Is ISIS in Bible Prophecy? Yes, Their End!

ISIS or ISIL has Christians not just in Iraq and Syria, but even in America worried. With their propaganda spreading on social media, they are growing and becoming a significant political and terror force. But what does Bible prophecy say? Does ISIS play a big role in the end times? Is this one of the signs of the end? Find out how ISIS speculation distracts believers from the real threat.

ISIS/ISIL: the New Islamic Threat

Imagine your area is invaded by a rogue Islamist military group. They manage to defeat your local law enforcement force and barbarically behead the leaders in your local government.

They then announce their new Islamic government enforcing sharia law. This leaves you and the other members of the community with a choice:

Convert to Islam or face the sword. (Unless you have the money to pay the jizyah poll tax under the "dhimma" contract. And you must pay it in gold.)

That's exactly what ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) has done through vast swaths of northern Iraq and Syria. Their plans are to establish an Islamic caliphate, or state, across the region. Led by Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, "the next Osama Bin Lauden," this Al-Qaida splinter group has been growing rapidly. Thousands of Christians have fled Iraq and Syria as it advances.

Thanks to the release of their videos of the beheading of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, most Christians in America are well aware of them, too. Some Americans fear that the porous borders with Mexico will allow ISIS cell groups to strike the US like Al-Qaeda did. One report suggests that US power grid is vulnerable to such a terrorist attack, something ISIS has done in Yemen already.

Is ISIS In Bible Prophecy?

Christians have more worries than local ISIS terror attacks. Some have in mind what Bible prophecy says about end time events in the Middle East. Could ISIS play a role? Could their sudden influence be a sign that the prophesied Middle East war is nigh? And the end after that?

Seeing how ISIS has treated Christians, others wonder something even bigger. Will ISIS or other extremist Muslim groups become the main forces persecuting the Christian church in the last times?

Let's consult the Bible on these theories.

The Persecution of the Saints?

When prophecy-savvy Christians hear of a Christian-hating group executing using decapitation or beheadings, it is hard not to think of end time prophecy:

Revelation 20:4 (ESV) — Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

Indeed the end time saints are going to be hunted down and beheaded for not worshiping the Beast. The beheading does remind one of radical Islam.

But the verse above shows, it's the Beast or Antichrist who is responsible for beheading the martyrs.

Islamic Antichrist?

Then how about the idea that the Antichrist comes out of Islam, the fastest growing religion in the world? Perhaps a extremist group like ISIS will give rise to him? The Antichrist beheads. Muslims behead. So it's a lock, right?

However, the use of decapitation is just one detail about the Antichrist, and it is not even really a personal or identifying characteristic. Anyone can choose to use decapitation. It's just an old, cheap, low-tech method of execution.

Further, there are many other details about the Antichrist that one should check before accepting a Muslim Antichrist theory. The hard truth is that not one of them plainly points to a connection between the Antichrist and Islam.

On the contrary, when you look at the prophetic characteristics of the Antichrist and receive what they plainly say, they point away from Islam.

Antichrist's Homeland - Not a Muslim Country

For example, we already have good indication where the Antichrist rises from thanks to Revelation and Daniel. There is literal evidence that the False Prophet will be the last pope of Rome. About this "second beast" the Antichrist chapter of Revelation says:

Revelation 13:11 (ESV) — Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon.

For the False Prophet to be coming to Israel from "the earth" fits a pope as the Vatican in Italy is reachable by land from Israel.

Article continues below...

The End In 2026? It's Now Possible

Since learning in 2001 that Yeshua must return in a Sabbath year, I've had to rule out three Sabbath year cycle windows for the final 7 years (2003-2009, 2010-2016, 2017-2023). With the next window (2024-2030) less than 7 years away, I'm ready to share why I believe, based on the real end time sign of Mt 24:14, that this can be the one. If it is, the "birth pains" (WW3 + Wormwood, Lk 21:10-11) would hit near its middle in 2026 with Yeshua returning in 2030. Find out what's changed to convince me about 2026 and what you can do about it...

Contrast this to what it says about the Antichrist (first beast of Revelation 13):

Revelation 13:1 (ESV) — And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads.

The Antichrist comes from "the sea." What does that mean? In some contexts the sea represents "peoples" but not this one where we have a contrast with another beast out of "the earth." Obviously both leaders come out of "peoples" thus the sea is not redundantly saying that (something that is not helpful anyway). Sea and earth are communicating something else here, and their literal meaning makes perfect sense: a helpful clue at geography.

This literally points to an island nation such as Iceland, Australia, or Great Britain.

