I was recently prevailed upon to read a book by a man named Joel Richardson called “Mid East Beast.” In it the author claims to make a “Scriptural case for an Islamic Anti-Christ.” I was already aware of this new theory and had heard others speak of it, and while I found their arguments interesting I was unconvinced. However, since ISIS is now declaring a Caliphate, and Glen Beck and World Net Daily are sounding the alarm, and the book is considered a must read by the prestigious Chuck Missler, I decided to give it a go. Naturally, since it came with such recommendations, I assumed that there was some Biblical scholarship presented that might be refreshing and challenging. But now that I have read it, I can only say that I was shocked by its lack of depth.
Though the book is well written and makes some good points in the beginning, it dives into a series of hypotheses that move from the inaccurate to the bizarre. And all of them are intended to back up the notion that the prophecies given to Daniel regarding the four empires of History, culminated in the Islamic Caliphate of the 7th Century – a revival of which in our day will produce the Muslim Anti-Christ. Though there are other statements and misstatements in the book that could be addressed, this is the essential foundation upon which all the other claims rest. Therefore, I will attempt to explain why this theory is inaccurate and flawed and why so many Bible prophecy “experts” seem to be buying it.
For more than a Century, and especially since 1948, the majority of premillennial scholars have understood that the last empire spoken of in Daniel chapters 2 and 7 was the Revived Roman Empire. This was not dreamed up because they were located in the West or because they had a Western mindset as is suggested in the book. On the contrary it is solidly based on the visions given to Daniel and their fulfillment in history. Why then would scholars such as Missler and others, be willing to take us back to a Middle Ages understanding? Actually the answer is quite simple and it is one I have been preaching for the last twenty years. They fail to understand that the prophecies of Daniel have to do with Israel and not just the land. These prophecies predict the occupation and domination of Israel by Gentile empires. Once Israel was removed from the land by God through the Roman Empire in 70AD, the prophecies were no longer in operation until they were united as a nation with the land in 1948. This is a most essential understanding and it is true for all of Biblical prophecy regarding the end of the age. Without Israel in the land the prophecy does not apply – period. This is also the primary proof we are at the end of the age and the prophecies are once again being fulfilled because Israel is back in their ancient homeland.
In Daniel chapter 2, Daniel interprets the dream of Nebuchadnezzar where he saw a great statue. His interpretation was as follows:
“You, O king, were looking and behold, there was a single great statue; that statue, which was large and of extraordinary splendor, was standing in front of you, and its appearance was awesome. The head of that statue was made of fine gold, its breast and its arms of silver, its belly and its thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay…..This was the dream; now we will tell its interpretation before the king. You, O king, are the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, the strength and the glory…..you are the head of gold. After you there will arise another kingdom inferior to you, then another third kingdom of bronze, which will rule over all the earth. Then there will be a fourth kingdom as strong as iron; inasmuch as iron crushes and shatters all things, so, like iron that breaks in pieces, it will crush and break all these in pieces. In that you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it will be a divided kingdom; but it will have in it the toughness of iron, inasmuch as you saw the iron mixed with common clay. As the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of pottery, so some of the kingdom will be strong and part of it will be brittle. And in that you saw the iron mixed with common clay, they will combine with one another in the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, even as iron does not combine with pottery.”
