The Antichrist, the Islamic Caliphate, and the Seven Heads of the Beast

One of the most popular topics among Christians is the Antichrist. The most common belief is that the Antichrist will come from Europe, or maybe even America. However, as I have shown in other articles, my belief is that the Antichrist will come from the Middle East, and will be a Muslim. However, like all beliefs, there are differences of opinion among those who believe in an Islamic Antichrist. Some think that the Antichrist will re-establish the Ottoman Empire, while others look at the Islamic Caliphate in general. This difference of opinion deals with Revelation 13 and 17, and can be considered by some to be a problem with the Islamic Antichrist theory.

Revelation 13 and 17 and a problem with the Islamic Antichrist

In Revelation 17, we read about a woman who rides the beast. The beast in this chapter is the same beast that is described in Revelation 13:1-10 and Daniel 7:7-8, 19-25. Revelation 13 speaks about how this beast (a symbol for the Antichrist and his kingdom) will have seven heads and ten horns. For this article, only the seven heads are important to examine.

It is in Revelation 17 that we are told exactly what the seven heads (also called mountains) are: seven different kingdoms. In a previous article, I examined the popular belief that the seven mountains/heads are thought to be a reference to the city of Rome, thus leading many people to accept that the Antichrist will come from a revived Roman Empire. However, as I showed, the seven mountains have nothing to do with the Seven Hills of Rome.

The seven mountains of the beast represent seven different kingdoms throughout history:

1)      Egypt or Canaan

2)      Assyria

3)      Babylon

4)      Medo-Persia

5)      Greece (Alexander the Great’s empire)

6)      Rome

7)      A Future Kingdom

The text specifically says that five of the kingdoms had fallen by John’s time, and that one “is.” The sixth one is Rome since it was the kingdom in power during John’s lifetime. However, the seventh kingdom has been interpreted to mean many different things. Some examples include: the United States, Great Britain, Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, the Holy Roman Empire, to name but just a few. In a previous article, I showed that only Islam fulfills the seventh head.

Among those who believe in an Islamic Antichrist the seventh head has been interpreted in a couple different ways. First, the seventh head is the entire Islamic Caliphate between the year 632 (the death of Muhammad) and 1924 when the Caliphate came to an end in the aftermath of World War I. The word “caliph” means the “successor” of Muhammad. The Islamic Caliphate (the government/empire of Islam) took Jerusalem from the Eastern Roman Empire in the year 637.

The second interpretation is that the seventh head of the beast is the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Empire was a Turkish empire that existed from 1299 until 1924 (technically speaking, the government of the Ottomans fell a couple years earlier, but the office of the caliph wasn’t abolished until 1924.) It finished off the Roman Empire (the sixth head) when it conquered the city of Constantinople in 1453. Constantinople was the capital city of the Byzantine, or the Eastern Roman Empire.

Problems with the Two Interpretations

However, both of these theories run into problems. The first, the Islamic Caliphate from the seventh century until 1924, runs into a problem in that Revelation 17:10 says that the seventh kingdom will be rule only for “a short time” (or “a little while”). This naturally implies that the seventh kingdom will last only for a short period of time. The Islamic Caliphate lasted almost 1500 years. This is not usually considered a short time.

The second theory, the Ottoman Empire, has a problem with the basic description of the kingdom of the Antichrist – namely that the kingdom of the Antichrist will look like the kingdom of Alexander the Great according to Revelation 13:2, Daniel 7:6, and Daniel 2:36-45 – an empire that ruled from Egypt and Turkey in the west to Afghanistan, Pakistan, and western India to the east. The Ottoman Empire never ruled farther east than the western portion of Iran – it never ruled Afghanistan or Pakistan. Nor did it rule any part of Central Asia whereas the Greek Empire and Islamic Caliphate did.

The Empire of Alexander the Great.

