The Seven Heads Part 3 Even He is the Eighth!
Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics

Authored By  :
Bill Kochman

Published On :
April 22, 1997

Last Updated :
January 3, 2009


Defining Syria, Assyria And Babylonia, More On The Possible
Home Of The Beast, Jesus' Syrian Connection, History Of The
Aramaic Language, More On Moshiach, Saddam Hussein And
Nebuchadnezzar, American-Jewish-Turkish Military Triangle




Many Christians today are firmly convinced that the Second
Coming of Jesus Christ is imminent. Depending upon the
doctrinal position, some say that it could happen at any
time. Others like myself believe that there may be a final
seven-year period first, the beginning of which may be
marked by a soon-coming Middle East peace accord which will,
among other things, internationalize Jerusalem and bring it
under the jurisdiction of the United Nations, (as per the
1947 U.N. Resolution 181), permit the rebuilding of the
ancient Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah, and establish a
homeland for the Palestinians. All of these topics are
discussed in more detail in some of my other Endtime
articles. Finally, there are other Christians who feel that
the Second Coming of Christ might not be as immediate as
some believe, but that it will definitely occur in their
lifetime. So, no matter how you look it, whether it happens
today, or within the next twenty or thirty years, it is
still very close, even at the doors as Jesus said:

"So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know
that it is near, even at the doors." (Matthew 24:33)

As I pointed out in my article 'The Kings Of The North And
The South, Part One', after doing a thorough study of the
Scriptures, I came to the conclusion that the kings of the
north and south prophesied by Daniel represent the countries
of Syria and Egypt. I then suggested that there is a high
probability that the Beast may arise out of Syria. The
reason I prefer to say 'may' is based upon several factors.
First of all, I am a fallible human being. While I desire
with all of my heart to understand these Endtime prophecies,
and while I do my best to study and compare the Scriptures
which describe these events, as well as refer to secular
history, I must humbly admit that I can make no claim to
having interpreted these prophecies with one hundred per
cent accuracy. Thus, I prefer to remain flexible in my
views, and am willing to change them when additional study
of the Scriptures, ancient history and current events
reveals that I have been mistaken or a little off-center in
my interpretation.

The second reason I state that the eighth king 'may' arise
out of Syria is due to the fact that in the Bible we have
what is referred to as Syria proper, and we have Assyria.
These are not exactly one and the same. One clear example of
this can be found in the following Scriptures where King
Ahaz of Israel bribes King Tiglathpileser of Assyria to
fight against Rezin, the king of Syria residing in Damascus:

"In those days the LORD began to send against Judah Rezin
the king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah."
(2 Kings 15:37)

"Then Rezin king of Syria and Pekah son of Remaliah king of
Israel came up to Jerusalem to war: and they besieged Ahaz,
but could not overcome him. At that time Rezin king of Syria
recovered Elath to Syria, and drave the Jews from Elath: and
the Syrians came to Elath, and dwelt there unto this day. So
Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglathpileser king of Assyria,
saying, I am thy servant and thy son: come up, and save me
out of the hand of the king of Syria, and out of the hand of
the king of Israel, which rise up against me. And Ahaz took
the silver and gold that was found in the house of the LORD,
and in the treasures of the king's house, and sent it for a
present to the king of Assyria. And the king of Assyria
hearkened unto him: for the king of Assyria went up against
Damascus, and took it, and carried the people of it captive
to Kir, and slew Rezin." (2 Kings 16:5-9)

Here we see a clear picture of Damascus, the capital of
Syria, being assimiliated into the Assyrian Empire by King
Tiglathpileser. All of this came about as part of the Lord's
chastisements against Pekah, the king of Samaria, (the
capital of northern Israel, also known as Ephraim), and
against Rezin, the king of Syria, who formed a confederacy
to attack Jerusalem in the south. Some of the major Prophets
predicted the fall of Samaria and Damascus and Syrian King
Rezin in verses such as the following from Isaiah:

"Thus saith the Lord GOD, It shall not stand, neither shall
it come to pass. For the head of Syria is Damascus, and the
head of Damascus is Rezin; and within threescore and five
years shall Ephraim be broken, that it be not a people. And
the head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is
Remaliah's son. If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not
be established." (Isaiah 7:7-9)

"For before the child shall have knowledge to cry, My
father, and my mother, the riches of Damascus and the spoil
of Samaria shall be taken away before the king of Assyria.
The LORD spake also unto me again, saying, Forasmuch as this
people refuseth the waters of Shiloah that go softly, and
rejoice in Rezin and Remaliah's son; Now therefore, behold,
the Lord bringeth up upon them the waters of the river,
strong and many, even the king of Assyria, and all his
glory: and he shall come up over all his channels, and go
over all his banks:" (Isaiah 8:4-7)

"The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from
being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap. The cities of
Aroer are forsaken: they shall be for flocks, which shall
lie down, and none shall make them afraid. The fortress also
shall cease from Ephraim, and the kingdom from Damascus, and
the remnant of Syria: they shall be as the glory of the
children of Israel, saith the LORD of hosts."
(Isaiah 17:1-3)

To fully grasp this difference between Syria and Assyria,
one must understand the ancient geographical and political
relationships between these different countries and empires.
To assist us in this matter, I am going to refer to several
different sources. To begin with, in the Catholic
Encyclopedia, we find the following useful information
regarding the Assyrian Empire:

----- Begin Quote -----

"In treating of Assyria it is extremely difficult not to
speak at the same time of its sister, or rather mother
country, Babylonia, as the peoples of these two countries,
the Semitic Babylonians and Assyrians, are both
ethnographically and linguistically the same race, with
identical religion, language, literature, and
civilization..."

