Prophecies of 'The Assyrian': Will the Antichrist Come From Iraq?
A Special Four Part Series for Raiders News Network
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By Peter Goodgame
"O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger... I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge..." (Isaiah 10:5-6, KJV)
The Book of Revelation predicts the rise of a global superpower that will precede the coming of the Antichrist. The name of this world power is given as "Babylon the Great" and so we see, from Babel in Genesis to Babylon in Revelation, that mankind's rebellion against God comes full circle. In this series of articles I will show that the theme of "full circle" is applicable in more ways than one as we witness the fulfillment of prophetic events at the close of the Age.
Following the successful American invasion of Iraq, and subsequent occupation, there are many Bible scholars who are looking at the end-times prophecies of this region with renewed interest. Many of them believe that the Bible predicts the literal re-building of Babylon—the "great harlot" of Revelation 17:1—along the banks of the Euphrates River. They follow along with the views of Arthur W. Pink who, in 1923 in his comprehensive study of the Antichrist , pointed to Zechariah 5:5-11 which speaks of the habitation of a wicked woman being established "in the land of Shinar." Will ancient Babylon be rebuilt in the last days and somehow emerge in control of the political and economic structures of the world in fulfillment of Revelation 17-18?
Of course now that the US Military controls Iraq we can be sure that if a rebuilt Babylon does emerge it will happen only through the support of the US Government! Despite the influence of the political Right within evangelical ranks the identity of "Babylon the Great" continues to be highly debated among prophecy scholars. For many years I have believed that this entity is none other than the US Government in general and New York City in particular. And yes, I will admit that my conclusion has been influenced by the female symbolism of Mystery Babylon (Lady Liberty?), which also affects my personal expectation of who will be our next President! Having said that, lately my thinking has been influenced by my exposure to certain evidence that suggests that the "great harlot" of Revelation 17-18 is closely associated with "apostate Israel," as opposed to "faithful Israel" described in Revelation 12. From this perspective New York City may yet fulfill a prophetic role, seeing as it is the political and economic "capital of the world" while at the same time it is the city with the world's largest Jewish population. Could the US invasion of Iraq and the establishment of numerous military bases (left) somehow be the fulfillment of Zechariah's prophecy which predicted the building of a base for a wicked woman (Babylon the Harlot) in the "land of Shinar"? Certainly our government's critics are quick to point out how the invasion of Iraq suited Israel's long-term agenda for the region. Whatever the case may be it does seem clear that the land of Shinar and the nation of Iraq has yet to experience the complete fulfillment of the Bible's prophetic statements.
In parallel with the recent interest regarding "Babylon" in end-times studies there has also been renewed interest in the identity of the Antichrist himself. Bible scholars have usually contented themselves with the information that comes from the New Testament on this subject, yet lately it has been discovered that the Old Testament also offers detailed insight into this mystery. I am speaking primarily of numerous Old Testament references to a certain apocalyptic figure known as "Asshur," which is a name usually translated as "the Assyrian" in English Bibles. Just who is this "Assyrian" and how do we know for sure that he is related to the Antichrist? Furthermore, once this connection is proven can we then draw conclusions regarding the Antichrist's place of origin and national or racial identity?
Messiahs, True and False
If we look at several of the prophecies of Asshur we find that he is often mentioned in parallel with prophecies of Israel's true Messiah. Perhaps the most-quoted is from the fifth chapter of Micah. The passage begins with the prophecy that Bethlehem will bring forth the Messiah, and then it continues,
"And this man (the Messiah) shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men. And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he (the Messiah) deliver us from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders." (Micah 5:5-6, KJV)
Note that it is the Messiah who will deliver Israel from the Assyrian (Hebrew-Asshur), and then Israel will experience their Millennial blessings (v.7). Furthermore, while Asshur is oppressing Israel they will be defended by "seven shepherds" and/or "eight principal men." Are these numbers intended to draw attention to the Antichrist who will be "an eighth," yet "one of the seven," as it says in Rev. 17:11? Concerning the context of Micah's prophecy, it is true that in the days of the prophets Israel was beset with the very real threat of the kingdom of Assyria (Asshur). The northern kingdom of Israel was destroyed by the Assyrian armies of King Shalmaneser V in 722 BC, and later in 701 the southern kingdom of Judah survived an Assyrian invasion under Sennacharib only through divine intervention. Yet this prophecy speaks of Asshur invading the land of Israel at a time after the appearance of the Messiah. It is hard to avoid this prophecy's end-times context.