The Empire of Alexander the Great. (source: Wikipedia.org)

The Islamic Caliphate in the year 750 AD. Notice that it looks like Alexander's kingdom, but is bigger.

The Islamic Caliphate in the year 750 AD. Notice that it looks like Alexander’s kingdom, but is bigger. (source: Wikipedia.org)

The Ottoman Empire at the height of its power. Notice that it does not look like Alexander's kingdom.

The Ottoman Empire at the height of its power. Notice that it does not look like Alexander’s kingdom as much as the second map above. (source: Wikipedia.org)

The strength of the first view (the Islamic Caliphate) is that the Islamic empire as a whole looks a lot like Alexander’s kingdom which fulfills the prophecies about the kingdom of the Antichrist. However, it did not conquer the Roman Empire like the Ottomans did. It only took Jerusalem and the land of Israel away from the Romans.

The difference between the two views is whether or not the seventh kingdom in Revelation 17 should have conquered the sixth kingdom (Rome). My opinion is that the Islamic Empire in the seventh century AD should be seen as the seventh head since it looks like the leopard of Daniel 7, whereas the Ottoman Empire does not fulfill this prophecy. It was also the Early Islamic kingdom that conquered Jerusalem which is one of the most important parts of biblical prophecy.

Solving the Problem

Either way we have a problem. Neither model fits the description of the seventh head of Revelation 17. Is there a solution to this problem? I believe there is.

We must first understand that the Antichrist’s empire is a rebirth of one of the seven heads. I argued in a previous article that it is the seventh head. Revelation 13 says that one of the heads had a fatal wound but that it had been healed. This is telling us that the beast (Antichrist) is a revived kingdom from the past. Notice however, that the text says that the head seemed to have had a fatal wound. The kingdom/head starts out strong, becomes so weak that it seems like it is dead, and then becomes strong again with the Antichrist.

This goes along with Daniel 2:36-45 where it speaks about the legs of iron. The legs of iron become the feet and toes of iron and clay – a kingdom that has some strength in it, but is also divided and weak. The ten toes correspond with the ten kings and horns of Daniel 7 and Revelation 13 and 17. It is during the days of the ten kings that the Antichrist will emerge and soon afterwards Christ will return to set up his kingdom.

How does this information correlate with Revelation 17 where the seventh head will rule for “a short time”? Before giving my theory, let me briefly explain Islamic history. After the death of Muhammad in 632 AD, his first four successors (caliphs) ruled Islam until the year 661, a total of only 29 years. Between 661 and 750, the Umayyad dynasty ruled the world of Islam. After 750, the Islamic world entered into a long phase where it became weak and divided. Since 750, the Muslim world has seen both strong and weak kingdoms just like what Daniel 2 teaches us.

The seventh head of Revelation 17 and the legs of Iron in Daniel 2 correspond and represent the same kingdom. This would be the Early Islamic Empire from 632-750 AD. This was the only period in Islamic history where Muslims were unified politically and as strong as iron.

Legs of Iron/Seventh Head Islamic Caliphate (632-750 AD)
Feet and Toes of Iron and Clay/Fatal Wound Divided Islamic Caliphate (750-present)
Antichrist/Ten Toes The revived Islamic Caliphate/Antichrist

Conclusion

The fact that there is a difference of interpretation among those who believe that the Antichrist is a Muslim is not a problem. A popular belief that the Ottoman Empire is the kingdom that the Antichrist will rebuild does not fulfill Bible prophecy. Although the Antichrist will come from Turkey, it is clear that the Early Islamic Empire fulfills the seventh kingdom of Revelation 17 and will be the empire that the Antichrist will revive in the future.

What do you think? Does this help explain a “problem” with the Islamic Antichrist theory? Leave your opinion below or on our Facebook page.

