Profile of Antichrist — Conclusion

“Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction.”

[2 Thessalonians 2:3]

I have been building a Biblical profile of the Antichrist over the past several weeks, and by harmonizing the testimony of the prophets, I believe I have gained valuable insight and a robust understanding of this end-times archenemy of our LORD and His people. If this profile of Antichrist is accurate, here are some key components we would expect to see when he is revealed in these last days.

  1. The Antichrist will emerge out of geopolitical instability and regional Middle-Eastern conflict as a “little horn,” meaning that he will be of little to no reputation when he initially steps upon the world stage. [Daniel 7-8]
  2. The Antichrist will be revealed soon after the rebuilding of a 3rd Jewish Temple, or at least after the Jews regain access to the Temple Mount to reinitiate their sacrificial system. [Daniel 9-12, Matthew 24:15, 2 Thessalonians 2:4]
  3. The Antichrist will use flattery, deceit, and political power plays to either strengthen or initiate some type of covenant between Israel and another political faction. Perhaps this will be a false peace agreement in the Middle East that opens the door for Jewish authority to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. [Daniel 9:26-27, Daniel 11]
  4. The Antichrist will take his place in the temple of God in Jerusalem and set up the “abomination of desolation,” profaning the house of God and blaspheming the name of God. This is the sign of the beginning of the great tribulation. [Daniel 9-11, Mt. 24:15-22, 2 Thess. 2:1-8]
  5. The Antichrist will emerge from a revived Islamic Caliphate or some semblance of a Neo-Ottoman Empire, which is the fourth kingdom described in Daniel 2 and the fourth beast in Daniel 7.
  6. The Antichrist quickly will rise to power and lead a 10-king/nation Middle-Eastern alliance after supplanting three of the original kings. [Daniel 7:19-28, Revelation 12:3, 17:9-14]
  7. The Antichrist, or king of the north, will most likely emerge from within the geographical boundaries of the ancient Babylonian/Assyrian Empire, or more specifically modern-day Turkey/Syria. [Micah 5, Ezekiel 38-39, Daniel 11]
  8. The Antichrist will lead an end-times invasion into Israel and his armies will have temporary success, slaughtering many and taking others into captivity. [Psalm 83, Daniel 11, Ezekiel 38-39, Micah 5, Zechariah 14, Luke 21]
  9. The Antichrist will concentrate his satanic wrath toward all God’s people — both ethnic Jews and all followers of Jesus Christ. This will be the great tribulation for the saints and the time of Jacob’s trouble. [Jeremiah 30, Daniel 12, Matthew 24:9-28, Revelation 12-13]
  10. The Antichrist and his armies ultimately will be destroyed by KING JESUS upon His return to strike the nations and tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God. [Zechariah 14, Ezekiel 38-39, 2 Thessalonians 1-2, Revelation 19]

To conclude this series, I would like to examine three more titles given to Antichrist that will complete his profile — the beast, the man of lawlessness, and the son of destruction.

The Beast

“And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads. 2And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority. 3One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast. 4And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?”

[Revelation 13:1-4]

The Apocalyptic imagery in the Scriptures often uses the same language to describe both king and kingdom. We see this in the Old Testament quite often as the entire nation of Israel would gather for war, “as one man before the LORD.” In the same way, the prophets sometimes refer to an individual king as being synonymous with his kingdom. Such is the case for the beast.

In the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, the Apostle John uses Old Testament images to describe the end-times Antichrist and his kingdom. In this case, John is drawing from the prophet Daniel, who used the term, beast, when speaking about the prominent kingdoms of the world.

The dragon, or the devil, gave his power and throne and authority to this beast, which represents both the king and the kingdom. The final kingdom of the Antichrist will be a composite of the four great former kingdoms of the world — Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and the Ottoman Empire. As I have proposed, I believe the Antichrist will come from this revived Ottoman Empire under the Islamic Caliphate. Islam will be the unifying factor that brings the final beastly empire together under the rule of the beast.

Majority Muslim populated nations

The final composite kingdom of the Beast will be centralized in the Middle East, but the Beast will have sway and world-wide influence to some extent. The Bible says that the False Prophet will perform many amazing signs and wonders as to deceive the whole world and that the Beast will require all who wish to participate in commerce and trade to receive his mark [Revelation 13:11-18]. I believe this mark will involve a credal statement of allegiance to the Beast, much like the Islamic shahada. Anyone who refuses to publicly confess allegiance to the Beast will be persecuted or killed under this system.

Also, the Beast and the False Prophet will persuade the “kings of the east” to join them for the final end-times battle, gathering them in the valley of Armageddon [Rev. 16:12]. I believe these kings will represent Muslim nations such as India, Pakistan, and Indonesia, which currently have hundreds of millions of Muslim citizens.

“As for the beast that was and is not, it is an eighth but it belongs to the seven, and it goes to destruction. 12And the ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received royal power, but they are to receive authority as kings for one hour, together with the beast. 13These are of one mind, and they hand over their power and authority to the beast. 14They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.”

[Revelation 17:11-14]

Man of Lawlessness

There is a mystery of lawlessness already at work in the world. Lawlessness, or iniquity, is when utter human sin and depravity is combined with unbridled evil and satanic activity. When men and women completely throw off moral restraint and give themselves over to the control of demonic power, then the world will be primed for the revealing of the man of lawlessness.

The Antichrist will be the great leader of licentiousness and lust, the great herald of blasphemy and perversion. He will be the prince of darkness and rebellion, leading the whole world astray into death and destruction. The spirit of antichrist is already at work, but if we are living in the last of the last days, then we would expect to see this spirit of lawlessness and rebellion intensify like never before.

“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.”

[2 Timothy 3:1-4]

Son of Destruction

Finally, the Antichrist is called the son of destruction. Obviously, this means he will be a man, not a woman. But beyond that, there are two primary applications regarding this title. First, the Antichrist will come to destroy and make desolate. He will be ruthless in his campaign of terror. He will leave a wake of destruction in his path everywhere he goes. He will pour out satanic wrath and concentrate his anger toward God’s people — both Jews and Christians. The great tribulation will be initiated and fueled by the son of destruction, who comes to steal, kill and destroy.

“Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation.”

[Revelation 13:7]

“His power shall be great—but not by his own power; and he shall cause fearful destruction and shall succeed in what he does, and destroy mighty men and the people who are the saints … Without warning he shall destroy many.”

[Daniel 8:24-25]

Like every historical type of antichrist that has sought to destroy God’s people, the Antichrist will be fueled by this hatred and bent on destruction. Neither Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, Haman, Antiochus Epiphanes, Mohammed, or Hitler, nor all their hatred combined will equal that of the Antichrist.

But not only will the Antichrist be a destroyer, he ultimately will be destroyed. The end of the story has been written and all the enemies of God will be destroyed in the end.

“And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.”

[2 Thessalonians 2:8]

“He shall speak words against the Most High,
and shall wear out the saints of the Most High,
and shall think to change the times and the law;
and they shall be given into his hand
for a time, times, and half a time.

But the court shall sit in judgment,
and his dominion shall be taken away,
to be consumed and destroyed to the end.

[Daniel 7:25-26]

“And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army. And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur.”

[Revelation 19:19-20]

Gog of Magog [Part 3] — Profile of the Antichrist

“Thus says the Lord GOD: Are you he of whom I spoke in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel, who in those days prophesied for years that I would bring you against them? But on that day, the day that Gog shall come against the land of Israel, declares the Lord GOD, my wrath will be roused in my anger.”

