cf. Dan. vii, 27) and all their path will be in truth. They will jud[ge] the earth in truth and all will make peace. The sword will cease from the earth, and all the provinces will pay homage to them. The Great God (cf. Dan. ii, 45) is their helper. He will wage war for them. He will give peoples into their hands and all of them (the peoples). He will cast before them (the people of God). Their dominion will be an eternal dominion (Dan. vii, 14) and all the boundaries of ... [20]


The Number of the Beast

One of the most well-known clues that the Bible gives us for identifying the Antichrist is found in Revelation 13:18: "This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666." Here is what Bible scholar Arnold Fruchtenbaum teaches about the meaning of this verse, which is accepted by the majority of Bible prophecy scholars, both historically and today,

"The point is essentially this: whatever the name of the Antichrist will be in Hebrew, the numerical value of that name will be 666." [21]

There are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet and each letter also corresponds with a number. This means that every name adds up to a number, and the book of Revelation seems to be telling us that the Hebrew name of the Antichrist will add up to six hundred and sixty-six.

On August 26, 2006, I received an email from a friend and fellow Bible scholar, Mariano Franco, from Buenos Aires, Argentina. He had been reading the Giza Discovery series and he provided an analysis that he had made of Revelation 13:18 and its possible fulfillment in a calculation of the name of Nimrod:

NUN   50
 
MEM  40
 
RESH 200
 
DALETH  4
 
BETH      2
 
NUN       50
 
KHAF     20
 
SHIN    300
_____________
 
NiMRoD BeN KHuSH = 666


Jesus the Messiah is referred to throughout the Scriptures as Yeshua ben David, and the name of the Antichrist is Nimrod ben Cush. The only potential problem with this analysis, as Mariano himself pointed out, is that the name "Cush" is usually spelled with the three letters "Khaf, Vav, Shin." The letter Vav equates to six, and so with this spelling the full name would add up to 672. However, Mariano also pointed out that there are several areas in the Old Testament where a form of the name "Cush" is given without the Vav. Numbers 12:1 contains two instances of this spelling, and Amos 9:7 contains another. A third passage that contains just such a spelling is in Daniel 11:43 in reference to "the Cushites," which is the passage that we have just studied that describes the career of the Antichrist. If Cush is spelled as "Khaf, Shin," then "Nimrod ben Cush" adds up to exactly 666.

Several months later, on March 24, 2007, I received a further word from Mariano. He informed me that he was not alone in his conclusion regarding the calculation of the name "Nimrod ben Cush," and that he had come across a reference to the opinion of a French Bible scholar and translator by the name of Bruston. Here is what he sent me:

"The following is a footnote to an article in the Encyclopaedia Biblica by Cheyne & Southerland Black (1899-1903, McMillan Co., New York) which entry is NIMROD:

Note that the authors of this encyclopedia do not dispute the fact that "Nimrod ben Cush" equates with the "mystic number" of Revelation—they merely view it as a "curiosity." Mariano Franco and I both believe that the fact that "Nimrod ben Cush" can be shown to add up to 666 is much more than just a "curiosity."
 

Where the Corpse is...

The idea that the Antichrist is currently dead may go against the conventional wisdom of the vast majority of Bible prophecy scholars today, yet isn't such a reality implied by the statement that the Antichrist "once was, now is not, and yet shall come," as found in Revelation 17? Furthermore, when the great Beast Kingdom that comes out of the sea is introduced in Revelation 13 does not the Beast bring with it a dead head that is only subsequently resurrected to the great astonishment of the world?

Throughout this study I have presented the case that the second coming of the Antichrist can occur only after the Abyss is opened in Revelation 9, after the blowing of the fifth Trumpet. The soul of the Antichrist is confined to the Abyss, and certainly his soul cannot come out of the Abyss until after it is opened. This possibility presents a problem, however, when confronted with the accepted timelines of end-times events that modern prophecy scholars have spent decades developing, refining, and passionately defending. The question revolves around the issue of the timing of the seven Seals, seven Trumpets and seven Bowls of Revelation and how they are related to the 70th Week of Daniel (the so-called "seven year tribulation), to the beginning of the Day of the Lord, and to the appearance of the Antichrist.

