While ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant), formerly ISIS, rampaged toward establishing its intended caliphate, some who propose that the prophesied Antichrist will come from the Eastern leg, not the Western leg of the ancient Roman Empire proclaimed they have their candidate for who will be the man of sin in view.
The late Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was one that some thought fit the description of the son of perdition, according to the proclamations.
A number of written and stated beliefs declared that the first beast of Revelation 13 will be a Muslim. A number of books, even by born-again former Muslim terrorists, have for several years been saying Antichrist will soon emerge as the Mahdi—the messiah figure prophesied in the Koran.
Headlines for the several years just past seemed to have validated that Islamist power was supernaturally growing as it set its sights on destroying Israel. What the military powers of Gamal Abdel Nasser, Hafez al-Assad, Anwar El Sadat, and all of the Arab hordes couldn’t do, the relative handful of ISIS terrorists seem to have been doing. For a time, they were able to move aside militaries of the region–like the American-supplied and trained new Iraqi armed forces. They were establishing sharia or Islamist law everywhere the butchers invaded.
The Trump Administration has taken a more strident and successful tact against militant Islam. Despite ISIL being in full retreat for now, there is still adamant belief by Eastern-leg prophecy pundits. These still make their point that soon history will prove the Antichrist to be not from the Western European sphere involving Rome, but a man of terror the Muslims claim will climb from a deep well somewhere to rule the world and make all bow the knee to Allah or lose their heads.
“See,” the Eastern-leg pundits say: “Islam’s primary means of execution is beheading. Revelation, chapter 13, plainly says the first and second beasts will demand the first beast be worshipped as God, or heads will roll.”
Everything, these say, points to prophecy shaping rapidly in which Islam will rule the day—will indeed establish a global caliphate.
So, let’s think on this punditry for a bit.
What does the Bible say about Antichrist and his rise to power? We should be able to appropriate a considerable degree of perspective on what we see developing in the Middle East presently and what the Bible has to say about this prince that shall come.
First, we look at the most familiar biblical truth on the man who will be Antichrist.
Daniel the prophet, under divine inspiration, gave us the following piece of the puzzle as we seek perspective:
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)
Most everyone of the pretrib, premillennial system of eschatology agrees that this is referring to the destruction of the Jewish Temple and to the city of Jerusalem in AD 70.
Whether we look to historians such as Edward Gibbon (Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire) or to the great Josephus, the Jewish historian, we learn that the forces that destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple were those of Emperor Vespasian, who sent his son, General Titus, to do the job.
These men were born near and raised in and around the city of Rome, not Mecca, Medina, or Constantinople. Their troops were from the legions of Rome, even though claims are being made that Rome enlisted many from the conquered regions of the Middle East.
The Scripture, nonetheless, points directly to the Romans.
Next, we ask: What characteristic will this beast, who will ultimately become the world’s last and most evil dictator, first exhibit when he comes on the end-times scene?
Again, we go to the prophet Daniel.
And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many. (Daniel 8:25 a,b,c)
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)
He shall enter peaceably even upon the fattest places of the province. (Daniel 11:24a)
Get it? This coming Antichrist, Daniel tells us, will appear at first to be a peacemaker, although he will be the greatest deceiver of all time, second only to his father, Satan, in deceptiveness and ferocity. Revelation 6 foretells that he will come riding on a white horse and with a bow, but with no arrows in his quiver. This indicates plainly that he will come as a false peacemaker.
Now, what do we know about the Islamist Mahdi? According to the Koran, he will come lopping off the heads of all who won’t bend the knee as he sweeps with his supposedly divine scimitar across the world. He will come from his well of hibernation with hatred for everyone and everything that doesn’t agree with him or the Koran.
But, doesn’t Revelation say the means of execution during that horrible period known as the Tribulation will be beheading?
Yes, indeed it does so. Remember, however, that many regimes throughout history—not just Islamist ones—have used beheading to instill fear within the general populaces. Remember, too, that the apostle Paul himself was thought to have been beheaded—by the Roman Empire.
Daniel foretold that long before the prophet Mohammed, or Islam, or Constantinople—the Eastern leg of the Roman Empire— finally came on the scene, Antichrist (the prince that shall come) will be from Rome. The prophecy was fulfilled in AD 70, hundreds of years before Mohammed was born.
The Koran predicts a violent entrance of their messiah into the world, and certainly, the Muslim world seems intent on bringing that Mahdi in. For example, consider the many people recently crucified as ISIS attempts to establish its caliphate across the region. This is anything—false or otherwise—but a “peaceful” entrance onto the world scene, as Revelation and Daniel prophesy for the true Antichrist when he rides onto the stage of history.
However, we can see the geopolitical road being paved for that first beast of Revelation 13. That means that Christ’s call to His church—“Come up hither!”—must be very near at hand, indeed.