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Days of Awe

Days of Awe: The Man of Sin and his False Prophet

“And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.”

–  Daniel 11: 36-37

Revelation 12 & 13  –  Interval between Trumpets and Atonement

Theme: Tribulation for the Earth

The ten Days of Awe started with Trumpets on the first of Tishri and ended with Atonement on the tenth. This period was a time of tribulation, fasting, and prayer, filled with purpose and meaning. Trumpets continually called the people to repentance during this period. It was a time of seeking repentance in the hope of escaping judgment on the Day of Atonement. The New Covenant fulfillment of this principle is found in Paul’s writings.

“For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.” (1Cor. 11: 31, 32) 

Revelation 12 and 13 describe the tribulation under the rule of the beast. The Dragon finally realizes his long-held dream of conquering and ruling the planet, to be exalted as god of the earth and worshiped by all mankind. Revelation 12 starts with signs that contextualize the events that follow. After the signs, the heavens are cleansed and the dragon is thrown down to earth, unleashing mankind’s third woe.

Revelation 13 introduces two beasts, the Man of Sin and his false prophet. Comprised of four different animals prefigured in Old Testament prophecy, the first beast symbolizes an alliance of three nations evolved from first century BC empires that inherit the power of the fourth. This beast symbolizes both the end time kingdom of the antichrist and its king. He is known by various names, including the Man of Sin, the Son of Perdition, the Man of Lawlessness. The second beast is the false prophet, a religious figure claiming to be Jesus Christ.


Revelation 12  

And a great marvel was seen in Heaven—a woman who was robed with the sun and had the moon under her feet, and had also a wreath of stars round her head, was with child, and she was crying out in the pains and agony of childbirth. And another marvel was seen in Heaven—a great fiery-red Dragon, with seven heads and ten horns; and on his heads were seven kingly crowns. His tail was drawing after it a third part of the stars of Heaven, and it dashed them to the ground. And in front of the woman who was about to become a mother, the Dragon was standing in order to devour the child as soon as it was born. She gave birth to a son—a male child, destined before long to rule all nations with an iron scepter. But her child was caught up to God and His throne, and the woman fled into the Desert, there to be cared for, for 1,260 days, in a place which God had prepared for her.

And war broke out in Heaven, Michael and his angels engaging in battle with the Dragon. The Dragon fought and so did his angels; but they were defeated, and there was no longer any room found for them in Heaven. The great Dragon, the ancient serpent, he who is called ‘the Devil’ and ‘the Adversary’ and leads the whole earth astray, was hurled down: he was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him.

Then I heard a loud voice speaking in Heaven. It said, “The salvation and the power and the Kingdom of our God have now come, and the sovereignty of His Christ; for the accuser of our brethren has been hurled down—he who, day after day and night after night, was wont to accuse them in the presence of God. But they have gained the victory over him because of the blood of the Lamb and of the testimony which they have borne, and because they held their lives cheap and did not shrink even from death. For this reason be glad, O Heaven, and you who live in Heaven! Alas for the earth and the sea! For the Devil has come down to you; full of fierce anger, because he knows that his appointed time is short.”

And when the Dragon saw that he was hurled down to the earth, he went in pursuit of the woman who had given birth to the male child. Then, the two wings of a great eagle were given to the woman to enable her to fly away into the Desert to the place assigned her, there to be cared for, for a period of time, two periods of time, and half a period of time, beyond the reach of the serpent. And the serpent poured water from his mouth—a very river it seemed—after the woman, in the hope that she would be carried away by its flood. But the earth came to the woman’s help: it opened its mouth and drank up the river which the Dragon had poured from his mouth. This made the Dragon furiously angry with the woman, and he went elsewhere to make war upon her other children—those who keep God’s commandments and hold fast to the testimony of Jesus.


Revelation 12 Commentary

v. 1a  And a great marvel [sign] was seen in Heaven… This chapter can be somewhat confusing because of the tendency to view the signs as last days’ events rather than what they actually are: signs in the heavens, having astronomical, historical, and prophetic components. The astronomical component provides an indication of the general timing of when these things will come to pass, i.e., the season of Jesus’ return to earth (Mt. 24:32-35). The historic component provides background information, while the prophetic component is just that, a foretelling of events that will immediately follow. These signs furnish context for the chapter’s narrative events, which start with verse seven.

v. 1b-2, 4  …a woman who was robed with the sun and had the moon under her feet, and had also a wreath of stars round her head, was with child, and she was crying out in the pains and agony of childbirth. And in front of the woman who was about to become a mother, the Dragon was standing… The arrangement of the constellations provides the astronomical component of this sign, foretelling Jesus’ second coming in accordance with his own prophecy that his return would be preceded by signs in the heavens. Just as Christ’s first coming was announced by the position of stars and planets at his birth (the ‘star in the East’ followed by the Magi), the season of his second coming is foretold by the position of the constellations described here. It is during this.

The sign describes the relative placement in the sky of the constellations that indicate the nearness of the Day of Judgment, including the coming of the Man of Sin. The woman, with a wreath of stars around her head, standing in front of a dragon... Virgo, the virgin (Heb: Bethulah, the woman); Draco, the dragon, crouching just above the bottom of her legs; and Bernice’s Hair, an Egyptian constellation of twelve stars seen over her head. The woman is “robed with the sun and... the moon under her feet...” This describes these three constellations aligning over a rising moon in the east while the rays of the setting sun still touch her robes in the west, i.e., at dusk when the stars first become visible. The only time these constellations have come into this relative position was on 1-2 Tishri, during the first Days of Awe, four years running, from 1996 to 1999. According to one astronomer, this event will not re-occur for another 26,000 years. 7

Jesus prophesied that his return would be preceded by ‘great signs (plural) in the heavens,’ following the principle of more than one witness warning of the coming judgment. During the first two years that the sign of the woman appeared, several total lunar eclipses occurred in which a ‘blood red’ moon was observed from Jerusalem. (See Joel 2:31, Rev. 6:12) The first occurred on the evening of April 3rd, 1996, at the start of the Passover feast, the second on September 26th, on the eve of the feast of Tabernacles. The following year, two more eclipses occurred, accompanied by same phenomenon: the first on March 23rd, during the feast day of Purim, and again on the 16th of September during the Days of Awe. During the eclipse on the feast of Purim, the comet Hale-Bopp made its closest approach to earth, being clearly visible for some time, as it was the largest and brightest comet to appear in over 400 years. Only a world steeped in the cold logic of science could miss the significance of all these signs occurring during the same short period of time.

According to Jewish theology, the Resurrection of the Just will occur on the calendar Day of Trumpets, as the ultimate fulfillment of the symbolism of this feast. The Apostle Paul confirms this timing in his first letter to the Corinthians, stating that the dead will be raised “at the last trumpet.” Contrary to popular speculation, this statement does not mean that the Resurrection would be the last trumpet-event in God’s salvation plan, or that it would occur at the blowing of the last of the trumpets mentioned in Revelation. The Talmud gives names to just three of the many trumpets that were sounded in Israel during feast days, full moons, etc. The “first trumpet” was sounded at Pentecost, the “last trumpet” at the feast of Trumpets, while the “great trumpet” announced the Day of Atonement. When Paul told the church that the Resurrection would take place “at the last trumpet,” he was referring to the Day of Trumpets, when Christ would return for his church. Since the feast day of Trumpets finds its ultimate fulfillment in the Resurrection, Paul was merely stating the obvious.

“We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed – in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.”  1Cor. 15:52

v. 3-4  And another marvel [sign] was seen in Heaven—a great fiery-red Dragon, with seven heads and ten horns; and on his heads were seven kingly crowns. His tail was drawing after it a third part of the stars of Heaven, and it dashed them to the ground. And in front of the woman who was about to become a mother, the Dragon was standing in order to devour the child as soon as it was born.

This is not a completely separate sign, since it is observed in conjunction with the sign of the woman. It is emphasized to provide the historic context.  Lucifer, the light bearer, was removed from his place in heaven and his name was changed to Satan, God’s adversary and the accuser of mankind. His action of drawing a third of the stars (‘angels’ v. 9) away from their heavenly estate and down to the earth symbolizes the rebellion he led against God. Even though he still had access to heaven because he is a spiritual being (Job 1:6), it was no longer his home. He made his home on earth, with the goal of leading mankind in rebellion against God.

The Dragon’s seven heads and ten horns identify him as the dark spiritual power behind the kingdom of the beast, which also has seven heads and ten horns. (Rev. 13) The symbolism of the Dragon waiting to devour the child at birth is interpreted by most commentators as representing Satan’s attempt to kill Jesus through the execution of hundreds of babies by King Herod. By extrapolation, it is symbolic of all Satan’s attempts to prevent the coming and work of Christ.

v. 5  She gave birth to a son—a male child, destined before long to rule all nations with an iron scepter. But her child was caught up to God and His throne… This verse continues the historic element of the sign. There is a difference of opinion on what the woman symbolizes. The most logical is that she symbolizes the Old Testament church, giving birth to the New Testament church, represented by the child, Jesus. (This is consistent with the fact that believers, comprising the New Testament church, are spiritually part of the mystical body of Christ, spiritually found “in him.”) Though the Dragon tried to swallow Christ both at his birth and in death, Jesus escaped from his traps. After descending into Hades, he was taken up to heaven to appear before the throne of God. On the third day he came back to life, rising from the dead by the power of the Spirit, and he appeared to many in his glorified body. He will return at the end of the age to rule the nations.

Many have claimed that this is a picture of the rapture, with the child representing a church ‘caught up out of the tribulation.’ However, the sign itself does not support this. Since this verse is still part of the historical component of the sign, the catching up of the child cannot symbolize a present or future rapture of the New Testament church. For this imagery to apply to last days’ events (rather than historical ones), it would have to be part of the prophetic component of the sign. This would require it to be repeated later in the text, which it is not.

v. 6  …and the woman fled into the Desert, there to be cared for, for 1,260 days, in a place which God had prepared for her. This is the prophetic component of the sign. It can easily be identified as such because it comes to pass as an actual event in verse 14 of this chapter.

v. 7-9  And war broke out in Heaven, Michael and his angels engaging in battle with the Dragon. The Dragon fought and so did his angels; but they were defeated, and there was no longer any room found for them in Heaven. The great Dragon, the ancient serpent, he who is called ‘the Devil’ and ‘the Adversary’ and leads the whole earth astray, was hurled down: he was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him. The sign of verses 1-6 having concluded, verse 7 returns to the narration, describing events occurring both in heaven and on earth.