Which is it? Daniel also gives a detail on the Antichrist homeland in relation to Israel:

Daniel 8:9 (ESV) — Out of one of them came a little horn, which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the glorious land

If the Antichrist goes southeast to reach Israel in relation to Israel, he must come from the northwest. Antiochus Epiphanes IV, the type of the Antichrist who also stopped the sacrifices at the Temple (Dan 8:11) fulfilled this characteristic. He came from Greece which is due northwest of Israel. We can reasonably expect his antitype, the Antichrist, to come from the same direction before he arrives in Israel to also stop the sacrifices that will be going again in the Third Temple.

Great Britain and Iceland are the only island nations that one finds along the northwest direction from Israel. Neither are Muslim and Iceland only has a population of 300,000 people and very little political power. Great Britain, on the other hand, has tremendous historical political and financial power. One of the leading Antichrist candidates happens to come from there, Prince Charles.

Now, whether the Antichrist comes from Great Britain is not the point here. The point is that of all the directions that the Antichrist comes to Israel from, he comes from the nearly the only direction pointing to non-Muslim lands. None of the directions where Israel is surrounded by Muslim nations and jihadists like ISIS.

There are other reasons why we should not expect the Antichrist to be Muslim. See my article on the Antichrist Myths for more details.

"Wars and Rumors of Wars"

The place where I do see Islam described in end time Bible prophecy is found elsewhere. Take a look at where Revelation 6 and Matthew 24 parallel each other:

Revelation 6:4 (ESV) — And out came another horse, bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another, and he was given a great sword.

Matthew 24:6 (ESV) — And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.

The red horseman is a literal evil spirit that went out into the earth spreading a certain kind of influence. The remaining of the "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" spirits did the same. All four have already ridden and shaped the development of history. Just as Jesus said, you'll hear of wars and rumors of wars but the end is not yet. It's already happened before the end time we are now in. Increased wars were predicted by these prophecies and it came to pass through Islam, Communism and other satanic ideologies.

So you can see that Islam does have a major role in prophecy. Think of how peaceful the world would be without Islam (and Communism). If every nation on earth were Christian democratic republics like America, how many wars would we have?

But Islam's role ends when the Antichrist arises, just like all religions and ideologies roles will, including Communism. They must because with the help of the last pope, the Antichrist convinces the world that he is God (2Th 2:4) (not Christ). The religion will not be worship of Allah, but worship of the Antichrist himself as God on earth. The government will not be communism either but obviously a religious dictatorship or (twisted) theocracy.

ISIS: Middle East War Soon?

Given that Islam is in prophecy as taking peace from the earth, what about the big Middle East war where Damascus ceases to be a city? Could that be near now that ISIS is stirring up trouble and changing the balance of power and political map there?

Again, the answer is no. It's no for the same reason that Al-Qaeda or any terror campaigns for decades has ever brought the fall of Damascus. Yet another terrorist organization is not going bring the regional war that results in the end of Damascus (and many other Arab capitals).

It's going to take national armies going at Israel, together. A coalition. Something that has not happened now for over 40 years after it happened three times in the 25 years from 1948 to 1973. Why did the Arabs stop attacking Israel together?

Because of the new threat that appeared in 1973, the last time they attacked, a threat they have yet to have developed an answer for.

It is common knowledge that Golda Meir ordered Israeli forces to load nuclear bombs on their fighter jets while it looked like they were losing the Yom Kippur war in October of 1973. Israel was ready to "push the button" of the Samson Option. The Arabs would lose their way of life for even coming close to defeating and occupying Israel.

The Arabs have not formed a coalition to overrun tiny Israel ever since. They know it would be sure national suicide...until they have an answer for the nuclear deterrent Israel has.

Not Soon: Try the 2020s

That is why the Muslims nations (like Iran) are working on nuclear weapons programs. We're not talking about a suitcase nuke or a single bomb which if they fail or get intercepted does not get the job done. We're talking about a nuclear arsenal they can deliver reliably to counter Israel's nuclear arsenal. By the way, Israel's arsenal can be delivered by diesel submarine, Jericho missile and F-16 fighter plane. Not an easy nuclear threat to develop an answer to, is it?

For that reason this will yet take many years more. It will probably not not happen this decade, but could in the 2020s.

And even after they have a nuclear answer to Israel, the Arabs may have to wait for the advantageous window to strike. (The day they attacked in 1973's Yom Kippur war was not only the Jewish fast day of Yom Kippur, but it also fell on a Sabbath rest day while the Islamic fast period of Ramadan coincided as well. A nice unique window of attack.) The Isaiah 17/ Psalm 83 war is not going to be fulfilled any day now or even soon.

ISIS and the future prominent jihadist organizations will continue to behead people and make headlines and scare Christians into thinking the end is near. However, people have been thinking that for decades and we're still waiting.

