The Two Beasts
and
Mystery, Babylon

The Second Woe
Part II

The Three Great Woes Page 4

The Great Tribulation Part II

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The Two Beasts

Some time after the Two Witnesses begin their ministry, two other strange men will rise to power. They will be the two men that the Book of Revelation calls the Two Beasts. We know that this has to happen after the Two Witnesses are already in action because both pairs are in action for 3 1/2 years, but the Beasts are still around for quite a while after the Two Witnesses are gone. By how much the periods overlap, we do not know. It could be as little as a few months, or as much as almost 3 years. But overlap, the periods must.

The First Beast, also erroneously called the "Antichrist", is also called "the king", though we might more likely think of him as a religious and military dictator. Contrary to what is often taught, there is nothing in the Scriptures to suggest that he will promise answers to all of the world's problems. Neither is there is anything in the Bible to suggest that he will be false christ, or a "nice guy". In fact, Revelation 13:4-7 suggests quite the contrary. Notice that he makes war against the saints and conquers them! Aside from that, there are several specific clues given in this passage by which to identify him:

  • He is given a throne and great authority.
  • He is militarily invincible.
  • He has a "big mouth", "speaking great things and blasphemies".
  • He miraculously recovers from a seemingly fatal head wound (Revelation 13:3).
  • And, of course, people will worship him.

The Second Beast is also called, and of course is, the "false prophet" (Revelation 19:20). He can make fire come down from Heaven. He has the statue of the First Beast constructed, and brings it to life. He makes people worship it. And, contrary to what is often believed, by the context of the passage, he, not the First Beast, makes people take the dreaded Mark of the Beast: 666.

Like the Two Witnesses, it is probably impossible right now to discern exactly who these two men are. Remember, they will not rise to power until the Great Tribulation is under way. Many Christians have tried to identify them, and have made fools of themselves, and have made themselves and Christianity look bad by trying to. The same thing has happened when people have tried to figure out the exact meaning of "The Mark of the Beast". It probably can't be done right now, so don't try.  See "Report on the Stupider Effect" and "Before the Tribulation: What Should We Expect?".(Update 9/25/07 - this may have changed. See "Who is the Antichrist?" )

Mystery Babylon

The Two Beasts will apparently take power with the support of something called "Mystery Babylon". There has been intense speculation among Christians as to exactly what this term refers to. Catholics have tended to identify it with communism, though that idea now appears to have been proven wrong by history. Communism is a dying, near dead, philosophy. For example, although the Communist Party in China is determinedly holding unto power, China is economically capitalist in practice, not communist. Protestants have tended to see Mystery, Babylon as the New Age Movement or the Roman Catholic Church, or both. Other Christians look to the "Illuminati" and the "New World Order". Some students of Prophecy are now saying that it is the United States! But if you look at the question from the standpoint of current events, history, and a little known Old Testament Prophecy, a much more likely suspect becomes identifiable:

Islam!

Since its beginning in 622 AD, the impact of Islam on the world, and on Christianity in particular, has been so great that we should expect it to be prophesied in the Bible. In fact, if it wasn't, it's absence from the Bible could be legitimately viewed as indirect evidence that the Bible isn't true! Actually, it is there, in both in the Old and New Testaments.

The clearest reference to Islam is in a little-known Prophecy, Zechariah 5:5-11. In a vision, Zechariah was shown a woman in a large basket. An angel said, "This is wickedness", shoved her down into the basket, and put a heavy lead cover on it. This apparently was some form of serious evil that was being forcefully contained at the time that Zechariah saw the vision. Then he saw the basket being carried away by two winged women. He was told that it was being carried to the land of Shinar, where a house would be built for it, and it would be set on its base there. This suggests that the woman would be freed from the basket at a later time.

Shinar is the land of Babylonia, which in ancient times included most of present-day Iraq. At the time that Zechariah received the vision, the Babylonian Empire had been conquered by Persia, and the city itself was in decline. Contrary to popular opinion, however, it was never totally devastated by war. Rather, it gradually fell into extreme disrepair due to long-term neglect. Finally, the ancient city of Babylon was abandoned and replaced by the city of Baghdad. In 750 AD, Baghdad became the political and military capital of Islam.