[Ezekiel 38:17-18]

In parts 1&2 of this profile, I proposed that the prophecies of Ezekiel 38-39 depict a future military invasion of Israel led by Gog, who is the end-times Antichrist. I also established that Gog is the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, in the land of Magog, which is modern-day Turkey. Based on these two foundational ideas alone, it is only logical to predict that the Antichrist, the great enemy of God’s people, will emerge from Turkey and lead a Middle-Eastern alliance of armies to invade Israel in the last days.

The purpose of this post is to begin breaking down the Scriptures themselves to see if this interpretation is in harmony with the rest of the Biblical prophets. In other words, are the descriptions and events of Ezekiel 38-39 substantiated by other prophetic passages that clearly refer to the Antichrist and the Day of the LORD?

The Latter Days

Just to be clear, this prophecy about Gog and his invasion of Israel is connected to the “latter days” [Ezekiel 38:8, 16]. The latter days, or last days, is a Hebrew phrase that often refers to the time of the end before the restoration of all things. Here are but a few prophetic passages using the same phrase.

“The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia, and came to make you understand what is to happen to your people in the latter days. For the vision is for days yet to come.”

[Daniel 10:13-14]

“Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the LORD their God, and David their king, and they shall come in fear to the LORD and to his goodness in the latter days.”

[Hosea 3:5]

“It shall come to pass in the latter days
that the mountain of the house of the LORD
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and it shall be lifted up above the hills;
and peoples shall flow to it.”

[Micah 4:1]

“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.”

[2 Timothy 3:1]

Furthermore, the LORD God identifies Gog as the great and final archenemy of Israel that was foretold by all the prophets throughout the Scriptures. The LORD clearly places unique significance upon Gog saying, “Are you he of whom I spoke in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel, who in those days prophesied for years that I would bring you against them?” [Ezekiel 38:17]

Gog’s Military Alliance

Ezekiel’s prophecy names specific nations who will be in league with Gog in the last days. Persia represents modern day Iran. Cush and Put represent northern Africa. Gomer and Beth-togarmah represent Turkey and Asia Minor. Although these nations are listed by name, it doesn’t necessarily limit the military invasion to these countries alone. Parallel passages in Joel 3, Psalm 83, and Zechariah 14 describe an end-times invasion from all the “surrounding nations,” and Ezekiel 30 lists many of the same surrounding nations as falling in judgment on the Day of the LORD.

“Son of man, prophesy, and say, Thus says the Lord GOD:
“Wail, ‘Alas for the day!’
3For the day is near,
the day of the LORD is near;
it will be a day of clouds,
a time of doom for the nations.
4A sword shall come upon Egypt,
and anguish shall be in Cush,
when the slain fall in Egypt,
and her wealth is carried away,
and her foundations are torn down.
5Cush, and Put, and Lud, and all Arabia, and Libya, and the people of the land that is in league, shall fall with them by the sword.

[Ezekiel 30:2-5]

By simply harmonizing these passages, it is clear that they are depicting the same military alliance, or “league,” that will follow the Antichrist into Israel in the last days. The Apostle John also saw a vision of this coming invasion, writing, “For they are demonic spirits, performing signs, who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty… And they assembled them at the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.” [Revelation 16:14, 16]

Likewise, Revelation 19:19 says, “And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army.” It is evident that John and Ezekiel were given visions of the same military invasion of Israel, which means that the Antichrist and Gog also are one in the same.

The King of the North

Gog is described as leading his invasion from the north, which harmonizes precisely with Daniel’s vision of the Antichrist, as the king of the north. Ezekiel writes, “You will come from your place out of the uttermost parts of the north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great host, a mighty army. You will come up against my people Israel, like a cloud covering the land. In the latter days I will bring you against my land, that the nations may know me, when through you, O Gog, I vindicate my holiness before their eyes.” [Ezekiel 38:15-16]

Now compare to Daniel’s prophecy.

At the time of the end, the king of the south shall attack him, but the king of the north shall rush upon him like a whirlwind, with chariots and horsemen, and with many ships. And he shall come into countries and shall overflow and pass through.41He shall come into the glorious land. And tens of thousands shall fall, but these shall be delivered out of his hand: Edom and Moab and the main part of the Ammonites. 42He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. 43He shall become ruler of the treasures of gold and of silver, and all the precious things of Egypt, and the Libyans and the Cushites shall follow in his train.”

[Daniel 11:40-43]

The Day of God’s Wrath

Finally, Ezekiel says that the LORD will vindicate His people Israel on that Day, as His “wrath will be aroused in anger.” [Ezekiel 38:18] This is another reference to the Day of the LORD — a Day of God’s great vengeance and wrath on His enemies. There is only one final Day of the LORD, which will take place in connection with the triumphant return of the Lord Jesus Christ. King Jesus will effectively lead a military campaign against Gog and his armies, as He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God. Consider just a sampling of the prophetic passages that describe the ultimate demise of the Antichrist and the enemies of God on the Great and Dreadful Day of the LORD.

“Put in the sickle,
for the harvest is ripe.
Go in, tread,
for the winepress is full.
The vats overflow,
for their evil is great.

Multitudes, multitudes,
in the valley of decision!
For the day of the LORD is near
in the valley of decision.”

[Joel 3:13-14]

““Therefore wait for me,” declares the LORD,
“for the day when I rise up to seize the prey.
For my decision is to gather nations,
to assemble kingdoms,
to pour out upon them my indignation,
all my burning anger;
for in the fire of my jealousy
all the earth shall be consumed.”

[Zephaniah 3:8]

“The sound of a tumult is on the mountains
as of a great multitude!
The sound of an uproar of kingdoms,
of nations gathering together!
The LORD of hosts is mustering
a host for battle.
5They come from a distant land,
from the end of the heavens,
the LORD and the weapons of his indignation,
to destroy the whole land.
6Wail, for the day of the LORD is near;
as destruction from the Almighty it will come!
7Therefore all hands will be feeble,
and every human heart will melt.
8They will be dismayed:
pangs and agony will seize them;
they will be in anguish like a woman in labor.
They will look aghast at one another;
their faces will be aflame.
9Behold, the day of the LORD comes,
cruel, with wrath and fierce anger,
to make the land a desolation
and to destroy its sinners from it.”

[Isaiah 13:4-9]

“When the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels 8in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.”

[2 Thessalonians 1:7-10]

“Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, 16calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”

[Revelation 6:15-17]

Stay tuned for the final installment of this profile, which will wrap up the comparative analysis of Gog and Antichrist and the coming salvation and restoration of Israel in the last days.

Gog of Magog [Conclusion] – Profile of the Antichrist

““And I will set my glory among the nations, and all the nations shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid on them. The house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God, from that day forward.”

[Ezekiel 39:21-22]

East Gate Jerusalem

In the first three installments of this profile, I have made the case that Gog of Magog is the Antichrist and great end-times enemy of God’s people, leading an alliance of Middle-Eastern armies to invade Israel. I also proposed that the land of Magog, Meshech, and Tubal correspond to modern-day Turkey and Syria, not Russia. Much like the profile of the Assyrian in Micah 5, these details lead me to believe that the Antichrist will emerge and establish his empire from somewhere in or around Turkey or Syria in the last days.

In conclusion, I will attempt to shed light on many other details that further substantiate this view.

Into Captivity You will Go

The Biblical testimony of the last days invasion of Israel is not a pretty picture. Although the LORD is coming to fight for His people and eventually will crush the head of the Antichrist, it will not be before this alliance of evil has some success. The time of Jacob’s trouble will be the culmination of all the antisemitic, antichristic, rage of Satan. There will be great loss, anguish and many casualties as a result.

One motif found in the Biblical prophets is that Israel will be dwelling in the land securely at the time Antichrist makes his move. Many have speculated why Israel would let down its guard at such a tumultuous time, but I won’t get into those possible reasons here.

