Growing up, no one ever told me that the Antichrist had two armies. I don’t think that anyone ever really thought about it. Those who believed in a Pretribulation Rapture didn’t worry about it. The post-millennialists believed that it had already happened. And, the Amillennialists thought that it was all symbolic, anyway. So, everyone ignored what the Bible said about the army created and led by the Antichrist.
I find that position to be very disturbing, since Jesus specifically commanded us to watch for the events that we are examining in this chapter. Jesus told us to ‘stay alert’ or ‘be watching’ for the time of the Antichrist. This was not a suggestion, yet pretribbers, postmills and amills have convinced their followers to disobey the command of Our Lord. How you can do that and call yourself a faithful follower of Christ, is beyond my ability to comprehend. But, let’s get back to our point.
There are two invasions of Israel by the Antichrist:
When he proclaims himself to be god
Armageddon – i.e., the Kings of the East
They are both described in the New Testament, and their identity should be clear. We know the key players. We know the circumstances surrounding these events. We know where they fit within the timeline of the Last Days. The question is…
Does the coming of Gog and Magog belong in one of these two battles?
Or, does Gog and Magog come before these two invasions?
So we need to look at each of these battles, and then – in later chapters – compare them with what we know about the Return of Jacob and the coming of Gog and Magog. If Gog and Magog does not fit in either of these battles, then the Return of Jacob must happen before the Antichrist arrives. There is no third alternative if we are to submit ourselves to what the Bible actually says.
So, let’s look at what God has told us about these two battles, and we start with a look at the army of the Antichrist, when he stands up and proclaims himself to be god.
The First Army of the Antichrist
I think that most of us think of the Man of Lawlessness as springing out of the ground with sufficient magical power to make everyone follow him. And, it’s true that he does have the ability to do ‘signs and wonders’ and persuade most of the world, but the fact that the Antichrist has an army, tells us that not everyone is completely impressed.
You don’t create an army, if you already have everyone under your control. So, this is a sign that the Antichrist has opposition, and that’s something important to consider as we move further into the dark days ahead. But, let’s examine this army.
The first hint about the first army of the Antichrist – for most of us – would have come from the words of Jesus:
15 “So when you see the abomination of desolation—spoken about by Daniel the prophet—standing in the holy place” (let the reader understand), 16 “then those in Judea must flee to the mountains. 17 The one on the roof must not come down to take anything out of his house, 18 and the one in the field must not turn back to get his cloak.
– Matthew 24:15-18 (NET)
NOTE: Most ‘scholars’ will tell you that the abomination of desolation is talking about Daniel 9:27. This is emphatically not true, if you look at the original Hebrew. Daniel 9, is about the coming of Messiah. Not the Antichrist. Daniel 8:13 is a more accurate connection to Matthew 24:15. It’s time for all of us to stop repeating what false teachers have taught us. For more detail, go to the Appendix and read: Daniel’s 70th Week
I’ve spent many years contemplating Matthew 24:15-18, and the verses like it. There’s an intensity about what Jesus says that should make all of us pay close attention. Jesus is telling us that even a few minutes of hesitation will cause us to be captured by the forces – the army – of the Antichrist. And, the Book of Revelation gives us another snapshot of this invasion of Israel:
13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast down to the earth, he persecuted the woman that brought forth the man child. 14 And there were given to the woman the two wings of the great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness unto her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
– Revelation 12:13-14 (ASV)
The woman who flees is Israel. Actually, I believe that she is more than just Israel, but that is a discussion for another time. The point is that there is a massive and speedy migration of God’s people from the area around Jerusalem and from Judea.
Why is there such an urgency for people to flee so quickly?
If they were just fleeing the police, this woman probably wouldn’t need ‘wings of an eagle’ to flee. She could probably get to her place of refuge in a far more sedate way. No police force is large enough to stop a mass migration. We’ve actually seen that in action, as waves of illegal migrants flooded into the EU. Furthermore, it’s doubtful that a local police force could play a role in rounding up a population made up of the friends, the neighbors and the family of that police force. This is extremely important to understand, so let me take a moment to explain.
