My latest book, Mistaken Identity, is now available on Kindle.
This weekend it’s on sale for $4.99 on Kindle.
This article is drawn from Mistaken Identity, Part 2.
“THE ASSYRIAN” IN THE OLD TESTAMENT:
WILL THE ANTICHRIST BE SYRIAN? OR TURKISH?
It remains a relatively common position that “The Assyrian” is an appellation for the Antichrist. Exactly why this is so, however, is not completely apparent. We read in Isaiah, “I will break the Assyrian in My land, And on My mountains tread him underfoot. Then his yoke shall be removed from them, and his burden removed from their shoulders.” (Isaiah 14: 25) But the name may not have anything to do with racial characteristics.
Indeed, there are a series of verses among Old Testament prophets that reference the Assyrian including the use of the name Asshur – often translated as a place name instead of a person’s name. Citing them for the reader’s convenience:
Isaiah 10:24-25 – Therefore thus says the Lord GOD of hosts: “O My people, who dwell in Zion, do not be afraid of the Assyrian. He shall strike you with a rod and lift up his staff against you, in the manner of Egypt. For yet a very little while and the indignation will cease, as will My anger in their destruction.”
Isaiah 14:25-26 – That I will break the Assyrian in My land, and on My mountains tread him underfoot. Then his yoke shall be removed from them, and his burden removed from their shoulders. This is the purpose that is purposed against the whole earth, and this is the hand that is stretched out over all the nations.
Micah 5:3-6 – Therefore He shall give them up, until the time that she who is in labor has given birth; then the remnant of His brethren shall return to the children of Israel. And He shall stand and feed His flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD His God; and they shall abide, for now He shall be great to the ends of the earth; and this One shall be peace. When the Assyrian comes into our land, and when he treads in our palaces, then we will raise against him seven shepherds and eight princely men. They shall waste with the sword the land of Assyria, and the land of Nimrod at its entrances; thus He shall deliver us from the Assyrian, when he comes into our land and when he treads within our borders.
As I discuss in my previous book (The Next Great War), citing friend Peter Goodgame, Asshur is most likely a reference to Nimrod. In fact, “The Assyrian” could be nothing more than a symbolic reference employing ancient Assyria as a “generic enemy” of Israel that hailed from Nineveh (a city founded by none other than Nimrod – who also established Babylon).
Nimrod was the first true “type” of antichrist and likely was the antitype of many gods in the pantheon of Egypt and Babylon, then later Greece and Rome. Mythology scholars connect Nimrod with Osiris, Orion, and Apollo. While Apollo was known as the god of music, he was also known as the “Destroyer”. This constitutes the meaning behind Apollyon and Abaddon in the Book of Revelation (Rev. 9:11). Tom Horn addresses this thoroughly in his study of mythology and its influence upon America’s founders and Masonic principles in Apollyon Rising 2012.
As referenced earlier, the Book of Micah makes strong references to the Assyrian. It is in the context of the last days that the venerable John F. Walvoord made this observation regarding the Assyrian:
One of the prophecies concerning the destruction of Assyria is found in Micah 5:5, 6 where the context seems to indicate a millennial situation. Some expositors have identified “the Assyrian” of Micah 5:5 as the little horn of Daniel 8 and conclude that the future world ruler who will head the Roman Empire will be an Assyrian. This identification, however, is doubtful, and it is more probable that Micah, living in the period of Assyria’s ascendancy, is merely contrasting here the future glory of Israel with the destruction of Nineveh and of Assyria, which actually took place in the seventh century B.C.[i] [Emphasis mine]
While the appellation “The Assyrian” likely has some reference to the future Antichrist, it should be obvious The Assyrian is no reference to his being Muslim. The Islamic Antichrist theory may be playing on today’s similar sounding name Syria with ancient Assyria from which, of course, the name Syria was derived.
While the land area overlaps in part, identifying these two entities would be something of a semantic “play on words”. Until the Muslims conquered them in the seventh century A.D., the Assyrians were considered Byzantines (Romans).
Enthrallingly, the Assyrians of today claim that they are a Christian people that are now stateless and which suffer persecution (much like the Palestinians). (See the endnote for a detailed discussion from their website.)[ii]
To make the point more explicit, the Antichrist could be an American President and still be tagged “The Assyrian” because he represents an enemy to the people of Israel. If he is Muslim, that fact might be entirely coincidental, not necessarily any sort of confirmation that he is the prophesied “AC”. In this case, calling him “The Assyrian” would not be literally true – only figuratively so.