If Israel is caught off guard by this military invasion, then it would explain how the Antichrist would deliver a crushing blow to Israel, taking plunder and many people captive along the way. Consider Ezekiel’s prophecy.

““Thus says the Lord GOD: On that day, thoughts will come into your mind, and you will devise an evil scheme 11and say, ‘I will go up against the land of unwalled villages. I will fall upon the quiet people who dwell securely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having no bars or gates,’ 12to seize spoil and carry off plunder, to turn your hand against the waste places that are now inhabited, and the people who were gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell at the center of the earth.”

[Ezekiel 38:10-12]

The Apostle Paul reinforces this idea in his first letter to the Thessalonians.

“For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.”

[1 Thessalonians 5:2-3]

As the Antichrist and His armies invade the land of Israel, there will be mass casualties and many captives taken. The Apostle John also emphasizes this in Revelation 13:10, saying, “If anyone is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if anyone is to be slain with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.”

Zechariah the prophet speaks of this as well saying, “For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered and the women raped. Half of the city shall go out into exile,” [Zech. 14:2]

Jesus also prophesies about the same event in Luke 21.

“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. 21Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it, 22for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written. 23Alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! For there will be great distress upon the earth and wrath against this people. 24They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”

[Luke 21:20-24]

The LORD will Fight for Israel

Ezekiel 38-39 describes a time of great trouble and tribulation but also of great deliverance! This is that final battle for Jerusalem that leads up to the Return of the King. As King Jesus returns to crush His enemies and avenge Israel, He will decimate Antichrist and his armies in the land. Many of the Biblical prophets emphasize the Day of the LORD, when Messiah will come in physical form to lead the armies of heaven against the forces of evil.

The LORD Himself says that on that DAY … “all the people who are on the face of the earth, shall quake at my presence … So I will show my greatness and my holiness and make myself known in the eyes of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD” [Ezekiel 38:20, 23].

Now consider Zechariah’s account of the same future Day.

“Behold, a day is coming for the LORD, when the spoil taken from you will be divided in your midst. 2For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered and the women raped. Half of the city shall go out into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city. 3Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle.”

[Zechariah 14:1-3]

Consider all the Ways the LORD inflicts judgment on His enemies on that DAY.

  1. The LORD will turn the armies of Antichrist against each other. [Ezekiel 38:21, Zechariah 14:13]
  2. The LORD will strike the armies with plagues. [Ezekiel 38:22, Zechariah 14:12]
  3. The LORD will rain down massive hailstones onto the armies. [Ezekiel 38:22, Revelation 11:19, 16:21]
  4. The LORD will cause a great earthquake to shake the earth. [Ezekiel 38:18-20, Zechariah 14:4-5, Rev. 16:18-20]

The Great Supper of God

After the LORD is finished pouring out his wrath, Antichrist and his armies will be decimated, and God will call for His great supper, where the birds of the air and beasts of the field come to gorge themselves on the flesh and blood of the slain. Ezekiel 39 and Revelation 19 clearly describe the same supper of God after the return of Jesus and the DAY of the LORD.

“As for you, son of man, thus says the Lord GOD: Speak to the birds of every sort and to all beasts of the field: ‘Assemble and come, gather from all around to the sacrificial feast that I am preparing for you, a great sacrificial feast on the mountains of Israel, and you shall eat flesh and drink blood. 18You shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth—of rams, of lambs, and of he-goats, of bulls, all of them fat beasts of Bashan. 19And you shall eat fat till you are filled, and drink blood till you are drunk, at the sacrificial feast that I am preparing for you. 20And you shall be filled at my table with horses and charioteers, with mighty men and all kinds of warriors,’ declares the Lord GOD.”

[Ezekiel 39:17-20]

“Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, 18to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.”

[Revelation 19:17-18]

The Remnant of Israel and Restoring Jacob’s Forturnes

The consistent theme of the Biblical prophets is that the LORD is coming to save the remnant of Israel and restore the fortunes of Jacob. Entire books could be written about Israel’s hope for this Messianic age of redemption and restoration because the expectation is central to all the Biblical prophets and the overall narrative of the Bible. In short, the LORD has promised to save Israel out of her worst hour, restore her fortunes, set her securely back in the land, where the King of Israel will establish his kingdom and rule from the throne of David forever. For the sake of time, I leave you with Ezekiel’s vision of this day.

““And I will set my glory among the nations, and all the nations shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid on them. 22The house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God, from that day forward…Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob and have mercy on the whole house of Israel, and I will be jealous for my holy name.26They shall forget their shame and all the treachery they have practiced against me, when they dwell securely in their land with none to make them afraid, 27when I have brought them back from the peoples and gathered them from their enemies’ lands, and through them have vindicated my holiness in the sight of many nations. 28Then they shall know that I am the LORD their God, because I sent them into exile among the nations and then assembled them into their own land. I will leave none of them remaining among the nations anymore. 29And I will not hide my face anymore from them, when I pour out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, declares the Lord GOD.

[Ezekiel 39:21-22, 25-29]

Gog of Magog [Part 2] – Profile of the Antichrist

“The word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, set your face toward Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal.'”

[Ezekiel 38:1-3]

Almost every Bible scholar — both Jewish and Christian — universally agree that the prophecy of Ezekiel 38-39 is yet future and has not occurred at anytime in history. Although there have been many foreign invasions of Israel throughout history, none match the description of this prophetic event. So if this prophecy is depicting a future event, then what would we expect to see coming in the last days?

Magog, Meshech & Tubal

The very first step of interpretation for this amazing prophecy in Ezekiel 38-39 is to establish the historical and geographical context. No shortage of books, articles, maps, and teachings have been published about this passage, with varying viewpoints nonetheless. However, if Gog is the end-times Antichrist, which I believe is the case, then this passage provides essential details about the geographical region of his empire and his military alliances.

Ezekiel says that Gog is “the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal … in the land of Magog,” which clearly denotes a specific geographic location. Basic rules of hermeneutics teach that it is imperative first to discover the historical context in order to responsibly interpret the future context. For example, in order to accurately discover where the ancient land of Magog is, it is essential to understand what Magog meant to the original author — in this case, Ezekiel. Ezekiel wrote this prophecy somewhere between 590-570 B.C., so naturally we should ask, “where was the land of Magog during Ezekiel’s day?” Fortunately, we can answer that question with a high level of certainty.

Two Interpretive Problems

Before I answer that critical question, it is important to point out two observations. First, many scholars and teachers take a convoluted, unreliable ancient-bloodline approach to determine the ancient land of Magog. Without going too far in depth, this approach attempts to trace particular ethnic groups as they migrated out of the ancient land of Magog and follow them through history to their modern day location. Instead of understanding the land of Magog simply as a geographic location, this faulty method attempts to identify Magog as an ethnic people group.

Not only is this approach counterintuitive, but also unproductive. God isn’t expecting an average person to perform interpretive acrobatics just to figure out a simple geographic location in the Scriptures. Instead, it makes perfect sense to simply find out what Ezekiel would have called Magog and where it corresponds in the world today.

A second problem that perhaps has caused even more confusion and misinterpretation is the incorrect translation of the Hebrew word, rosh, used in this passage. For some reason, a minority of Bible translators decided to translate rosh as a proper noun denoting a location. For example, the New American Standard Bible reads like this. “Son of man, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him.” [Ezekiel 38:2]

Although the overwhelming majority of translations correctly render this Hebrew word — rosh — as “chief” or “head,” there are now entire theories of eschatology that are built around this faulty notion that Gog will be the prince of a place called Rosh — a place that doesn’t exist! The problem with this erroneous translation is that the Hebrew word — rosh — is used in various forms nearly 600 other times in the Old Testament, and NEVER ONCE IS IT TRANSLATED AS A PROPER NOUN OR GEOGRAPHIC LOCATION! It is consistently translated as “head,” or “chief.” That is why Gog is correctly called the “the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal.” The word, rosh, has nothing to do with a place or location.

