Gary: Welcome to Search the Scriptures 24/7, a radio ministry of The Berean Call with T.A. McMahon. I’m Gary Carmichael. We’re glad you could be here. In today’s program, Tom continues a two-part series with guest, Tommy Ice, as they address the question: “Will the Antichrist Be a Muslim?” Here’s TBC executive director, Tom McMahon.
T.A.: Thanks, Gary. Our topic for this program – actually, we started last week – but the topic is Islam, and, in particular, the teaching that is out amongst many in the church, and gaining some popularity, is the teaching that the Antichrist will come out of the religion of Islam, and therefore Islamic religious leaders under the Antichrist will rule the world during the seven years of the Great Tribulation, which precedes Christ’s return. And last week and today on the phone is Tommy Ice. Tommy is the executive director of the Pre-Trib Research Center, which produces a newsletter and hosts an annual conference that focuses primarily on biblical prophecy.
So, Tommy, thanks for re-joining me on Search the Scriptures 24/7.
Tommy: Well, it’s good to be with you, and I’m looking forward to this discussion.
T.A.: Tommy, last week we dealt with the Pre-Trib Study Group and prophecy, but let’s get right into the issue. As I mentioned, it’s a view that Islam will be the religion of the Antichrist, who himself will be a Muslim, and some who hold that view base it primarily on the news – certainly Islam is in the news; you can’t get away from it. But we also talked last week, and I think it’s worth repeating, when you go to the news, when you go to…we also mentioned so-called Islamic prophecies – when that’s your basis for understanding some of the things in Scripture, Tommy, as you pointed out, and I’d like you to repeat your definition of this – you called it “newspaper exegesis.” Now, tell us about that.
Tommy: Yeah, it’s when a person who is – especially in relation to Bible prophecy – letting current events impact them before the Scripture gives them a viewpoint that they develop their views from. And as a result, because Islam is on the rise and on the march today, therefore, a lot of people are thinking that somehow the Antichrist has got to come from Islam, because it’s very anti-Christian, you know, anti-Jewish, and all of this kind of stuff. Well, I agree, it is. But that doesn’t seem to be…when you study the Scriptures inductively, just trying to find out what are they say, it doesn’t seem to hold up, because, as everybody knows, Islam wasn’t developed until the 600s, and Scripture was finished by the first century. And what symbol or aspect do we have that refers to them?
So, they try to take places like Syria and say, well, in the Bible they show up here, and therefore, this is prophetic; and therefore, it’s got to be Muslim, because Muslims control Syria, or something like that.
The only problem is, there are no passages that do that. In fact, if you want to find out where the Antichrist comes from, I don’t know…well, the Book of Revelation does talk about it in chapter 13: he comes from the sea, meaning the Gentile nations. And he comes from that…in 13:1, it talks about him coming up with a beast that had certain characteristics. And those send you back to the Book of Daniel. The Book of Daniel is where you’re going to find out the pedigree, so to speak, of the beast, as he’s primarily called - and only one time called the Antichrist in the Bible. But, nevertheless, the Book of Daniel lays out this framework of history of the Gentile nation.
And so you see, there in chapters 2 and 7, it gives a scenario of Gentile history, and it talks about how King Nebuchadnezzar is the head of gold. You know, Daniel even says in chapter 2, “Thou art the head of gold.” So it’s very clear that “Babylon” refers to that. And then you have the Medo-Persian Empire. Chapter 8 of the book of Daniel tells you that it’s the Medes and the Persians. So we don’t have to guess there. And then, the Medo-Persians are taken over by the Greeks, and it even, in chapter 8, tells you who the Greeks are, mentions them by name. And then the kingdom – the great kingdom – is divided into four generals.
Now, Joel Richardson says, “Well, not really. That’s hard to establish.” So I went back and studied that, and there is a consensus among historians that it was…it took, like, nine years for those four kingdoms to develop, so is Joel trying to say that Scripture was wrong on that? He said that that really didn’t happen, but as you look at history, there’s a consensus, as I said, that that did really happen that way. And so he tries to relate the future Antichrist to Antiochus Epiphanes in chapter 8, because the first few verses there talk about Antiochus Epiphanes, and he does become a type of the Antichrist. But he’s not the Antichrist. That’s the little horn that is a “type” or “picture.” And everybody, pretty much, in evangelicalism sees that as a past event that foretells the same kind of things that are going to happen by the Antichrist.