"Geographically, Assyria occupies the northern and middle
part of Mesopotamia, situated between the rivers Euphrates
and Tigris; while the southern half, extending as far south
as the Persian Gulf, constitutes the countries of Babylonia
and Chaldea. Assyria originally occupied but a scant
geographical area, comprising the small triangular shaped
land lying between the Tigris and Zab Rivers, but in later
times, owing to its wonderful conquests its boundaries
extended as far north as Armenia to Media on the east; to
northern Syria, and to the country of the Hittites, on the
west and to Babylonia and Elam on the south and southeast,
occupying almost the entire Mesopotamian valley. By the
Hebrews it was known under the name of Aram-Naharaim, i.e.
"Aram [or Syria] of the two rivers" to distinguish it from
Syria proper, although it is doubtful whether the Hebrew
name should be read as dual, or rather as a plural, i.e.
Aram-Naharim (Aram of the many rivers or "Of the great
river" -- Euphrates. In later Old Testament times, it was
known under the name of Asshur. By the Greeks and Romans it
was called Mesopotamia, and Assyria; by the Aramaeans,
Beth-naharim, "the country of the rivers"; by the Egyptians
Nahrina; by the Arabs, Athur, or Al-Gezirah, "the island",
or Bain-al-nahrain, "the country between the two rivers" --
Mesopotamia. Whether the name Assyria is derived from that
of the god Asshur, or vice versa, or whether Asshur was
originally the name of a particular city and afterwards
applied to the whole country cannot be determined."

From the Catholic Encyclopedia, copyright © 1913 by the
Encyclopedia Press, Inc. Electronic version copyright © 1997
by New Advent, Inc.

----- End Of Quote -----

In order to really understand the extent of the Assyrian
Empire, we first need to define some of the terms and
locations mentioned in the above description. Regarding
'Media', here is some information taken from the Hebrew
lexicon:

'Media' is derived from the English transliteration of the
Hebrew 'Maday', pronounced 'maw-dah'-ee'. In the Authorized
King James Bible, it is translated as 'Medes' eight times,
as 'Media' six times, and as 'Madai' two times. It means
'middle land' and refers to the descendants of the son of
Japheth who inhabited the territory of Media. This land was
located northwest of Persia (Iran) proper, south and
southwest of the Caspian Sea, east of Armenia and Assyria,
and west and northwest of the great salt desert of Iram. In
short, it was basically the northwestern corner of
current-day Iran.

Easton's Bible Dictionary provides this additional
information concerning Media, the land of the Medes:

----- Begin Quote -----

"We first hear of this people in the Assyrian cuneiform
records, under the name of Amada, about B.C. 840. They
appear to have been a branch of the Aryans, who came from
the east bank of the Indus, and were probably the
predominant race for a while in the Mesopotamian Valley.
They consisted for three or four centuries of a number of
tribes, each ruled by its own chief, who at length were
brought under the Assyrian yoke, (2Ki 17:6). From this
subjection they achieved deliverance, and formed themselves
into an empire under Cyaxares, (B.C. 633). This monarch
entered into an alliance with the king of Babylon, and
invaded Assyria, capturing and destroying the city of
Nineveh, (B.C. 625), thus putting an end to the Assyrian
monarchy, (Nah 1:8, 2:5-6, 3:13-14). Media now rose to a
place of great power, vastly extending its boundaries. But
it did not long exist as an independent kingdom. It rose
with Cyaxares, its first king, and it passed away with him;
for during the reign of his son and successor Astyages, the
Persians waged war against the Medes and conquered them, the
two nations being united under one monarch, Cyrus the
Persian, (B.C. 558). The "cities of the Medes" are first
mentioned in connection with the deportation of the
Israelites on the destruction of Samaria, (2Ki 17:6, 18:11).
Soon afterwards, Isaiah, (Isa 13:17, 21:2), speaks of the
part taken by the Medes in the destruction of Babylon, (Jer
51:11, 28). Daniel gives an account of the reign of Darius
the Mede, who was made viceroy by Cyrus (Dan 6:1-28). The
decree of Cyrus, Ezra informs us, (Ezr 6:2-5), was found in
"the palace that is in the province of the Medes," Achmetha
or Ecbatana of the Greeks, which is the only Median city
mentioned in Scripture."

----- End Of Quote -----

As stated in the previous definition, Achmetha, or Ecbatana
is the only Median city mentioned in the Scriptures:

"Then Darius the king made a decree, and search was made in
the house of the rolls, where the treasures were laid up in
Babylon. And there was found at Achmetha, in the palace that
is in the province of the Medes, a roll, and therein was a
record thus written:" (Ezra 6:1-2)

Again, using Easton's Bible Dictionary, I discovered this
additional information regarding Ecbatana, or Achmetha, as
it is referred to in the Scriptures:

----- Begin Quote -----

"Achmetha, called Ecbatana by classical writers, the capital
of northern Media. Here was the palace which was the
residence of the old Median monarchs, and of Cyrus and
Cambyses. In the time of Ezra, the Persian kings resided
usually at Susa of Babylon. But Cyrus held his court at
Achmetha; and Ezra, writing a century after, correctly
mentions the place where the decree of Cyrus was found."

