Prophecies of 'The Assyrian': The Second Coming of the Antichrist
A Special Series for Raiders News Network
1- Will the Antichrist Come From Iraq?
By Peter Goodgame
"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. " (Revelation 17:8, NIV)
Revelation 17:8 says that the appearance of the Antichrist will be one of the most astounding things that the world has ever seen! The Apostle Paul says the same when he wrote that "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." The very coming of the Antichrist will take place through deception and counterfeit miracles. There is nothing mundane about it. From the very beginning even the appearance of the Antichrist will utterly astonish those who are not faithful to the true Christ.
The Riddle of the Beasts
In the book of Revelation the Antichrist is referred to as "the Beast." This can be confusing because there are actually three different Beasts in Revelation: the Beast that comes out of the Sea, the Beast that comes out of the Earth, and the Beast that comes out of the Abyss.
1. The Beast that comes out of the Sea represents the kingdom of the Antichrist that will rule over the world prior to the return of the true Messiah. This Beast is actually the same as the fourth Beast that is mentioned in Daniel 7:2-7,
"In my vision at night I looked, and there before me were the four winds of heaven churning up the great sea. Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea… like a lion… a bear… a leopard… and a fourth beast… terrifying and frightening and very powerful… and it had ten horns."
Daniel goes on to explain that the four Beasts that come up out of the sea "are four kingdoms that will rise from the earth" (v.17). When the fourth Beast is described in Revelation we see that it has conquered and absorbed the previous three Beasts from Daniel and together they make up the various parts of the Beast:
"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." (Revelation 13:1-2, NIV)
2. The Beast that comes out of the Earth is the False Prophet. He will be an influential human being who will encourage the world to worship the Antichrist:
"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..." (Revelation 13:11-12, NIV)
The Beast from the Earth is called the False Prophet in the passage that describes his death: "But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet... The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur." (Revelation 19:20, NIV)
3. The Beast that comes out of the Abyss is the Antichrist himself, as explained in Revelation 17:8,
"The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and will come up out of the Abyss and go to his destruction."
When John the Revelator wrote down these words the Antichrist "was not," meaning that he was not alive at the time, yet he had previously existed because he "once was." And now we see exactly why the "coming" of the Antichrist will be viewed as such an astonishing event—it will be a resurrection from the dead!
Slain Unto Death
First we must make it clear that the Antichrist was dead in John's day, and that he is still dead today. The very first description of the Beast that comes out of the Sea shows that it brings with it a dead head:
"And saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.... And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death..." (13:1,3, KJV)
This head does not only seem to be dead, but is actually dead, just as Jesus Christ was once dead for a brief period of time. Compare these parallel descriptions of the true and false Messiahs:
Revelation 5:6, "And I saw (kai eidon)… a lamb standing (arnion hestekos) as slain (hos esphagmenon – nominative case)"
Revelation 13:3, "And I saw (kai eidon) one of its heads (mian ton kephalon autou) as slain (hos esphagmenen – accusative case)"
We know that Jesus died, and so did the Antichrist. The Antichrist's death is actually emphasized so that we get the point:
"mian ton kephalon autou hos esphagmenen eis thanaton" — "one of its heads as slain unto death"
The Antichrist is currently dead. He will not return to this world until his wicked soul is released from the deepest part of Hell (the Abyss) and he is resurrected back into his body. When this happens the world will be amazed!
An Astonishing Resurrection
The Antichrist will be literally resurrected at the very beginning of his end-times career. This is very important for people to understand because today it is almost universally accepted that the Antichrist will rise to power secretly as a normal human being, then somehow be killed(???), and then be resurrected at the midpoint of the seven year tribulation. This view is wrong and it keeps us from developing a truly Biblical end-times chronology. Remember that John was told that the Antichrist "once was, now is not, and will come up out of the Abyss." The Antichrist must have existed in the past, his soul is presently in the Abyss, and when he comes again he will come out of the Abyss. He must "come again" before the seven year tribulation because he must be involved in the covenant of Daniel 9:27 that allows the seven year tribulation to begin!
To contradict this view some may point to Revelation 11:7 as evidence that the Antichrist will be killed in the future and then resurrected at the midpoint of the Tribulation:
"Now when they [the Two Witnesses] have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them."