And so then you go to the fourth phase of the kingdom, in the Book of Daniel, which is clearly Rome. And the Book of Revelation tells you that Rom– it’s the kingdom that destroyed the temple in the sanctuary.
And that’s why when you get to chapter 9, in the famous “Seventy Weeks” of Daniel, verse 9:26 says that “After the two weeks, the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing,” meaning He’s going to be killed, and 69 weeks of years will be fulfilled - on March 30, I believe – AD 33, and four days later, April 3 or 4, Jesus was crucified. So that took place after the 69 weeks of Daniel. And they ended on the very day that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on his donkey. And that’s why Luke 19 says, speaking to the Jews, “If you had known the time of your visitation…” And of course they didn’t, and that’s why that same passage in Luke 19 talks about the destruction of Jerusalem as “judgment day.” And of course, that came in AD 70.
So, it says, “The Messiah will be cut off and have nothing…” That refers back to verse 24, and there are six things that will be accomplished by the time you reach the end of the seventieth week. And that’s why the seventieth week is postponed, and that’s how we know that the Tribulation is future and is going to be a seven-year period. It says, “And the people of the prince who is to come…” In other words, literally in the Hebrew, it says, “The people will destroy the city and the sanctuary of the prince who is to come.” So that prince has to be the Antichrist, because he’s related to - he’s the head over – the Romans who destroyed the city and the sanctuary in AD 70. And then you see in verse 27, “…and he [the nearest antecedent is “the prince” back in verse 26, so it’s the Antichrist]…he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week.”
Now the phrase, “the many,” is used seven or eight times in the Book of Daniel. This is where if you don’t study the Book of Daniel in its totality, you don’t realize that the phrase “the many” is always a term referring to the Jewish people, either the remnant, or the nation as a whole. So this covenant’s going to be made with the Jewish people for one week of years – seven years. And he will put – in the middle of the week – he will put a stop to sacrificing and grain offerings, and that’s what Antiochus Epiphanes did back in chapter , you see: “And on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed is poured on the one who makes desolate.”
And that means that when that person who does this is going to be destroyed, and of course, this can’t refer to Titus, as some of the preterists say, back in AD 70, because he went back to Rome and became emperor for almost twenty years. And so that means shortly after the abomination, the Messiah is going to do that. In other words, that’s the stone cut without hands in [Daniel] 2. And so, when you go into the Book of Revelation, in chapter 17, all of this stuff is carried over into Revelation. The history that…the groundwork that’s laid in the Book of Daniel, and he talks about the beast. And in verse 8, he says, “The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come [up out of the abyss] and to go to destruction. And those dwell upon the earth will wonder, whose names have not been written in the book…when they see the beast, that he was, and is not, and will come. So here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits.”
Now I think, as the passage says, that this refers to seven kingdoms. I don’t think it refers to Rome, personally. And it says they are seven kings in the next verse. “Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come. And when he comes, he must remain for a little while.” Now, the seven kings refer, number 1, to Egypt, who persecuted Israel, because these are related - they’re pictured earlier in Daniel, and earlier in Revelation 13, as related to seven crowns on the head of the beast. So Egypt is the first one that persecuted the Jews. These are all the kingdoms that had persecuted Israel.
And then you have the Assyrians, who took the Northern kingdom away in judgment in 721, and then the Book of Daniel picks up with the third king, which is Babylon, who took away the Southern kingdom, and then you have the Medo-Persians, where you had the Book of Esther and all of that going on. And then you had the Greeks, which are the fifth, and that’s Antiochus Epiphanes, who tried to Hellenize the Jews and turn them into Gentiles. And then you had the Roman Empire, which is number six, and that refers to up to the time of Christ. So, the seventh one is the Antichrist. And then the passage goes on – in the future Tribulation: “And the beast which was and is not is himself also an eighth, and is one of the seven, and he goes to destruction.”