----- End of Quote -----

Another location we need to define in our explanation of the
extent of the Assyrian Empire, is the land of 'Elam'. The
Hebrew lexicon states that 'Elam' is transliterated from the
Hebrew 'Eylam', pronounced 'ay-lawm', or 'Owlam', pronounced
'o-lawm'. In a genealogical sense, Elam means 'eternity',
and was the name given to one of the sons of Shem. However,
geographically speaking, it means 'highland', and was a
province located east of Babylon, and northeast of the lower
Tigris River. Easton's Bible Dictionary again provides us
with a wealth of additional information:

----- Begin Quote -----

"Highland, the son of Shem, (Gen 10:22), and the name of the
country inhabited by his descendants, (Gen 14:1, 9, Isa
11:11, 21:2) etc., lying to the east of Babylonia, and
extending to the shore of the Mediterranean, a distance in a
direct line of about 1,000 miles. The name Elam is an
Assyrian word meaning 'high'. The inhabitants of Elam, or
'the Highlands', to the east of Babylon, were called
Elamites. They were divided into several branches, speaking
different dialects of the same agglutinative language. The
race to which they belonged was brachycephalic, or
short-headed, like the pre-Semitic Sumerians of Babylonia.
The earliest Elamite kingdom seems to have been that of
Anzan, the exact site of which is uncertain; but in the time
of Abraham, Shushan or Susa appears to have already become
the capital of the country. Babylonia was frequently invaded
by the Elamite kings, who at times asserted their supremacy
over it (as in the case of Chedorlaomer, the Kudur-Lagamar,
or 'servant of the goddess Lagamar,' of the cuneiform
texts). The later Assyrian monarchs made several campaigns
against Elam, and finally Assur-bani-pal, (about B.C. 650),
succeeded in conquering the country, which was ravaged with
fire and sword. On the fall of the Assyrian Empire, Elam
passed into the hands of the Persians, (A.H. Sayce). This
country was called by the Greeks Cissia or Susiana."

----- End Of Quote -----

In the Hebrew lexicon, we discover that 'Shushan', or
'Susa', is transliterated from the Hebrew 'shuwshan',
pronounced 'shoo-shan', and means 'lily'. As the Scriptures
bear out, Shushan was the winter residence of the Persian
kings, such as Ahasuerus, and was located or the river Ulai,
also known as Choaspes:

"Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus, (this is
Ahasuerus which reigned, from India even unto Ethiopia, over
an hundred and seven and twenty provinces:) That in those
days, when the king Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his
kingdom, which was in Shushan the palace," (Esther 1:1-2)

We also know from the Scriptures that Daniel served in the
royal courts during the reigns of Babylonian kings
Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar, during the reign of Darius
the Mede, and also during the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
Likewise, we know that during one of his prophetic visions,
he was either actually at the palace in Shushan on the River
Ulai, or else he was translated there in the Spirit where he
beheld the expansion of the Medo-Persian empire, and then
its subsequent demise at the hands of Alexander the Great of
Macedonia. The way the verses are worded, it is a bit
difficult to tell if Daniel was actually there in Shushan,
or if he simply saw himself there in the vision:

"In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision
appeared unto me, even unto me Daniel, after that which
appeared unto me at the first. And I saw in a vision; and it
came to pass, when I saw, that I was at Shushan in the
palace, which is in the province of Elam; and I saw in a
vision, and I was by the river of Ulai." (Daniel 8:1-2)

Regarding the River Ulai, Easton's Bible Dictionary provides
us with this additional information:

----- Begin Quote -----

"The Eulaus of the Greeks; a river of Susiana. It was
probably the eastern branch of the Choasper (Kerkhan), which
divided into two branches some 20 miles above the city of
Susa. Hence Daniel, (Dan 8:2, 16), speaks of standing
"between the banks of Ulai", i.e., between the two streams
of the divided river."

----- End Of Quote -----

Finally, let's take a look at who the Hittites were, and
where their primary area of residence was located. The
Hittites were the descendants of Heth who was the second son
of Canaan. It was from Ephron the Hittite that Abraham
purchased the cave of Machpelah for four hundred shekels of
silver. Machpelah was located in the plain of Mamre which we
are told in Genesis chapter twenty-three pertains to Hebron.
It was in this cave that both Abraham and his wife Sarah
were buried, as well as Isaac and Rebekah, Leah and Jacob:

"And he charged them, and said unto them, I am to be
gathered unto my people: bury me with my fathers in the cave
that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, In the cave that
is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the
land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field of
Ephron the Hittite for a possession of a buryingplace. There
they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried
Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah."
(Genesis 49:29-31)

Regarding the geographical location of the Hittites, it
appears that their land of origin was what is today known as
Turkey, a topic I will greatly expand upon in part six of
this series. However, the Hittites did a lot of travelling,
and at different times, their influence and power extended
as far as Syria, Lebanon, Canaan and Egypt. Their capital
was Carchemish which was located on the Euphrates River in
northern Syria, in the plains or tableland region known as
Padan-aram. This area forms the northern region of
Mesopotamia and was named after Aram, one of the sons of
Shem. Carchemish was first captured by Pharaoh Necho, king
of Egypt, and then taken from him by King Nebuchadnezzar as
will be explained further along in this series.