Daniel’s interpretation makes it clear that the statue represents four consecutive kingdoms beginning with Babylon. These four kingdoms would govern the Middle-East and more importantly Israel. Then there is a fifth kingdom that comes out of the fourth, represented by the feet and toes, but it is different than any kingdom that has gone before. It is a revival of the fourth but with very different characteristics since it is an alliance of nations and peoples who come together for a purpose but do not adhere – like iron and clay. In Daniel Chapter 7, the prophet is given another picture of these kingdoms as four great beasts. The first three are identified by name as Babylon, Media-Persia and Greece but the last one is not identified since it is so different and the prophet was unable to compare it to anything. This last beast takes up where Greece left off and ends out the age as the Anti-Christ kingdom with ten horns. It is very clear from history, and even the New Testament, that Rome was this kingdom that conquered Greece, dominated Israel, even crucifying the Messiah, and destroyed the Temple banishing the nation to exile in 70AD. This destruction under Rome was prophesied throughout Israel’s history and to suggest, that this empire was not the fourth beast because it came from the West rather than the East, is truly absurd. But even worse is the claim that the fourth beast was an Islamic Caliphate that came on the scene nearly six hundred years later at a time when Israel no longer occupied the land. Honestly, to ignore the Roman Empire which conquered Greece and terrorized Israel more than any other, fulfilling a host of Biblical prophecies, is not only absurd it is irrational. It is hard to imagine how any Biblical scholar can take this seriously. Yet many of them do because they have not been able to understand the role of the Middle-East empires that have come and gone after Rome. Now someone comes along and gives them an alternative that seems to fit the current situation and they are all ears. Since they have not been able to understand the mystery of the toes, they are ready to abandon Rome as the fourth kingdom and jump ahead to an Islamic Caliphate that began in the 7th Century. However, besides the glaring omission of the Roman Empire in this scenario, and even if we assume that all the various Islamic Caliphates throughout history were one entity, what do we do with the Crusader Kingdom and the British Empire?
There are many other problems with the Anti- Christ kingdom being an Eastern Islamic Caliphate, such as; the fact that it is an alliance (Dan 2:41-43, Rev 17:12-13), and the Book of Daniel clearly connects the Anti-Christ with the Roman Empire (Dan 9:26, Rev 17:9-13, 18). Yet, the foundation of this theory is the notion that Rome was not the fourth kingdom. On this it stands or falls to the ground. There can be no doubt that Rome is the fourth beast, a revival of which began the same year Israel became a nation once again in her own land – 1948. The emergence of the EU and its development into the United States of Europe, with a goal to swallowing up Israel and bringing peace to the Middle-East, is the obvious fulfillment of these prophecies. It came out of the Roman Empire and encompasses the same territory. It is not committed to the destruction of Israel as the Islamicists, but desires to swallow it up with a treaty and EU membership. This is now put on hold until the situation changes on the ground, and on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and Israel is willing to consecrate the Holy Place. Then they will all be back in the peace mood. After much pain and sorrow, the Final Status agreement or Peace Treaty will be signed and Israel will likely become part of the EU completing the beast’s seventh head. This will be the time of peace and security which comes to an abrupt end beginning the Tribulation period (1Thess 5:2-3).
The other scenario, being presented by Richardson and others, requires Israel and the whole Middle-East, including much of Europe, to be dominated by a brutal Islamic Caliphate the likes of ISIS. However, what would this mean for Israel? And what would happen to Christians? You see not only has Mr. Richardson modified Biblical history to exclude Rome as an important player, he has also written off the future time of peace and security taught by Daniel and Paul (Dan 9:27, 1Thess 5:2-3).Yes the Anti-Christ is a man of war, as he exclaims, but before he is revealed as the Anti-Christ he is a man of peace who will amaze the whole world, and sadly even many in the church.
It seems to me that those who accept this Islamic Caliphate theory have written off the West as a major player in the days to come. They see Islam on the rise and ready to take over the world. However, while it is true that Islam has its sights set on world conquest, it would be very foolish to rule out the Western nations that God used to scatter Israel and bring them back again. Islam maybe on the warpath against the West but it is a house seriously divided. How many Caliphates are there? How many barbaric factions? How many Jihadists warring against each other? Indeed, about the only thing they agree on is the destruction of Israel. And my friends, that is not going to happen now or ever. What we are seeing at present is the humiliation and destruction of Radical Islam, which will be brought about by force, as has begun in Egypt. Sure they will carry on their efforts underground, but they will lose their appeal when the nations sponsoring them are humbled. Make no mistake about it, no Islamic Caliphate will take over Israel or usher in Daniel’s 70th Week or the Tribulation Period. This will be a smooth slick politician who is given authority by the EU to carry out his mission of “peace and security.” What we hear now are cries for peace and condemnation of Israel for defending herself. These will continue until the “peace” deal is secured. But first there must be a game changing war that gives Israel the courage and impetus to build the Temple. Could this war have just begun? If so then it is only round one. There is unfortunately much more to come!