How Can We Defeat ISIS, PART TWO
In the first installment we examined ISIS, caliphates, and “orthodox Islam.” Armed with that information, we are ready to look at what God says about ISIS in Bible prophecy. Then in the next article we combine all this knowledge to compile a plan to combat this evil.
Is ISIS found in the Bible? No, certainly not directly and possibly not even indirectly. The most relatable reference is found in the Book of Daniel. ISIS’s nickname is DAESH which means “to crush underfoot” in Arabic. Chrsitians have marveled at this definition and its similarity to a Bible verse which describes Daniel’s fourth terrifying Beast (which will be the Empire of the Antichrist):
It devoured and crushed and trampled down the remainder with its feet. (Dan. 7: 7)
This is far from definative proof, but it is very, very interesting coincidence; if it is a coincidence.
An additional interesting alignment of ISIS with prophecy involves the location of the Caliphate in northern Iraq and eastern Sryia. This region is the historic location of the ancient empire of Nimrod and the empire of Assyria. Mosul is close to the historic Assyrian capital of Ninevah, and from the map below you can see this area is still called Nineveh province.
One of the most definative verses in the Bible about the ethnicity of the Antichrist references both of these historic empires:
This One (Jesus born in Bethlehem) will be our peace when the Assyrian invades our land, when he tramples on our citadels. Then we will raise against him seven shepherds and eight leaders of men. They will shepherd the land of Assyria with the sword, the land of Nimrod at its entrances; And He (Jesus) will deliver us from the Assyrian when he attacks our land and when he tramples our territory. (Micah 5: 5-6)
Here we see the Antichrist clearly referred to as the Assyrian, so we know that he will come from this region ISIS currently controls. I do not think that Abu Bakr al-Bagdadi is the Antichrist, but maybe one of his henchmen is!! It is not certain, but the Antichrist may well be a current jihadi in ISIS.
The Beast Empire
We know from Joel RIchardson’s landmark book Mideast Beast that a revised Islamic Caliphate will be the Empire of the Beast (Antichrist). This Islamic confederacy of nations will be the ten toes of Nebuchadnezzar’s statue in Dan. 2, the fourth terrifying beast of Dan. 7, the Beast of Rev. 13 and the 8th king of the Beast in Rev. 17. We are told that the fatal head wound of the Beast will be healed:
I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. (Rev. 13: 3)
Because this verse specifically speaks of “one of his heads,” we know it is speaking of one of the 7 empires Satan has used to disrupt God’s plan of redemption and not just a healing of a physical man. (Although I don’t rule out some sort of physical healing). We know that this seventh head is the Islamic Caliphate (see Joel Richardson’s book Mideast Beast) that will be revived. Have we already seen this happen? From 1924 until 2014 there wasn’t a Caliphate on the face of the earth. Now there is one!
Some people believe that only the Revived Ottoman Empire will be the Beast empire. I don’t agree. I believe it is simply an “Islamic Calipate” and the Beast first arose with Mohammed 1400 years ago. If that is true, the Beast is already loose again upon the earth. Now when I say Beast, I referring to the demonic power or ARCHON behind the Caliphate. The Beast has 3 aspects: a demonic power, a Kingdom and a man. Certainly the beheadings, rape, and torture seen under ISIS are demonic in a sense not seen for generations, and may be indicative of powerful demonic control of this Caliphate.
This does not mean that Abu Bakr al-Bagdadi is the “Beast” or Antichrist or that ISIS is the final form of that Beast. They possibly could be, but I doubt it very much. In my opinion, it is simply the demonic aspect of the Beast that is now on the earth, not all three aspects (demon, man and kingdom). But if the prophecy of Rev. 13: 3 has already been fulfilled in this one way, this is a significant prophetic development. The fact that ISIS’s nickname DAESH is linked to Daniel’s Fourth Terrifying Beast as mentioned above only adds credence to this in my mind.
The Sunni Shia War
Will ISIS expand and eventually form this coming Beast Caliphate? Again It might, but I doubt it. The Bible actually describes how the Beast Empire will form quite specifically in Daniel 8.
The following are my personal ideas or best guesses of what will happen based on Daniel 8 (A war prophesied in Daniel 8 is coming between the Sunni and Shia that will lead to the rising of the Antichrist. Please read this link to see more details of this prophecy).
Daniel 8 foretells a war between the “ram” and the “goat.” Christians scholars have long assumed this prophecy was fulfilled by Persian and Greek empires prior to the birth of Christ and stopped right there. These commentators glossed over or ignored the three references the Angel Gabriel gave Daniel as to the timing of the prophesied war:
Son of man, understand that the vision (the entire vision) pertains to the time of the end . . . Behold, I am going to let you know what will occur at the final period of the indignation, for it pertains to the appointed time of the end. (Dan. 8: 17, 19)
It seems incredible that these three time references to end times have been missed by scholars, but they have. What also has been missed is that the fulfillment of the prophecy in ancient times was not complete. If it was an ancient prophecy only why did Antiochus (the ancient foreshadow of the Antichrist) not cast the stars of heaven to the ground, exapand his kingdom east, and why was Alexander’s kingdom originally split into more than 20 divisions, not just four?
So what is the reason that these obvious clues have been overlooked for centuries? My theory is that a “Roman Antichrist” viewpoint clouded the minds of commentators because Dan. 8 clearly states that the Antichrist arises from a Middle Eastern or Balkan nation; not from Rome. One mistaken view prophetically can cause an exponetial deviation from truth when expanded throughout all prophecy. That is the effect of thinking the Antichrist will be Roman.