What is also very interesting about all of this is that when
Abram and his family first left Ur of the Chaldees in lower
Mesopotamia along with Abram's father, Terah, and other
relatives, they migrated northwestward to Haran which is
also in Padan-aram. Not only that, but as I also explained
in my article 'The Children Of God And Politics', it was in
Padan-aram that Isaac obtained his wife Rebekah, and where
Jacob also worked for his Syrian uncle Laban for fourteen
years in order to obtain his two wives Rachel and Leah.
Easton's Bible Dictionary provides us with this related
information regarding Mesopotamia:

----- Begin Quote -----

"The country between the two rivers (Heb. Aram-naharaim;
i.e., "Syria of the two rivers"), the name given by the
Greeks and Romans to the region between the Euphrates and
the Tigris, (Gen 24:10, Deu 23:4, Jud 3:8, 10). In the Old
Testament, it is mentioned also under the name 'Padan-aram';
i.e., the plain of Aram, or Syria, (Gen 25:20). The northern
portion of this fertile plateau was the original home of the
ancestors of the Hebrews, (Gen 11:1, Act 7:2). From this
region, Isaac obtained his wife Rebecca, (Gen 24:10, 15),
and here also Jacob sojourned, (Gen 28:2-7), and obtained
his wives, and here most of his sons were born, (Gen 35:26,
46:15). The petty, independent tribes of this region, each
under its own prince, were warlike, and used chariots in
battle. They maintained their independence till after the
time of David, when they fell under the dominion of Assyria,
and were absorbed into the empire, (2Ki 19:13)."

----- End Of Quote -----

To conclude these definitions of terms used to describe the
Assyrian Empire, here is some additional information
concerning the Hittites taken from Easton's Bible
Dictionary:

----- Begin Quote -----

"Palestine and Syria appear to have been originally
inhabited by three different tribes.

1. The Semites, living on the east of the Isthmus of Suez.
They were nomadic and pastoral tribes.

2. The Phoenicians, who were merchants and traders; and

3. the Hittites, who were the warlike element of this
confederation of tribes. They inhabited the whole region
between the Euphrates and Damascus, their chief cities being
Carchemish on the Euphrates, and Kadesh, now Tell Neby
Mendeh, in the Orontes Valley, about six miles south of the
Lake of Homs. These Hittites seem to have risen to great
power as a nation, as for a long time they were formidable
rivals of the Egyptian and Assyrian empires. In the book of
Joshua they always appear as the dominant race to the north
of Galilee. Somewhere about the twenty-third century B.C.
the Syrian confederation, led probably by the Hittites,
arched against Lower Egypt, which they took possession of,
making Zoan their capital. Their rulers were the Hyksos, or
shepherd kings. They were at length finally driven out of
Egypt. Rameses II sought vengeance against the "vile Kheta,"
as he called them, and encountered and defeated them in the
great battle of Kadesh, four centuries after Abraham.

They are first referred to in Scripture in the history of
Abraham, who bought from Ephron the Hittite the field and
the cave of Machpelah, (Gen 15:20, 23:3-18). They were then
settled at Kirjath-arba. From this tribe Esau took his first
two wives, (Gen 26:34, 36:2). They are afterwards mentioned
in the usual way among the inhabitants of the Promised Land,
(Exo 23:28). They were closely allied to the Amorites, and
are frequently mentioned along with them as inhabiting the
mountains of Palestine. When the spies entered the land,
they seem to have occupied with the Amorites the mountain
region of Judah, (Num 13:29). They took part with the other
Canaanites against the Israelites, (Jos 9:1, 11:3). After
this, there are few references to them in Scripture. Mention
is made of "Ahimelech the Hittite", (1Sa 26:6), and of
"Uriah the Hittite," one of David's chief officers, (2Sa
23:39, 1Ch 11:41). In the days of Solomon they were a
powerful confederation in the north of Syria, and were ruled
by "kings". They are met with after the Exile still a
distinct people, (Ezr 9:1, Neh 13:23-28). The Hebrew
merchants exported horses from Egypt not only for the kings
of Israel, but also for the Hittites, (1Ki 10:28-29). From
the Egyptian monuments we learn that "the Hittites were a
people with yellow skins and 'Mongoloid' features, whose
receding foreheads, oblique eyes, and protruding upper jaws
are represented as faithfully on their own monuments as they
are on those of Egypt, so that we cannot accuse the Egyptian
artists of caricaturing their enemies. The Amorites, on the
contrary, were a tall and handsome people. They are depicted
with white skins, blue eyes, and reddish hair, all the
characteristics, in fact, of the white race", (Sayce's 'The
Hittites'). The original seat of the Hittite tribes was the
mountain ranges of Taurus. They belonged to Asia Minor, and
not to Syria."

