In the November issue of Dabiq Magazine # 12 (the monthly internet publication for the Islamic State)1, a phrase caught my eye that I had not noticed in prior editions– “the revived Khilafah.” As most of us know, “Khilafah” is the transliteration of the Arabic word from which the english word, “caliphate” is taken. The word is a technical term in Islam describing the “community” (“Umma”) of Muslims that have professed loyalty to its caliph, in this case, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (Read more. Read more), the political, religious, and military head of ISIS. In Dabiq #1, The Return of Khilafah, Al-Baghdadi made this important declaration:
Glad tidings for the Muslim Ummah
Amirul-Mu’minin said: “O Muslims everywhere, glad tidings to you and expect good. Raise your head high, for today – by Allah’s grace – you have a state and Khilafah, which will return your dignity, might, rights, and leadership. It is a state where the Arab and non-Arab, the white man and black man, the easterner and westerner are all brothers. It is a Khilafah that gathered the Caucasian, Indian, Chinese, Shami, Iraqi, Yemeni, Egyptian, Maghribi (North African), American, French, German, and Australian. Allah brought their hearts together, and thus, they became brothers by His grace, loving each other for the sake of Allah, standing in a single trench, defending and guarding each other, and sacrificing themselves for one another. Their blood mixed and became one, under a single flag and goal, in one pavilion, enjoying this blessing, the blessing of faithful brotherhood. If kings were to taste this blessing, they would abandon their kingdoms and fight over this grace. So all praise and thanks are due to Allah.”2
Notice the words used by al-Baghdadi– they are important. The “Khilafah” has not been in place since 1924 when Ataturk of Turkey dissolved the Ottoman Empire, the last Muslim caliphate of the world.
I decided to see how the Islamic State viewed its own announcement of Khilafah so I searched all twelve issues to date for the words “revive” and “revival.” I found the following uses per issue of either word:
Issue 1, 2x; page 7.
Issue 3, 1x, page 5 (and in footnote 1, not counted).
Issue 5, 1x, page 26.
Issue 7, 1x, page 54.
Issue 8, 2x, pages 22, 57.
Issue 9, 1x, page 12.
Issue 10, 1x, page 69.
Issue 11, 4x, pages 11, 22, 47, 52.
Issue 12, 5x, pages 3, 29, 32, 39, 57.
In total, there were 19 uses of the two words throughout the publications, 9 of which were in the last two issues. Here are a few of the actual statements taken from Dabiq magazine which seemed particularly relevant:
Issue #7, From Hypocrisy to Apostasy, p. 54:
This revival of the Khilāfah gave each individual Muslim a concrete and tangible entity to satisfy his natural desire for belonging to something greater. The satisfaction of this desire brought life back to the zeal latent in Muslims’ hearts and when this entity embodying them was threatened by the crusaders, attacks were immediately carried out by the zealous Muslims in different kāfir [unbeliever] lands in a way uniquely different to all attacks before.
Issue #8, Shariah Alone Will Rule Africa, p. 57:
Over the last month, a number of crusaders voiced their concerns over the power and drive of the Islamic State, its revival of Islam and the caliphate, and its eventual expansion into Europe and the rest of the world.
Issue #12, Just Terror, p. 29:
From the greatest of blessings granted to the Muslim Ummah in general and to the mujāhidīn in particular is the revival of the Khilāfah, the Muslim body which had been absent for several centuries since the collapse of the ‘Abbāsī Khilāfah. No one realizes this blessing more than one who has experienced the crusader lands of the West, then Shām tormented by the Baathist and Nusayrī tawāghīt, followed by Shām plundered by the apostates of the Free Syrian Army and its nationalist allies. Yes, the revived Khilāfah is a blessing that no matter how much one attempted and strived to thank Allah for, he would never be able to fulfill the gratitude due upon him.
What about Scripture? Does it prophesy of a “revived” empire in the end-of-days? If so, a “revived” empire implies there was an empire in the past, then it was not an empire for a period of time, and now it has returned. Revelation 17:10-11 states:
and they are seven kings; five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while. The beast which was and is not, is himself also an eighth and is one of the seven, and he goes to destruction. —Revelation 17:10-11 (NASB)
Notice verse 11: the “beast was and is not, is himself also an eighth and is one of the seven [that have fallen] …” To interpret this passage, we must remember:
- Kings and their kingdoms are interchangeable in prophecy, that is, they are one and the same. Daniel 7:17, 7:23. King Nebuchadnezzar was the gold head as the Babylonian Empre that he headed (Daniel 2:38). If the beast “was and is not” then it existed in the past but has a period of time that it was non-existent. In Islam, there has been a caliphate in existence from the time of Muhammad through the Ottoman empire, i.e., from 622 a.d. until 1924, Islam “was.” In 1924, the Muslim Ottoman Turks repealed Shariah law, the caliphate, and the role of the caliph. From 1924 until the present day, Islam “is not” because there was no caliphate after 1924 nor was there a caliph during this period.