Rosh is NOT Russia

To make matters worse, somewhere along the way Rosh became associated with modern-day Russia simply because they sounded alike. This theory makes just about as much sense as saying that everyone who wears” beige” must have been born in “Beijing!” It’s nonsense!

So now the popular view of Ezekiel 38-39 is built on a false premise that originated out of an incorrect translation and gross misinterpretation of the text. Untold books and sermon series have propagated for years that Gog must be from Russia, primarily because the word Rosh just happens to sound like the word Russia! This is a classic case of how the church can be led into error by naively accepting man’s irresponsible interpretations instead of studying the Scriptures for ourselves!

The reason this technical examination of the text is so crucial is because it directly informs our interpretation of where the Antichrist will come from. Either one makes the case that Gog is coming out of Russia, or he is coming out of modern day Magog.

Going back to our original interpretive method, is there any historical evidence that provides an accurate geographic location of the land of Magog? Well, for starters, let’s view a handful of scholarly Bible Atlases that identify the land of Magog.

IVP Bible Atlas
New Moody Bible Atlas
Holman Bible Atlas
Zondervan Bible Atlas

Magog is Modern Day Turkey

Although you can definitely find maps that depict the land of Magog to be in modern-day Russia, those maps are not accurately established on Biblical or historical geography. The overwhelming consensus of Bible scholars agree that the land of Magog is in modern-day Turkey, as are Meshech and Tubal. This proper understanding of the geographic context of Ezekiel 38-39 has profound implications about the origin of the Antichrist and his coming kingdom. For more conclusive evidence, feel free to read Joel Richardson’s article about the accurate historical location of Magog, Meshech and Tubal.

Gog of Magog [Part 1] – Profile of the Antichrist

“You will come up against my people Israel, like a cloud covering the land. In the latter days I will bring you against my land, that the nations may know me, when through you, O Gog, I vindicate my holiness before their eyes.”

[Ezekiel 38:16]

The prophecies of Ezekiel 38-39 are perhaps the most comprehensive in all of Scripture that describe the future invasion of Israel that will be led by the end-times Antichrist. According to Jewish tradition, the war of Gog and Magog will be the final battle in Israel that will precipitate the Messianic Redemption, or coming of Messiah.

“According to the Talmud, as the Messianic era approaches, the world will experience greater and greater turmoil: Vast economic fluctuations, social rebellion, and widespread despair. The culmination will be a world war of immense proportion led by King Gog from the land of Magog. This will be a war the likes of which have not been seen before. This will be the ultimate war of good against evil, in which evil will be entirely obliterated.”

(Ezekiel ch. 38, 39; Zechariah 12:2, 14:23; Talmud – Sukkah 52, Sanhedrin 97, Sotah 49)

If understood correctly, Ezekiel 38-39 paints a prophetic picture that reveals critical details about the Antichrist and his military alliances.

There is only one glaring problem …

The prevailing thought in the church today is that the war of Gog has nothing to do with the final battle over Israel but rather depicts a separate conflict altogether that must take place some time before Antichrist is revealed. Pastors, Bible teachers, seminary professors, and prophecy watchers have been propagating this popular view for generations. The reason? Faulty presuppositions and poor exegesis!

Those who insist that the battle described in Ezekiel 38-39 has nothing to do with the Antichrist hold to several fundamental presuppositions that force them to arrive at a faulty conclusion. Their logic is flawed because their original premise is incorrect. Here is the basic logic of their argument.

  1. The Antichrist must come from a Revived Roman Empire.
  2. The alliance of nations under Gog’s command listed in Ezekiel 38-39 are clearly Middle Eastern, Muslim majority nations.
  3. Therefore Gog cannot possibly be the Antichrist.

Of course, the fatal flaw of this argument is insisting that the Antichrist must arise out of a revived Roman Empire. As I demonstrated in my earlier post [Rejecting a Revived Roman Empire], there is no Scriptural basis that supports such a view.

On the other hand, the prophetic Scriptures consistently place an emphasis on the nations immediately surrounding Israel, which corresponds to the Middle Eastern context. This blind commitment to a Revived Roman Empire has caused countless people to miss one of the most significant, comprehensive end-times prophecies concerning the defeat of Antichrist and his armies!

Because of the rich content, I will take the next several posts to unpack the prophecies in Ezekiel 38-39 and demonstrate that the war of Gog of Magog is indeed the final battle in Israel between the Antichrist and his armies and the Lord Jesus and His armies. At the conclusion, I hope to clearly make the case for the following …

  1. Gog is another name for the Antichrist
  2. Gog is the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, which is modern-day Turkey
  3. The Hebrew word, Rosh, is NOT a proper name title, but is consistently translated as chief, or head, and has nothing to do with a geographic location or modern-day Russia
  4. The alliance of armies that join Gog (the Antichrist) are all modern-day, majority Muslim nations
  5. This battle takes place in the last days at the time of the end
  6. This battle corresponds to other prophetic passages that describe the final battle in Israel and the Day of the LORD — Joel 2-3, Isaiah 63 & 66, Ezekiel 30-32, Zechariah 12-14, Zephaniah 1-3, Psalm 83, Luke 21, Revelation 16-19 … to name a few
  7. Outpouring of God’s wrath on Gog and the nations — including an earthquake, fire, hailstones, pestilences etc…
  8. The LORD reveals Himself and literally fights for Israel in their midst
  9. The LORD is vindicated before the nations and glorified among all
  10. Antichrist is killed and his armies decimated
  11. The birds of the air and beasts of the field feast on the dead bodies of the slain
  12. Israel is supernaturally saved and delivered from Gog (Antichrist)
  13. God pours out His Spirit on Israel, and the nation turns to the LORD in faith once and for all
  14. Israel is restored to her land forever
  15. King Jesus will at that point rule and reign on earth from Jerusalem for 1,000 years

Stay tuned for Part 2 …

The Assyrian – Profile of the Antichrist

“They shall shepherd the land of Assyria with the sword,
and the land of Nimrod at its entrances;
and he shall deliver us from the Assyrian
when he comes into our land
and treads within our border.”

[Micah 5:6]

Ancient Assyrian relief

The way I try to read, understand, and harmonize Old Testament prophecy is first to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to teach me truth and reveal to me the mysteries of the prophetic word [2 Peter 1:19-21]. Then my approach is to read each passage in its original context and ask questions like, “who is the original audience, who is this written about, when is this taking place … who is involved … what is happening … how is it connected to other prophetic passages etc...”

If I can answer these questions, then usually I can gain a responsible interpretation of the text. It certainly doesn’t mean that I can’t be wrong, but this approach usually protects me from the extremes of overreaching or reading my own preconceived views into the text.

One of the more difficult passages in view when it comes to creating a profile for the end-times Antichrist is Micah 5. Famously known as the Bethlehem prophecy concerning the birth of the Messiah, this passages usually is only emphasized around Christmas. But when taking a closer look, Micah 5 reveals an interesting perspective on an end-times enemy of Israel named the Assyrian, who is most likely another prefigurement of the final Antichrist.

So what can we learn about Micah 5 and the Assyrian? There are five primary components to this passage that stand out.

  1. Israel’s Sin and Idolatry
  2. Assyrian Invasion
  3. Divine Deliverance
  4. Remnant of Jacob is Saved
  5. God’s vengeance on the nations

It must be said that many scholars and Bible interpreters contend that this passage has already been fulfilled during the Assyrian Invasions of Israel and Judah in the 8th Century B.C. But then others say that the reference to the Ruler from Bethlehem (Jesus) could only be describing His millennial reign. Neither of these interpretations, however, explain the crux of this passage, which is Micah 5:6. Let’s read it again.

