Islam from a Biblical Perspective XII
The Woman, Man-Child, and Beast
As we will see, the story being told in Revelation is simply one more retelling of the same story told throughout the Prophets. Once the symbolism is unraveled, the message will become quite clear.
The book of Revelation, unlike any other book in the Bible, is founded upon the multitude of prophetic passages found throughout the Old Testament. The first key to unlocking her identity, the woman in Revelation 12, is found in Genesis. It is there in Joseph's dream that we find the symbolism of the sun, the moon, and the twelve stars (eleven without Joseph) mirrored:
In Revelation 12, the male child the woman is about to deliver, of course, is Jesus, the Messiah. Going all the way back to Genesis 3, the conflict between Satan (the serpent) and Jesus (the seed of the woman) has been in play.
Satan is portrayed as a dragon with seven heads and ten horns. He is perched before the woman, hoping to consume the child as soon as He is born.
Despite Satan's efforts (through Herod) to kill Jesus as a mere baby, the Lord spoke to Joseph in a dream and told him to flee to Egypt with his family.
He looks bizarrely similar to the dragon, Satan.
We are also told that the beast is bright red. In appearance, the beast seems to be a virtual mirror image of Satan, the dragon, both in color and in the number of heads and crowns. Simply stated, this is Satan's beast. Even as God the Father sent forth His Son into the world as a perfect reflection of Himself, the beast is the very embodiment of Satan in the earth. We need to understand the meanings of four symbols:
Beast = Kingdom or Empire
Sea = Gentile Peoples
Seven Heads = Seven Historical Empires
Mountain = Kingdom
The symbol of a "beast" represents a kingdom or an empire. The basis for this interpretation is found in Daniel 7.
The symbol of the "sea" is defined quite clearly in Revelation 17.
According to the prophet Isaiah, the seas specifically represent gentile peoples and nations:
The meaning to "the seven heads" is specifically addressed in Revelation 17.
Revelation 17:3, 7-10
The symbol of a mountain is commonly used throughout scripture of a kingdom:
Isaiah 2:2 and many more. In Revelation 17, these mountains refer not to literal mountains but to seven historical empires. The remainder of the verse is easy to understand. Kings and kingdoms go together, but mountains and kings have no natural correspondence. A literal mountain cannot be a king, but a king can represent his kingdom. The seven-headed beast is the personification of Satan's activity on Earth. As the Church represents the body of Christ, the beast represents the body of Satan. This is why Satan the dragon is seen giving the beast his throne, power, and authority. So the seven "heads" represent seven historical kingdoms. "Five have been, one is, and the other has not yet come". It is also the manifestation, the culmination of a series of seven satanically empowered kingdoms. Five of the kingdoms were past "five have been", but the sixth kingdom was presently in power, "one is". This kingdom, of course, was the Roman Empire, the sixth "head" of the beast. These are the empires that Satan has specifically empowered down through history in an attempt to destroy the Jewish people and thus thwart God's grand redemptive plan. Throughout the Bible, we have the record of a series of assaults leveled against Israel, the Jewish people, and the young Christian movement, by six successive and powerful middle eastern empires:
After Rome, another satanic empire would emerge. We consider which empire followed the pattern of powerful, pagan, anti-Yahwistic, anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist, and eventually anti-Christian empires that controlled the greater Biblical world - the region surrounding the land of Israel. There is only one empire that consistently meets all the criteria and follows the pattern.
The seventh kingdom
The Islamic Empire
The Islamic Empire burst forth out of Arabia and quickly came to dominate the entire region. Eventually this empire dealt the fatal blow to the Eastern (Byzantine) Roman Empire as well, when in 1453, Mehmet the Conqueror subjugated Constantinople for Islam and renamed it Istanbul. continuing the pattern of the previous beast empires, the Islamic Empire has been the frequent vehicle of an anti-Yahwistic, anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist, and anti-Christian spirit. The Islamic Empire embodies these traits far more than any previous empire throughout world history. The Quar'an, the most sacred text of the Islamic religion, has actually canonized and sacralized these characteristics, specifically naming Jews and Christians within its pages and singling them out as gross blasphemers (Christians) and history's greatest rebels and enemies of God (Jews).
The symbolic picture of Satan's kingdom, is revealed to possess a body that is part leopard, part lion, and part bear. In Daniel 7 these same three animals represent the three empires of Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece. The fourth beast of Daniel's vision is the same beast we are considering here. This one is a combination of all three. If we were to combine the geographic bodies of Greece, Babylon, and Medo-Persia, it would look like the Islamic Empire, not the Roman Empire. The Islamic Empire, however, as we saw, "crushed" all of these regions in an unqualified and absolute manner. The Islamic Caliphate has come to dominate all of the land holdings of all three of these previous empires and far more.
The Fatal Head Wound
According to Revelation 13, the final beast empire suffers what appears to be a fatal wound. The seventh empire would seemingly pass away, but then to the shock and horror of much of the world, it would experience a revival and return to life:
The fatal head would is also repeated later in Revelation 17:
Revelation 17:8, 11
In the last days, those who dwell on the earth will be amazed when they witness the rebirth of an empire. The Islamic Caliphate has experienced a temporary or apparent death and will revive as the eighth and final empire. The final satanic kingdom is simply a revived version of the Islamic Caliphate. Remember that the story told in Revelation 17 is simply a retelling of the story told in Daniel 2 and 7 (as well as 8, 9, and 11). In Daniel 2, the final antichristic empire is represented by the statue's feet, which proceed forth out of the previous empire, symbolized by the two iron legs, which, as we have already seen, refer to the historical Islamic Caliphate. In Daniel 7, the same story is retold using the symbolism of four beasts. Shortly after Muhammad, the founder and prophet of Islam died, his companions and family took up the role of leading the Muslims. Muhammad's close friend and father-in-law, Abu Bakr, became the first caliph. The period of rule under Abu Bakr nd the Rashidun was the Umayyad Caliphate, then the Abbasid Caliphate, and eventually the dominion of much of the Muslim world fell to the Ottomans. When we generically refer to the "Islamic Empire", or the "Islamic Caliphate", we are including the various aforementioned dynasties, which together ruled the Islamic world for more than thirteen hundred years. But this pan-millennial Muslim government was, in fact, beheaded in the universal Islamic government known as the caliphate and the office of the universal Islamic leader known as the caliph. Today, as the Western powers vacate the Middle East, the power of the Ottomans is regenerating. The head wound is being healed, and the Islamic Empire is reviving.