In the last installment, we began discussing some of the characteristics of the beast (a future charismatic political and military leader ruling ten nations or groups of nations in Europe, compare Revelation 17:12-13, 17) and important aspects associated with him. We saw that he will be worshipped as a god; that he will blaspheme God and that he will persecute the saints who do not accept his mark, his name and the number of his name, which is 666.
In this installment, we will continue pointing out some interesting facts which will identify the coming beast.
In Revelation 16:10, 13-14, we are specifically told that the beast has a throne and a kingdom, and that he will be demon-possessed. It is also revealed that a demon possessing the beast will perform signs. We also read in verse 14 that the false prophet, a religious leader, will likewise be possessed by a demon who performs signs. Furthermore, the dragon, Satan the devil, will send forth a powerful demon who will work lying signs and wonders. Revelation 19:19-20 adds that the beast, in collaboration with the false prophet, will lead the armies of the world to fight against the returning Jesus Christ and His angels.
Prior to Christ’s return, the beast and his armies will invade the Middle East and Jerusalem to take away the daily sacrifices. We read a prophecy in Daniel 8:9-12, which very well may be dual in nature. It first speaks about the ancient leader, Antiochus Epiphanes, who is described in that passage as a little horn (not to be confused with the little horn in Daniel 7, which describes a religious power). According to Daniel 8:9-12, that “little horn” persecutes God’s people, invades and casts down the “sanctuary” and opposes the daily sacrifices which are “taken away.”
Antiochus did all of that. He was born in 215 BC and died in 163 BC.
According to 2 Maccabees, “Raging like a wild animal, he set out from Egypt and took Jerusalem by storm. He ordered his soldiers to cut down without mercy those whom they met and to slay those who took refuge in their houses. There was a massacre of young and old, a killing of women and children, a slaughter of virgins and infants. In the space of three days, eighty thousand were lost, forty thousand meeting a violent death, and the same number being sold into slavery…
“Not long after this the king sent an Athenian senator to force the Jews to abandon the customs of their ancestors and live no longer by the laws of God; also to profane the temple in Jerusalem and dedicate it to Olympian Zeus, and that on Mount Gerizim to Zeus the Hospitable, as the inhabitants of the place requested… They also brought into the temple things that were forbidden, so that the altar was covered with abominable offerings prohibited by the laws. A man could not keep the sabbath or celebrate the traditional feasts, nor even admit that he was a Jew.”
We read in Daniel 8:23-25 that a fierce king or a king “having fierce features” (verse 23), i.e. Antiochus, would arise with sinister schemes and cunning and deceit; and that he would be broken without human means. Antiochus died suddenly of a disease, but if this is a dual prophecy, it would also refer to the death of the beast by the hand of Jesus Christ, when he is thrown alive into a burning lake of fire (Revelation 19:20). To point out a parallel with the king having fierce features in Daniel 8:23, we read in Deuteronomy 28:50 that the end-time army which will occupy the Middle East is described as a “nation of fierce countenance.”
Scofield’s Concordance states that “Antiochus is a remarkable type of the Beast.” In fact, much of what Antiochus did, the end-time beast will repeat to do, and worse.
Daniel 11:21-23 describes that Antiochus Epiphanes supplanted the ruler and that he came to power through intrigue. The Wikipedia Encyclopedia tells us: “After King Seleucus was assassinated by Heliodorus, an usurper, in 175 BC, Antiochus in turn ousted him. Since Seleucus’ legitimate heir, Demetrius I Soter, was still a hostage in Rome, Antiochus, with the help of King Eumenes II of Pergamum, seized the throne for himself, proclaiming himself co-regent for another son of Seleucus, an infant named Antiochus (whom he then murdered a few years later).”
The end-time beast might also obtain his rule over the ten nations or groups of nations through “intrigue” or “flattery.” Jesus Christ confirmed that the acts of Antiochus may be dual in nature, and that the abomination of desolation, which Antiochus set up in the temple (Daniel 11:31), will be set up again (Matthew 24:15). The abomination of desolation has been understood as describing both a devastating army occupying Jerusalem as well as the erection of an idol, a statue or an “image,” an ungodly presence or pagan worship services in the Temple.
In Matthew 24:15, Christ refers to the abomination of desolation in the context of the destruction of Jerusalem through Titus’ devastating and abominable army in 70 AD, but He also speaks of a future military occupation of the Holy Land and of Jerusalem (Luke 21:20-21) and the desecration of the “holy place” just prior to His return. Daniel 12:11 contains an end-time prophecy and establishes that another prophetic “abomination of desolation” will be set up at the holy place (“where it ought not,” compare Mark 13:14) at the same time when the future Jewish daily sacrifices will be taken away.