Why The AC Needs A Foreign Army
Throughout history, revolutions have almost never been able to succeed unless the military and/or the police switch sides – or at least, stand down. The rare exceptions occur when there are foreign mercenaries among the rebels, and if there is a large foreign sponsor that is paying for the revolution. For instance, the American Revolution could not have succeeded without the financial help of the French.
The point is, that as long as the police and the military are willing to beat up and shoot the rebels, a revolutionary takeover cannot occur. This is often why governments bring in foreigners to shoot their own citizens, when there are uprisings.
If you are American, do you remember how the British tried to suppress the American Revolution?
They brought in Germans to shoot the colonists. One of my relatives was shot and killed by a German mercenary from Hesse, on January 2nd, 1777. His name was also John Little, which makes this topic kind of personal.
Other countries have done the same thing. Iran brought in Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon to shoot Iranian protesters. The Iranian revolution itself was a battle between modernist city-dwellers and the fundamentalist countryside – with the fundamentalists winning. China uses Han soldiers and Han officials to suppress the Uyghurs in Xinjiang. Cubans have been used to shoot Africans, and so on and so forth.
So, it makes sense for the Antichrist to bring an army that is foreign to those living in Jerusalem and Judea. Of course, the Antichrist is probably ‘foreign’ himself, so this shouldn’t require much effort to understand.
All of this means that we should be able to see this army coming towards Jerusalem. But wait… this army would have to be large enough to surround Jerusalem as it tries to capture those Christians trying to run away.
How is it possible for the Antichrist to be able to do this?
I don’t know. There is certainly no way that the Antichrist could do this, with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) that are currently guarding Israel. Something really catastrophic would need to have happened to have Israel so defenseless. Even if the Antichrist had taken over the Israeli government and intelligence services, there is still no way for Israel to be this defenseless.
The IDF is a citizen military, and would rebel against the government and defend Jerusalem, anyway. Israelis have a history of ‘creative rebellion’ when it comes to orders that they don’t agree to.
Even if the Antichrist could secretly infiltrate soldiers into the countryside around Jerusalem, it’s hard to believe that such a force could succeed in overcoming those who are defending Jerusalem. But, it’s also hard to believe that someone like the Antichrist would venture into Jerusalem without being confident of his own safety.
However, notice that his ‘security force’ has some limitations:
15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth after the woman water as a river, that he might cause her to be carried away by the stream. 16 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth and swallowed up the river which the dragon cast out of his mouth. 17 And the dragon waxed wroth with the woman, and went away to make war with the rest of her seed, that keep the commandments of God, and hold the testimony of Jesus:
– Revelation 12:15-17 (ASV)
Because his soldiers could not catch those fleeing the Antichrist, he had to release a flood of water that is stopped by the earth cracking open and swallowing it. We could speculate on how that happens, but it’s clear that the Antichrist is unable to catch those who are running away – even though he really, really wants to capture and kill them.
This shows the limitations of the Antichrist that we are not used to thinking about. And, for some reason, the man of lawlessness is unable to get to the place in the wilderness where the woman is nourished for three and a half years.
Why doesn’t the Antichrist bomb that place flat?
Why can’t he send a detachment of soldiers to attack that place of safety?
In fact, now that I think of it, there doesn’t seem to be any indication of an air force anywhere in the Bible, when referring to events of the Last Days. A lack of evidence is not evidence of lack, but it is interesting that the Antichrist doesn’t seem to have an air force.
The main point that we can take away from this look at the first invasion of Jerusalem, is that the army of the Antichrist is limited. For whatever reason, this army is not large enough to capture Jerusalem fast enough to grab all the Christians in Judeah. Nor is this army defeated or destroyed in any way. In fact, this army goes on to attack those who oppose this New World Order that the Man of Fierce Countenance is setting up.
So, as we compare this first invasion of Israel by the Antichrist, with the accounts of Gog and Magog, it doesn’t look like we’ll be able to match those two accounts. Gog and Magog is a definitive battle with a definitive end, and not like what is described in the Matthew and Revelation. We’ll still compare the two, but I think that we know what we’ll see.
The same cannot be said about the SECOND invasion of Israel and the attempted invasion of Jerusalem, by the Antichrist. That event is far more similar to the coming of Gog and Magog, which is why so many claim that they are the same.