Here is how it happened: Mohammed died in 632 AD, when Islam had been in existence as an established religion for only about ten years. In that time, Islam had already taken control of Arabia and was expanding rapidly. When Muhammad died, the other leaders of Islam were desperate for someone to take his place as the political and religious leader of Islam. One of the rules they made for who the successor, whom would be known as the Caliph (a term derived from an Arabic word that means "successor") should be was that he had to be from Muhammad's tribe. The man they first chose was Muhammad's father in law.

In the following years the succession to the throne of the Caliphate (that is, the Islamic empire ruled by the Caliph) changed hands frequently, often by violence. Various people laid claim to the title of Caliph. During the early years, disputes over who should rightfully be the Caliph led to the split between the Sunni and Shiite Muslims that continues to this day. Nevertheless, in spite of the split, Islam continued to spread rapidly. In the process, the political capital moved twice; first from Mecca to Damascus in Syria, and then, believe it or not, from Damascus to Baghdad! There it stayed for over 500 years. The original Caliphate  ended with the destruction of Baghdad by the Mongols in 1258 AD, when the last Caliph was killed.

Since then there have been several rival Caliphates, none of which had the power and influence over the Muslim world that the original Caliphate had. Most didn't last long. Few of those who have held the title of Caliph were true successors to Muhammad.

Now, however, the Al Qaeda wants to restore the true Caliphate, with it's capital in Baghdad. It should be noted that there are people alive today who can legitimately claim descent from Muhammad. There could be a new, legitimate Caliphate. Such a Caliphate could rule the entire Arab-Muslim world, and would be a nuclear-armed global power the moment it was created.

As shown above, Baghdad is effectively Babylon, and has been the political and military capital of Islam in the past, and may become so again. As you see, this situation has solid historical precedent.  Baghdad is in fact the historical replacement for the ancient city of Babylon. The ruins of ancient Babylon are 56 miles (90 km) south of Baghdad. The native people of Baghdad are the physical descendants of the Babylonians, and this is well known. For that reason, Saddam Hussein fancied himself to be a second Nebuchadnezzar when he ruled Iraq. In fact, he had coins minted that showed his face alongside the face of Nebuchadnezzar (known from ancient sculptures), to promote the idea.

As also stated, the one Old Testament parallel to "Mystery, Babylon" is Zechariah's vision of the woman in the basket, in Zechariah 5:5-11, who was described as being 'wickedness'. The basket was carried to the land of Shinar, to be set on its base there. Islam already was based there once, and it is likely that it soon will be again. Prior to the beginning of the war in Iraq, the author wondered if in removing Saddam Hussein from power, President Bush might inadvertently open the way for the rise of the Beast. It appears that the President may have done just that, and to some extent he knew it. Therefore, he tried to establish a stable democratic government in Iraq to prevent the Al Qaeda from restoring the Caliphate. President Obama is basically continuing the effort.

If this is true, the end of the war in Iraq, when and if it happens, could be a sign that the beginning of the Great Tribulation is at hand. However, the Tribulation could begin before the war in Iraq ends. It could happen anytime.

In addition to the Prophecy of the woman in the basket, Islam is also in the Bible in several places in the word "flood". This word is often used in the Biblical as a metaphor for large numbers of evil men acting in unity. This is particularly the case with the "flood" of Daniel 9:26. There can be no literal, ordinary floods in Jerusalem - it's on a hilltop! The "flood" that Satan spits out in Revelation 12:15 is Islam, probably in connection with the Beast. In fact, the "flood" of Daniel 9 may also refer to Islam, which took control of Jerusalem in 638 AD. This writer has heard, from what seems to be a reliable source, that Jewish sacrifices on the Temple Mount did not actually, completely end until then.

Islam is also in the Bible in the names of the nations that will participate in the events of the Tribulation. For example, the battle prophesied in Ezekiel 38 & 39 appears to be the Battle of Armageddon (compare Ezekiel 39:4 with Revelation 19:21). Some of the nations that will participate in the attack on Israel are named in Ezekiel 38:5-6. They are all ancient names for nations and regions that are predominantly Muslim at the present time. Persia, for example, is Iran, as is well known.