Virtually all accepted timelines place the beginning of the Day of the Lord either prior to, or within, the seven Seal judgments of the book of Revelation. If it is true that the Antichrist will not appear to the world alive until after the fifth Trumpet then we arrive at an apparent contradiction when we examine the words of the Apostle Paul and what he has to say about the Antichrist and the Day of the Lord:

"Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until  ... the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction." (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3, NIV)

Paul is clear that the Day of the Lord will be preceded by the revealing of the Antichrist. If the Day of the Lord is accepted as beginning no later than the seventh Seal, and if the resurrection of the Antichrist occurs some time after the beginning of the Day of the Lord after the fifth Trumpet, then what can the revealing of the Antichrist prior to the Day of the Lord possibly refer to?

I believe that Paul was merely predicting the revealing of the dead corpse of the Antichrist, which will occur before the Day of the Lord and, obviously, before the Antichrist's resurrection after the fifth Trumpet. In this way the identity of the Antichrist will be confirmed for those are "watching and praying" according to the instructions given by Jesus in Luke 21:36. Prophecy scholar Arnold Fruchtenbaum agrees that the Antichrist will be identified before the Day of the Lord, but he only speculates as to how this will be done:

"That there was to be a revelation of the identity of the Antichrist before the Tribulation is clear from II Thessalonians 2:1-3... Exactly how the Antichrist will be identified is not stated. Perhaps it will be determined by the numerical value of his name ... or by some other means. But he will be known." [22]

The Antichrist will be revealed prior to the Day of the Lord, but this does not mean that he will be alive, which will happen only when the Abyss is opened. I believe that the revealing of the Antichrist will involve the discovery of his hidden tomb and the revealing of his corpse, which will probably be viewed by the world as the greatest archaeological discovery ever made. With this possibility in mind then the warning given by Jesus Himself regarding the coming of false Messiahs makes sense in a way that it never has before [23]:

"Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together." (Matthew 24:23-28, KJV)

In this message Jesus warns His audience that many false Messiahs will come in the future, and then He warns them not to believe those who say that the Messiah is to be found out in the desert buried in the hidden chambers. He even prefaces this warning with the statement "See, I have told you ahead of time" (NIV). With these words Jesus was predicting the manner in which the second coming of the Antichrist will take place, and He then followed this prediction by predicting the manner of His own Second Coming: "For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be."

The final words of Jesus on the subject of the Antichrist are simply:

"For wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together."

Before we analyze this statement further we must be clear that the accurate translation here is "eagles" (aetos) and not "vultures" as so many Bible versions read. The eagles are not gathered to eat the carcass, as would be implied with "vultures." Instead I believe that these "eagles" are gathered to honor and worship this "corpse" or "carcass." The world at the time of Jesus viewed the eagle as a bird that embodied nobility and royalty, as well as leadership and military power. For instance, the Roman army utilized the symbol of an eagle on the standards of their legions:

"The most important standard in each legion was the legionary eagle, made of a precious metal (usually silver) and symbol of the power of Rome and the honor of the legion. To lose the legionary eagle in battle was a terrible disgrace, and leaders like Augustus who succeeded in recovering captured legionary eagles capitalized on the propaganda value of the event..." [24]

If the symbolism of an eagle is understood in its "power and leadership" sense, then it is quite possible that Jesus, when He mentioned the eagles that would gather around the corpse, was actually making a cryptic reference to the ten kings who will one day unite and hand their power and authority over to the Antichrist,

"The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast. They have one purpose and will give their power and authority to the beast." (Revelation 17:12-13)

Turning back now to Paul and the revealing of the Antichrist, we can read that this will only take place after an enigmatic "restrainer" is "taken out of the way":

"Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction... And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming." (2 Thessalonians 2:3-8, NIV)

Previous parts of this series have endeavored to show that the tomb of the Antichrist is the Great Pyramid of Egypt, long understood to be the Tomb of Osiris. As explained in Part Two (the section entitled Giza and the Cult of Osiris) there is evidence in Egyptian texts that the "efflux" or remains of the body of Osiris are being protected there, in the desert of Giza somewhere within the hidden chambers of the Great Pyramid, by some sort of supernatural agent:

"This is the sealed thing which is in darkness, with fire about it, which contains the efflux of Osiris, and it was put in Rostau. It has been hidden there since it fell from him, and it is what came down from him onto the desert sand; it means that what belongs to him (his body) was put in Rostau..." Coffin Texts Spell 1080

"This is the word which is in darkness. As for any spirit who knows it, he will live among the living. Fire is about it, which contains the efflux of Osiris. As for any man who shall know it, he will never perish there, since he knows what shall be in Rostau. Rostau is hidden since he fell there... Rostau is (another name) for Osiris..." Coffin Texts Spell 1087 [25]