----- End Of Quote -----

With all of this additional information I have provided, we
can now easily translate the description of the Assyrian
Empire into modern-day terms. If you apply all of these
definitions to a current map of the Middle East, you will
discover that this ancient empire included the northern half
of Iraq, most if not all of Syria, a section of Turkey, and
part of the northwestern corner of Iran. Additionally, we
know from the Scriptures, as well as from secular history,
that the Assyrians also controlled ancient Israel,
particularly the northern half and its capital Samaria. As I
stated in my article 'The Fruits of Disobedience', not only
did the Lord allow Israel and Judah to be carried away
captive into Assyria and the cities of the Medes because of
their pagan idol worship, but Esar-haddon, the king of
Assyria at the time, also brought idol-worshipping people
from Babylon, Assyria and Syria to replace those he had
carried away captive out of Samaria:

"And the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from
Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim,
and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the
children of Israel: and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in
the cities thereof...Howbeit every nation made gods of their
own, and put them in the houses of the high places which the
Samaritans had made, every nation in their cities wherein
they dwelt. And the men of Babylon made Succothbenoth, and
the men of Cuth made Nergal, and the men of Hamath made
Ashima, And the Avites made Nibhaz and Tartak, and the
Sepharvites burnt their children in fire to Adrammelech and
Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim. So they feared the LORD,
and made unto themselves of the lowest of them priests of
the high places, which sacrificed for them in the houses of
the high places. They feared the LORD, and served their own
gods, after the manner of the nations whom they carried away
from thence. Unto this day they do after the former manners:
they fear not the LORD, neither do they after their
statutes, or after their ordinances, or after the law and
commandment which the LORD commanded the children of Jacob,
whom he named Israel;" (2 Kings 17:24, 29-34)

Having now established this description of the Assyrian
Empire, it is a simple matter to define the original land
area covered by its parent empire, Babylonia. Following is a
description I extracted from the Catholic Encyclopedia:

----- Begin Quote -----

"The country lies diagonally from northwest to southeast,
between 30° and 33° N. lat., and 44° and 48° E. long., or
from the present city of Bagdad to the Persian Gulf, from
the slopes of Khuzistan on the east to the Arabian Desert on
the west, and is substantially contained between the Rivers
Euphrates and Tigris, though, to the west a narrow strip of
cultivation on the right bank of the Euphrates must be
added. Its total length is some 300 miles, its greatest
width about 125 miles; about 23,000 square miles in all, or
the size of Holland and Belgium together. Like those two
countries, its soil is largely formed by the alluvial
deposits of two great rivers. A most remarkable feature of
Babylonian geography is that the land to the south
encroaches on the sea and that the Persian Gulf recedes at
present at the rate of a mile in seventy years, while in the
past, though still in historic times, it receded as much as
a mile in thirty years. In the early period of Babylonian
history the gulf must have extended some one hundred and
twenty miles further inland. According to historical records
both the towns Ur and Eridu were once close to the Gulf,
from which they are now about a hundred miles distant; and
from the reports of Sennacherib's campaign against Bit Yakin
we gather that as late as 695 B.C., the four rivers Kerkha,
Karun, Euphrates, and Tigris entered the gulf by separate
mouths, which proves that the sea even then extended a
considerable distance north of where the Euphrates and
Tigris now join to form the Shatt-al-Arab."

J.P. ARENDZEN Transcribed by Rev. Richard Giroux

From the Catholic Encyclopedia, copyright © 1913 by the
Encyclopedia Press, Inc. Electronic version copyright © 1997
by New Advent, Inc.

----- End Of Quote -----

Thus we see that ancient Babylonia, and the land of the
Chaldeans, was contained within what is currently the
southern half of Iraq. With this enhanced understanding of
Syria, Assyria and Babylonia, perhaps you can now understand
why I hesitate to say that the modern country of Syria is
the ONLY possible place of origin of the Beast. Currently,
as I stated in 'The Kings Of The North And The South', I am
of the opinion that President Hafez Al-Assad, the current
leader of Syria, (or possibly one of his successors
depending upon how much time is left), holds the highest
possibility for being the Endtime 'king of the north'
mentioned in the Daniel prophecies.

However, based on the historical facts I have presented
here, I also feel it is wise to remain flexible and thus
suggest that this mysterious Endtime 'king of the north',
that is, the Beast or eighth king of the Book of Revelation,
could also possibly arise out of Iraq. This of course
immediately brings President Saddam Hussein into the
picture, or possibly one of his successors. Again, I base
this expanded understanding on the following facts: The
Assyrian Empire was primarily comprised of the northern half
of Iraq. Assyria later assimilated Syria Proper as explained
towards the beginning of this article. The Assyrian Empire
was later assimilated by the Babylonian Empire which
primarily constituted the southern half of modern-day Iraq.

At the same time, by this inclusion of Iraq in the Endtime
scenario as the possible home of the Beast, I do not wish to
minimize the importance I place upon Syria either. That
Syria will play a pivotal role in Endtime events, and
possibly give rise to the political/military leader known as
the Beast, there is no doubt in my mind. Unbeknownst to most
people, Syria also played an important role in the life and
ministry of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, two thousand years
ago. While most people are familiar with the fact that
Joseph and Mary travelled to Bethlehem due to the Roman
census, few realize that Nazareth may actually have been
under the jurisdiction of Cyrenius, the Roman Governor of
Syria. In other words, due to its location in northern
Israel, it may be that Galilee was NOT under the
jurisdiction of the governor of Israel, but rather under
Syrian jurisdiction as Luke appears to point out:

"And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a
decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be
taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was
governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into
his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of
the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David,
which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and
lineage of David:)" (Luke 2:1-4)

