Saturday, July 2, 2022

The Neglected Character In End Time Prophecy

by James C. Morris – 

Part one: “The Assyrian”

One of the best known prophecies in all of scripture is Micah 5:2.; “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.” This prophecy is so well known because it is part of the so-called Christmas story. When the “wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.’” Then “Herod the king” “gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people” and “inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.” In answer they quoted Micah 5:2. (Matthew 2:1-6)

But it seems amazing that so few prophetic scholars are aware of the rest of this prophecy. In the context of this verse we read:

Now gather yourself in troops, O daughter of troops; He has laid siege against us; They will strike the judge of Israel with a rod on the cheek. ‘But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.’ 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. (Micah 5:1-3)

Before we read of where Christ was to be born, we read that “they will strike the judge of Israel with a rod on the cheek” (verse 1) Then, in verse 3, we read that “Therefore He shall give them up.” So this Old Testament prophecy clearly foretold the rejection of Christ by Judah, and of its consequence; the rejection of Judah by their God. But it also defined how long this rejection of Judah will last. It will last, “Until the time that she who is in labor has given birth.” (verse 3)

This is an obvious reference to the last chapter of Isaiah, where we read,

Before she was in labor, she gave birth; Before her pain came, She delivered a male child. Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall the earth be made to give birth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion was in labor, She gave birth to her children.” (Isaiah 66:7-8)

After “she who is in labor has given birth,” “Then the remnant of His brethren Shall return to the children of Israel.” (Micah 5:3) From this we see that the subject matter of this prophecy extends all the way from the birth and rejection of Christ to the future time of restoration for Israel. Indeed, the next verse of Micah 5 speaks of the majesty and greatness of the time when Judah’s rejection has ended, saying, “And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth. And this One shall be peace.” (Micah 5:4-5) But this is followed by a passage that almost no one seems to have noticed. I can personally testify that I knew of this passage long before I even began to realize its significance.

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.” (Micah 5:5-6)

This passage should cause every serious student of Bible prophecy to sit up and take notice. Here we have a very simple statement of coming events. There is nothing in it that is hard to understand. Nothing in it requires deep interpretation.1 But there is no way to even imagine that it has been fulfilled. This prophecy clearly refers to the future, but is totally missed in every system of prophetic interpretation that is widely accepted today. Something is clearly wrong.

Who is this person called “the Assyrian”? There are a number of prophecies about him. But like this one, they are almost universally missed. I believe this is because almost everyone simply assumes they only refer to Sennacherib, the Assyrian king who attacked Judea in the time of Hezekiah. But Micah 5:5-6 cannot refer to Sennacherib.

In 2 Kings 18:14-16, Hezekiah surrendered to Sennacherib. In the following chapter, (2 Kings 19) Sennacherib sent his army to Jerusalem anyway, under a commander called the Rabshakeh.” Hezekiah sent a message to Isaiah, saying, “This day is a day of trouble, and rebuke, and blasphemy; for the children have come to birth, but there is no strength to bring them forth.” (2 Kings 19:3) We thus see that Hezekiah had no strength to resist the mighty Assyrian army, much less “seven shepherds, and eight principal men.” And neither Judah nor Israel has ever invaded Assyria.

Sennacherib attacked Judah during the righteous reign of king Hezekiah, who “trusted in the LORD God of Israel, so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor who were before him. For he held fast to the LORD; he did not depart from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the LORD had commanded Moses.” (2 Kings 18:5-6) Nor was it only Hezekiah that was faithful, for “Also the hand of God was on Judah to give them singleness of heart to obey the command of the king and the leaders, at the word of the LORD.” (2 Chron­icles 30:12) But “after these deeds of faithfulness, Sennacherib king of Assyria came and entered Judah; he encamped against the fortified cities, thinking to win them over to himself.” (2 Chronicles 32:1) Hezekiah cried out to the Lord, who answered him, “I will defend this city, to save it For My own sake and for My servant David's sake.” (Isaiah 37:35)

But in Isaiah 10:6, the Lord says of the king of Assyria that “I will send him against an ungodly nation, And against the people of My wrath I will give him charge, To seize the spoil, to take the prey, And to tread them down like the mire of the streets.”2

Both Hezekiah and his people had been righteous and the Lord promised to save them from Sennacherib. But in the day described in Isaiah 10 the nation will have been ungodly and He will send Assyria to punish them. The first Assyrian was an enemy of God, while the second will actually be His agent.