- During the entire caliphate period of Islam there were five “fallen” caliphate empires 3:
- Ummayyads , 661 – 749 a.d.
- Abbasids, 749 – 932 a.d.
- Buyids – 932 – 1055 a.d.
- Seljuk Turks, 1055 – 1258 a.d.
- Mongols, 1255 – 1350 a.d.
- Ottoman Empire, 1342 – 1923 a.d, is not a “fallen empire.” It did not “fall” to any conqueror as the prior caliphates did. Ataturk of Turkey repealed Shariah law and Turkey was no longer a Muslim state but a republic.
- During the entire caliphate period of Islam there were five “fallen” caliphate empires 3:
- Is the “8th and is one of the seven” (Revelation 17:11). Islam has had 7 caliphal periods since Muhammad. (See Islam the Cloak of Antichrist, chapter 1o, for discussion). The next would be the 8th. The Islamic State is mathematically, the 8th. It is “one of the seven” because it is also a “caliphate,” and is the 8th caliphate, numerically, because there were seven before it.
Conclusion. The Islamic State has declared itself to be a “revived caliphate.” It appears to fulfill Revelation 17:10-11 which requires an empire that was, is not, and is about to rise up to its destruction. The Islamic State, if it is the empire prophesied by Revelation 17, will be destroyed; but not before there is much more destruction. Revelation 17:12-14.
The only problem for me? In my book, I interpret the 8th caliphate to be a Shia Muslim revived empire based upon my interpretation of Daniel 2:36f and Daniel 7:7f. The Islamic State is Sunni. Hmmm. The pieces of the puzzle keep moving these days.
Jesus come quickly.
- “The name of the magazine “Dabiq” is taken from the area named “Dabiq” in the northern countryside of Haleb (Aleppo) in Sham [Syria]. This place was mentioned in a hadith describing some of the events of the Malahim (what is sometimes referred to as Armageddon in English). One of the greatest battles between the Muslims and the Crusaders will take place near Dabiq.” See Dabiq #1, p. 5. [↩]
- Dabiq Issue 1, The Return of Khilafah, page 7. [↩]
- see Islam the Cloak of Antichrist, page 202 for sources [↩]
You lost me with the math. This is how I see Revelation 17:10-11: and they are seven kings; five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while.
I see the first five caliphates you have listed above (the fallen) and I see the 6th, which was / is the Ottoman Empire (one is).
Then the next phrase in the scripture passage is “the other has not yet come, and when he comes, he must remain a little while”. I take that to be al-Baghdadi / ISIS, the 7th king / caliphate, who will be defeated in the near future.
The “Beast” which as you know may be both a literal and / or figurative description, is “himself” an 8th, and “he” goes to destruction (this could be Satan himself, the so-called “Mahdi”).
So where am I going wrong? You may disagree with my analysis, but what about the numbers of the seven kings?
Our views are close, but I see “Islam” as the kingdom that “is.” After the Ottomans repealed the caliphate, Islam still existed but in a caliph-less state; hence, “Islam is.” Yet, “waiting” best describes the spiritual and political state of Islam until the next caliph is declared and the next caliphate arises. The five fallen empires do not change, and the Ottomans are still counted as a 6th caliphate (but not as one of the five fallen). This makes the Islamic State the 7th caliphate of the seven caliphate periods as included in the post. It is also the 8th because the first period of Islam is the first “head” of the beast (not discussed in my post) which must be counted to arrive at the beast being #8. The first head represents the time of Muhammad and the four rightly guided caliphs or the first period of Islam, none of which were “fallen.” Verse 11 states, “The beast which was and is not, is himself also an eighth and is one of the seven, and he goes to destruction.” I take this verse as literally applying to the last caliphate of Islam.
Another option is to count the heads in this way:
Using this interpretation, the 8th head, the beast, is the final Antichrist empire — it is one of the 7, and the 8th since it collapsed and has now been revived in the end0-of-days.