So who is the eighth? Well, it’s the second half of the Tribulation, where the Antichrist is killed and brought back to life, it says. So, two of these, seven and eight, refer to the future Antichrist. And people say, “Well, how is that going to happen? Satan can’t raise someone from the dead!” I agree. But 2 Thessalonians, along with Revelation 13, says that Satan will be allowed to give power to the beast for three and a half years, and it says God will send them a “strong delusion to believe the lie who love not the truth” – those who “love not the truth” are the unbelievers in the Tribulation. And so God enables them to do false signs and wonders, in my humble opinion, there. And so the Antichrist is revived.
And so you have the seventh and eighth as the future Antichrist, who comes from the revived Roman Empire, as is made clear back in Daniel 2, because it’s the “feet mixed with clay” – iron mixed with clay. The legs are the iron that refers to Rome. And how in the world you can get Greece or Islamic stuff out of this, no one knows. And this why the traditional interpretation became the traditional interpretation – that the beast has to come out the revived Roman Empire, because it’s so clear in Scripture.
T.A.: You know, Tommy, last week, if you remember, I said, “Well, Tommy, what would you do with somebody who has read or followed – whether it be Joel Richardson or others who are promoting this idea that the Antichrist is a Muslim and so on? And in your answer, we talked about, and we referred to it about how somebody like Joel and others are going about this. In other words, they’re not doing what you just did. You are giving us a Berean perspective. You are searching the Scriptures. You know, as it says in Isaiah, if you don’t speak according to God’s Word, there’s no light in you.
So, the point is that you are not imposing your ideas – we also defined this last week, that eisegesis is a way of going about imposing your ideas on Scripture, no matter where you get them. It’s not trying to figure out what God has to say; it’s what you think. And more often than not, an agenda is brought to that. And, of course, the correct understanding of Scripture comes from exegeting the Scriptures: “What is God saying here? I want to understand it.”
Now, I want to take you to another point, because you talked about an inductive approach. This is what a Berean is supposed to do. Now, as opposed to what? As opposed to deductive. Now, just tell us what’s the problem with…because that’s what these guys are doing. It’s a deductive approach, which is trying to…with all of these things that are going on, now I’m going to make sense of it. To me, it’s a form of eisegesis. So what do you say to that?
Tommy: Well, what I say to it is there is a proper place for deduction in Bible study. But you have to start inductively with exegesis. You have to get your ideas or your basis for speculating, so to speak, from somewhere. And so you have to get started through an inductive study of Scripture. In other words, what does this passage say? What does it mean? Then you can deduce the object of it. But what’s happening with newspaper exegesis is they’re starting with ideas from outside of Scripture, you see? In fact, in the New Testament, four or five times - especially the Apostle Paul, but also Peter - warns about false speculation. That’s where false doctrine comes from. And it’s the Greek word that we get our word “dialogue” from, and it’s the idea of having a thought: and we’d say, “Well, I wonder if this is true. And if that’s true, then this could be true,” you see? And so you get off into speculative thought, and that’s where the Bible says false teaching comes from rather than going to Scripture and saying, “Oh, well, Scripture says that Jesus is God!” Okay, great. That has an implication. “Scripture says that Christ died in my place for my sins.” See, then you deduce theology and implications from that. You know, you can be wrong in your deduction, but you’re going to be wrong if you start with the wrong presuppositions or bases. And, see, that would be speculation.