But this latter day Assyrian does not intend to serve God, “nor does his heart think so.” (Isaiah 10:7) He will therefore be punished “when the LORD has performed all His work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem.” (verse 12) This clearly refers to the future, for the Lord's “work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem” will not be finished until all prophecy concerning them has been fulfilled. Again, we read in the twentieth verse of this chapter, “And it shall come to pass in that day that the remnant of Israel, And such as have escaped of the house of Jacob, Will never again depend on him who defeated them, But will depend on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.” This is a clear reference to the last days, for even up to our own time Israel has still not learned to depend on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.”

In Isaiah 14, immediately after saying the Assyrian would be destroyed, (verses 24-27) the Lord added, “do not rejoice, all you of Philistia, Because the rod that struck you is broken; For out of the serpent's roots will come forth a viper, And its offspring will be a fiery flying serpent... Wail, O gate! Cry, O city! All you of Philistia are dissolved; For smoke will come from the north, And no one will be alone in his appointed times.” (verses 29-31) In stating that “out of the serpent's roots will come forth a viper” and that “its offspring will be a fiery flying serpent,” this passage clearly sets forth two separate attacks, one in the past (relative to the time referred to) and one in the future. These two attacks are separated in time by an unspecified number of generations, as the second attacker is the “offspring” of the first.

Some assume that the words “the rod that struck you is broken” in this passage refer to the death of Judah’s king Ahaz. This is because the preceding verse (Isaiah 14:28) says “This is the burden which came in the year that King Ahaz died.” But there are two reasons this cannot be correct. First, Ahaz could never be called “the rod that struck” Philistia. Indeed, the very opposite was true. We read in 2 Chronicles 28:18-19 that “The Philistines also had invaded the cities of the lowland and of the South of Judah, and had taken Beth Shemesh, Aijalon, Gederoth, Sochoh with its villages, Timnah with its villages, and Gimzo with its villages; and they dwelt there. For the Lord brought Judah low because of Ahaz king of Israel, for he had encouraged moral decline in Judah and had been continually unfaithful to the Lord.” The last king of Judea that had defeated the Philistines was Uzzaiah, the grandfather of Ahaz. (see 2 Chronicles 26:6-7)

But there is another reason “the rod that struck” Philistia cannot be Ahaz. The second attack in this prophecy is referred to as “smoke” that “will come from the north.” Judea, the land of Ahaz, was east of Philistia, not north of it. The significance of this detail will become plain in the next section of this study when we notice the prophecies about “the king of the North.”

Shortly after this prophecy was given, Sennacherib attacked the land of the Philistines. Some might think this was the second attack mentioned in this prophecy. But this would require that the first attack be one that had been made by either Tiglath-Pileser III or Sargon II. Each of these previous Assyrian kings had been an ancestor of Sennacherib. Each of them had conquered Philistia. And both of them were dead. But the words “the rod that struck you is broken” could not realistically be applied to either of them. The power of Assyria had not been “broken” when either of these kings had died. On the other hand, both Isaiah 37:35 and 2 Kings 19:35 tell of a most remarkable destruction of Sennacherib’s army by “the angel of the Lord.” The words “the rod that struck you is broken” clearly fit this defeat. These facts make it clear that Sennacherib is the first attacker in this prophecy, not the second one. So the second one has to be future.

In the first chapter of Nahum one Who plots evil against the LORD, A wicked counselor,” (verse 11) comes forth from Nineveh,3 the ancient capitol of Assyria. (Nahum 2:8, 3:7)

In the next to the last verse of the prophecy, this “wicked counselor” is expressly called the “king of Assyria.” (Nahum 3:18) The Lord declares that He will make “an utter end” of this invasion, adding that “affliction will not rise up a second time.” (Nahum 1:9) He then tells His people that “though I have afflicted you, I will afflict you no more.” (verse 12) The Divine history and many prophecies clearly show that Judah’s affliction did not end at the destruction of Sennacherib. The Assyrian invasion was only the beginning of her great and long affliction, which has not yet ended. Indeed, their greatest affliction is still future.

