KEY PLAYERS AND TERMS IN PROPHECY
Important geographical terms, political terms, chronological terms, and coming world leaders.
The World, the Earth, and the Land
The World. In prophecy, "the world" refers to the entire planet earth. This is no surprise, but it is important to distinguish it from "the earth" which in prophecy refers to a restricted area.
“Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech and there are no words, yet their voice is heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their language to the extremity of the world.” Psalm 19:2-4
“And the seventh angel sounded his trumpet: and there were great voices in the heaven, saying, The kingdom of the world of our Lord and of his Christ is come, and he shall reign to the ages of ages.” Revelation 11:15
The Earth. "The earth" refers to the region of the planet that falls within the scope of Old Testament prophecy; Europe, the Middle East, and Israel. We call this the "prophetic earth" to keep the terms clear in our mind. Isa. 26:9 tells us that the judgments of God will largely fall in the prophetic earth, not the entire world. But the moral effect of those judgments will affect the entire world!
“For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” Habakkuk 2:1
“And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one.” Zech. 14:9
The Land. "The land" in prophecy refers to a more restricted area than the world, or even the earth; it refers specifically to the land of Israel. Often it goes beyond the borders of the land in Joshua's day to include the full extent of the land promised to Abraham (Genesis 15:18).
“And the land shall mourn, every family apart: the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart.” Zech. 12:12
“On the same day Jehovah made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates.” Genesis 15:18
“Every place whereon the sole of your foot shall tread shall be yours; from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, even unto the hinder sea shall your border be.” Deuteronomy 11:24
The Third and Fourth Parts of the Earth
The Third Part of the Earth. The "third part" is mentioned quite frequently in the book of Revelation. It refers to the part of the earth that was under the control of the Old Roman Empire, and will therefore be under the control of the Revived Roman Empire as well.
“And the first sounded his trumpet: and there was hail and fire, mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth; and the third part of the earth was burnt up, and the third part of the trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.” Revelation 8:7
How do we know the "third part" is the Roman earth?
If we look at Revelation 12:3-4 we see that the dragon (Satan) drew with his tail the "third part" of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the ground, then stood before the pregnant woman (Israel) ready to devour her child (Christ). This speaks of the time when Herod the Great, the instrument of Rome, was seeking to kill the Lord Jesus as a young boy. If we are familiar with the symbology of Revelation we will know that stars represent those who are set in a position of authority. The dragon's tail drawing the third part of the stars corresponds to his efforts to bring the leaders of a great political power (fill in the blank) under demonic control. His purpose was to mobilize them to kill the man-child and thus thwart God’s purpose (Matt. 2). What political power was behind Herod? Rome. This passage gives us the key that “the third part” refers to the Roman earth.
The Fourth Part of the earth. It is unclear from scripture what “the fourth part” definitely refers to. The phrase occurs only once in prophecy, in Rev. 6:
“And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.” Revelation 6:8
Although we cannot be exactly sure of the meaning of "the fourth part", an understanding of numeric symbols in the Bible is a great help. The number "three" has to do with completeness according to God; e.g. three days and nights in the grave, three Persons in the Trinity, etc.. The number "four" has to do with universality in creation; e.g. four directions of the compass, four rivers in the garden of Eden, etc. Therefore, if the "third part" is a division according to God’s mind, then the "fourth part" is a division according to the lines of creation.
In what way has God divided the earth according to creation? A few possibilities are; geologically the earth is divided into continents, or linguistically the earth is divided into languages. With confessedly little evidence to support my view, it could be that the "fourth part of the earth" is contained within one continent. If that is so, I suggest that this refers to the continent of Europe. This is based on the role of the seal-judgments leading to the rise of “the Beast”. Presumably the conditions created by the seal-judgments open the way for the Personal Beast to take control, it would follow that the epicenter of the fourth seal might be in Europe.
Coming World Leaders and Armies
Seven Coming World Leaders in order of appearance:
- The Prince that shall come (Rome)
- The Personal Beast (Rome)
- The Antichrist (Jerusalem)
- The King of the South (Egypt)
- The King of the North (Turkey)
- The King of Kings and Lord of Lords
- The King of Russia, Magog (Moscow)
The Revived Roman Empire
The revival of the Old Roman Empire is a common theme in prophecy. It is described clearly twice in Daniel and twice in Revelation:
- Daniel 2 (the "feet of iron mixed with clay")
- Daniel 7 (the "fourth beast" with "terrible iron teeth")
- Revelation 13 (the "beast rising out of the sea" whose "seventh head" was wounded then healed).
