A RESPONSE TO BILL SALUS ARTICLE: “DOES DANIEL DEBUNK THE ASSYRIAN ANTICHRIST?”

By Russell Redden

Overwhelming Biblical evidence exists that the wicked ruler defeated by the Messiah in the latter days is from the region once known as Assyria or Babylonia. This article was written to respond to arguments made by Mr. Bill Salus in his blog, asserting that the book of Daniel refutes this belief. I will quote from the relevant portions of his paper, and conclude with passages that clarify this Eschatological interpretation. Mr. Salus writes:
“Daniel 9:26 refutes this presumption in that it gives us the most detailed literal account within the entirety of scripture as to the origin of this individual. Therein we are informed that the Antichrist will originate from the people who would eventually destroy the city of Jerusalem, and the sanctuary, referring to the second Jewish temple.”
The problem with this argument is that it relies on the English translation of Daniel 9:26, and ignores the most basic meaning of one, important Hebrew word. Every English translation renders Daniel 9:26 as “…and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary…” This is an obvious attempt to interpret Daniel 9:26 a fulfillment of the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, in 70 A.D. However, Hebrew reference works reveal that the basic meaning of the word “destroy” allows for a different interpretation. This word is Shachath. “Destruction” is one possible meaning, but the basic meaning is “to corrupt” “ruin” or “decay.” In Strong’s Concordance, we read:

shachath, shaw-khath’; a primitive root; to decay, i.e. (causative) ruin (literal or figurative) :- batter, cast off, corrupt (-er, thing), destroy (-er, -uction), lose, mar, perish, spill, spoiler, × utterly, waste (-r).
a. 08686 Stem -Hiphil   Mood -Imperfect (Brown Driver & Briggs) (Hiphil)
to spoil, ruin, destroy
to pervert, corrupt (morally)
destroyer (participle)

A simple word study reveals that Shachath is used many times for moral corruption, or for something that has “decayed,” has been “spoiled,” or “perverted.” For instance, in Psalm 53, we read:

“To the chief Musician upon Mahalath, Maschil, A Psalm of David.> The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt (Sachath) are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good.” (Psalm 53:1)

If the basic meaning of Shachath is “to corrupt,” this must be taken into consideration when Daniel 9:26 is interpreted. Furthermore, if the Antichrist is an Assyrian, the translation “corrupt” fits historically. Assyria is occupied by many Muslims today, and Muslims rebuilt the city of Jerusalem. When they did this, they placed their own structures in the city, and shrines on the Temple Mount. Islamic shrines. Therefore, the people of Antichrist are responsible for the “corruption of the city,”—which which continues today.
A fair comparison of Daniel 9:26-27 with Isaiah 10:26-27 reveals a specific context to Daniel’s words. In both verses of Daniel, phrases are borrowed from Isaiah, in a prophecy of the last days. Let us compare the words used in both of these Scriptures:

Isaiah 10:22-23
For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return: the consumption [killayown]   decreed  [charats] shall overflow  [shataph] with righteousness.
For the Lord GOD of hosts shall make a consumption [kalah ], even determined  [charats], in the midst of all the land.

Daniel 9:26-27
And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood [shataph] , and unto the end of the war desolations [shamem] are determined [charats].
And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate [shamem] , even until the consummation [kalah ], and that determined [charats] shall be poured upon [nathak] the desolate.

In Daniel 9:26, we read that the end “shall be with a flood [shataph]” This has been anomalous, and very few offer an explanation. However, in Isaiah 10 the same word is used for the Judgment of God at the final battles. Isaiah wrote:

“…the consumption [killayown=destruction] decreed [charats] shall overflow [ shataph] with righteousness.”