The earliest full-length commentary of the book of Revelation that remains in existence today was written by a Slovenian bishop by the name of Victorinus Poetovionensis around the year 260 AD. In his commentary Victorinus quotes this passage from Micah and then states very bluntly: "Assur, that is, Antichrist." Bible scholar Chuck Missler arrives at this very same conclusion in his study, "Antichrist: An Alternate Ending." Other Bible scholars who have recently commented on the "Assyrian" Antichrist include Walid Shoebat, Joseph Chambers, and David Busch.
Both Micah and the prophet Isaiah lived during the time when Assyria was a great threat to Israel yet their prophecies seem to speak on two levels. Firstly, as a warning to Israel at the time but, more importantly for us, they also look forward in time to the final appearance of Asshur as Israel's deceitful enemy and false Messiah when he will invade and occupy Israel and then finally be destroyed in the end by the true Messiah.
To Rebuild the Tower
Isaiah 9:6-7 is a very well known Messianic prophecy, but immediately after giving this prophecy Isaiah launches into a series of accusations against Israel interspersed with the repeated statement of, "For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still." The first accusation is very important, and I believe that the full message is only preserved in the Septuagint version of this ancient text, which is the Greek translation used by the early Church. Here is the first of these accusations against Israel from the prophet Isaiah,
"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 heart, 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, LXX, Brenton's translation) 
The allusions to Genesis 11:1-9 are unmistakable and we see that the apostasy of Israel had become so complete in Isaiah's day that it was as if they had the intention in their hearts to rebuild the Tower of Babel! Because of this God's anger was kindled and his hand was stretched out in wrath. After listing His accusations God mocks Israel in apocalyptic terms, saying, "And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far? to whom will ye flee for help? and where will ye leave your glory?" (Is.10:3). Isaiah then proceeds to predict the form that God's punishment against Israel will take,
"O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation. I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets." (10:5-6)
Isaiah gives one of the most important and beautiful Messianic prophecies in 9:6-7, but then, because of Israel's complete rejection of God to the point where they are ready to rebuild Babel, the Lord declares that Asshur will become an instrument of divine wrath directed against Israel! The text continues on to explain how Asshur will finally fulfill his usefulness to God and then, because of his prideful and blasphemous heart, God will turn against and destroy Asshur. The next passage answers the question from v.3 and shows that Israel will turn again to God after having once placed their trust in Asshur:
"And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth... For the Lord God of hosts shall make a consumption, even determined, in the midst of all the land. Therefore thus saith the Lord God of hosts, O my people that dwellest in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrian... For yet a very little while, and the indignation shall cease, and mine anger in their destruction." (Isaiah 10:20-25, KJV)
The Destruction that is Decreed
In the passage above Isaiah refers to a "consumption" or "destruction" (Heb. kalah) which is "determined" or "decreed" (Heb. haras) in connection with the career of Asshur. This very same destruction that is decreed appears in the book of Daniel in a familiar end-times context:
"He will confirm a covenant with many for one `seven.' In the middle of the `seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing [of the temple] he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end (destruction - kalah) that is decreed (haras) is poured out on him." (Daniel 9:27, NIV)
Many prophecy scholars believe that the covenant referred to in Daniel 9:27 is associated with the future Antichrist. This covenant is also mentioned in Isaiah 28:14-20 as a "covenant with death and hell." The verses that follow explain this covenant and reinforce the possibility that Asshur will fulfill his end-times role as the Antichrist. He will make a covenant with Israel and they will rely on him, yet he will betray them and persecute them until the Lord hears their cries and brings about the destruction that is decreed.
"The LORD will rise up as he did at Mount Perazim, he will rouse himself as in the Valley of Gibeon-- to do his work, his strange work, and perform his task, his alien task. Now stop your mocking, or your chains will become heavier; the Lord, the LORD Almighty, has told me of the destruction (kalah) decreed (haras) against the whole land." (Isaiah 28:21-22, NIV)
With the Breath of His Mouth
After concluding his predictions involving Asshur and the nation of Assyria (10:5-34) Isaiah then turns back again to the subject of the true Messiah:
"A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him-- the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD--and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked." (Isaiah 11:1-4, NIV)
Isaiah 10:17 declares that the Lord's "Holy One" will burn and consume Asshur in a single day. In the passage above we find that with "the breath of his lips" the Messiah will "slay the wicked." The word "wicked" (Heb. rasha) is singular in this passage. I believe this predicts the destruction of Asshur the Antichrist in the very same manner predicted by the Apostle Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:8,
"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."