Armageddon And The Kings of the East
The Bible refers to this second invasion in a couple of different ways:
The Kings of the East
We know what Armageddon is. We just aren’t sure who these Kings of the East are. And, Revelation speaks of both:
12 Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared. 13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
15 “Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.”
16 And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.
– Revelation 16:12-16
There’s no ‘h’ in Greek, so Har Megiddo comes out as ‘Ar’, and ‘Mageddon’ – all fused together. And, Megiddo is the main exit out of the Jezreel valley, into the coastal plain of Israel. It’s also the path that you take when you wish to invade Jerusalem. And, for some reason, God allows the Kings of the East and the rest of the world’s armies assemble in the Jezreel valley.
Why did God choose Jezreel?
Why not the coastal plains?
Why not further north, in Syria or Lebanon?
Ultimately, none of those questions matter. What matters is that the armies of the nations of the world assemble in the Jezreel Valley and attempt to move south, through the choke point near Megiddo. It’s the traditional – and most logical – way for Israel and then Jerusalem to be invaded.
It is theoretically possible to invade Jerusalem by going down through the Jordan Valley, but you would only do that if you were insane. The way is narrow and would cause any large army to be strung out in a long, thin line – making it extremely vulnerable to attack. And, when you reached the point where you need to turn towards Jerusalem, you’d find yourself fighting far more, than if you had invaded from the west.
Conversely, once you get past Megiddo and through the valley into Wadi Ara, you now have access to assembly points in the Coastal Plain that would allow you to regroup and prepare for the final assault on Jerusalem. From that point, you can attack Jerusalem from more than one direction. You can enter from the west, following the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway. Or, you could loop around the Jerusalem hills and attack from the south – if you go down to Hebron and then up through Bethlehem.
The point is that the ‘Battle of Armageddon’ happens at Megiddo because the target is Jerusalem. The forces that assemble to fight God aren’t really interested in Yafo, Tel Aviv or Netanya. They have less interest in Haifa, Kfar Saba or even Tiberias. They want Jerusalem. But, they can’t get to Jerusalem without assembling in Jezreel and fighting past Megiddo.
The other place in Revelation that talks about Armageddon is chapter 19:
19 And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. 20 Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.
– Revelation 19:19-21
Again, Armageddon is all about Satan’s desire to capture Jerusalem. Satan might also want the rest of the Land of Israel, but that’s not the primary focus.
Unfortunately, we don’t have any other references to this second invasion of Israel in the New Testament. If we want more detail, we need to turn to the Old Testament.
The Antichrist In The Old Testament
If you want other views of Armageddon, you can look at these chapters:
Zephaniah 3 – verse 8
The interesting thing is that those passages aren’t necessarily about the Last Battle before the Millennium. Woven through these descriptions, is also the story of God’s redemption of Jerusalem. For his own name’s sake.
Furthermore, each of those chapters offers a different perspective of that event. The last part of Isaiah 17 also seems to speak of Armageddon, except… maybe not. And, we might be able to name other chapters and verses that speak of Armageddon. In fact, a previous version of this book listed more passages than above. But, when I looked at them again… I wasn’t so certain. And, we need to start with that which is certain. And, we can be the most certain about Zechariah 14.
Unfortunately, chapter 14 has always been deeply troubling because it talks of defeat and great suffering, and the thought of that happening to a city that I care about more than any other, is hard. Of course, the end of that chapter speaks of the return of Jesus and His thousand year reign. That’s a great victory. But, the price. The thought of it. It’s difficult to contemplate. But, we must not shrink from looking at this chapter.
So, here we go:
1 Behold, a day is coming for the Lord, when the spoil taken from you will be divided in your midst. 2 For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered and the women raped. Half of the city shall go out into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
– Zechariah 14:1-2 (ESV)
The plunder and rape of Jerusalem is NOT something that I want to see. But, since this is a part of God’s plan to defeat Satan, it must be necessary. This is especially apparent, since God says that He will bring everyone against Jerusalem. God causes this to happen. And, that’s a second thing that is hard to contemplate.
God uses Jerusalem as a lure, to draw the Antichrist and his army to Jerusalem. And, once this great army is sucked in, it gets hammered. It’s a necessary strategy, but the wear and tear on Jerusalem is going to be hard. But, the second verse tells us something interesting, something that you will not see if you read the King James Version of that verse.
