The Seven Heads Part 4 His Deadly Wound Was Healed!
Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics

Authored By  :
Bill Kochman

Published On :
April 22, 1997

Last Updated :
January 3, 2009


Pharaoh Necho Falls To Babylon, Nineveh Falls To Babylon,
Jerusalem Falls To Babylon, Tyre Falls To Babylon, Babylon
Falls To The Medes And Persians, Cyrus And Darius, The
Return To Jerusalem, Alexander The Great, A Modern King
Nebuchadnezzar?, Hafez al-Assad And Saddam Hussein




In the thirteenth chapter of the Book of Revelation, there
is one particular verse regarding the Endtime leader known
as the Beast, which has been the subject of debate by many
Bible students. That verse is the following:

"And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and
his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered
after the beast." (Revelation 13:3)

The most common interpretation I have heard of the above
verse is that the Beast, the actual human leader of the
final empire which will rule over Israel, will be mortally
wounded, possibly in battle, or perhaps from a successful
assassination plot. However, according to those who support
this view, the world will be shocked when this leader is
raised back to life! They suggest that his 'resurrection'
will be explained to the public as simply being another
wonder of modern science and technology, possibly even being
referred to as a medical 'miracle'. While for many years I
too considered this possibility, I currently feel that such
an event would be too obvious. Personally, I don't believe
that Satan wants to go out of his way to make his plans
known to the world. Those who accept the above scenario may
be the same ones who will be looking for a literal '666'
tatooed in some way on everyone's right hand or forehead.
For more information on this topic, please refer to my
article 'Mondex And The Mark Of The Beast'.

Concerning the 'deadly wound' which was healed, I would like
to propose another possibility which I feel may have equal,
if not more merit than an assassination attempt and a
successful 'medical resurrection'. Many years ago I came
across one very interesting verse which might possibly be
the clue to understanding what is really meant by the
'deadly wound'. It is the only verse in the entire Bible
which uses the phrase 'deadly wounded'; and it was written
by Ezekiel during the time of the Babylonian captivity. In
this verse, Ezekiel is prophesying the defeat of Pharoah
Necho, king of Egypt, by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon.
Some years earlier, Pharoah Necho had grabbed some provinces
in northern Syria from the Assyrians during a battle at
Carchemish:

"In his days Pharaohnechoh king of Egypt went up against the
king of Assyria to the river Euphrates: and king Josiah went
against him; and he slew him at Megiddo, when he had seen
him." (2 Kings 23:29)

In case you are confused or wondering exactly what is being
said here, this verse is stating that when Pharaoh Necho
went up to fight against the Assyrian king at Carchemish on
the Euphrates River, Jewish king Josiah went out to
challenge him, (Pharaoh Necho), at Megiddo. Pharoah Necho
told Josiah clearly that he had come up to fight against the
king of Assyria, and NOT against him. Despite this fact,
foolish Josiah challenged him anyway; and it was during this
battle that King Josiah needlessly lost his life because of
his own pride. You can find a more complete story in 2
Chronicles chapter thirty-five.

Once the Assyrian Empire began to wane under the onslaught
of her parent nation, Babylonia, Pharaoh Necho decided to
use the now-captured Carchemish in Syria as a beachhead to
further expand his empire into Assyrian territory. To his
dismay, he was met with strong resistance by Nebuchadnezzar,
the son of Nabopolassar king of Babylon, who soundly
defeated him. Pharaoh Necho's defeat represented a judgment
from the Lord against Egypt, not only because of Josiah's
death, but also because Pharaoh Necho then made the mistake
of imprisoning Josiah's first son, Jehoahaz, in Egypt where
he died; and he made Josiah's other son, Eliakim, whom he
renamed Jehoiakim, puppet ruler in Jerusalem; and forced him
to pay a heavy tribute to Egypt.

If there is one clear lesson the Bible teaches, it is that
no one should ever touch the Lord's anointed. After King
David had smitten the Philistines and had recovered the Ark
of the Covenant, and had returned it to Jerusalem, he wrote
a victory psalm in which he sang in part:

"...Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm."
(1 Chronicles 16:22)

In another incident, when the Lord had delivered King Saul
into David's hand, David cut off a piece of Saul's skirt and
then repented of his act by saying:

"...The LORD forbid that I should do this thing unto my
master, the LORD'S anointed, to stretch forth mine hand
against him, seeing he is the anointed of the LORD."
(1 Samuel 24:6)

As a result of Pharaoh Necho's major defeat at the battle of
Carchemish, Nebuchadnezzar grabbed much of the Egyptian
empire, including Israel, thus greatly extending his power
and influence. In the second book of the Kings, we read the
following description concerning the demise of the Egyptian
Empire:

"And the king of Egypt came not again any more out of his
land: for the king of Babylon had taken from the river of
Egypt unto the river Euphrates all that pertained to the
king of Egypt." (2 Kings 24:7)

In other words, as I will explain more fully in a moment,
all of the land from southern Egypt up to northern Syria was
annexed to the Babylonian Empire. In prophesying of Pharaoh
Necho's coming defeat, the Prophet Ezekiel also wrote the
following revealing verse:

"And I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon, and
put my sword in his hand: but I will break Pharaoh's arms,
and he shall groan before him with the groanings of a deadly
wounded man." (Ezekiel 30:24)

In comparing the above phrase 'deadly wounded man' with what
the Apostle John wrote in Revelation chapters thirteen and
seventeen, I have come to realize that John may have used
the phrase 'his deadly wound was healed' to inform us that
one of the seven heads, or ancient empires, will be
resurrected in the Endtime to become the eighth and final
ruling power in the Middle East. In fact, if we do a
straight interpretation here, it could be that the head
which has the deadly wound which is healed is a shaded
reference to the revival in the Last Days of the ancient
Egyptian Empire!

This interpretation would fit in perfectly with the
explanation I provided in part one of this series regarding
the leopard's body possibly representing Greece, the bear
paws representing Medo-Persia, and the mouth of a lion
symbolizing Babylon. In this sense, all of the five empires
previous to Rome would be covered in Revelation seventeen
since Assyria was the daughter nation of Babylon, and was
eventually conquered and assimilated by her parent nation.
In fact, if you read Ezekiel chapters twenty-nine through
thirty-one in their entirety, you will see that the Lord is
using Assyria in the thirty-first chapter as an example to
show Egypt how she will be destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, just
as the Babylonian king also conquered Assyria with the
sword.

This idea of the revival of an ancient Middle Eastern empire
is exactly what I proposed in part three of this series. If
we put the descriptive verses from Revelation chapters
thirteen and seventeen side by side, this possibility
becomes even more obvious:

"And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and
his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered
after the beast...And he exerciseth all the power of the
first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which
dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound
was healed...And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by
the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the
sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth,
that they should make an image to the beast, which had the
wound by a sword, and did live." (Revelation 13:3, 12, 14)

"The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall
ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into
perdition...And the beast that was, and is not, even he is
the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition."
(Revelation 17:8a, 11)

I think it is very significant that John mentions the
'deadly wound' three times in chapter thirteen. It seems
that he might be emphasizing the point to make sure that we
take note of it. It might even be that he was personally
awed by the fact that this former empire would once again
rise to power in the Last Days. We tend to do the same thing
when we are excited or amazed by something. We keep
repeating ourselves. The primary difference between these
two descriptions is that in chapter seventeen, the angel,
via John, specifically tells us that the eighth and final
empire will be one of the first five; therefore, the one
with the deadly wound must also be one of those first five
empires.

Notice that the angel tells John it 'was, and is not, and
shall ascend out of the bottomless pit'. In other words, at
the time John received his revelation, this beast, or
empire, had already passed away; therefore at John's time it
'was, and is not'; but then he goes on to say it 'SHALL
ascend out of the bottomless pit' in order to fulfill the
final phrase 'even he is the eighth, and is of the seven'.

As I began to study this issue more closely by comparing
Scripture with Scripture, instead of relying upon what I had
heard, read or learned from others, it became clear to me
that the phrase 'wound by a sword' is symbolic of military
defeat. In the previous verse I shared from the prophecies
of Ezekiel, we are clearly told that the Lord Himself is
placing His Sword in the hand of the king of Babylon in
order to defeat Egypt and her allies which support her.
Consider these additional verses from that same prophecy:

"Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will bring a
sword upon thee, and cut off man and beast out of thee."
(Ezekiel 29:8)

"And the sword shall come upon Egypt, and great pain shall
be in Ethiopia, when the slain shall fall in Egypt, and they
shall take away her multitude, and her foundations shall be
broken down. Ethiopia, and Libya, and Lydia, and all the
mingled people, and Chub, and the men of the land that is in
league, shall fall with them by the sword. Thus saith the
LORD; They also that uphold Egypt shall fall; and the pride
of her power shall come down: from the tower of Syene shall
they fall in it by the sword, saith the Lord GOD."
(Ezekiel 30:4-6)

Notice how specific the Lord is in this prophecy. The tower
of Syene was located on the east bank of the Nile River on
what was then the Egyptian-Ethiopian border. In other words,
Syene, today called Assouan or Aswan, was Egypt's southern
gateway, just as Migdol was its northeastern gateway. Since
those ancient times, that land area has now been divided
into the Sudan and Ethiopia. When Nebuchadnezzar conquered
Egypt, he didn't stop with that country alone, but also
defeated all of her allies which surrounded here including
Ethiopia, Libya, Lydia, (possibly the one in Asia Minor),
and the people of Chub, an undefined people, possibly of
northern Africa. In earlier chapters when the Lord is
prophesying the destruction of Jerusalem, the same type of
sword symbolism is used to show that, while Nebuchadnezzar
will be the instrument of chastisement, it is actually the
Lord who is punishing them through the king of Babylon:

"And say to the land of Israel, Thus saith the LORD; Behold,
I am against thee, and will draw forth my sword out of his
sheath, and will cut off from thee the righteous and the
wicked. Seeing then that I will cut off from thee the
righteous and the wicked, therefore shall my sword go forth
out of his sheath against all flesh from the south to the
north: That all flesh may know that I the LORD have drawn
forth my sword out of his sheath: it shall not return any
more." (Ezekiel 21:3-5)

Thus, while the idea of a mortally-wounded human leader
being brought back to life is a fascinating thought, I am
becoming more convinced that the phrase 'the beast which had
the wound by a sword and did live' is really referring to
the Endtime resurrection of one of the first five empires
which suffered military defeat as a result of the Lord's
chastisement against that king and empire. While the pharaoh
of Egypt is described as being mortally wounded by King
Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, thus making Egypt a possible
candidate for the final eighth Beast, we need to remember
that Nebuchadnezzar also defeated Assyria militarily, as was
prophesied by such prophets as Isaiah, Ezekiel, Nahum and
Zephaniah in the following verses:

"Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thou hast lifted
up thyself in height, and he hath shot up his top among the
thick boughs, and his heart is lifted up in his height; I
have therefore delivered him into the hand of the mighty one
of the heathen; he shall surely deal with him: I have driven
him out for his wickedness." (Ezekiel 31:10-11)

"Wherefore it shall come to pass, that when the Lord hath
performed his whole work upon mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I
will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of
Assyria, and the glory of his high looks. For he saith, By
the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom;
for I am prudent: and I have removed the bounds of the
people, and have robbed their treasures, and I have put down
the inhabitants like a valiant man:...Behold, the Lord, the
LORD of hosts, shall lop the bough with terror: and the high
ones of stature shall be hewn down, and the haughty shall be
humbled." (Isaiah 10:12-13, 33)

"Behold, I am against thee, saith the LORD of hosts; and I
will discover thy skirts upon thy face, and I will shew the
nations thy nakedness, and the kingdoms thy shame. And I
will cast abominable filth upon thee, and make thee vile,
and will set thee as a gazingstock. And it shall come to
pass, that all they that look upon thee shall flee from
thee, and say, Nineveh is laid waste: who will bemoan her?
whence shall I seek comforters for thee?...Thy shepherds
slumber, O king of Assyria: thy nobles shall dwell in the
dust: thy people is scattered upon the mountains, and no man
gathereth them. There is no healing of thy bruise; thy wound
is grievous: all that hear the bruit of thee shall clap the
hands over thee: for upon whom hath not thy wickedness
passed continually?" (Nahum 3:5-7, 18-19)

"And he will stretch out his hand against the north, and
destroy Assyria; and will make Nineveh a desolation, and dry
like a wilderness." (Zephaniah 2:13)

According to one historical source, the turning point in
Assyrian dominance occurred around 626 B.C. with the death
of King Assurbanipal, whom the Babylonians called Kandalanu.
This was at the beginning of the reign of Nabopolassar,
Nebuchadnezzar's father, who was a Chaldean who had risen
from the position of general in the Assyrian army to become
the first king of Babylon. According to this source,
Nabopolassar invaded and annexed the Mesopotamian provinces
of Assyria, and when Sinsharishkun, the last King of
Assyria, tried to cut off his return and threatened Babylon,
Nabopolassar received help from the Manda, the nomadic
tribes of Kurdistan. Another source states that these Manda
were actually the Medes who, after breaking away from their
Assyrian oppressors, united under Cyaxares, (their one and
only king while Media remained a solitary empire), and
formed an alliance with Babylon. The exact date of Nineveh's
destruction is a small source of debate. Some place it at
the beginning of Nabopolassar's reign in 625 B.C., while
others place it towards the very end of his reign in 606
B.C. The year 612 B.C. seems to be a commonly agreed upon
date. What is certain, is that by the time Nebuchadnezzar
ascended to the throne of his father, Assyria had fallen.

One interesting side note is that within archeological
circles, the ruins of Nineveh are believed to have been
found in northern Iraq near the bank of the Tigris River,
opposite the modern-day city of Mosul.

As I explained previously, once Assyria had fallen, King
Nebuchadnezzar then turned his attention to Egypt which had
already established its beachhead in Carchemish, Syria. When
Pharaoh Necho attempted to cross the Euphrates River to try
to grab more of the former Assyrian Empire, he met with
stiff resistance from Nebuchadnezzar who chased him all the
way back to the borders of Egypt. This was around the year
604 B.C. Upon hearing of his father's death, Nebuchadnezzar
stopped his Egyptian campaign and returned to Babylon to
begin his forty-three year reign. However, it wasn't long
before he was forced to return to Judah to put down the
rebellion begun by King Jehoiakim who refused to pay
Babylonian tribute. When King Hophra, (who had succeeded
Pharaoh Necho II to the Egyptian throne in about the year
589 B.C.), secretly tried to unite all of the Syrian States
in a conspiracy against Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar once again
found the need to go to Judah. Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and
Sidon had already entered into the confederacy; and going
against Jeremiah's warnings, King Zedekiah broke his oath of
allegiance to Babylon and joined the league as well. This
eventually resulted in the fall of Jerusalem in about 587
B.C. after several years of siege.

Having defeated and destroyed Jerusalem and carried the Jews
captive to Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar next waged war against
Tyre, the Phoenician island nation. As stated in the article
'Satan: King Of Tyrus, King Of Empires, Part One', this was
also a judgment from the Lord because Tyre had ridiculed
Jerusalem when it fell to the Babylonian king:

"Son of man, because that Tyrus hath said against Jerusalem,
Aha, she is broken that was the gates of the people: she is
turned unto me: I shall be replenished, now she is laid
waste: Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am
against thee, O Tyrus, and will cause many nations to come
up against thee, as the sea causeth his waves to come up.
And they shall destroy the walls of Tyrus, and break down
her towers: I will also scrape her dust from her, and make
her like the top of a rock...For thus saith the Lord GOD;
Behold, I will bring upon Tyrus Nebuchadrezzar king of
Babylon, a king of kings, from the north, with horses, and
with chariots, and with horsemen, and companies, and much
people." (Ezekiel 26:2-4, 7)

Being as Nebuchadnezzar could not reach the island nation
due to his lack of a marine fleet, his thirteen year
campaign ended in about 572 B.C. with only a partial
victory. Therefore, a few years later, in approximately 567
B.C., he invaded Egypt and let his wrath be felt there as he
plundered her of her riches in fulfillment of the words of
the Prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel:

"The daughter of Egypt shall be confounded; she shall be
delivered into the hand of the people of the north. The LORD
of hosts, the God of Israel, saith; Behold, I will punish
the multitude of No, and Pharaoh, and Egypt, with their
gods, and their kings; even Pharaoh, and all them that trust
in him: And I will deliver them into the hand of those that
seek their lives, and into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king
of Babylon, and into the hand of his servants: and afterward
it shall be inhabited, as in the days of old, saith the
LORD." (Jeremiah 46:24-26)

"Son of man, Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon caused his army
to serve a great service against Tyrus: every head was made
bald, and every shoulder was peeled: yet had he no wages,
nor his army, for Tyrus, for the service that he had served
against it: Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I
will give the land of Egypt unto Nebuchadrezzar king of
Babylon; and he shall take her multitude, and take her
spoil, and take her prey; and it shall be the wages for his
army." (Ezekiel 29:18-19)

Just as the Lord had used Nebuchadnezzar, 'the mighty one of
the heathen' as the Prophet Ezekiel referred to him, as His
Sword to punish Israel and other nations, He then used the
Medes and the Persians to likewise punish Babylon for her
many sins. Again the Prophets spoke very clearly regarding
this as in the following example Scriptures:

"Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall
not regard silver; and as for gold, they shall not delight
in it. Their bows also shall dash the young men to pieces;
and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their
eye shall not spare children. And Babylon, the glory of
kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency, shall be
as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah."
(Isaiah 13:17-19)

"A grievous vision is declared unto me; the treacherous
dealer dealeth treacherously, and the spoiler spoileth. Go
up, O Elam: besiege, O Media; all the sighing thereof have I
made to cease...And, behold, here cometh a chariot of men,
with a couple of horsemen. And he answered and said, Babylon
is fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods
he hath broken unto the ground." (Isaiah 21:2, 9)

Notice Isaiah's use of the phrase '...Babylon is fallen, is
fallen...', the very same words we find being uttered by the
great angel in the Book of Revelation:

"And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon
the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation
of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of
every unclean and hateful bird." (Revelation 18:2)

But this is not where the similarities end. Twenty-six
chapters later, we find the following verses from the
Prophet Isaiah which are also amazingly similar to the words
John wrote in the Book of Revelation:

"Therefore hear now this, thou that art given to pleasures,
that dwellest carelessly, that sayest in thine heart, I am,
and none else beside me; I shall not sit as a widow, neither
shall I know the loss of children: But these two things
shall come to thee in a moment in one day, the loss of
children, and widowhood: they shall come upon thee in their
perfection for the multitude of thy sorceries, and for the
great abundance of thine enchantments. For thou hast trusted
in thy wickedness: thou hast said, None seeth me. Thy wisdom
and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee; and thou hast
said in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me.
Therefore shall evil come upon thee; thou shalt not know
from whence it riseth: and mischief shall fall upon thee;
thou shalt not be able to put it off: and desolation shall
come upon thee suddenly, which thou shalt not know."
(Isaiah 47:8-11)

Notice how Babylon boasts that she does not sit as a widow,
just like the Babylon in the Book of Revelation states that
she sits a queen and shall see no sorrow. As in the above
verses, Revelation also tells us that her destruction shall
come in one day. The Prophet Jeremiah also warned of the
coming destruction of Babylon once the Lord had removed His
Sword from the hand of the Babylonian king, and placed it in
the hands of the Medes and the Persians:

"And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are
accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and
that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the
land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual
desolations." (Jeremiah 25:12)

"The word that the LORD spake against Babylon and against
the land of the Chaldeans by Jeremiah the prophet. Declare
ye among the nations, and publish, and set up a standard;
publish, and conceal not: say, Babylon is taken, Bel is
confounded, Merodach is broken in pieces; her idols are
confounded, her images are broken in pieces. For out of the
north there cometh up a nation against her, which shall make
her land desolate, and none shall dwell therein: they shall
remove, they shall depart, both man and beast."
(Jeremiah 50:1-3)

"Remove out of the midst of Babylon, and go forth out of the
land of the Chaldeans, and be as the he goats before the
flocks. For, lo, I will raise and cause to come up against
Babylon an assembly of great nations from the north country:
and they shall set themselves in array against her; from
thence she shall be taken: their arrows shall be as of a
mighty expert man; none shall return in vain. And Chaldea
shall be a spoil: all that spoil her shall be satisfied,
saith the LORD." (Jeremiah 50:8-10)

"Behold, a people shall come from the north, and a great
nation, and many kings shall be raised up from the coasts of
the earth. They shall hold the bow and the lance: they are
cruel, and will not shew mercy: their voice shall roar like
the sea, and they shall ride upon horses, every one put in
array, like a man to the battle, against thee, O daughter of
Babylon." (Jeremiah 50:41-42)

"Make bright the arrows; gather the shields: the LORD hath
raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes: for his
device is against Babylon, to destroy it; because it is the
vengeance of the LORD, the vengeance of his temple...Set ye
up a standard in the land, blow the trumpet among the
nations, prepare the nations against her, call together
against her the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni, and Ashchenaz;
appoint a captain against her; cause the horses to come up
as the rough caterpillers. Prepare against her the nations
with the kings of the Medes, the captains thereof, and all
the rulers thereof, and all the land of his dominion. And
the land shall tremble and sorrow: for every purpose of the
LORD shall be performed against Babylon, to make the land of
Babylon a desolation without an inhabitant."
(Jeremiah 51:11, 27-29)

Finally, the Prophet Daniel also specifically prophesied of
the great expansion of the Medo-Persian Empire in the eighth
chapter of his book:

"Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, there
stood before the river a ram which had two horns: and the
two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and
the higher came up last. I saw the ram pushing westward, and
northward, and southward; so that no beasts might stand
before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of
his hand; but he did according to his will, and became
great....The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the
kings of Media and Persia." (Daniel 8:3-4, 20)

Thus from these verses, and from many more which I haven't
even listed here, we see that the Medes and the Persians
indeed served as the Sword of the Lord in the destruction of
the once mighty Babylonian Empire.

Following Nebuchadnezzar's reign, the Babylonian Empire had
four more kings before being taken over by the Medes and the
Persians. The first was Evil-Merodach who became king in
approximately 561 B.C. He was responsible for releasing
Jewish King Jehoiachin from prison after thirty-seven years
of captivity. Even though Zedekiah, (the final rebellious
king of Israel before the Babylonian invasion), and his
royal family were destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar, in His
foresight, the Lord saved the royal blood of the tribe of
Judah through the captivity of Jehoiachin and his family in
Babylon, as I point out in other articles as well:

"And it came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year of the
captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month,
on the seven and twentieth day of the month, that
Evilmerodach king of Babylon in the year that he began to
reign did lift up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah out
of prison; And he spake kindly to him, and set his throne
above the throne of the kings that were with him in Babylon;
And changed his prison garments: and he did eat bread
continually before him all the days of his life. And his
allowance was a continual allowance given him of the king, a
daily rate for every day, all the days of his life."
(2 Kings 25:27-30)

After less than three years, Evil-Merodach was assassinated
by Neriglissar, or Nergal-sar-usur, his brother-in-law, in
about the year 558 B.C. Neriglissar was succeeded four years
later in about 554 B.C. by his young son, Labasi-Marduk, who
reigned nine months before being assassinated. Those
involved in the conspiracy then elected Nabonidus, or
Nabu-na'id, to the throne. One source states that he was
the last king of Babylon and ruled from about 555 B.C. to
539 B.C. However, another source states that Belshazzar
succeeded Nabonidus to the throne around 537 B.C. making him
the final king. While other historical sources say that he
was the son of Nabonidus, the Bible states that Belshazzar
was the son of Nebuchadnezzar. However, it should be noted
that the Hebrew word 'ab' doesn't always mean one's physical
father, but is also applied to one's forefathers or
predecessors; so the interpretation of the follow verse is
open to discussion:

"There is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the
holy gods; and in the days of thy father light and
understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was
found in him; whom the king Nebuchadnezzar thy father, the
king, I say, thy father, made master of the magicians,
astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers;" (Daniel 5:11)

Regardless of whose son he was, the Bible clearly states
that Belshazzar was indeed in power when Darius the Mede
took over the kingdom following the famous 'Mene Mene Tekel
Upharsin' writing on the wall. In fact, Belshazzar told
Daniel that if he could interpret the strange writing, he
would make him the third most powerful ruler in all of the
Babylonian empire:

"And I have heard of thee, that thou canst make
interpretations, and dissolve doubts: now if thou canst read
the writing, and make known to me the interpretation
thereof, thou shalt be clothed with scarlet, and have a
chain of gold about thy neck, and shalt be the third ruler
in the kingdom." (Daniel 5:16)

Considering that Daniel was a young boy when he was taken to
Babylon, and some sixty-six years had passed since that
time, he must have been at least in his seventies by the
time Babylon fell to the Medes. The fact that Belshazzar was
king and offered to make Daniel third in his kingdom, and
not second, may add veracity to some information I came
across. This source states that at the time Belshazzar made
this promise to Daniel, now known as Belteshazzar, his
father (?) Nabonidus was still king of Babylon, and he,
Belshazzar, was actually the Crown Prince who handled most
governmental affairs while his father was away. At the time,
Nabonidus had gone to a place called Opis to fight against
Cyrus the Persian who had already subdued the Medes, and
who had now begun to stir up trouble against Babylon. Upon
losing the battle, it is said that Nabonidus fled back to
Babylon where he was captured a short time later by the
Persians. It is at this time that the Bible states that
Belshazzar was slain by Darius the Mede, and not by the
Persians as per the historical record:

"In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans
slain. And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about
threescore and two years old." (Daniel 5:30-31)

While this may at first appear to be a contradiction between
the Scriptures and secular history, as the following
information will show, this is not necessarily the case.
This confusion regarding the fall of Babylon and the various
kings of the Medes and Persians seems to be due in part to
that fact that some of these kings had the same family
names. The following information from an unpublished work
called 'Compendium of World History' by Dr. Herman Hoeh may
help to clarify this issue:

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

"Here are the Median kings according to Ctesias' record from
the Persian archives.

"House of Arbaces, Median Kings After Overthrow of Assyrians at Rehoboth.
Arbaces                         816-788 B.C.
His son Mandauces               788-768
Sosarmus                        768-738
Artycas                         738-708
Arbianes                        708-686
Artaeus                         686-646
Artynes                         646-624
Astibaras                       624-584
Aspades (called Astyigas        584-549
         or Astyages)          (584-546)
"The successor of Aspadas was Darius the Mede, mentioned in
Dan. 5:31 and 9:1. The Hebrews called Aspadas 'Ahasuerus'.
The Greeks called Darius the Mede Cyaxeres II.

"Historians have completely misunderstood the events
surrounding the end of Median independence. The reason is
this. There were two Median kings reigning at the same time
with the same name --- Astyages, or similar spelling. One
was the grandfather of Cyrus the Persian; the other, Aspadas
called Astyigas, was father of Darius the Mede. Before
explaining any more details, it is necessary to introduce
the second Median royal house and the second Astyages.

"In the year 700-699, following the death of Shalmaneser
III, the Medes successfully completed a second revolt
against the Assyrians. Not until this year were all the
Medes completely free from Assyrian dominion. Herodotus
preserves the names of these Median kings who ascended the
throne in 699.

"House of Deioces: Median Kings Following Revolt in 700-699.
Deioces                         699-646
Phraortes                       646-624
Cyaxeres I                      624-584
Astyages, Grandfather of Cyrus  584-549
"Certain late Greek and Roman writers used figures other
than those given by Herodotus and Ctesias. The preceding are
the original and true figures. The variants may have risen
from otherwise unknown events occurring in the Median realm,
or from joint reigns.

"In 549 Astyages was overthrown by his grandson, Cyrus the
Persian. Cyrus had come to the Persian throne, which he
shared with his father in the year 558. He reigned
altogether 29 years (558-529).

"The chronological evidence from Ctesias and Herodotus
indicates the last three kings of each Median line shared
the throne jointly. Each was succeeded by a son in 646, 624
and 584. An exception occurred in the case of Astyages, son
of Cyaxeres I. This man, declared Herodotus, had no son,
only a daughter. He ruled with a harsh hand. His daughter he
gave in marriage to the king of Persia, Cambyses, who became
the father of Cyrus. By contrast, Josephus stated that
Astyages had a son -- Darius the Mede. Historians have --
for no justifiable reason -- assumed the testimony of
Josephus and Herodotus were irreconcilable. A little thought
would have made it plain that each writer was discussing a
different Astyages. Josephus, and Daniel too, wrote of the
Astyages or Aspadas who was of the house of Arbaces.
Herodotus' account was of Astyages of the house of Deioces.

"The confederation of Persians and Medes, often stressed in
the Bible, resulted from a political union of the house of
Arbaces, which began in 816, with the young Persian monarch
Cyrus. Cyrus could never have come to power had there not
been strife betweed the two Median royal families."