Author Chris White also points out that while Antiochus Ephiphanes IV was a ruler in Assyria at the time he desolated the Temple (and was clearly an antitype of Antichrist), he was not a Muslim and not a native to Assyria. White points out, “Even the people who want to focus in on Antiochus sometimes overlook the fact that, although he ruled in Syria, he was a Greek man ruling a Hellenistic empire and worshipping Greek gods. Calling him a prefiguration of a Muslim ruler would be like calling Julius Caesar a Muslim king because Rome ruled over Egypt.”[iii] [Emphasis mine]
We must remember that it was Rome that named the region Palestine after the destruction of Jerusalem in 135 A.D. (subsequently renamed Aelia Capitolina). The Temple mount was plowed and salt sown into the ground at the Temple’s location. Jerusalem was scraped away (edifices from the First Temple Period would have been buried deeper underfoot as the Second Temple was built upon the site). Palestine was an unambiguous Roman province, named in part after the Philistines apparently to “rub salt in the wounds” (as well as plowing salt in the grounds!) The Latin Romans protected it for several centuries, and then the Byzantines (the Eastern Romans) occupied the Levant until the Islamic conquest in the seventh century A.D.
This symbolic use of an ancient name of peoples in the Bible referencing a future people or person is not without precedent. We see another example of ancient names referencing future foes, the most relevant being Edom and the Edomites. This instance is especially germane to my point.
Edom was the regional area centered on the city of Petra and Mount Seir (lying between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba). Esau established the city only 300 to 400 years after Noah’s flood. For centuries Edom was one of the greatest kingdoms on earth and stood as a mortal enemy to the Jews. This area, and the city of Petra its capital, actually comprised the third most mentioned city in the Bible. However, Edom was abandoned for a time (before Christ) and its people moved to the west and lived south of Jerusalem. They became known as the Idumeans. In fact, King Herod was an Idumean, not a Jew, and as such was regarded as the descendant of Esau. No surprise then that the Jews chaffed under his rule.
We should make a special note that Jewish scholars came to identify Edom symbolically as Rome. Gary Stearman offers a compelling argument that many Jewish scholars frequently reference Edom as a name for Rome, connecting both Edom and Rome symbolically as Israel’s enemy “in Messianic times.”[iv] Stearman quotes Rabbi Ibn Ezra Radak, “I love the Romans because the Torah commands, ‘You shall not despise the Edomite, for he is your brother.’” (Deuteronomy 23:8) [v]
“The Assyrian” is similar to the Roman and to the Idumean. They are arch enemies of Israel. The term “The Assyrian” does not infer the Antichrist will be a Syrian or a Turk.
[ii] From their website (http://nineveh.com/whoarewe.htm):
The Assyrians of today are the descendants of the ancient Assyrian people, one of the earliest civilizations emerging in the Middle East, and have a history spanning over 6760 years.
Assyrians are not Arabian or Arabs, we are not Kurdish, our religion is not Islam. The Assyrians are Christian, with our own unique language, culture and heritage. Although the Assyrian empire ended in 612 B.C., history is replete with recorded details of the continuous presence of the Assyrian people till the present time.
Assyria, the land of the indigenous Assyrians, was partitioned after World War I by the victorious Allies, and is currently under occupation by Kurds, Turks, Arabs and Persians [a region from Turkey to Iran].
The Assyrians are a stateless people and continue to be religiously and ethnically persecuted in the Middle East due to Islamic fundamentalism, Arabization and Kurdification policies, leading to land expropriations and forced emigration to the West. [Emphasis added]
Since 2014, hundreds of (possibly many more) Christian Syrians (who call themselves Assyrian) were killed by ISIS.
[iii] White, Chris, op. cit., Kindle Locations 529-531.
[iv] See the article, “Edom: The Great Prophecy” by Gary Stearman, Prophecy in the News Magazine, April 2013. Stearman stated, “To the Jewish mind, Rome, Edom and the state religion of Roman Christianity came to be viewed as the descendants of the idolatries that had begun centuries earlier in ancient Babylon.” The prophets likely intended [the use of the names] the ‘Assyrian’ or Asshur in the same mode as ‘Edom’; that is, symbolizing the future enemy of Israel but not meant to be taken literally.”
[v] From Tehillim, Vol. 2, p. 1329, cited by Stearman in Prophecy in the News Magazine, April 2013, p. 8.