Immediately after Gabriel tells Daniel that the prophecy is about the end time, he identifies the players. The fact he identifies the players after Gabriel’s end times identification is important. It is yet one more proof that the names of the players are to be their “end time” names. In the text, the ram is called the “kings of the Medes and Persians” and the goat is “Yavan.” As we have explained in the previous linked article, the “kings of the Medes and Persians” occupied a land mass currently occupied by Iran (and possibly the Kurds). Obviously these modern names would mean nothing to Daniel, so he was given the names of the land mass of his day. It is my opinion that all references to prophetic nations refer to land masses. This means the Medes and Persians refer to the modern nations of Iran (and possibly the region of the Kurds.) Remember this use of modern names is confirmed biblically because this description of who the ram occurs AFTER the angel tells Daniel it is end time prophecy.
The goat is described as “Yavan” (mistranslated “Greece” in most bibles.) Yavan were an ancient people occupying the area around the straits of Bosphorus and modern day Istanbul. This land mass is in modern day Turkey. Yavan thus is Turkey.
We then see that initially the Ram (Iran and possibly Iran plus the Kurds) will “head butt” north, south, and west into the middle east. The land north and west of Iran and the Kurds is occupied by ISIS and directly in the “line of fire” of this invasion. It is very likely they will be conquered by this coming invasion. We are then told the ram “magnifies himself” (Dan. 8:4) after this invasion. Does Iran form an Imamate (a Shia version of a Caliphate) at this point? Is that what “magnifies himself” mean? I think it is very likely.
The Sunni Muslims will then counter-attack and destroy the Shia Imamate and establish yet a third Caliphate of their own that will look a lot like the Ottoman Empire prior to 1924 when the Allies broke it up. (Dan. 8:8: “he magnified himself exceedingly.”) At this point, something or someone (the USA, the UN, or the USA/Russia/China?) intervenes and the Caliph is “broken off” (Dan. 8: 8). The empire is then divided into four. Does the reconstructed Caliphate scare the world powers? Is that why it is broken into four subsections?That is my guess. When the Bible says Yavan and its Caliph “magnifies himself exceedingly”, I think this is the reason that the powers that break off the horn; they are scared by the Caliphate. The Yavan Empire (revived Ottoman Empire) will be exceedingly powerful.
Rise of Antichrist
It is only after the break-up of the Yavan Empire that the Antichrist arises from one of these four areas. IMO, he eventually re-consolidates yet another (fourth) Caliphate and begins his reign of terror.
So, based on the Bible, I believe we can assume that ISIS will be destroyed by Iran in the near future. It is also likely however, that a Caliphate will exist on the earth from this point until the return of Jesus with only a brief interlude when the revived Ottoman Empire is broken into four sub-sections. So I personally believe ISIS is only a precursor of the final Beast Empire that is coming. But it is a very good example of what is to come, just on smaller scale.
How many more Caliphs will there be? Heretical Sunni scriptures say there will be 12 legitimate ones before the “Day of Judgment.” Abu Bakr al-Bagdadi would be the eighth. Now I realize that Islamic scriptures are not inerrant and this number is just a fantasy, but if the Antichrist ends up being the 12th it would give him great credibility in the minds of Muslims. This is just something to remember when the time is closer. If this turns out to be true there will be 4 additional Caliphs after Abu Bakr al-Bagdadi. Of course we are basing this on heretical prophecies so that is not be counted on.
Can We Really Defeat ISIS?
This isn’t a political article, its a spiritual article. I’m sure we could all pontificate on what the USA can and should do militarily and politically. As I stated before in the previous article, I am not opposed to military or political actions. Although I anticipate ISIS will be defeated by Iran, because Satan who controls all of Islam is not overcome by politics, I doubt we will militarily defeat Islam. You see, Satan is currently the ruler (Gk: ARCHON) of this world system (economics and politics). We must never forget that.
We are to strive against Islam, not just ISIS because as we have just seen a yet more powerful and dangerous Caliphate is coming. Satan has uniquely chosen Islam as the ideology that will become the Beast Empire of the Antichrist. As such it is and will become the greatest threat to Christianity in the history of the world. We know from scripture that the Beast will be given authority for 42 months and it will “shatter” the holy people:
It would be for a time, times, and half a time; and as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people, all these events will be completed. (Dan. 12:7)
From this passage, we know that Islam will not be overcome by the western nations, rather Islam will shatter at least the Christians within those nations. Only Jesus will physically overcome this evil ideology when he returns.
So why even try to strive against Islam if we know the Bible says it will “shatter” the power of God’s holy people? The answer is that “power ” (nations, governments, military, etc.) is not what we are to value. Souls are to be valued. The struggle of the 70th Week of Daniel is for the souls of the whole world. So if Satan is not overcome by politics, how is he overcome? Revelation tells us plainly:
And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death. (Rev. 12: 11)
The saints play a role in overcoming Satan. They have 3 weapons in this fight:
- The blood of the Lamb (salvation)
- The word of our testimony (sharing the Gospel)
- Not loving life even with faced with death (fearlessness)
This is not what most conservative Christians want to hear in relation to ISIS and terrorism. However, this is the direction given us by scripture.
In our next installment PART THREE we’ll look at our approach to implementing it.