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

Here is some additional information regarding Cyrus from
Easton's Bible Dictionary which will help to further explain
some of the confusion which has existed concerning the names
and dates for these various kings:

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

"Cyrus, (Heb. Ko'resh), ...was the son of Cambyses, the
prince of Persia, and was born about B.C. 599 In the year
B.C. 559 he became king of Persia, the kingdom of Media
being added to it partly by conquest. Cyrus was a great
military leader, bent on universal conquest. Babylon fell
before his army, (B.C. 538), on the night of Belshazzar's
feast, and then the ancient dominion of Assyria was also
added to his empire. Hitherto the great kings of the earth
had only oppressed the Jews. Cyrus was to them as a
"shepherd". God employed him in doing service to his ancient
people. He may possibly have gained, through contact with
the Jews, some knowledge of their religion. The 'first year
of Cyrus' is not the year of his elevation to power over the
Medes, nor over the Persians, nor the year of the fall of
Babylon, but the year succeeding the two years during which
'Darius the Mede' was viceroy in Babylon after its fall. At
this time only, (B.C. 536), Cyrus became actual king over
Palestine, which became a part of his Babylonian empire."

"The edict of Cyrus for the rebuilding of Jerusalem marked a
great epoch in the history of the Jewish people. This decree
was discovered "at Achmetha, ("Ecbatana"), in the palace
that is in the province of the Medes". A chronicle drawn up
just after the conquest of Babylonia by Cyrus, gives the
history of the reign of Nabonidus (Nabunahid), the last king
of Babylon, and of the fall of the Babylonian empire. In
B.C. 538 there was a revolt in Southern Babylonia, while the
army of Cyrus entered the country from the north. In June
the Babylonian army was completely defeated at Opis, and
immediately afterwards Sippara opened its gates to the
conqueror. Gobryas (Ugbaru), the governor of Kurdistan, was
then sent to Babylon, which surrendered "without fighting,"
and the daily services in the temples continued without a
break."

"In October, Cyrus himself arrived, and proclaimed a general
amnesty, which was communicated by Gobryas to "all the
province of Babylon," of which he had been made governor.
Meanwhile, Nabonidus, who had concealed himself, was
captured, but treated honourably; and when his wife died,
Cambyses, the son of Cyrus, conducted the funeral. Cyrus now
assumed the title of 'king of Babylon,' claimed to be the
descendant of the ancient kings, and made rich offerings to
the temples. At the same time he allowed the foreign
populations who had been deported to Babylonia to return to
their old homes, carrying with them the images of their
gods. Among these populations were the Jews, who, as they
had no images, took with them the sacred vessels of the
temple."

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

Putting all of this information together then, what we see
is that, while it was indeed Darius who 'took the kingdom'
from Belshazzar, this does not mean that he was the overall
king of the Medo-Persian empire at the time. The above
information suggests that Cyrus and Darius ruled their
separate kingdoms for a while; but ultimately, it was Cyrus
who gained the upper hand. At the time Darius took Babylon,
he was already serving under Cyrus the Persian of the
now-united Medo-Persian Empire, as viceroy of Babylon, and
NOT as king. As I pointed out in part one of this series,
there were actually three or four rulers by the name of
Darius. The Darius who came to power in 521 B.C., about
eight years after the end of the reign of Cyrus the Great,
was probably Darius the Great.

Another important point worth mentioning is that while Cyrus
was of Persian descent, in the Bible he is referred to once
as the king of Babylon. Artaxerxes is also referred to as
the king of Babylon. This may simply be due to the fact
that, because of its grandeur, and possibly because of other
geographical and political considerations, some of the
Medo-Persian kings chose to rule the empire from captured
Babylon, while others chose to rule it from Achmetha. In
like manner, while Darius the Mede took over Babylon in the
Book of Daniel, in the Book of Ezra we have a ruler referred
to as Darius king of Persia. This may be simply because he
ruled over the Medo-Persian Empire, or because of the mixed
marriages between the families of Cyrus and Darius. However,
the most plausible explanation is that they are referring to
two different kings of the same name as I mentioned
previously. Thus, we find what appear at first to be
conflicting verses like the following:

"Then ceased the work of the house of God which is at
Jerusalem. So it ceased unto the second year of the reign of
Darius king of Persia." (Ezra 4:24)

"But in the first year of Cyrus the king of Babylon the same
king Cyrus made a decree to build this house of God."
(Ezra 5:13)

"But in all this time was not I at Jerusalem: for in the two
and thirtieth year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon came I unto
the king, and after certain days obtained I leave of the
king:" (Nehemiah 13:6)

"So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the
reign of Cyrus the Persian." (Daniel 6:28)

"The Levites in the days of Eliashib, Joiada, and Johanan,
and Jaddua, were recorded chief of the fathers: also the
priests, to the reign of Darius the Persian."
(Nehemiah 12:22)

"In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the
seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the
Chaldeans;" (Daniel 9:1)

Despite these rough and confusing spots in the historical
record, we should not lose sight of the overall picture in
Bible prophecy. From a Biblical perspective, one of the
major events which occurred during the time of the
Medo-Persian Empire, was that in accordance with the
prophecies of Jeremiah, the Jews were permitted to return to
Jerusalem after serving their 'Seventy Years of Captivity'
under the various kings of Babylon. This was so that they
could rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, as well as the
destroyed Temple of Solomon. This edict was first put forth
by Cyrus, king of Persia, in the first year of his reign as
king over Babylon:

"Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the
word of the LORD spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah might be
accomplished, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king
of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his
kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith
Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the
LORD God of heaven given me; and he hath charged me to build
him an house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there
among you of all his people? The LORD his God be with him,
and let him go up." (2 Chronicles 36:22-23)

These same verses are repeated in the opening of the Book of
the Ezra, which, along with the Book of Nehemiah, go into
the details of the return to Jerusalem, the reparation of
the walls around the city, and the construction of the
Second Temple. At the time Ezra returned to Jerusalem, over
forty-two thousand Jews took part in this massive exodus
from Babylon:

"Now these are the children of the province that went up out
of the captivity, of those which had been carried away, whom
Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away unto
Babylon, and came again unto Jerusalem and Judah, every one
unto his city;...The whole congregation together was forty
and two thousand three hundred and threescore,"
(Ezra 2:1, 64)

It was in the second year after returning to Jerusalem that
the Temple foundation was laid, which caused great rejoicing
amongst the Jews:

"Now in the second year of their coming unto the house of
God at Jerusalem, in the second month, began Zerubbabel the
son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and the
remnant of their brethren the priests and the Levites, and
all they that were come out of the captivity unto Jerusalem;
and appointed the Levites, from twenty years old and upward,
to set forward the work of the house of the LORD. Then stood
Jeshua with his sons and his brethren, Kadmiel and his sons,
the sons of Judah, together, to set forward the workmen in
the house of God: the sons of Henadad, with their sons and
their brethren the Levites. And when the builders laid the
foundation of the temple of the LORD, they set the priests
in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites the sons of
Asaph with cymbals, to praise the LORD, after the ordinance
of David king of Israel." (Ezra 3:8-10)

After this, the enemies of the Jews stirred up trouble so
that the work was halted for the remainder of the reign of
Cyrus the Persian until the reign of Darius the Great:

"Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the
people of Judah, and troubled them in building, And hired
counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all
the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of
Darius king of Persia. And in the reign of Ahasuerus, in the
beginning of his reign, wrote they unto him an accusation
against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem. 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 4:4-7)

After doing a search of the records, Artaxerxes sent a
return letter to the enemies of the Jews commanding that the
building of the Temple at Jerusalem should be stopped:

"Give ye now commandment to cause these men to cease, and
that this city be not builded, until another commandment
shall be given from me. Take heed now that ye fail not to do
this: why should damage grow to the hurt of the kings? Now
when the copy of king Artaxerxes' letter was read before
Rehum, and Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they
went up in haste to Jerusalem unto the Jews, and made them
to cease by force and power. Then ceased the work of the
house of God which is at Jerusalem. So it ceased unto the
second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia."
(Ezra 4:21-24)

For the sake of clarification, the name 'Artaxerxes' was
actually applied to several Persian kings. It is a Greek
transliteration of the Hebrew 'Artachshashta', pronounced
'ar-takh-shash-taw', and means 'I will make the spoiled to
boil: I will stir myself (in) winter'. It is believed that
this particular Artaxerxes who frustrated the plans of the
Jews may have been Artaxerxes Smerdis. Eventually the Jews
again began to rebuild the Temple led by the inspiration of
Haggai and Zechariah the Prophets. Again the enemies of the
Jews tried to deter the work by sending a letter to Darius
who had now ascended to the throne of Babylon. Darius made a
search for the decree first issued by Cyrus:

"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: In the first year of Cyrus the king the
same Cyrus the king made a decree concerning the house of
God at Jerusalem, Let the house be builded, the place where
they offered sacrifices, and let the foundations thereof be
strongly laid; the height thereof threescore cubits, and the
breadth thereof threescore cubits;" (Ezra 6:1-3)

Having found the original record, Darius then ordered the
troublemakers to desist in their persecution, and to let the
Jews continue rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem:

"Now therefore, Tatnai, governor beyond the river,
Shetharboznai, and your companions the Apharsachites, which
are beyond the river, be ye far from thence: Let the work of
this house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and
the elders of the Jews build this house of God in his
place." (Ezra 6:6-7)

"And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered
through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah
the son of Iddo. And they builded, and finished it,
according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and
according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and
Artaxerxes king of Persia. And this house was finished on
the third day of the month Adar, which was in the sixth year
of the reign of Darius the king." (Ezra 6:14-15)

At this point we see that we now have a definite starting
date, and a definite finishing date for the Second Temple.
If Temple construction began in the second year after the
Jews returned from Babylon, which coincides with the second
year of the reign of Cyrus, that would have been in the
approximate year of 558/557 B.C. depending on which
historical records you choose to believe. At the same time,
if this is referring to Darius I, then the sixth year of his
reign would have been about the year 515/514 B.C. This gives
us a total of 43/44 years for the contruction time of the
Temple. Comparing these historical dates with the actual
Scriptures, I discovered that these dates are very close to
being accurate, but not quite. I base this on the following
verse from the Gospel of John:

"Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in
building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?"
(John 2:20)

In thinking about this discrepancy, it seems to me that we
should give the Scriptures pre-eminence over accepted
historical records. Considering how important the Temple was
to the Jews, and how well they kept records, I am sure they
knew exactly how long it had taken for the Temple to be
completed. While this is a small matter, I think it serves
as a reminder to us that we should always accept ancient
historical dates with a grain of salt realizing that they
may be off by a few years. If the Scriptures and history
cannot be reconciled, then as Christians, it is safer for us
to accept the Inspired Word of God as our standard of
measurement.