From this perspective the "restrainer" that holds back the revealing of the Antichrist is perhaps an angelic power, similar to the angel with the sword of fire that guarded the entrance to the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3:24. This angelic "restrainer," or whatever else it might be, must first withdraw and only then will the corpse of the Antichrist be revealed and presented publicly to humanity. The Antichrist will remain a corpse, however, through the catastrophic beginning of the Day of the Lord, and through the first four Trumpet judgments of Revelation. Then, after the sounding of the fifth Trumpet, the Abyss will be opened and the body will come back to life to the great astonishment of the entire world. The "Seven Year Tribulation" of Daniel's 70th Week (Daniel 9:27) will then begin some time after the fifth Trumpet of Revelation when the revived Antichrist confirms his "Covenant with Death and Hell" (Isaiah 28:14-29) with the deceived leaders of Israel. [26]
 

Saved or Destroyed?

At one point during the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ He sent some of His disciples into a village in Samaria to make arrangements for Him to lodge there on His way into Jerusalem. However, the Samaritan village refused to host Jesus and His disciples, and after hearing of this James and John both approached Jesus angrily and said to Him, "Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?" To this Jesus responded by rebuking them, saying, "You do not know what kind of spirit you are of; for the son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them." (Luke 9:54-56, NASB)

The very name of Jesus, which is Yeshua in Hebrew, comes from the Hebrew root word yesha, which means "to save." On the other hand, the two names of the Antichrist that are given in Revelation 9:11 are Abaddon and Apollyon, which can both be translated to mean "The Destroyer." Jesus the Messiah is the Savior of the world, while the Antichrist is the great Destroyer.

The Greek name Apollyon comes from the Greek verb apollu, which means "to destroy;" it is the word used in the Greek New Testament in the passage from Luke quoted above. The name Appollyon is also related to the Greek word apoleia which means "destruction." The Apostle Paul used this word when he referred in Philippians 3:18-19 to the people in the world who are "enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction." The word apoleia is also found within the following well-known teaching of Jesus:

"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." (Matthew 7:13-14, NIV)

Several different forms of the word "destroy" can be found in a classical Greek play written by Aeschylus [27] in reference to the Greek god Apollo, who is also referred to as Apollyon:

Cassandra: O wail, wail, gods and Earth, woe, woe, Apollo, O Apollo.

Chorus: O why this wailing for the prophet king? He wants no wailer, far, far other he.

Cassandra: O wail, wail, gods and Earth, woe, woe, Apollo, O Apollo.

Chorus: Again with lips of woe she calls the god, who has no part or parcel with the woeful.

Cassandra: Apollo, thou destroyer, O Apollo; Lord of fair streets, Apollyon to me; For thou hast clean destroyed me once again.

Chorus: The prophetess is like to tell her sorrows; Heaven's spirit rests in her, albeit a slave.

Cassandra: Apollo, thou destroyer, O Apollo; Lord of fair streets, Apollyon to me; Ah, where hast thou led me? Ah! Ah! To what home?

And just who is this Greek god Apollyon who makes his strange appearance in the book of Revelation? Charles Penglase is an Australian professor who specializes in ancient Greek and Near Eastern religion and mythology. In his book, Greek Myths and Mesopotamia: Parallels and Influence in the Homeric Hymns and Hesiod, Penglase carefully and methodically demonstrates that the Greek myths and legends of Apollo were simply Greek retellings of the Babylonian myths involving the rise to power of the god Marduk, which were themselves based on earlier legends of the Sumerian hunter/hero known as Ninurta.[28] Furthermore, according to David Rohl, the original name for Ninurta was in fact Nimurda, whose historical identity can be traced back to King Enmerkar of Uruk, the very same figure who is known in the Bible as Nimrod. [29]

The Hebrew name of the king who comes out of the Abyss is given as Abaddon. This word, which comes from the root word abad, "to destroy," appears only a few times in the Old Testament and is usually translated as "destruction." The word appears three times in the book of Job (26:6, 28:22 and 31:12), twice in the book of Proverbs (15:11 and 27:20), and once in Psalm 88 which begins with the words, "O Lord, God of my salvation..." The word that is here translated as "salvation" is yeshua, the name of Jesus. This psalm continues as a great prayer of someone crying out in hopelessness and despair:

    "...My eyes are dim with grief. I call to you, O LORD, every day; I spread out my hands to you. Do you show your wonders to the dead? Do those who are dead rise up and praise you? Selah
    Is your love declared in the grave, your faithfulness in Destruction? Are your wonders known in the place of darkness, or your righteous deeds in the land of oblivion? But I cry to you for help, O LORD; in the morning my prayer comes before you." (Psalm 88:9-13, NIV)

In this study we have identified Asshur as another name for Nimrod who will return as the great Destroyer. The Septuagint translation of the Old Testament preserves two references to Asshur in the Psalms that are missing in the Masoretic Text. The context of these references continues with the theme of contrasting the true Messiah of God, who will bring salvation, with the false Messiah who brings only destruction, who will one day himself be judged and destroyed.