He shall deliver us from the Assyrian
when he comes into our land
and treads within our border.”

The “He” mentioned here is the Deliverer, the Shepherd and Ruler of Israel, the one prophesied to be born in Bethlehem. We know His name – Yeshua, King Jesus. Consider Micah’s description of this Ruler to be born.

“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to be ruler in Israel,
whose coming forth is from of old,
from ancient days.
3Therefore he shall give them up until the time
when she who is in labor has given birth;
then the rest of his brothers shall return
to the people of Israel.
4And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD,
in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God.
And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great
to the ends of the earth.
5And he shall be their peace.
When the Assyrian comes into our land
and treads in our palaces.”

[Micah 5:2-5]

The reason I believe this prophecy is depicting a literal, future deliverance of Israel from the Assyrian is because there has yet to be such an event in history that fits this description. King Jesus has not had direct conflict with an Assyrian tyrant who is invading Israel. Clearly this must be another prophetic passage that is describing the coming judgment on the Day of the Lord, when Jesus returns to destroy the Antichrist, strike the nations and save Israel. When harmonizing Micah 5 with the dozens of prophetic passages about the Day of the LORD and the judgment of the nations surrounding Israel, it seems to be speaking of the same future event in the last days.

Yes, the nation of Israel remains overwhelmingly hardened toward the LORD to this day, persisting in unbelief. But as with most of the passages depicting the Day of the LORD, God promises ultimately to deliver Jacob and save a remnant out of the midst of great distress. Micah 5 reinforces this motif.

The passage also emphasizes the LORD judgment of the nations and the Day of vengeance spoken of throughout the prophets. This will happen on the Day of the LORD, when Messiah returns in all His glory.

“And in anger and wrath I will execute vengeance
on the nations that did not obey.”

[Micah 5:15]

“For the LORD has a day of vengeance,
a year of recompense for the cause of Zion.”

[Isaiah 34:8]

“For these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written. 23Alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! For there will be great distress upon the earth and wrath against this people. 24They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”

[Luke 21:22-24]

An Assyrian Antichrist?

Finally, many have used this passage to suggest that the Antichrist must be an ethnic Assyrian. While that is a possibility, I believe it is more likely a description that gives us the general geographical region from which the Antichrist will rule. Much like the King of the North in Daniel 11 alludes to Syria, and Gog of Magog in Ezekiel 38-39 points to Turkey, the Assyrian helps narrow the focus of the Antichrist’s end-times empire to the surrounding nations of Israel. So instead of providing an ethnic marker for the Antichrist, I believe Micah 5 provides a general geographic marker.

A map of the ancient Assyrian empire will help provide a visual of this general region, which again is a composite of the Babylonian, Persian, Greek and Ottoman Empires.

The Little Horn – Profile of the Antichrist

“As for the ten horns,
out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise,
and another shall arise after them;
he shall be different from the former ones,
and shall put down three kings.
He shall speak words against the Most High,
and shall wear out the saints of the Most High,
and shall think to change the times and the law;
and they shall be given into his hand
for a time, times, and half a time.”

[Daniel 7:24-25]

BON57681 Daniel in the Lions Den, mezzotint by J. B. Pratt, with hand colouring, pub. by Thomas Agnew and Sons, 1892 by Riviere, Briton (1840-1920) (after); 63.5×88.9 cm; Private Collection; Photo © Bonhams, London, UK; English, out of copyright

The Apocalyptic literature of the Old Testament can be intimidating to say the least. To avoid misinterpretation, one must carefully study the symbols and illustrations within the context of the greater Biblical narrative. Such is the case with the imagery of Daniel’s prophecy describing the Antichrist as the “little horn.”

In Daniel 7, the prophet receives a vision of four great earthly kingdoms that are contrasted with God’s future, eternal kingdom ruled by the “son of man.” It is within this vision that he uses the imagery of horns to identify the kings of these various kingdoms. Fortunately for Daniel, and for us, he is given the interpretation of his prophetic vision, and it has everything to do with the final kingdom of the Antichrist before the return and rule of King Jesus.

The Fourth Beast

If horns refer to the kings of these various kingdoms, then the kingdoms themselves often are described as beasts. Such is the case in Daniel 7. He is given a vision of four major empires that historically will dominate the Middle East. Most scholars agree that the first three kingdoms refer to Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece, but Daniel says that the fourth beast was “terrifying and dreadful and exceedingly strong. It had great iron teeth; it devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns” [Daniel 7:7].

This fourth and final beast, or kingdom, is also depicted in Nebuchadnezzar’s vision in Daniel 2 and in Revelation 17. It is out of this kingdom that the Antichrist will arise. The revelation of Jesus to the Apostle John can only be understood in the context of the Old Testament prophets. Both Daniel and John emphasize this final beast (kingdom) with ten horns (kings).

And the ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received royal power, but they are to receive authority as kings for one hour, together with the beast. 13These are of one mind, and they hand over their power and authority to the beast.” [Revelation 17:12-13]

THE Little Horn

When reading Daniel 7-8, it is imperative to understand that his prophetic visions are dealing with the time of the end — or last days [Daniel 7:21-22, 26-27, 8:17-19, 26]. The final beast, or kingdom, will be a restored composite kingdom of all three previous, historical empires [Babylon, Persia, Greece]. As I proposed in my last post, I am convinced this end-times kingdom of the Antichrist will be a revived, Middle Eastern Islamic kingdom.

Daniel uses the imagery of the little horn to identify an inconspicuous king who climbs the rungs of power using flattery, deception and betrayal. Let us consider some of the characteristics of the little horn and his end-times kingdom.

the Abomination of Desolation

The vision of the little horn in Daniel 8 clearly identifies this end-times king as the one who sets up the abomination of desolation that Jesus and Paul both reference as the Antichrist. Speaking of the little horn, Daniel says …

It became great, even as great as the Prince of the host. And the regular burnt offering was taken away from him, and the place of his sanctuary was overthrown. 12And a host will be given over to it together with the regular burnt offering because of transgression, and it will throw truth to the ground, and it will act and prosper. 13Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to the one who spoke, “For how long is the vision concerning the regular burnt offering, the transgression that makes desolate, and the giving over of the sanctuary and host to be trampled underfoot?” [Daniel 8:11-13]

Displaces Three Other Kings

It should come as no surprise that there will be turmoil and conflict within satan’s evil empire of the last days, especially considering the likelihood that this alliance of kings comes out of the Muslim world. Islam not only is ideologically at odds with the rest of the world, but even within itself. There is constant tension within Islam, especially between the Shia and Sunni sects. The Scriptures reveal that the Antichrist will start off as a “little horn,” but he will displace three kings in his sudden rise to power.

As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise, and another shall arise after them; he shall be different from the former ones, and shall put down three kings.” [Daniel 7:24]

Makes War with the Saints for 3 1/2 Years

The prophetic Scriptures place clear emphasis on the last 3 1/2 years of human history, otherwise known as the Great Tribulation and the time of Jacob’s trouble. This will be an unprecedented time of evil, chaos, distress, and satanic wrath, where the forces of evil will thrash violently against God’s people — both Jews and Christians. Daniel identifies the little horn as the one who will lead this end-times assault against the saints of the Most High.

As I looked, this horn made war with the saints and prevailed over them.” [Daniel 7:21]

He shall speak words against the Most High,
and shall wear out the saints of the Most High,
and shall think to change the times and the law;
and they shall be given into his hand
for a time, times, and half a time.
” [Daniel 7:25]

Revelation 13 corroborates Daniel’s prophecy.