- Revelation 17 (the beast that is "about to come out of the abyss")
Basic Description. The revived Roman Empire will have the same form of government as the empire when John was writing (Rev. 17:10), namely, an imperial form. The seat of the empire will be a city of "seven mountains" (Rev. 17:9), beyond doubt identifying it with the city of Rome. It will be composed of 10 kingdoms or nations represented by 10 horns (Rev. 17:12).
Its leadership. A leader will emerge at the middle of Daniel's 70th week (the "little horn", Dan. 7:8) who will conquer three of the ten kingdoms. Then, the remaining kings will voluntarily "give their power and authority to the beast" (Rev. 17:13). It will rise "out of the abyss", indicating that the transfer of power at the middle of the week is the direct activity of Satanic power. The confederacy of ten nations is called "the Beast" and also the leader is called "the Beast". We can differentiate them by referring to one as the "Political Beast" and the other as the "Personal Beast". Even before the Personal Beast takes control at the middle of the prophetic week, the empire will have some kind of political leader, called "the prince that shall come" in Daniel 9:27. He is also the "seventh king" (Rev. 17:10) who only continues for "a little while", and then is killed or deposed at the middle of the week.
Political and Religious Aspects. At all times in its short existence, the empire will have religious and political aspects. In the first three and a half years, the "coming prince" will lead Rome from a political standpoint, but the False Church will lead it from a religious standpoint. This is pictured by the Great Harlot riding the Beast (Rev. 17).
Changes at the middle of the week. At the middle of the week, the woman (False Church) is cast off and destroyed by the ten nations. At the same time, the "seventh king", the political head (coming prince), will be removed (Rev. 17:10), and the government will be damaged greatly, pictured by the "seventh head" receiving a "deadly wound". However, the deadly wound will be almost instantly healed when the "eighth king" (Personal Beast) comes to power through the efforts of "the Dragon" (Satan). The Personal Beast will fill the political void. The religious void will be filled by "the False Prophet" (or, Antichrist) who will institute a new form of religion within the empire; involving an image or idol, and a mark (see Rev. 13), and worship directed to the Personal Beast (Dan. 11:36-39).
|First 3 1/2 Years
||The "Coming Prince" leads the confederated ten nations
||The "Great Harlot" leads the empire in an idolatrous, materialistic, twisted version of Christianity apart from Christ.
|Middle of Week
||"Seventh king" removed, the "eighth king" takes over
||The False Church destroyed by the ten horns, and Antichrist takes over.
|Last 3 1/2 Years
||Personal Beast reigns over empire as sole dictator.
||The False Prophet enforces the idolatrous worship of the Personal Beast (the image, the mark, etc.)
|End of the Week
||Personal Beast cast into the Lake of Fire
||False Prophet cast into the Lake of Fire
The Last 3 1/2 years. The empire will launch a campaign to persecute those who do not worship the Personal Beast, and many of the faithful will be slain. God will pour out His judgments on the Beast's empire, the first six seals in the first 3 1/2 years, then the seventh seal, the seven trumpets, and seven bowls in the last 3 1/2 years.
The fall of the Beast. At the end of the prophetic week, the eastern border of the empire (Israel) will be invaded by the King of the North and his Arab Confederacy who sweep down through the land into Egypt (Dan. 11:40). The empire will suffer a tremendous blow from this attack. The Beast will mount a counter attack, and sail across the Mediterranean with his navy (Num. 24:24) to interfere in an ancient struggle between the kings of the North and South (Dan. 11). Instead of meeting the King of the North, the Beast and his armies will be met by the King of kings and Lord of lords coming out of heaven with His armies (Rev. 19:11-21). At the battleground of Megiddo, the armies of Europe will be destroyed, and the Beast and False Prophet cast alive into the lake of fire. At the same time the angels will go forth over the empire and "reap" those who have refused the gospel of the kingdom. This is called the Harvest Judgment. The destruction of the Beast will be accomplished by Christ personally, like the great Stone of Daniel 2 which struck Nebuchadnezzar's image on the feet. So ends the Revived Roman Empire.
The Prince that shall come
The coming prince is mentioned only twice in scripture. He is mentioned in Daniel 9, as the prince of the people who destroyed Jerusalem. Which people destroyed Jerusalem? The Romans, in A.D. 70. This man will be the political leader of the revived Roman Empire.
"And he shall confirm a covenant with the many for one week;" Daniel 9:27
He will be instrumental getting a treaty or "covenant" online between his people (Rome) and "the many", which refers to the Jews. This covenant will undoubtedly be a covenant of protection, referred to in Isaiah 28:15 as "a covenant with death, and with hell". The apostate nation of Israel will happily enter this covenant to protect them from "the overflowing scourge" (the King of the North) which they know "shall pass through".