Asshur appears in the introduction of both of these Psalms which were written down in the time of King David by his divinely-inspired songwriter Asaph. The first is Psalm 76, which appears as Psalm 75 in the Septuagint. This psalm is written from the perspective of the restored kingdom of Israel, after the Messiah's triumphant return, after God has judged the world and saved the righteous:

"For the end, among the Hymns, a Psalm for Asaph; a Song for the Assyrian [Asshur]:
    God is known in Judea; his name is great in Israel. And his place has been in peace, and his dwelling-place in Sion. There he broke the power of the bows, the shield, and the sword, and the battle. Pause.
    Thou dost wonderfully shine forth from the everlasting mountains. All the simple ones in heart were troubled; all the men of wealth have slept their sleep, and have found nothing in their hands. At thy rebuke, O God of Jacob, the riders on horses slumbered. Thou art terrible; and who shall withstand thee, because of thine anger? Thou didst cause judgment to be heard from heaven; the earth feared, and was still, when God arose to judgment, to save all the meek in heart. Pause.
    For the inward thought of man shall give thanks to thee: and the memorial of his inward thought shall keep a feast to thee. Vow, and pay your vows to the Lord our God; all that are round about him shall bring gifts, even to him that is terrible, and that takes away the spirit of princes; to him that is terrible among the kings of the earth." (Psalm 75, Septuagint, Brenton's translation)

This psalm was dedicated and/or addressed to Asshur and was probably intended as a warning to Asshur—that although he will attempt to destroy Israel God will protect Israel and then bring judgment upon the whole world. The second psalm that is dedicated to Asshur follows with a similar theme and then introduces the "son of man" who will save Israel. It is Psalm 80, which appears in the Septuagint as Psalm 79:

"For the end, for alternate strains, a testimony for Asaph, a Psalm concerning the Assyrian [Asshur]:
    Attend, O Shepherd of Israel, who guidest Joseph like a flock; thou who sittest upon the cherubs, manifest thyself; before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasse, stir up thy power, and come to deliver us. Turn us, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be delivered.
    O Lord God of hosts, how long art thou angry with the prayer of thy servant? Thou wilt feed us with bread of tears; and wilt cause us to drink tears by measure. Thou hast made us a strife to our neighbors; and our enemies have mocked at us. Turn us, O Lord God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved. Pause.
    Thou hast transplanted a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it. Thou madest a way before it, and didst cause its roots to strike, and the land was filled with it. Its shadow covered the mountains, and its shoots equalled the goodly cedars. It sent forth its branches to the sea, and its shoots to the river. Wherefore hast thou broken down its hedge, while all that pass by the way pluck it? The boar out of the wood had laid it waste, and the wild beast has devoured it.
    O God of hosts, turn, we pray thee: look on us from heaven, and behold and visit this vine; and restore that which thy right hand has planted: and look on the son of man whom thou didst strengthen for thyself. It is burnt with fire and dug up: they shall perish at the rebuke of thy presence. Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, and upon the son of man whom thou didst strengthen for thyself.
    So will we not depart from thee: thou shalt quicken us, and we will call upon thy name. Turn us, O Lord God of hosts, and make thy face to shine; and we shall be saved." (Psalm 79, Septuagint, Brenton's translation)

In the two psalms above the italicized references to the words save, saved, and delivered all appear in the original Hebrew text of the Bible as the verb yesha. These psalms are both dedicated to Asshur, but Israel will find deliverance and be saved from the Destroyer through Yeshua the Savior of Israel who will finally bring justice and peace to the world.