It was some time after this first return to Jerusalem that
Ezra, scribe and priest, led a second group of Jews out of
Babylon and back to the Holy City, all with the blessing and
encouragement of King Artaxerxes. Under the leadership of
Nehemiah, Ezra was very instrumental in inspiring the Jews
to repent of their idolatry and inter-racial marriages, and
to return to the Lord their God:

"Now after these things, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of
Persia, Ezra the son of Seraiah, the son of Azariah, the son
of Hilkiah,...This Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a
ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the LORD God of
Israel had given: and the king granted him all his request,
according to the hand of the LORD his God upon him. And
there went up some of the children of Israel, and of the
priests, and the Levites, and the singers, and the porters,
and the Nethinims, unto Jerusalem, in the seventh year of
Artaxerxes the king." (Ezra 7:1, 6-7)

According to historical records, this particular Artaxerxes
was probably Artaxerxes Longimanus, the son and successor of
Xerxes I. This would make him the grandson of Darius. He
ruled over the Medo-Persian Empire from about 465 B.C. to
424 B.C. What is also very important about Longimanus is
that it is believed that it was during his reign that the
'Seventy Weeks' prophecy of Daniel began to be fulfilled;
for it was during his reign that Longimanus gave Nehemiah
the commandment to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall:

"Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy
holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end
of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to
bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the
vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know
therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the
commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the
Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and
two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall,
even in troublous times. 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, and unto the end of the war desolations are
determined." (Daniel 9:24-26)

It was precisely in the twentieth year of his reign that
Artaxerses Longimanus issued the above commandment to
Nehemiah to return to Jerusalem as Governor of Judah to
rebuild the street and the retaining wall:

"The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. And it came to
pass in the month Chisleu, in the twentieth year, as I was
in Shushan the palace, That Hanani, one of my brethren,
came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them
concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the
captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said unto me,
The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the
province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of
Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are
burned with fire. And it came to pass, when I heard these
words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days,
and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,"
(Nehemiah 1:1-4)

"And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth
year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him: and I
took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. Now I had not
been beforetime sad in his presence. Wherefore the king said
unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not
sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was
very sore afraid, And said unto the king, Let the king live
for ever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the
city, the place of my fathers' sepulchres, lieth waste, and
the gates thereof are consumed with fire? Then the king said
unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the
God of heaven. And I said unto the king, If it please the
king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight,
that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my
fathers' sepulchres, that I may build it. And the king said
unto me, (the queen also sitting by him,) For how long shall
thy journey be? and when wilt thou return? So it pleased the
king to send me; and I set him a time." (Nehemiah 2:1-6)

Not only did the king comply with Nehemiah's wishes, but he
also granted him all of the materials he would need in order
to complete the job:

"Moreover I said unto the king, If it please the king, let
letters be given me to the governors beyond the river, that
they may convey me over till I come into Judah; And a letter
unto Asaph the keeper of the king's forest, that he may give
me timber to make beams for the gates of the palace which
appertained to the house, and for the wall of the city, and
for the house that I shall enter into. And the king granted
me, according to the good hand of my God upon me."
(Nehemiah 2:7-8)

After secretly surveying the walls of Jerusalem by night,
Nehemiah finally made his plans known to the elders of
Jerusalem:

"Then said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we are in,
how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned
with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem,
that we be no more a reproach. Then I told them of the hand
of my God which was good upon me; as also the king's words
that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up
and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good
work." (Nehemiah 2:17-18)

As had occurred years before, the enemies of the Jews became
privy to their plans and immediately began to mock them, and
to oppose them, and to stir up trouble:

"But it came to pass, that when Sanballat heard that we
builded the wall, he was wroth, and took great indignation,
and mocked the Jews. And he spake before his brethren and
the army of Samaria, and said, What do these feeble Jews?
will they fortify themselves? will they sacrifice? will they
make an end in a day? will they revive the stones out of the
heaps of the rubbish which are burned? Now Tobiah the
Ammonite was by him, and he said, Even that which they
build, if a fox go up, he shall even break down their stone
wall." (Nehemiah 4:1-3)

"But it came to pass, that when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and
the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites, heard
that the walls of Jerusalem were made up, and that the
breaches began to be stopped, then they were very wroth, And
conspired all of them together to come and to fight against
Jerusalem, and to hinder it." (Nehemiah 4:7-8)

After that, everyone began working in shifts with their
weapons next to them; and they didn't even take off their
clothes except for washing them:

"They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens,
with those that laded, every one with one of his hands
wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon.
For the builders, every one had his sword girded by his
side, and so builded. And he that sounded the trumpet was by
me. And I said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to
the rest of the people, The work is great and large, and we
are separated upon the wall, one far from another. In what
place therefore ye hear the sound of the trumpet, resort ye
thither unto us: our God shall fight for us. So we laboured
in the work: and half of them held the spears from the
rising of the morning till the stars appeared. Likewise at
the same time said I unto the people, Let every one with his
servant lodge within Jerusalem, that in the night they may
be a guard to us, and labour on the day. So neither I, nor
my brethren, nor my servants, nor the men of the guard which
followed me, none of us put off our clothes, saving that
every one put them off for washing." (Nehemiah 4:17-23)

From his own record, we known that Nehemiah served as
governor of Judah for at least twelve years. Considering
that Artaxeres reigned for some forty years in Babylon, it
is possible that Nehemiah remained governor for at least
another eight years above what is recorded here:

"Moreover from the time that I was appointed to be their
governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year even
unto the two and thirtieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that
is, twelve years, I and my brethren have not eaten the bread
of the governor. But the former governors that had been
before me were chargeable unto the people, and had taken of
them bread and wine, beside forty shekels of silver; yea,
even their servants bare rule over the people: but so did
not I, because of the fear of God." (Nehemiah 5:14-15)

One favorite verse which has been used by many Christians
who have heard the Lord's call, and who won't allow themselves
to be dissuaded by the lies or tricks of the enemies of the
Gospel, is the following spoken by Nehemiah when Sanballat,
Geshem and others tried to slow them down:

"And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great
work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease,
whilst I leave it, and come down to you? Yet they sent unto
me four times after this sort; and I answered them after the
same manner." (Nehemiah 6:3-4)

Despite the mischievous tricks and deceit practiced by their
enemies, under Nehemiah's direction, the Jews finally
finished repairing the wall after fifty-two days:

"So the wall was finished in the twenty and fifth day of the
month Elul, in fifty and two days." (Nehemiah 6:15)

After securing the genealogical records and taking a survey
of the people who now dwelt within the secured city, it fell
upon Ezra the priest to read the Laws of Moses. It was then
that they discovered that they were supposed to be observing
the Feast of Tabernacles in the seventh month; so for the
next seven days they dwelt in their booths. It was several
weeks later that they performed a public prayer of
repentance and made a renewed covenant with the Lord to keep
the Laws of Moses. The rest of the book deals primarily with
the reforms that Nehemiah made while he served as governor
of Judah under King Artaxerxes.

From the historical record, as well as from the Biblical
record, we know that the Medo-Persian Empire eventually went
the way of all of the kingdoms which had come before it.
Like them, it was also wounded by the Sword of the Lord on
the battlefields of the Middle East. This time the Sword was
in the hand of the Macedonian, Alexander the Great, exactly
as had been prophesied by Daniel. As I explained in 'The
Kings Of The North And The South' articles, in the image of
Daniel chapter two, Greece was represented by the belly and
thighs of brass:

"This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms
of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass,...And after
thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and
another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over
all the earth." (Daniel 2:32, 39)

As I discussed in part one of this series, in Daniel chapter
seven, we also find Greece represented by a strange leopard
with four heads and four wings. I explained that the four
wings, and the fact that the beast is a leopard, are
symbolic of the speed with which Alexander conquered the
Medo-Persian Empire. Finally, in the following verses from
Daniel chapter eight, we see a vivid picture of the
two-horned Medo-Persian ram pushing against the Grecian
he-goat, and then being crushed by the overpowering Grecian
king:

"And as I was considering, behold, an he goat came from the
west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the
ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes.
And he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen
standing before the river, and ran unto him in the fury of
his power. And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was
moved with choler against him, and smote the ram, and brake
his two horns: and there was no power in the ram to stand
before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped
upon him: and there was none that could deliver the ram out
of his hand. Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and
when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it
came up four notable ones toward the four winds of
heaven...And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the
great horn that is between his eyes is the first king. Now
that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four
kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his
power." (Daniel 8:5-8, 21-22)

Notice that the he-goat does not touch the ground. This
again signifies the speed with which Alexander conquered the
known world of his day at the young age of about twenty.
Alexander is probably symbolized by the 'notable' or 'great
horn'. What is not very common knowledge is that Moses made
mention of the beginnings of the nation of Greece in the
tenth chapter of Genesis with the following:

"The sons of Japheth; Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and
Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras. And the sons of
Gomer; Ashkenaz, and Riphath, and Togarmah. And the sons of
Javan; Elishah, and Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim. By these
were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every
one after his tongue, after their families, in their
nations." (Genesis 10:2-5)

As can be seen from the above verses, the fourth son of
Japheth was named Javan. This is transliterated from the
Hebrew word 'yavan', pronounced 'yaw-vawn'. What may
surprise you is that in the previous verses where we see the
word 'Greece', or 'Grecia', it is this Hebrew word 'yavan'
that is used. In fact, this word 'javan' was universally
used by the nations of the East as the generic name for the
Greek race, and Alexander the Great was known as the 'King
of Javan'! Another transliteration used is 'Ionia'. Thus we
see that the Greeks, or Ionians, are actually the
descendants of Javan who settled there thousands of years
ago. Greece originally consisted of four provinces. These
were Macedonia, Epirus, Achaia, and Peleponnesus. It is
believed by some that the descendants of Javan's first son,
Elishah, populated Peleponnesus since it was known by the
name of Elis. The Prophet Ezekiel may have also made a
reference to the same in his prophecy against Tyre:

"Fine linen with broidered work from Egypt was that which
thou spreadest forth to be thy sail; blue and purple from
the isles of Elishah was that which covered thee."
(Ezekiel 27:7)

However, there is even more to it than that. This word
'yavan' is itself believed to be derived from the Hebrew
word 'yayin', pronounced 'yah-yin', which means 'wine'. How
appropriate then that a wine-loving people like the Greeks
should be descended from Javan. Tragically, there is a
negative side to this as well. While studying this topic, I
discovered that the Greeks purchased Hebrew children through
the slave market at Tyre in exchange for their fine wines,
and then sold those children to the Gentile nations to be
used as prostitutes. This is all verified in the Bible:

"And they have cast lots for my people; and have given a boy
for an harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they might
drink. Yea, and what have ye to do with me, O Tyre, and
Zidon, and all the coasts of Palestine? will ye render me a
recompence? and if ye recompense me, swiftly and speedily
will I return your recompence upon your own head; Because ye
have taken my silver and my gold, and have carried into your
temples my goodly pleasant things: The children also of
Judah and the children of Jerusalem have ye sold unto the
Grecians, that ye might remove them far from their border."
(Joel 3:3-6)

The Prophet Zechariah also spoke of the Lord's judgments
against Syria, Phoenicia and Greece. In this verse, Greece
is specifically mentioned:

"When I have bent Judah for me, filled the bow with Ephraim,
and raised up thy sons, O Zion, against thy sons, O Greece,
and made thee as the sword of a mighty man."
(Zechariah 9:13)

Javan's second son, Tarshish, receives his English name from
the Hebrew 'tarshiysh', pronounced 'tar-sheesh'. It is also
written as 'tharshish' and means 'yellow jasper'. There is a
degree of debate regarding the exact location of ancient
Tarshish. Some suggest that it was a city of the Phoenicians
in a distant part of the Mediterranean Sea to which the
Prophet Jonah was trying to flee, possibly in Cyprus or
Spain. Others suggest it was a city somewhere near and
accessible to the Red Sea to which ships constructed at
Ezion-geber on the Elanitic Gulf on the Red Sea were to
sail. Easton's Bible Dictionary seems to agree with both of
these possibilities lending more weight to a city in Spain.
It begins by suggesting that 'Tarshish' may actually be a
Sanscrit or Aryan word meaning 'the sea coast'. It then
adds:

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

"The name of a place which first comes into notice in the
days of Solomon. The question as to the locality of Tarshish
has given rise to not a little discussion. Some think there
was a Tarshish in the East, on the Indian coast, seeing that
'ships of Tarshish' sailed from Eziongeber, on the Red Sea,
(1Ki. 9:26, 22:48, 2Ch. 9:21). Some, again, argue that
Carthage was the place so named. There can be little doubt,
however, that this is the name of a Phoenician port in
Spain, between the two mouths of the Guadalquivir (the name
given to the river by the Arabs, and meaning 'the great
wady' or water-course). It was founded by a Carthaginian
colony, and was the farthest western harbour of Tyrian
sailors. It was to this port Jonah's ship was about to sail
from Joppa. It has well been styled 'the Peru of Tyrian
adventure;' it abounded in gold and silver mines. It appears
that this name also is used without reference to any
locality. 'Ships of Tarshish' is an expression sometimes
denoting simply ships intended for a long voyage, (Isa.
23:1, 14), ships of a large size (sea-going ships), whatever
might be the port to which they sailed. Solomon's ships were
so styled, (1Ki. 10:22, 22:49)."

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

Concerning Javan's third son, Kittim, also spelled Chittim,
as I pointed out in my 'The Kings Of The North And The
South' articles, it is probably a reference to the island of
Cyprus. It is transliterated from the Hebrew 'Kittiy',
pronounced 'kit-tee', and means 'bruisers'. Here is a more
amplified definition from Easton's Bible Dictionary:

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

"...the name of a branch of the descendants of Javan, the
'son' of Japheth. Balaam foretold, (Num 24:24), 'that ships
shall come from the coast of Chittim, and afflict Eber.'
Daniel prophesied, (Dan 11:30), that the ships of Chittim
would come against the king of the north. It probably
denotes Cyprus, whose ancient capital was called Kition by
the Greeks. The references elsewhere made to Chittim, (Isa
23:1, 12, Jer 2:10, Eze 27:6), are to be explained on the
ground that while the name originally designated the
Phoenicians only, it came latterly to be used of all the
islands and various settlements on the sea-coasts which they
had occupied, and then of the people who succeeded them when
the Phoenician power decayed. Hence it designates generally
the islands and coasts of the Mediterranean and the races
that inhabit them."

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

Finally, Javan's fourth son, Dodanim, may possibly be the
father of the inhabitants of the island of Rhodes, the
largest of the Dodecanese Islands in the Aegean Sea off the
southwest coast of Turkey. Rhodes was ceded by Italy to
Greece in 1947. The name 'Dodanim' is transliterated from
the Hebrew 'Dodaniym', pronounced 'do-daw-neem', which means
'leaders'. It is also translated as 'Rodanim'. Here is
additional information from Easton's Bible Dictionary:

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

"A race descended from Javan. They are known in profane
history as the Dardani, originally inhabiting Illyricum.
They were a semi-Pelasgic race, and in the ethnographical
table they are grouped with the Chittim (q.v.). In 1
Chronicles 1:7 they are called Rodanim. The LXX. and the
Samaritan Version also read Rhodii, whence some have
concluded that the Rhodians, the inhabitants of the island
of Rhodes, are meant."

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

Aside from all of this interesting history regarding Greece,
we also know, as I pointed out in 'Biblical Cafeteria Or The
Whole Course? Part One', that some of the First Century
churches established by Paul and his successors, were found
within Greece, particularly within Macedonia. For example,
these included Corinth, Thessalonica, Philippi and Berea.
Berea is particularly well spoken of in the Book of Acts:

"And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by
night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue
of the Jews. These were more noble than those in
Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all
readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily,
whether those things were so. Therefore many of them
believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of
men, not a few." (Acts 17:10-12)

As has already been seen, if there is one thing we know from
history, it is that no power lasts forever. Alexander the
Great was only in his early thirties when he died. Some say
that he died a drunk lamenting that there were no more
worlds to conquer. At the time of his death in about 323
B.C., his empire was divided up by his four main generals
who themselves are symbolized by the four heads of the
leopard described previously. This fact is again emphasized
in Daniel chapter eleven where we read:

"And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with
great dominion, and do according to his will. And when he
shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be
divided toward the four winds of heaven; and not to his
posterity, nor according to his dominion which he ruled: for
his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others beside
those." (Daniel 11:3-4)

Following Alexander's demise, the four key heirs of his
empire are believed to have been Ptolemy I of the southern
kingdom of Egypt, Seleucus of the eastern area of Babylonia,
Antigonus of the northern kingdom comprised of Syria and
Asia Minor, and finally, Antipater of the western area of
Macedonia and Greece. I discuss some of this in more detail
in the first 'Kings Of The North And The South' article.
Likeewise, I will be offering some additional surprises in
part six of this same series. While these areas survived for
some time in their divided state, Greece was eventually
conquered by the 'teeth of iron' of Rome in 146 B.C., just
as Daniel had prophesied. Philippi, the capital of
Macedonia, particularly became an important Roman colony
according to the Book of Acts. It is also confirmed by
Easton's Bible Dictionary:

"And from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of
that part of Macedonia, and a colony: and we were in that
city abiding certain days." (Acts 16:12)

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

"Formerly Crenides, "the fountain," the capital of the
province of Macedonia. It stood near the head of the Sea,
about 8 miles north-west of Kavalla. It is now a ruined
village, called Philibedjik. Philip of Macedonia fortified
the old Thracian town of Crenides, and called it after his
own name Philippi (B.C. 359) In the time of the Emperor
Augustus this city became a Roman colony, i.e., a military
settlement of Roman soldiers, there planted for the purpose
of controlling the district recently conquered. It was a
"miniature Rome," under the municipal law of Rome, and
governed by military officers, called duumviri, who were
appointed directly from Rome. Having been providentially
guided thither, here Paul and his companion Silas preached
the gospel and formed the first church in Europe."

"The city of Philippi was a Roman colony, i.e., a
military settlement of Roman soldiers and citizens, planted
there to keep in subjection a newly-conquered district. A
colony was Rome in miniature, under Roman municipal law, but
governed by military officers (praetors and lictors), not by
proconsuls. It had an independent internal government, the
jus Italicum; i.e., the privileges of Italian citizens."

