“Look toward the heavens and count the stars if you are able to count them. So shall your descendants be. Indeed I will greatly bless you and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore. And in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed.” Such was God’s promise to Abraham. Antithetically, the devil’s agenda was to destroy the Jews and thereby destroy the blessing.
“And I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems. And I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. The seven heads are seven kings; five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while. And the beast which was and is not, is himself also an eighth, and is one of the seven.”
The “five who have fallen” represent the kingdoms of Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, and Syria (one of the four kingdoms that arose from the empire of Greece).
Ramses I, pharaoh of Egypt, proclaimed that all newborn Hebrew males be cast into the River Nile. His daughter, Bithiah, drew Moses from the waters setting the stage for the saga recorded in the Book of Exodus. Sargon II, king of Assyria, conquered the northern kingdom of Israel and deported a myriad of Israelites to other nations within the Assyrian Empire. In addition, he brought foreign settlers into the land of Israel producing a multicultural melting pot which removed the threat of unified resistance against the empire. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, destroyed Jerusalem and Solomon’s temple. Judean survivors were exiled in Babylon and Judah became a barren land devoid of inhabitants. Xerxes, king of Persia, permitted his chief prince to legislate the extermination of all Jews in the Persian Empire. An enchanting Jewess called Esther was the heroine who rescued the Jews from the potential holocaust. Antiochus Epiphanes, king of Syria, forced Jews, under penalty of death, to adopt the Greek culture. He installed the abominable idol of desolation, a statue of Zeus, in the Holy of Holies.
Those five kingdoms dominated eleven centuries of history yet Satan failed to eradicate the Jews. Then the Roman Empire emerged. The “one who is” represents Imperial Rome.
Satan’s race against time was coming down to the wire. In 37 BC, Rome appointed Herod the Great, King of the Jews. During the Roman census in 5 BC, Christ was born. Herod saw Jesus as his rival. After determining His approximate time of birth from the magi, he took a page out of Ramses book and slew all Jewish males two years old and younger. The baby Jesus escaped the carnage however in 30 AD Christ was crucified outside the walls of Jerusalem. Surely, it put a swagger in the devil’s step when a seemingly defeated Jesus Christ uttered, with His last dying breath, “It is finished.” However, much to Satan’s chagrin, God had executed His divine plan and the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of mankind was complete.
The Book of Revelation describes 144,000 Jews from every tribe of the sons of Israel who will be sealed as bond servants of the Lord. These Jews will embrace Christ as their Messiah and their faith will be reckoned unto them as righteousness. Therefore, despite Christ’s victory on the cross, the devil’s agenda continued.
The Roman general, Titus, destroyed Jerusalem and Herod’s Temple in 70 AD. Shortly thereafter, Titus was crowned emperor. His younger brother, Domitian, succeeded him to the throne. Domitian deified himself by assuming the title "Lord and God." A renowned persecutor of Christians, he exiled the apostle John on an isolated island in the Aegean Sea called Patmos.
Eighteen centuries passed and suddenly the seventh king emerged. “The other who has not yet come” represents Nazi Germany, from 1933 to 1945, which failed in its bid to become a world empire. Its dictator, Adolf Hitler, was responsible for the greatest atrocity ever committed against the Jewish people, the extermination of six million Jews.
Revelation’s beast is described as the eighth king who is also one of the seven. He will be assassinated and come back to life as the reincarnation of one of the seven kings. Christ described the beast as "the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place." The apostle Paul defined the “abomination of desolation” as a man who sits in the Temple declaring himself to be God. According to the apostle John, men will worship both the beast and his image during the Great Tribulation. My guess: the antichrist will be the reincarnation of Antiochus Epiphanes, the Syrian king who installed the abominable idle of desolation in the Holy of Holies.
The Great tribulation will usher in agony and suffering, the likes of which have never been felt since the beginning of time. The beast will destroy Jerusalem and its Temple. However, after forty-two months, he will be thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone and there he will be tormented day and night for all eternity.