One of the portions of the book of Revelation whose meaning is hotly debated is the reference to Mystery Babylon in chapter 17. It appears that this will be the location of the Antichrist’s governmental and spiritual headquarters. But, where exactly is Mystery Babylon located? Will it be headquartered in Jerusalem, New York, Mecca, or Rome? Or, will it be ancient Babylon rebuilt?
Dr. David Reagan and I asked these questions on our television program Christ in Prophecy of Bible prophecy expert Bill Salus, the founder and director of Prophecy Depot Ministries based in La Quinta, California. Bill is a prolific writer and conference speaker, best known for his insightful book about Psalm 83 and the war that is depicted in it.
In the first segment, Bill ruled out the arguments for Mystery Babylon being the rebuilt city of Babylon in Iraq. Now he’s going to examine Mecca as a possible candidate city.
Arguments Against Mecca
Dr. Reagan: The newest theory that identifies the Antichrist’s headquarters which Revelation calls Mystery Babylon involves the Islamic capital of Mecca. Bill, didn’t you just recently hold a major debate with Joel Richardson where you sided against that theory, and also made the video available on your website?
Bill Salus: Yes, the video is called, “The Identity of Mystery Babylon: Mecca or Rome?” I debated the best-selling author, Joel Richardson. Folks can find the DVD at Prophecy Depot Ministries. The discussion lasted three whole hours! The debate should be very informative and educational. I think viewers will find a lot of educational information that they may not of known about Mystery Babylon from that debate.
We debated whether Mystery Babylon will be Mecca or Rome. We specifically narrowed the options down to those two cities. Joel was advocating that it will be Mecca, and I, of course, took the view of Rome.
Dr. Reagan: Why did you take the position that Mystery Babylon can not be Mecca?
Bill Salus: The Mecca theory overlooks two powerful prophetic wars involving Islam. These will be Muslim-dominated wars: the Psalm 83 War and the Gog-Magog War of Ezekiel 38-39. I happen to believe, and many of our colleagues believe, that these two end time wars will happen before the Tribulation period begins. Remember the Harlot world religion rises up right around the beginning of the Tribulation period. So, if these epic Muslim wars are waged beforehand, their substantial losses would have an incredibly detrimental effect on Islam’s role in the end times. God’s victories over Islam in these wars will dramatically change Islam’s dominant nationalities and greatly gut Islam as the dominant religion in the Middle East going forward.
So, let’s look at the Psalm 83 War, for instance. Ten populations engage in a final confrontation between the Arabs and the Jews. Those nations involved surround and share common borders with Israel. The Israeli Defense Forces defeats all these nations’ armies.
Now, all those nations are predominately Muslim and include Jordan, and Lebanon with the terrorist group Hezbollah embedded there, and you’ve got Syria, and Iraq, and Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The Palestinians are involved, along with the terrorist group Hamas in Gaza, along with other Muslim countries.
Joel Richardson argues there are 1.8 billion Muslims in the world, and so concludes that Islam must obviously become the Harlot religion that dominates the future. Add the death toll from the following Gog-Magog War of Ezekiel 38-39, which I’ll describe more in just a minute, and roughly 600 million Muslims will either be killed, exiled, or imprisoned due to their defeat by the IDF and God’s hands.
Ezekiel 38-39 describes nine entirely different populations. It’s not the same prophecy as the Psalm 83 War. The “hordes” that invade Israel comprise of a coalition formed by Russia which includes Turkey, Iran, Libya, and some of the other northern-most countries found on the continent of Africa. Some of the breakaway republics of the Soviet Union, labeled Magog, which are predominately all Muslim right now, will join in Russia’s attempt to plunder and destroy Israel.
The Gog-Magog invasion is comprised of some massive Muslim populations, and they’re all going to be supernaturally defeated in their invasion of Israel. Russia and her allies will be defeated by the Lord by earthquakes, flooding rains, hail storms, and actually falling brimstone.
Psalm 83 will be a punch to the gut of Islam. Then, the Gog-Magog War will follow like an upper cut to the jaw of Islam. By the time the world enters into the Tribulation period, Allah will have lost his Akbar. Allah Akbar means “he’s the greater god.” These terrorist always shout “Allah Akbar,” all the time, and that’s what it means.
Nathan Jones: Can you imagine the disillusionment of millions upon millions of Muslims due to the continual defeat of Allah through these prophetic wars?
Bill Salus: Yes, and even today, Muslims have been already converting away from Islam because they don’t like all the terrorism and have been supposedly experiencing dreams of Christ.
I had a red flag in my debate as Joel Richardson is actually a very good researcher. In his Islamic Antichrist-themed books, he states he believes the Antichrist will be a Muslim. He noted a lot of historical sources that he claims also theorizes there will be a Muslim Antichrist, and yet he didn’t come up with any by name. I had to correct him that the Islamic Antichrist view was forged in 2008 when both he and Walid Shoebat put their thoughts together and concluded that Mystery Babylon would be Mecca. I then asked Joel, “Can you tell me by name of anyone else who holds to your view — Church Father’s, Reformers, anyone?” Well, he couldn’t. That was a red flag to me. This means the Mecca theory is basically their own new theory.
Compare this new view to the historical view that Rome is, in truth, Mystery Babylon. We’ve had the Church Fathers who believed the city was Rome, such as Lactantius, Tertullian, Irenaeus and Jerome. We’ve had Reformers who believed it was Rome, such as Martin Luther, John Knox, John Calvin, John Tyndale and John Wycliffe. We have contemporary theologians who believe Mystery Babylon is Rome. And, I believe you two are among that list. Jan Markell is on that list. We have J. Vernon McGee, Dwight Pentecost, Clarence Larkin, Grant Jeffrey, Tim LaHaye, Hal Lindsey, Warren Wiersbe and Mike Gendron. He has also been on your program before. Then there’s Dave Hunt.
So, I have a problem with the newness of the Mecca theory and that there are so few who support it now, also that nobody historically has suggested the view. It’s actually okay to come up with new theories. Daniel 12 tells us that in the end times information will increase, the visions will be unsealed, and people will greatly travel to and fro. That’s the prophecy from Daniel 12:4. Still, I think there’s a concern when a lone person is the only one or two who holds a particular view.
Dr. Reagan: I would agree, and I would even go so far as calling the Mecca view absurd. To clarify, I say “absurd” because it’s literally impossible for the Antichrist to be a Muslim. Any Muslim who would enter Jerusalem and declare himself to actually be God would be instantly killed by the Muslims. They wouldn’t be killed by non-Muslims, they would be killed by their own Muslims for such blasphemy against Allah. And, is Israel going to make a covenant with a Muslim leader? I don’t think so.
Bill, I think you’re right on target in identifying Rome as Mystery Babylon. I hope people will get a copy of your video because it is very, very informative. You did a lot of research, as did Joel Richardson, but I think that you made the point better that Mystery Babylon could not possibly be Mecca, and there’s not going to be a Muslim Antichrist.
Bill Salus: I do agree with your conclusion.
In the fourth segment of our interview with Bill Salus identifying the city of Mystery Babylon, we’ll get into the arguments supporting Rome as the location.