It is true that the Two Witnesses will be killed at the midpoint of Daniel's 70th Week, yet this does not demand that the Antichrist is resurrected at this time as well. The Antichrist is referred to as the "Beast from the Abyss" only to identify him and to differentiate him from the other two Beasts. This passage specifies the timing of the death of the Two Witnesses, but not the timing of the resurrection of the Antichrist which will occur at the beginning of the end-times Tribulation.
The resurrection of the Antichrist is described within three passages in the book of Revelation:
1. "One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed." (13:3, NIV)
The Greek text of the final phrase literally reads, "…kai he plege (and the wound) ton thanatou auto (of its death) etherepeuthe (was healed)…"
2. "...the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed." (13:12, NIV)
The Greek text here literally reads, "...ou (of whom) etherepeuthe (was healed) e plege (the wound) ton thanatou auto (of its death)."
3. "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." (Revelation 17:8, NIV)
In this passage the angel repeats the fact that the Antichrist "once was, now is not, and yet will come." He says the same thing twice so that we get the point. The Antichrist existed before, he does not exist today, but he will live again when he comes up out of the Abyss. We know that the angel speaks of the Antichrist's resurrection in this passage because of the reaction that comes from mankind. Notice that when the Antichrist comes out of the Abyss the world "will be astonished when they see the beast," and this is the same reaction that is found in Revelation 13:3 when the dead head of the "Beast from the Sea" comes to life:
"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."
The resurrection of the Antichrist will take place at the beginning of the end-times Tribulation and when he is seen the world will be astonished! His very appearance will give him the supernatural credibility that will enable him to broker the covenant with Israel of Daniel 9:27. Remember that this covenant is also referred to in Isaiah 28:15 as the "Covenant with Death and Hell." Israel will come into agreement with a super-human being who will appear as one who has cheated Death and conquered Hell! Israel rejected the New Covenant of Eternal Life that was confirmed by Jesus Christ's resurrection, but they will accept a "Covenant with Death and Hell" that will be "confirmed" (Dan.9:27) shortly after the Antichrist's resurrection.
Seven Satanic Kings
The manner in which the Antichrist appears is confirmed through a careful examination of what the book of Revelation says about Satan's seven kings. The seven headed dragon is first described in Revelation 12:3, "Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads." Revelation 13:1 then shows these seven heads as part of the Beast that comes out of the Sea, "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 symbolism of the seven heads is not explained until Revelation 17:9-11,
"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."
The seven heads are seven oros (actually mountains) that are controlled by the woman, and they are also seven kings. The woman does not concern us here so we will focus on the explanation that is given for the seven kings. The angel says that they are seven kings who have ruled at different times throughout history, past, present and future. Five of these kings had "fallen" and had already passed away. One of them currently ruled ("one is") who was probably the Emperor Domitian. The seventh was still in the future and would be the precursor to the Antichrist ("the other has not yet come, but when he does come, he must remain a little while"). Then, even though there are only seven heads, the angel tells John that the Antichrist who comes up out of the Abyss will be the eighth of these seven kings! This riddle can only be solved if we accept that there are only seven kings, but one of them appears twice. And isn't this what the angel was trying to tell John when he kept repeating that the Beast "once was, now is not, and yet shall come..."!? In other words, we must turn to the pages of history to find the original identity of the Antichrist.
The Antichrist is a king who "once was" yet he will appear again in the future. This means that he must be one of the first five kings who had "fallen" when the book of Revelation was written. Asshur was "slain by the sword" long ago and now his soul waits in the Abyss (Ezekiel 32:22), which is the deepest part of Hell where the demons and some of the imprisoned fallen angels reside. However, there will come a time when Asshur will come out of the Abyss and appear again. It will be the second coming of the Antichrist. Jesus will "come again" after spending 2000 years seated in Heaven at the right hand of God the Father, whereas the Antichrist will "come again" after spending an even longer period of time as an evil spirit imprisoned in Hell.