Judging from the past and also from several passages in the Bible, the Jews will indeed build another Temple in Jerusalem, but it will be desecrated. Actually, something similar did occur in 131-133 BC, even though at that time, the Romans built the Temple “for the Jews,” while in the future, the Jews will do so themselves. As Michael Kerrigan writes in “Dark History of the Roman Emperors, “In 131 C.E… [emperor] Hadrian had work on the Temple site commence… The Romans’ inauguration ceremony started with the ritual breaking of the ground, itself an act of sacrilege in Jewish law. Unperturbed, the emperor decided that this was a good moment to prohibit the practice of circumcision… “
In 133 C.E. the Romans marched on Judea to quench a Jewish “rebellion” under the followers of Simon Bar Kokhba (who was perceived to be the Messiah). His followers had taken control of Jerusalem and had established an independent Jewish state under the spiritual leadership of Rabbi Akiva. The Romans, under general Sextus Julius Severus, massacred at least half a million Jews (other estimates give the number as “millions”) and destroyed almost a thousand villages.
Kerrigan states that “Hadrian redoubled his efforts to stamp out Jewish religious practices. Sacred scrolls were burned, rabbis executed and the Torah… was banned. The temple was turned over to the worship of Jupiter, and of Hadrian himself… Judea became ‘Palestinae.’”
Commentaries agree that the events of the past, especially under Antiochus and, to a lesser degree, Titus and Hadrian, were just forerunners of end-time events.
We read in Daniel 11:31-39 that the “king of the north” will take away the daily sacrifices and place there the abomination of desolation; that he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God [or “god”] of gods; and that he “shall regard neither the God [better “god”] of his fathers nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall exalt himself above them all. But in their place he shall honor a god of fortresses; and a god which his fathers did not know he shall honor with gold and silver”; and that he will “act against the strongest fortresses with a foreign god, which he shall acknowledge, and advance its glory…”
Even though this passage has been applied to Antiochus (as he did perform some of those prophesied events), it is also recognized that it cannot refer to him exclusively. The Ryrie Study Bible writes that “the scope [of this section] also requires reference to some details of Israel’s last days.”
The New Bible Commentary: Revised adds:
“Antiochus who persecuted the [Old Testament] church shortly before the first advent of Christ may be regarded as typical of the antichrist [the beast] who will persecute the church before the second advent of Christ… [Verse] 36 states that the king will ‘magnify himself above every god,’ a description which does not well apply to Antiochus… likewise it is difficult to see how Antiochus showed disrespect for the gods of his fathers…”
However, it is not difficult to see how it would apply to the end-time beast. He will worship a foreign god for a while, that is, the false prophet, who is described in places such as 2 Thessalonians 2 as the “man of sin” who will sit in the “Temple of God,” claiming to be God (verse 4). We can appreciate that the “abomination of desolation,” set up at a holy place, also applies to the false prophet sitting in God’s very Temple, claiming to be “God.” Also, he may be instrumental in persuading the beast to invade militarily the Middle East and Jerusalem and to initiate the erection of a great “image to the beast,” which will be given the power to speak and to cause the murder of Christians (Revelation 13:14-15); hence, the beast will honor a “god of fortresses,” murder and war. He will make that “god” rich. His fathers did not know that “god,” because the false prophet had not yet existed during their time.
Another statement about the king of the north needs consideration. We have read that he “does not regard the desire of women” (Daniel 11: 37). Some say, the “desire of women” is a reference to the god whom the women worshipped, i.e. Tammuz (compare Ezekiel 8:14). Others claim, this means, he does not love what women love, or, that he lives in licentiousness with women and does not want to get married (since many women have the desire to get married).
However, a much more obvious explanation needs to be brought out. The Elberfelder Bible translates that he does not care for the love of or towards women (“Frauenliebe”). This could be a reference to other than normal sexual preferences. The commentary of Henry speaks of “unnatural lust” in the context. This might indicate that the beast will be homosexual (compare Romans 1:24-28). There is no indication that Antiochus was homosexual (nor, that he had illicit affairs with other women, nor, that he did not want to get married. In fact, Antiochus was married). If the reference is to the homosexual nature of the end-time beast, we could think, as a forerunner, of emperor Hadrian who massacred the Jews. He was married, but he was also homosexual. When his male lover died by drowning in the sea, a heart-broken Hadrian gave orders for his deification. So, judging by these examples, the beast could very well be married and still be homosexual. For instance, Austria’s former leader, the late Joerg Haider, was married and had a daughter, and it only became known after his death that he was homosexual.