Both the severity and the long duration of this affliction are stressed in the fifth through the tenth chapters of Isaiah. The twenty-fifth verse of the fifth chapter tells us, Therefore the anger of the LORD is aroused against His people; He has stretched out His hand against them And stricken them.” Then follow the words; “For all this His anger is not turned away, But His hand is stretched out still.” These last words are repeated over and over in the following chapters. (Isaiah 9:12, 9:17, 9:21, and 10:4) The significance of this doleful refrain finally appears in 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.’”

The Lord's indignation against His people who dwell “in Zion,” that is, “Jerusalem,” (verse 32) will continue until “the Assyrian” is destroyed. When this takes place, however, the indignation will cease and His anger will finally be “turned away.” How fitting it is that the first of the gentile conquerors of God's people should also be the last; that Judah's thousands of years of suffering should finally be ended in the destruction of their first great oppressor.

We have already noticed the description of the Assyrian’s attack in Isaiah 10. This account continues through verse 32, ending with this remarkable description of the Assyrian’s approach on Jerusalem:

He has come to Aiath, He has passed Migron; At Michmash he has attended to his equip­ment. They have gone along the ridge, They have taken up lodging at Geba. Ramah is afraid, Gibeah of Saul has fled. Lift up your voice, O daughter of Gallim! Cause it to be heard as far as Laish; O poor Anathoth! Madmenah has fled, The inhabitants of Gebim seek refuge. As yet he will remain at Nob that day; He will shake his fist at the mount of the daughter of Zion, The hill of Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 10:28-32)

Some assume this refers to Sennacherib’s advance on Jerusalem, but that cannot be correct. The advance on Jerusalem described in this prophecy is from the north. But Isaiah 36:2, 2 Kings 18:17, and 2 Chronicles 32:9 all say Sennacherib’s forces came to Jerusalem from Lachish, which was southwest of Jerusalem. Archeologists have found extensive evidence of Assyrian presence in this southern region, but not in any part of ancient Judea north of Jerusalem. That is, not along the path described in Isaiah 10:28-32.4

Others assume it describes an army’s approach on Armageddon. But this path leads away from Armageddon, not toward it.


The Path of the Assyrian

The following details show the daily progress of this attack. Each stop specifically mentioned is marked by a red star in the map above.

Day 1: “At Michmash he has attended to his equipment.”

Day 2: “They have taken up lodging at Geba.”

Day 3: “As yet he will remain at Nob that day.”

Day 4: “He will shake his fist at the mount of the daughter of Zion, The hill of Jerusalem.”

This passage describes a defeat of ten cities in only four days. Even by modern standards, this is remarkable progress for an advancing army. There will be no strength to resist his advance, for “he shall come against princes as though mortar, As the potter treads clay.” (Isaiah 41:25)

Sennacherib boasted that he had conquered 46 of Hezekiah’s fortified cities, with their neighboring small towns, by the use of siege ramps and battering rams, by boring holes and making breaches, as well as by relentlessly attacking with foot soldiers. Such a campaign would clearly take a long time. So it could not be the swift advance described in this prophecy.

Sennacherib left this boast on each of seven monuments known to modern scholars. 5

The best known of these is a prism shaped monument show above. It is often called “The Oriental Institute Prism” because it is held by the Oriental Institute. As this institute is part of the University of Chicago, it is also called “The Chicago Prism.” But the Oriental Institute simply calls it the “Clay Prism of Sennacherib.”

The Oriental Institute Prism

This monument (and each of the others) lists the cities Sennacherib conquered in this campaign. These lists clearly show that as he invaded this area he came along the seacoast, not inland through the mountains.

This fact is so well established that A. T. Olmstead quoted Isaiah 10:28-32 in his monumental 650 page “History of Assyria,” commenting on how badly Isaiah blew this prophecy; because this was not the path Sennacherib followed. 6 Of course, he failed to realize that Isaiah was not talking about Sennacherib.

Finally, it would seem the writers of the Dead Sea Scrolls would have known the route Sennacherib followed. But they plainly did not think Sennacherib followed this route, for one of them quoted this exact passage, (Isaiah 10:28-32) commenting that it referred to “the Last Days.” 7

This ends our discussion of this character as expressly called “the Assyrian” in the Holy Scriptures. But we are far from finished with the prophecies about him.