The seventh king. The tenure of this "coming prince" is very short... only 3 1/2 years. We read of this leader, called the "seventh king" (Rev. 17:10);
"and when he comes he must remain only a little while" Revelation 17:10
Evidently, when the great upheaval occurs at the middle of the week, he is either killed or deposed so that the Personal Beast can take his office.
The Personal Beast
The Personal Beast is a reference to the future leader of the Revived Roman Empire. He will come to power in the middle of Daniel’s 70th week, and he will reign for the last 3 1/2 years. We refer to this man as the "Personal" Beast to distinguish him from the empire he controls, which is also called the Beast. The two are very closely connected, "...as we might say, that Napoleon was the French empire, because he wielded all its resources."
His rise to power. The Personal Beast is a leader who will emerge at the middle of Daniel's 70th week. His character is described in Rev. 13:4-8; he will derive his power from Satan, he will be characterized by blasphemy, he will persecute the faithful viciously, and he will exalt himself as an object of worship. He will take control of the Revived Roman Empire by first overthrowing three out of the ten kingdoms (the "little horn", Dan. 7:8). Then, the remaining kings will voluntarily "give their power and authority to the beast" (Rev. 17:13). In some way he will maintain control over the ten kings while at the same time empowering them. The "horns" do not receive "crowns" until the Personal Beast comes to power; they "receive authority as kings one hour with the beast" (Rev. 17:12).
His worship. One of the most striking things about this man is that Satan makes him an object of worship for the "earth-dwellers". The one who will foster, encourage, enforce, and direct this idolatrous worship is the False Prophet, or Antichrist. You can read all about this evil system of worship in Rev. 13:12-15. Those who refuse to take part in this idolatry will be persecuted or martyred.
The covenant with Israel. One of the first things he will do is breach the terms of the covenant set up by the coming prince. It says "in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease" (Dan. 9:27). This means that he will put a stop to Jewish worship, which the Jews will have resumed in their rebuilt temple. He needs to abolish Judaism (and Christianity) in order to set up his own religion. This will be a warning to Israel to abandon human protection and turn to the Lord... but they will not heed the warning.
His end. We read from Rev. 17:11 that the Personal Beast "goes into destruction". After the attack of the King of the North, the Personal Beast will come across the Mediterranean to defend his "territory". He will be accompanied by a vast navy (Num. 24:24) and army consisting of captains, kings, cavalry, and infantry (Rev. 19:17-19). He will not meet the King of the North, but will instead meet the King of kings and Lord of lords descending with the armies of heaven! The Lord will meet him like "a thief in the night"; totally unexpected. Shockingly, the Beast will attempt to "make war against him that sat upon the horse, and against his army." The battle will begin and end in the same instant. The only weapon in play will be "the sword of him that sat upon the horse" (Rev. 19:21). The Beast's armies will be slain, and he, with the False Prophet, will be cast alive into the Lake of Fire (Rev. 19:20). Proverbially, the other kings and world leaders who have died will then begin to mock him from their waiting place, saying; "Art thou also become weak as we? art thou become like unto us? ... How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!" (Isa. 14:10, 12). So ends the Personal Beast.
Five Names of the Personal Beast. This important figure in prophecy goes by a number of names in scripture. Here are five of them, but there may be more:
- The First Beast (Rev. 13:1) - stressing his base character.
- The Little Horn (Dan. 7:8) - stressing his humble beginnings.
- The [2nd] coming prince (Dan. 9:26) - stressing his affiliation with Rome.
- The God of Forces (Dan. 11:38) - stressing his vast military might.
- The King of Babylon (Isa. 14:4) - stressing his seeming invulnerability to defeat.
Most dispensational teachers today do not understand the difference between the head of the Revived Roman Empire (first beast) and the Antichrist (second beast). As a result, they take the first beast to be Antichrist, and relegate the False Prophet to some unimportant role. In fact, John Nelson Darby, who those teachers got prophetic and dispensational truth from, himself saw the Beast and Antichrist as one person until around 1845. When he discovered the great difference between the two actors, Darby corrected his position, but it was too late to change the minds of those who had gotten the truth from him.
The Antichrist is a reference to a future world leader that will play a remarkable role in the fulfillment of Daniel's seventieth week. Like the Personal Beast, he will come to power in the middle of Daniel’s 70th week, and he will reign for the last 3 1/2 years.