To me a larger question and still to be answered is whether Baghdadi’s declaration of Islamic State as a caliphate is truly to be considered as a caliphate, that is, is he a legitimate “caliph”? If not, then it is possible that the Islamic State is not in Revelation 17 at all. This is quite possible if Baghdadi is in Daniel 11:36f (rather than Revelation 17) as the one who is at first successful but then fails. Daniel 11:45. This outcome still allows for al-Mahdi to the leader of the not-yet arisen caliphate of Revelation 17:10-11.
Rev. 17:9 says the seven heads of the scarlet beast are seven mountains (kingdoms), AND they are seven kings – not human kings of the kingdoms, for the seven kingdoms had multiple kings who ruled each of them. But “spirit kings”, is what he is talking about. They are principalities, ruling angels as seen in Daniel 10:13 (the prince of the kingdom of Persia which withstood Gabriel 21 days), and 10:20 (the prince of Greece is about to come). The scarlet beast that “was, is not, but will ascend from the Abyss” is also a spirit king. He was confined to the Abyss sometime before John’s day and will be released. It says he is “himself also an eighth, and is of the seven, and he goes to destruction.” It does not say he is “one of the seven”. The “one” was added by the translators. It just says he is “of” the seven. “Of” the seven means he is “of the same kind” as the seven, or in other words, he is also a spirit king. The eighth spirit king. Who is he and why was he locked up? I don’t know for certain, but he most likely is Abaddon, the spirit king over hoards of demons in the Abyss which will be opened at the 5th trumpet. Revelation 11:7 says “the beast that comes up out of the Abyss will make war with them (the two witnesses), and overcome them and kill them”. This spirit being will “energize” the Antichrist. He is the supernatural aspect of the Antichrist, who is a man.
Throughout Daniel’s visions (and including the king’s dream) there are specific kingdoms pointed out. That is not an accident. It begins with the Babylonian, then the Medo-Persian, Grecian, and finally an unnamed kingdom, a 4th kingdom, which I believe to be the Islamic. Then in Revelation 13 we see the same kingdoms again. John sees the Beast out of the sea with the body of a leopard (Grecian), the feet of a bear (Persian), and the mouth of a lion (Babylon). This beast John saw was a composite of the first three beast kingdoms. The geographical territories of these kingdoms were completely swallowed up by the Islamic Kingdom.
When we get to the Revelation the kingdoms are spoken of as “heads”. There are seven and then there is an 8th. It says in Rev. 17 that five had fallen by John’s day, one was in John’s day, and one would come after John’s day and remain only a “little while”. Here is another take on the heads. I think it is important to count the heads that God gave us in Daniel’s visions, and most scholars don’t do that. It looks like this:
Head #1 Babylonian (Fallen)
Head #2 Medo-Persian (Fallen)
Head #3 Grecian North, Syria, Seleucid Dynasty (Fallen)
Head #4 Grecian South, Egypt, Ptolemy Dynasty (Fallen)
Head #5 Grecian West, Macedonian (Fallen)
Head #6 Grecian East, Parthian Empire (“One is”), fell to Rome in 276 AD
Head #7 Non-describable (terrible, dreadful, 4th Beast), Islamic Empire (and one that has not yet come in John’s day).
Head #8 Spirit king from the Abyss who indwells or energizes the AC, Abaddon, the Destroyer
It says of the 7th head “when he comes he must continue a short while”. The 7th head is on the 4th beast of Daniel 7, and I have no doubt it is describing Islam and its founder, Muhammad, who was born in 570 AD and died in 632 AD. The message of “Allah” had come only to Muhammad, and he was now dead. Islam was only 11 years old (a short while). The death of Muhammad almost ended Islam. He was the 7th head who came after John’s day and “continued a short time.” The head that dies is Muhammad. The wounded beast is Islam and its deity Allah. But this deadly wound was healed and Islam grew rapidly until the last caliphate, the Ottoman Empire, ended in 1923-24.
Jack, you said: “To me a larger question and still to be answered is whether Baghdadi’s declaration of Islamic State as a caliphate is truly to be considered as a caliphate, that is, is he a legitimate “caliph”? If not, then it is possible that the Islamic State is not in Revelation 17 at all.”
You’re right. We’ll have to wait and see. If ISIS survives another year and continues to spread as it has in spite of the coalition of pounding airstrikes, I will have to ask myself if this is a fulfillment of “who is like the Beast, who can make war with him?”