In Part One I referred to the commentary of Victorinus, which is the oldest commentary on the book of Revelation in existence, dating to around 260 AD. The more I study the writings of this old saint the more I like him, because he held a very similar view about the coming of the Antichrist. Victorinus viewed the seven heads of the Beast as seven kings, but his view was that they were all Roman kings:
"Accordingly, it is useful to understand the time in which the Apocalypse was written, because Domitian was Caesar then. And before him was Titus his brother and Vespasian their father, Otho, Vitellius, and Galba. These were five who have fallen; one is, he says, under whom he says the Apocalypse was written, namely Domitian. Another has not yet come: speaks of Nerva, who when he comes, his time will be short: for he did not complete two years. And the beast which you saw, he says, is of the seven: because before these kings Nero reigned. And is the eighth, he says only that when this one comes, count the eighth place. And because in his (reign) will be the end, he adds: He goes to destruction."
Victorinus believed that Nero would be the Antichrist and that he is "of the seven" because he preceded the seven. This doesn't make sense. Yet his commentary continues and goes on to explain how Nero would be resurrected from the dead:
"And one of the heads was slain to death, and his death-stroke was healed: speaks of Nero. For it is certain that when he was followed by the cavalry sent by the Senate, he cut through his own throat. This one raised, therefore, God is to send as a worthy king to those worthy, to the Jews and to the persecutors of Christ, a Christ of such a kind the persecutors and Jews have deserved. And because he will be bearing another name, and also beginning another life, so thus the same will be taken for Christ... Thus, he will make the faith of the people to him, so that by them he will be called Christ. For he has risen up from hell, as we also spoke of above in the words of Isaiah: Water, he says, nourishes him, and the abyss enlarges him."
The passage from "Isaiah" that Victorinus quotes is actually from Ezekiel 31:4 which is part of an important prophecy that speaks of "The Assyrian" (we'll look at it in an upcoming article). I agree with Victorinus that the Antichrist will be raised from the dead, but I do not think that the seven kings of Satan are limited to the Roman Era, and I do not believe that Nero is Asshur the Antichrist. The Antichrist does not precede the seven; he must be one of the seven and to identify him we need to learn more about what the Bible says about Asshur.
The Covenant With Asshur
The prophet Hosea lived at the same time as Isaiah and Micah, and like them he had some important things to say about Asshur's end-times role. As usual his prophecies had an important contemporary purpose, yet at the same time they looked forward to Israel's troubles during the Day of the Lord. During Hosea's time the northern kingdom of Israel (often referred to as Ephraim) had fallen completely into apostasy and they eventually suffered complete destruction at the hand of the kingdom of Assyria (Asshur). What follows is the word of the Lord to Israel, which also speaks to Israel today and of her future relationship with Asshur the Antichrist:
"When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt. As they called them, so they went from them: they sacrificed unto Baalim, and burned incense to graven images. I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by their arms; but they knew not that I healed them. I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love: and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them. He shall not return into the land of Egypt, but the Assyrian [Asshur] shall be his king, because they refused to return. (Hosea 11:1-5, KJV)
"Ephraim feedeth on wind, and followeth after the east wind: he daily increaseth lies and desolation; and they do make a covenant with the Assyrians [literally "with Asshur", singular] and oil is carried into Egypt. (12:1)
"And by a prophet the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt, and by a prophet was he preserved. Ephraim provoked him to anger most bitterly: therefore shall he leave his blood upon him, and his reproach shall his Lord return unto him. When Ephraim spake trembling, he exalted himself in Israel; but when he offended in Baal, he died. And now they sin more and more, and have made them molten images of their silver, and idols according to their own understanding, all of it the work of the craftsmen: they say of them, Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves. Therefore they shall be as the morning cloud and as the early dew that passeth away, as the chaff that is driven with the whirlwind out of the floor, and as the smoke out of the chimney. Yet I am the Lord thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but me: for there is no saviour beside me. I did know thee in the wilderness, in the land of great drought. According to their pasture, so were they filled; they were filled, and their heart was exalted; therefore have they forgotten me." (Hosea 12:13-13:1-6)
