Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
Thoughts On the Ten Kings of Revelation 17 and Islam
The TEN HORNS featured in Revelation 13 and 17 are pictured as the TEN KINGDOMS of Psalm 83 that will conspire against the state of Israel. They continue one hour -- a short time -- until being consumed by YEHOVAH God after they go to war against Israel and the returned Messiah! Finally, "the beast and the false prophet [will be] both thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur" (Revelation 19:20). Just who are the "beast" and the "false prophet"?
by John D. Keyser
In the October 2010 issue of the newsletter for the New Foundation of Biblical Research, author Samuel Martin (son of the late Ernest L. Martin) makes these cogent remarks regarding the ten kings of Revelation 17 --
"I have been studying that really intimidating book -- Revelation -- of late and find it very hard to understand, but I know that what is written therein is truth and it is up to us to study it and keep studying it to seek Godís face to ascertain what it means.
"I really am overwhelmed with the things that I have seen in Revelation of late. It is really exciting. There is one passage that I have been looking at with great interest. It is in Revelation 17:12-14. Letís look at it here:
"'12 And the ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received royal power, but they are to receive authority as kings for one hour, together with the beast. 13 THESE ARE OF ONE MIND, and they hand over their power and authority to the beast. 14 They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them...' (ESV)
"I read this passage and one phrase jumped out at me and it was that one which is the title of this short discussion -- 'These are of one mind.' This phrase got me thinking. What does it mean to be 'of one mind'?
"In thinking about this, I have been taught to identify these ten kings with the ten nations of prophecy, which I believe are Middle Eastern kingdoms surrounding Israel as referenced in Psalm 83. We need not discuss the details of why I think that is the case relative to this context, but when I think about this issue, I wonder if we might be able to add some more flesh onto the prophetic skeleton given here in Revelation about what is going to happen in the future.
"Let us be clear. Revelation can be understood. There is a true meaning that Jesus Christ ascribed to the book when it was written and there is a correct interpretation of the meaning of not only the whole book, but also any individual text found in the book.
"If these are the 10 Kings mentioned in Psalm 83, can this idea of 'one mind' possibly help us to firmly identify these kings and position them properly in the Middle East in the end of the age? I think we may be able to do just that very thing.
"When you think about these kings being of 'one mind', you are talking here about a confederation, a united group or a team effort. What can make people of 'one mind?' Ethnic relations can unite people. Religion can unite people. Language can also unite people.
"If we take these ten kings and try, for example, to place them in Europe, it is hard to imagine that you could get ten nations or regions of Europe to be of 'one mind' on much of anything. When was the last time that the French, Germans and British agreed or had 'one mind' on something?
"One could even say the same thing about the good old US of A. Anyone knows that it is easier to find agreement and 'one mindedness' in America surrounding things, especially in comparison to Europe, but still there can be differences in opinion in the USA. Certainly, the temperament or political views/orientations of people in California and New York compared to South Carolina and Alabama can be (and are) very different. We could, of course, mention other states like those in the Midwest compared to the Southwest, for example. Getting everyone on the same page is not easy in our 'melting pot.' However, America is, of course, capable of one mindedness more than many others and this is one of the things that makes America great as a country. Many other countries could, of course, say the same thing.
"However, when you look at the Middle East, it is a whole different kettle of fish. The ten nations mentioned in Psalm 83 and those I believe are also here referenced have all three of these points uniting them -- ethnic background, religion and language -- any one of which is in itself a powerful unifying force, but combined together, we are reminded of that old maxim about a three fold cord not being easily broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)
"These ten nations are generally of an Ishmaelitic stock of peoples. They are also mostly adhering to the Islamic faith and finally, they are united by the Arabic language. So, when you see this point about ten kings being of 'one mind,' it makes a lot more sense or is more feasible to look at the Middle East for this uniting of peoples lead by rulers who become of one mind.
"We can see that these ten nations join the Beast power and make war on the 'Lamb.' Almost 30 times in the book of Revelation do we have this term 'Lamb' used and it is quite clear that this term refers to Jesus Christ. We can also refer to Johnís Gospel (1:29) where Jesus is called clearly 'the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.'
