Is "the Assyrian," mentioned by Isaiah and Micah, the Antichrist?

Email Received:

In Joe Van Koevering's book, Unveiling the Man of Sin, pages 71-73, he discusses his take on why the Antichrist must be Hashemite. He speaks of "the Assyrian" written about by a couple of Old Testament prophets (Isaiah and Micah). Do you believe that "the Assyrian" refers to the Antichrist?

Ted's Response:

I also have read some of that before, from other sources. The history of the Hashemite kingdom in Jordan is very interesting.

Later, Van Koevering makes a case that Prince El-Hassan bin Talal, of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, will be the Antichrist. This may or may not turn out to be factual. His points also are made in nine (9) videos, beginning here: The Man of Sin Unveiled.

I notice that Van Koevering makes the following two points in what he wrote on page 73 of his book:

I realize that a commonly-held view by many Christians is that "the Assyrian" is a designation, by the ancient prophets, of the Antichrist. As such, they believe that this future man of lawlessness or sin (2 Thessalonians 2:3), necessarily, must emerge from somewhere in the region in or around present-day Syria.

However, if this "foundational tenet" is incorrect, then any assumptions "built" on top of that foundation are in danger of failing scrutiny and collapsing. For instance, once the true, beastly nature of the Antichrist is revealed in the midst of the 70th Week, yet he does not do some of the things that the Assyrian has been prophesied to do, many mistakenly may take their eyes off of him and look for someone else to fill the role of Antichrist.

The assumption that the Assyrian and the Antichrist will be the same person is not at all obvious to me, for several reasons. I will provide four below.

1) In Isaiah 10:5,6, the Assyrian is seen to be the rod of God's anger, the club of His wrath, who will be sent against a godless nation, against a people who anger God. The ones against whom the Lord will use the Assyrian as His "rod" or "club" are those in Jerusalem (10:12a). Once this has been done, then the Lord will punish the king of Assyria (that is, "the Assyrian"), due to his willful pride and haughty look (10:12b).

Someone who is described, by another prophet, to come against the land of Israel is Gog (Ezekiel 38:16). Ezekiel even wrote how former prophets had prophesied how God would bring Gog against Israel (38:17). Presumably, two of these prophets were Isaiah and Micah, who probably were referring to Gog when they wrote about "the Assyrian" invading the land of Israel (Isaiah 10:5,6; Micah 5:5b,6). Also, the description of Gog in Ezekiel 38:10-12 seems to depict a very pompous, prideful and haughty man.

2) The Assyrian will be crushed on the mountains of God's land, which is Israel (Isaiah 14:25). Similarly, Gog also will fall on the mountains of Israel (Ezekiel 39:4), and Gog and his hordes will be buried in Israel (39:11). On the contrary, the beast or Antichrist, along with the false prophet, will be thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulphur (Revelation 19:20).

If it were Gog's fate to be tossed into the lake of fire, at the beginning of the Millennium, it would be impossible for him to return again, at the end of the Millennium (20:7,8), to be part of the final insurgency and insurrection against Jesus/God. In case you wonder how Gog could be dead and buried, yet return at a later time, this is explained in section 4 below.

3) The Assyrian will invade and come against Israel (Isaiah 10:5,6; Micah 5:5b,6), and Gog and his hordes will do the same (Ezekiel 38:16). Yet, John wrote how the beast (Antichrist), and the ten kings who follow him, will come specifically against the Lamb (Revelation 17:12-14)—that is, Jesus.

Some believe that Gog and the Antichrist are the same person. As such, they feel that the destruction of the armies of Gog will be the same event as the Battle of Armageddon, during which the Antichrist and his armies will be defeated. I am convinced that this simply is not the case, and several scriptural comparisons in my commentary, The Final Battles, demonstrate this.

In fact, the destruction of the hordes of Gog, attacking Israel, will take place on the day Jesus returns, 1,260 days (Revelation 11:3, 12:6) following the setting up of the "abomination that causes desolation" in the midst of the 70th Week. Then, 30 days following the destruction of Gog and Magog, in fulfillment of Daniel 12:11, the Antichrist and his armies will gather at Armageddon, planning to attack Jesus, the Lamb (as Psalm 2:1-12 and Revelation 17:12-14 describe); however, Jesus will defeat them instead.