In Isaiah, the prophet wrote that the destruction (or consumption) of the “final end” was “determined” or ordained by God. These are the same words found in Daniel. Of course, Isaiah was written before Daniel, and as a Jew, Daniel would have recognized these terms. As soon as the angel spoke these words to Daniel, it is obvious the prophet would have remembered Isaiah’s prophecy.
In Daniel, he wrote that the “end” of this “corruption” would be with a flood. There is no evidence of a “flood” occurring in 70 A.D., when Jerusalem was destroyed. Yet, Isaiah used this phrase about the the Judgment of God being “poured out” on sinners, resulting in righteousness being established in the earth.
Because of all of these these facts, I have concluded that the first “time period” of Daniel’s prophecy ends with the Messiah being “cut off,” and then looks forward to the end times in verse 26, not at the beginning of verse 27. The only part of verse 26 that is historical, is that the “people of the prince” would corrupt the city and the sanctuary. The remainder of the verse elaborates on the same subject matter as verse 27.

If the corruption of the city of Jerusalem, and not it’s destruction is the subject matter of Daniel 9:26, this passage is not proof that the Antichrist will rise from Rome. It is possible, but not likely, since the Daniel quotes from Isaiah 10:22-23.

It is obvious scholars have relied on the English translation of this passage, in order to facilitate the popular, and almost universal, interpretation. This ignores the fact that the Temple Mount has been corrupted (according to the Law of Moses) by Islam—hundreds of years before the arrival of the “Little Horn.”

“First, thematically the book of Daniel deals primarily with four Gentile world empires: the Babylonians, Medo-Persians, Greeks, and the Romans. The Assyrian empire had for the most part already come and gone by the time of Daniels prophetic discoveries.To suggest that it was the Assyrian soldiers within the Roman legions whom Daniel was actually alluding to, even though it was the Romans who wielded world authority and issued the command to destroy Jerusalem and the Jewish temple, makes no sense whatsoever. Secondly, historical precedence typically dictated that the subservient soldiers of any ruling kingdom or empire became the subjects of that kingdom or empire. In this instance, even though the Roman Empire was known to employ non-Roman troops within its ranks, such as defeated Assyrians, these troops operated solely under the command of their Roman leadership. The legions that destroyed Jerusalem and the Jewish temple did not do so out of their own independent accord, but acted solely under the direct authority and instruction of the Roman Empire.”
All of the points Mr Salus here are true, yet if the destruction of Jerusalem is not the subject of Daniel 9:26, but it’s corruption, it is unnecessary to prove that the Assyrians helped the Roman legions, of which we both agree is absurd.
“A secondary Assyrian Antichrist argument has been advanced that the Roman Empire, after the death of Theodosius 1 in 395 AD, underwent an East / West split and that the Eastern section could be considered as much a part of the Roman empire that Daniel referred to as could the Western. Daniel did seem to foretell of such a split in Daniel 2:33 where he described the fourth Gentile empire having legs made of iron. Since “legs” is in the plural most scholars concur that Daniel’s fourth empire refers to the Roman Empire, and that Daniel was describing such a split.”
The “legs of iron” on this statue have nothing to do with the rise of the Antichrist. The Little Horn is not mentioned in this passage. The statue in Nebuchaudnezzar’s dream has a dual interpretation. Of course, the empires symbolized in this image were arranged according to their historical rise to power. However, the symbolism of this statue looks ahead to last days. We read that when the stone strikes the feet, the entire statue crumbles:

“Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.” (Daniel 2:35)

The entire statue crumbles, when the stone (the Messiah, Jesus) strikes the feet. All of these empires are broken together, which means that they all exist in the last days. Yet, what does the Messiah strike when He comes? A multinational army! In Revelation, we read:

“And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.” (Revelation 19:15-19)

At the end of the Great Tribulation, Jesus will strike an army comprised of every nation on earth. These nations include the remnants of Babylon, Media Persia, Greece, and Rome. But not exclusively. Bible prophecy teachers focus only on the feet and the iron, and conclude that it is a “Revived Roman Empire” that the Messiah destroys. Other passages reveal that it is a multinational army, which would include Rome.