Eastern Religions

Islam, historically, has been, and is the greatest threat to Christianity of all other religions. Eastern religions, as a threat to Christianity, are vastly overrated. Hindus, in particular, tend to see Christianity as a special case of a general principle. The only real problem they usually have with Christianity is our insistence that Jesus Christ is the only way to God. Public Hindu opposition to Christianity is more a matter of culture than theology. Hindus, Buddhists and New Agers tend to be nonviolent, and usually would gladly leave Christians alone if we would leave them alone. Neither do they usually have a political agenda as part of their faith.

Not so Islam.

Since shortly after its beginning in 622 AD, Islam has effectively been at war with every other religion. Any Muslim who says, as some do, that "Islam has respect for other religions", is ignorant of the true history of it, or he is lying. What Muslims in general say and what they sometimes do in practice; and what the Koran really says, are often two different things. Islamic doctrine not only justifies the use of force to stop evil, it mandates the use of force. The Koran clearly says that any religion that does not acknowledge Allah as the one true god, and Mohammed as his unique prophet, is evil. By the Koran, Islam is the only true religion, and it teaches Muslims not to tolerate other religions. So, when Islam has the upper hand, you usually convert or you die. There is no real religious tolerance in Islam. It must be noted, though, that historically, Muslims have tolerated Christian and Jewish communities for the sake of material gain, in the form of tribute, and in some cases they have enslaved Christians and Jews. In Muslim-dominated countries they still do. Christians are second-class citizens at best.

More than that, Islam fulfills a prophecy made by Jesus in John 16:2;
 
"... in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God."
 
That is exactly what a Muslim thinks when he kills a Christian, or any person who believes in any religion other than Islam. In fact, the Koran says that when Muslims do so, it is Allah doing it through them. Again, there is no religious tolerance or respect for other religions in Islam. Muslims who claim there is are usually lying. The Koran also says that it is right for a Muslim to lie on behalf of Islam.

The Crusades have been condemned by both Christian and secular historians as one of the greatest atrocities in history. Although the way they were conducted can not be justified, politically, in the long term, the Crusades were a counterattack, and massively provoked. Few Christians in the United States (Europeans may be more aware) today realize how close Islam came to literally exterminating Christianity during the Middle Ages.

Revelation 17:6 says that "the woman" was "drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus". Although it is true that many real Christians have been martyred by the Roman Catholic Church, the number of martyrs to Catholicism is a drop in the ocean compared to Islam, and it has long since stopped happening. Only communism, and only within this century, has shed Christian blood on the scale that Islam has done. Communism has mostly stopped persecuting Christians. The Catholic Church , in most places, does not have the political authority to do so. They don't do deadly persecutions of Christians anymore. As this is written, Christians are suffering deadly persecution from Muslims in Pakistan, but it is usually ignored in the mass media. Actually, Christians are being subjected to some degree of persecution by Muslims in every country where Islam has a significant following.

Update, 9/2004: The atrocities committed by Muslim terrorists in the last few years, particularly the attacks of 9/11/01, and just lately the incredibly brutal attack on the school in Beslan, Russia, in which many helpless children were intentionally shot dead, reveal the murderous nature of the Islamic culture. Islam claims to be a religion of peace. The truth is that it is a religion of murder.

What is happening in Pakistan now is an example of what will happen to the whole Christian world during the Tribulation. There is a war going on that started at a small oasis called Bedr north of Mecca in 624 AD. It will not end until the Battle of Armageddon. .

Real Christians, by the way, have never been subjected to widespread deadly persecution in the United States, and probably never will be

The Koran (Q'uran)

The Koran, for the record, may be justly regarded by Christians as a counterfeit of the Bible. Muslims officially acknowledge the divine inspiration of the Bible, but otherwise generally ignore it. In fact, Islam teaches that the Bible  has been tampered with, and that only the Koran is the pure word of God. They see the Koran as being a sort of "third testament", and the "final word" of God, via "the Prophet", as opposed to the New Testament having that status. In practice, they base their beliefs and thinking entirely on the Koran and the Hadith (pronounced "ha-deeth"), a collection of writings about the teachings and practices of Muhammad.

The Islamic Conquest.