…Half of the city shall go out into exile…
The KJV says ‘captivity’, instead of ‘exile’. And, that’s wrong. Yes, there are times when ‘exile’ might include captivity. But, the Hebrew word for captivity is entirely different than the word for exile. And, there’s a reason for why the distinction is important.
Here is a snapshot of the same event, from the Book of Revelation:
13 And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. 14 But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time.
– Revelation 12:13-14 (ESV)
So, the ‘half of Jerusalem’ that goes into exile, is actually the great escape from the dragon. That’s a lot different than what the KJV said. Then, we have the words of Jesus to add to all of this:
15 “So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, 18 and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak.
– Matthew 24:15-18 (ESV)
So, half of Jerusalem heeds the words of Jesus and escapes, the other half does not and gets caught.
What I find upsetting is that this is yet another situation where I and others have been trapped by a badly translated word from the King James Version of the Bible. Half of Jerusalem goes into exile, because they are fleeing the Antichrist. NOT because they were going into captivity. This is yet another reason why the KJV cannot be trusted.
THIS IS AN EDIT MARK:
This is the beginning of the liberation of Jerusalem and the prelude to the judgment upon the nations at Har Megiddo (aka, Armageddon). The most important part of Zechariah 14:3-4 is this:
And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives,…
This is Jesus, returning to Earth as was promised. Zechariah identifies Him as יהוה (Yehovah), and that is who Jesus is. We find another view of Zechariah 4 in the first chapter of Acts:
11 who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”
Jesus will return in the same way that He left, with one difference:
The Mount of Olives will split in two.
Zechariah 14 goes on to talk about how the people of Jerusalem escape, followed by the plagues that God inflicts upon those nations that fight against Him. This description of Armageddon is followed by a discussion of what the Millennium will be like. Again, we’ll be getting into more detail about what is in Zechariah 14, here:
Oh, and we know that God rescues Jerusalem BEFORE the Battle of Armageddon, because of this verse in Joel 3
16 The Lord also will roar from Zion,
And utter His voice from Jerusalem;
The heavens and earth will shake;
But the Lord will be a shelter for His people,
And the strength of the children of Israel.
– Joel 3:16
Also, since we know that Jesus splits the Mount of Olives in two, we have a clearer understanding of this verse in Revelation 16:
19 Now the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath
– Revelation 16:19
I never quite understood why the city of Jerusalem would be split into three pieces until I read what Zechariah said about the Mount of Olives being split in two. The reason WHY the city is split into three parts, is precisely due to the fact that Jesus stands on the Mount of Olives and turns that small mountain into a big valley.
That’s why you need a foreign army for this effort, and Daniel tells us that the Antichrist actually has such an army:
The army was given over, along with the daily sacrifice, in the course of his sinful rebellion. It hurled truth to the ground and enjoyed success.
– Daniel 8:12 (NET)
The Antichrist is given an ARMY. And, because of what is said later, this isn’t a local militia. This is an army that is big enough to invade and defeat the armies of several nations.
The Corruption Of Daniel 8:12
Unfortunately, I have to stop here and talk about how corrupt the translation of Daniel 8:12 is. There isn’t a single English translation of the Bible that gets that verse right. And, I’m wondering if this is an example of God ‘sealing up the vision’, as it says in Daniel 8:26:
The vision of the evenings and mornings that was told to you is correct. But you should seal up the vision, for it refers to a time many days from now.”
– Daniel 8:26 (NET)
So, Daniel 8 was always going to be a difficult chapter to translate. I’m not even sure that I can get that verse 12 right, but there is one thing that I CAN do, actually translate the verse without inserting my own bias into it:
And an army will be given on the daily [sacrifice?] in transgression, and it will throw truth [to the] ground. And it did this and was successful.
– Daniel 8:12 (John Little Version)
That is pretty much a literal translation of that verse. You can make your own attempt, here:
Even that link makes errors in Hebrew grammar. And, those errors are understandable since the verse appears to be deliberately cryptic. The word על (pronounced: ahl)does NOT mean oppose. It means ‘on’ or ‘above’. It NEVER means oppose. Also, the word ‘sacrifices’ is not in the original Hebrew. The word is התמיד (pronounced: ha tah-meed), and it means ‘the always’ or ‘the perpetual’ or ‘the continuous’. And, that word is almost always associated with temple sacrifices.