"So, we can see that these ten kings and the Beast power are going to make war on the 'Lamb.' If these are Middle Eastern kingdoms united with the Beast power, one has to wonder in some way if they are uniting around some factors helping make them of 'one mind' as I have here referenced? Could be. Certainly, they are going to be hostile and make war against the Lamb. This must mean that these ten kings are hostile to TRUE Christianity and to its leader, the Lamb, who is Jesus Christ. I think this is fairly clear from this text."
Most of the offshoots from the Worldwide Church of God under Herbert W. Armstrong have retained the notion that the 10 kings of Revelation 17 refer to a union of 10 nations arising in Europe. In the booklet Are We Living in the Time of the End? -- published by the United Church of God -- we see this same reasoning:
"The Bible prophesies that a group of 10 'kings,' or national leaders, through alliances or other arrangements will give rise to a union that will fulfill these end-time predictions. Daniel's prophecy indicates these leaders will preserve their cultures and languages, so it will not be one integrated group of states, such as the United States, but 10 individual political and cultural entities united for a common purpose. Some will be much stronger than the others.
"Notice that the book of Revelation gives more details: 'The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast. These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for he is lord of lords and king of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen and faithful' (Revelation 17:12-14).
"The current moves to expand and solidify the European Union appear to be a precursor to this prophesied power. It is interesting to let history reveal the roots of the movement to unify Europe."
However, many students of the Bible believe that another scenario, such as the one outlined above by Samuel Martin, is the correct interpretation of Revelation 17. Notice what Stephen Cook reveals --
"We don't need to find modern-day descendants of the Amalekites; we need to identify who occupies the territory which the Amalekites occupied at the time Psalm 83 was written. We won't find any Philistines living anywhere today, but we do find a hybridized group of Egyptians/Syrians/Jordanians living in the territory of Philistia and calling themselves by the Latinized/Anglicized name for Philistia (Palestine).
"The territories occupied by the nations/tribes named in Psalm 83 are roughly as follows: Edom in modern Jordan: Ishmaelites in modern Saudi Arabia; Moab in modern Jordan; Hagrites -- the territory bordering modern Jordan and Saudi Arabia; Gebal -- probably modern Golan Heights and nearby in Syria; Ammon in modern Jordan; Amalek in the modern Sinai peninsula and the Negev; Philistia -- modern Gaza Strip, part of the Palestinian authority; Tyre in modern Lebanon; Assyria -- modern Syria and Iraq.
"The important thing to notice, I think, is that the Psalmist here lists a group of nations/tribes which immediately surround Israel on all sides. The nations of Ezekiel 38, on the other hand, are a great distance from Israel, although they too are found in all directions. While the Gog and Magog of Revelation 20:8 is probably a prophecy about a different event, John picks up the point from Ezekiel that this confederacy comes from the four corners of the earth. There is no correspondence or overlapping between the nations of Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38.
"What I see by comparing the main prophecies of the final conflict is this sequence: An invasion of Israel by her immediate neighbors (Ps. 83; Zech. 14; Ezek. 35; Joel 3) -- an inner circle of nations. Jerusalem is taken captive (Zech. 14 and Ezek. 35). The Lord returns and delivers Jerusalem, and defeats Israel's surrounding enemies, and establishes His Kingdom on a renewed earth. Israel dwells in peace and safety, without walls or gates (Ezek. 38:8, 11 ). There is an invasion of Israel by an outer circle of nations -- from the four corners of the earth (Ezek. 38). The outer circle of invaders is defeated. The Kingdom [of YEHOVAH God] expands peacefully, (Psalm 72).
"It's significant that both the inner and outer circles of nations described above are all ISLAMIC NATIONS (the false prophet of Revelation?). It's also interesting that the only list of 10 confederate nations or tribes anywhere in Scripture is in Psalm 83. These may be the ten heads or ten horns mentioned elsewhere" (WHERE Do We Expect Psalm 83 to Be Fulfilled?).