“And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months6It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. 7Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, 8and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain. 9If anyone has an ear, let him hear:
10If anyone is to be taken captive,
to captivity he goes;
if anyone is to be slain with the sword,
with the sword must he be slain.
Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.”

[Revelation 13:5-10]

Ultimately Destroyed on the Day of tHe LORD

The final piece to this profile of the little horn is found in the description of his ultimate defeat and destruction. Daniel is clear that the Antichrist will be judged at the time of the end, at the coming of the Son of Man, which is also known as the Day of the LORD. I will leave you with several passages that agree.

“These four great beasts are four kings who shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, forever and ever.”

[Daniel 7:17-18]

“As I looked, this horn made war with the saints and prevailed over them, until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given for the saints of the Most High, and the time came when the saints possessed the kingdom.”

[Daniel 7:21-22]

“But the court shall sit in judgment,
and his (the little horn) dominion shall be taken away,
to be consumed and destroyed to the end. And the kingdom and the dominion
and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven
shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High;
his kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom,
and all dominions shall serve and obey him.”

[Daniel 7:26-27]

“His power (little horn) shall be great—but not by his own power; and he shall cause fearful destruction and shall succeed in what he does, and destroy mighty men and the people who are the saints. By his cunning he shall make deceit prosper under his hand, and in his own mind he shall become great. Without warning he shall destroy many. And he shall even rise up against the Prince of princes, and he shall be broken—but by no human hand.”

[Daniel 8:24-25]

“They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.”

[Revelation 17:14]

Rejecting a Revived Roman Empire – Profile of the Antichrist

“And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed.”

[Daniel 9:26]

Although there are various eschatological views pertaining to the final end-times empire of the Antichrist, the prevailing and most popular thought that has been propagated out of the western church is that this final kingdom will be a revived Roman Empire.

This idea really gained traction in the early 1990s with the establishment of the European Union, which many believed to be a literal fulfillment of Bible prophecy. A revived Roman Empire combined with a corrupt and apostate Catholic Church provided just the right platform for the emergence of the beast and the false prophet … or so it seemed.

Flag of the European Union

Today, nearly 30 years later, the European Union clearly is disintegrating, and although the Catholic Church continues to show signs of corruption and credal compromise, there has since emerged another force on the world stage that can no longer be ignored — Islam.

In the early 1990s, radical Islam seemed to be on the periphery of the geopolitical spectrum and barely even acknowledged in the west, until that fateful day in September of 2001. After the tragic events of 9-11, a spotlight was suddenly cast upon Islam and has remained ever since. Terms like jihad and shariah became common place in the news, around the dinner table, and in the pulpits of America.

Radical Islam poses a new threat that the modern world has not seen since the likes of Hitler and Nazi Germany. Undergirded by zealous fundamentalism, irrational anti-semitism, radical indoctrination, and religious exceptionalism — not to mention being motivated by world domination — Islam has proven to be both globally ubiquitous and fiercely resilient. Ironically, the same European Union that was once believed to be a revival of the ancient Roman Empire has deferred to the demands of Islam and now risks losing its own identity in the shadows of shariah.

So what does Islam have to do with Bible prophecy and more specifically the rise of the Antichrist? Well, to state it bluntly, EVERYTHING!

I believe it is time we cast aside the idea that the Antichrist will emerge from a revived Roman Empire and begin to read the writing on the wall, and more specifically of the Biblical prophets. Entire doctrines of eschatology have been crafted around a Roman Antichrist and a revived Roman Empire, but the Scriptures paint an entirely different picture. If we aren’t willing to take off our “western lenses” and look at Biblical prophecy through Israel-centric lenses, we will miss the whole impetus of the Biblical narrative.

WHAT About Daniel 9:26?

If there has been one verse of Scripture universally accepted that supposedly makes the case for a Roman Antichrist in the last days, it is Daniel 9:26-27 [see above]. This one obscure verse has been used as a proof text to promote an end-times scenario that when examined more closely, just doesn’t add up. By taking a deeper look at this verse and combining it with some basic world history, I will show that the final end-times kingdom of the beast is not a revived Roman Empire, but actually a revived Islamic Caliphate.

Flag of the Ottoman Empire [A.D. 1299-1923]

A.D. 70

Before I can deconstruct the idea that Rome will be the revived kingdom of the Antichrist, I need to explain why so many have taught this concept over the years. The argument goes something like this …

  1. Daniel 9:26-27 says that the people of the prince to come will destroy the city (Jerusalem), and the sanctuary (the Temple).
  2. In A.D. 70, the Romans, under General Titus, destroyed Jerusalem and the 2nd Temple, partially fulfilling the prophecy of Daniel 9.
  3. Therefore, the future Antichrist, or “prince to come,” must arise from a revived Roman Empire in the last days, ultimately fulfilling the prophecy.

Now on the surface, this argument seems to work. History does indeed prove that the Roman Empire sent legions of soldiers to siege and destroy Jerusalem in A.D. 70, killing nearly 1.5 million Jews in the process. But once you drill down a little deeper and read it within the greater historical context of the Biblical narrative, Rome becomes quite implausible as the kingdom of the Antichrist.

The Surrounding Nations

To say that the Biblical prophets place a concerted emphasis on the nations surrounding Israel is a gross understatement. Nearly every passage that describes an alliance of armies coming against Israel in the last days leading up to the Day of the LORD, specifically identifies the nations and peoples immediately surrounding Israel. The prophets invoke vivid imagery of God’s future judgment on Israel’s enemies, naming the likes of Edom, Moab, Midian, Arabia, Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Cush, Put, Lud, Libya, Tyre etc …

This coming future battle will culminate in the Valley of Decision [Joel 3], when Jerusalem will become a “cup of staggering to all the surrounding peoples” [Zechariah 12:2] and when “the LORD will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle” [Zechariah 14:3].

Jesus says in Luke 21:20, “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near,” and Revelation 19:19 depicts this great end-times war saying, “the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army.”

While there is no shortage of these prophetic passages, it is essential to understand that all of the nations surrounding Israel today are overwhelmingly Muslim nations, who share a common disdain and hatred for the Jews. It only makes sense that the nations that eventually will unite under the Antichrist in the last days will most certainly be a revival of the Islamic Caliphate. After the death of Mohammed, Islam rapidly conquered the Middle East through force and terror. Eventually the Ottoman Empire dominated the Middle East for more than 600 years [A.D. 1299-1923]. It is much more apparent that a form of this Ottoman Empire, not the Roman Empire, is the empire that will be revived under the Antichrist.


But what about Rome? Doesn’t nearly every study Bible identify Rome to be the revived kingdom in the end from which this “prince” of darkness will come? Isn’t Rome the 4th beast depicted in Nebuchadnezzar’s vision of empires in Daniel 2?[I will address Daniel 2 in a later post] Surely Rome must have some role in the Biblical end-times scenario, right? Many scholars are determined that the same Romans who destroyed the temple in A.D. 70 will once again lead an alliance of armies against Jerusalem in the last days.

How can history help us answer these questions? By taking a look at the details of the events surrounding the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, you may be surprised to discover which “people” really trampled the city and the sanctuary.

Roman Provincial Army in A.D. 70

It is easy to assume that because Rome was the conquering empire in power during the siege of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, it must have been an army of Italians, or Europeans, who leveled the city and burned the temple to the ground. But history reveals a different story altogether. Rome conquered many different provinces and people groups during its expansion and was forced to recruit these “provincials” to man their armies.

By the time of A.D. 70, Italian soldiers were reserved for the elite Pretorian Guard, but the rest of Rome’s armies consisted of people from various other ethnic groups on the fringes of the empire. The “provincialization” of the army was true for all of the Roman legions of this time period, and this specifically was the case with regard to the Eastern legions that were used to attack Jerusalem.