The next mistake comes from בפשע. (pronounced: beh-payshah) That means ‘in transgression’. The first letter ‘ב’ is a prefix that means ‘in’. It NEVER means ‘for’ or ‘because’. The problem is that verse does not tell WHO is in transgression.
Are the daily sacrifices in transgression?
Is the army in transgression?
Is the Antichrist in transgression?
Here is a link to a list of English translations of Daniel 8:12. They all get it wrong. All of them. Some come closer than others, but as you go through them, it is clear that most of these translators are weaving in their own view of eschatology. And that is a sin.
Some of these translators were obvious Preterists, since it’s clear that they were claiming that this chapter refers to AD 70, when the temple was destroyed. And, to twist the translation of Daniel 8, with that belief is a foul and evil thing. But, I would say the same about those who did that, using an eschatology that I agreed with.
Never corrupt the Bible with your interpretation. No matter how right you think that you are, it is still a sin in the eyes of God. And, great damage has been done to our understanding of God and His intentions, because translators inserted their beliefs where they do not belong.
In fact, I believe that a large part of the blame for the current confusion over prophesies of the Last Days are due to sinful translations. And, in our ignorance of Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic, we have allowed them to sin against us and against God. And, you need to know that these translations have damaged your ability to see what God wants you to see.
The more that I have dug into this, the more horrified that I have become over evil that has been done to us.
Back To The First Army Of The Antichrist
But, let’s get back to our discussion of the first army of the Antichrist.
Here’s a verse that gives you an idea about how big the army of the ‘little horn’ (i.e., Antichrist) is:
9 And out of one of them came a little horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land.
Wait. The word, ‘little’.
Is that correct?
No, it actually means young (מצעירה, pronounced: meh-tsa-eer-ah). Of course, a ‘young horn’ will also be a small one, so maybe error doesn’t matter. Or, maybe it does… since it grows. And, since the horns are kingdoms or empires…
…is this young horn a ‘young empire’?
So, the Antichrist grows toward the south, east and into Israel – The Glorious Land.
South, East and into Israel… from where?
From one of the nations, in an area that Alexander the Great used to control.
For a more in-depth discussion of WHERE the Antichrist comes from, go here:
Where the Antichrist Comes From
(Seriously, the President of the United States cannot be the Antichrist!)
Now, this raises a question:
Is the Young Horn, Antiochus Epiphanes?
There are four reasons. The first reason is that Antiochus Epiphanes did not grow up to the host of heaven and did not cast down any of the stars of heaven (Daniel 8:10). Sorry, it just didn’t happen.
Second, the persecution of the Jews by Antiochus IV, only lasted from 168 BC, until 164 BC. Less than four years. Daniel 8:14 says that the situation will last for 6.3 years. The Ptolemaic kingdom declared war on Antiochus IV, in 170 BC, but that still doesn’t give us 6.3 years.
Third, Daniel 8:19 says that this period is for the time of the very end – למועד קץ (pronounced: leh-mo-ed ketz). The word קץ (pronounced: ketz) doesn’t just mean end. It means the edge, the very end. Also, verse 26 speaks of this prophecy occurring many days in the future – not just 270 years.
Fourth, Jesus refers to Daniel 8:13, when He mentions the Abomination of Desolation.
Yes, Antiochus IV does sound like the ‘young horn’ in Daniel 8. But, you can only say that if you don’t look carefully at what history says about this guy, and compare it to what Daniel 8 says.
Okay, we could spend a lot of time on the Antichrist and Armageddon. But, we have bigger fish to fry. Now that we have a basic understanding of these two battles, we can begin to talk about Gog and Magog and see how they compare with what we have talked about here. As we go along, we will continue to add details to this picture, comparing and contrasting these battles with each other. By the time that we are done, we should have a clearer understanding of the wars of the Last Days. Most important of all, we will be able to accurately place the Return of Jacob on this timeline of events. But, let’s pull back a bit to look at the big picture.
Let’s turn to the chapter that best describes the return of the children of Jacob to God.
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