There is something very interesting about verses 14 and 15 of Revelation 13. The Antichrist causes people to worship Allah, “saying to them that dwell on the earth that they should make an image to the beast……..he had power to give life to the image that the image should both speak and cause that as many as would not worship the image should be killed”.
“Should make an image”: “image” means mirror-like representation, assumes a prototype from which it is drawn, it is more than a shadow, it is a replication. The Beast is Islam. The Antichrist tells the earth dwellers to make a mirror-like representation, a replication of the Beast. He is telling them to replicate the Caliphate. A Caliphate (in Arabic: Khilafa, meaning “succession”) is an Islamic state led by a supreme religious and military commander known as a Caliph – i.e. “successor” – to Muhammad. The Beast had been wounded by the sword but lived. The wound it received was the defeat of the Ottoman Empire on March 3, 1924. Yet the empire has lived on in the hearts of Muslims everywhere. They have always longed for a return to the days of the Caliphate. Here in these verses the Antichrist tells them to “replicate” it. That is exactly what al-Bagdadi (the new Caliph of the newly formed Caliphate) and his loyal followers are doing today. As you know, ISIS is “replicating” the teachings of Mohammad to the letter, doing exactly the deeds he did (rape, slaughter and destroy).
Verse 15 says “it was given to him to give breath (life) to the image – to bring about this Caliphate, to succeed at restoring the exact likeness of the Caliphate. This replication can both “speak” (proclaim) and “cause” (bring to pass, bring about) that “as many as would not worship Allah (and want to become a part of the Caliphate) should be killed”. That is what is happening now in the Middle East. Multitudes of Christians and others are being brutally killed for refusing to worship Allah and live in the Caliphate.
Earlier on in the chapter it says that the Dragon gave the Beast its power, seat, and great authority. Of course, this is what happened in the beginning of Islam, and is one of the reasons the empire spread to such a great area, swallowing up all the others. But I also believe that the same thing is going to happen in the last days. In many places the Bible talks about the supernatural aspect of the Antichrist, and Chapter 17 of the Revelation is all about this – a spirit king released from the Abyss to become the “8th head”. We have to remember the Beast is a kingdom, a person, and a spirit being, and all of these different aspects are covered in the Revelation.
Actually, my point is not about literal human kings but that the Scripture refers to either as “one and the same” in prophecy. For example, in Daniel, Babylon/Nebuchadnessar are the gold in the statute. (Daniel 1:38 refers to the king, but Nebuchadnezzar is Babylon and Babylon is Nebuchadnezzar). Also, I am aware that Daniel 10 refers to spiritual beings who have dominion over countries, but I do not agree that Revelation 17’s heads are referring to spiritual beings (That does not mean that a spirtual being is not “behind” the king (See Ezekiel 28:12-19).)
I also agree that “one of the seven” means one of the same kind, but the “kind” is Islam (as you say) or more specifically, I think, a caliphate of Islam.
To be honest, my initial response to your point on the Ottoman Empire was “no way.” The head that died was Muhammad, and his death almost killed the “beast.” But I need to think about your point. It is true that the Ottoman Empire’s collapse was the last caliphate of Islam and none replaced it, until the declaration of the Islamic State. The collapse of the Ottomans was seen within Islam as a near death, and although I have always thought that the death of Islam was an event in the early days, …
I will get back to you.
In Rev. 17:9 it says “Here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits” but then also adds “and they are seven kings”. Then it goes on to say that five have fallen, one is, and one is yet to come. I believe the information “and they are seven kings” is a reference to the spirit kings. There really is no other reason for stating that. Obviously the seven kingdoms had human kings, and more than one usually, since the kingdoms existed for a period of time that would exceed one man’s lifetime. I think the statement “and they are seven kings” is added because we are about to hear about another “king” who is from the Abyss (obviously not a human being). This beast “was, and is not, but is himself also an eighth, and of the seven.” It seems to me the Lord is revealing the spiritual force behind this 8th kingdom ( which is the Antichrist kingdom) to be demonic. He’s saying the seven “heads” are seven kingdoms that had not only seven human kings (or more), but they also had seven “spirit kings”, and there’s one coming up from the Abyss to be the spirit king of the 8th head, or kingdom, which is the Antichrist kingdom. He’s telling us that this 8th kingdom is going to be energized by a demonic spirit. Remember in Daniel 7 the description of the “Little Horn” said he “had eyes LIKE the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great boasts”. He has eyes LIKE the eyes of a man, but don’t be fooled, he is more than a man. He is a man who is spiritually energized by a very dangerous spirit king. Probably Abaddon. The Destroyer, released from the Abyss under the 5th Trumpet. Revelation 17 seems to be revealing the beast is not only a man, not only geographical territory, but also a spirit being, a spirit king. And I do believe there will be this supernatural aspect to the Antichrist. Ephesians 6:12 tells us “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the RULERS of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places”. They are very much a part of what is happening in the world. That is how I see it at this time.