The implication here seems to be that the mandate to
Nazareth went forth from Cyrenius in Syria who in turn
received his orders from Caesar Augustus in Rome. While this
may seem like a small point to some, I believe that every
detail which was recorded by the writers of the Holy
Scriptures was inspired by the Lord. While some might argue
that Luke simply included this point because he was a
meticulous physician given to details, I prefer to believe
that God's Spirit impressed upon Luke the importance of
including this small detail in his account. As we are told
in Paul's second Epistle to Timothy:

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is
profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for
instruction in righteousness:" (2 Timothy 3:16)

While Paul was probably referring to the Old Testament
Scriptures when he wrote the above verse, being as that is
all they had at the time besides other manuscripts which
have since been lost, why should we not apply this verse to
the New Testament as well? Thus, I believe that it was under
inspiration of the Holy Ghost that Luke included this one
small detail regarding the move from Nazareth to Bethlehem.
Aside from the fact that Jesus' birth in Bethlehem was
partially a result of the mandate issued by the governor in
Syria at the behest of Caesar Augustus, once Jesus had begun
His public ministry, we are also told that, due to Galilee's
nearness to Syria, His fame was also well known throughout
that country. It seems to me that, in His Divine Wisdom and
Foresight, God wanted to make sure that the Syrians heard
the Good News of Salvation directly from the Source:

"And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought
unto him all sick people that were taken with divers
diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with
devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had
the palsy; and he healed them." (Matthew 4:24)

Depending upon how you wish to interpret this verse, it
seems to me that the 'they' mentioned here is referring to
Syrian believers who had heard of the fame of Jesus. In his
Epistle to the Romans, the Apostle Paul made the following
statement:

"And we know that all things work together for good to them
that love God, to them who are the called according to his
purpose." (Romans 8:28)

Being as Jesus was and is the Son of God, we know that He
had the foreknowledge that He, and His ministry, would be
rejected by the majority of the flesh Jews in Israel, those
who claimed to be the true Jews and the seed of Abraham. It
is for this reason that John wrote at the beginning of his
Gospel:

"He came unto his own, and his own received him not."
(John 1:11)

The Prophet Isaiah also wrote in the well-known fifty-third
chapter of his book:

"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and
acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from
him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not."
(Isaiah 53:3)

Jesus also spoke a number of times of His rejection by the
Jews in such statements as the following:

"But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour,
but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his
own house." (Mark 6:4)

"From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his
disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer
many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and
be killed, and be raised again the third day."
(Matthew 16:21)

"And he answered and told them, Elias verily cometh first,
and restoreth all things; and how it is written of the Son
of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at
nought." (Mark 9:12)

"But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of
this generation." (Luke 17:25)

Being as God the Father, and Jesus Himself, were well aware
of how events would transpire in Israel, it is easy to
understand why They would plan for the future and prepare a
city completely outside of Israel, away from Jewish
persecution, where Christianity would not only be preserved,
but would also eventually blossom to fill the entire world.
It was because of Jesus' faithfulness during His Earthly
ministry to plant the seed of faith in the fertile ground of
Syria, that Antioch, located in northwestern Syria, would
later become the first major outpost for the Christian faith
outside of Israel.

While the new religion had a strong start in Jerusalem, with
thousands being won to the Faith under the inspiration of
Peter and others, by the eighth chapter of the Book of Acts,
we see that the fire is beginning to die, and the young
Church is becoming stifled as fewer and fewer are daring to
join the ranks of the Disciples due to the increasing
persecution. However, as I have explained in other articles,
it was through this very same persecution that the Lord
drove out the Disciples into all the world in obedience to
the commandment He had first given them in the Gospel of
Mark and in the first chapter of the Book of Acts:

"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach
the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15)

"But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is
come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in
Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the
uttermost part of the earth." (Acts 1:8)

As in Jerusalem, initially, the Word was only preached to
the Jews of Antioch, and then to the Grecians, who may have
been Hellenist Jews. However, once Barnabas arrived and saw
the good fruit that was being born there, he went to get
Paul who had returned to Tarsus. From that point on, things
began to explode, and as we know, the Disciples were first
called Christians at Antioch:

"Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution
that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and
Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the
Jews only. And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene,
which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the
Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord
was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto
the Lord. Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of
the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth
Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch. Who, when he
came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted
them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto
the Lord. For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost
and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord. Then
departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul: And when he
had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to
pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the
church, and taught much people. And the disciples were
called Christians first in Antioch." (Acts 11:19-26)

Another interesting tidbit which points to the Syrian
connection is the fact that Jesus spoke Aramaic. Considering
that He spent much of His early life and the early part of
His ministry in northern Israel, this should really come as
no surprise to us. In fact, when He died on the Cross,
Jesus' final agonizing words were not spoken in Hebrew as
most people suppose, but rather in Aramaic:

"And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice,
saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God,
my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46)

Eli, or Eloi, is derived from the Aramaic 'elahh',
pronounced 'el-aw', and means 'God'. Lama, pronounced
'lam-ah' is also transliterated from Aramaic and means
'why'. Sabachthani means 'thou hast forsaken me' and is
transliterated from the Aramaic 'shebaq', pronounced
'sheb-ak', which means 'to leave or let alone'.