In these passages we hear the Lord remembering the loving care by which he brought Israel out of Egypt and how he protected them and healed them from their wounds. God laments the fact that Israel has forgotten Him and, though He will not send them back into Egypt, He says that Asshur will be their king because they refuse to return to God. Israel has completely forgotten the Lord and instead they have made a "covenant with Asshur." God cries out for His people to return to Him because He knows that "there is no saviour beside me." Then in the face of Israel's rejection the Lord immediately gives the following prediction which has some very provocative apocalyptic overtones:
"Therefore I will be unto them as a lion: as a leopard by the way will I observe them: I will meet them as a bear that is bereaved of her whelps, and will rend the caul of their heart, and there will I devour them like a lion: the wild beast shall tear them." (Hosea 13:7-8, KJV)
In this passage the Lord says that because of Israel's rejection of Him He will come upon them with punishment in the form of a lion, a leopard, a bear and a wild beast. It is the very same imagery that is found in Daniel and Revelation. Yet there is much more to this passage that confirms our thesis that Asshur will appear at the end of the age as Israel's false messiah. Here is the very same passage that is found in the Greek Septuagint translation :
"And I will be to them as a panther, and as a leopard. I will meet them by the way of the Assyrians, as a she-bear excited, and I will rend the caul of their hearts, and the lions' whelps of the thicket shall devour them there; the wild beasts of the field shall rend them in pieces." (LXX, Brenton's translation)
In this translation we see that there was once a reference to "Asshur" in the original Hebrew text. However, it has been translated into a plural form of "Asshur" in the Septuagint, and translated as a form of the verb shur ("to observe") in the Masoretic Text which is the basis of modern Bibles. If we take a closer look at this text as we know it in modern Hebrew, and if we follow the lead of the Hebrew scribes who wrote the Septuagint, we arrive at the following translation :
"Therefore I will be unto them as a lion and as a leopard. I will meet them by way of Asshur. As an enraged bear that tears the caul of their heart there will I devour them like a lion. The wild beast of the field shall tear them."
With this translation we find that it is through Asshur that God will ravage Israel as a lion, leopard and bear, and in the form of a wild beast. Asshur will be the king of the world's final lion-leopard-bear-beast kingdom (Rev.13:2), and Israel will suffer greatly from it in the last days. Yet the Lord will be there to save Israel as soon as she repents. God will rescue Israel from Asshur and redeem them from their Covenant with Death and Hell (Sheol), just as the Lord says in the passage from Hosea that immediately follows:
"O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help. I will be thy king: where is any other that may save thee in all thy cities? and thy judges of whom thou saidst, Give me a king and princes? I gave thee a king in mine anger, and took him away in my wrath. The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; his sin is hid. The sorrows of a travailing woman shall come upon him: he is an unwise son; for he should not stay long in the place of the breaking forth of children. I will ransom them from the power of the grave [literally Sheol]; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave [Sheol], I will be thy destruction. (Hosea 13:9-14, KJV)
The identity of the Antichrist cannot be discovered unless we first understand the way in which he will come. Because he "once was" we can be certain that he existed in the past. Because he appears "out of the Abyss" after being healed from a "deathly wound" we know that he will be resurrected. Yet the questions remains... who is Asshur? And if his soul is currently locked away in the Abyss, then where is his body? Next week Part Three of this series will positively identify Asshur the soon-to-be-resurrected Antichrist King.
"Seek ye where the broken twig lies and the dead stick molds away, where the clouds float together and the stones rest by the hillside, for all these mark the grave of Hiram who has carried my Will with him to the tomb. This eternal quest is yours until ye have found your Builder, until the cup giveth up its secret, until the grave giveth up its ghosts. No more shall I speak until ye have found and raised my beloved Son, and have listened to the words of my Messenger and with Him as your guide have finished the temple which I shall then inhabit. Amen."
33° Freemason Manly P. Hall, The Lost Keys of Freemasonry, from the Prologue
Part Two printable
Continue to Part Three
1. To read why the Septuagint translation should not be ignored, and how the different translations of the Old Testament were created, see Barry Setterfield's excellent article, "CREATION AND CATASTROPHE CHRONOLOGY," Section B - "CHRONOLOGY FROM ABRAHAM BACK TO ADAM". In the future this article will also be used when it comes to dating the first appearance of the Antichrist.
2. For a comprehensive analysis of this passage see the article "Asshur in Hosea 13:7-8".
January 21, 2008