Author Joel Richardson points out that the Roman legions had been stationed in Judea, Syria and Egypt and that there was also “a strong contingent of Arabs, who hated the Jews” who accompanied the soldiers. Jewish historian Flavius Josephus confirms this.

“Malchus also, the king of Arabia, sent a thousand horsemen, besides five thousand footmen, the greatest part of which were archers; so that the whole army, including the auxiliaries sent by the kings, as well horsemen and footmen, when all were united together, amounted to sixty thousand”

(Flavius Josephus, The Complete Works of Josephus, The Wars of the Jews or The History of the Destruction of Jerusalem, Book III, Chapter 4, Paragraph 20).

History reveals that over 55,000 soldiers during the siege of Jerusalem were Eastern peoples. As Richardson has said, “that would mean that there was a maximum of one Western European soldier to every eleven Middle Eastern soldiers. Eleven to one! Yet in all likelihood, the ratio was much higher; perhaps closer to twenty to one.”

Furthermore, according to Josephus, it was not the Roman General Titus who ordered the destruction of the Temple, but rather the Middle Eastern provincials under his command who determined to exact their hatred on the Jews. As a matter of fact, these provincial soldiers directly disobeyed the orders of Rome in burning down the temple.

“Titus supposing what the fact was, that the house itself might yet he saved, he came in haste and endeavored to persuade the soldiers to quench the fire…yet were their passions too hard for the regards they had for Caesar, and the dread they had of him who forbade them, as was their hatred of the Jews, and a certain vehement inclination to fight them, too hard for them also…And thus was the holy house burnt down, without Caesar’s approbation”

(Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book 6, Chapter 4).

Based on the historical record, we must determine that the “people of the prince to come” spoken of by the prophet Daniel were not Italians from Europe, but rather they were Syrians, Egyptians, and Arabians — provincial soldiers under Roman command — who hated the Jews and delighted in destroying their most holy city. Once we have an accurate view of history, Daniel 9:26 makes complete sense and fits perfectly into the greater Biblical narrative.

The ethnic people groups who destroyed Jerusalem and the temple in A.D. 70 are the same people groups who are surrounding Israel today in Muslim majority nations. It only stands to reason that the Antichrist will establish his 10 king coalition from these Muslim nations and revive the ancient Islamic Caliphate of the Ottoman Empire. The stage is set and the pieces are in place for the right leader to unite these nations under the same evil spirit of antichrist that already is at work in the world.

Antiochus Epiphanes – Profile of the Antichrist

altar of Zeus

Of all the Old Testament characters that prefigure the coming Antichrist, the Syrian ruler Antiochus Epiphanes may be the most complete. The historical exploits of Antiochus [also known as Antiochus IV] mirror and foreshadow the Antichrist’s campaign of terror in Israel in the last days.

Daniel, serving under King Darius the Mede, was given a prophecy around 538 B.C. about the coming decline of the Medo-Persian empire and the rapid expansion of the Macedonian (Greek) empire under Alexander the Great. Daniel, prophesying 200 hundred years earlier, predicted Alexander’s rise to power and abrupt death, forcing him to divide his kingdom with four of his most trusted generals [Daniel 11:2-4]. The Apocryphal book of 1 Maccabees describes the details of this history.

“The wicked ruler Antiochus Epiphanes, son of King Antiochus the Third of Syria, was a descendant of one of Alexander’s generals. Antiochus Epiphanes had been a hostage in Rome before he became king of Syria in the year 175 B.C.”

[1 Maccabees 1:10]

Like so many Old Testament prophecies, the prophecies of Daniel 11 are dualistic in nature, meaning that the prophetic descriptions have both a historical fulfillment and a future fulfillment. The prophecy is layered in such a way that it applies both to Antiochus, who fulfilled the prophecy in part in the 2nd Century B.C., but also applies to Antichrist and the time of the end [Daniel 11:40, 12:4]. As I said before, Antiochus provides the most comprehensive profile of the Antichrist, so we can learn a great deal about the future by studying this passage.

THE King of the NORth

Daniel’s prophecy refers to Antiochus as the “king of the north,” which is in reference to the Holy Land, Israel. Antiochus was the king of Syria, which is associated with the ancient Assyrian empire and geographically is due north of Israel. The king of the north and king of the south (Egypt) engage in a series of military conflicts, and Israel is caught directly in the middle of these two nations and their armies. Since Antiochus warred with Ptolemy of Egypt in the historical fulfillment of this prophecy, I believe this regional conflict between the king of the north and king of the south will be repeated during the future campaign of the Antichrist. Both Daniel and John speak of Antichrist rising to power and displacing three other kings in the process. Perhaps Egypt is one of these future kings the Antichrist will subdue in his rise to power.

Although it may be difficult to predict the specific national origin of the Antichrist, I think it is safe to say that he will arise somewhere out of the ancient Assyrian/Babylonian empire that reached into parts of Syria and modern-day Turkey. I will spend more time on this idea in a later post when discussing “the Assyrian” from Micah 5 and also Gog of Magog in Ezekiel 38-39, both of which refer to this same antichrist figure who comes from the “north.”

A Usurper of Power

It is interesting that 1 Maccabees described Antiochus Epiphanes as being a “hostage in Rome” before rising to power in Syria. The prophecy of Daniel also implies that the Antichrist will have to usurp or take his power. He will be a master manipulator, making political power plays with flatteries and lies. This also corresponds to Daniel’s description of the Antichrist as the “little horn,” apparently speaking of his seemingly insignificant role on the geopolitical stage before rising to power out of nowhere. Just like Satan himself, Antichrist will be usurper of power, stealing that which doesn’t belong to him.

“In his place shall arise a contemptible person to whom royal majesty has not been given. He shall come in without warning and obtain the kingdom by flatteries.”

[Daniel 11:21]

Maker and Breaker of the COvenant

Daniel’s prophecies involve the confirmation of some type of covenant with the people of Israel and another nation or nations. Many have speculated about the interpretation of this covenant, especially concerning what role the Antichrist will play in it. Some believe that this covenant — perhaps a peace agreement — will be made between the Antichrist and Israel. Others see the Antichrist as the one who initiates and confirms the covenant between Israel and another party. Perhaps this peace accord will involve the international approval that finally gives Israel the authority to rebuild the third temple. Either way, I believe a future covenant with Israel will play a critical role in the last days.

“And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.”

[Daniel 9:27]

In an clear foreshadowing of this end times covenant, 1 Maccabees describes how Antiochus deceived the Jews in his day.

“Two years later Antiochus sent a large army from Mysia against the towns of Judea. When the soldiers entered Jerusalem, 30 their commander spoke to the people, offering them terms of peace and completely deceiving them. Then he suddenly launched a fierce attack on the city, dealing it a major blow and killing many of the people. 31 He plundered the city, set it on fire, and tore down its buildings and walls. 32 He and his army took the women and children as prisoners and seized the cattle.”

[1 Maccabees 1:29-32]

coin of Antiochus IV

Daniel provides even more detail about how the Antichrist will deceive many with this false peace agreement.

“Armies shall be utterly swept away before him and broken, even the prince of the covenant. And from the time that an alliance is made with him he shall act deceitfully, and he shall become strong with a small people … For ships of Kittim shall come against him, and he shall be afraid and withdraw, and shall turn back and be enraged and take action against the holy covenant. He shall turn back and pay attention to those who forsake the holy covenant. Forces from him shall appear and profane the temple and fortress, and shall take away the regular burnt offering. And they shall set up the abomination that makes desolate. He shall seduce with flattery those who violate the covenant, but the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action

[Daniel 11:22-23,30-32]

The ABomination of Desolation

In the same manner as Antiochus, the Antichrist will use this covenant to get what he wants and then he ruthlessly will turn on all parties involved. Just as there was a temple in Jerusalem in the days of Antiochus, there will be a temple in Jerusalem in the last days. Jesus warns everyone living in or around Jerusalem in the last days to flee the city when they see the “abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place” [Matthew 24:15]. What is this great abomination that makes desolate?

