The Revived Islamic Empire Of The Antichrist
While the information that we have covered thus far is certainly quite interesting, ultimately, if Islam is indeed the primary vehicle that Satan will use to fulfill his final rebellion against God, it is the Bible that must be the primary litmus test. What does the Bible say about the nature and the make-up of the Antichrist’s empire?
The Bible is abounding with proofs that the Antichrist Empire will consist only of nations that are today, all Islamic. If one were to do a thorough study of all of the various examples of such from the various Hebrew prophets, it would require an extensive study. But for brevity and our purposes here, we will present a limited argument based on some portions of Scripture from the Book of Ezekiel and the Book of Revelation. Despite the numerous and prevailing arguments made for the future emergence of a revived European Roman Empire as the Antichrist’s power base, we will see quite clearly that today, all of the specific nations that the Bible mentions that will make up the Antichrist Empire are all Muslim nations. Pretty simple. This fact leaves us with only a couple of options. The first option is to assume that before the coming of the Antichrist, most of these Islamic nations will experience significant transformation and leave their Islamic roots behind. There are problems with this option: While there are ample reports of individual Muslims coming to follow Jesus from throughout the Muslim world, there are really no concrete signs of any of these nations abandoning their Islamic roots on a larger scale. In fact, many of the nations that we will look at are presently seeing a resurgence of Islamic Fundamentalism sweeping throughout their lands. Nevertheless, I have heard Bible teachers for years express that before the coming of the last-days, Islam as a religion would basically fizzle out and become entirely irrelevant. The present reality – long term statistical trends – simply do not bear this out.
The other option is really far more reasonable, which is to simply conclude that indeed, the future Antichrist Empire will be an Islamic empire. This one fact alone, that of the Islamic dominance of all of the participant nations in the Antichrist Empire should be enough to make most Bible scholars and students of eschatology at least consider the role of Islam in the last-days very seriously.
The Prophet Ezekiel actually lists the nations of this final empire quite specifically as he prophesies the future attack of the Antichrist Empire against Israel. In the thirty-eighth chapter of his book, Ezekiel begins by directly addressing the Antichrist whom the Lord refers to by the unusual name of “Gog.” The name Gog is a specific title particular to a ruler from the land of Magog. It could be likened to the Pharaoh and Egypt. Pharaoh is an ancient title particular to rulers of Egypt, and “Gog” was a title particular to the land of Magog.
The word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal; prophesy against him and say: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with your whole army-your horses, your horsemen fully armed, and a great horde with large and small shields, all of them brandishing their swords. Persia, Cush and Put will be with them, all with shields and helmets, also Gomer with all its troops, and Beth Togarmah from the far north with all its troops-the many nations with you." 'Get ready; be prepared, you and all the hordes gathered about you, and take command of them. Ezekiel 38:1-7
I encourage you to open your Bible and read through all of Ezekiel 38 slowly. The specificity in which Ezekiel describes modern day Israel is quite astonishing. Prophesying to the Antichrist, Ezekiel says, “In future years you will invade a land that has recovered from war, whose people were gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate.” Israel is described as, “the resettled ruins and the people gathered from the nations, rich in livestock and goods.” Clearly Ezekiel was describing the Israel of today.
So Ezekiel gives us the specific names of countries that will be involved in the invasion of Israel which will be led by Gog. Listed in order, they are Magog, Meschech, Tubal, Persia, Cush, Put, Gomer and Beth Togormah, as well as “many nations with you.”
There is a divergence of opinion among prophecy teachers and Bible scholars regarding the identification of Gog and his coalition of nations. The majority position for the past few decades however, is that the invading army of nations described in Ezekiel 38-39 is not the army of Antichrist, but of another army led by another world leader. I personally reject the idea that Gog is anyone other than Antichrist. While a smaller book could be written examining all of the various reasons why this is so, for now, we will only very briefly examine two of the primary reasons why I think this is untenable.
There are two specific mentions of Gog and Magag in the Bible. Gog is mentioned not only in Ezekiel but also in the Book of Revelation. Let’s look at the passage from Revelation:
When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth--Gog and Magog--to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God's people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever. Revelation 20:7-10
But if you are not yet sure, consider this second point. Ezekiel says specifically of Gog that the prophets spoke of Him in times past:
This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Are you not the one I spoke of in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel? At that time they prophesied for years that I would bring you against them. Ezekiel 38:17
The question must be asked then, if Gog and Magog are spoken of by Israel’s former Prophets prior to Ezekiel, then where are all of these references? One will be very hard pressed to find any unless one does some serious stretching of the Scriptures. But if we take the position that Gog is Antichrist, then it is very easy to find numerous passages about Antichrist and his invading Army throughout the prophets.
Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal; prophesy against him… Ezekiel 38:2
Some Bible translations differ on how to interpret the portion of this verse that says, “the chief prince of.” In Hebrew, the word translated as “chief prince” is “rosh.” The problem is that while rosh most probably means “prince,” or “head,” some argue that it should be treated as a proper noun, referring to the name of a place. Those who feel as though it is a place, use the word “Rosh” to find Russia here as one of the nations. The basis for doing so of course is due primarily to the similar sound of the two words. This opinion is also supported by the fact that Ezekiel specifically says that Gog would come from the North. While indeed, Russia is perfectly north of Israel, the actual interpretation of the word Rosh however is based on a bogus principle. One cannot simply take a word from an ancient Semitic language (in this case, Hebrew) and find a correlation to a modern name from a drastically different language (in this case an early form of Scandinavian) simply because the two words “sound the same.”
The Hebrew word “rosh” is used well over five hundred other times in the Bible and is each time interpreted as meaning “head, chief, top, best” or something similar. It is the same Rosh that we find in Rosh Hashana – “The Chief day of the Year” - the Jewish New Year. Also, consider this: of the eight nations mentioned, all except one are grandsons of Noah. The other is Persia. Persia however was a very well known nation in Ezekiel’s day having formerly been the head of the Medo-Persian Empire that ruled the entire Middle East. Now juxtapose this to Russia, which did not even exist in Ezekiel’s day. To simply attempt to toss “Rosh” into the mix, an alleged name that is neither a descendant of Noah nor a well-known nation of that day is certainly out of place. As Bible scholar Dr. Merrill F. Unger admits, "Linguistic evidence for the equation [of Rosh with Russia] is confessedly only presumptive." 1
During the cold war, of course, this opinion was a popular one. The reasoning of many was that because Russia was the “head” of the great Communist (read: atheist) Soviet Union, surely such an anti-God empire was the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. But we must be very careful not to read our assumptions or modern events into Scripture. We must allow Scripture to speak for itself. Unfortunately, many Bible teachers still seem to cling to this interpretation. The notion that Russia is specifically mentioned here in Ezekiel, is a strong, if not irresponsible stretch, and certainly should not be treated as anything more than a mere speculation built on a very weak foundation.
Now let’s identify the nations that are mentioned. Of the eight nations that are mentioned, specifically: Magog, Meschech, Tubal, Persia, Cush, Put, Gomer and Togormah, seven are mentioned in the Book of Genesis as being descendants of Noah and his three sons. Bible scholars and historians are able to trace the names of Noah’s sons to certain people groups and regions and thus to identify them with modern nations. While the identification of some of these people groups is somewhat debatable, there is a general measure of agreement among Bible scholars as to their identification.
Meshek and Tubal
Regarding Meshek and Tubal, here again, we find some prophecy teachers once again giving them a Russian identification. Many very well-known prophecy teachers base their opinions primarily on the fact that the Scofield Study Bible identifies these two “nations” as correlating to the modern Russian cities of Moscow and Tobolsk. The problem again, is that the basis of this interpretation comes primarily from the similar sound of the words: Meshek – Moscow, and Tubal – Tobolsk. While this may be convincing to some, the weakness of this reasoning has already been discussed above. Again, unless one can legitimately trace the roots of a particular word back to its Hebrew origin, then the argument is based on very weak evidence. It is a forcing of the puzzle piece where it doesn’t naturally fit.
Mark Hitchcock, a well-known Bible teacher accurately points out that Meschek and Tubal are mentioned in Ezekiel 27:13 as trading partners with ancient Tyre. Tyre was in what is today Lebanon. “It is highly doubtful” says Hitchcock, “that ancient Tyre was trading with people as far north as Moscow and Tobolsk.” In fact, it is questionable whether or not these areas were even very well populated in Ezekiel’s day. Hitchcock concludes that:
A closer study of these names reveals that Meschech and Tubal are the ancient Moschi/Mushki and Tubalu/Tibareni peoples who dwelled in the area around, primarily south of, the Black and Caspian Seas in Ezekiel’s day. These nations today are in the modern country of Turkey, possibly parts of southern Russia and northern Iran. 2
Meschek was located near what was known as Phrygia, in central and western Asia Minor, while Tubal was located in eastern Asia Minor. So with Meshek and Tubal, we are dealing with portions of modern Turkey. Today this region is predominantly Islamic. While modern Turkey has undergone a drastic secularization in the last century, within even just the past few years there have also been some quiet, though very strong trends toward a return to a stronger Islamic identification. 3
Regarding the identity of Magog, there is some difference of opinion among Bible teachers and historians. Referring to the Magogites, The Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible speaks of this diversity of opinion:
Some think they find them [Gog and Magog] afar off, in Scythia, Tartary, and (Southern) Russia. Others think they find them nearer the land of Israel, in Syria, and Asia the Less [Turkey]. 4
Those who argue for a Scythian connection find their best argument in a reference from the ancient Jewish historian Josephus, who wrote, “Magog founded the Magogians, thus named after him, but who by the Greeks are called Sythians.” Hitchcock says of the Sythians:
The ancient Sythians were a great nomadic tribe who inhabited the ancient territory from Central Asia all across the southern part of ancient Russia. The descendants of Magog were the original inhabitants of the plateau of Central Asia. Today the land of Magog is inhabited by the former Soviet Republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and possibly even northern parts of modern Afghanistan. 5
Former Muslim Walid Shoebat agrees. Shoebat points out that:
The Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, citing ancient Assyrian writings, places the location of Magog in the land mass between ancient Armenia and Media - in short, the Republics south of Russia and north of Israel, comprised of Azerbajian, Afghanistan, Turkestan, Chechnya, Turkey, Iran and Dagestan. Significantly, all of them are Muslim nations. 6
Thus, while the specific nations that comprise Magog may be partially in question, the same general area is agreed upon. We are dealing with Asia Minor, and possibly parts of central Asia – some of the southern regions of the former Soviet Union. Today, Islam dominates this entire region.
What if we take the alternative interpretation made by some Bible scholars, that Magog is speaking of Syria? Even if this were the case, we still have an Islamic nation.
But here is the real key to identifying Magog: By identifying Meshech and Tubal – which we have already done. The reason for this is the wording of Ezekiel: “Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief (or head) of Meshech and Tubal.” Magog, is the “head” of land of Meshech and Tubal. We have already seen that Meschech and Tubal are located in modern day Turkey. Thus it would be foolish to assume that Magog as their “head” is in some other distant region or nation. While it seems more likely that Magog is either a portion of Turkey or a conglomerate of the former Soviet Turkic “istans”, whether it be these or Syria, we are definitely dealing with an Islamic entity.
This point is essential. Because we know that Gog – The Antichrist - will come from the land of Magog, which is definitely an Islamic region, it very unlikely that he will not be a Muslim. While I suppose that anything is possible, particularly in the distant future, it is very hard to imagine a non-Muslim ruling over any one of these nations, at least not anyone who doesn’t outwardly pose as a Muslim. Now, let’s move on to identify the remaining member states of Antichrist’s coalition.
Persia is very easy to identify. Essentially, Persia is modern day Iran. Many Iranians in America, if asked where they are from, will simply say they are from Persia. In fact Iran was still called Persia until 1935. Obviously Iran is a predominantly Muslim nation. While there are some wonderful signs of change in Iran due to a growing dissatisfaction with Islam among Iran’s massive youth population, it does not seem likely that a majority of Iranians will leave behind its Islamic roots anytime soon. 7
Cush is also relatively easy to identify. Some Bible translations merely interpret Cush as Ethiopia, though this is not accurate. The Cush of Ezekiel’s day was far more northwest than the Ethiopia of today. In Scripture, Cush was often associated with Egypt and was a border nation to her:
Egypt will become a desolate wasteland. Then they will know that I am the LORD. Because you said, "The Nile is mine; I made it," therefore I am against you and against your streams, and I will make the land of Egypt a ruin and a desolate waste from Migdol [Northern Egypt] to Aswan [Today in southern Egypt], as far as the border of Cush. Ezekiel 29:9-10
Also, one of Cush’s defining characteristics was her rivers. (
Being a border nation with Egypt, the rivers were most likely the five rivers that fed the Nile. Of course, the context of Ezekiel is the best context to interpret where Ezekiel was referring. If we look at a map, the Nile river flows directly into the southern border of Egypt from the modern nation of Sudan. In the nation of Sudan, there are five rivers which all merge to feed the Nile to the north. The only legitimate identification of Cush then is modern Sudan, officially known as The Islamic Republic of Sudan since the 1989. While Sudan does have a large Christian minority, it is ruled by the Muslim majority. Today Sudan is an absolute cesspool of Islamic oppression toward the minority Christians. The Sudanese government is Islamist to its core. As Hitchcock accurately says, “One would be hard pressed to find a more rabid enemy of Israel and the West today than Sudan.” Sudan is thus identified as another Islamic participant in the Antichrist’s empire.
Biblically, Put (or Phut) is the region west of Egypt. Today this is the nation of Libya. The Septuagint translates the word Put here as Libue. Most modern scholars seem to agree with this interpretation. Shoebat however includes Algeria, Morroco and Tunis along with Libya. Either way, we again have another region or nation that is entirely Islamic.
Gomer, it seems to be almost universally agreed upon among scholars, “refers to the Celtic Cimmerians of Crim-Tartary.” 8 Regarding the identification of Gomer, Baptist Pastor Fred Zaspel, accurately points out that:
Gomer is well known to the ancient world as Gimarrai of north central Asia Minor [Cappadocia]. These people are also known as the Cimmerians. This seems to be the simplest, most obvious interpretation. 9
So Gomer is Gimarra is Cimmeria is Cappadocia. Cappadocia is simply central Turkey. Again, another Islamic region.
Zaspel again sums up the identity of Togormah quite well:
Togarmah was a descendant of Noah through Japheth then Gomer (Gen.10:1-3). He is know to Assyrian records as Tilgarimmu… Tilgarimmu was a city state in Eastern Anatolia (Asia Minor, modern Turkey), more specifically, as Ryrie states, "the southeastern part of Turkey near the Syrian border." This identification is generally acknowledged by all. 10
Once more then we have another region that is in present day Turkey.
Thus in the final assessment we have five of the eight nations mentioned by Ezekiel occupying modern Turkey and possibly some of the southern Russian regions near the Caucasus Mountains as well as some of the Turkic nations of Central Asia. Obviously, the Lord directed Ezekiel to significantly highlight Turkey. The other three nations mentioned: Libya, Sudan and Iran, together with Turkey form a perfect circle around Israel. Turkey covers Israel’s entire northern horizon, while Iran is east of Israel, Sudan is South, and Libya is to the west. Israel finds herself surrounded on all four corners by the Islamic nations of the Antichrist Empire.
While many Bible teachers have for years prophesied a coming invasion of Israel headed by Russia, we see that the Bible simply does not substantiate this position. In fact, it is fair to say that the entire argument for a primary Russian involvement is based on weak scholarship and actually requires a violation of basic linguistic norms. Instead, we see an Islamic Invasion of Israel, most likely led by Turkey and involving minimally three or more other Islamic nations. While there is always the temptation to read ones enemies into Scripture, we should instead simply take the Bible for what it says. While presently, there is not any pressing reason to see Turkey as the leader of an imminent world Empire, this is nevertheless, what Ezekiel prophesied. And as we are about to see, this is indeed confirmed through other portions of Scripture as well.
Before we procede, I wish here to acknowledge someone who has greatly contributed to my understanding of this issue. His name is Walid Shoebat. He is a former Palestinian terrorist and is the author of Why I left Jihad. I highly recommend this book. It may be ordered through his web site at www.shoebat.com
Beyond the above identification of the nations of Ezekiel 38, the Book of Revelation also confirms the notion that indeed the region of Turkey will be the head of the future Antichrist Empire. Let’s examine these passages from the Book of Revelation:
There I saw… a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns. Revelation 17:3
Here we see the final “Beast” empire of the Antichrist. The Beast is seen to have seven heads and ten horns. We already know from the Book of Daniel that the ten horns represent the ten nations or kings that will comprise the Antichrist Empire. But the seven heads are seven empires that have existed throughout history that all have been foreshadows of the final empire that is to come. As usual, whenever a prophecy is given in the Bible that may be difficult in its symbolism, the Bible clarifies the symbolism and explains the passage for us:
This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits. They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for a little while. The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction. Revelation 17:9-11
Now the seven heads are called seven mountains. The Bible often uses mountains as a symbol representing a kingdom or an empire. But most importantly this passage gives us insight into the fact that before Jesus returns, there will actually have been a total of eight “Beast” empires. The eighth empire will be ruled by the Antichrist. How can this passage help us gain insight into the identification of the final Antichrist Empire? First, we see that at the time that it was written to John, five of the empires had already fallen. This is seen in the phrase, “five have been.” These empires are generally accepted by Bible teachers as being the following:
After these five, the angel tells John that one empire “is.” At the time that John wrote the Book of Revelation, Rome “was.” It ruled the Middle East, Northern Africa and much of Europe. Thus the sixth empire was the Roman Empire. The next empire, of course, is the seventh, and then the eighth will be the empire of the Antichrist. So the seventh empire is the empire that we need to identify. Because according to the verse above, it is the eighth empire that will be a resurrection or a revived version of the seventh empire:
“The beast who once was, and is not, is an eighth king.”
Let me just paraphrase this portion for clarity:
“The seventh beast (empire) that existed, but then did not exist, will come back as an eighth empire.”
So if we are now waiting for the final eighth empire, then what was the seventh? What empire followed Rome?
Because of the harsh anti-Semitic nature of the German third Reich, some Bible teachers have speculated that Germany was the seventh empire and thus Germany will come back as the eighth. 11
The most common belief however, held almost universally by Bible teachers, is that the Antichrist Empire will be a revived Roman Empire. There are however some glaring problems with this theory: Firstly, Rome was the sixth empire. If Rome was the sixth, and will also be the last, then what happened to the seventh? This theory has a gaping hole. Is Rome the sixth, seventh and the eighth empires? Neither Scripture nor history nor common sense supports this. Secondly, every one of the previous six empires ruled the Middle East, including Jerusalem. This is very important. We must always remember that the Bible is thoroughly Jerusalem centric. It is not America centric, nor is it Western centric. In the biblical view of things, Jerusalem is the center of the earth. This point cannot be underscored enough. Any theory that revolves around a revived Roman Empire based in Europe - for instance on the European Common Market - is a foreign concept to the Bible. Unless the empire rules over or directly affects Jerusalem, it is actually a bit irrelevant to biblical mind-set.
And the third crucial point is that if we look at the first six empires, each succeeding empire either destroyed or absorbed the empire that preceded it. There is a very natural sucession. If we look at each empire, we see that they all fulfill these two characteristics: they ruled over Jerusalem and they defeated or absorbed their predecessor. The Egyptian Empire ruled all of Egypt and Israel as well. But the Assyrian Empire defeated the Egyptian Empire and likewise ruled over a vast portion of the Middle East, including Israel. After this, the Babylonian Empire defeated the Assyrian Empire and became even larger than its predecessor, again, ruling over Israel. Such is the pattern with each successive empire: The Medo/Persian Empire succeeded the Babylonian Empire only to be succeeded by the Greek Empire. The Greek Empire was in turn suceeded by the Roman Empire. Which leads us to the seventh empire. Who overcame the Roman Empire? In order to answer this question, we need to briefly review the fall of the Roman Empire. What exactly happened?
In 395 A.D., The Roman Empire was divided into two portions; the eastern and the western portions. The Eastern portion became known as the Byzantine Empire. In 410 A.D. the western capital city of Rome fell to invading Germanic tribes known as the Visigoths or Barbarians. The western/European half of the Empire including its capital had fallen but the Roman Empire nevertheless continued. How so? It simply shifted its capital and its throne from Rome to Constantinople – a thousand miles east. The western European portion of the Roman Empire fell but the Eastern Byzantine portion of the Roman Empire lived on for nearly another thousand years with Constantinople as its capital. The Roman Empire didn’t actually completely fall until the eastern portion of the Empire finally fell to the Turks in 1453 A.D. Likewise it was the Islamic Caliphate of Umar Ibn al-Khattab that took Jerusalem in 637. Thus we see that it was the various manifestations of Islamic Empire culminating with the Ottoman Empire that suceeded the Roman Empire and ruled over the entire Middle East, beginning with Jerusalem for over thirteen hundred years. 12 The Turkish Empire existed right up until 1909.
Thus we see that the only empire that fulfills the patterns necessary to be considered the seventh empire is the Turkish/Ottoman Empire. This of course corresponds perfectly with Ezekiel’s list of nations with such a heavy emphasis on Turkey.
The Coming Restoration Of The Caliphate
The Turkish Empire was the seat of the Islamic Caliphate. It was not until 1923 that the Islamic Caliphate was officially abolished. Today the Islamic world is awaiting the restoration of that Caliphate. The Bible teaches that someday soon the Turkish Empire will be revived.
The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because he once was, then he was not, and yet came again. Revelation 17:8
At that time, we may expect to see the Islamic Caliphate restored. Eventually this position will possibly be given to a man whom the Muslim world would refer to as the Mahdi, but whom people of understanding would identify as the man known biblically as the Antichrist.
1. Merrill F. Unger, Beyond The Crystal Ball (Chicago: Moody Press, 1974) p. 81
2. Hitchcock, pp, 44,45
3. BBC Roger Hardy BBC Islamic affairs analyst: Islam in Turkey: Odd One Out 26 September, 2003.
4. Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible Ezekiel 38 http://bible.crosswalk.com/Commentaries
5. Mark Hitchcock The Coming Islamic Invasion of Israel (Multnomah, Sisters, Oregon, 2002) p. 31
6. Walid Shoebat, Why I left Jihad, www.shoebat.com, Islam and the Final Beast http://www.answering-islam.org/Walid/gog.htm
7. Ruling Shiites' Influence Eroded by Other Faiths by Ramin Mostaghim Inter Press Service News Agency May 5, 2004
9. Fred G. Zaspel, The Nations of Ezekiel 38 – 39 Who Will Participate in the Battle? http://www.biblicalstudies.com/bstudy/eschatology/ezekiel.htm
11. See for instance, Robert Van Kampen, The Sign (Crossway, Wheaton, Illinios, 1992)
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