Conclusion

The historical figure who will return as the Antichrist was honored and worshiped by the pagan cultures that surrounded Israel as the divine ruler of the land of the dead. To them the Dying God was the savior who offered hope for a reward in the afterlife—a reward of immortality or even apotheosis (to become a god). Many modern scholars who are influenced by pagan beliefs or by the traditions of secret societies present the case that Jesus of the New Testament—Himself a sort of Dying God—was simply a repackaged form of the pagan Dying God. They argue that the "Jesus Myth" is essentially the same as the "Osiris Myth," or the "Adonis Myth," or the "Dionysus Myth," or the "Krishna Myth," or the "King Arthur Myth," or the "Christian Rosencrantz Myth," or the "Hiram Abiff Myth." It is true that there are many similarities between the story of Jesus and the legends of these pagan figures, yet the legacy of Jesus comes from one single source: the Hebrews and their holy writings as given to them by their God who claimed to be the Creator of the Universe. Jesus Himself was a Jew who fulfilled the Jewish Scriptures, and He pointed only to the God of Israel. Once, when confronted with a question regarding the nature of life after death, Jesus pointed out the difference between the Dying God of paganism and the Living God who was worshiped by Israel:

"Have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the burning bush, how God spoke to him, saying, 'I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living." (Mark 12:26-27, NASB)

Jesus is not a cleverly-repackaged presentation of paganism's Dying God; He is the answer to paganism's Dying God. We are not to put our hope in the return of any figure from the distant past who now rules in the land of the dead. If we want to live, then our only hope is to be found in the Living God, and in His only Son, the One who truly conquered death, who says in the beginning of the book of Revelation, "I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever!" Only Jesus is the One who, as the incarnate Creator, can claim, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty."

Jesus is eternal, whereas the return of paganism's Dying God will only be temporary because he is the one who "once was, now is not, and will come up out of the Abyss and go to his destruction." He is the great Destroyer who will appear once again and be allowed to deceive the entire world for a short period of time. The Apostle Paul, himself a Jew who taught about Jesus the Messiah purely through the Hebrew Scriptures, explains the nature of this coming great deception:

"The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness." (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12, NIV)

I pray to God that this series of articles has succeeded in its task of uncovering the identity of the "lawless one" and in exposing the manner by which this "powerful delusion" will come upon the world. If it has been helpful in this regard then I give glory to God, but if it proves to be inaccurate or if it leads people in the wrong direction, then I must accept complete responsibility on my own.

Identifying the Destroyer may seem to be an important task, yet it pales in significance when compared to the task of identifying the Savior. Every honest and sincere seeker on a spiritual quest must inevitably grapple with this greatest question, which is not "who is the Antichrist?" but is of course "Who was Jesus?". The search for the faithful and true Savior begins and ends right there, and once you have placed your faith in Jesus then the identity of the Destroyer becomes personally irrelevant.

The decision to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior is rarely an easy one. Too often this decision is viewed as going against one's political, philosophical, or scientific views, against cultural traditions, or even against one's family. It is also a decision that, when sincerely made, absolutely crushes the ego, because you simply cannot claim Jesus as your Savior with any amount of personal pride in your heart. Complete humility before God the Creator must come first, and for many people this seems an impossible prerequisite. Yet how could it be any other way? Mankind fell from grace through pride and from a desire to be like God, and so we can only receive grace from God by denying our pride and by humbly accepting the sacrifice of Jesus as payment for our sins. But if we do this Jesus Himself promises that we will receive eternal life from God as the free gift of salvation:

"I am the bread of life;
whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst...
For I have come down from heaven,
not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me...
For this is the will of my Father,
that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life,
and I will raise him up on the last day."
(John 6:35-40, ESV)

 


Footnotes

1. Berossos and Manetho, Introduced and Translated: Native Traditions in Ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt, edited by Gerald Verbrugghe and John Wickersham, 2000, p.70. See Berossos' translation of the Sumerian King List where the Sumerian city of Eridu is translated in Greek as "Babylon."

2. Seventy Nations, article from online reference Wikinoah
   
Nations and Languages, the Seventy,
article from online reference JewishEncyclopedia.com

3. See online article The Divine Council and the Kabbalah by Peter Goodgame and the references to the Bahir.

4. The Secret Teachings of All Ages, Manly P. Hall, 2003 (1928), p.434

5. "The Aigyptians in their myths say that in ancient times the Titans formed a conspiracy against Osiris and slew him, and then, taking his body and dividing it into equal parts among themselves, they slipped them secretly out of the house, but this organ alone they threw into the river, since no one of them was willing to take it with him. But Isis tracked down the murder of her husband, and after slaying the Titanes and fashioning the several pieces of his body into the shape of a human figure, she gave them to the priests with orders that they pay Osiris the honours of a god, but since the only member she was unable to recover was the organ of sex she commanded them to pay to it the honours of a god and set it up in their temples in an erect position." -Diodorus Siculus 4.6.1 (from http://www.winterscapes.com/sannion/osiris.htm)