Part two: “The king of the North”


The king of the revived northern splinter of the empire of Alexander the Great, that is, the Seleucid empire, in Daniel 11:40-45. The third verse of this chapter says that “a mighty king” would arise. We then read that “when he has arisen, his kingdom shall be broken up and divided toward the four winds of heaven, but not among his posterity nor according to his dominion with which he ruled; for his kingdom shall be uprooted, even for others besides these.” (Daniel 11:4) The next twenty-seven verses (Daniel 11:5-32) describe a long series of wars between “the king of the North” and “the king of the South.” This account covers a number of generations, mentioning events which took place over a period of approximately 130 years. Every act of “the king of the North” in this account was actually committed by one of the Seleucids, a family that ruled out of Antioch in Syria. And every act of “the king of the South” was actually committed by one of the Ptolemies, a family that ruled out of Alexandria in Egypt.

The Ptolemies ruled only over Egypt, but the Seleucids, the kings of the North, ruled over a vast empire. The following map shows the area they ruled. This is compared to the area ruled by the previous Assyrian empire. The map clearly shows that aside from a few sections at the edges, these two empires covered the same area. 8 (The region of today’s Syria and Iraq.) From this we understand that the prophetic character called “the Assyrian” is the same individual as the character called “the King of the North.” 


The Lands of the Kings of the North and South

With the Assyrian Empire

It is remarkable that many otherwise competent students of prophecy miss the plain testimony of Daniel 11. They recognize that in the first twenty-seven verses “the king of the North” in each generation is the current ruler of the Seleucid empire. But then they say that in the last part of the chapter (the part that remains to be fulfilled) the meaning of this term changes. In the future portion of this prophecy (verses 40-45) they interpret this term to mean “Gog,” the king of Russia who attacks Israel in Ezekiel 38 and 39. Why would the Holy Spirit use a full twenty-seven verses to identify “the king of the North,” only to have the meaning change when He came to the application? This idea rebels against reason. But it is not only unreasonable, it twists the entire fabric of prophecy into a hopeless muddle.

There are significant differences between the attacks of “Gog” and “the king of the North.” First, these attackers will be destroyed in different places. The Lord tells Gog “‘You shall fall upon the mountains of Israel, you and all your troops and the peoples who are with you; I will give you to birds of prey of every sort and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. You shall fall on the open field; for I have spoken,’ says the Lord GOD.” (Ezekiel 39:3-5)

Gog will fall “upon the mountains of Israel” and “upon the open field.” But these are only general. Specific detail is also given. “It will come to pass in that day that I will give Gog a burial place there in Israel, the valley of those who pass by east of the sea; and it will obstruct travelers, because there they will bury Gog and all his multitude. Therefore they will call it the Valley of Hamon Gog.” (Ezekiel 39:11) Gog will be buried in “the valley of those who pass by east of the sea.” This cannot be the place where “the northern army” is destroyed, for its “stench will come up” from “a barren and desolate land” between “the eastern sea” and “the western sea.” (Joel 2:20)

A place in Israel between “the eastern sea” and “the western sea” and also “east of the sea”9 would have to be on the Mediterranean Sea coast. But the coast of the Mediterranean between “the eastern sea” and “the western sea” is a fertile plain. No part of this plain is “barren and desolate.”

Also, the attack in Daniel 11 ushers in “a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation, Even to that time.” (Daniel 12:1) But the attack in Ezekiel 38 and 39 ushers in a time when “‘I will not hide My face from them anymore; for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,’ says the Lord GOD.” (Ezekiel 39:29) Again, this “time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation, Even to that time.” (Daniel 12:1) corresponds exactly with the “great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be” we read about in Matthew 24:21. This great tribulation will come upon “those who are in Judea.” (Matthew 24:16) But Gog will attack “My people Israel,”(Ezekiel 38:14-16) not Judah. Some would consider this nit-picking about words, but in the Bible, every word is significant. This is particularly true in regard to end time prophecy. Every detail is significant. Every change in wording is significant. Even so, “the North,” the realm of “the king of the North,” is a different term than “the far north,” from which “Gog” will come. (Ezekiel 38:15) This is highlighted by the fact that in Daniel 11:44 the attacker is troubled by “tidings,” not only “out of the east,” but also “out of the north.” This implies that there is another nation further north than that of “the king of the North.”