Aramaic was the language of the descendants of Aram, a son
of Shem, who settled in northeastern Syria, known in times
past as Padan-aram. As I explained earlier, Padan-aram was
the place of origin of the first Hebrews, beginning with
Abram who left Ur of the Chaldees with his father Terah, his
wife Sarai, and his nephew Lot. Isaac also obtained his wife
Rebekah from Padan-aram, as did Jacob his two wives Leah and
Rachel. The word 'Hebrew' was actually used as a descriptive
word to describe the fact that Abram, a Shemite or Semite,
had come from beyond, or outside of Canaan. 'Hebrew', or
'ibriy', (pronounced ib-ree' in Hebrew), actually means 'one
from beyond'. Whether or not Terah and Abram were actually
Babylonian or Chaldean is difficult to say as the Bible
simply does not make it clear. All we know is that for some
unknown reason, Terah decided to move his family out of Ur
and over to Canaan. According to the writings of Moses,
Terah died before completing the journey, in a place which
would later bear the name of his dead son Haran, which was a
place in Padan-aram.

The Aramaic language was heavily influenced by the Assyrian,
Babylonian and Chaldean cultures, and is thus referred to as
a Syro-Chaldaic language. Like Greek and Latin, Aramaic was
a universal language. When Assyrian King Sennacherib came
against Jerusalem, we are informed that the Hebrews
understood Syriac, (or Aramaic), and asked Sennacherib's
representative to speak in that language so as not to
demoralize the Hebrew soldiers:

"Then said Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and Shebna, and Joah,
unto Rabshakeh, Speak, I pray thee, to thy servants in the
Syrian language; for we understand it: and talk not with us
in the Jews' language in the ears of the people that are on
the wall." (2 Kings 18:26)

The universality of Aramaic was probably even more
widespread following Nebuchadnezzar's victory against
Pharoah Necho at Carchemish in northern Syria. As I have
stated in other articles, Syriac, (also written as
'Syriack'), was also spoken in the courts of this powerful
Babylonian king:

"Then spake the Chaldeans to the king in Syriack, O king,
live for ever: tell thy servants the dream, and we will shew
the interpretation." (Daniel 2:4)

Following the fall of the Babylonian Empire to the
Medo-Persian Empire, Aramaic, or Syriac, continued to enjoy
popularity in the courts of the conquerors as is evidenced
by the following verse from the Book of Ezra:

"And in the days of Artaxerxes wrote Bishlam, Mithredath,
Tabeel, and the rest of their companions, unto Artaxerxes
king of Persia; and the writing of the letter was written in
the Syrian tongue, and interpreted in the Syrian tongue."
(Ezra 4:7)

Thus we see that for thousands of years, right up to the
time of Christ, the Syrian language known as Aramaic or
Syriac, remained an important language in the Middle East.

Before moving on, allow me to offer some additional food for
thought. As Christians, we all know that Satan is a usurper.
He is a liar. He is an imposter. He is an imitator. Jesus
made this very clear when He said in part:

"...He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in
the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he
speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar,
and the father of it." (John 8:44b)

Considering all of the facts I have presented regarding
Jesus' connection to northern Israel and to Syria, doesn't
it seem possible that Satan the imposter might raise up his
Endtime false 'messiah', whom Orthodox Jews refer to as
'Moshiach' or 'Moshaich ben David', from the very same
geographical area? After all, in order to deceive as many
people as possible, it seems to me that he would have to
follow a path very similar to that of the True Messiah,
Jesus Christ. As I explained in 'The Kings Of The North And
The South, Part Two', the Orthodox Jews are convinced that
their 'saviour' will be a descendant of the bloodline of
King David who was of the tribe of Judah. In other words,
'Moshiach ben David' will be a flesh Jew of the physical
seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

If this false 'messiah', or 'Moshiach', is the very same
'Son of Perdition' which I discuss in 'Who Hindered the
Antichrist?', it makes it all the easier to understand why
he will be permitted by the Jews to sit in the long-awaited
Third Temple, demonstrating to all, (at least to those who
want to be deceived), that he is in fact the 'messiah',
'God' in the flesh, who has come to deliver the Jews out of
the hands of their Muslim enemies. As Paul clearly points
out, God will allow this strong delusion to occur because
for two thousand years now, the majority of Jews have fully
rejected Jesus Christ as their one and only True Messiah:

"Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not
come, except there come a falling away first, and that man
of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and
exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is
worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God,
shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when
I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know
what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For
the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now
letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then
shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume
with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the
brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after
the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying
wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in
them that perish; because they received not the love of the
truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God
shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a
lie:" (2 Thessalonians 2:3-11)

Returning to the topic of Syria, another important fact
which supports the importance of Syria in Biblical and
secular history is that it was in Riblah in the land of
Hamath, or northern Syria, that Nebuchadnezzar set up his
war headquarters where he judged King Zedekiah. It was also
in Riblah that Pharaoh Necho placed Jehoahaz in bonds to
carry him off to Egypt:

"And Pharaohnechoh put him in bands at Riblah in the land of
Hamath, that he might not reign in Jerusalem; and put the
land to a tribute of an hundred talents of silver, and a
talent of gold." (2 Kings 23:33)