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

While some of this historical data may seem a bit boring to
some of my readers, it definitely has its place in the study
of eschatology. If there is one things I have learned during
the course of my study of the Scriptures, it is that in
order to properly understand the Biblical prophecies, or at
least to be able to come close to understanding them, one
must have a working knowledge of secular history. After all,
while the Bible is an inspirational Book, it is also a
historical Book as well. In order to understand what may
happen in the future to fulfill the ancient prophecies, we
must also understand what has already happened in the past.
For me personally, to delve into these areas is truly a
fascinating adventure.

Having said that, the primary purpose of providing the bulk
of the material I have presented thus far in part four of
this series, is to show how, beginning with Egypt, each of
the first five empires, or kings, were wounded, (or defeated
in battle), by the Sword of the Lord placed in the hand of
the conquering empire. Thus, in that regard, they each are
eligible candidates for the final eighth Beast 'which had
the wound by a sword, and did live'. Based on the
descriptive verse from Ezekiel describing the king of Egypt
as a 'deadly wounded man', we could jump to conclusions and
say that Egypt will be the eighth and final Beast. However,
in my view, this would be an error in judgment. If there is
one thing I have emphasized throughout my writings, it is
that we must compare Scripture with Scripture in order to
come to the right conclusions; and even then we still might
not be right on the mark.

Following my own advice, I can easily point out why I feel
that Egypt should be dropped from the list of candidates. If
you the reader accept my view that the 'king of the north'
mentioned in the prophecies of Daniel, and the Beast
prophesied in the Book of Revelation are one and the same
person, then there is no way that Egypt can produce the
Beast, because according to my understanding of the Daniel
prophecies, the 'king of the north', (the Beast), defeats
the 'king of the south', which I have interpreted as being
Egypt. In fact, as I pointed out in my articles 'The Kings
Of The North And The South', Daniel practically tells us
that Egypt is the 'king of the south':

"He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries:
and the land of Egypt shall not escape. But he shall have
power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all
the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the
Ethiopians shall be at his steps." (Daniel 11:42-43)

There is a truly amazing secret hidden in these verses. To
date, in every commentary I have ever read regarding the
Daniel prophecies, the authors seems to agree with my view
that beginning with verse twenty-one of this chapter, the
Prophet Daniel is speaking of the ENDTIME, the rise of the
demonic Beast, and his wars against the 'king of the south'.
Consider these two verses. The first one introduces the
Beast in Daniel, and the second one tells us when these wars
will transpire:

"And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom
they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall
come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries."
(Daniel 11:21)

"And at the TIME OF THE END shall the king of the south push
at him: and the king of the north shall come against him
like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with
many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall
overflow and pass over." (Daniel 11:40)

This seems like another confirmation of what I have been
saying all along in this series, in 'The Kings Of The North
And The South', and in other of my Endtime articles; and
that is that the Beast's place of origin may be somewhere
between Syria and Iraq. If there is one thing which current
world events have confirmed, it is that Saddam Hussein is
definitely 'a vile person', just as Daniel states. Anyone
who would have his own sons-in-law and other officers
assassinated in order to remain in power is clearly
influenced by satanic forces. From what I have read, Hussein
is currently preparing his younger son Qusay to be his
successor, in case something should happen to him. Hussein's
security organization consists of a four-tier system. The
outermost level is the Republican Guard, followed by the
Special Republican Guard, then the Special Security
Organization and finally at the center is the Presidential
Security Service of which Qusay is in charge. Hussein's
eldest son Uday is believed to have been marked as his
father's successor, but much has happened in the past
several years which makes it appear highly unlikely now.

In case you still don't understand the amazing Scriptural
connection I have just made here, let me quote for you again
the verses I shared earlier in this article describing the
ancient fall of Egypt, (the 'king of the south'), by
Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, (the 'king of the
north'). I will place the Daniel verses right below them so
that you can't possibly miss the similarities:

"And the sword shall come upon Egypt, and great pain shall
be in Ethiopia, when the slain shall fall in Egypt, and they
shall take away her multitude, and her foundations shall be
broken down. Ethiopia, and Libya, and Lydia, and all the
mingled people, and Chub, and the men of the land that is in
league, shall fall with them by the sword. Thus saith the
LORD; They also that uphold Egypt shall fall; and the pride
of her power shall come down: from the tower of Syene shall
they fall in it by the sword, saith the Lord GOD."
(Ezekiel 30:4-6)

"He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries:
and the land of Egypt shall not escape. But he shall have
power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all
the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the
Ethiopians shall be at his steps." (Daniel 11:42-43)

The first set of verses is clearly describing the ancient
fall of Egypt by King Nebuchadnezzar, who many times in the
Scriptures is said to be a great power coming from the
north. The second set of verses is also describing the fall
of Egypt. However, if you accept what I and others have said
regarding these verses, they are prophesying the fall of
Egypt IN THE ENDTIME by an ENDTIME 'king of the north'! Both
sets of verses are describing two different falls of Egypt
separated by thousands of years of history! Not only that,
but both sets of verses describe the fall of the Egyptians,
the Libyans, and the Ethiopians! Is this a mere coincidence,
or are we indeed going to soon witness a prophetic
repetition of history? As I pointed out in part three of
this series, Saddam Hussein views himself as a modern-day
Nebuchadnezzar who will unite the Arab world against Israel
and the powers of the West. Following is another interesting
quote taken from a 1996 edition of the Wall Street Journal:

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

"At the height of his recent military confrontation with the
U.S. over the Iraqi army's push into the northern Kurdish
enclave, Saddam Hussein made sure his top brass showed up at
this month's Babylon Festival. The annual celebration is
part of the Iraqi leader's effort to portray himself as the
modern-day successor of King Nebuchadnezzar, whose biblical
empire stretched from Kuwait to Israel. Saddam Hussein has
used bricks stamped with his name and the seal of Iraq in
the restoration of Nebuchadnezzar's ancient palace in
Babylon, 60 miles south of Baghdad. He cited the claim that
Nebuchadnezzar's father was an ancient tribal leader in what
is now Kuwait as further justification for Iraq's 1991
invasion of that country."

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

According to the information I have researched, there may
indeed be an element of truth in Hussein's claim. As I
stated earlier in this article, Nebuchadnezzar's father,
Nabopolassar, is believed to have been a Chaldean who rose
through the ranks of the Assyrian army to become a general,
and ultimately the first king of Babylon. Ur of the Chaldees
was indeed located in what is now known as Kuwait. Whether
or not this is justification for Saddam's military maneuvers
is a matter of politics and personal opinion. To further
convince you the reader of how serious Saddam Hussein views
his role as a modern-day Nebuchadnezzar who will lead the
Muslim world to victory over Israel and the West, following
is part of an article which appeared last year in the New
York Times:

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

"Across southern Iraq, but especially in the rubbled remains
of this city with it magical name, some mud bricks unearthed
from the distant past still carry the mark of
Nebuchadnezzar, the fabled Babylonian king... More than
2,500 years later, new bricks placed in Babylon's walls
carry the same cuneiform script, but a very different
inscription."

"In the era of President Saddam Hussein, the president of
Iraq," the modern bricks read, "who rebuilt Babylon."

"It is no coincidence, Iraqi officials say, that Saddam has
decided to embrace both Babylon and its most famous leader.
It is in Babylon -- 60 miles south of Baghdad, and praised
long ago by the Greek historian Herodotus as a city that
surpasses in its splendor everything in the known world --
that the government has found a favorite emblem."

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

Following the above quote, this article then goes on to
state that after the 1990-91 Persian Gulf War, Saddam
Hussein spent a great sum of money to construct a
magnificent palace made of white marble on a hilltop
overlooking the ruins of ancient Babylon. With this quote I
have now provided three major American news sources which
have publicized the Hussein-Nebuchadnezzar connection. For
God to forewarn us of these things in His Word is one thing,
but to have even the world news organizations proclaim it is
quite a confirmation!

What is interesting to me is that no matter from what angle
I choose to try to interpret these ancient prophecies, I
still come up with the same results; and that is that the
Beast, or eighth king, may indeed arise from either Syria or
Iraq. Up until a few years ago, any cooperation between
Syria and Iraq would have seemed highly unlikely. This is
because in 1977, the governments of Syria and Iraq each went
their separate ways in a political and ideological sense.
The gulf between Assad and Hussein had become so great that
during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War, Syria sided with Iran
which is not even an Arab nation. During the 1991 Persian
Gulf War, Assad sided with the Western allies by sending
troops to Saudi Arabia. However, since a few years ago, when
Bill Clinton became the President of the United States and
paid a diplomatic visit to Syria, Assad has drifted away
from the West, and has been working to improve Syria's
relations with Iraq. This has included the re-opening of
their common borders. Additionally, Assad has sought to
improve Syrian relations with Russia.

You see, when the U.S.S.R. began to fall apart in 1989,
Syria made a political shift towards the West. Personally, I
find it interesting that Assad would make such a move. Did
he just see it as an opportunity to secure more American
dollars, or could it be that like many world leaders, he
chose to side with the government that could help keep him
in power? Regardless of his motivations, as I have already
said, it appears that the American honeymoon is over. While
President Assad has distanced himself from Washington in
recent years, he has maintained a close relationship with
the pro-Western Gulf Cooperation Council which is comprised
of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, United Arab
Emirates, and Qatar. This relationship is based on his
strong belief in Arab unity.