Why? Because Islam's place in prophecy is limited and about to end before the end even comes. When the Arab nations converge on Israel (only to lose) and the Antichrist comes "from the sea" from "the north and west (northwest)" and replaces all governments and religions with his own, Islam will have run its course—and its role as the current go-to bogeyman for prophecy theorists.

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Tim McHyde

Tim is the author of this site (since 1999) and the book Know the Future that explains Revelation literally at last--including the key event of Wormwood (Rev 6-8). To read more from Tim and not miss a single new article, sign up for his free newsletter above.

Samantha Kaiba - March 5, 2019

I am a life Coach and I am a deacon minister but only so I can do counselling. I wanted to know does this mean that the aniti christ could come in 2026.

    Tim McHyde - March 5, 2019

    Samantha, the Antichrist appears for the Abomination of Desolation which is around nine months after Wormwood wrecks civilization so people need his help.

William Poole - April 3, 2018

We are far from the end time, the fact is, we have not seen the rapture of the church, the 7 years of the great tribulation, and the fact is, the anti christ has not come either. until the rapture of church happen’s, we are far far far from the end time. now, it’s been over 2,000 years, Christ has not returned, the rapture has not taken place, no tribulation. Jesus is a lie and God is a lie. the fact is, it’s only the christians who support the Jew’s killing women and children of palestine. make no mistake, if ISIS or a Muslim country like Iran or Syria, and destroys or nuke Israel and No Jesus comes, every single Christian on the face of this earth heart will crush because they have put their faith into a fake God.

Marien - June 5, 2017

I thought I heard somwhere that God has used unfaithful nations to reprimand his own. Could it be that Islam is rising to “reprimind” us – now?

    Tim McHyde - June 5, 2017

    Marien, when God reprimands a nation on a national scale, he sends a prophet to warn. England has not had this. Plus Islam is doing this everywhere just as predicted in the 2nd seal to “take peace from the earth” (Rev 6:4). America will get the treatment you’re talking about through Russia also with a prophet’s warning.

Boyd Cassie - May 27, 2017

Unexpected means unexpected. I’ve been distracted before with the intrigue of prophecy & realised I should concentrate on the gospel “good news” of salvation. More important relationship than even our closest. Isn’t more sense than relationship with our Maker. Remarkable variation in end-time theory while life found in the gospel.

    Virginia Allgaier - June 1, 2017

    Same here Boyd! We should be focusing on the Good News, and not on the daily distractions. Praise the Lord! We, His children are blessed, and need to remember that we were told that we have to remain til the end. Without the right mindset, that’s going to be very difficult.

milo - May 27, 2017

Great article Tim, your interpretation of prophetical- end times geography appears to be on target. Please see this drawing that describes your point.

Shalom, much peace to all in the family of GOD.

(..may be within the scope of Rev 13 interpretation…)

Mindy Robinson - May 27, 2017

I have found that topics such as end times have many interpretations, even by well respected theologians. I have come to realize that no one knows how the final years of end times will play out. At this time I believe the final anti christ will rise out of islam. Note, islam and it’s evil have spread world wide, nations , Christian nations are in danger of falling to islam, including Great Britian. I do not believe there will be a pope who appears on the stage who is the anti christ. I have looked at all the theories , today, islam is the closest fit, in my opinion. However, God could decide to change everything in the blink of any eye by revealing more to us and so I continue to watch and to study so that I am ready when those last years are upon us. In the end , I might be right, you might be right or neither of us is right. I continue to watch and consider the evidence as it appears.

    Tim McHyde - May 27, 2017

    Mindy, I understand your sentiments given all the confusion and division over end times prophecy. It’s a logical conclusion. However, you’re overlooked Daniel 12:4 and Dan 12:10 that promises the end time prophecies would be unsealed and understood by the wise in our time. So your assertion that “no one knows how the final years will play out” is (thankfully) not at all accurate.

    Based on the wisdom I’ve collected from these “wise” and lack of evidence from any plain literal passage, I’m certain that the Antichrist is not Islamic. But it does not matter what we believe on this since Elijah is coming and will settle all these questions.

tomi hartikainen - May 27, 2017

Hi Tim, what do you make of the Revelation 12 verses 1-6 , an event that is going to take place September 23 2017 according to astronomers? Love your work,hope you,re settled well in Germany ! (just a little different from Costa Rica)

Thomas Garza - May 27, 2017

The one fact that always interests me are the implications that Messiah returns at a time when many are not ready. I see this pattern from Exodus ( Where is this fellow, Moses ? ) to the case of Lazarus ( Lord, if you had come … ) . Referred to again in the Ten Virgins parable. I’ve accepted the TRUTH that Messiah will return at a time when many ” think not”. The TRUTH is, many will have given up looking for His Return for one reason or another. This truth is again revealed in Paul’s admonitions to ” endure until the end. ” I am more concerned about my DISTRACTIONS on a daily basis than I am about knowing the Day & Hour. That is our challenge that I see from the seat that I am occupying. Stay vigilant and study , serve and LOVE OTHERS while you wait. Shalom !