Finally, “the land of Egypt shall not escape” from “the king of the North,” and “the Libyans and the Ethiopians” are listed among those he subdues. (Daniel 11:42-43) But we are not told that “Gog” will invade Egypt, and “Ethiopia and Libya” are listed among among his allies. (Ezekiel 38:5) All this makes it plain that “Gog” and “the king of the North” are two different prophetic characters.

Returning now to Daniel 11, it is important to remember that when Alexander the Great died, his four generals divided his kingdom “toward the four winds of heaven,” as we read in Daniel 11:4. Two of these generals were Seleucus and Ptolemy, the first kings of these warring dynasties. At the time of the division, Ptolemy took the southern portion of the kingdom and Seleucus got the eastern portion. But soon after, Seleucus also took over the northern portion and moved his throne there. When we remember this, we realize that “the king of the North” is not just the king of some northern land. He is the king of a particular northern land, that is, the northern splinter of Alexander’s kingdom.

In Daniel 11:36-39 we read of a willful king who will arise. His wickedness is punished by a two pronged attack. “At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through.” (Daniel 11:40) But “the king of the South” quickly drops out of the picture, and the rest of the account deals only with “the king of the North.” “He shall also enter the Glorious Land, and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon. He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels. But news from the east and the north shall trouble him; therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many. And he shall plant the tents of his palace between the seas and the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him.” (Daniel 11:41-45) This passage begins with “the king of the North” entering “the Glorious land,” and ends with him “between the seas and the glorious holy mountain.” This is the same area as the one “the Assyrian” will attack. As this takes place “at the time of the end” (verse 40), we realize that this attack takes place in the same general time as the attack by “the Assyrian.”

But now we must concentrate on two other details of this account. In verse 40 we see the willful king being attacked by “the king of the South” and “the king of the North,” evidently at the same time. But then “the king of the North” subdues many other countries, including “the land of Egypt” and “the Libyans and Ethiopians.” With reference to these details we now need to notice two other prophecies about “the Assyrian.” The first of these is in Isaiah 7.

The Lord will bring the king of Assyria upon you and your people and your father’s house—days that have not come since the day that Ephraim departed from Judah. And it shall come to pass in that day That the Lord will whistle for the fly That is in the farthest part of the rivers of Egypt, And for the bee that is in the land of Assyria. They will come, and all of them will rest In the desolate valleys and in the clefts of the rocks, And on all thorns and in all pastures. In the same day the Lord will shave with a hired razor, With those from beyond the River, with the king of Assyria, The head and the hair of the legs, And will also remove the beard.” (Isaiah 7:17-20) In verse 13 this prophecy had been specifically addressed to “the house of David,” so this prophecy specifically states that “the king of Assyria” will come against the land ruled by “the house of David,” that is, the land of Judea, which is now called Israel. But attached to this explicit prophecy is a very interesting detail.

This attack will be accompanied by swarms from “Egypt” and “Assyria.” While the swarms in the prophecy are only swarms of insects, it seems obvious from the context that this is typical language. That the real meaning is swarms of soldiers, so many that they resemble swarms of insects. But they come from both of these distant lands at the same time, just as we read of “the king of the North” in Daniel 11:40.

But now we go to Isaiah 20 and read: “the Lord spoke by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, ‘Go, and remove the sackcloth from your body, and take your sandals off your feet.’ And he did so, walking naked and barefoot. Then the Lord said, ‘Just as My servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot three years for a sign and a wonder against Egypt and Ethiopia, so shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians as prisoners and the Ethiopians as captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, with their buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt.’” (Isaiah 20:2-4) So we now read that “the king of Assyria” will “lead away” as “captives” both “the Egyptians” and “the Ethiopians.” This is exactly what “the king of the North” does in Daniel 11:43, although the passage in Isaiah does not add that “The king of Assyria” will also lead away the Libyans as prisoners.

