Today there seems to be increasing interest and speculation in religious literature about the role of Islam in prophecy. Certainly, such a major religious system is worthy of our examination, as we try to unravel the prophecies of Revelation that are being fulfilled at a faster and faster pace in unstable, social climates across the globe.
It seems to me, however, that caution should be utilized, as I see these speculations sometimes misinterpreted and leading to distancing and even fear of Muslim communities that peacefully and quietly practice their beliefs in most places and countries where they reside.
The United States has seen firsthand the harmful results of such fear and speculation. It can lead to unsavory movements of radical extremists, who denounce, condemn, and even try to eradicate other populations, such as Jews, blacks, and, let’s not forget, even Catholics.
Certainly, before we jump on the bandwagon of any theological interpretation that involves groups of people, we should thoroughly examine and separate what the Bible says from what we think it might say.
Protestants, including Seventh-day Adventists, have developed a reputation in the past for “Catholic-bashing”. Many Adventists continue to “keep their eye on the papacy”, but let’s not let our eyes stay fixed in that area alone.
The Bible nowhere mentions Catholics or Muslims specifically. It does provide us with generalized descriptions so we can identify movements when we see them attempting to gain power.
Revelation 13:11-16 describes one such power. This “beast” coming up from the earth has two lamb-like horns and speaks like a dragon. It has long been thought by many Bible scholars to represent the United States.
The United States has mostly been seen as a peace-loving world power and could be the nation spoken of here. Evidently, this beast/country in Revelation will become an enforcer of religious laws through its political structure and will lead to the enforcement of worship and the death of all those who oppose its requirements.
As followers of God, I’d say it would be more judicious to have a more generalized interpretation of Revelation. Therefore, we should avoid any political involvement, no matter where it comes from, that leads to the blending of religious and political entities which could then lead to worship enforcement. Separation of church and state must be carefully guarded at all times.
This dangerous joint power of church and state could easily create an image to the beast power that dominated the world during the Middle Ages. We don’t want a religious-political style government like that “beast” ever again.
Unfortunately, we see this beginning to happen in many countries, not just in the United States. Churches are getting entangled with their governments. The so-called “evangelical right” is gaining power in all levels of political life in many parts of the world.
Perhaps this is one of the deceptions that are predicted in the last days. Seeing who our enemies are will not be easy, especially when the enemy is most likely among our own church congregations.
As someone has said, “We have seen the enemy, and he is us.”