Since the entire statue is broken in the end time, both the eastern leg and western leg can be present in this army, yet this fact is meaningless in determining the origins of the Antichrist. The far future is being revealed, and all elements of every empire are present in this army. Furthermore, this is the second time in the Great Tribulation such an army will be sent against Israel. The prophet Zechariah wrote:

“See, a day is coming for the LORD, when the plunder taken from you will be divided in your midst. For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses looted and the women raped; half the city shall go into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city.” (Zechariah 14:1, New Revised Standard Version)
According to the prophet Zechariah, every nation on earth will invade Jerusalem, and force Israel from only half of the city. Compare this to today’s headlines. Every nation in the world wants Israel to withdraw from East Jerusalem, which is half of the city! Why? The “people of the prince” want it back!
According to the book of Revelation, this army will occupy Jerusalem for there and a half years:
“And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.” (Revelation 11:1-2)

In another blog, Mr Salus has written that he believes this invasion occurs in the first half of the Great Tribulation. Several factors prove that this assertion cannot be correct. Let us consider the words that follow. The two witnesses will testify for three and half years, and then are killed. What kills them? We read:

“These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will. And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.” (Revelation 11:6-9)

We read that these witnesses are killed when then Beast “makes war with them.” This is a war against Israel. In Chapter 13, we read:
“And it was given unto him [it=the Greek] to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.” (Revelation 13:7)

The saints are Israel, and the Beast makes war with them in the Middle of the Great Tribulation (Revelation 13:5.) This invasion begins as the two witnesses conclude their testimony. We read: “the beast..shall make war with them…and kill them” as the city is invaded, where Jesus was crucified. When John describes this invasion, he writes:

“And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.” (Revelation 13:9)

Many prophecy teachers explain this passage by the miracle of television. They assert that the only way people from every race on earth could look at these bodies, is if it is broadcast worldwide. This is not the only way, neither is it the correct interpretation. Zechariah wrote that an army comprise of every nation on earth would invade the holy city. When these troops arrive and kill these two witnesses, this occupying army will see these dead bodies.

This invasion in the middle of the Great Tribulation is the catalyst for the Antichrist’s rise to power. He does establish a covenant at the beginning of the Great Tribulation, but he is a “little horn” at this time (i.e. small military power.) But after the world community invades Jerusalem, and gives it back to the Palestinians, he will rise in power.

“There are two primary arguments against the Eastern leg being the leg from which the Antichrist comes: the “Historical” and the “Prophetical”. The Historical argument will conclude part one of this article and the Prophetical will be discussed in part two. The Historic argument is based upon the understanding that the capital city of the Roman Empire at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem and the second Jewish temple was in Rome, which then and today is located in the Western leg of the former empire. This provides at least one solid argument that the Beast does not come from the East. Furthermore, much of the Eastern leg of the Roman Empire was swallowed up by the Turkish Ottoman Empire during its reign from 1517 to 1917; especially the territory formerly recognized as ancient Assyria. As such today the former Assyrian territory has no Roman connection. Therefore, should any future charismatic world leader arise from ancient Assyria he or she would likely be without Roman roots, and could not be the Antichrist described in Daniel 9:26.”

The Bible does NOT say that the Little Horn will rise from the capitol city of Rome. The assertion that ancient Assyria has no Roman connection is incorrect. The Emperor Trajan conquered, and occupied this region in the second century A.D., and ruled from Babylon. And again, the author’s argument is based on Daniel 9:26, which the basic meaning of the Hebrew word Shachath answers.

