Once Islamic eschatology and apocryphal literature are unraveled and systematically arranged in a chronological model there are a couple things that become very apparent. First, Islamic eschatology is similar to Judeo-Christian eschatology. Second, the major characters and main events in Islamic eschatology are most often the antithesis of those in Christian eschatology.
For example, Jesus returns in both the Christian and Muslim eschatological traditions. Both understand that Jesus returns to the earth to provide victory and deliverance from the antichrist figure. But, it does not take long to realize that the two are very different: the Christian Jesus returns to deliver the Christians and defend Jerusalem for the Jews, while the Islamic Jesus returns as a Muslim to deliver the Muslims, convert the Christians, and slaughter the Jews.
Why is this important? Why does it matter? Why would a Christian even consider taking Islamic eschatology seriously? To understand the situation, these are some questions a Christian should be asking:
Therefore hear the word of the Lord, you scoffers,…Astonish yourselves and be astonished;blind yourselves and be blind!Be drunk, but not with wine;stagger, but not with strong drink!For the Lord has poured out upon you a spirit of deep sleep,and has closed your eyes and covered your heads. (Isaiah 28:14; 29:9-10)
Do not fear what you are about to suffer…be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. (Revelation 2:10, ESV)
I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, ‘O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?’ Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been. (Revelation 6:9-11, ESV)
I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. (Revelation 1:9, ESV)
Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven saying, ‘Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ (Revelation 14:12-13, 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. (Revelation 20:4, ESV)
The account then leaps to the seventh century, when Islam has broken out of the deserts of Arabia to conquer everything from India to Egypt and beyond. The Muslims, called ‘Ishmaelites’, persecute the Church because of the sins of the Christian people. The Ishmaelites kill priests, destroy churches, pillage holy relics, and cause many to apostatize. For Pseudo-Methodius, this time of tribulation is undoubtedly the fulfillment of 2 Thessalonians 2:3, the falling away that will eventually reveal the Antichrist, the Son of Perdition. The Ishmaelite oppressors then speak blasphemously: There is no savior for the Christians. ‘Then suddenly there will be awakened perdition and calamity.’(Quote from A Second Look at the Second Coming, 54, in his comments about Pseudo-Methodius.)
For that the kingdom must be divided, and thus come to ruin, the Lord [declares when He] says: ‘Every kingdom divided against itself…shall not stand.’ It must be, therefore, that the kingdom, the city, and the house be divided into ten; and for this reason He has already foreshadowed the partition and divisions … The ten toes, therefore, are these ten kings, among whom the kingdom shall be partitioned, of whom some indeed shall be strong and active, or energetic; others, again, shall be sluggish and useless, and shall not agree; as also Daniel says: ‘Some part of the kingdom shall be strong, and part shall be broken from it. (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book V, chapter XXVI, in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. I, page 555)
As for the ten kings who, as it seems, Antichrist is to find in the person of ten individuals when he comes, I own I am afraid we may be deceived in this, and that he may come unexpectedly while there are not ten kings living in the Ramona world. (City of God, Book XX, ch. 23)
With this scenario we have identified a consistent geographical area for the return of an Empire that would be in agreement with Daniel’s four kingdoms and align with Jesus’ words. So here again I present the theory that Islam will revive the fourth beast. Today the stage is set for the fourth beast to recover from the fatal wound and rise as a kingdom once again. If this scenario is correct and we were to continue to witness the rising of the fourth beast, we would expect to see some form of an Islamic state rising to replace the demised Ottoman Empire which was defeated during World War I. The partitioning of the Ottoman Empire into smaller nations occurred between October 30, 1918 and November 1, 1922. This also set the stage for the formation of the modern nation of Israel.
The rising again of the fourth beast as a revived Islamic State, a wanna-be-Empire, may be detailed in Ezekiel 38-39, where God calls out from 580 BC through Ezekiel across the centuries to Gog to warn the leader of this reviving empire:
Be ready and keep ready, you and all your hosts that are assembled about you, and be a guard for them. After many days you will be mustered. In the latter years you will go against the land that is restored from war, the land whose people were gathered from many peoples upon the mountains of Israel, which had been a continual waste. Its people were brought out from the peoples and now dwell securely, all of them. You will advance, coming on like a storm. You will be like a cloud covering the land, you and all your hordes, and many peoples with you. (Ezekiel 38:7-9, ESV)
God will see to it that this military invasion of Israel by Gog fails, and this very event may be the incentive behind the Antichrist’s seven-year peace treaty with Israel. With this seven year treaty secured with Israel, the beast would be free to leave behind the disaster of his failed invasion in the mountains of Israel with the liberty to march out against the rest of the nations to conquer the world for Islam. The Antichrist would leave Israel secure and at peace for the moment, but would still plan to return to attempt another invasion of Israel at a more convenient time. Israel will rejoice in their security and in their Temple worship, and will likely show little concern for the Islamic slaughter of the Church and other Gentiles. Israel will have overlooked Daniel’s prophecy and Jesus’ warning that halfway into this seven-year treaty the Antichrist will march on Jerusalem, end the sacrifices, and proclaim himself God on the Temple Mount. This is the time Jesus was referring to when he issued this prophetic warning to those in Jerusalem and Judea:
So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. (Matthew 24:15-21, ESV)