4) In Revelation 13:1, the "dragon" (Satan) is seen watching the first beast or Antichrist rising up "out of the sea" (with "sea" probably representing multitudes of people). This will take place in the midst of the 70th Week. Many believe that Satan will possess or inhabit the Antichrist/beast. Perhaps this will be so; but at a minimum, Satan will be directing and guiding this man for the next 3˝ years.

Now, in the Septuagint translation of the Old Testament, there is a reference to Gog, indicating that he will be the king of a "swarm of locusts":

Thus the Lord showed me, and behold a swarm of locusts were coming, and, behold, one of the young devastating locusts was Gog, the King. (Amos 7:1)

Literal locust insects do not have a leader or "king" (Proverbs 30:27). So this probably is referring to a demonic host, indicating that Gog, leading the armies in the Ezekiel 38 & 39 prophecy, will be a demonic being or fallen angel. This seems credible, considering that Gog will return 1,000 years later, as seen in John’s vision (Revelation 20:7,8). Furthermore, it is possible (I believe probable) that this demon, "Gog," will possess or inhabit two different men, over 1,000 years apart, to lead armies against Jerusalem. The first (human) leader will die and be buried (Ezekiel 39:11), while the second one will be devoured by fire coming down from heaven (Revelation 20:9).

A swarm of demonic locusts is seen to come out of the Abyss during the Fifth Trumpet Judgment (Revelation 9:1-3), which I feel will take place for five months (9:5,10) during the seventh year of the 70th Week. The angel Abaddon—or, in Greek, Apollyon (the Destroyer)—is described as the king over them (9:11). Conceivably, then, Abaddon or Apollyon, the king angel of the Abyss, could be Gog. If so, it would seem that he, as the beast who comes up from the Abyss, is the one who will attack, overpower and kill the two witnesses (Revelation 11:8) just prior to the return of Jesus back to earth to rule and reign (11:15-17).

Considering all of this, I am not at all convinced that "the Assyrian," as written about by the ancient prophets, will be the same person as the end-time Antichrist; rather, I feel it is much more likely that the Assyrian will be Gog. Thus, by no means am I convinced that the Antichrist must emerge from the Middle East, specifically from the region in and around Syria, although Gog probably will emerge from this region.

It seems plausible, then, that a future leader will become possessed by the demonic spirit, Gog, and will head a conglomerate of demonic and radical Islamic armies. The armies of many other nations will join the armies of Gog and Magog. Altogether, near the end of the 70th Week, they will come from the north to invade Israel (Ezekiel 38:15,16). Then God will execute severe judgment on Gog and the armies with him (38:22) on the very day that Jesus returns.

Now, Daniel showed how the "little horn" (who also is the eleventh horn: Antichrist) will arise from the fourth beast of Daniel's dream, amongst ten other horns (Daniel 7:7,8). The fourth beast was the Roman Empire, with the ten horns representing (I suspect) the strongest ten nations within the (present-day) revival of the Roman Empire. But they are not only from the western part of that former empire. These nations were represented by the ten toes on the two legs of Nebuchadnezzar's statue in his dream (2:33,40-43), which symbolized both the western (European) and the eastern (Middle Eastern) portions of the Roman Empire.

However, I am convinced that it is speculative and tenuous, at best, to assume that the Antichrist must arise from the eastern "leg" of the Roman Empire. On the other hand, Gog (that is, "the Assyrian") almost certainly will arise from the eastern portion. In fact, I feel there is a high likelihood that the forces of the Antichrist and the forces of the Assyrian/Gog—quite possibly consisting of two different factions of Islam (perhaps Sunni against Shia)—will engage each other in combat for domination over each other and over Israel. This conflict will escalate during the second half of the 70th Week, and it probably will peak during the seventh year. If so, it would be an example of some important words spoken by Jesus:

Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? (Matthew 12:25,26)

More about the distinction between Gog and the Antichrist can be found in the Assyrian section of my Beasts commentary and in the Gog vs. Antichrist section of my Final Battles commentary. (One thing the latter commentary explains is how the Gog/Magog bloodbath is not at the beginning of the 70th Week, as many feel will be the case, but rather at the end.) Also, you can read another couple of email responses: Isn't it clear that Gog is Russia? and How do you know that Gog and the Antichrist will not be the same person?

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