His office. Antichrist will be the religious leader of the revived Roman empire, and also a political leader of the apostate nation of Israel. He will have civil authority, as Daniel 11 describes, but this will be largely restricted to Palestine, where he sits in the temple as God (2 Thess. 2:4). In the larger sphere, he is a lieutenant of the true leader of the empire; the little horn of Daniel 7, who is simply "the beast". The power of the beast is delegated to antichrist (Rev. 13:12) who uses the power to establish a new religion; the forced worship of the beast. The office of antichrist is largely religious, as he leads the world in the idolatrous worship of the beast.
His character and origin. Antichrist will be an apostate Jew (Dan. 11:36). This is not a commonly known fact about Antichrist, because many confused Antichrist with the political leader of the Revived Roman Empire. It says "he will not regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women". Here we find that Antichrist will be an apostate Jew, for he will “not regard the God of his fathers", referring to Jehovah, the God of Israel. This answers the common confusion of the personal Beast with Antichrist. One is a Gentile, the other is a Jew. He will despise the true Messiah. The “desire of women” is a reference to the Messiah, the One whose birth was desired above everything else by Jewish women. Even the Name of Christ, which is universally renowned at the present day, he will despise. He will publicly deny two great truths about Christ (1 John 2:22); "Who is a liar but he that denieth (1) that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth (2) the Father and the Son." It is the final outcome of Satan's original plan, when he told the woman, "ye will be as God" (Gen. 3:5).
His rise to power. Antichrist will come onto the scene at the middle of the seven years. We see him in Rev. 9:1-2 pictured as a fallen star. He comes forward to unlock the Satanic influences from the abyss. The Apostate Jews will receive him as king (John 5:43; Dan. 11:36), even though he has no direct authority from God, as Christ did who came in His Father's name. He will be physically located in Jerusalem, actually sitting down in the temple (2 Thess. 2:4) which will have been rebuilt at this time. He will have a hold over the citizens of the Beast's empire, to inflict some kind of pain; probably connected with their conscience (Rev. 9:1-12).
His idolatrous religion. He will introduce a new religion (Dan. 11:38; Rev. 13:12-15). He will foster, encourage, enforce, and direct the idolatrous worship of the Personal Beast. As such, he is the religious leader of the Revived Roman Empire. In return for his service, the First Beast will invest Antichrist with his full authority, carte blanche; "it exercises all the authority of the first beast before" (Rev. 13:12). Antichrist will then use this derived political authority to enforce his religious agenda. He will deceive the citizens of the empire to build an image, and then force all in the empire to worship the Personal Beast via the image. Those who refuse to take part in this idolatry will be persecuted or martyred (Rev. 13:12-15).
The mark of the Beast. Antichrist will be the financial leader of the empire as well as religious leader. He will require "the mark of the Beast" on every person's forehead or right hand as a kind of personal "pass" needed to buy groceries, get gasoline, or do any type of business – no exceptions (Rev. 13:16-18).
His relationship with Israel. His rise to power is part of the governmental judgment of God on Israel; see notes on Matt. 12:43-45. In the sphere of Israel he claims to be God, and reigns supreme (2 Thess. 2:3-4; Daniel 11:36). To the rest of the empire, he is subordinate to the Personal Beast (Rev. 13:12), and even secretly worships the Beast, called the "god of fortresses" (Dan. 11:37-39). He will be the head of the campaign to persecute the faithful remnant of the Jews. He will be the local representative of Rome in Israel, and undoubtedly he will preach "peace and safety", boasting the military might of the Beast behind him. But when the King of the North begins his descent, the Antichrist will flee, deserting the Jews; for he is "the worthless shepherd that leaves the flock" (Zech. 11: 17; see John 10:13). In another sense, the Lord is over this desertion. it says the Lord will “drive him from his office” in preparation for the true Messiah (Isa. 22: 19-21). The descent of the King of the North is what brings the great persecution of the remnant to a close. The "Great Tribulation" (Matt. 24:21) or "Jacob's Trouble" (Jer. 30:7) is brought to a close when Antichrist flees away. He flees presumably to Rome, but returns a few weeks later with the Beast, to fight the Lord at His appearing (Rev. 19:20).
His end. After the attack of the King of the North, the Antichrist will accompany the Personal Beast across the Mediterranean. The Lord will meet him like "a thief in the night"; totally unexpected. His end is described by Paul in 2 Thess. 2:8; "and then the lawless one shall be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus shall consume with the breath of his mouth, and shall annul by the appearing of his coming". This agrees with what Isaiah says in Isa. 11:4 about the character of the Lord's judgment when He appears; "he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked." The Beast's armies will be slain, and he, with the False Prophet, will be cast alive into the Lake of Fire (Rev. 19:20). In Isa. 30:33 we find that "Topheth" or the Lake of Fire, was "prepared of old; for the king also [i.e. the Antichrist, as well as the Assyrian] it is prepared: he hath made it deep and large; its pile is fire and much wood; the breath of Jehovah, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it." So ends the Antichrist.