T.A.: Now, Tommy, you’ve got a debate coming up with Joel Richardson. His book is The Islamic Antichrist, and since you mentioned speculation, and I kind of lean more toward, hopefully, extrapolation, but nevertheless…
T.A.: There are some aspects of this…for example, you know, as I said, yeah, we need to be a Berean, but let’s just think about some of this. Islam – the Islamic religion – is legalism to the max. Sharia law! Now, if the world is going to turn to this one-world religion, and it’s Islam, what possible attractive aspect…you know, look…we know the religion of the Antichrist. We think it’s…first of all, it’s not anti-Islam; it’s anti-Christ. It’s a form of Christianity, but it’s without its content, without its truth, and so on. But it’s going to be an ecumenical, very popular thing that will at least attract. I’m not saying that’s the only reason why people will be drawn to the one-world religion, but, Tommy, I just came back from Hong Kong, Beijing, Mongolia…and I’m seeing people all over the world. I see women, how they’re dressing. I see how they interact, and so on. Now, one thought that I had was if Islam takes over, half these people are going to be gone, especially the way women dress, especially all of these kinds of things. In other words, it’s hardly an attractive religion. And you know this as well as any of us, it was started by the sword, it continues by the sword; it holds fear and intimidation. Is that going to work?
Tommy: Yeah, I personally think that the battle at Gog and Magog is probably going to take place after the Rapture, but before the tribulation. I’m not overly dogmatic about that. And if that’s true, then the primary participants of invading Israel are Islamic. And I think it’s very possible that they’re going to…well, we know the battle of Gog and Magog – whoever that is, and when they come, they’re going to be wiped out, and it’s also going to destroy their nations back home where they came from.
So, if that takes place early on, like I think it will, then Islam – you know, when you slap them in the face, they run home to mama, so to speak. And wonder, like Muhammad, you know, when he tried to defeat Mecca, he went back to Medina and made a hudna with them – a temporary seven-year peace - and when he got strong enough, he broke the promise and came and destroyed and took over Mecca. And so, Muslims, when they are defeated, will either go back and contemplate what to do next, or they will disengage. And that’s the point. And I could see…see, I’m speculating, now, but that’s based on the fact that Islam could be degraded between now and then – not on the rise. And people say, “Well, I don’t see that happening.” Well, that may not be, but how many people saw the fall of the Soviet Union? Or how many saw the fall of America? I used to get on the prophecy circuit: “Where is American in Bible prophecy? We’re so dominant….” Now, nobody asks that question after seven years of our current president.
T.A.: You know, Tommy, the other thing about this – I know we are…I think we’re extrapolating, at least, based on what might be attractive to people, what might draw them – you know there are a billion and a quarter – maybe a billion and a half Muslims, and most of them are not in the East; they’re in Malaysia and all through there. So you have, in one sense, a religion that if it gets its way, sharia law, ISIS, this is going to be the way they go about it - I just don’t see that as converting all the people in the world. I mean, they can’t do it by the sword…
Tommy: Yeah. Well, look, the Antichrist’s religion is not going to be Islam. It’s going to be about him. Worshiping him, whatever form that takes. I guess they would say, “Well, [Allah ] is the Moon God, and so you’re worshiping Satan anyway.” I don’t know, but I don’t see the details of the Tribulation lining up with Sharia law in any way.
T.A.: Yeah. Tommy we’ve got about two minutes. Just one last point: Now, again, I applaud you for being a Berean, for giving us information from your research and so on, and that’s your perspective. As you said, there’d be some out there that don’t agree with you…I would love to have Dave here and let the two of you go at it. But you would do it from an objective standpoint! What does the Scripture say? That’s where we need to be. That’s the whole idea of this program. And Tommy, you’ve given us some terrific insight, and I can’t wait to follow you with your further debate with Joel Richardson, although as Dave liked to say sometimes, “It’s a non-debate!” But because people are interested in it and are drawn to it, it needs to be addressed. So, Tommy, again, I can’t thank you enough for joining us and for your research, and what you do, and your program at the Pre-Trib Study Group. So, thank you for being with us, and God bless you, bro!
Tommy: Well, God bless you all, and we’ll see you here, there, or in the air.
T.A.: There we go.
Gary: You’ve been listening to Search the Scriptures 24/7 featuring T.A. McMahon, a radio ministry of The Berean Call. We offer a wide variety of resources to help you in your study of God’s Word. For a complete list of materials and a free subscription to our monthly newsletter contact us at PO Box 7019 Bend, Oregon 97708; call us at 800.937.6638; or visit our website at the bereancall.org. I’m Gary Carmichael. Thanks for tuning in, and we hope you can join us again next week. Until then, we encourage you to search the Scriptures 24/7.