Most of the western world was shocked by the sudden emergence of ISIS in the spring of 2014, its lightning conquest of northern and western Iraq and the establishment of a caliphate. The question on the minds of many Christians watching for the signs of Jesus’ return has been is ISIS fulfilling prophecy?
Personally I think it is too soon to definatively say that it is. There are numerous hints that it may be however, so it warrents careful observation over the next months and years. In my upcoming book, Are We READY for Jesus? How to prepare for his return I discuss many of these factors in greater detail. The book is anticipated in early 2015.
The first of these hints is the Arabic acronym/nickname of the Islamic State, “Daesh.” This word has an arabic meaning of “to crush” or “to trample underfoot.” I am sure that readers of the book of Daniel are staring at this definition in stunned amazement. It is a perfect match with Daniel’s prophecy of Dan. 7: 7 regarding the fourth terrifying Beast.
Behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong; and it had large iron teeth. It devoured and crushed and trampled down the remainder with its feet; and it was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. (Dan. 7: 7 NASB)
When I first read about this nickname in this article “On the Origin of the name Daesh” I felt perhaps Christians had chosen it to try and force a prophetic meaning on ISIS. Careful reading however shows that the Muslims themselves have chosen the name. Many in the western world are now adopting this nickname. (“France Says it will Call ISIS, Daesh” “Boston Globe Recommends Using the Name Daesh.”) Although it was originally a name the terrorists did not like, recent articles show that it is becoming widely accepted even by the militants. ( “Daesh Palestine painted on soccer field“) When we see this name in print we need to remember what it means and Dan. 7: 7. Is ISIS fulfilling prophecy? Maybe.
The Fourth Beast has been around for a long time. As we have seen in PULVERIZED and THE FOURTH SIGNPOST: THE BEAST on this website, this Beast is Islam, not Rome as many in the church has thought. A more detailed explanation of this can be found in Mark Davidson’ book “Daniel Revisited.” Might ISIS be a precurrsor however to the final form this fourth beast is going to take. It might. Let me explain.
In Rev. 17 we see a picture of a scarlet beast rising from the abyss. This beast reflects the Dragon found in Rev. 12. The dragon is red, the Beast is scarlet. Both have seven heads, ten horns and ten crowns. We know from Revelation 12 that the Dragon is Satan so the Beast is the splitting image of Satan.
The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and go to destruction. And those who dwell on the earth, whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will wonder when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come. Here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits, and they are seven kings; five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while. The beast which was and is not, is himself also an eighth and is one of the seven, and he goes to destruction. The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but they receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour. These have one purpose, and they give their power and authority to the beast. (Rev. 17: 8-13 NASB)
We notice that the seven heads are seven mountains and seven kings. From Daniel 2, we learn that “Mountain” is a symbol for kingdom so this passage means the heads are seven kingdoms and seven kings. Most prophecy teachers believe, as I do, that these are 7 historic kingdoms that Satan has used to try and defeat God’s plan of salavation. These kingdoms were:
Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome and the Islamic Caliphate
We also notice that one of the kingdoms “was” and “is not” and “will come.” That means that one of the kingdoms will be defeated and removed from the world stage but it will return. This is also seen in Rev. 13
I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast. (Rev. 13:3 NASB)
This passage confirms that it’s one of the heads (kingdoms) that “appeared” to be slain. The seven kingdoms conquered each other one after another for over 4000 years. Then in 1924, the Allied powers broke up the Ottoman Empire which was the Islamic caliphate at the time. This was the “killing’ of the head of one of the beasts. At that time Satan no longer had a kingdom on the earth. Has the Beast arisen from the pit? Is ISIS fulfilling prophecy by reforming the caliphate? We aren’t sure, but we need to watch.
Both Isaiah and Micah tell us the Antichrist will arise from the area that used to be Assyria (Eastern Turkey, Western Iraq and Syria).
And the Assyrian will fall by a sword not of man, and a sword not of man will devour him. So he will not escape the sword. (Isa. 31:8 NASB)
This One will be our peace when the Assyrian invades our land,
When he tramples on our citadels. (Micah 5:5 NASB)
This is the same region that ISIS currently occupies. Will ISIS fulfill prophecy? Maybe.
Last moon I wrote a post about the Blood Moon tetrad. In that post we discussed that it may or may not be prophetic. WHAT ABOUT THE BLOOD MOONS. What is interesting is that ISIS arose and formed the caliphate immediately after the first blood moon in the tetrad. Again this may be prophetic and it may not.
The execution method of choice of ISIS is beheading. Interestingly this is also the method by which the saints die in the tribulation.
Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand. (Rev. 20:4 NASB)
None of these prophecies are definatively fulfilled by ISIS. However ISIS may fulfill a number of them. I think all Christians should keep a close eye on ISIS and “watch” as our Lord has commanded us.