"But the Chaldeans' army pursued after them, and overtook
Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho: and when they had taken
him, they brought him up to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon
to Riblah in the land of Hamath, where he gave judgment upon
him. Then the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah in
Riblah before his eyes: also the king of Babylon slew all
the nobles of Judah." (Jeremiah 39:5-6)

Clearly then, from ancient times, up until the present,
Syria has played an important part in Biblical prophecy, as
well as in secular history. The question which remains then
is this: Exactly what role will Syria play in the completion
of Endtime prophecies? Will she produce the final eighth
king of Revelation as I speculated in 'The Kings Of The
North And The South', or will that be delegated to Iraq with
Syria being one of the ten Endtime horns which gives her
power for one hour to the Beast?:

"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...For God hath put
in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give
their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall
be fulfilled." (Revelation 17:12-13, 17)

As I partially explained in part two of the aforementioned
article, whether Israel is invaded by Syria or by Iraq, this
invasion will still probably occur via the Golan Heights, an
elevated plateau in northeastern Israel along the Syrian
border. As you may know, Israel grabbed this important piece
of property from Syria during the 1967 Six Day War; and it
is partially because of this that there are still strong
contentions between Israel and Syria today. Unlike Egypt and
Jordan, to date, (January 1998), Syria has followed in the
footsteps of Iraq and has refused to sign a peace treaty
with Israel. Unless I am mistaken, this is a position which
both countries have held since 1947 when the United Nations
first proposed the failed Resolution 181.

The key point of the matter is this: Both Syria and Iraq
could qualify as the 'king of the north', (who I personally
believe is synonymous with the Beast, or the eighth king of
the Book of Revelation), if either one of them attacks
Israel through the Golan Heights. It was from this same
direction that the Syrian and Assyrian kings attacked Israel
in ancient times, and this is also exactly what King
Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon did, and why he too was referred
to as a power coming from the north in the Book of Jeremiah,
even though in a geographical sense, Babylonia, or Iraq, is
more to the east of Israel, than it is to the north.
Consider the following example verses:

"And the word of the LORD came unto me the second time,
saying, What seest thou? And I said, I see a seething pot;
and the face thereof is toward the north. Then the LORD said
unto me, Out of the north an evil shall break forth upon all
the inhabitants of the land." (Jeremiah 1:13-14)

"Set up the standard toward Zion: retire, stay not: for I
will bring evil from the north, and a great destruction."
(Jeremiah 4:6)

"Behold, the noise of the bruit is come, and a great
commotion out of the north country, to make the cities of
Judah desolate, and a den of dragons." (Jeremiah 10:22)

"Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north,
saith the LORD, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my
servant, and will bring them against this land, and against
the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round
about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an
astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations."
(Jeremiah 25:9)

To further emphasize the possibility that a modern-day
Nebuchadnezzar might perform the very same military feat,
consider the following astounding quote I came across. While
the commentary deals with Saddam Hussein's refusal to allow
United Nations, (UNSCOM), weapons inspectors to visit
certain areas within Iraq, notice how the remarks of General
Norman Schwarzkopf seem to confirm the fact that we may see
a repeat of history sometime in the near future when Saddam
Hussein, or perhaps one of his successors, may attack Israel
via Syria, which might then be one of the Ten Horns giving
her military power to the Beast:

----- Begin Quote -----

"...In the end, though, the United States does not think
that Saddam sees this confrontation as a "make-or-break"
crisis. He is, officials think, looking long term for a
place in history as the man who saved the Arab world from
the West, just as Salhidin did during the Crusades."

"You have to remember that this is a man who had his name
imprinted on every brick that was used in the reconstruction
of Babylon," the official said, a practice followed by the
ancient Babylonian kings."

"I think in his own mind he has aggrandized himself," says
Schwarzkopf. "He has said in the past that he wants to be
the second coming of (the legendary Babylonian ruler)
Nebuchadnezzar - the person who unites all of the Arab
world. To once again bring the Arab world to its glory all
under the leadership of Saddam Hussein."

----- End Of Quote -----

What amazing information! While this may come as news to
some of you reading this, this military possibility is not
something which has been overlooked by the governments of
Israel and the United States of America. It is for this very
reason that in recent months, both nations have been forging
treaties and creating stronger ties with Turkey. As I have
said before, by creating a military alliance with the
government of Ankara, Israel hopes to neutralize two of her
most feared enemies, Syria and Iraq, which both share
borders with Turkey, and which in recent years have begun
mending their dipolmatic relations which were strained for
seventeen years. It seems that by creating this American-led
and supported American-Jewish-Turkish military triangle, the
Americans and the Israelis hope that this muscle-flexing
will persuade Syria and Iraq that they should not even
consider any move to attack Israel.

The final question then is this: Will it work? Or will
two-thousand-year-old prophecies soon be fulfilled? Will
Syria rise up to the task, or will it be left to Iraq to
fulfill the prophecy of the Beast? Or might it even be
someone else? If my understanding of Endtime prophecy is any
where near accurate, we may not have long to find out who it
will be. In the fourth part of this series on 'The Seven
Heads', I will delve into history and provide some
information regarding the military exploits of the first six
kings or empires, and then show how it is connected to the
eighth king, or the Beast. Part four will also include some
interesting details regarding the leaders of both Syria and
Iraq. I'll see you there. I pray this article has been
informative, and a blessing to many.

⇒ Go To The Next Part . . .


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