THE MIDDLE EAST EMPIRE OF THE BEAST
A Map Laid Out In Scripture
The idea of a revised Roman Empire began during the time of the early Roman Empire and has been plaguing the Church ever since. Many still believe that the beast will rule from Rome as a pope or some other high Catholic official, from Brussels, Belgium as the leader of NATO or as the leader of the European Union. As of the summer of 2004, the European Union had 25 member nations with three additional candidate nations and two applicants that could be added in the future, disqualifying it as the ten-nation empire of the beast. The current membership of the E.U. includes Austria, Belgium, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia were added to that list on May 1 2004. Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey are candidates under consideration, while Croatia and Macedonia are making application. Several of these nations never were a part of the original Roman Empire.
The list of twenty-six NATO members looks much like that of the E.U. but includes the U.S. and Iceland which makes it an unlikely candidate to be a revised Roman Empire from a geographic sense. What is missing from the Roman Catholic Church, NATO and the European Union is any control at all over the countries of the Middle East and North Africa that are actually mentioned in the prophecies. They were a part of the Roman Empire, but a revised Roman Empire, Europe and the nations of Europe are not a part of the end times prophecies. Turkey is a member of NATO and is a candidate for the E.U., and it is the only country out of all of those that are mentioned that receives any prophetic mention when it comes to the ten nation kingdom of the latter days beast. Turkey is a part of the European continent and the Middle East at the same time, and as such, they are pulled in two different directions when it comes to the type of country that they desire to bea free nation that embraces the rest of the world or one that is controlled by Islam.
The theories about a revised Roman Empire are just that. There are no Scriptures that come right out and name Rome in regards to the end times the way other kingdoms and nations are named. Jesus, after spending His life in Israel as a part of the Roman Empire, never once gave any indication that Rome would be a part of the end times kingdom of the beast. After Jesus’ resurrection, the saints became salt and light in the Roman Empire, and despite some persecution from Rome, the empire actually provided the order and cohesiveness needed to spread the gospel quickly and effectively. In 330 A.D. Constantine moved the capitol of Rome to Constantinople in Turkey (Modern day Istanbul). One of the primary reasons that he moved the capitol was because he saw Turkey and the Middle East as a more fertile territory for Christianity to flourish as opposed to Rome and most of Europe, which were more atheist and pagan even though Constantine had declared Christianity to be the official religion of Rome. Eventually things changed and Italy is now over 90% Catholic with other Christian denominations claiming small percentages also. Constantinople, on the other hand, was overthrown by the Ottoman Turks in 1453 A.D. who then renamed it Istanbul, and it replaced Baghdad as the center of the Islamic world at the time. The lands and people whom Constantinople saw as primary candidates for Christian conversion are now predominately Muslim.
John, who wrote the Revelation, along with Matthew, Mark, Luke, Peter, and Paul, who all contributed significantly to our knowledge of the end times, never gave any indication that Rome would be revived as an end times empire. Many of the ideas of a revived Rome come to us from the times of the Roman Empire itself. Church leaders of that time felt that the seven mountains mentioned in Revelation 17 had to do with the seven hills that Rome is built upon. (Coincidentally, Constantinople just happens to be built upon seven hills just like Rome, which by itself should cast some doubt on that theory.) After the demise of the Roman Empire, church leaders continued to hold to that idea by creating a revised Rome for the end times. There will always be things happening in and around the European continent that will lend themselves over to the appearance of some type of Roman revision. However, even if the European Union renamed itself “Revised Roman Empire,” it is still not going to be the ten nation kingdom of the beast. In fact, the only real possible mention of the Roman Empire in relation to the anti-Christ is found in Daniel 11:30 where it informs us that “the ships of Chittim shall come against him.” The ships of Chittim appear to be a naval force that originates to the northwest sector of the Mediterranean Sea. That would possibly make it a latter day version of the European portion of the old Roman Empire, possibly NATO. Rather than hosting or even supporting the anti-Christ, the ships of Chittim resist him.
There are other people who believe that the anti-Christ will rule the world as the Secretary General of the U.N. The U.N. has most of the nations of the world as members, approximately 191 at this writing, which contrary to traditional thinking, makes it too large an organization to be consistent with prophecy. The anti-Christ will not rule the world but will terrorize it through wars and other destructive activities from his base of ten nations in the Middle East. There are no Scriptures that say that he will rule the world, but plenty of Scriptures that say he will tread down and destroy much of the world and deceive those who are unsaved, who will then say things like “Who is able to make war with the beast?” Most of the world will just simply fear the beast rather than worship him reverently. Those who fervently serve him will be just as hell-bent on destruction as he is, but then, if the truth be known, many of those who serve him will probably do so out of fear also.
We just read in Revelation 17:10 about the seven kings who control the seven mountains. Five had already fallen; one was currently in existence, which was the Roman Empire, and the final empire of the beast has “not yet come.” The separation between the one that “is” and the one that has “not yet come” makes them as distinctly different as the five that came before them. They were all related to each other, but yet they were all different. In Revelation 17:8, John informs us that the beast “was” in the past, but “is not” at the time when he was writing, but “he” “shall ascend out of the bottomless pit” in the future. The end times beast never was a part of the Roman Empire, but yet the Roman Empire was a part of the seven-headed beast. The beast of the final empire had some sort of connection to one of the previous empires. However, it was not the Roman Empire; it was one of the five that preceded it.
The prophecies always draw us back to the Middle East where the five former kingdoms existed and where the Roman Empire overlapped the entire area of all of the previous kingdoms. We already mentioned that the prophecy of Daniel 8:23 has not been fulfilled yet. It is an end times prophecy that foretells of the breakup of the Greek Empire into four smaller nations, and then jumps all the way to the end of time when the anti-Christ rules over “the latter time of THEIR Kingdom when transgressors are come to the full.” The use of the word “their” suggests that it is the full extent of the divided Greek Empire that is being discussed.
The Greek Empire of Alexander controlled only a small portion of the Greek Isles. On the other hand, it fanned out from the midst of the Greek Isles and controlled a major portion of Turkey, most of the Middle East including Afghanistan and Pakistan, and a part of Egypt. This is almost exactly the same geography that we see in the makeup of Gog. If you exclude Greece itself and add Ethiopia and Libya, you end up with a pretty good idea of what the beast kingdom will look like. The countries that are most likely to be included in the beast kingdom are Iraq, Iran, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Kuwait and parts of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, Ethiopia, Libya, and possibly Egypt. That adds up to 15 countries, but out of those 15, we will see the empire of the beast arise. Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan may be too insignificant to include in this group, Kuwait has a different heart from the rest of these nations, and Egypt appears from Scripture to be a nation that the anti-Christ will simply overrun. That leaves only 11 countries, and we can’t eliminate Iraq because that is where the city of Babylon will be located on the Euphrates River.
There are several things that come to mind when we read this list of nations. The first is the unwavering hatred that they share for the nation of Israel. From early biblical times, many of these nations were the ones who fought against Israel, trying to destroy her. That has been the intent of the seven heads of the dragon all along—to destroy Israel. But yet, with all of that history of hatred and war behind them, Israel still remains a nation to this day. A simple hatred of the Jews is not enough to be included in the list of nations, and not even an energetic war against the Jews is enough to gain inclusion into this list of nations. Hitler with his Nazi death camps that wiped out millions of Jews does not gain Germany inclusion into this list of nations. There’s more to it than that.
Another thing that we see is the close proximity to Israel but that is not a real factor since Libya and Ethiopia are somewhat removed to the west and south respectively on the African continent. They are named specifically as participants in the attack that is launched by Gog of Magog, so they cannot be eliminated as members of the anti-Christ kingdom. Afghanistan and Pakistan are well to the eastern edge of the Middle East, putting some distance between them and Israel. So what are some other similarities that would draw these nations together?
For one thing, the political and social climate of the nations. Many of these nations are terrorist nations. They support, train, harbor, and finance terrorists. This is not yet true of all of these nations in a political sense, but the social underpinnings that will bring a change in the political outlook and behaviour of those other countries will continue to gurgle just under the surface until they fissure to the top and force change. The social structure that defines each of these nations can be summed up in one word—Islam.
Some would say radical Islam, but all of Islam is radical if you look to the Koran and the history of Islam to gain an in-depth understanding of it. To be sure, many if not most, Muslims are peace-loving individuals who look to the Koran as a source of understanding of who God is and for guidance in how they should live their lives. However, if the God of the Jews is or ever was the one true God, and if the God of the New Testament is for real, then the god of Islam cannot be the same God. There is such a wide gulf, such a divergent theology, and such a different worldview between the Bible and the Koran that they cannot be from the same God. The Bible and the Koran are so diametrically opposed to each other that there is no way to truly and honestly believe they come from the same source or to believe that Islam is a part of a continuum that started with the Old Covenant and dramatically improved with the New Covenant. The Koran is written as though it is a replacement for the Torah and a correction to the New Testament. It supports the authenticity of the Torah as the Word of God and then contradicts it. To believe the Koran is to believe that God suddenly changed His mind about all that He had been planning and prophesying for thousands of years and then did more than a one-hundred-and-eighty degree about-face by going back to something that is lacking in substance even compared to the Old Covenant.
Islam is a totally anti-Christ religion, even from the pages of the Koran. The Koran singles out Christians and Jews as infidels, and it perverts the Scriptures whenever it makes mention of them. It denies the deity of Christ and the existence of the trinity, which it identifies as God the Father, Jesus the Son, and Mary. Muslims believe that Jesus lived but never died. They believe that God took Him and allowed an impostor to die in His place. They believe that Jesus (They refer to him as Isa.) is going to come back as a leader of Islam who will lead them in war against Christians and Jews to fulfill the mandate of the Koran of bringing the whole world under the control of Islam; however, it won’t be Jesus they are following. Muslims are prepared right now to follow the anti-Christ under the banner of Islam to destroy God’s people as they usher in the golden age of Islam—the perfect religion.
One of the most important things to note about the makeup of the beast kingdom is that it is limited in size. That limitation eliminates other Islamic nations as being a part of the kingdom. There are other Islamic nations that surround the Middle East that God never mentions, even indirectly, in regards to the end times or the empire of the beast. If He had mentioned them, we would know who they are and that their fate as nations is already sealed. The very lack of mention could suggest that these nations could see revival to such a magnitude as to change the religious and political nature of the entire nations. Or, it may be that they reject the more radical Islam of non-stop jihad that will permeate the nations that are a part of the beast kingdom. The danger is that these nations may face the wrath of the anti-Christ. There is a death sentence on Muslims who turn away from Islam, and if they turn to Jesus that is really going to infuriate the beast and those who are charged with the duty of killing them.
Most Muslims hate the Jews with an extreme passion. They believe the Jews have been rejected by God and feel that it is their responsibility to eliminate them as a race of people. In deed, Allah makes these things clear in the Koran. They often hide their hatred behind the struggle for a Palestinian state, but if the Palestinians were given all but one square foot of Israeli land, the hatred would remain along with the determination to finish off the Jews. Beyond the resentment that many Arabs and Muslims feel towards the Jews is the issue of who controls Jerusalem. Muslims believe that Gabriel escorted Mohammed into heaven from the temple mount, or more precisely from the spot on the temple mount where the Muslim’s Dome of the Rock now stands, to meet with Jesus, Abraham, and Noah and to lead them in prayer. The Palestinian Liberation Organization has laid claim to this site as a part of their homeland and religious heritage and is sworn to the destruction of the nation of Israel. There is nothing on this earth that is going to stop the Arab Muslims from pursuing their dream of a Middle East without Israel. When the end comes and the anti-Christ arrives to lead them, the ten-nation kingdom that he presides over will not stop with just the ravaging of Israel but will resume the expansionist activities of the Ottoman Empire, which had made significant inroads into southern Europe and North Africa. And that is how world wars begin. It just might be that today’s terrorism that is coming out of the Middle East is the very thing that galvanizes the rest of the world against the beast kingdom, thus limiting it’s core size to only ten nations.
Many peace loving Muslims interpret the Koran in a way that is more acceptable to them and those around them. They have a desire for peace and tranquility and that seasons their interpretations. To them, a jihad is first and foremost that inner struggle to follow Allah and to keep the dictates of the Koran. That is considered the greater jihad, but there are other jihads. The struggle to bring others over to the Muslim way of thinking is also considered a jihad. As far as armed conflict is concerned, it is considered a lesser jihad and is meant to be a self-defense rather than a means of conquering. However, Islam started out under the leadership of a warrior named Mohammed, proceeded with a history of wars and conquest, currently practices persecution and ethnic cleansing, and will end with a world war and the judgment of God. Islam is not a religion of peace, and many peace loving Muslims will one day wake up to a choice between taking the same mark of the beast that their blood thirsty neighbors are displaying or die at their hands. There is a relative calmness on the earth right now that allows the more peaceful Muslims to hold to their beliefs, but when the seals of the book are broken and peace is taken from the earth and the slaughter of one-quarter of mankind begins, there will be only two choices—Jesus Christ and eternity in heaven or the beast with the Wrath of God.
If the Lord should not come again for another thousand years and the entire political and religious makeup of the Middle East should change entirely, the one thing that will not change is the fact that this is the region and these are the people that will make up the final end time ten-nation empire. Until the Rapture occurs, it is never to late to introduce them to Christ. That is, of course, as long as they are not displaying the mark of the beast on their foreheads or right hands.
Think about it!
How much do you know about Islam?
Did you realize that those who we consider to be radical Muslims are only following the dictates of Allah?
Do you think that a literal mark of the beast could be the final device that galvanizes the followers of the beast into submissive action?
~Selah~Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against His anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall He speak unto them in His wrath, and vex them in His sore displeasure. Yet have I set My king upon My holy hill of Zion. Psalms 2:1-6