Twelve Names of Antichrist. Like the Personal Beast, the Antichrist goes by a number of names in scripture. Here are twelve of them, but there may be more:
- The Second Beast (Rev. 13:11) - stressing his base character.
- The Antichrist (1 John 2:18) - stressing his denial of the truth of Christ.
- The False Prophet (Rev.16:13) - stressing his spiritual influence.
- The Willful King (Daniel 11:36) - stressing the character of his reign in Israel.
- The Man of Sin (2 Thess. 2:3) - stressing his character of self-will.
- The Son of Perdition (2 Thess. 2:3) - stressing his final destination.
- The Wicked or Lawless One (2 Thess. 2:8) - stressing his character of lawlessness.
- The Fallen Star (Rev. 9:1) - stressing his apostasy as a leader.
- The Foolish & Worthless Shepherd (Zech. 11:17) - stressing his lack of care for others.
- The Bloody & Deceitful Man (Psalm 5:6) - stressing his violence and corruption.
- The Profane & Wicked Prince of Israel (Ezek. 21:25) - stressing his political influence.
- The Prince of Tyre (Ezek. 28:2) - stressing his commercial influence.
Also, the Antichrist can be seen typically in the following ten persons: Abimelech (Judges 9), Saul (1 Samuel 8-31), Absalom (2 Samuel 15-19), Ahab (1 Kings 16-18), Ahaz (2 Kings 16), Shebna (Isaiah 22), Zedekiah (Jeremiah 39 & 52), Haman (Esther 3-7), Herod (Matthew 2), and the Hireling (John 10).
The King of the South
The King of the South is a future world leader that will come into play at the end of Daniel's seventieth week. He will have a confederacy, consisting of Egypt, Libya, and Ethiopia (Dan. 11:43; Ezek. 30:4-5), as well as other African Nations. This apocalyptic King of the South will be the final form of the Ptolemaic empire of antiquity.
Daniel 11 traces the ancient conflict between the King of the South (the leader of the Ptolemaic Dynasty) and the King of the North (leader of the Seleucid Dynasty). These two kingdoms are traced in the book of Daniel to two of the four quadrants of Alexander's empire. The strife between the kings of the north and south are documented in precise detail in Daniel 11. The ancient conflict was brought to a halt (6th Syrian War) when the Roman Empire interfered in the conflict (Daniel 11:29-30a). Rome had an alliance with Ptolemaic Egypt because of the grain Egypt supplied to the growing western power. Sensing that Antiochus IV (last historical King of the North) would likely wipe out the Ptolemies (and Rome's grain supply with them), the Roman Empire sent the “ships of Kittim” to interfere. That brought an end to the Syrian Wars... until now. The players in this final conflict have been absent for centuries, or even millennia. But, like a global-scale chess match put on hold for 2000 years, God has already begun assembling the pieces, and when the last is put in place, the game clock will be set in motion.
The Final Syrian War. In Daniel 11:40 we get the final Syrian War, the seventh, if you will.
"And at the time of the end shall the King of the South push at him; and the King of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and overflow and pass through." Dan. 11:40
The King of the south will push north against “him” (Antichrist, in Israel). This is an attempt to reclaim for the south that ancient possession (Palestine) that was last stripped away by Antiochus III (Daniel 11:13) of the Seleucid dynasty. It is possible that the apocalyptic King of the South will be an ally to the Western confederacy, and upon seeing the armies of the Assyrian amassing on the eastern border, could “push” north as a preemptive strike on behalf of the Beast. Such an alliance would be consistent with Daniel 11:29-30a. Like Pharaoh of old, the King of the South just can't let Israel go, and will push north to his own destruction.
“Who is this that cometh up as a flood, whose waters are moved as the rivers? Egypt riseth up like a flood, and his waters are moved like the rivers; and he saith, I will go up, and will cover the earth; I will destroy the city and the inhabitants thereof. Come up, ye horses; and rage, ye chariots; and let the mighty men come forth; the Ethiopians and the Libyans, that handle the shield; and the Lydians, that handle and bend the bow.” Jeremiah 46:3-9
His end. This movement will provoke the King of the north to come down. The relative strength of the King of the north, who is a global superpower, will overwhelm the King of the south. Once again, just like in the Sixth Syrian War, Rome will move to interfere. But the Beast will arrive too late, and will be destroyed by the Lord before intercepting the King of the North.