In Daniel 11:44-45, we read that the end-time king of the north (verse 40) or the beast will act with great fury. He is identified in Hosea 5:13 as the Assyrian King “Jareb,” which word means, “a fighter.” He is also identified as the end-time king of Assyria in Isaiah 10:5-7,12, who has an arrogant heart and the will to destroy others. Isaiah 14:24-25 tells us that the king of Assyria will enslave the nations of Israel and Judah; and Isaiah 30:30-33 adds that he will be thrown into Tophet—the lake of fire and brimstone (compare Isaiah 31:8-9). This shows, then, that the beast will be of Assyrian descent. The modern Assyrians can be found today in Germany and Austria. (For more information, please read our free booklets, “Germany in Prophecy” and “Europe in Prophecy”).
Another interesting reference to the beast can be found in the book of Habakkuk which deals with the modern Chaldeans or Assyrians.
Isaiah 23:13 tells us that the ancient Assyrians founded the land of the Chaldeans. And so, it will be the modern Assyrians—mainly the German-speaking peoples—who will lead the final resurrection of the “Holy Roman Empire” (For instance, as we have seen, the German Otto the Great and the Austrian Charles V. were previous emperors of the “Holy Roman Empire” or “the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation.” Arguably this is also true for Charlemagne or Charles the Great, who was crowned as Emperor in the German city of Aachen and who is viewed by the Germans as a German, by the French as a Frenchman, and by the Belgians as a Belgian. In addition, the collaboration of the Austrian Hitler and the Italian Mussolini with several popes constituted the sixth revival of the “Holy Roman Empire”).
In ancient times, the Chaldeans were Babylon’s religious leaders, astrologers and magicians. John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible says about the ancient Chaldeans:
“A people still of late mean and low, famous only for their soothsaying, divination, and judicial astrology; but now become a powerful and warlike people, rising up under the permission of Providence to universal monarchy, and who would quickly add Judea to the rest of their dominions…”
Even though a partial fulfillment of Habakkuk’s entire prophecy can be seen in ancient Judah’s captivity through the Babylonians, due to Judah’s transgressions (compare verse 4), Habakkuk’s prophecy of Babylonian warfare is clearly awaiting an end-time fulfillment. As we will see, this will COINCIDE with the powerful, but short, revival of the preaching of the gospel of the Kingdom of God.
Habakkuk 1:5-10 reads as follows: “Look among the nations and watch–Be utterly astonished! For I will work a work in your days Which you would not believe, though it were told you. For indeed I am raising up the Chaldeans, A bitter and hasty nation Which marches through the breadth of the earth, To possess dwelling places that are not theirs. They are terrible and dreadful… They all come for violence… They gather captives like sand. They scoff at kings…”
Paul later quoted these words and applied them as a warning to the people in his time and age who would reject the gospel message. We read in Acts 13:32-41: “And we declare to you glad tidings–that promise which was made to the fathers. God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He raised up Jesus… David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw corruption; but He whom God raised up saw no corruption. Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses. BEWARE therefore, lest what has been spoken in the prophets COME UPON YOU: ‘Behold, you despisers, Marvel and perish! For I work a work in your days, A work which you will by no means believe, Though one were to declare it to you.’”
God said through Habakkuk that His work–the end-time preaching of the gospel–would be powerful, but short. Romans 9:28 confirms this, saying: “For He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness, Because the LORD will make a SHORT WORK upon the earth.”
The Bible prophesies that at the time when the powerful preaching of the gospel message is being revived, modern Babylon will rise once again in Europe as the seventh and very SHORT-lived resurrection of the ancient “Holy Roman Empire”—a combination of church and state—when the (religious) fallen woman will be once more riding the (political and military) beast (compare Revelation 17, especially verses 10 and 12).
God will use modern Babylon in a literal SWIFT blitzkrieg to punish the modern houses of Israel and Judah for their transgressions (compare also Isaiah 29:13-14). But God will then punish modern Babylon (Habakkuk 2:8)–a system less righteous than modern Israel and Judah (compare Habakkuk 1:12-13).
In this context, we read in Habakkuk 1:11 that after the modern Babylonian/Assyrian leader—the beast—has come to power, his mind will change. This term could be a reference to demonic possession; Barnes’ Notes on the Bible says it could describe the invisible presence of a spirit (compare Job 4:15; the word for “passed” in that passage is the same word as for “change” in Habakkuk). We know, of course, from passages such as Revelation 16:13-14, that the beast will be demonically possessed, but this passage in Habakkuk seems to indicate that the possession will occur after he has received his authority and power from the ten core nations or groups of nations.
In the next installment, we will discuss the biblical prophecies about the religious system which has been riding the last seven revivals of the ancient Roman Empire.
(To Be Continued)
Lead Writer: Norbert Link