There is some discussion as to whether these verses represent Satan’s fall from heaven when he originally rebelled against God or if they describe an end times’ event. The issue is decided on the context and order of the chapter. The history of Satan’s previous rebellion against God was already described in the historical component of the signs (v. 3-4). In that original battle, Lucifer initiated the rebellion and was driven from heaven. However, the three components of the sign have been completed, so these verses describing the fall of Satan are therefore an account of ongoing events as they unfold for John. That this war and Satan’s fall is a ‘current event’ is in fact confirmed in verses 10-12 by the loud voice in heaven, which states that the ‘kingdom and authority’ of Christ has just now begun, “for the Accuser... has been hurled down.” (NIV)

In the current battle, Michael and his angels start the fight because they are required to. It is an end times’ event in which the visiting privileges of the Dragon and his dark angels are permanently revoked in order to fulfill the Scriptural principle that “Judgment must begin at the house of God.” (1Pet. 4: 17 KJV)  Before God’s purifying seven bowl judgments can fall on the earth, he must first purify his own dwelling. Once the Dragon and his followers have been cast out of heaven, the requirements of righteousness will have been fulfilled, and the Lord will be at liberty to judge the powers of wickedness on earth. The identification of the Dragon as the devil and Adversary (Satan) in these verses leaves no doubt about his identity. The term “the ancient serpent” is a rabbinic expression that refers to the tempter in the Garden of Eden. There is some speculation that it may have been an actual dragon that caused Adam and Eve’s Fall in Eden, but thereafter its kind became serpents, reproducing without arms and legs due to God’s curse: “You will crawl on your belly and eat dust all the days of your life.”

v. 10  Then I heard a loud voice speaking in Heaven. It said, “The salvation and the power and the Kingdom of our God have now come, and the sovereignty of His Christ; for the accuser of our brethren has been hurled down—he who, day after day and night after night, was wont to accuse them in the presence of God.” Satan’s accusations in God’s throne room have been allowed because heaven and earth have both been affected by the results of sin and rebellion. However, the new millennium has officially begun (though not yet implemented on earth) with the thematic fulfillment of the Day of Trumpets; the heavens have been purified, and the earth soon will be. The Dragon has now been defeated in two arenas, in Hades by Jesus after his crucifixion, and by Michael and his angels in Heaven. Only the battle for the earth remains. Since Satan has no fallback position left to him, he will attempt to attain complete mastery and control over the earth by eliminating every vestige of light on the planet.

v. 11  But they have gained the victory over him because of the blood of the Lamb and of the testimony which they have borne, and because they held their lives cheap and did not shrink even from death. Even though the rule of the beast under the direction of the Dragon will be one of merciless persecution and martyrdom of the saints, ultimate victory will be theirs. This victory comes through the redeeming blood of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit that enables them to faithfully witness for Christ, even by the sacrifice of their lives.

v. 12  For this reason be glad, O Heaven, and you who live in Heaven! Alas for the earth and the sea! For the Devil has come down to you; full of fierce anger, because he knows that his appointed time is short. The Dragon has read Scripture, so he knows that he will have only forty-two months to gain control over the earth and fortify it for a defense against the return of Christ. Angry at his recent defeat and fearing the loss of his last stronghold, the Dragon rushes about in a great rage to implement the final stage of his plan to prevent Jesus from establishing the Kingdom of God on earth.

v. 13-16  And when the Dragon saw that he was hurled down to the earth, he went in pursuit of the woman who had given birth to the male child. Then, the two wings of a great eagle were given to the woman to enable her to fly away into the Desert to the place assigned her, there to be cared for, for a period of time, two periods of time, and half a period of time, beyond the reach of the serpent. And the serpent poured water from his mouth—a very river it seemed—after the woman, in the hope that she would be carried away by its flood. But the earth came to the woman’s help: it opened its mouth and drank up the river which the Dragon had poured from his mouth. 

The modern manifestation of the woman, the Old Testament church, is the state of Israel. The logical question is why the Dragon pursues her before attacking New Covenant believers. The answer is that the significant points of God’s salvation plan have all been prophesied in Scripture, and each prophecy has been fulfilled in its proper time, because God’s word cannot fail. Jesus’ return to earth is contained in Messianic prophecy, which comes to pass through the salvation of the Jews. (The Gentile church, as Paul explains in his letter to the Romans, is a wild olive branch grafted into the tree of Israel.) The Dragon reasons that if he can destroy or even scatter Israel, he will be able to prevent Jesus from fulfilling at least part of God’s prophetic word regarding his return. If he can prevent even one Biblical prophecy from coming to pass, there is a chance he will be able to prevent others as well, including his eventual defeat when Christ returns.

The two witnesses of Revelation 11 prevent the Dragon from destroying or scattering Israel. He therefore initiates spiritual warfare, his area of expertise. If he can discourage and defeat Israel spiritually, or perhaps even turn the Jews to rebellion, his planned physical attack against Jerusalem will be that much easier. As “the father of lies,” he will attempt to deceive the Jews to turn them away from the warnings of the two witnesses. The water spewing from the Dragon’s mouth symbolizes the great spiritual delusion and lies with which he will enchant and subvert the earth at the end of the age. However, this attack against Israel also fails.

“The coming of the man of sin will be in accordance with the works of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs, and wonders, and every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.”  2Thess. 2:9-12

This passage is often misinterpreted as describing an end times’ flight of Israel into the desert east of the Jordan in a repeat of the first century flight from Jerusalem. To the contrary, such an end times’ flight scenario is not supported in Scripture. Old Testament prophecy indicates that the Jews will gather to Israel at the end of the age, not flee from it, except for a panic reaction to the large earthquake at the end of the time of Israel’s troubles (Zech 14). Instead of physical flight, the wings of the eagle represent God’s protection and strength, and thus deliverance from the Dragon’s spiritual attack. The woman flies to the wilderness, “to her place,” – the land given to her by God. In Scripture, the desert is a place away from civilization, a refuge for those in need. During the tribulation, Israel itself is the desert, the only place on earth not under the ‘civilization’ of the beast. The opening of the land to swallow the Dragon’s stream of lies and threats against the woman symbolizes the spiritual protection available to the Jews by fleeing to Israel, the land originally given them by God as an eternal possession, and restored to them in the last days. Because God’s prophetic word is at stake, he preserves Israel as a nation during the forty-two months of the Man of Sin’s rule, ensuring that end times’ prophesies will be fulfilled.

v. 17 This made the Dragon furiously angry with the woman, and he went elsewhere to make war upon her other children—those who keep God’s commandments and hold fast to the testimony of Jesus. Seeing that God will preserve Israel as long as the two witnesses are around, the Dragon goes to war against the remaining people of God still on earth, the New Testament church. Christian believers, Jesus’ brothers and sisters, or the woman’s “other children,” now receive the brunt of the Dragon’s rage, suffering spiritual and physical persecution, imprisonment, and martyrdom.


Revelation 13

And he took up a position upon the sands of the sea-shore. Then I saw a Wild Beast coming up out of the sea, and he had ten horns and seven heads. On his horns were ten kingly crowns, and inscribed on his heads were names full of blasphemy. The Wild Beast which I saw resembled a leopard, and had feet like the feet of a bear, and his mouth was like the mouth of a lion; and it was to the Dragon that he owed his power and his throne and his wide dominion. I saw that one of his heads seemed to have been mortally wounded; but his mortal wound was healed, and the whole world was amazed and followed him. And they offered worship to the Dragon, because it was to him that the Wild Beast owed his dominion; and they also offered worship to the Wild Beast, and said, “Who is there like him? And who is able to engage in battle with him?”

And there was given him a mouth full of boastful and blasphemous words; and liberty of action was granted him for forty-two months. And he opened his mouth to utter blasphemies against God, to speak evil of His name and of His dwelling-place—that is to say, of those who dwell in Heaven. And permission was given him to make war upon God’s people and conquer them; and power was given him over every tribe, people, language and nation. And all the inhabitants of the earth will be found to be worshipping him: every one whose name is not recorded in the Book of Life—the Book of the Lamb who has been offered in sacrifice ever since the creation of the world.

Let all who have ears give heed. If any one is eager to lead others into captivity, he must himself go into captivity. If any one is bent on killing with the sword, he must himself be killed by the sword. Here is an opportunity for endurance, and for the exercise of faith, on the part of God’s people.

Then I saw another Wild Beast, coming up out of the earth. He had two horns like those of a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon. And the authority of the first Wild Beast—the whole of that authority—he exercises in his presence, and he causes the earth and its inhabitants to worship the first Wild Beast, whose mortal wound had been healed. He also works great miracles, so as even to make fire come down from Heaven to earth in the presence of human beings. And his power of leading astray the inhabitants of the earth is due to the marvels which he has been permitted to work in the presence of the Wild Beast. And he told the inhabitants of the earth to erect a statue to the Wild Beast who had received the sword-stroke and yet had recovered. And power was granted him to give breath to the statue of the Wild Beast, so that the statue of the Wild Beast could even speak and cause all who refuse to worship it to be put to death. And he causes all, small and great, rich and poor, free men and slaves, to have stamped upon them a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, in order that no one should be allowed to buy or sell unless he had the mark—either the name of the Wild Beast or the number which his name represents.

Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six. (KJV)


Revelation 13 Commentary

v. 1  And he took up a position upon the sands of the sea-shore. Then I saw a Wild Beast coming up out of the sea, and he had ten horns and seven heads. On his horns were ten kingly crowns, and inscribed on his heads were names full of blasphemy. In some Revelation manuscripts the subject of this sentence is “I” while in others it is “he.” Either one works to establish that events are taking place on earth. Since the figure presents a close semblance of the angel’s stance in chapter 10, it is likely that this describes the continuing actions of the Dragon of chapter 12, claiming the earth as his domain.

In chapter ten, the angel stood on both land and sea. Here, the Dragon stands on the seashore. In Biblical economy, the land is associated with Israel. Considered from ancient times to be outside the control of man, the sea represents the untamed part of the earth, and is therefore symbolic of the Gentile world. Since the Dragon has already been prohibited from destroying Israel, his stance on the shore facing the sea symbolizes his coming rule over the Gentile world.

In Scripture, a horn always represents power. The placement of horns at the four corners of an altar, man’s contact point with God, illustrates this principle. When applied to prophetic writings, horns symbolize individual kings that arise from a kingdom; a beast or its heads symbolizes the kingdom itself. Here, the Here, the ten horns symbolize kings beast can refer either to the Man of Sin, his kingdom, or both. There are two reasons for this. The time frame involved is short, so the kingdom lasts only as long as its ruler. More to the point, the Man of Sin is possessed by the spirit of the antichrist, who has been around since Satan’s original rebellion. The antichrist is therefore the ruler of this kingdom as well as a malevolent spirit, with a history that goes back several thousand years. His spiritual pedigree is described by the seven heads and ten horns of the beast. The blasphemous names indicate his antithetical opposition to God.

The NTMS uses the term “wild beast” (Gr. – zōon) here to differentiate between this type of beast and those found around God’s throne, which it translates as “living creatures” (Gr. – thērion). This beast is similar to the red Dragon of Revelation 12, but there are some differences. Although the beast and the Dragon both have seven heads, seven crowns, and ten horns, the Dragon’s crowns are on its seven heads, while the beast wears its seven crowns on its horns. Further, the Dragon is red, while the beast is a composite of a leopard, bear, and a lion. The composite beast symbolizes the end times’ kingdom of the antichrist, while the red Dragon is Satan, the spirit behind the kingdom.

The seven crowns on the Dragon’s heads represent the chronological rule of the seven world kingdoms that Satan established through time as part of his plan to retake control of the world. The placement of the crowns on the beast’s horns symbolizes the individual rule of the ten end times’ kings that support the rule of the beast. (Rev. 17) It is generally accepted that these ten kings are foreshadowed in Daniel 2 by the ten toes of the great statue of gold, silver, bronze, and iron.

“You, O king, were watching; and behold, a great image! This great image, whose splendor was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome. This image’s head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces… the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay…”  Dan. 2:31-34, 42

v. 2  The Wild Beast which I saw resembled a leopard, and had feet like the feet of a bear, and his mouth was like the mouth of a lion; and it was to the Dragon that he owed his power and his throne and his wide dominion. The composite makeup of the beast contains elements of the four beast-kingdoms of Daniel 7. The first three of these kingdoms, the lion, bear, and leopard, make up the body of the beast; the fourth kingdom is found in the ten horns atop the beast’s seven heads, characterizing the beast’s power.

Daniel spoke, saying, “I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the Great Sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, each different from the other. The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings. I watched till its wings were plucked off; and it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand on two feet like a man, and a man’s heart was given to it. “And suddenly another beast, a second, like a bear. It was raised up on one side, and had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. And they said thus to it: ‘Arise, devour much flesh!’ After this I looked, and there was another, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird. The beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it.’ After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth; it was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns… the fourth beast, which was different from all the others, (was) exceedingly dreadful, with its teeth of iron and its nails of bronze, which devoured, broke in pieces, and trampled the residue with its feet.” (Dan. 7:2-7, 19 NKJV)

The question is often raised as to whether the lion, bear and leopard that make up the body of the composite beast symbolize three literal end times’ kingdoms, or if these animals are merely figurative, representing character traits of the beast’s kingdom. Scholars usually identify the lion with Great Britain and the bear with Russia, but can identify no modern nation with the symbol of the leopard. For that reason, a figurative interpretation of the beast’s character traits is pretty much the universal choice here. Of the four beasts of Daniel 7, scholars uniformly apply a literal fulfillment only to the fourth beast, symbolizing the Roman Empire, which they have traced to the modern European Union. All that is lacking is to apply the same literal approach to the lion, the bear, and the leopard, as they also define historical empires with a modern day application.

When the literal principle of historical descent is applied to the three animals that comprise the body of the beast, all of them can in fact be traced to current nation-blocs. These nations are descended from the Babylonian, Persian, and Greek empires symbolized by the lion, bear and the leopard of Daniel 7. There is no need for these modern nations to have the leopard, bear, and lion as their current symbols; all that is required is that they trace their roots back to the cultural, political, and geographic heritage of these first century BC Middle Eastern empires.

The application of the principle of historical descent yields ten general observations about the composite beast. These observations lead to both deductive and inductive conclusions that differ from popular opinion regarding how end times events will unfold:

•  First, the four animals of the composite beast represent the four successive kingdoms of Daniel 7. The composite beast forms one kingdom, comprised of a group of aligned nations.

•  Second, consistent with established prophetic symbolism, the beasts that comprise the body of the composite beast form the nucleus of the beast’s end times’ world-wide kingdom, while the ten horns symbolize the ten subordinate kings that give the beast global control.

•  The third observation is that the kings symbolized by the ten horns on the beast’s head are not part of the nucleus of the beast’s end times’ empire. (If Daniel’s fourth beast were in fact a core part of the beast’s kingdom, then the body of the composite beast would have contained the other attributes of Daniel’s fourth beast, i.e., iron teeth and bronze nails.) The horns on top of the beast’s heads therefore symbolize the global power or strength of the beast’s kingdom. This is consistent with Revelation 17: 12-13, which states that the ten horns ‘give their power to the beast.’ The ten horns become part of the beast’s kingdom, not the other way around as is usually surmised.

•  Fourth, based on Revelation 17, it is likely that the ten horns help the composite beast only after he has come to some measure of power in the nations represented by the lion, bear, and leopard. The ten kings would not likely band together to give their strength to someone who did not have the power to coerce them to do this, or at least make it to their advantage to do so.

•  The fifth observation, based on the destruction of the harlot by the ten kings (Rev. 17: 16) is a logical inference that the composite beast cannot destroy the harlot himself, since he required their power to do this. This identifies the harlot as a global power in her own right.

•  Sixth, The harlot’s destruction probably takes place towards the beginning of the beast’s rule rather than at its end. Since the beast is not strong enough to destroy the harlot himself, he would not be strong enough to come to global rule opposed by the harlot; thus her early removal. (The opposition between them is implied by the fact that the beast has the harlot destroyed.)

•  Seventh, once the Man of Sin uses the power given to him by the ten kings, he will retain it, consolidating his position as de facto ruler of the world. Although the power of the ten kings predates that of the beast, they become the beast’s vassals, since he is later able to depose three of them (Dan. 7:24).

•  Eighth, the reason why the ten kings are necessary for the Man of Sin to destroy Mystery Babylon and rule the earth is because the ten kings are the inheritors of the military might of the Roman Empire. The modern world cannot be ruled by a kingdom that does not possess the advanced technology and power on which modern civilization rests.

•  Ninth, the ten kings hold actual rule of the world due to the might of their military power (and their technology), but this power is submitted to the kingdom of the beast. Thus, although the political/military rule is exercised by nations of Roman descent, the core values that determine the beast’s policies are those of the mostly Middle Eastern nations descended from the lion, bear, and leopard.

•  Tenth, the core values of the kingdom of the beast will be primarily religious in nature rather than political or ideological, evidenced by the fact that the beast demands actual worship rather than just loyalty from everyone.

Composition of the Beast

The lion, bear, and leopard in Daniel 7 symbolized the kingdoms of Babylon, Persia, and Greece, partly because of their cultural characteristics. These characteristics will also be evident in the nature of the composite beast. The relative ‘placement’ of these animals in the body of the beast also provides some idea of how they will be manifested. The lion represents the ability to intimidate by its roar, boasting of its prowess as king of all other beasts. The bear is known for the fierceness of its nature and its voracious appetite, while the leopard represents the ability to move with great speed. These characteristics take on new meaning when applied to the modern nation-blocs that make up the composite beast.

The composite beast has the body of a leopard. The leopard is known for its speed. The symbol of the leopard in Daniel 7 was fulfilled in the mobility and speed of the conquest of the known world by Alexander the Great, leading a Greek/Macedonian army several times smaller than those he defeated. The comparatively small size of his forces enabled him to move against his enemies with much greater speed and maneuverability. When he died, his kingdom was divided by four of his generals. The four heads of the leopard in Daniel 7 represent this division of Alexander’s empire.

After Alexander’s death, Seleucus took the heart of the empire, including Babylon. Eleven years later, he had conquered Syria and moved the Seleucid capital to Syrian Antioch. He eventually ruled the largest part of Alexander’s conquests in what became the Syrian Empire, including what are now Syria, Iraq, Iran, and much of Pakistan and Afghanistan. As inheritor of the Seleucid Empire, the small Muslim nation of Syria forms the part of the composite beast represented by the leopard. Making up most of the body of the composite beast, the leopard imparts an image of the kingdom of the beast as moving quickly to establish world dominion. Since the Man of Sin has only three and a half years to rule, the speed with which he establishes global rule will be one of the defining characteristics of his kingdom.

The most infamous of the Seleucid rulers was the Syrian Antiochus Epiphanes, the archetype of the Man of Sin. He did not just conquer Israel, he went out of his way to blaspheme God and persecute the Jews. He desecrated the temple and its altar, spreading pig’s blood on the sanctuary furnishings and placing a statue of Zeus in the Holy of Holies. He tried to corrupt Jewish youth with the games and idolatry of the Babylonian world system, building theatres throughout the country and even a gymnasium in Jerusalem, where athletes competed naked. He forced the Jews to sacrifice to Greek gods, inducing many to disobey the commandments and forsake their traditions. Those who did not sacrifice incense at the altars he had set up throughout Israel he tortured and killed, crucifying as many as 100,000 Jews in his persecutions.

Daniel 8 indicates that the Man of Sin will come from the kingdom of one of the four kings who succeeded Alexander the Great, though it does not state which one. Some direction is provided since this prophecy was already partially fulfilled by the Syrian ruler Antiochus Epiphanes, who is considered the archetype of the Man of Sin. Two points of this prophecy indicate its future fulfillment: the fact that it will be at “the appointed time of the end,” and that the Man of Sin will stand up against the Prince of princes, a title clearly referring to Jesus, who had not yet come when Epiphanes ruled over Israel.

And he said, “Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be. Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power. And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practice, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.” Dan. 8:19, 22-25

The composite beast has the feet of the bear. The fierceness and strength of the bear, the third beast of Daniel seven, are the qualities for which Persia was noted. Although Persia was tolerant towards nations that quickly submitted to her rule, she reserved much harsher treatment for nations who refused to pay tribute and those who did not submit to her edicts. Even small violations, such as not registering for military service, could result in death. The Persian Empire lacked a comprehensive written legal code such as that imposed by the Babylonian Empire, so punishments were arbitrary and personal, limited only by the imagination of the commander or satrap who imposed them. In one instance, a draft dodger was flayed alive and his skin stretched as a covering over the seat from which Xerxes had issued this punishment. Like the Persian bear of Daniel 7, the kingdom of the beast will be known for its fierce retribution against those who do not comply with the Man of Sin’s demand for worship or take his mark.

The feet of the bear symbolize the geographic extent of the Old Persian Empire. Persia’s ‘footprint’ extended over most of Asia Minor, from Pakistan and Afghanistan in the east, across Iran and Iraq to Turkey, down through Syria and even across the eastern Mediterranean seaboard into Egypt and Libya. When the Man of Sin comes to power, his authority will be quickly established throughout this area. Like the Persian bear, he will aggressively establish and defend his territory. The reason for his quick and complete consolidation of power can be found in the unifying societal and religious values of Islam, already established in the nations within the geographic footprint of the Old Persian Empire.

The Persian bear is fulfilled today in the 95% Shi’ite nation of Iran. Because of its status as the first modern Islamic theocracy, Iran will be in a unique position of influence among Muslim countries within the boundaries of the Old Persian Empire. As the first nation since the end of WWI to adopt the Islamic tribal law of Shari’a, Iran has been at the forefront of a move to reassert the Muslim power that prevailed from the 8th to the 16th centuries, exceeding even the empire of Alexander the Great in size. (Ed. Note: Since this was written, the countries in the ‘footprint of the bear’ have one by one begun to reestablish Shari’a based Muslim governments in preparation for a resurgent Islamic empire, most of them with active NATO and US support.)

The Islamic golden age saw Allah’s armies conquer portions of three continents, transforming the Mediterranean Sea into a Muslim lake that united the western expanse of its far-flung trading empire. Muslim dominance receded only when Europe finally achieved significant military victories on land and sea. The decline of the Muslim empire ensued partly because Muslim leaders chose to retain the simple tribal way of life they had followed since the time of Mohammed, rejecting western ideas of civilization and technological progress.

This attitude did not significantly change until the early twentieth century, after the Middle East was divided into nations. Many of those nations later sought increased contact with the West to achieve economic benefits, along with military technology and security. The move towards embracing western technology took a quantum leap when Iran built its first rocket capable of reaching outer space, which would at some point be converted to an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear payload.

As the standard bearer of the Shi’ite minority in the centuries’ old confrontation between the Sunni and Shia sects of Islam, Iran has sought to expand its power by manufacturing its own nuclear weapons. A nuclear-missile producing Iran will achieve two goals: intimidation of Sunni Muslim nations to her will, and the blackmail of the West to further increase Muslim power on the world stage. This course of action is viewed in Iran as the logical continuation of Jihad, the holy war against unbelieving infidels that has existed since the seventh century.

The composite beast has the mouth of a lion.  The lion of Daniel 7 symbolizes the Babylonian Empire, which covered most of the Middle East. The modern descendant of Babylonia is the Muslim nation of Iraq, where the ruins of ancient Babylon are located. Since the beast is opposed to God, its lion’s mouth indicates not only boasting to intimidate other nations, but also blasphemy. This pride is epitomized by an incident in the life of King Nebuchadnezzar, the archetypical king of Babylon. He lost his mind for seven years as punishment for boasting of his majesty and works after having received the knowledge of the true God from Daniel. The Man of Sin, like Nebuchadnezzar, will have a mouth that speaks “great words” against God, with an ability to deceive the nations.

“And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.”   Dan. 7:25

“And there was given him a mouth full of boastful and blasphemous words; and liberty of action was granted him for forty-two months. And he opened his mouth to utter blasphemies against God, to speak evil of His name and of His dwelling-place—that is to say, of those who dwell in Heaven.”  Rev. 13:5-6 

Summary: The geographical area of the empires of Alexander, Babylon, and Persia overlapped, comprising most of what are now the conservative and increasingly radical Islamic nations of the Middle East, extending from Pakistan to the Mediterranean Sea, and eastward across Africa to Libya. Their capitals were located in what are now Syria, Iraq, and Iran. This area describes part of the vast 13th century Muslim domains. When the composite beast of Revelation is viewed as the inheritor of these empires, it becomes apparent that the beast is an alliance of Middle Eastern nations. While most Bible scholars have been insisting for decades that the Man of Sin (or antichrist) comes from the European Union, the realization that the last great world power might be a resurgent Islamic Empire has only slowly began to dawn during the first decade of the new millennium.

While the entire Middle East will be the beast’s power base, the core nations of the composite beast will start with an alliance of the nations of Iraq, Iran, and Syria. These three nations in the heart of the Middle East share a common bond in their expressed hostility towards Israel and the West. The common bond between Shi’ite Iran and southern Shi’ite Iraq in the Sunni dominated Middle East has been growing with the entrenchment of radical Shi’ite militia forces in southern Iraq. Iraq’s new constitution even provides for the eventual division of Iraq into the Northern Kurds, Central Sunni’s, and the Shia South. Although Syria has a majority Sunni population, increasing cooperation between Iran and Syria has resulted from their joint efforts in moving muhajadeen and war materials into southern Lebanon to oppose Israel. Additionally, Turkey has been moving from being a NATO ally and friend of Israel into Syria’s sphere of influence. The pieces for the formation of the composite beast have been gradually moving into place. 

The Clash of Civilizations

The Mahdi and Jihad:  Western media have systematically downplayed the growing conflict between Islam and the West. The press continues to characterize highly planned and coordinated international terrorist attacks as reckless tilting at windmills by uneducated loners from third world countries. Meanwhile, growing legions of Islamic jihadists and their sympathizers see terrorist attacks as the best means to bring about Islamic end times’ prophecies regarding the global domination of Islam. The most significant of these prophecies is the coming of the Mahdi, the prophesied Muslim prophet who will achieve victory for Muslim forces and establish a golden age of peace under global Islamic rule. His coming is foretold in the Qur’an, as well as by Islamic Hadiths, recorded sayings and acts of Mohammed that supplement the Qur’an in questions of law and religious practice. Most Muslims accept the coming of the Mahdi as an article of faith, although Shi’ite and Sunni Muslims have slightly differing beliefs about him.

Muslims believe that the Mahdi will restore the Muslim Caliphate, which was terminated by Turkey in 1923 at the insistence of the British government. Christians can best understand the caliph as a sort of Islamic warrior-pope. Strict obedience is required of all Muslims to the dictates of the caliph on law and religious practice, including the call to jihad. The word “Islam” means submission. The Mahdi will thus lead not only in the moral arena, but also in military, political and societal spheres as he brings the entire world under Muslim rule. 

According to the prophecies, the Mahdi will establish the global rule of Islam following a great war (jihad) in which all of Islam's enemies will be defeated. He will “fight against the forces of evil, lead a world revolution and set up a new world order based on justice, righteousness and virtue.” 8  The Iranian government’s investment in promoting the promised rule of the Mahdi can be seen in the extent of coverage given to his coming on their official state websites. Iran’s efforts to accelerate the arrival of the Mahdi through confrontation with the West and the spread of Shari’a law have stoked the fires of violent Jihad around the world.

Iran’s President Ahmadinejad has placed himself at the forefront of preparing the world for the appearance of the Mahdi. In his address to the United Nations in September 2006, Ahmadinejad revealed the driving vision behind his actions. “I emphatically declare that today's world, more than ever before, longs for… the perfect righteous human being and real savior who has been promised to all peoples and who will establish justice, peace and brotherhood on the planet. Almighty God, (Allah)… make us among his followers and among those who strive for his return and his cause.” While some people might have been misled into thinking he was referring to the promised return of Christ, this is not the case. This perfect human being spoken of by Ahmadinejad is the Muslim Mahdi, and “justice” is the willful imposition of Islamic law on all people through global Jihad. Contrary to the currently acceptable lie that Islam is a religion of peace between men of different faiths, the truth is that Islam promises brotherhood only to Muslims. All those who do not embrace the “peace” of Allah and his prophet are infidels who will either be brought under the yoke of Islam or slain.

Recent world events indicate that the centuries old conflict between Islam and other faiths has found renewed vitality in a resurgent conflict of civilizations. Attacks on US embassies in Muslim countries and the destruction of the World Trade Center towers in 2001, the subway bombings in London and the fatal train derailment in Spain are all examples of this conflict taking on an increasingly violent and widespread nature over the past decade. While the West perceives these ‘isolated’ terrorist attacks as political statements by disgruntled third world individuals or factions, the growing international jihadist movement views them as organized expressions of religious belief, coordinated asymmetric military attacks to achieve Islam’s destiny of ruling the world.

The conflict between Islam and the West is aggravated by the continuing presence of western coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the Muslim mind, this is reminiscent of the invasion of the Middle East by Christian Crusaders. The Crusades brought death and uncountable loss to great numbers of Muslims. Although this is ancient history to westerners, it is still spoken of and taught in the Middle East as though it took place in the recent past. The wounds are intentionally kept fresh in the heart of every child receiving a Muslim education. The occupation of Iraq by western coalition forces and their plans to refashion Middle East governments into democracies has rekindled the well documented “Muslim crusader complex.” It was less than diplomatic when President Bush referred to the invasion of Afghanistan as ‘a crusade.’ To combat the western threat, Bin Laden formed an organization of 150 Islamic jihadists called the “International Islamic Front for the Jihad against Jews and Crusaders.” The invasion and conquest of Iraq, as well as subsequent threats to invade Syria and bomb Iran in response to its nuclear program have helped to reignite the fires of jihad in the Middle East. Increasing numbers of moderate Muslims at home and abroad have been drawn to support jihadist goals in defense of their religion and way of life.

In the view of many Muslim countries, Christian crusaders are indeed once again invading sacrosanct Muslim lands, violating international law and disrupting their way of life. The US and Britain are viewed as fighting a losing battle in a feeble attempt to seduce Muslims with ungodly materialism and decadent western ways in order to obtain oil. On the other side of the fence, the West does not seem to grasp why anybody would not desire the material luxuries and modern hi-tech conveniences and gadgets on offer to the Muslim world. No longer experiencing religion as an essential part of their own national life, western leaders fail to appreciate the central part religion plays in other nations. If they bothered to take the time to study Islam, they would realize that the Hadiths warn Muslims to shun the very evils of materialism and the freedom from morality that the West offers through the spread of democracy.

Increasing numbers of Muslims view themselves as being in a struggle between Christianity and Islam. However, the erstwhile Christian nations of the West have divested themselves of their ties to Christianity in public life. They therefore refuse to acknowledge the religious nature of the clash of civilizations unfolding before their eyes. While westerners may not define themselves as Christian, Muslims certainly see them as such. Further limiting the West’s ability to perceive the scope of the problem, the politically correct doctrine of tolerance for all faiths prohibits the discussion of Islam and Muslims as religiously motivated military antagonists. By an unspoken political decree, Islam must be affirmed publicly as a peaceful religion in the press and in all overt dealings with Muslims in order not to offend them. The European press assiduously avoids associating the words ‘terrorist’ and ‘Islamic.’ Muslim organizations have been quick to exploit this self-imposed blindness. The continued selling of Islam as a religion of peace masks the jihadists’ intensifying war on the West as part of their plans for world domination.

3-4  I saw that one of his heads seemed to have been mortally wounded; but his mortal wound was healed, and the whole world was amazed and followed him. And they offered worship to the Dragon, because it was to him that the Wild Beast owed his dominion; and they also offered worship to the Wild Beast, and said, “Who is there like him? And who is able to engage in battle with him?”

The description of the scarlet beast of Revelation 17: 11 sheds some light on the interpretation of this passage. John states that the beast itself is an eighth king/kingdom, coming after the seven previous kingdoms symbolized by the seven heads. Due to the nearly identical descriptions of the scarlet and composite beasts, they represent different aspects of the same Satanic reality. The scarlet beast is the spiritual aspect of Satan, who cannot take physical form, but is able to direct the course of human events to effect his plan of world domination. with its seven heads, the composite beast is the worldly manifestation of these eight kingdoms, in particular, the final one at the end of the age.

It is within this context that the fatal wounding and ‘healing’ of one of the heads of the beast is best explained. The popular belief is that this describes the assassination and subsequent recovery of the antichrist, much to the astonishment and then worship of the world. However, this reasoning does not stand up under even superficial examination. Since the seven heads represent previous kingdoms, the ‘mortal wounding’ of one of the seven heads could not possibly be interpreted as an assassination of the Man of Sin, who is the eighth king, the beast itself. Further examination enables the time frame of this mortal wounding to be narrowed down somewhat. Revelation 17: 8 states: “The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit (Abyss)...” The beast was therefore in the Abyss during the first century when John wrote that it “was, and is not.” Thus, it must have received its fatal wound at least two thousand years ago. The fatal wounding of one of the heads yields further results on examination of the original grammatical construction of this passage.

In the original Greek (Interlinear, Sovereign Grace Pub. 1985), verse 3 reads: “And I saw one of the heads of [the beast] as having been slain to the death, and the wound of the death of it had been healed.” The Greek grammar provides additional information not conveyed in English translations: 1. ... one of the heads of it as having been slain to the death”: This describes the actual death of the head. In the original Greek, this death is denoted even more strongly than the death of Jesus in Rev. 5: 6 as “... a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain.”  2. “...the wound of the death of it had been healed.” The “it” in this passage refers back to the beast, not the head. Verse 12 confirms this interpretation. Although one of the heads was  slain, it is the beast itself that was healed: “He causes the earth and its inhabitants to worship the first Wild Beast, whose mortal wound had been healed.” While appearing at first to be somewhat confusing, there is a simple explanation for this wording. One of the heads, representing a former kingdom of the beast, was destroyed. The beast itself however, cannot die, since it is in essence a spiritual being, with six other heads manifesting as kingdoms throughout history.

Here is where it gets interesting, in light of John’s description of the scarlet beast in Revelation 17. The NIV offers a simple translation: “The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and will come up out of the Abyss and go to his destruction.” (v.8)  “The beast, who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction.” (v.11)  The question has to be asked: “How can the beast have previously existed as a kingdom and been fatally wounded, consigned to the Abyss, and then return at the end of the age once again as the beast, the eighth king?” The answer is found in the identification of the red dragon with the composite beast, and the ability of spiritual beings to transcend time. The Man of Sin will be human, yet possessed by a demonic spirit. This spirit existed previously as one of the seven heads of the beast, but its kingdom was destroyed, having ‘received a fatal wound.’ On its destruction it was sent to the Abyss, but it will return at the end of the age to manifest itself in the Man of Sin, the composite beast itself. (The question as to which head received the fatal wound is discussed in the commentary on Revelation 17.)

“Who is there like him?” When the Man of Sin is revealed, he will possess great spiritual and physical presence. The incarnation of such spiritual power in human form will mark him as being greater than other men. While the presence of absolute evil in a human being would not normally be an attractive quality, the Dragon is accomplished at disguising himself, being able to appear as an “angel of light” (2Cor. 11:14). The incarnation of this malevolent being will be accompanied by a great deception, as well as great feats that will bring him acclaim. Daniel states that the Man of Sin will be known by his appearance. The Hebrew word translated “appearance” is rab, denoting an abundance of size, quantity or quality. He will be superior to other men in his appearance and raw personal life force, his intellect and power, just as the giants of Genesis 6 far exceeded the appearance and abilities of humankind due to their dual spirit-human nature. This is part of the reason for his widespread public acclaim in verse 4.

“Then I wished to know the truth about… the other horn which came up, before which three fell, namely, that horn which had eyes and a mouth which spoke pompous words, whose appearance was greater than his fellows. “I was watching; and the same horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them…” Dan. 7:19-21

“Who is able to engage in battle with him?” As a being of great personal power and the ability to impose his will on others through both military power and diplomacy, he will quickly achieve decisive political and military victories. The whole world will follow him, believing the deception that he is “the perfect righteous human being and real savior who has been promised to all peoples and who will establish justice, peace and brotherhood on the planet.” Believing the delusion, the people of the world will worship the Dragon when the Man of Sin proclaims the Dragon as God. Only Christians and Jews will see through the deception. 

v. 5-7  And there was given him a mouth full of boastful and blasphemous words; and liberty of action was granted him for forty-two months. And he opened his mouth to utter blasphemies against God, to speak evil of His name and of His dwelling-place—that is to say, of those who dwell in Heaven. And permission was given him to make war upon God’s people and conquer them; and power was given him over every tribe, people, language and nation.

“Liberty of action was granted him for forty-two months.”  This passage makes it clear that the Man of Sin rules for three and a half years, not the seven years of popular end times’ fiction. This same time frame is also applied to three other concurrent Revelation events: the trampling of Jerusalem by the nations (Rev 11: 2), the ministry of the two witnesses (Rev 11: 3), and God’s protection of Israel from the deceptions of the Dragon (Rev 12: 6). When a passage of time is stated in months as it is here, it conveys a time of suffering. The trampling of Jerusalem by the Gentiles, the duration of the Flood, the captivity of the ark in Philistine territory, and the affliction of the scorpion/locusts of Revelation 9 are all given in months rather than days or years.

The three and a half years allotted to the beast’s rule is a fairly short time frame, given his goal of conquering the world and his desire to convert, capture, or kill every Christian believer. In his attempt to accomplish so much in such a short timeframe, the beast will have to execute a preplanned and highly coordinated worldwide campaign of religious persecution. His campaign must not only be swift and efficient, it must overcome the natural moral objections of global opinion that accompany any act of mass persecution. Due to the public outcry that would develop from such an act, it is difficult for a political entity to carry out a religious genocide. History, however, teaches that there is a way to accomplish this. While it is almost impossible for a state to stamp out a religion through persecution, it is much easier for one religion to get away with making war on another religion, especially if it crosses national boundaries. In fact, the only way to eliminate one religion is to replace it with another system of religious belief that incorporates elements of the former. The Catholic Church practiced this in their conversion efforts down through the centuries. Verse 4 states that the beast and the Dragon are worshiped by the world, confirming that the kingdom of the beast will in fact be a theocracy, based on religion rather than mere philosophical ideals.

The only religion with the ability, inclination and past conduct of carrying out mass persecution of other religions is Islam. Today, with over a billion adherents, or 20% of earth’s total population, Islam is positioned in nearly every country in the world. It has an efficient worldwide legal and banking system, strict guidelines regulating societal interaction, and the ability to coerce members into obedience through its mosques, clerics and strong peer groups willing to engage in public violence. Islam is an evangelistic religion, with a codified hatred of Jews, and both past and present jihads against Christian nations. Additionally, Muslim warfare does not discriminate between combatants and civilians. Muslim jihadists have no qualms about killing women and children to secure a place in paradise.

Not only does Islam have the ability to carry out mass persecution of Christians, Islam’s stated goal is to convert the unbelievers, or infidels, of the entire world to the one true religion under Allah. Islam is not a passive religion with a live and let live attitude. According to the Qur’an, Allah is the world’s only true god and Islam its only true religion, under whose banner Muslims will one day conquer the earth, subjugating all nations and all other religions under Shari’a law. It is prophesied that the Mahdi will lead Islam to global conquest through jihad against the infidels of all other faiths, ushering in an era of universal peace and prosperity.

The obligation for individual Muslims to go to war against all other religions is codified in the Qur’an and cultivated among Islam’s more conservative adherents, who are promised generous heavenly rewards for killing infidels in jihad. Those who kill Christians and Jews at the end of the age will be true religious believers, zealous for the righteousness of their cause. Established Islamic courts will endorse Muslims’ right to punish infidels, passing judgment on anyone failing to worship Allah and his Mahdi. The Islamic program of extermination will be so widespread that there will be no independent state raising a voice to challenge it. Few individuals will publicly object for fear of becoming its next target. These are serious charges against a religion that, despite its turbulent past, claims to be a peaceful one. Most Muslims, especially those in the western hemisphere, are in fact peaceful, rejecting outright the cause of jihad. Just what is the truth about Islam and how could such an end times’ scenario come to pass?

Islamic Law and Practice: The worship of Allah, required of all Muslims, is centered about regular attendance at local mosques. These are run by clerics who impose strict religious rules on members. Unlike Christianity, all Muslims are required to participate in the life of the mosque and remain submitted to the will of their spiritual leaders. One is part of the larger Muslim community on the local as well as global level. Due to more liberal western societal values, many North American Muslims are viewed by the rest of the Muslim world as being overly lax, having been infected by western values. These more liberal Muslims do not hold the same strict attitudes towards such things as jihad, segregation of the sexes in social interaction, and the adoption of western habits and technology.

In traditional Muslim societies, including Muslim communities in the West, social pressure, intimidation, and even violence are used to ensure conformance with the traditional social and religious values of Islam. These values imbue every aspect of life, from prayer five times a day and strict dietary requirements to social prohibitions governing interactions with Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Islam is not just a religion; it is a highly regulated social order. Every follower of Islam is also a member of Muslim society, required not only to follow the dictates of the Islamic religion and its clerics, called Imams, but also to live according to established Muslim societal rules under Islamic law and justice.

The Islamic judicial system is founded on Shari’a law. Shari’a is considered binding on all Muslims, regardless of where they live, as well as on all non-Muslims if there is even a small Muslim community in their midst. Imams issue binding informal rulings as well as formal edicts called fatwas for violations of Shari’a law. These rulings are enforceable even against non-Muslims. Sentences can include stoning, the forfeiture of body parts, and even death. The death sentence can be imposed for, among other things, attempting to convert a Muslim to another faith and for ‘blasphemy,’ which includes making critical remarks about Mohammed. Every Muslim male having come of age is bound by law to carry out the rulings of Shari’a courts, including its death sentences, anywhere in the world. The death sentence issued against the British author Salmon Rushdie is well known. A fatwa was issued against him for writing the fictional book Satanic Verses, which engaged in parody of the prophet Mohammed. Assassinations of individuals opposed to Islam, as well as Islamic clerics engaged in the losing side of internal power struggles, still occur around the world as a result of these fatwas. The rule of Shari’a law is currently resurgent in the Middle East and Africa, and is gaining momentum in Europe.

“And there was given him a mouth full of boastful and blasphemous words... to speak evil of his name and... of those who dwell in heaven.”  The Qur’an calls all Muslim believers to support the conversion of the world to Islam. Those who die in jihad while killing members of other faiths receive immediate entry into heaven before all others, where they are promised a host of carnal delights. Islamic martyrs gain immediate entry to Paradise, unlike non-martyrs do must wait for all the Jews to be killed during the final jihad before the gates of paradise are opened. In the Islamic universe, the world is divided into those who believe in Allah and revere his prophet Mohammed, and those who do not, who are therefore allied with Satan. The phrase “strive hard” in the following Qur’anic verse is translated from the word jahidi, the verb form of jihad. Jihad is a call for Muslims to engage in violent warfare against infidels of all faiths.

“Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah and those who reject faith fight in the cause of evil: so fight ye against the friends of Satan.” (Surah 4: 76) “O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites, and be firm against them.”  (Surah 9: 73) “When you meet the unbelievers in the battlefield, strike off their heads and, when you have laid them low, bind your captives firmly.” (Surah 47: 4)

Islam teaches that Jesus was only a prophet, greater than Moses but less than the prophet Mohammed, who brought the final revelation of truth to mankind. The Qur’an specifically refutes the Christian belief in the triune nature of God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), and rejects the claims of Jesus as the divine Son of God. It reportedly states sixteen times that Allah has no son.

“So believe in Allah… and say not three! - cease! Allah is only one God. Far is it removed from his transcendent majesty that he should have a son.” (Surah 4: 171) “Say: Praise be to God who has never begotten a son; who has no partner in his kingdom….” (Surah 17:111)

This core Islamic belief not only illustrates that Allah is far different from the God of the Bible; it identifies Islam as a religion suffused with the spirit of antichrist. Centuries before the appearance of Islam as a new religion, Paul and John both wrote about this false religious spirit that would play a major part in last days events. The two elements that would come together to identify the spirit of antichrist would be the denial that Jesus is God and the refutation of God as the Father of Jesus Christ.

“Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also. Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that He has promised us — eternal life. These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you.” 1Jn. 2: 22-26

Radical and even traditional Islamic leaders and organizations have gone to great lengths to hide the plain meaning of the Qur’an and the true intentions of Islam, downplaying the differences between Islam and Christianity. They define jihad as being merely an inner religious struggle. This inner struggle does exist, and is called ‘greater’ jihad in the Qur’an, calling its followers to seek inner perfection. However, this tactic of drawing attention to the greater jihad is no more than a magician’s trick. The Qur’an also calls for the ‘lesser’ jihad of holy war against all infidels. While Islamic clerics and organizations are defining jihad in terms of this inner struggle to western news media, Imams issue Sabbath calls in local mosques around the world for true believers to join the armed struggle of jihad against Israel and the West.

The true face of Jihad: According to the World Book Multimedia Encyclopedia, the doctrine of jihad presented in the Qur’an is based on three related ideas. “First, Islam is a universal community. Second, God and Muhammad have commanded all free and physically able male Muslims to spread their faith, even by waging war against non-Muslims when necessary. Finally, Muslims must spread their religion until all people have converted to Islam or agreed to live under an Islamic government.”

“Seek out your enemies relentlessly.” (Surah 4:103) “Slay [infidels] wherever you find them….idolatry is worse than carnage….fight against them until idolatry is no more and Allah’s religion is supreme.” (Surah 2: 190-193) “Make war on them until idolatry shall cease and God’s religion shall reign supreme.” (Surah 8:36)

Jihad is not just a historical chapter in Islamic history, as Muslim spokesmen would have the West believe. It is a foundational principle of the Islamic religion. For most of Islamic history it has been the operative principle of all Muslims. Its emphasis receded only with the breakup of the Middle East into separate nations following World War I and the abolition of the Caliphate, the spiritual leadership of Muslim power. Until fairly recently, jihad was actively embraced only by minor Islamic sects such as the Wahhabis, and by Muslims intent on dislodging Israel from the Middle East. However, with recent world developments, jihad has been moving back into mainstream Islamic consciousness. The holy war of jihad is again becoming the driving force that burns in the hearts of increasing numbers of the Islamic faithful, as radical Islam shakes off its slumber in the new millennium.

This struggle is seen as a long-term effort. Some Muslim leaders seek to allay the fears of the West while preparing for war against it. Instead of their usual denouncement of the ‘false trinity’ of Christianity, they sometimes try to give the impression that there is little difference between the Judeo-Christian God and Allah, implying that Muslims and Christians are brothers worshiping the same God. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Muslims actually believe that Christians worship a false god and that Allah is the One True God. The truth, however, is that Allah is a moon god arbitrarily chosen from a pantheon of gods at the Kaba’a in Mecca, and elevated by Mohammed to monotheistic status to be the one true god of Islam. This is not a new god, but an old one. The early Assyrians and Babylonians worshiped the moon god known as Sin.

v. 8  And all the inhabitants of the earth will be found to be worshipping him: every one whose name is not recorded in the Book of Life—the Book of the Lamb who has been offered in sacrifice ever since the creation of the world. While one might imagine the worship of Allah taking a serious foothold in other countries, the average American understands the United States as a tolerant mix of different races and faiths. This leads to a basic question as to whether an Islamic ‘conquest’ of the West is even possible.

Can Jihad happen in the West?  The great imbalance in power posed by the advanced technologies of the West compared to the backward technological state of most Muslim countries has led to a passive-aggressive approach to Muslim world conquest. This consists of terrorist attacks when possible, as well as conquest through ‘peaceful’ immigration. This dual approach is now embraced by numerous Muslim governments and clerics, and funded by Islamic ‘charities’ and organizations with the goal of achieving global Islamic rule within a generation. This two-pronged approach can be characterized as active and passive jihad. Active jihad consists of the enlistment and training of young men (women and children are also used) to become muhajadeen, warriors and terrorists for the fight on the ground primarily in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Israel. They are also recruited for violent terrorist acts against Europe and the U.S and their interests around the world. The main recruitment grounds for active jihad are Muslim madrassas (schools) and mosques, which are found in nearly every country in the world.

Active global jihad is a goal held by Muslim governments, the “Muslim street” in the Middle East, and members of Islamic organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood. In pursuit of the Qur’an’s goal of conquering the world through jihad, the Muslim Brotherhood has established the global Ikhwan movement. As a result, the West has been shaken by terrorist attacks such as the World Trade Center attacks in 1993 and 2001. There have reportedly been several other terrorist attacks in the US attributed to Muslim extremists, but these have been sold to the press as anything from isolated incidents to unusual accidents. This is done in order to deprive the terrorists of the weapon of fear these attacks are intended to achieve. Additionally, there have been numerous successful as well as unsuccessful attacks on transportation lines and other targets in Europe, including the spectacular London subway attacks in July, 2005. These are not just isolated incidents, but carefully planned actions in a coordinated campaign of global jihad.

The second front, passive Jihad, has been much more difficult to prove, as it smacks of conspiracy theory. It involves massive waves of Muslim immigration to Europe and North America with the intention of undermining and eventually changing the political, social and religious profile of the industrialized nations of the West. The tactics of passive jihad include setting up independent Muslim enclaves to prevent assimilation into western society, soliciting convicts inside prisons to serve as a Muslim ‘fifth column’ on their release, allowing marriages only with other Muslims from strict jihadist oriented communities, using western coffers to fund attacks by collecting social welfare benefits, and working for passage of disruptive societal and legal changes, including rioting and the adoption of Shari’a law.

The disruption of western society is a prime goal of passive jihad. Tens of thousands of Muslim youth have discovered their ability to bring European society to a standstill. In the fall of 2005, Muslim riots started in France and quickly spread across most of Europe, lasting for three weeks. As of 2009, French society had not yet reverted to the civil peace that prevailed before this event. Some areas in France have been virtually taken over by Muslims, and police have had to abandon active law enforcement duties in these areas as their presence results in renewed rioting. 

The year following these riots, it was reported that on average, Muslims had attacked 15 police officers, fire fighters, or other public officials every month, and caused uncounted property damage as well – as many as 100 cars might be set afire during the course of an evening. Police, fire, and medical officers are still reluctant to enter these Muslim enclaves for fear of their own safety. On the first anniversary of these riots, a spokesman for the French police officers union stated that Muslims had organized themselves into gangs “that operate in a paramilitary fashion,” and that France itself “is in a civil war.” In one incident that was not all that unusual according to observers, immigrant Muslim youths stopped a city bus in Grande-Borne, a suburb of Paris. They ordered the driver and the passengers to get out and then set the bus on fire. When police arrived to restore order, they were attacked and the situation escalated into another riot. 9

The smoking gun proving the existence of passive jihad was recently discovered during civil proceedings against the Muslim Brotherhood, contained in an internal memo written by Muslim Brotherhood member Mohamed Akram. Dated May 22, 1991, and titled Understanding the role of the Muslim Brother in North America, this memo outlines part of the Ikhwan (global Muslim Brotherhood) vision: “The process of settlement is a ‘Civilization-Jihadist Process,’ with all the word means. The Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.” 10

Muslim Immigrants in the West:  Unlike the tolerance and openness of western countries that have become home to a tsunami of Islamic immigrants, Muslim society does not allow accommodation with different religions and cultures. Instead, Muslim clerics seek to retain Islam’s religious and societal hold over all Muslims in foreign lands in order to prevent their assimilation into western society. Preserving the Muslim way of life is of paramount importance, since Islam views people of all other faiths as inferior.

“The only true faith in God’s sight is Islam.” (Surah 3:19) “Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends.” (Surah 5:51) 

The enforcement of Shari’a law, the prevention of friendships with westerners, the domination of women by men, retention of Islamic dress, and strict observance of the Muslim religious calendar and worship are all used as means of ensuring segregation of Muslims in self-contained colonies within their host nations. These colonies are separate from and openly hostile toward their host countries. The ultimate goal of preventing assimilation into western society is to establish a functioning Muslim state within a state, eventually changing western laws and customs so these host nations might ultimately be transformed into a collection of Muslim provinces.

This segregation has been seen to a far greater degree in Europe than in the United States, which tends to attract a better-financed and educated class of Muslim immigrants, more accommodative to western culture. Most Muslim European immigrants are poor, uneducated villagers who come to take advantage of promised liberal social welfare benefits. Wave after wave of these immigrants has begun to swamp the ability of some of the more liberal European countries to continue offering benefits even to their own citizens. In several cases the perpetrators of terrorist attacks in Europe were found to have been financing their activities with automotive, job, housing and other subsistence benefits provided by the state, all the while living in self contained Muslim colonies within the nation they attacked.

Islam and Shari’a Law:  Muslim clerics in Europe have been successful in their efforts to keep Muslim colonies segregated from western society, while at the same time taking steps to undermine the foundations of that society. One tactic has been to attack the underpinnings of the western legal system, attempting to substitute Islamic Shari’a law in its place. One western investigative journalist reported on the nature of Islamic law: “Shari’a is the legal and judicial system of Islam that is brutally imposed by Muslim majorities in many Islamic countries in the Middle East and is now resurgent in Africa as well. Shari’a law is based on an anachronistic vision of society that imposes a system of ancient tribal justice that dates from the founding of Islam in the sixth century. It is the specific embodiment of the totalitarian ideology practiced by the Taliban, Iranian Mullahs and Saudi Wahhabis. Shari’a law is perpetuated by claiming to have its roots in the Qur’an, but in fact it is mostly the product of rulings and dictates made by Islamic scholars and caliphs over several centuries.

One author who has studied the subject extensively writes: “Shari’a demands total and unquestioned submission. Its subjects are told that Shari’a is given by Allah and that whatever befalls them (good or bad) is Allah’s will. To question a judgment under Shari’a (right or wrong) is to question Shari’a itself and will only bring harsher punishment. If a person receives harsh punishment for something they didn’t do, the rationale is that Allah could and would have prevented it if that had been his will. This fatalistic and deterministic approach allows Shari’a rulers to get away with virtually any thing that enters their head.” 11

Shari’a civil courts are being created across Europe to serve segregated European Muslim communities. In an increasing number of cases, European courts have referred civil matters to these newly formed Islamic courts, enabling Muslim immigrants to avoid assimilation into western society. Shari’a courts have recently received official sanction to operate in Britain. While this helps lighten court dockets, it also serves the goal of establishing a separate Muslim state within the country.

Other changes to society have resulted from aggressive Muslim lobbying in the legal arena. Six western nations now allow Muslim men to practice polygamy and even keep harems. The advancing pace of such societal changes has occasionally resulted in a public backlash. One German judge raised a public outcry in 2008 when she ruled in a criminal proceeding that sentence could not be imposed on a Muslim man for beating his wife, since he had the right to beat her under Shari’a law. The long-term Muslim goal is to establish Shari’a in every western nation, first as a viable alternative, then as a replacement of the western system of justice.

To further isolate and prevent Muslim communities from assimilation into their inferior, decadent European host countries, Muslim parents increasingly practice what have come to be known in Northern Europe as “fetching marriages.” Muslim girls raised in public schools are sent back to their relatives in the Middle East for indoctrination in Islamic schools, where they given in an arranged marriage to a Muslim boy, frequently against their will. The penalty for refusal such an arranged marriage is death. The groom is usually from a poor provincial village, ensuring that he will impose strict Muslim orthodoxy on his new bride. The couple then moves back to Europe under liberal immigration rules, where the new husband declines to learn the language or integrate into society, except to claim welfare benefits. One of his more important objectives is to keep his wife away from any social contact with her former European friends. A recent human rights study discovered that in 90 cases of fetching marriages, all but three of the girls were forced into marriage and sex against their will. Many were beaten into submission by their new husbands.

Under Shari’a law, women are treated as property, so their ‘crimes’ can be punishable by stoning, maiming, or even death. Muslim girls who date non-Muslim men or commit such serious offenses as wearing western clothes are subject to justifiable “honor killings” by any male family member seeking to avenge the girl’s disrespect of Muslim customs and tradition. In numerous cases, girls have been murdered by their fathers, brothers, or cousins for refusing to agree to foreign arranged marriages, for dating non-Muslims and for socializing with western friends. In one case, using a cell phone was included in the list of transgressions that a father used to justify killing his daughter. 12

One result of the gradual imposition of Shari’a law in the West has been the Muslim belief that it should be aggressively enforced. In one incident, Muslim youths caught stealing from shops and mugging pedestrians in Denmark claimed their Imam told them that this behavior was justified. They told police that the Qur’an taught that westerners owe their Muslim immigrants the Jizyah poll tax, based on the fact that Muslims are present in their country. The Muslim gang claimed they were merely collecting the money owed them under Shari’a law. 13

Muslim Speech Police:  Part of the strategy of the global Ikhwan movement has been to mobilize a quick and strident response against those who openly violate or even verbally oppose the teachings of the Qur’an, including moderate Muslims. Public figures with the temerity to expose Islamic practices or its sordid past have been the recipients of a media onslaught generated by vigilant Muslim organizations. Subsequent failure to offer a public apology usually results in reprisals, including negative PR campaigns that can end one’s career. This has effectively curtailed politicians and religious leaders from making negative statements about the jihadist goals of Islam and the true nature of Islam. Muslims and non-Muslims alike who have publicly spoken out against Islam have even come under the sentence of death by duly issued fatwas that can be executed anywhere in the world. A global push for ‘religious defamation’ legislation that would carry criminal penalties for spoken or written language critical of Islam is scheduled to come before EU committees in early 2009. (Ed. Note: Since this was published, such legislation has already been passed within the EU.)

If the offending individual is a religious figure, additional tactics have been employed. In 2006, when newly elected Pope Benedict repeated a Middle Ages description of Islam as a violent religion, Catholic churches in Muslim countries were burned, religious clergy were killed and many more were threatened in protest, demonstrating just how peaceful Islam truly is not. A public apology was demanded, and the pope complied in order to end the loss of lives and destruction of church property.

Even innocent trespasses against Muslim sensibilities by well meaning individuals can be perceived as offensive, at times resulting in violent Muslim reactions. In September 2007, a British schoolteacher in Sudan let her first grade class name a teddy bear Mohammed, the name of the most popular boy in the class. Unfortunately for her, it also happens to be the name of the Muslim prophet. She was threatened with beatings and death by an angry crowd of Muslim men, arrested, and charged with blasphemy, which is punishable by forty lashes and up to six months in jail. Only the aggressive efforts of her embassy spared her this punishment in exchange for her deportation, lest she further corrupt impressionable young Muslim minds.

The Silent Muslim Majority:  The argument is often made that the violent jihadist face of Islam is just a small fraction of the Muslim world, and that the actions of the few have unfairly branded the masses of moderate Muslims. While the ranks of active jihadist Muslims are indeed small on a proportional basis of the total worldwide billion-strong Muslim population, the issue needs to be put in perspective — not on a personal, or individual level (Muslims need Jesus, too), but on an ideological or even theological one. As social commentator Mark Steyn noted, it is more accurate to call moderate Muslims quiescent Muslims: “This is because there is no such thing as moderate Islam. The Qur’an teaches only one kind of Islam and that is the radical approach, requiring Muslims to spread the Islamic faith even at the cost of their own lives.”14 Steyn’s position is that since moderate Muslims have no Qur’anic position to draw legitimacy or support for their position, they form a quiet majority that cannot legitimately raise a verbal objection to what is essentially the core position of Islam.

Steyn continues: “Moderate Muslims are quiescent not only because they have no tangible legitimacy within Islam, they are quiet because they are ostracized when they do speak out against jihadist beliefs and actions. Souleiman Ghali, a Palestinian emigrant to the US, started a mosque in San Francisco in 1993. His approach could only be described as moderate. The mosque website stated: ‘Our vision is the emergence of an American Muslim identity founded on compassion, respect, dignity and love.’ His moderate views were tolerated only as long as the Qur’an could be taught in its original intent by Muslim clerics over whom he had no control.

“His temperate views went too far when in 2002, he fired the Imam for urging the California faithful to emulate the example of Palestinian suicide bombers. The fired imam sued and won a $400,000 judgment. Mr. Ghali was subsequently forced off the board and denied any further role in the mosque he founded. In 2006, the mosque was looking to buy an adjoining parcel to accommodate the overflow crowds arriving to hear the firebrand imam preaching the only kind of Islam endorsed by the Qur’an.” 15

v. 9-10 He who has an ear let him hear. If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed. This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints. (NIV) Bible translators have disagreed over the interpretation of verse 10. The KJV and many others interpret it basically as paraphrasing the saying: “Those who live by the sword will die by the sword.” While the principle of sowing and reaping is an obvious spiritual truth, the import of this passage is not about the administration of equity, but rather as the NIV renders it here, about the unjust persecution of the saints. This interpretation is supported by the latter part of the verse, which calls for the endurance and faithfulness of the saints.

This verse may also be a confirmation of the Islamic identity of the kingdom of the beast. Although the West views death by the sword as an anachronistic way of describing a death sentence, John may well be noting the actual means of execution of those who refuse to worship the beast. The preferred Islamic instrument of execution has always been the curved sword, or scimitar. This traditional punishment is used against infidels, Muslims who leave the faith, and those who attempt to convert Muslims to another faith.

While beheadings seem outdated in the West, it must be remembered that Islam promotes an anachronistic seventh century Muslim worldview. The Shari’a mandated practice of beheadings was adopted as the preferred method of execution in Iraq to send a message to the West and the coalition Iraqi government that radical Jihad is alive and flourishing. The world learned that Muslim beheadings are not limited to the Middle East when Muslim Moros in the Philippines beheaded captured Christian missionaries in 2006. When Islam finally implements its campaign of world conquest, beheading is likely to be the preferred manner of executing Christians. The reference in Revelation 20: 4 to those beheaded for their faith is a likely confirmation of this method of execution on a large scale.

In evaluating the violent underpinnings of Islam, one should remember that Muslims are not inherently bad. They can be some of the most generous, hospitable people in the world to anyone coming under their roof, as well as being loyal friends. Surveys have indicated that Muslims worldwide largely disapprove of violent terrorist actions. It is difficult to understand how the average Muslim in the West could endorse or be a part of a future worldwide violent persecution of Christians. The process by which Muslims will decide en masse to carry out the beast’s violent campaign against Christian believers is unknown. It may be as simple as the Mahdi issuing an edict requiring death for any Muslim not participating in the identification of Christians.

It does not take a great deal of insight to foresee that when the prophesied jihad breaks out against Christians and Jews under the leadership of a global Caliphate, Muslims around the world will come together, willingly or not, in varying measures of support. The pressure that is brought against Muslims and non-Muslims today for offending Islam is only a foretaste of the tactics that will be applied by Muslim clerics, organizations, and youth gangs once the Mahdi appears and commands all Muslims to enforce a fatwa against everyone who refuses to convert to Islam. Those who do not support this agenda will come under the severe proscriptions contained in the Qur’an when it suits clerics to enforce them.

When the Mahdi appears and calls on all believing Muslims to fight against western infidel nations, the numbers of Muslim emigrants willing to engage in subversive and hostile actions in their host countries and carry out the orders of a Fatwa against Christians will increase dramatically. For many, the normal moral repugnance towards violence will be overcome by the necessity of avoiding punishment for assisting “the friends of Satan.” The charisma of the Mahdi and the great deception of the antichrist spirit will play a major part in changing the attitudes of the silent Muslim majority. The coming delusion of the beast assures that many of those who participate in the persecution of Christians and Jews will believe they are actually doing the will of God.

“You will be excluded from the synagogues; nay more, the time is coming when any one who has murdered one of you will suppose he is offering service to God. And they will do these things because they have failed to recognize the Father and to discover who I am.”  Jn. 16:2-3

Islam’s previous accommodative status accorded to conquered Christians and Jews as People of the Book will be revoked and replaced by the ‘convert or die’ ethic of the Qur’an. This will be a result of the beast’s determination to snuff out the light of the Holy Spirit and bring the entire earth under the authority of the Kingdom of Darkness. According to one Muslim end-times author, under the rule of the Mahdi, Dhimmitude (submission by Christians to Muslim rule) will be rescinded, and Christians who do not convert to Islam will be summarily imprisoned or executed.16 Peace loving Muslims with no hostility towards Christians will be bound by law at the very least to report them. It should be remembered that the Nazi internment and mass slaughter of disfavored Jewish and gypsy minorities were policies of the seventh head of the beast. The grim statistics that resulted from these policies will pale in comparison to the results of the rule of the Man of Sin, ruling over the Dragon’s eighth and final kingdom. Unlike Christians, Jews will not even have the opportunity to convert, but will be summarily executed in an attempt at mass genocide.

“. . . the prophet...said: ‘The Hour (the Day of Judgment) will not begin until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them. A Jew will hide behind a rock or a tree, and the rock or tree will say, “O Muslim, O slave of Allah! There is a Jew behind me, come and kill him!” (Hadith al-Bukhari 2926; Hadith Muslim, 2921-2)

v. 11-12  Then I saw another beast, coming out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon. He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. (NIV) The second beast is identified later (Rev. 16:13, 19:20, 20:10) as the false prophet. He is pictured here as coming from the earth instead of the sea because he does not come from ‘the sea’ of Gentile nations but from ‘the land,’ i.e., from the line of Abraham, through the spiritual line of Ishmael rather than Israel. As a prophet, even a false one, he is a spiritual leader rather than a secular one. Although the second beast serves the first, he is invested with the same demonic power. As a spiritual ruler rather than a secular one, he is a beast rather than a horn. He is much greater than mere earthly rulers, such as the ten kings that give their power to the beast. Like the Man of Sin, he will be possessed by a wicked spiritual being.

Even though the Man of Sin is usually identified as the antichrist, the, the reality may be somewhat different. As John explains, the antichrist is not a particular individual, but a spirit that can manifest in man. (1Jn. 2:18, 1Jn. 4:3) Both the first and second beasts are obviously motivated by the same spirit since Islam is antichrist in nature, and the Qur’an is its written authority. Both the Man of Sin and his false prophet will stand in opposition to Jesus’ return to earth to establish the Kingdom of God. However, the false prophet may be considered as having a greater or perhaps more appropriate fulfillment of the antichrist spirit than the Man of Sin. The prefix ‘anti,’ meaning “the opposite,” denotes contrast or substitution. Although both beasts stand against Christ, as a religious figure the false prophet stands “in the place of” Christ. This is confirmed by the Muslim identification of the one who will assist the Mahdi establish Islamic global rule as the Isa, the Muslim equivalent of the name Jesus. Although the second beast represents himself as the Lamb of God, his power and nature will come from the Dragon.

The Man of Sin and the false prophet will work together in an attempt to prevent Jesus from returning to establish the Kingdom of God on earth. The first beast, the Man of Sin, will attempt to destroy everything that Christ stands for, replacing truth with deception, light with darkness, the testimony of the saints with apostasy, good with evil. The second beast, the false prophet, standing in the place of Christ, will cause everyone to worship the Man of Sin and the Dragon. In fulfillment of Jesus’ Olivet prophecy, the false prophet will claim to actually be Jesus, returned to earth to bring an era of peace to mankind. This will be the great delusion of the ages. Those who are Christian in name only will be led astray, believing the deception.

“Many will come in my name, saying I am Christ, and shall deceive many… there will rise up false Christs and false prophets, displaying signs and prodigies with a view to lead astray—if indeed that were possible—even God’s own people. But as for yourselves, be on your guard: I have forewarned you of everything.”  Mk. 13:6, 22-23

The government of the beast will be an Islamic theocracy. The Man of Sin will be the secular leader of state and the false prophet Isa his religious leader, directing worship of the Man of Sin and the Dragon. Such a dual theocratic rule is exemplified in the modern state of Iran, which has an elected secular president and an unelected Ayatollah ruling as the nation’s spiritual leader, working together in a power sharing arrangement. The president is primarily concerned with the affairs of state, while the ayatollah ensures that the dictates of Islamic law and tradition are followed.

v. 13-14a  And he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men. Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth. (NIV) The false prophet will convince the world that he is in fact Jesus Christ by performing great miracles to convince the world to submit to the Mahdi. Those deceived by his miracles will join the great apostasy, believing that the false prophet really is Christ. This will be God’s way of separating the wheat from the chaff.

“The coming of the man of sin will be in accordance with the works of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs, and wonders, and every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing.”  2Thess. 2:9-12

In order to better understand the true nature of the two beasts, the Man of Sin and his false prophet, it is helpful to review Islamic eschatology. This deals with the same end times’ events as the book of Revelation, but from quite a different perspective. The Qur’an and the Hadiths describe three last days’ personalities. Each of these finds its counterpart in the three main adversaries presented in Revelation – Jesus and the two beasts: the Man of Sin and his false prophet. However, in the Islamic interpretation, their roles are twisted and even reversed from what the Bible portrays.

The first end times’ Islamic figure is the al Mahdi. Islamic writings prophesy that a world leader known as al Mahdi, or “the guided one,” will appear in the last days. The Mahdi will claim the status of a prophet in the line of Mohammed and become Caliph, receiving wide acclaim as the one who will establish the prophesied golden age of peace for all mankind under the rule of Islam. The Hadiths predict that the Mahdi will appear from Khorasan, an area that cuts a wide swath through the Middle East, from Syria eastward to Afghanistan.

As Caliph, the Mahdi will be an unstoppable force, leading the way to victory in jihad over the world’s infidels. Muslims worldwide will be united under the crescent moon. The Mahdi will attain global peace, in much the same manner that Islam achieved peace throughout the Middle East in the seventh century, through the conquest of Arab, Persian, and Christian lands. Anyone who does not convert to Islam will be put to death by the sword. It does not require a great deal of insight to identify the Mahdi as the Man of Sin, the first beast of Revelation who establishes a world kingdom and initiates the persecution of the saints. This persecution, along with his attempt to impose Shari’a law and the Muslim calendar on conquered lands, will fulfill the prophecy of Daniel 7: 24.

“And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.”  Dan. 7:25

The second end times’ Islamic personality is the Isa, Jesus Christ, having returned from heaven to earth to help the Mahdi impose Islamic rule. According to Muslim belief, Isa is the “prophet Jesus,” who was previously taken to heaven by God after suffering a near death experience. Muslim teaching holds that the Isa will appear with the Mahdi. The prophet Jesus will declare himself to be a faithful Muslim (rather than a Christian) and swear his allegiance to the Mahdi. He will use his well-documented miracle working powers to confirm the Mahdi’s authority to rule over the earth, convincing many to convert to Islam.

The Isa actually claims to be Jesus; he is therefore the antichrist, “standing in the place of” Christ. He is the ultimate fulfillment of Jesus’ prophetic warning: “For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” The second beast’s identification in verse 11 as a lamb with the voice of a dragon confirms his demonic impersonation of Jesus Christ. Although he will claim to be the true Lamb of God, his words will give him away as a demonic impersonation of Jesus. The Isa is clearly identifiable as the false prophet, the second beast of Revelation who does great miracles and causes everyone to worship the first beast.

The third personality in Muslim eschatology is the ad Dajjal, an incarnation of satanic evil. Opposing the Mahdi and Isa, the ad Dajjal will falsely claim to be the real Jesus Christ. (He could therefore be thought of as the twisted Muslim version of the antichrist.) Islamic written tradition holds that he will lead an army of 70,000 Jews against the Mahdi and the Isa, but the Isa will defeat the wicked ad Dajjal. The prominent Muslim apologist, Osamah Abdallah, explains the ad Dajjal’s role in end times’ events: “The army of Satan will be led by a person who will claim to be Jesus Christ himself. The Muslims will call him the Dajjal or the Deceiver. The army of the real Jesus [the Isa] will fight the Dajjal's army and defeat him.  The empire of Israel will fall, and the religion of Islam will prevail.” 17

Muslim eschatology not only twists the roles of the major end times’ personalities in the final battle of the age between good and evil, it changes the results of the battle. The Mahdi and Isa defeat the ad Dajjal. In a nice Hollywood ending, the Isa retires, marries and lives happily under the rule of the beneficent Mahdi for another forty years. The genius of this great end times’ delusion is not only its ability to deceive the world, but also the boldness of the deception itself, claiming that Jesus himself is the antichrist! Believing this lie, it is no wonder that the armies of the world march against Jerusalem to prevent Jesus’ return.

“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness.”  Isa 5:20

v. 14b-15  And he told the inhabitants of the earth to erect a statue to the Wild Beast who had received the sword-stroke and yet had recovered. And power was granted him to give breath to the statue of the Wild Beast, so that the statue of the Wild Beast could even speak and cause all who refuse to worship it to be put to death. Although men are not worshiped in Islam, the Man of Sin will be accorded universal worship by the masses (v. 4). Claiming the nature and power of the Dragon, he will accept worship on his behalf. The beast will break with Muslim tradition and demand worship for himself, and the false prophet will see that his wishes are enforced under penalty of death.

v. 16-18 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six. (KJV) The number 666 is probably the most well known and at the same time the most difficult to understand of the mysteries of Revelation. Many who have never opened a Bible are familiar with this number and its demonic implications. Throughout history, names and titles of famous and infamous individuals alike have been analyzed in various alphabets to determine if the letters of their names would solve this riddle. Some of this effort is no doubt inspired by the implied challenge in the wording of this passage.

Differences of opinion over the interpretation of this riddle still abound. The popular opinion has long been that the 666 signifies the spelling of an individual’s name, as mathematicians long ago assigned numerical equivalents to the letters of the Greek alphabet. Some have even tried to apply this method to individual names in the Latin and Hebrew alphabets, which have different values than the Greek. Others, starting with Iraneus, provided reasons for a much broader application of this riddle, arguing that it designated a kingdom rather than an individual. In Iraneus’ view, it applied to the existing Latin kingdom, or Rome. Others later extended his 666 designation from Rome to the Roman Catholic church as inheritor of the Roman Empire. Some Christian denominations still believe that a future pope will be the antichrist.

History has shown that these proposed solutions did not in fact solve the riddle. Many of the names and titles and kingdoms that did add up to 666 relied on some variation or number massaging to do so. The bottom line is that every solution that advanced the name of a now deceased candidate was prima facie incorrect, since the beast has yet to appear. Scholars continue to nominate new candidates in every generation in the belief that their proposed solution may be the correct one. Out of this jumble, only one conclusion can be drawn with any certainty. To date, the Man of Sin has yet to appear to confirm any of the predictions made so far.

Although Iraneus took a more general approach to the identification of the number 666 in looking for a kingdom rather than an individual, his focus remained political. The problem with all these approaches is that they ignore the spiritual aspect of the problem, where a solution is more likely to be found. (The advancement of the papacy as a candidate at least took this into account.) The Scriptural implication of the word ‘name’ (onoma; Gr. - authority, character) provides the essential meaning of the phrase: “... unless he had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” The name of someone in a position of power is the essence of their authority and character, such as “hallowed be thy name,” and “they baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” Since the evidence indicates that the Mahdi’s coming religious kingdom will be the vehicle by which the Dragon will impose his rule on the earth, the significance of the 666 designation to Muslims is of some interest. A look at the facts links the number 666 with the authority and character of Islam. 

The Qur’an itself is identified by Muslims with the number 666. The title and office of the prophesied global Islamic leader, the Mahdi, comes from the authority of the Qur’an. The coming Islamic world kingdom will be based on its authority. Just as the Bible contains the revelation of God and has the authority of his Word, the Qur’an is the authority of Islam, containing the revelation of its antichrist spirit. The Qur’an is the name (authority) of Islam, just as the Bible is the name, or authority, of Judaism and Christianity. Being marked with the number of the Qur’an would indicate allegiance to the antichrist spirit that suffuses it, and submission to Islam and the Mahdi. It is possible that this mark is combined with a personal identifier using modern RFID technology as many suspect. This mark, whatever it is, indicates that one is submitted to Islam and the Qur’an, and therefore the authority of the antichrist spirit.

Muslims do not deny the equation of the Qur’an with the number 666. They do not widely broadcast it either, but they do take pride in it. They believe that the Christian use of the number 666 is a plot to discredit Islam. One Muslim website states that that the number 666 was given a negative connotation in some sort of satanic attack against Islam and the Qur’an: "The number 666 is highly publicized all over the world and it is associated with evil and danger. However, it is not what it seems. It was a Satanic trick. The trick was to prevent the people approaching the 666. Satan knew that the 666 is the book of GOD and the people should be kept away from it. According to his plan, he placed a bad image to the number 666.”

The picture above of a young Muslim cleric holding a Qur’an, with its “name,” the Arabic number “666” written on the top edge, appeared on a 2008 CNN special investigative report. The cameraman who took this close-up view obviously recognized its significance. Photo from CNN Special investigations Unit: Amanpour Reports, “The War Within” aired June 16, 2007.

The website continues: “The number 666 mentioned in the book of Revelation 13:18 is a part of a satanic scheme to hypnotise (sic) the minds of Christians. It is intended to cast fear and evil. The reason is to create the negative prejudice in the minds of the people when they witness the number 666, the truth. The truth is that this Quran is the 666, The Book from The Lord of the Universe. The First Sura in the Quran, 666, is Praise. This sura is the gift of GOD to us to establish Contact with Him through our daily Contact Prayers.” 18

The display of a mark on the forehead or right hand is consistent with Islamic practice. Muslim men wearing conservative Islamic dress have the name of Allah written in Arabic as a ‘mark’ on the front of the skullcap (forehead) or on the right arm as a mark of their faith. Greek lexicons note that the word for “hand” used in this verse may be taken to mean either the hand or the arm, both of which are considered the instrument for wielding power. Since the Qur’an is Allah’s witness to the world, his name may be equated with the 666 “name or number of the name” of the Qur’an. (Even though Arabic numerals were not in use in the Roman Empire when the book of Revelation was written in the first century, the Holy Spirit would have foreknown that the Arabic numbering system would come into worldwide use to fulfill the 666.)

Chapter Notes:

  1. 7.

  2. 8.Ayatollah Baqir al-Sadr and Ayatollah Muratda Mutahhari, The Awaited Savior (Karachi, Islamic Seminary Publications), p. 4-5

  3. 9.“France_prepares_5000_riot_police”.php Paul Belien, Brussels Journal

  4. 10. “The Smoking Gun on the Muslim Brotherhood's Agenda” by Douglas Farah Aug. 2, 2007

11. “Global Banks Adopting Islam” Patrick Wood,

12. Bruce Bawer, While Europe Slept; How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within by Random House, NY, NY 2006 p. 21, 23

13. Ibid. p. 26

14. Mark Steyn, America Alone, Regnery Publishing, Washington DC 2006 p. 85-86

15. Ibid. p. 87

16. Muhammad ibn Izzat, Muhammad ‘Arif, Al Mahdi and the End of Time, (London, Dar Al-Taqwa, 1997), p. 16ff.

17. Question 5,

18. “In The Name of God, Most Gracious Most Merciful,”


Revelation 12 - 13

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