"And he shall stretch forth his hand upon the countries; and the land of Egypt shall not escape. And he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps." Daniel 11:42-43
“And the Egyptians will I give over into the hand of a cruel lord, and a fierce king shall rule over them, saith the Lord, Jehovah of hosts” Isaiah 19:4.
The great aim of the Seleucid Empire will finally be reached… the King of the North will destroy the King of the South, taking possession of Egypt and her allies. The “the treasures of gold and of silver” indicate that Egypt will be enriched by this time. In Isa. 7:18-19 this very sequence is described again.
"And it shall come to pass in that day, that Jehovah will hiss [or, whistle] for the fly which is at the extremity of the streams of Egypt, and [whistle] for the bee which is in the land of Assyria; and they shall come…" Isaiah 7:18-19
Just as a man whistles for his dog or cat to come, Jehovah has the movements of nations in His hand, and He alone can command them for His purposes. He whistles once, and the King of the South comes up. He whistles again, and the King of the North comes down.
The Assyrian in Prophecy. The Spirit of God in the Old Testament used the political circumstances of Israel as a pattern of future coming events. Prophecy was given to warn Israel about the events that would shortly take place in the near-term, but much of the details look on to a future, final fulfillment. Two great historical events were used by the Spirit of God as a backdrop for the prophets; the aggression of Assyria and the aggression of Babylon. Isaiah, Hosea, Amos and Micah were written during the time of the Assyrian aggression, and the title "the Assyrian" is often employed to describe the apocalyptic enemies of Israel in those prophets.
Two Attacks. Historically, Assyria made two great attacks on Israel. First, Shalmaneser king of Assyria swept down and successfully took the Northern Kingdom of Israel captive. Second, Sennacherib king of Assyria swept down ten years later and unsuccessfully tried to take the Southern Kingdom of Judah in the days of Hezekiah. These two attacks, ten years apart, are used as the pattern for two great apocalyptic attacks on Israel.
The first apocalyptic attack. The first attack of the Assyrian is carried out by the King of the North and his Arab Confederacy. Like the historical attack of Shalmaneser, the King of the North will successfully enter and pass through the land of Israel, wreaking havoc along the way. This first attack is called "the consumption" (Isa. 10:22; 28:22; Dan. 9:27). This attack will utterly devastate the land of Israel, it will be the judgment of God on the apostate Jews in the land. The King of the North will continue south into Egypt, and later return, where he will be met by the Lord and destroyed.
The second apocalyptic attack
. The second attack of the Assyrian is carried out by Gog and Magog, the King of Russia. While the first attack will take place before the appearing of Christ, the second attack will take place after the appearing, when Israel is at rest in their land. Gog will come down "from the uttermost parts of the north"
with "many nations"
in her confederacy, in an attempt to overthrow restored Israel (Ezek. 38-39; Isa. 10:28-32; Mic. 4:11-12; 5:5). The Lord will "roar out of Zion"
(Joel 3:16) and defeat this army before they can enter the city. Read more...
Summary. We have seen that both the Russian Confederacy and the Arab Confederacy act at different times under the title “the Assyrian”. Furthermore, they are called in Rev. 16 “the Kings from the East”. Their advances may be referred to as “the first and second attacks of the Assyrian”. Together, the King of the North and the King of Gog (Russia) compose "the Assyrian".
The King of the North
The King of the North is a future world leader that will come into play at the end of Daniel's seventieth week. He will have a huge confederacy of Arab nations that will be allied with him; ten nations, to be exact (listed in Psa. 83). The leader will be from the same area as the old Seleucid empire, from modern-day Turkey. The scripture speaks more about the Assyrian (the King of the North) than about either the Beast or Antichrist! He is always described as the great foe of the Jews in the last days. He is connected with a king from even farther north, with whom he has an alliance. That is Gog, prince of Russia. There is evidence that Russia will be supporting the Arabs in some way, whether it be munitions, or something else (Daniel 8:25).
His origin. Daniel 11 traces the origin of the King of the South (the leader of the Ptolemaic Dynasty) and the King of the North (leader of the Seleucid Dynasty) back to two of the four quadrants of Alexander's empire. The strife between the kings of the north and south are documented in precise detail in Daniel 11, and it was brought to a halt (6th Syrian War) when the Roman Empire interfered in the conflict (Daniel 11:29-30a). But soon that ancient conflict will be resumed, and there will be a King of the South (Egypt) and a King of the North (Turkey).