“The prophetic argument starts with Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38 & 39 and concludes with several chapters in the book of Revelation. To preface the prophetic argument one must first understand that the Assyrian advocates need the Antichrist to be a Muslim. This is quite obvious, since should this devilish character emerge on the world scene soon out of Assyria, a predominately Islamic territory, the logical conclusion is that he would be a Muslim. After all, Daniel did make a religious connection with this individual when he said in Daniel 11:36, “Then the king shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods… Some of the Assyrian proponents have suggested that the harlot religious system of Revelation 17 is Islam and that it is the magic carpet so to speak, upon which the Beast rides into world power. Thus to diffuse the Assyrian argument we must address the role of Islam in the agenda of the Antichrist. Some, like Joel Rosenberg, Dr. David Reagan, myself, and others, have suggested that in the aftermath of the fulfillment of the Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38 & 39 prophecies, Islam is dramatically diminished. The theory is that both of these prophecies likely occur before the Antichrist arrives on the world scene and that the 19 populations involved in these two major sequential prophetic events, which go down in defeat, are all predominately Islamic. Thus the conclusion can be drawn that when the Beast from the West arrives, he will find Islam as a religion largely irrelevant and of little utility in his bid for world dominance. Needless to say, the Assyrian advocates have to group the Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38 & 39 events all into the Antichrist’s Armageddon campaign for this reason. Islam cannot be diminished prior to Armageddon since, in their estimation, the Antichrist is a Muslim. I will presume that the reader is familiar with the Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38 & 39 prophetic events and move on to address the Revelation argument in part two of this article series. “

Mr Salus jumbles together a bunch of prophecies, which have a different context. The  argument here is that Islam must be diminished after the Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38 defeat. Mr Salus assumes these battles occur at the same time. I strongly disagree.

Since John was Jewish, as soon as he heard the words “Gog and Magog” in his vision, he would have associated it with the battle of Gog and Magog in the book of Ezekiel. It is inconceivable to me, that God would instruct an angel to use these words, if they were a different battle, and not explain this to John. Therefore, I believe they must be the same battle. The apparent differences to these battles I have reconciled in my book “Rise of the Assyrian.”
What does John say about the timing of this battle?
“And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.” (Revelation 20:7-8)

The battle of Psalm 83, does not coincide with Gog and Magog. Gog and Magog occurs after the 1,000 reign. The Psalm 83 coalition however, is formed as the Great Tribulation begins. The circumstances presented in other passages explains how Islam could rise again after such a great defeat. However, we can look to history and discover that many Muslim leaders never accept defeat. What did Saddam Hussein do after he was defeated in the first Gulf War? He did not go away until he was defeated. There is a stubbornness in the culture of some people in the Middle East that has been manifested over and over again by the leadership of many Arab nations.

Psalm 83 occurs at the same time as several other events that will change history. These events will give the nations of the world a very good reason to send a multinational army against Israel, which would give Jerusalem and the Temple Mount back to Islam.
But first, scholars have interpreted the “fifth seal” of the book of Revelation without reading this passage carefully. When the fifth seal is opened, the martyred Christians in heaven declare:

“And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” (Revelation 6:9-10)

Take note, the martyrs in heaven are asking God “How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth.” To paraphrase, “how long until judgment begins?” Because of these words, the events of the seven seals are events that precede the Great Tribulation. I demonstrate in my book, Rise of the Assyrian, that these are regional events, not global. These are events that coincide with the return of Jews to their homeland, many occurring during the past two decades in Russia, the former Soviet Republics, Africa, other regions. It it likely that the Christians being killed right now in Africa, and the Middle East are the Martyrs of the “fifth seal.” Many of these have been killed by Islamic extremists.

If the martyrdom of the “fifth seal” is occurring today, the “sixth seal” is next, and this “seal” is related to the coalition of Psalm 83.
In Psalm 83, the first name mentioned in this coalition is Edom. This is not an accident. In the book of Revelation, John quotes a prophecy about the destruction of Edom, found in

Isaiah 34:
“Come near, ye nations, to hear; and hearken, ye peoples: let the earth hear, and all its fulness; the world, and all that cometh forth of it. For the wrath of Jehovah is against all the nations, and his fury against all their armies: he hath devoted them to destruction, he hath delivered them to the slaughter. And their slain shall be cast out, and their stink shall come up from their carcases, and the mountains shall be melted with their blood. And all the host of the heavens shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll; and all their host shall fade away, as a leaf fadeth from off the vine, and as the withered fruit from the fig-tree. For my sword is bathed in the heavens; behold, it shall come down upon Edom, and upon the people of my ban, to judgment.” (Isaiah 34:1-5, the Darby Bible)

