Recent decades have witnessed the global resurgence of militant Islam. This modern eruption is surprising to scholars, especially those who assume that as societies modernize and become more secular, religion will gradually fade away. However, Islam is now the fastest-growing religion in the world, and within that faith, an Islamist revival is driven by zealous believers determined to reverse the course of history. Their goal is to return to the “true faith,” reclaim former territories, and fulfill Muhammad’s promise that Islam will ultimately dominate—and eliminate—all other religions. They believe that this will occur when Sharia law is imposed upon the world—and America, Britain, Europe, and Israel are in their sights!
But will the course of history actually turn again in favor of Islam? Ancient Bible prophecies reveal a surprising answer.
Modern politicians, academics, and theologians seek to portray Islam as a religion of peace, and it is seen that way by many Muslims. They claim that jihad is merely an internal spiritual struggle, and that amicable coexistence is possible when people of different faiths understand one another. However, the facts of history and the fundamental teachings of Islam tell a very different story—and radical Islamists want to return to those original, fundamental teachings.
The religion of Islam, from its inception in Arabia in the 600s A.D., has been an implacable foe of those it calls “unbelievers”—including Christians, Jews, and Western civilization. As stated in the Quran, the teachings of Muhammad command true followers of Islam to “fight those among the People of the Book [Jews and Christians] who do not believe in Allah… nor embrace the religion of truth [Islam], until they pay the jizya [an extortion tax on unbelievers] with willing submission and feel themselves subdued” (Quran 9:5, 20; see also Sword and Scimitar by Raymond Ibrahim, p. 11). The sobering alternatives: Convert to Islam, be enslaved, or die!
The concept of jihad or “holy war” against infidels—unbelievers—was promoted by Muhammad as a religious duty. He promised his followers rich rewards (the spoils of war) in this life if they survived, but if they died in battle, the reward was immediate access to Paradise, with rivers of wine and beautiful maidens—an exhilarating win-win situation for jihadists. As these fiercely driven warriors surged out of Arabia, they rapidly conquered Jerusalem, the Middle East, and all of North Africa, threatening both Eastern and Western Europe. They left a trail of death and destruction as they slaughtered, beheaded, and tortured “infidels,” and enslaved countless Africans and Europeans. Men and boys were castrated and sold, while women and girls were consigned to Muslim harems. This part of the forgotten history of Islam persisted for 1,400 years. Modern radical Islamists have not so much as “hijacked” Islam, as some claim—rather, they are simply reviving traditional Islam (Ibrahim, pp. xiv–xv).
The clash between Islam and Christendom is also marked by sharply conflicting religious beliefs and the West’s reluctance to worship Allah or accept Muhammad as his messenger. Islam recognizes numerous biblical personalities, including Jesus, but Muslims believe that Jews and Christians corrupted the Holy Scripture and that Allah’s final revelations to Muhammad corrected the problems—thus they believe that the Old and New Testaments are untrustworthy. Islam teaches that Jesus was only one of many prophets, was not the Son of God, did not die by crucifixion and was not resurrected, but instead ascended into heaven and will return in the Last Days to assist the Mahdi in converting the world to Islam. The Quran differs greatly from the Bible in many ways, such as allowing wife-beating (Quran 4:34) and commanding amputation as punishment for thievery (5:38). The Bible instructs Christians to “love your enemies” (Luke 6:27), but the Quran states, “unbelievers are unto you enemies” and “slay them wherever you catch them” (4:101 and 2:191–193; see also Differences: The Bible and the Koran by Ben J. Smith). Western laws that are contrary to instructions in the Quran offend some Muslims, and the sexual license and moral degeneracy of the increasingly godless West are viewed by some as an affront to Allah that must be removed.
Today’s burning question is: Where is this resurgence of Islamist anger and aggression going to lead? History records that the Muslim quest for world domination by holy wars (or jihads) is marked by periods of conquest and defeat (see Destiny Disrupted by Tamin Ansary). A long period of effort begun under Muhammad himself was eventually thwarted by defeats at the battle of Tours and at the siege of Vienna. The Ottoman Turks and Crimean Tartars saw the conquest of “Christian” Constantinople, but that effort ended with the defeat of the Ottoman Empire during World War I.
The current resurgence of Islam is considered by some to be part of a “Third Jihad”—one marked by bombings and armed attacks in Europe, America, and elsewhere. However, this latest revival is not limited to violence and terror. There is also a demographic aspect to this jihad, involving higher birthrates among Muslims and their massive migration into Europe and North America. This has become a cultural jihad, as some Muslims demand Sharia law courts and changes in laws to accommodate Muslim customs and practices—meanwhile local traditions are restricted in order to avoid offending Muslims. In parts of Sweden, Islamic prayer calls are permitted, but church bells are not allowed to ring. As part of this cultural jihad, Muslim groups pressure schools to present Islam favorably and have special days when students adopt Muslim dress, assume Muslim names, and recite Muslim prayers, while the history and customs of host nations are minimized or ignored. Numerous observers see this as part of an organized strategy to bring about the gradual Islamization and conquest of the West (see The Third Jihad: Radical Islam’s Vision for America by Wayne Kopping and Erik Werth). If it is not an organized strategy, it is certainly a developing trend. Of course, ISIS and its operatives have openly promised to obliterate Israel and to conquer Europe, London, Rome, and Washington, D.C.
Will Islam eventually dominate Western civilization, or will history turn again in another direction? The prophet Daniel records, “At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack” the king of the North (Daniel 11:40). However, Daniel’s prophecy also states that “the king of the North shall come against him [the king of the South] like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships”—in other words, the king of the North will react, invading and occupying the territory of the king of the South (Daniel 11:41–43).
The king of the North will be linked to the ancient Roman Empire (as is the European Union) and will emerge as a “beast” power centered in Europe (Daniel 2:40–45; 7:7, 23–27). It will be associated with a prominent church and a major religious leader, also centered in Europe, and it will be composed of ten kings or leaders who surrender their sovereignty to a central authority (see Revelation 13 and 17). Meanwhile, Daniel’s prophecies indicate the king of the South is connected to countries that are part of the Arab world, dominated by the religion of Islam. Islamist terror, the relentless demographic pressure of Muslim migration into Europe, and the cultural efforts to promote Islam are all part of what is perceived by many to be an Islamic threat to European identities, values, and homelands. Could such pressures play a role in igniting the fulfillment of these end-time prophecies? What lies ahead in the Middle East could well be another critical turning point in history—a violent replay of the Crusades of the Middle Ages—with a destructive but familiar ending for this last jihad.