The Attack of the King of the North. In Daniel 11:40 we get the final Syrian War. The King of the south will push north into Israel, and this movement will provoke the King of the North to come down. He will attack with alarming speed (“as a whirlwind”) and force (“chariots, horsemen, many ships”). His confederacy will number 200,000,000 men! (Rev. 9:16). For the time, his soldiers will be invincible (Joel 2:1-11, Isa. 5:26-30). The relative strength of the King of the north, who is a global superpower, will overwhelm and destroy the King of the South, taking possession of Egypt and her allies, along with the spoils; “the treasures of gold and of silver”. As he passes through the land of Israel, he will wreak havoc along the way. As such his army is pictured as locusts in the prophet Joel; leaving nothing behind. Miraculously, God will preserve those of the faithful remnant who are in the land at that time. But the apostate Jews who have rejected the gospel of the kingdom and have followed the Beast will be consumed. This first attack is called "the consumption" (Isa. 10:22; 28:22; Dan. 9:27).
Timing. It is the attack of the King of the North that brings the Great Tribulation to a close (1260 days from the middle of Daniel's 70th week), for then the terrible persecution of the faithful remnant will abruptly cease, when the apostate Jews are destroyed and the Antichrist flees. This attack is the great fear of the Jews. It is for fear of the Assyrian (the "overflowing scourge") that the Jews enter into the covenant of protection with the Beast. Ironically, that covenant is what seals their fate:
"Because of the protection of abominations [the unholy covenant] there shall be a desolator [the King of the North], even until that the consumption and what is determined shall be poured out upon the desolate." Daniel 9:27
"Your covenant [the unholy covenant] with death shall be annulled, and your agreement with Sheol shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge [the King of the North] shall pass through, ye shall be trodden down by it." Isa. 28:18
Even today we can see the hatred of the Arab nations surrounding Israel. But God will not allow them to attack until the moment that He has appointed. This moment is pictured in Revelation as the drying of the great river Euphrates (sixth bowl, Rev 16:12) to open up "the way of the kings from the rising of the sun".
His end. Daniel 11:44-45 document the fall of the King of the North. When the King of the North is down in the south (Egypt), he hears troubling rumors from the north and east (Dan. 11:44). Most likely the "rumors" are regarding the landing of a massive western army, and the commotion that follows. On his way north, back in Palestine, he will set up his temporary military base “between the [Mediterranean] sea” and Mount Zion in Jerusalem (Dan. 11:45). This will occur after the Lord has appeared, but before He has revealed Himself to the Jews. The King of the North will meet the Lord in battle at 1290 days from the middle of Daniel's 70th week. By the sound of His voice, the Lord will break the power of the King of the North in the mountains below the city (Isa. 14:24-25), then drive him “afar off” into a desert place, with his back to the Mediterranean and his front to the Dead Sea (Joel 2:20). His end is sudden and conclusive. The Lord will consume them with fire; his vast army will be destroyed in one day (Isa. 10:17-18). Then the King of the North will be cast into the Lake of Fire (Isa. 30:33). So ends the King of the North.
Figures applied to the King of the North:
- A “Whirlwind” (Dan. 11:40b-42) - stressing his swiftness in action.
- The “Overflowing Scourge” (Isa. 28:15-18) - stressing his role as the instrument of judgment.
- The “Bee that is in the land of Assyria” (Isa. 7:18) - stressing his potential to inflict pain.
- The “wild boar” out of the woods (Psa. 80:8-16) - stressing his desire to ruin God's earthly people.
- A “Forest fire” (Zech. 11:1-3) - stressing his path of utter destruction.
Five names of the King of the North:
- The Assyrian (Isaiah 14:25) - stressing his similarity to the historical Assyrian.
- The King of the North (Daniel 11:40) - stressing his connection to the Seleucid Dynasty.
- The Desolator (Daniel 9:27) - stressing his role as the instrument of judgment on Apostate Israel.
- The Exacter (Zechariah 9:8) - stressing his character of ruthlessness against his enemies.
- The King of Bold Countenance (Daniel 8:23) - stressing his warlike power.
The Prince of Russia, Gog and Magog
Gog and Magog is a reference to Russia, who will come down at the end of the indignation (1335 days from the middle of Daniel's 70th week) to attack the land of Israel. We know this is a reference to Russia from Ezekiel 38:1-6; "Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, prince of Rosh [Russia], Meshech [Moscow], and Tubal [Tobolsk]." Many Christians down through the centuries did not understand how this would be possible, because Russia did not exist as a nation until about 800 years ago.