6. Ninus, article from online reference Wikipedia

7. Special thanks to Mariano Franco for the help that he provided in analyzing the Hebrew text.

8. Kingdom of Priests: A History of the Old Testament Israel, Eugene H. Merrill, 1988, p.348

9. Picture and text from http://www.usask.ca/antiquities/Collection/Black_Obelisk.html

10. Quote taken from online article Israel and the Assyrians.

11. The Old Testament was compiled as a unified "canon" at the Great Synagogue held during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah around 430 BC. This original complete text is known as the "Vorlage Text" and was written in a script known as paleo-Hebrew. From this original Vorlage there came three "rescensions": The first was the Samaritan Pentateuch, also written in paleo-Hebrew that was copied in 408 BC. The second was the translation of the Vorlage into Greek by a group of Hebrew scholars around 250 BC in Alexandria, Egypt, which became known as the Septuagint (LXX) translation. The third was the Masoretic Text (MT) translation that was created around 100 AD by Jewish leaders at the Council of Jamnia. The new MT Bible replaced the paleo-Hebrew script with a "modern" Hebrew script, to which vowel points were added around 900 AD. During the time of the New Testament and the early Church the evidence suggests that Jesus, the Apostles, and the early Church Fathers used quotations from the Old Testament that agree with the Septuagint much more than they agree with the Masoretic Text. Another point, which will be mentioned again in the next part of this series, is that the Masoretic Text appears to have eliminated 1300 years from the early Old Testament chronology, which directly affects the dating of both the flood and the time of the reign of Nimrod. For an excellent study on all of these issues please refer to the article "CREATION AND CATASTROPHE CHRONOLOGY" by Barry Setterfield located at http://www.ldolphin.org/barrychron.html.

12. Former exorcist and Catholic priest Father Malachi Martin always maintained that "Lucifer" and "Satan" are two separate and distinct beings.

14. The Footsteps of the Messiah: A Study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events, Revised Edition, Arnold Fruchtenbaum, 2003, paraphrased from comments found in pp.198-200.

14. The Complete Works of Josephus, p.30

15. Quotes from Diodorus Siculus taken from the online article The Mighty Bull of the Two Lands, which examines the many parallels between the Egyptian god Osiris and the Greek god Dionysus.

16. The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, Wheaton, IL : Victor Books, 1983-c1985, S. 1:1289

17. The Lost Testament, David Rohl, 2002, p.74

18. The Ancient Gods Speak: A Guide to Egyptian Religion, (2002), edited by Donald B. Redford, 2002, p.304

19. Legend: The Genesis of Civilisation, David Rohl, 1998, pp.415-416. David Rohl speculates that "Mizraim" may be a name for the historical King Horus, son of Asar/Osiris. However, Rohl's analysis still supports the idea that "Mizraim" could be viewed as a plural name that identifies the people of Egypt.

20. The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English, translated by Geza Vermes, 1997 (1962), p.577, "An Aramaic Apocalypse" (4Q246)

21. The Footsteps of the Messiah: A Study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events, Revised Edition, Arnold Fruchtenbaum, 2003, p.251

22. Ibid, p.127

23. Special thanks to William Marler of Pioneer, California, who first opened my eyes to the possibility that Matthew 24:26-28 might refer to the second coming of the Antichrist. Thanks also to Derek and Sharon Gilbert of PID Radio for passing this information on to me.

24. Quote taken from online article The Roman Army in the Late Republic and Early Empire.

25. Secret Chamber: The Quest for the Hall of Records, Robert Bauval, 1999, citations from Coffin Texts are from p.88 and p.94 respectively.

26. Currently, to my knowledge, there are only four Bible prophecy scholars who have developed timelines in which the 70th Week of Daniel can be potentially viewed as beginning after the fifth Trumpet of Revelation. They are myself (Peter Goodgame), David Lowe, Douglas Berner, and Pastor John Abent author of Signs in the Heavens: Biblical Prophecy and Astronomy (1995).

27. From The Agamemnon of Aeschylus, translated by George Herbert Thring

28. Greek Myths and Mesopotamia: Parallels and Influence in the Homeric Hymns and Hesiod, Charles Penglase, 1994, pp.76-125

29. The Lost Testament, David Rohl, 2002, pp.73-75


 

Peter Goodgame
May 28, 2007
www.redmoonrising.com