Many students of Bible prophecy do not know what to make of fundamental Islam or how it figures into the end-times scenario. Perhaps what will be shocking to many is the most traditional Protestant Bible scholars of old believed that an Islamic and not an exclusively European paradigm will categorize the end times.
Such a view was held by John Wesley, Hilaire Belloc, Gregory Palamus of Thessalonica, Josiah Litch, Cyril of Jerusalem, Sophronius, Maximus the Confessor, John of Damascus, Eulogius, Paul Alvarus, the Martyrs of Cordova, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards and Sir Robert Anderson, who all believed that Islamic nations will be the major players in the end times.
In 1840, in his book The Three Woe Trumpets: Fall of the Ottoman Empire, Litch described the magnitude of Islam's role in the Antichrist system and claimed that his view was the "general agreement among Christians, especially Protestant commentators."
Though Luther believed that the papacy would play a spiritual part, he also believed the Islamic nations would take the role of the Antichrist (Tischreden, Weimer ed., 1, No. 300). Islam's own eschatology mirrors and makes holy what the Antichrist does.
According to Islamic belief, the Muslims must destroy Israel and must receive a mark on their foreheads, and their Messiah (the Mahdi) will usher in seven years of peace and change set times and set laws. Muslims worldwide are set up to receive what the Bible calls Antichrist.
What students of prophecy miss is that the revival of a Roman Empire never meant a revival of an exclusively European Empire. Take North Africa (Put or Phut), which encompasses five Muslim nations that were historically part of the Western wing of the Roman Empire. And what about Turkey (Lydia), the eastern wing, which is also mentioned literally in several end-time references?
In order for the exclusively European model to fit, the whole of this Muslim region must be irrelevant. So what part of the Roman pie do we slice off, and what parts do we include? The European Union today mushroomed into 27 nations, all in the West, which caused many to altogether lose interest in Bible prophecy.
Jamieson Fausset & Brown insist that "the ten toes are not upon one foot (the West), as these interpretations require, but on the two (east and west) together, so that any theory which makes the 10 kingdoms belong to the west alone must err." But does this error mean we abandon Bible prophecy? Or would we do better to adhere to the rules of hermeneutics?
Students of prophecy should answer a simple question: Besides the argument over Magog being Russia, can anyone cite a literal reference to any nation God destroys in the end times that is not today Muslim? Only if one ponders this question is it possible to grasp its magnitude.
During a lecture I gave to a group of prominent Bible prophecy teachers, I asked this questioned and no one answered. In frustration, I pointed to one of my favorite biblical archeology and prophecy teachers, Dr. Randall Price, and asked him to respond. He said, "We can't find any." Grant Jeffrey, another of my favorite prophecy authors, once attempted to respond with "Cush" (Ethiopia), not realizing that biblical Cush is defined in the Unger Bible Dictionary as a landmass "south of Egypt". Today this would be Sudan and Somalia; both today are fundamentalist Muslim nations.
Even in every portrayal of Christ's return to fight the Antichrist, all the nations He fights are today Muslim. The significance of this truth is striking-scholars are unanimous in stating that Christ will come to destroy the Antichrist and establish His millennium kingdom.
The European Union model has the Muslim hordes destroyed before the tribulation period. Yet the text leaves no doubt that Messiah Himself deals with Muslim nations. Read the description of the day of the Lord in Ezekiel 30:3-5, particularly verse 5: "Cush [Sudan] and Put [North Africa], Lydia [Turkey] and all Arabia, Libya and the people of the covenant land will by the sword along with Egypt" (NIV). Today all the countries listed in this verse are Muslim nations. It isn't that the Bible forgot to warn us; it is that we forgot to read the warning from the Bible.
Walid Shoebat (shoebat.com) is a former Muslim terrorist who came to Christ in 1993. He is the author of Why I Left Jihad, Why We Want to Kill You and God's War on Terror. He speaks regularly at universities, churches, conferences, civic events and in the media concerning the real causes of terrorism.