Islam began as a religion with a small group of people in the desert near Medina in 622AD. As stated, sixteen years later, in 638 AD, the Muslims took control of Jerusalem. The Byzantine Empire, which had controlled the city, yielded without a fight. They gave up because they were convinced that they couldn't win. But the Muslim conquest didn't end there. In fact, it didn't reach it's high point until the Battle of Tours in 732 AD. In that Battle, Charles Martel, grandfather of Charlemagne, defeated an army of Moors, Muslims from North Africa, 70 miles south of Paris, France. After that, the Muslim conquest temporarily ran out of gas. But they have never completely given up their efforts to conquer the world. Fueled by petro dollars, their "jihad" has been making tremendous strides in recent years. Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world and is currently the second largest religion in the world.

Muslim Commitment

More than that, the level of commitment of the average Muslim is the highest of any religion in the world. The average Muslim knows the Koran better than the average Christian knows the Bible. Moreover, when a "nominal" (that is, in name only) Christian is challenged concerning his faith, he will usually back down. Missionaries in the Middle East were dismayed to learn some years ago that when a "nominal" Muslim is challenged, he will rise to the challenge and defend Islam, sometimes violently. This writer has personally observed this, right in New York City!

A final point is that the celebration described in Revelation 11:10 following the death of the Two Witnesses is a typical Muslim practice. It is well known that Muslims celebrated by exchanging gifts after the terrorist attacks of 9/11/01.

Islam is the "Antichrist" religion

There is concrete reason to consider Islam "the antichrist religion". If you think that this is not so, here are quotations direct from the Koran, contrasted with Scripture, to show where Islam is coming from spiritually:

[From Surah* 4.171] O followers of the Book! (the Bible) do not exceed the limits in your religion, and do not speak (lies) against Allah, but (speak) the truth; the Messiah, Isa (Jesus) son of Marium (Mary)  is only an apostle of Allah and His Word...Allah is only one God; far be it from His glory that He should have a son, whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth is His, and Allah is sufficient for a Protector.

[From Surah* 23.91] Never did Allah take to Himself a son, and never was there with him any (other) god-- in that case would each god have certainly taken away what he created, and some of them would certainly have overpowered others; glory be to Allah above what they describe!

*The Koran consists of 114 distinct sections, similar to chapters in the Bible, but usually much longer, called Surahs. The Surahs are divided into verses, in the same way as the chapters of the Bible.

Not only does the Koran make the statements above, it also says that Jesus was created as Adam was.

[From Surah 3:59] Lo! the likeness of Isa (Jesus) with Allah is as the likeness of Adam. He created him of dust, then He said unto him: Be! and he is.

So the Koran, considered by Muslims to be the final Revelation of God by way of Muhammad, flatly and specifically denies that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. It says, in so many words, that calling Him the Son of God is a lie.  Here is what the Bible says about that:

"Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ. He is anti-christ who denies the Father and the Son" (I John 2:22)

"God...has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things..." (Hebrew 1:1 & 2)

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God ...and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us..." (John 1:1 & 14)

"He (the Son) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all Creation" (Colossians 1:15)

Either you accept Jesus Christ as the Only Begotten Son of God or you are of the spirit of antichrist. Since Islam so explicitly denies that Jesus is the Son of God, and militantly opposes and persecutes the Christian Faith, it thus identifies itself as the most overtly antichristian religion in the world, and the most probable real-world source of The Antichrist, aka The Beast!

The Imam Mahdi

Islam has its own eschatology. Central to Muslim beliefs is belief in the coming of a Muslim leader who will be called the Imam Mahdi. It has been prophesied that this man will reign for seven years and convert the entire world to Islam. Fundamentalist Muslims expect his appearance in the near future. More than that, Muslims believe in the Second Coming of Christ, but not the way that Christians do. They think that Jesus will return as a Muslim, and that he will side with the Imam Mahdi against a Judeo-Christian antichrist. This is perfectly harmonious with the Biblical prophecy of the Two Beasts. That is, the first Beast will very likely be a man who proclaims himself to be the Imam Mahdi, and the second Beast, the false prophet, may actually be the one who will be a false christ. Though this is not what many Christians expect, it is consistent with what Muslims expect and what the Book of Revelation predicts.

The Babylon That Will Be Destroyed

Revelation 17:18 says that "Mystery Babylon "is that great city that reigns over the kings of the earth". Note that this only has to be true during the Tribulation. In Revelation 17:9, it is said that the woman sits on seven hills, or mountains. This city has automatically been connected with Rome, which is famous for sitting on seven hills. It must be noted, however, that the Greek word translated "on" can just as legitimately translated "near". Admittedly, this cannot refer to Baghdad, which lies on a plain, with no real hills around it.

However, given the alternate reading of Revelation 17:9 above, there is another suspect that, although it does not sit on seven hills, is in fact surrounded by seven hills. That city is Mecca, the spiritual headquarters of Islam. Mecca can be considered an anti-Jerusalem. The Great Mosque and the Kaaba, to Muslims, are equal to what the Temple and the Holy of Holies were to the Jews of Bible times. The famous Black Stone (probably a meteorite) within the Kaaba is to Muslims what the Ark of the Covenant was to the Jews: a material manifestation of the presence of God.

This writer has learned that the nearby Arabian seaport of Jeddah and the surrounding area is supplied with fresh water by means of machines that desalinate seawater. Even farms! It would not be impossible for Mecca to be supplied the same way. At the present, it is supplied from very deep wells, which might continue to flow even during a 3 1/2 year drought. Either way, Mecca would be far better prepared materially to endure the Tribulation than Jerusalem!

For this identification of "Mystery Babylon'" to be true, there must be an alliance of Iran, Iraq, and Syria, and eventually, even Saudi Arabia. This is beginning to happen. The fact that there is so little international support for the U.S. war in Iraq is evidence of this. Even though Saddam Hussein is presently out of power, he could still come back. Or someone who is even worse could rise to power there, which does seem more likely. If you want to know whether this interpretation is true, watch what happens politically in that area.

Another Web site that endorses the position that the Beasts come from Islam can be found at:
http://www.bibleprophecy revealed.us
The author bases his arguments on a new interpretation of the Book of Daniel.

Another, argued from the Scriptures and experience is:
http://www.abrahamic-faith.com

For yet another perspective on this issue, see
"The Hidden Beast"

For much more information on Islam, see
"Islam Links"

Update:

Since the content of this page was originally posted to the Web, the author has had a change of mind about one of the points made above. The point is the origin of the Second Beast, also called the False Prophet. He has realized that the Book of Revelation, chapter 13, verses 1 & 11, shows different sources of origin for the Two Beasts. The first Beast, the king, rises from the sea. Other students of Prophecy have seen the word "sea" as referring to the unsaved masses of people. If this is true, we have no problem with the First Beast coming from Islam. But you will notice that the Second Beast rises from the earth, a translation of a Greek word that can also be rendered "the land".

There are just three Biblical possibilities for what the word "earth" refers to:

  1.  The nation and/or land of Israel.
  2.  The Church
  3. All the above.

What this means is that the False Prophet will be either ostensibly a Christian, or a Jew, or both. It also makes it extremely likely that although the Pope will not be the "Antichrist", as many believe, a Pope may in fact be the False Prophet. There is also a serious possibility that that Pope may be a Jewish convert to Catholicism. Relevant to what is stated above relevant to the Imam Mahdi, a Pope may actually declare that he is in fact the Lord Jesus Christ. Remember, however, that this will not happen until the Tribulation is well under way, and the world as we know it has already ended. Things will be possible then that are not real-world possibilities now.

There are other reasons to believe this. However, this writer is not prepared to go into detail about them now. But the weight of the evidence does support these general conclusions.

Islam may also be what is truly meant by the "delusion" in II Thessalonians 2:11, at least as far as Muslims are concerned.

In summary, Mystery Babylon, the "Great Harlot' of Revelation 17, is Islam. The Beasts will reign over a revived Babylonian Empire, dominated at first by Islam. The First Beast, at least, will be ostensibly a Muslim. In the end, though, he will show himself to be the servant only of Satan.

See also: Who Is The Antichrist?

There is so much more information on Islam available on the Web that supports this general view that the author has not had time to read it all. However, if you wish to look at some of it, visit the accompanying page, Islam Links

As stated in the previous page, the Beast (presumably the first Beast) will kill the Two Witnesses in Jerusalem. After they rise from the dead and ascend to Heaven, there will be a local earthquake. After it is over, it will appear that the Beasts have won. However, something is coming that will make them and their followers wish that they were back in the good old days with the Two Witnesses.

We will discuss what is coming in the following page,

The Scorching Sun

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Contact Author, William D. Brehm