While Assad distanced himself from the Russians following
the world-shaking events of 1989, Iraq continued and
continues to maintain close ties with the Russian
Federation. In fact, as news reports will verify, the
Russians have been instrumental in trying to ease the
sanctions imposed upon Iraq since the 1990-91 Persian Gulf
War. Despite the fact that the current leaders of Syria and
Iraq have been at odds with each other in the past because
of their political ideologies, what some people may not
realize is that President Hafez al-Assad and Saddam Hussein
come from very similar backgrounds. They both ascended to the
ultimate position of power in their respective countries in
roughly the same time period; Assad in 1971, and Hussein in
1979. Another similarity is that both are members of the
Ba'ath Party which is what helped catapault them into power.

Hussein was born on April 28, 1937 to a poor peasant family
which lived in al-Auja, a small village on the banks of the
Tigris River located on the outskirts of Tikrit, north of
Baghdad. It is because of the fact that Hussein and his
inner core of leaders are all from this same area that they
are sometimes referred to as the 'Tikrit Clan'. In fact,
Hussein's full name happens to be Saddam al-Tikriti Hussein.
After the death of his father, Hussein was raised by his
uncle who was a devout Sunni Muslim and a nationalist.
Hussein joined the nationalist and anti-Western Ba'ath Party
at the age of eighteen in 1956. In a 1959 assassination
attempt against Iraqi Prime Minister Abudul Karim Kassim,
Hussein was shot in the leg and ended up fleeing to Syria,
and then later to Egypt until 1963.

After attending Cairo Law School with the help of his friend
and hero, Egyptian president Gamel Nasser, Hussein returned
to Iraq. Following a period of imprisonment, he eventually
helped lead the bloodless coup that brought the Ba'ath party
to power in 1968 under his cousin General Ahmed Hassan
al-Bakr who became president and head of the Revolutionary
Command Council. As the new Vice President and Deputy
Chairman of the RCC, Hussein built an elaborate network of
secret police, the primary purpose of which was to root out
dissidents. Because of his ruthlessness and the brutal steps
he is known to take to eliminate all opposition, he has been
referred to by some as the 'Butcher of Baghdad'. Eleven
years after the Ba'athist victory, in 1979, at the age of
forty-two, Hussein deposed Bakr and became the new leader of
Iraq. Today he is President, Secretary General of the Ba'ath
Party and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces.

Like Saddam Hussein, Syrian president Hafez al-Assad is
equally ruthless and brutal in his tactics; and he is quick
to eliminate any opposition to his authoritarian government
by whatever means is necessary. This is accomplished through
the use of his secret police force. Assad was born in 1928
in Qardahah, Syria amongst an ethnic minority known as the
Alawi. In 1946 he joined the Ba'ath Party at the age of
eighteen, the very same age at which Saddam Hussein joined
the party ten years later. At the time, the Ba'ath Party was
still a small, secular, yet very aggressive and very
nationalistic organization. Assad attended the Military
Academy at Homs and graduated in 1955 as a pilot officer. As
would occur in Iraq five years later, a Ba'athist coup in
1963 resulted in Assad becoming the head of the Air Force.
Three years later, in 1966, he was appointed Minister of
Defence. In 1970 he ascended to the powerful position of
Prime Minister, followed a year later as the elected
President of Syria.

While Syria has good relations with Egypt, Lebanon and
Jordan, like Saddam Hussein, President Assad views the peace
deals between Egypt and Israel, and Jordan and Israel with a
great deal of contempt. In his mind, those agreements
represent a sign of weakness on the part of his Arab allies.
Despite some of their differences in viewpoint, Assad and
Hussein, like many of the other leaders of the Muslim world,
do agree upon some basic points: They hate Israel's policy
of expansionism. They hate the Western alliance. They want
Israel to return to pre-1967 borders which means giving up
the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, the Golan Heights, Mount
Hermon, and southern Lebanon. They want a homeland
established for the Palestinians. Most importantly, all of
these leaders claim to be striving for Arab solidarity, and
some of these leaders, such as Assad and Hussein, believe
that they are the man to do the job.

Part of the problem is that while they claim to want unity
in the Muslim world, what is most important to each one of
these leaders is that they maintain their own powerbase in
their home country. As we have seen, they will go to any
length to ensure this, whether it be through extreme
authoritarian governments, political assassinations and
other acts of brutality, changing loyalties, or even siding
with the Western powers if it will help them to achieve
their goals. This is one reason why the Gulf Cooperation
Council nations are pro-Western in their political stance.
While Iraq and Iran are both Muslim nations, their Muslim
brothers around the Persian Gulf realize that these larger
nations could turn against them at any time, just as Iraq
tried to swallow up Kuwait. From all of the research I have
done, if there is one thing that has been made clear to me,
it is that some of these leaders of the Arab/Muslim world
are paranoid egomaniacs. They trust absolutely no one
outside of their inner circles. Anyone could stab them in
the back. I am again reminded of a verse from the prophecies
of Daniel regarding the kings of the north and the south:

"And both these kings' hearts shall be to do mischief, and
they shall speak lies at one table; but it shall not
prosper: for yet the end shall be at the time appointed."
(Daniel 11:27)

Another set of very interesting verses found in the Book of
Psalms which sound just like the slick promises of the Beast
is the following. Remember, the previous verses in Daniel
tell us that the Beast will come to power through peaceable
means and through FLATTERIES:

"He hath put forth his hands against such as be at peace
with him: he hath broken his covenant. The words of his
mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart:
his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords."
(Psalms 55:20-21)

However, mistrust amongst the Arab leaders isn't the only
problem confronting Muslim solidarity. If there is one thing
that Israel and the West fear the most, it is a deep and
lasting military cooperation between Syria and Iraq. As I
stated in part three of this series, it is for this very
reason that the U.S.A., Israel and Turkey are forging closer
military and economic ties. They are hoping to neutralize
Syria while it is still possible to do so. To augment this
potential danger from anti-Western Muslim nations, after a
bloody and deadly eight-year war, Iran renewed diplomatic
relations with Iraq in 1990. In fact, in late 1997, Iran was
the host for the prestigious Organisation of Islamic
Conference, (OIC), attended by many prominent Arab leaders.
Given enough time and the right developments, an improvement
in diplomatic relations between Syria, Iraq, Iran and other
Islamic nations could indeed result in a deadly political
and military machine. So why hasn't this happened yet?

It may be due in part to successful efforts by Israel and
her Western allies to keep the Arab world fragmented and
destabilized. From a Biblical perspective, could it be that
the final Endtime prophecies have not yet been fulfilled
because God, in His mercy, patience and longsuffering has
been holding back the Islamic tide until a pre-determined
amount of people have heard about and accepted the Lord?
Once the Lord is satisfied that the Gospel has been preached
in all the world to all nations, the Scriptures tell us that
He will indeed allow the Beast to be released in order that
he might utterly burn Babylon the Great Whore with fire, and
lead the Islamic nations in the 'mother of all battles'
known as Armageddon, exactly as the Scriptures tell us:

"And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these
shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked,
and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. 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 17:16-17)

"And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the
mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and
out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the
spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the
kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to
the battle of that great day of God Almighty. Behold, I come
as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his
garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. And he
gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew
tongue Armageddon." (Revelation 16:13-16)

The name 'Armadeddon' is transliterated from the Hebrew
'Har-Magedon' which means 'hill or mount of Megiddo'. If you
use the Hebrew 'Ar' instead of 'Har', it could also be
interpreted as 'city of Megiddo'. This ancient Canaanite
city, which was given to Manasseh for an inheritance, was
located on the southern rim of the plain of Esdraelon six
miles, (or about ten kilometers), from Mount Carmel, and
eleven miles, (or eighteen kilometers), from Nazareth in
northern Israel. The plain of Esdraelon holds great
significance in ancient Jewish history. It was there that
Barak defeated the Canaanites, and where Gideon was also
victorious over the Midianites with his band of three
hundred. Additionally, it was on this same plain that Saul
was slain in a battle against the Philistines, and where
Josiah was slain by Pharaoh Necho as I explained earlier. I
also find it interesting that 'Megiddo' actually means
'place of crowds'. When the final battle between Good and
Evil begins, it truly will be a 'place of crowds', in fact,
international crowds!

Returning to the main theme of this article, if there is one
thing which is indeed true about Iraq and Saddam Hussein, it
is that the phrase 'wounded by a sword and did live'
certainly applies to them. We have already seen that Iraq is
the home of the ancient Assyrian and Babylonian empires. We
have also seen that Saddam Hussein firmly believes that he
has an appointment with destiny as Nebuchadnezzar III who
will restore the glory of the Islamic Empire. In these
points alone, he would fulfill the ancient prophecies.
Additionally, during the almost twenty years he has been in
power, he has engaged in an eight-year war with Iran, he has
suffered tremendously at the hands of Western governments
due to his invasion of Kuwait and his persecution against
the Kurds, plus according to a Fox News report, a 1983 book
published by his former intelligence chief states that he
survived seven assassination attempts in fifteen years! The
Western allies are so intent on destroying this man that
they now utilize satellites and other modern technology in
order to try to detect his every move by tracking his voice
every time he speaks! It is for this reason that Saddam
Hussein currently has some eighty 'Presidential Palaces'
where he lives, works and sleeps; and he never spends more
than one night in any one of them!

Despite all of the above, Saddam Hussein just keeps bouncing
back! There is an old saying which states that you can't
keep a good man down. In the secular world, they would say
that Saddam Hussein has got good kharma. As a Christian, all
I can say is, either he is being protected by satanic
forces, or else God is indeed miraculously sparing him until
his hour of worldly 'greatness' as the Beast of the Book of
Revelation! What do you think? In part five of this series,
I will be discussing the meaning of the 'Bottomless Pit',
sharing more on death and the Resurrection, providing a
possible interpretation of the 'Image of the Beast' and 'The
Abomination of Desolation', as well further discussing
President Saddam Hussein. I hope you are finding this series
of articles exciting. I'll see you in part five. May God
bless you with the Truth.

⇒ Go To The Next Part . . .


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