Thus we see that these two attackers, that is, “the Assyrian” and “the king of the North” are identified as future rulers over the same geographic area. They will both attack at approximately the same time. They will also both attack Judea, which is now called Israel. They will both do this at the same time that Egypt attacks. And both of them will also attack Egypt and Ethiopia. In view of this remarkable number of similarities, is it reasonable to doubt that these two prophetic designations represent the same future individual?

Part three: The male goat’s little horn.

In Daniel 8, the prophet saw a male goat, which had a notable horn between his eyes.” (verse 5) But “the large horn was broken, and in place of it four notable ones came up toward the four winds of heaven.” (verse  8) Daniel was then told that “the male goat is the kingdom of Greece. The large horn that is between its eyes is the first king. As for the broken horn and the four that stood up in its place, four kingdoms shall arise out of that nation, but not with its power.” (verses 21-22) As we have already noticed, four kingdoms arose out of the empire of Alexander the Great, the first of the great Grecian kings. “And out of one of them came a little horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land. (verse 9) The detail that this little horn came “out of one of” the four kingdoms shows that it can not represent either the Roman leader or the Russian one; for Alexander’s empire did not include Rome or any part of Russia. But Seleucus, the first of the Seleucid kings, that is, the first “king of the North,” was one of the four that rose out of Alexander's empire. So we see that this attacker will rise from a geographic area that includes the areas ruled by both “the Assyrian” and “the king of the North.”

We are specifically told these things will happen “in the latter time of their kingdom, When the transgressors have reached their fullness.” (verse 23) So we know this is an end time prophecy. That is, that this prophecy applies to the same general time period as those about “the Assyrian” and “the king of the North.”We are also told that this will happen “in the latter time of the indignation.” (verse 19) Other translations render this as “at the final period of the indignation,” ( NASB) “at the latter end of the indignation,” ( RSV) and “in the last end of the indignation.” ( KJV) Comparing this with Isaiah 10:25, which we have already examined, we again recognize “the Assyrian,” for “the indignation” will cease in his destruction.

Finally, we are specifically told that this evil attacker “shall destroy the mighty, and also the holy people.” So we know that he will attack the same area as that attacked by “the Assyrian” and “the king of the North.” So again, is it reasonable to doubt that this prophetic designation also represents the same future individual as “the Assyrian” and “the king of the North?”

Part four: “one who makes desolate”

In Daniel 9:27. “the prince who is to come.”“shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.” But then “on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate.” It is important to noticed the change in actors that occurs in this prophecy. In the first part of Daniel 9:27 the actor is “he,” clearly meaning “the prince who is to come.” But then the actor changes to “one.” From this we see that at this point another character is introduced. This is more than just a matter of interpretation. It is a matter of the basic structure of language. The “one who makes desolate” is not the same person as “the prince who is to come.” He is a different character.

According to Daniel 9:27, this “one who makes desolate” shall come “on the wing of abominations.” We read in Jeremiah 10:22, “Behold, the noise of the report has come, And a great commotion out of the north country, To make the cities of Judah desolate, a den of jackals.” This attack from the north will come “Because of the evil of” the doings of the “men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem.” (Jeremiah 4:4, see verses 6, 7, 10, and 14)

Remember that the Lord said of the Assyrian, “I will send him against an ungodly nation, And against the people of My wrath.” (Isaiah 10:6) In Daniel 8:12 it is “Because of transgression” that “an army was given over to the horn to oppose the daily sacrifices.” The transgression mentioned in these passages is not just some kind of general evil, but a specific outrage. In Daniel 8:13 this outrage is called “the transgression of desolation,” and “both the sanctuary and the host” are given “to be trampled under foot.”

Our Lord spoke of this in Matthew 24:15-21. “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.”