We must remember that the Bible interprets itself, so the TEN HORNS of Revelation 13:1 and 17:12-14 are explained to be TEN KINGS who will have kingdoms that will align themselves with the beast power in the last days. WHO, then, are these ten last-day kingdoms? Once again -- let the Bible interpret itself! In Psalm 83 we find mentioned a confederacy of ten kingdoms or nations that try to "cut them [Israel] off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more" (Psalm 83:4). Doesn't this sound awfully familiar? Psalm 83 goes on to NAME these kingdoms -- notice!
"Unanimous in their plot, they seal a treaty against you: the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, Moab and the Hagrites, Gebal, Ammon, Amalek, Philistia and the Tyrians; and now Assur [Assyria] has joined them to reinforce the sons of Lot" (verses 5-8, The Jerusalem Bible).
As outlined by Stephen Cook, "the territories occupied by the nations/tribes named in Psalm 83 are roughly as follows: Edom in modern Jordan: Ishmaelites in modern Saudi Arabia; Moab in modern Jordan; Hagrites -- the territory bordering modern Jordan and Saudi Arabia; Gebal -- probably modern Golan Heights and nearby in Syria; Ammon in modern Jordan; Amalek in the modern Sinai peninsula and the Negev; Philistia -- modern Gaza Strip, part of the Palestinian authority; Tyre in modern Lebanon; Assyria -- modern Syria and Iraq."
It's significant that the nations described above are all ISLAMIC NATIONS (the FALSE PROPHET of Revelation 13:11 and 19:20). It's also interesting that the only list of 10 confederate nations or tribes anywhere in Scripture is in Psalm 83. These are the ten horns mentioned in Revelation 13.
John mentions that the TEN HORNS -- or ten kingdoms of Psalm 83 -- are "to be of one mind." The word mind, in this instance, means "point of view" or "opinion." What "point of view" or "opinion" is that? THE POINT OF VIEW OF ISLAM! These ten kingdoms will be motivated by their common adherence to the tenets of Islam and its founder Muhammad! In reality, there is the same basic motivating force behind both the woman and the ten horns -- that of SATAN THE DEVIL!
The TEN HORNS featured in Revelation 13 and 17 are pictured as the TEN KINGDOMS of Psalm 83 that will conspire against the state of Israel. They continue one hour -- a short time -- until being consumed by YEHOVAH God after they go to war against Israel and the returned Messiah! Finally, "the beast (the leader of the Roman Catholic Church) and the false prophet (the leader of the Islamic nations of Psalm 83) [will be] both thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur" (Revelation 19:20).
"After these things" -- after the defeat of the ten-nation Islamic confederacy and after the fall of the Vatican and Roman Catholicism -- "I heard what sounded like the roar of a huge crowd, like the sound of rushing waters, like loud peals of thunder, saying, 'Halleluyah! ADONAI [YEHOVAH God], GOD OF HEAVENS ARMIES, HAS BEGUN HIS REIGN!'" (Revelation 19:1, 6).
Samuel Martin concludes his remarks in the following fashion:
"When we think about it, it is really foolish for these ten kings or anyone including the Beast power to go up against Christ...thinking that they have a chance to defeat Him. That will never happen, but we can even see the power of Almighty God and His Son in that as in Revelation 17 it tells us that 'for God has put it into their hearts to carry out his purpose by being of one mind and handing over their royal power to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled.' Rev. 17:17. What a being! The power of God is really awe-inspiring.
"This for us is not too difficult to accept in light of many other Scriptures like 'The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.' (Proverbs 21:1) God is firmly in control of what happens on His earth.
"So, we can see that these ten kings and the beast power are going to make war on the 'Lamb.' If these are Middle Eastern kingdoms united with the Beast power, one has to wonder in some way if they are uniting around some factors helping make them of 'one mind' as I have here referenced? Could be. Certainly, they are going to be hostile and make war against the Lamb. This must mean that these ten kings are hostile to true Christianity and to its leader, the Lamb, who is Jesus Christ. I think this is fairly clear from this text" (New Foundation for Biblical Research Newsletter, October 2010).