5 thoughts on “The Antichrist, the Islamic Caliphate, and the Seven Heads of the Beast

  1. Judith T. Harding says:

    I find great merit and insight into your thought that the 7th head of Revelation may be limited to the Early Islamic Empire of 632-750 A.D. I checked out locations of the ancient map: Kairounan = Tunisia; Isfahan = Persia/Iran; Kufa = Iraq; Fustat = Egypt.

    I was pleased to discover your site, learned a lot from your article about the Caliphate, and will keep my eyes open about these particular territories, as far as an 8th head of the 7th developing! Jesus is LORD, and He’s coming soon!!!

  2. Judith T. Harding says:

    Your article on the Caliphate spurred me to research its modern-day aspirations. An article from the website Jadaliyya reports on a new book (coming out of an international conference of Muslims, if I understand correctly) about current aspirations for the Caliphate. This article can be found at this link:

    http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/13267/new-texts-out-now_madawi-al-rasheed-carool-kersten

    The name of the book is “Demystifying The Caliphate: Historical Memory and Contemporary Contexts, ed. by Madawi Al-Rasheed, Carool Kersten, and Marat Shterin; New York & Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2013. (These editors are listed as authoring the article from which I will quote in a moment.)

    This book is a collection of input from scholars and other interested Muslims, investigating current Musliim-world interest in, or opposition to, re-establishing an Islamic Caliphate. From a Biblical perspective, I particularly noted two things from Jadaliyya’s article about the book:

    1. The Introduction of this book notes that the Ottoman Empire was “the longest-surviving Caliphate in Islamic history.” This fact, juxtaposed upon the fact that the 7th head of the Revelation beast only continues a SHORT time, is quite note-worthy. How can the longest, become short? The Ottoman Empire does not seem to fit the Bible’s description, as you have aptly emphasized.

    2. From an excerpt in the Introduction of this book, one sees a strong link to Palestinian issues — and thus to God’s Holy Land. This connection the editors note, in spite of the fact that they analyze many varied reasons for Muslims desiring the Caliphate. Those of us who love God’s Word are once more reminded how world conflicts and longings keep returning to the area of our globe that God shall make “a cup of trembling” for all nations.

    The excerpt reads:

    “It is unsurprising that Taqi al-Din al-Nabhani, who was forcibly ‘de-territorialized’ from his Palestinian homeland, was the first to systematically theorize the resurrection of the caliphate in the mid-twentieth century, a call that finds echoes among some from the second and third generation of Muslims living in the West or from young activists emerging out of decades of Soviet rule in Central Asia and Northern Caucasus, or among urban youths in Jakarta and elsewhere. Consequently, calls to re-establish the caliphate are not anchored in a pristine, traditional, scholastic longing for a bygone past but are a response to modernity and its conditions. Within this framework we can begin to comprehend the twentieth-century response to the fall of the caliphate and the contemporary calls for its revival, either as a restoration of the historical polity or as a concept and vision of the ideal global society. Rather than being brushed aside as dreams and fantasies, these responses and calls can be better understood as modern manifestations of conditions that many Muslims have experienced in various degrees. The caliphate becomes an old idea, rejuvenated by contemporary reflections on the modern conditions that can only persist and intensify.”

    Bottom line for me? Our Almighty God is LORD of all — and that includes all of history! “Even so, come, LORD Jesus.”

  3. Thanks for your comment. Sorry for not getting back with you sooner, I have been very busy this past week. I remember about a year ago seeing a video on the current crisis in Syria. It showed the rebels chanting for “an Islamic Caliphate.” I’ll look and see if I can find the video. One of the primary motivations for terrorists and the Muslim Brotherhood is to establish a new Caliphate that will conquer the world.

    An excellent website for news concerning Islam and its attempt at global domination is barenakedislam.com. Be warned though. The site does have videos and pictures of beheadings and other horrible things that Muslims do. The site shows these things to tell the truth about Islam, and to give proof that it is not “a religion of peace.”

    The article and book that you mentioned sound interesting. I need to read them, and maybe use them to write another article on the Islamic Antichrist.

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