The second attack of the Assyrian. This attack is foreshadowed in the Old Testament by the attack of Sennacherib king of Assyria who unsuccessfully tried to take the Southern Kingdom of Judah in the days of Hezekiah. In this way, the prophets adapt the title "the Assyrian" to Gog and Magog as well as the King of the North. Gog and Magog will come down after the Lord has dealt with the Beast and the King of the North, and has restored the regathered nation of Israel; "In that day when my people Israel dwelleth in safety, shalt thou not know it?" (Ezek. 38:14). It will be an enticing opportunity, and the Lord will dangle it in front of Gog like bait before a fish; "And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, etc.” (Ezek. 38:4).
The Russian Confederacy. Great masses of infantry will come down with Russia, very well armed; "thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords" (Ezek. 28:4). Russia will not be alone, for they will "come from thy place out of the uttermost north, thou and many peoples with thee". Ezek. 38:5-6 gives a list of some of the nations that will be in that confederacy; parts of Persia (Iran), parts of northern Africa, Gomer (Germany), Togarmah (Armenia), and "many" other confederate atheistic nations (Micah 4:11-12, Joel 3:2). The rebels of the ten tribes (Ezek. 20:35-38) will be swept up in this attack.
His end. The Russian Confederacy will be destroyed in the Winepress Judgment. The nations will come up in vast hordes, Russia in the lead, coming up “like a cloud to cover the land.” To deal with the army, the Lord causes a great earthquake in the land. The armies will be thrown into confusion, and will kill one another. Then the Lord will rain hail, fire, and brimstone upon them (Ezek. 38). The land of Edom will become the Lord’s “threshing floor” (Micah 4:11-12). The Lord will "roar out of Zion” (Joel 3:16) and destroy Russia. This begins the Winepress, which will continue approximately 200 miles. The Lord's enemies will be caught up in the vortex of judgment, and He will personally stamp upon them in fury (Isa. 63:1-6), until the blood rises “to the horses bits”. Afterward, the Lord will “send a fire on Magog” (Ezek. 39:6) and “a great whirlwind” (Jer. 25:32). It will take Israel seven months just to bury the dead (Ezek. 39:12). So ends Gog and Magog.
Note. Gog and Magog are frequently confused with "Gog and Magog" in Rev. 20:7-8, which attack Jerusalem in the final rebellion at the end of the Millennium. In Rev. 20 it does not say “Gog, the land of Magog” as in Ezekiel, rather it is a term used to describe the rebel hosts. They have the same godless, atheistic character as Russia and the Germanic peoples that come down at 1335 days. Russia comes down at the beginning of the 1000 years, this rebellion is at the end of the 1000 years. Also, this rebellion will have the same countless hordes of infantry as Russia. Possibly, the bulk of the rebellion will originate from Russia, but this in uncertain.
The King of Kings and Lord of Lords
The King of kings and Lord of lords is a reference to Christ returning from heaven in a warrior character (Rev. 19:11-16; Rev. 17:14). He will come "judging and making war in righteousness". Accompanying Him will be the armies of heaven (Rev. 19:14), which are the heavenly saints (Jude 14).
Timing and Battles. Christ will appear at 3 1/2 years from the middle of Daniel's 70th week. No one knows "the day nor the hour" of the appearing (Matt. 24:36). However, we do know it will be after 1260 days, because the Lord will be absent at the attack of the King of the North. We also know it will be before 1290 days, because the Lord will be present to destroy the King of the North on his return from Egypt. But the exact date cannot be known, according to the Lord's declaration in the Olivet discourse. What will the Lord do when He appears? First, He will destroy the Beast's army at Armageddon. Then He will execute the Harvest Judgment on Christendom (Rev. 14:14-16, Matt. 13:39-43), coming "as a thief in the night". The Lord will appear to the north of the land, but will not yet reveal Himself to the Jews. Then He will deal with the King of the North returning from Egypt, and then reveal Himself to the Jews. After the ten tribes return and Israel is restored, the Lord will deal with the Russian Confederacy at the Wine-press Judgment (Rev. 14:17-20; Isa. 63:1-6). All this will be accomplished by the Lord in His "Davidic" or "warrior" character.
Sessional Judgment. The Lord will then begin to set up His millennial kingdom. Before the Millennium can begin, He will deal with the Gentile nations who will be arraigned before "the throne of His glory", and separated as a shepherd separates his sheep from his goats (Matt. 25:31-46). The Lord will then establish His throne, and begin to heal the earth from the effects of the curse. All this will be accomplished by the Lord in His "Solomonic" or "peaceful" character.