A more complete picture of the fire that comes from the mouth of the Messiah at His glorious appearance is given in Isaiah 30:27-33. In this passage "the Assyrian" (Asshur) is described as nothing more than a funeral pyre (Tophet) that awaits its destined conflagration:
"Behold, the name of the Lord cometh from far, burning with his anger, and the burden thereof is heavy: his lips are full of indignation, and his tongue as a devouring fire: And his breath, as an overflowing stream... And the Lord shall cause his glorious voice to be heard, and shall shew the lighting down of his arm, with the indignation of his anger, and with the flame of a devouring fire, with scattering, and tempest, and hailstones. For through the voice of the Lord shall the Assyrian be beaten down, which smote with a rod. And in every place where the grounded staff shall pass, which the Lord shall lay upon him, it shall be with tabrets and harps: and in battles of shaking will he fight with it. For Tophet is ordained of old; yea, for the king it is prepared; he hath made it deep and large: the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it." (Isaiah 30:27-33, KJV)
An Evil Seed
Isaiah's predictions of judgment go hand in hand with his predictions of blessings, and these blessings are ultimately realized in the Millennium as described in the two chapters of Isaiah 11-12. However, the Day of the Lord must be endured before the Messianic Kingdom is established, and this Day includes judgment against end-times Babylon as predicted in Isaiah 13. In this chapter Isaiah refers to "birthpangs" (v.8) and to the darkening of the sun, moon and stars (v.10), all of which is predicted by Jesus in the Olivet Discourse (Matt.24:8 and 24:29). Isaiah 13 includes a "near" prophecy of the invasion of the Medes, which was fulfilled in Daniel's day, yet the primary focus concerns the "far" Day of the Lord, which will bring the ultimate desolation of Babylon so that its end will be just like Sodom and Gomorrah.
After Isaiah predicts the fall of Babylon he speaks again of the Millennial blessings that Israel will receive after the Lord triumphs over His enemies (Isaiah 14:1-2). Then, from this Millennial vantage point, Isaiah declares that Israel will take up a taunt against the King of Babylon. He is the one who oppressed Israel during the Day of the Lord, and he is the one who was given the rod of the wrath of God to punish the nations. Notice how Isaiah 14:3-6 shows the end result of Isaiah 10:3-6,
Isaiah 10:3-6: "And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far? to whom will ye flee for help? and where will ye leave your glory? Without me they shall bow down under the prisoners, and they shall fall under the slain. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still. O Assyrian [Asshur], the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation. I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets."
Isaiah 14:3-6: "And it shall come to pass in the day that the Lord shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve, That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased! The Lord hath broken the staff of the wicked, and the sceptre of the rulers. He who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he that ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted, and none hindereth."
From the Millennial vantage point it becomes obvious that Isaiah's description of the King of Babylon is in fact a description of the Antichrist. Israel will look back and taunt the anti-messiah after they are rescued from certain annihilation by the true Messiah.