Cathy Evans - May 26, 2017

Great article, Tim, much peace to you and me because of it. The statement “…and the Antichrist comes from the sea to the northwest and replaces all governments…” reads as “…from the sea, the northwest, and…” Yes? The word “to” tripped me up for a second 😉

    Tim McHyde - May 27, 2017

    Cathy, you got it, from the northwest is how it should read now fixed.

Kip - November 23, 2016

If the Antichrist will come off the sea northwest, isn’t it clear that it well might be the USA leading a coalition of Western civilizations. Also, take into account different representations of the world map, depending on one’s location, which could lead or confusions on northwest direction.

Additional point is that the current Pope already broke stereotypes, considering allowance of same-sex marriages to be approved by the church. Also, Pope’s recent opinions on pregnancy termination, where he doesn’t oppose it, but accepts!

    Tim McHyde - November 23, 2016

    Kip, The USA is gone before the antichrist comes to power and the Antichrist is said to come from the Roman Empire nations in Daniel 9 which also rules out America

    Susan J Graham - December 23, 2016

    So when will this pope come? Is he here already?

      Matt - May 28, 2017

      One devil at a time

    Rob - December 24, 2016

    There is a verse in the bible that says: ” Do not try to stop them” them refering to secular people who want to do evil things. It’s new testament episcle verse.

      John - December 24, 2016

      Heya Rob,

      Just curious what version of the scriptures you found that statement in since I can’t find it anywhere in any translations I have.
      Is it literally word for word “Do not try to stop them”?

      Thanks in advance

        Anthony Ianosel - December 24, 2016

        Let’s NOT forget the following facts of history:

        (1) The Islamic armies of Muhammad busted the “easy way of life” of the Christian leaders on the East of Roman Empire and Christian people…today, we see their building structures transformed into mosques for Islamic forced migrators [same they want to do on the N. American continent–see federal case in Texas: United States v. Holy Land Foundation, 1541982.html This is an incredible case depicting the real facts and intents of Islam in North America.
        (2) The Islamic forces occupied Eastern and part of Western Europe for at least 100 years (around 1700AD–see Romanian Armies battling Bayazid’s armies in repeated occasions).
        (3) The horrors inflicted on large scale European population fit with apocalyptic descriptions about Christians being decapitated by such Barbaros islamic pestilential domination by force!
        (4) The recent books written by Christian-converted Islamic professors warn us of a worldwide Islamic conspiracy to install a “caliphate” by the force of arms and violence [read closely and attentively the federal court case U.S. v. Holy Land Foundation. Google it up and read it–and examine the “exhibits” filed with the federal court by the federal police (FBI)].

    Anthony Ianosel - December 28, 2016

    More details directly from the federal court public records shows two of the islamic criminal conspirators got 65 years in the federal prison. Here’s the Gov’t link following:
    Even more sobering details of the “green-horse” [islamic] conspiracy discovered by our federal police and successfully prosecuted by U.S. DOJ–and sustained by the highest Appellate Court in the Fifth Circuit jurisdiction (covering Texas):
    A truly, incredible islamic effort to overwhelm North American continent with their sharia traditions and conquering by violence!

    glen - March 4, 2017

    are we living the golden years a time of peace with small skirmish like isis
    usa vs iraq we thought this was the start of world war 3
    isis nearly under control nearly over
    these wars are just small skirmishes
    we have no fire in the sky ie nuclear war going on no famine we have no world wide plague
    we have no volcanoes erupting and blacking the sun out we have money
    what more do you want
    there isnt masave terest bombing in usa the time of the bombings you all have forgotten about this is the ira in Europe
    the bird flue is gone were are all the tereast attacks now is there bomb blasts happing in the streets of the cbd in usa the big sports events there are none

    Conan - March 29, 2017

    GOG is the chief-ennemy of Israel from the land of Magog which is in TURKEY !!!

    Erdogan is the best candidate for ANTI-CHRIST (according to Walid Shoebat). He wants to establish a new Ottoman empire from Kirghistan till Southern Europe (Greece-Romania-Bulgaria-Albania-ex-Yugoslavia) from 2023 and beyond, but Turkey is already at war with the Chinese secret Services …whilst Russia is onther powerfull ennemy of Turkey …

      Tim McHyde - March 29, 2017

      Olivier, there is much speculation over who Gog is, Russia, etc. I say forget identity and focus on the timing and number of wars God fights!

      Matt - May 28, 2017

      I don’t think Walid Shoebat has anything sound to say. More like these TV frogs ????
      Preaching lying wonders and apostasy.

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