ISIS and the Antichrist. Two very important topics, and many wanton know if they are related. For a while now a terrorist group known as ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham) or IS (Islamic State) has been conquering large parts of Syria and Iraq. The group has declared war against Christianity and anyone else that stands in its way. There are many Christians, including myself, that wonder if the group has anything at all to do with the Antichrist. How we begin to approach this question has to do with our beliefs concerning the Antichrist.
If you have read anything on my site, for example, then you would know that I believe the Antichrist will originate from the Middle East and rule over a revived Islamic Caliphate. Obviously not everyone agrees with this interpretation. Someone like me will naturally view ISIS in a slightly different light than someone who thinks the Antichrist will be a European or an American (or believes that there will not be an Antichrist). In this article, I will consider different possibilities whether or not the Antichrist will anything to do with the man of lawlessness.
In my series on an Islamic Antichrist, I argued that Daniel 8 and 11 specifically teach us that the Antichrist will originate in the area ruled by the Seleucid Empire. The Seleucids were one of the kingdoms that Alexander the Great’s empire split into about 2300 years ago. At its inception, the Seleucids ruled everything from parts of Turkey to the borders of India. However, the lands east of modern-day Iraq broke away and during the last portion of its history it ruled the areas that make up what is today Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon (they also ruled Israel for a period of time). My belief is that the Antichrist will originate from the area of the Seleucids. It is interesting that ISIS was born in this exact area. With this detail we have a good match for the possibility of ISIS having some relation with the Antichrist.
A second passage to consider is Micah 5. It is in this chapter that we get one of the most famous passages about Christ – that he will come from Bethlehem (5:2). Verses 5-6 specifically tell us that when Christ comes he will overthrow someone called the “Assyrian.” This, of course, never happened so it still must be in the future. It is possible that the “Assyrian” is another name for the Antichrist. Assyria is the region of northeast Syria, southern Turkey, and northern Iraq. This is the exact location of the Islamic State. So now we have two passages in Scripture that pinpoint the origin of the Antichrist, and ISIS fits both perfectly.
However, Ezekiel 38 and 39 teach us that the Antichrist will be “of Magog” and will be the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal (38:2). Magog, Meshech, and Tubal are all in present-day Turkey. This indicates that the Antichrist will come from Turkey (or possibly Kurdistan). Since ISIS is not from Turkey nor is ruled by someone from that country seems to tell us that the Antichrist will not be from ISIS (see here for reasons why Gog is the Antichrist).
Since a Muslim Antichrist would claim to be a caliph and ISIS does as well, this means that something must change in the political arena in the Middle East. There are three things that could happen. First, ISIS will be gone by the time the Antichrist comes about. Second, the Antichrist will conquer ISIS. Third, a leader of ISIS that is originally from Turkey will eventually become the Caliph of the Islamic State. This would mean that ISIS will have to conquer the nation of Turkey (or somehow become ruler of the country peacefully).
There is also a problem with the Antichrist coming out of ISIS when it comes to Daniel 9:27. Assuming that the traditional interpretation of this verse is true, then the Antichrist will have to bring peace at the beginning of the Tribulation. This would mean that an ISIS Antichrist would have to do a complete 180 concerning the current policies of the Islamic State. Although this seems like a huge problem, I do not think that it is impossible. If Muslims truly believe that the Mahdi (think of him like an Islamic savior) has arrived then they’ll follow him in whatever he does.
Whether or not ISIS has anything to do with the Antichrist, or even if he will be a Muslim or not, I do believe the group has some kind of connection with him. I believe that God is using ISIS to foreshadow what the Antichrist is going to do. The man of lawlessness will force people to accept his religion, he will be a man of war, and the Great Tribulation will be the worst period in human history. Think about the horrible events taking place in Iraq and Syria right now: beheadings, rape, slavery, beheadings and even cutting children in half. These horrors are just a small taste of what is to come worldwide in the future. It is as if God is sounding a trumpet telling the whole world to get ready. Sadly, no one seems to be listening.