The first thing we learn both from history and prophecy is that the Antichrist will put an end to the regular Jewish sacrifices in the holy place. For the Antichrist to put an end to sacrifices in the last days, that means that the Jewish sacrificial system will be reestablished and the altar to the LORD will be rebuilt, which most likely will be in the third temple complex. Antiochus did the same thing in his day.

“He ordered them not to offer burnt offerings, grain offerings, or wine offerings in the Temple, and commanded them to treat Sabbaths and festivals as ordinary work days. 46 They were even ordered to defile the Temple and the holy things in it. 47 They were commanded to build pagan altars, temples, and shrines, and to sacrifice pigs and other unclean animals there … The penalty for disobeying the king’s decree was death.”

[1 Maccabees 1:45-47, 50]

After putting an end to the Jewish sacrifices in the temple, the Antichrist will totally defile and profane the altar and the temple with some type of pagan blood sacrifice and occult ritual. After defiling the temple, the Antichrist will then take his seat on the “throne” of what is symbolically the earthly throne of the LORD, and he will mock God while magnifying himself before the world.

The Apostle Paul describes this most profane act of blasphemy by saying, “Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.” [2 Thessalonians 2:3-4]

It is also worth comparing Daniel’s prophecy with the historical accounts of 1 Maccabees. According to history, Antiochus erected an altar to Zeus in the Jewish Temple and defiled the holy place with pagan blood sacrifice.

On the fifteenth day of the month of Kislev in the year 167 B.C., King Antiochus set up The Awful Horror on the altar of the Temple, and pagan altars were built in the towns throughout Judea. 55 Pagan sacrifices were offered in front of houses and in the streets … On the twenty-fifth of the month, these same evil people offered sacrifices on the pagan altar erected on top of the altar in the Temple. 60 Mothers who had allowed their babies to be circumcised were put to death in accordance with the king’s decree. 61 Their babies were hung around their necks, and their families and those who had circumcised them were put to death.”

[1 Maccabees 1:54-55, 59-61]

Daniel describes the future event in this way.

“And the king shall do as he wills. He shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak astonishing things against the God of gods. He shall prosper till the indignation is accomplished; for what is decreed shall be done.

[Daniel 11:36]

DIVIDING Up the Land for a Price

Lastly, Daniel 11 also gives an indication that when the Antichrist turns against the people of the holy covenant, he will use the land of Israel as a bartering piece. The prophet Joel also speaks of this wicked scheme of the nations trying to divide the land of Israel, as if it were theirs to give.

“He shall deal with the strongest fortresses with the help of a foreign god. Those who acknowledge him he shall load with honor. He shall make them rulers over many and shall divide the land for a price.”

[Daniel 11:39]

“For behold, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. And I will enter into judgment with them there, on behalf of my people and my heritage Israel, because they have scattered them among the nations and have divided up my land.”

[Joel 3:1-2]

As ruthless and blasphemous as Antiochus Epiphanes may have been, he still is nothing compared to the coming Antichrist. All of these pieces to the prophetic puzzle must be taken into account so that we are not deceived by his subtle yet destructive schemes, and so we can boldly proclaim the gospel of salvation for all to hear in these last days.

Haman – Profile of the Antichrist

Haman’s Demise – Edward Armitage

“And when Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow down or pay homage to him, Haman was filled with fury. But he disdained to lay hands on Mordecai alone. So, as they had made known to him the people of Mordecai, Haman sought to destroy all the Jews, the people of Mordecai, throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus.” [Esther 3:5-6]

Just last week, Jews all over the world celebrated the annual holy day of Purim, which remembers God’s faithfulness to save His people from annihilation through Esther, Queen of Persia. The story of Esther is as beautiful as the Queen herself — how it comes alive on the pages of Scripture with astonishing irony and divine sovereignty.

Hebrew Scroll of the Book of Esther

The villain of the story is a ruthless and powerful man by the name of Haman, who had been promoted to highest position of authority in the kingdom beside the king himself. Haman’s seething disdain for the Jew Mordecai — Esther’s cousin — grew into a full-blown plot to totally annihilate the Jewish people living in the provinces of Media and Persia. Haman manipulated King Ahasuerus into issuing a royal decree throughout all the land to destroy the Jews in one day. Once again the spirit of antichrist was at work in the heart of Haman.

“Letters were sent by couriers to all the king’s provinces with instruction to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all Jews, young and old, women and children, in one day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods.”

[Esther 3:13]

THE Spirit of Antichrist

Both historically and in our modern times, if anyone wants to discover where the spirit of antichrist is at work, he must look no further than to the persecution of God’s people — Jews and Christians. Although great injustice and genocide has been carried out historically against all the different people groups of the world at one time or another, the most concentrated and persistent acts of evil have been and always will be directed toward either the Jews or Christians. From the horrors of the Holocaust during WW II to the thousands of persecuted Christians of our day, the spirit of antichrist targets the people of God. Any government or ideology that promotes hatred of Jews or Christians is by definition of the antichrist.

And Esther said, “A foe and enemy! This wicked Haman!”  [Esther 7:6]

Satan hates God and all of God’s people and will always seek to deceive and destroy them. Haman is the perfect example of how the spirit of antichrist targets leaders and those in position of power. By positioning Haman at the king’s right hand, Satan was able to devise an evil plot of epic proportions. Had God not intervened through Esther and Mordecai, no Jew would have survived this onslaught of satanic wrath.

The Bible tells us that there is coming another like Haman in the last days whose sole purpose will be to make war with the saints and annihilate the Jewish people. Antichrist will be given authority for 42 months (3 1/2 years) and will be “allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.” [Revelation 13:7-8]

One need to look no further than the present spiritual climate in the Middle East to find the greatest concentration of anti-semitic and anti-christian nations surrounding the holy land. The spirit of antichrist is clearly already at work. The stage is set and the players in place. All it will take is the right leader to unify all of these nations together under one cause, and I believe that unifying force will be the unmitigated hatred of God’s people.

The Antichrist and his demonic armies will bring such relentless, ruthless force against Jews and Christians during the great tribulation that no flesh would survive unless that time be cut short.

“So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 16then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, 18and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. 19And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! 20Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath. 21For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. 22And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.

[Matthew 24:15-22]

THe LORD is Mighty to SAve

Purim is a perpetual celebration of joy and gladness and serves as a reminder to God’s people that despite all the evil efforts of antichrist, our God is mighty to save His people. Such was true in Esther’s day and such will be true in the last days. Just as Haman and his 10 wicked sons were all exposed and eventually put to death under the judgment of Almighty God, the Beast and his 10 kings also will be destroyed at the LORD’s coming. The LORD delivered His people in their darkest hour primarily because the Jews humbled themselves before Him through prayer and fasting and placed their faith in the LORD, as the only One who could save them from destruction.

If there has ever been a call for God’s people to humble themselves through fasting and prayer, it is now. If there has ever been a time to exercise faith in the Only One who can save us, it is now. His name is Yeshua – Jesus the Messiah. This is a call for the faithful endurance of the saints. Like Esther, we just happen to be the generation living “at such a time as this.”

“Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion;
shout, O Israel!
Rejoice and exult with all your heart,
O daughter of Jerusalem!
15The LORD has taken away the judgments against you;
he has cleared away your enemies.
The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst;
you shall never again fear evil.
16On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:
“Fear not, O Zion;
let not your hands grow weak.
17The LORD your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.”
[Zephaniah 3:14-17]