This is repeated in Mark 13:14-19. Can any serious student of prophecy doubt that the outrage which brings down the one who makes desolate” is when “the man of sin... the son of perdition” “sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God”? (2 Thessalonians 2:4)

So we see that “the Assyrian,” “the king of the North,” the male goat’s “little horn,” and the “one who makes desolate,” all represent the same individual. This can further be seen in the details of his destruction. The prophecy about the “one who makes desolate” does not include his end, because the subject of that prophecy is God’s discipline of His guilty people, not their eventual deliverance. But as “the king of the North,” he “shall come to his end, and no one will help him.” (Daniel 11:45) “But I will remove far from you the northern army, And will drive him away into a barren and desolate land, With his face toward the eastern sea And his back toward the western sea; His stench will come up, And his foul odor will rise, Because he has done monstrous things.” (Joel 2:20) As the male goat's little horn, he “shall be broken without human means.” (Daniel 8:25) As “the Assyrian,” he will be beaten down “through the voice of the LORD.” (Isaiah 30:31) And finally, “Assyria shall fall by a sword not of man, And a sword not of mankind shall devour him. But he shall flee from the sword, And his young men shall become forced labor.”10 (Isaiah 31:8)

When we realize all this, we realize that this neglected character is the central (human) figure of end time Bible prophecy, occupying more space than any other two characters combined. Thus, it is most remarkable that this character has been totally missed by every well known teacher of Bible prophecy in the last hundred years. But, although it is not well known, this character figures largely in the writings of earlier dispensational teachers. Nineteenth century writers from the Plymouth brethren, such as J. N. Darby, William Kelly, and William Trotter, spoke often of him.


1 The only way to make this prophecy difficult to interpret is to question the translation. But about 80% of all English translations render these two verses essentially as above. The Hebrew word translated when in this passage is kiy. (Strong’s transliteration - word number 3588 in Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary) In certain contexts, this word can also be translated if or should. This alternate translation is favored by some who find it inconceivable that a future Assyrian will again come “into our land” and tread “in our palaces” or “within our borders.” They interpret this statement as a boast in what Messiah would do if such a thing were to happen. But if this were the Holy Spirit’s meaning in these words, this would be the only place in the entire Bible where He even suggested such a concept. If, on the other hand, the intended meaning is that this will happen, this is only one of a number of similar prophecies. This article examines many unfulfilled details in the prophecies about an Assyrian invasion. Since these details have not been fulfilled, the prophecies containing them remain to be fulfilled in the future.

2 Some might think this refers to Assyria’s successful attack on Israel, but verse in 11 this evil king says, “Shall I not, as I have done unto Samaria and her idols, so do to Jerusalem and her idols?” This shows that at the time referred to in this prophecy the attack on Samaria (the capitol of ancient Israel) will have already taken place, while the attack on Jerusalem (the capitol of Judah) is still future.

3 We often hear of the region of ancient Nineveh in the news by its modern name of Mosul. This major center of fighting in Iraq is the home of the world’s largest surviving Assyrian community.

4 The accuracy of this statement was personally confirmed to me in private conversation by Dr. Ibrham E’phal, the director of Antiquities at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. This man is recognized as the world’s foremost authority on the archeology of ancient Israel.

5 These seven monuments are listed on page 10 and translated on page 129 of “Sennacherib’s Campaign to Judah: new studies,” by William R. Gallagher, Leiden; Boston; Köln: Brill, 1999. This authoritative book clearly presents the current state of historical scholarship on this subject. Working from a purely logical basis, it demonstrates the error in many objections to the historical reliability of Biblical accounts of this campaign. It devotes well over a hundred pages to these accounts, but doesn’t even mention any portion of Isaiah 10:28-32.

6 “History of Assyria,” by A. T. Olmstead, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1951, pgs. 301 and 302.

7 From the commentary on Isaiah in “The Dead Sea Scrolls, a New Translation,” by Michael Wise, Martin Abegg, Jr., and Edward Cook, New York: 1996, pg. 210. Scholars believe these scrolls were written between the first and third centuries B.C.

8 Since the Seleucids ruled out of Antioch in Syria, they are sometimes called the kings of Syria. While this is technically correct, referring to them in this way masks the true identity of “the Assyrian.”

9 Some translations, including the New Century Version, God’s Word to the Nations, and the New Living Translation, read “east of the Dead Sea” instead of “east of the sea.” This is based on a conclusion that the Hebrew text implies the Dead Sea, even though it is not named. Only a few scholars have come to this conclusion. But if correct, this is further proof that these places are different. For a valley east of the Dead Sea could not be between “the eastern sea” and “the western sea.”

00 We should note in passing that although Sennacherib's army was destroyed without human means and he returned home, (2 Kings 19:35-36) neither scripture nor any ancient monument or record says anything about his young men having been made slaves.

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