Edom is destroyed by fire in his passage. Compare this to the Psalm 83 battle:
“O my God, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind. As the fire burneth a wood, and as the flame setteth the mountains on fire; So persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm.” (Psalm 83:13-15)

Edom is burned up, as is this coalition. I would assert that they are the same event, because Isaiah’s prophecy occurs when the “indignation of the Lord is upon all nations” (Isaiah 34:1). Likewise, when the Sixth seal is opened, the men of the earth declare “the great day of wrath has come” (Revelation 6:17).
There are two additional events of the “Sixth seal.” Because they are part of the same seal, I would assert that they occur almost simultaneously. One event is the sealing of the 144,000 Jews, and another is the appearance of a multitude in heaven that “no man can number.” Since there are so many people here that they cannot be numbered, these cannot be the martyrs, but must be the rapture of the Church.

According to the Bible, Israel will burn Edom by fire. In Jeremiah, we read:

“Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because that Edom hath dealt against the house of Judah by taking vengeance, and hath greatly offended, and revenged himself upon them; Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; I will also stretch out mine hand upon Edom, and will cut off man and beast from it; and I will make it desolate from Teman; and they of Dedan shall fall by the sword. And I will lay my vengeance upon Edom by the hand of my people Israel: and they shall do in Edom according to mine anger and according to my fury; and they shall know my vengeance, saith the Lord GOD. ” (Ezekiel 25:12-14)

Israel apparently will destroy Edom by nuclear weaponry. About the same time, the Church will be taken to heaven. After this, the seventh seal is opened—one half hour of silence. Only one half hour separates the destruction of Edom, from the destruction that follows. We read:
“The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.” (Revelation 8:7)
Edom is burned merely one half hour before one third of the world. These passages describe a nuclear cataclysm. Therefore, the “domino theory” will prove to be true. The use of nuclear weapons by Israel will cause a global nuclear strike, destroying one third of the world. The Psalm 83 defeat will diminish Islam, but this global nuclear war will diminish every nation on earth.
What would the response of the U.N. be to this catastrophe? It is obvious. If the conflict in the Middle East leads to a nuclear war, the world community will move to solve it. Therefore, the  army of Zechariah 14 will be sent against Israel to expel them from the West Bank and East Jerusalem. And, this will be accomplished through the power and strength of the “ten horns”:
“And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.” (Revelation 17:12-14)

The ten horns are the military might behind the coalition of Zechariah 14. It is through their effort that Islam will regain the Temple Mount. Consider the events of Zechariah, and how this could lead to the Antichrist’s rise to power, if he is Islamic. Would the world community send an army against Israel, expel them from Judea and East Jerusalem, and NOT give it to Islam? It has been the position of the U.N. for more than 50 years that these lands be given back. Why would they invade and not do this?
Jesus taught that Jerusalem would be invaded about the same time the abomination of desolation is set up. In Luke, we read:

“And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.” (Luke 21:20-22)

Many interpret this passage as the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. However, Jesus taught that this would occur when “all things written may be fulfilled.” “All things written” are fulfilled only in the latter days, when the multinational army of Zechariah will invade the holy city. Jesus also predicted Judea would be invaded at this time, and of course, Judea is called the West Bank today. However, in the book of Matthew, we read:

“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:” (Matthew 24:15-16)

Jews are to flee when Jerusalem is surrounded by armies, and when they see the abomination of desolation is set up in the Jewish temple. Once event follows the other, but both occur near the middle of the Great Tribulation. Since the nations of the world want to give East Jerusalem back to Islam, and throughout the history of Islam, they have always converted the Temples of their adversaries into Islamic holy shrines. This explains why the abomination of desolation is set up after this invasion.

Russell Redden is author of Rise of the Assyrian, the Antichrist, the Beast, and the Revived Babylonian Empire and Beyond Coincidence: The Testimony of Prophecy.

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