I distinctly remember a radio program from several years ago in which Art Bell interviewed the late Father Malachi Martin (right), the prolific author and experienced exorcist, who staunchly affirmed that Satan and Lucifer are two very distinct demons. I mention this only because Isaiah refers to the King of Babylon as "Lucifer" and if our conclusions so far are correct then this must mean that Lucifer is another name for the Antichrist, rather than another name for Satan which is the traditional view. Here is that most famous passage as translated from the Greek Old Testament which includes a provocative statement at the end:
"How has Lucifer, that rose in the morning, fallen from heaven! He that sent orders to all the nations is crushed to the earth. But thou saidst in thine heart, I will go up to heaven, I will set my throne above the stars of heaven... I will be like the Most High. But now thou shalt go down to hell, even to the foundations of the earth... All the kings of the nations lie in honour, every man in his house. But thou shalt be cast forth on the mountains, as a loathed carcase... As a garment defiled with blood shall not be pure, so neither shalt thou be pure; because thou hast destroyed my land, and hast slain my people: thou shalt not endure for ever, —thou an evil seed." (Isaiah 14:12-20, LXX)
By referring to the "evil seed" I believe that Isaiah points to a particular prophecy from the book of Genesis. It is a prophecy known as the Proto-Evangelium or "First Gospel." It is the first recorded Biblical prophecy of the Messiah (the "seed of the woman") but at the same time it also predicts the coming of the anti-messiah who will be the "seed of the serpent":
"And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." (Genesis 3:14-15, KJV)
Asshur, King of Babylon
Isaiah's prophecy about the King of Babylon concludes with words that take us back to the initial introduction of Asshur as an instrument of God's wrath. Remember that Asshur is introduced following God's accusation that the people of Israel had it in their hearts to rebuild the Tower of Babel, and after four repetitions of the statement, "For all this His anger is not turned away, but His hand is stretched out still." Here now is the conclusion to the prophecy of the King of Babylon  which explains that the rise and fall of Asshur the Antichrist is the end-times manifestation of the Lord's outstretched hand. The earth will first experience the wrath of the anti-messiah before it will enjoy the blessings that will arrive with the true Messiah:
"The Lord of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand: That I will break the Assyrian [Asshur] in my land, and upon my mountains tread him under foot: then shall his yoke depart from off them, and his burden depart from off their shoulders. This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth: and this is the hand that is stretched out upon all the nations. For the Lord of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?" (Isaiah 14:24-27, KJV)
With the prophecies of Asshur we see that there is a pattern. During the time of Isaiah the people of Israel had fallen so deeply into apostasy that the Lord declared that it was as if they intended in their proud hearts to rebuild the Tower of Babel. Because of this God sent the nation of Assyria [Asshur] to humble and oppress them so that they would turn back to the Lord. In the book of Revelation we see the same pattern associated with the "great city" known as Babylon. One way or another the rebellious desire that is mentioned in Isaiah 9:10 (LXX) of "come... let us build for ourselves a tower" is fulfilled in the last days. And just as in ancient times God will again use Asshur to humble Israel and the world. Except this time Asshur will be an individual instead of a country—a king instead of a kingdom. He will be the anti-messiah energized by Satan's power but directed and then finally destroyed by God Almighty.
So who is "the Assyrian"? Is this merely a title that should be taken only as a hint to his national identity or regional origin? In future installments of this series we will see that the Antichrist does have a Mesopotamian origin, but not in the way that many people have been led to expect. It is my belief that the Hebrew name "Asshur" should not be interpreted by the generalized and vague designation of "the Assyrian," but should be interpreted simply as "Asshur." The name is precise and specific and is much more than a mere hint. Asshur is Asshur. Asshur is the Antichrist.
So who is Asshur and how can we positively identify this end-times anti-messiah who plays such a prominent role in the book of Revelation? As this series continues we will discover that the answer is found, once again, in the book of Genesis.
Part One printable (no pictures)
Continue to Part Two: The Second Coming of the Antichrist
1. The Antichrist, by Arthur W. Pink, 1923
2. Ibid, A. W. Pink puts forth this view in chapters 14-16
3. Commentarius In Apocalypsin, by Victorinus Poetovionensis, see the commentary on Revelation 8.
4. See the Koinonia House article located at http://www.khouse.org/articles/2002/433/, by Chuck Missler
5. Shoebat: Why I Left Jihad: The Root of Terrorism and the Return of Radical Islam, 2005
Chambers: The Rebirth of the Assyrians, internet article from www.pawcreek.org
Busch: The Assyrian: Satan, His Christ & the Return of the Shadow of Degrees, 2006
6. To read why the Septuagint translation should not be ignored see Barry Setterfield's article "CREATION AND CATASTROPHE CHRONOLOGY," 1999
7. Septuagint Bible Online, Brenton's translation, 1851
8. Isaiah 14:24-27 is the conclusion of a long narrative that actually begins back in Isaiah 7:1. It should not be viewed as separate from Isaiah 14:1-23, which is the impression given by the labeling of the passage in some Bibles such as the NASB, ESV and NIV. Asshur the individual is the Antichrist and the end-times King of Babylon.
January 14, 2008
All of the above research can now be found in the book "The Second Coming of the Antichrist"
The Second Coming of the Antichrist
The new book (August 2012) from Peter Goodgame
→ Available at Survivor Mall (paperback)
or at Amazon.com on Kindle or paperback
A short essay introducing the new book:
Osiris: Dying and Rising God of Egypt... and Freemasonry
Read the online research that the book is based on: