Q. Could the antichrist be from a Moslem country? I know the antichrist is supposed to come from the EU. But, there are some bible scholars who say differently. Just wondering…
Western Roman Empire
Interesting question. The Roman Empire of biblical days had both an Eastern and Western component. But, we tend to focus on the western empire because chapter 7 of Daniel says the 4th kingdom was identified as the one that would conquer others.
"Its ten horns are ten kings who will rule that empire" (v. 24). "Then another king will arise, different from the other ten, who will subdue three of them. He will defy the Most High and oppress the holy people of the Most High. He will try to change their sacred festivals and laws, and they will be placed under his control for a time, times and half a time" (vs. 24-25).
Right in the book of Daniel the angel Gabriel identifies Media Persia and Greece as two (actually 3) of the four kingdoms. Daniel 2 says the 4th Kingdom is the one that would conquer the 3rd - which Rome did. So Babylon and Persia were eastern empires and Greece and Rome were western empires.
King of the North
Daniel chapter 11 refers to the Antichrist as "the king of the North." In turn, Jeremiah says the land of the North is a territory of Assyria and Babylon. Interestingly, both the Assyrian capital and the Babylonian capital are located in present day Iraq!
Present Day Location of Two Empires
In fact, the Assyrian Empire and the Babylonian Empire comprise what we now know as Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Because there are some Biblical scholars who believe the Antichrist is called "The Assyrian" throughout the pages of Scripture (Isaiah, for example) then he must come from somewhere in present day Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq or Iran. Hmmm…
(See Isa. 10:5-6, 20-25, 27-33; Micah 5:5-6; Dan. 11:40-45, etc.)
Eastern Roman Empire
The Eastern wing of the Roman Empire developed its capitol at Constantinople (Istanbul) which is located on seven hills. This is significant because the apostle John writes, "Here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the women sits" (Revelation 17:9).
Which City on 7 Hills?
Many Bible scholars think this is the religious system in Rome, or Roman Catholicism that becomes the "whore of Babylon" in the book of Revelation, chapter 17. They identify the locale as Rome in Italy (which also sits on seven hills). But, there is really nothing in the text that prohibits the city of 7 hills from being Constantinople rather than Rome.
The idea that the anti-Christ will be of Roman origin comes from Daniel 9:26: …"the people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary." We know from history it was the Romans who destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in A.D. 70.
Yet, this doesn't mean the eastern Roman Empire is excluded in this passage. Indeed, references from the historian Josephus note that the people who destroyed the temple were predominately Syrian! (not just "Roman"). Sometimes we tend to think in narrow bands of interpretation - when there may be other interpretations possible.
For example, consider this: What prevents the anti-Christ from being a Middle Eastern Jew born and raised in Rome? After all, prophecy foretold the Messiah would come out of Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), from Galilee (Isaiah 9:1-2), out of Egypt (Hosea 11:1), and would be somehow both a Servant (Isaiah 53) and a King (Isaiah 9:6-7).
Think about it…
The God of the universe is capable of creating texts with multiple meanings and seemingly contradictory facts - all true!
Two Legs on Statue
In Daniel's vision the text says there are two "legs" on the metallic statue (chapter 2). This could refer to Constantinople and Rome which were both leaders and famous capitols in that empire.
We tend to forget or neglect Constantinople. But, it played a vital role in Jewish and early Christian history, too. Today it sits right in Istanbul, Turkey. In fact, the former eastern component of the Roman Empire is now known as the Moslem Middle East!
Selecus' Syria, Mesopotamia&Persia
Daniel chapters 8 and 11 give details about the breakup of Alexander the Great's empire. In these chapters the anti-Christ is linked with the Northern Kingdom of the divided Greek Empire which was ruled by one of Alexander's generals, Selecus. This general ruled the territories of Syria, Mesopotamia and Persia.
Furthermore, the prophet Isaiah had some interesting things to say about a "king of Assyria" who bears resemblance to the characteristics of the anti-Christ described in Daniel and Revelation (Isaiah 10:12-14). For one thing, he is incredibly arrogant and no one dares to oppose him. At any rate, Isaiah 10, Daniel 8 and 11 and Revelation lend support to the identification of a Middle Eastern anti-Christ connected with the former Roman Empire.
The Mediterranean Union of 2008
In addition to these facts, we recently learned of the rise of a new Mediterranean Union. This includes Israel, Syria, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco.
Note this: If a Palestinian State is formed this bloc will include ten nations! Is it possible the anti-Christ will emerge from this bloc? Could this be Daniel's vision of the 10 toes or kings (instead of the EU)?
Hmmm…remember…this is just conjecture…
Everyone Knows the Answer
I know all of this is terribly confusing and there is no lack of scholars who state they "know" the answer. But, there are voluminous materials written on this subject and the authors seem to be as confused as the rest of us. None of us can know for sure that our particular interpretation is the absolute, right one.
Iranian Descriptions of an Antichrist?
One interesting fact to consider about Islam is that Iranian Moslems believe a "savior" is coming who will rule for seven years during and after a time of terrible destruction and chaos. He will brutally enforce Islamic worship and behead those who refuse to worship Allah. They call him the "Mahdi."
Chances are he will "change their (Jewish) sacred festivals and laws" (Daniel 7:25). Doesn't this sound like the anti-Christ to you? You can read about it in the book of Revelation and numerous commentaries on end-times prophecies. (For example, see Hitchcock 2007, 116-118 or Jeffrey 2006, 33-36).
Furthermore, Walid Shoebat, a Christian convert from Islam, points out that 666 in Greek is "Chi Xi Zeta." When it is translated into Arabic, it becomes the word "Bismillah" which means "In the name of Allah!" (We learned this from a sermon given by Barry Setterfield in early May, 2009, an acclaimed astro physicist from Australia who is a notable Bible scholar as well).
Keep an open mind - the anti-Christ might very well be Moslem! If so, his coming is sooner than we might imagine.
Maranatha! ("Come quickly, Lord" - Revelation 22:20)
Hitchcock, Mark. 2007. The apocalypse of Ahmadinejad. Colorado Springs: Multnomah.
Jeffrey, Grant. 2006. The next world war. Colorado Springs: Waterbrook.
Setterfield, Barry. Available from: www.setterfield.org.