Good discussion. Thank you.
Your last sentence, “The collapse of the Ottomans was seen within Islam as a near death, and although I have always thought that the death of Islam was an event in the early days,………”.
I think you’re right. The death of Islam was an event in the early days. The death of Muhammad almost ended Islam. He was the 7th head who continued a “short time”. But we know how Islam survived and grew to be a great empire. But it also says in verse 14 that the beast had the wound by a sword, and did live. Sword speaks to me of war. The Ottomans suffered many military defeats leading up to 1924. Islam suffered both a head wound and a sword wound. Though the caliphate no longer exists (except ISIS) Islam is very much alive.
The current ISIS entity declaring itself “the revived Caliphate” is not what the final prophetic verision in Scripture is to be. ISIS has skipped a few scriptural steps for us to proclaim “this is that” declared in Scripture. Not to worry, there is still more wannabe “revived Calipates” to come as the Prophet Daniel prophesizes before the true prophetic and Scriptural Caliphate is to arrive. However, it is not for a lack of trying on the radical Islamists part and this has caught the attention of many in the church.
– 4 beasts Daniel 7
1 will attack holy people (islam attacking Jew and Christian) – Dan 7:25,Rev 13:7
2. will change law ( established sharia law)- Dan 7:25
3 will change time (established hijria calendar) – Dan 7:25
4. will insult God ( deny Jesus divinity)- Dan 7:25, Rev 13:6
5 will insult God holy place (build mosque in temple Jerusalem)- Rev 13:6
6 will spread with sword – Rev 13:10
– Angel clearly states that 10 horns (Dan 7) are kings from 4th or kingdom that not exist yet (Rev 17) aka 7th kingdom and will rule only one hour. They were 10 leaders in early islam period (620-661). List of 10 horns name:
1. muhamad — prophet of islam
2 Abu bakr — 1st caliph
3 umar — 2nd caliph
4 utman — 3rd caliph
5 ali — 4th caliph
6 hasan — 5th caliph
7 husein — imam of shia
8 khalid ibn al walid — the greatest muslim general
9 Abu ubaidah —- muslim general, friend of mohamad
10 jafar bin abi talib —muslim general brother of ali 4th caliph
>> 10 horns purpose to give power and authority to the beast (Rev 17:13). Those 10 leaders committing jihad wars to spread islam (to give power and authority). they will rule for one hour that’s 41 years (one prophetic day equal to 1000 years) started 620 (islam perfected when mohamed ascend to heaven-isra mijrad and receive allah order to pray 5 times/day) until 661 when ali,hasan,husein subdue to muawiyah (founder of umayah caliphate)
little horn Dan 7 : muawiyah
After mohamed died he replaced by 4 caliphs, abu bakr, umar both father in law, utman, ali both son in law of mohamed so all blood related to mohamed. problem arise when utman replaced by ali, muawiyah who’s blood related to utman but not to ali protest said no need blood related to mohamed to rule islam anyone can as long as justified and starting rebellion (first fitna – islam internal conflict) this is the origin of sunni vs shia conflict. in 660 AD muawiyah gain control most of islamic caliphate territory and jan 661 ali died months later ali sons hasan (5th caliph) and husain(2nd imam of shiah) surrender to muawiyah new caliphate sytem (non blood/sunni) last for 1260 years from 660 (muawiyah gain control of IC) until 1920 (first meeting of league of nation, fall of ottoman)
7 heads are kings/kingdom, 5 fallen, one is, the other not come but when he does come he must remain for a little while (rev 17:10), the 8th would represent the beast belong to 7.
5 fallen :
5 Macedonian Greece
6 Rome -one is
7 islamic caliphate – blood related leadership – for little while 620-661 AD
8 islamic caliphate – non blood related/sunni – is the beast belong to 7
sunni represent 90% of islamic population
The beast who once, now is not and will come out of the abyss is represent king priest system. During John era this system is not exist but exist during Sumerian Akkadian empire (once was). Sargon king of Akkadia priest of Anu, later this king priest system re-appear in islam know as the caliph.