A few years ago I discovered Ariel ministries, a Messianic Jewish ministry headed by Arnold Fructenbaum. Searching through the site I discovered Mr. Fruchtenbaum’s article on Revelation which I downloaded and read. Having been on their website recently I can’t find the article, except to note that it can be ordered from their resource page. For the most part it is a good study on Revelation and well worth reading.
There was one statement that I initially accepted, but later came to disagree with. As I can’t find it now, I’ll have to go by memory. Reading Daniel 11:41 the author simply notes that the Antichrist will not be able to defeat Jordan, which is represented by the ancient tribes of Edom, Moab, and Ammon;
He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon. Daniel 11:41
I have heard other bible scholars say much the same thing. The question that ultimately hit me is “The Antichrist is going to rule the whole world so how is it possible that the little nation of Jordan will not fall to him?” Jordan is smaller than Israel, after all, and is right next door. No! It’s not possible that the little nation of Jordan would be more powerful than the Antichrist and his armies!
There has to be a better explanation.
This observation led me to do a study of the biblical prophecies regarding the tribes of Edom, Moab, and Ammon. I found that there are a lot of prophecies in the bible, regarding these three tribes, and they are overwhelmingly negative, as well as timed in the End Times near the Day of the Lord. In fact Jeremiah 25 describes the armies of these tribes attacking Israel during Armageddon.
If these tribes were to be victorious against the Antichrist, if they were a righteous people, there is no hint of it in the pages of the bible. On the other hand it does appear that these people will actually support the Beast in his efforts to destroy Israel. (There is some evidence that some of their women will actually assist the Jewish refugees fleeing the Antichrist, even as their husbands are in his army, hunting for them, but that is a subject for another day)
Then, I began to look at Daniel 11:41 in a different light. Could it be possible that the Antichrist will not defeat Jordan because he doesn’t have to? Is it possible that Jordan is the Beast’s home, and power base?
This is the best explanation for Daniel 11:41. How could God tell us where the Antichrist comes from, without actually naming the nation? The nation he does not defeat is his place of origin, his people, who support him from the beginning!
There was one little problem with this idea, however; We all know that the Antichrist will come from Rome. Don’t we? Daniel 9:26, on the surface, indicates that Rome will produce the Antichrist.
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 9:26
It was indeed the Roman armies who destroyed the city and the sanctuary, in their attack of 70AD, however, this is only part of the story. The armies of Rome were not entirely made up of Roman citizens. Rome was not large enough to control the whole empire without help. One of the first things I noticed was that the apostle Paul had a confrontation with a Roman centurion who was not from Rome.
Then the chief captain came, and said unto him, Tell me, art thou a Roman? He said, Yea. And the chief captain answered, With a great sum obtained I this freedom. And Paul said, But I was free born. Acts 22:27-28
The armies were led by Rome, but we know for certain that they were ethnically mixed even up into the ranks of the officers. In fact Josephus sheds further light on this subject in his book The War of the Jews. As I read through his eyewitness account of the fall of Jerusalem I found that the father-son team of Roman Generals, Vespasian and Titus, were assigned the task of subduing the Jews.
On his way to Jerusalem Vespasian stopped in Damascus and collected the Roman armies as well as a large number of troops from kings in the area…Syrian Arabs!
So Vespasian sent his son Titus from Achaia, where he had been with Nero, to Alexandria, to bring back with him from thence the fifth and. the tenth legions, while he himself, when he had passed over the Hellespont, came by land into Syria, where he gathered together the Roman forces, with a considerable number of auxiliaries from the kings in that neighborhood. (The War of the Jews/Book 3/Chapter 1/Section 3)
On the surface this would seem to support the idea that the Antichrist might come from Syria, and this is what I thought at first, but there was that nagging idea that the Beast would come from Edom, so I read on…
It turns out that while Vespasian and Titus were gathering their armies, someone else had already made their way to Jerusalem! These people were Jewish by religion, at the time, but were descendants of Esau, by blood. They were known as Idumeans, which is the Greek form of the Hebrew, Edomite.
Josephus recounts how the Idumeans came to the city gates by day and were refused entry. This refusal probably added to their outrage. After dark, during a huge thunderstorm, the zealots allowed the Idumeans into the city, where they went first to the Temple and attacked there, killing some 8,500 men! Then they went throughout the city and killed another 12,000 people, for a total death toll of 20,500 people!
In the aftermath or this killing spree, the Idumeans held a trial for the High Priest, Ananus, and his deputy, Jesus. For this trial they appointed seventy citizens to act as jurors, but when the jurors failed to convict them, the Idumeans dragged them to the wall of the Temple and threw them over the edge, killing them.
Josephus lays the blame for the entire destruction of Jerusalem at the feet of the Idumeans because he knew that these two men, Ananus and Jesus, were aware that they couldn’t defeat the Roman armies, and were prepared to negotiate a surrender. (Josephus, The Jewish War, book 4, chapter 5, section 2)
The Idumeans left the zealots in charge, and these people had such a hatred for Rome that they were prepared to sacrifice the whole city in defiance of Rome. This is what they did, and as a result over one million people were killed, and the Temple and city were destroyed, just as Daniel had predicted some 800 years earlier.
One other detail that many ignore is also relevant; As Nero had died, and Vespasian was recalled to Rome to become the new Caesar, Titus became the general in command of the Roman forces. One might recall that the Roman legions were famous for their discipline. The legionaries would not go against the command of a superior officer, because the penalties were severe. (flogging or even death)
Titus had issued an order, before the attack began, that the Temple should remain intact. The Roman soldiers were not the first ones to begin looting in the Temple. Do you remember the Syrians that Vespasian had gathered on his way to Jerusalem? It is very obvious that it was those soldiers who disobeyed Titus’ order and began the looting in the Temple.
As a result of the widespread looting Titus was forced to change his order, so it wouldn’t look like he had lost control of his army. Thus history records that it was the Romans who destroyed the Temple, but its destruction can be traced to the Idumean attack shortly before the Roman armies arrived on the scene!
Josephus’ eyewitness account sheds new light on the destruction of Jerusalem, and on Daniel’s words “the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary” . I have no doubt that the Antichrist will come from Jordan, or at least the Jordanian diaspora. The people of Idumea today make up a sizable percentage of the population of Jordan. Once again, when you dig into the facts you find that things are not always what they seem on the surface!
So, why do so many Christians believe the Antichrist will come from Rome? Satan has a need for a scapegoat. He needs people’s attention diverted away from the real Antichrist. He needs a villain so his Antichrist will appear the hero! This is Rome’s role, which Satan has been preparing her for, for millennia!