The Rise of Turkey: The Mediterranean’s New Regional Naval Power

In 2003-2004, I wrote Islamic Antichrist (previously titled Antichrist: Islam’s Awaited Messiah). At that time, based on a careful interpretation of Ezekiel 38-39 and several other relevant prophetic texts, I predicted that in the days ahead, Turkey would emerge as a regional power with expansionist ambitions. In those years however, the consensus among conventional geo-polticial analysts was that Turkey was emerging as the model of secular moderation within the Islamic world. But almost immediately after the rise to power of the AK Party in 2002, Turkey began trending not toward moderation, but toward an assertive Islamist regional power. Among the many dramatic shifts that we have seen in recent years has been the gutting of the traditionally secular military through the Ergenekon conspiracy, as well as the expansion of what is already the largest army in the Middle East. Now, the Jamestown Foundation reports that Turkey is emerging as the Mediterranean’s New Regional Naval Power. While I am confident that the future will hold several wildcards and surprises that neither I, nor anyone saw coming, it continues to be the case that Turkey is a nation to keep our eyes on as we watch for the fulfillment of the portents and trends that were prophesied thousands of years ago by the Biblical prophets.

  • Shawn Paterson
    Posted at 02:26h, 24 November

    Joel – I apologize that this question is unrelated to the post, but I was wondering which English translation of the Qur’an is most respected within Islam. I understand that they believe only the Arabic Qur’an to be perfect, but I’ve come across a few different English translations that obviously had a theological bent (one had footnotes every time jihad was mentioned to assure the reader it is a nonviolent struggle…), so I’m assuming there is an English translation/interpretation that is conservative? Also – if I wanted to buy the Hadith in English, which version of that should I look for?

    Thanks in advance,


  • Joel
    Posted at 02:46h, 24 November


    The most conservative translation is by Muhammad Muhsin Khan. However, the most generally received is Yusuf Ali.

    Concerning Hadith, there are a few boxed sets that have each collection such as Buhkari, Abu Muslim, Abu Dawood, Musnad Ibn Majah, etc. I wouldn’t get any abbreviated editions. I would get the complete sets.

    I just copied these from Wikipedia, but these are the six Sunni collections:

    Sahih Bukhari, collected by Imam Bukhari (d. 256 A.H., 870 C.E.), includes 7275 ahadith
    Sahih Muslim, collected by Muslim b. al-Hajjaj (d. 261 A.H., 875 C.E.), includes 9200 ahadith
    Sunan al-Sughra, collected by al-Nasa’i (d. 303 A.H., 915 C.E.)
    Sunan Abu Dawood, collected by Abu Dawood (d. 275 A.H., 888 C.E.)
    Jami al-Tirmidhi, collected by al-Tirmidhi (d. 279 A.H, 892 C.E)
    Sunan ibn Majah, collected by Ibn Majah (d. 273 A.H., 887 C.E.)

    Much of them are available online as well:


  • Michael McCullough
    Posted at 04:56h, 24 November

    Thanks, Joel. It’s always good to hear your take on the situation with Turkey.

    This is off-topic, but I’m sure you’re following the negotiations with Iran as closely as we are and are aware of the deal just brokered by John Kerry. I’m reluctant to associate Bible prophecies with current events too closely because those efforts haven’t ended well for the past 1,900 years.

    I don’t give creedance to Islamic prophecies, but the deal reminded me of the Islamic belief that the final 7-year peace treaty between Israel and her enemies will be arranged by a descendant of Aaron. The original patriarchal name of Kerry’s family is Kohn.

    This treaty is obviously not the one that the scriptures speak of but I am filing this tidbit away in the back of my mind. As you said, “wildcards and surprises.”

  • David W. Lincoln
    Posted at 23:04h, 24 November

    Joel, I can’t help but conclude that we don’t have to rely only on the Bible to rescue Muslims from their error.

    Face it, they say they believe in creation, rather than evolution. Well, how is it that they believe a contradiction? For, when you have one mighty enough to create a universe, and have it operate within narrow parameters; but not strong enough to break through the barriers of being aloof – this is inconsistent.

    Take a look at this blog posting about the Virgin Mary, for the one she gave birth in a cave in the vicinity of Bethlehem – none is stronger than him.

  • BJ and Alisa
    Posted at 15:10h, 25 November

    Hi Joel,

    I know this is off topic, but have you seen this article from J-post?

    We have got to keep praying that our eyes are opened to the dangers that lay before us & that we do the will of God our Father.

    Before we heard of you, we had little interest in the events in the Middle East. As American citizens we did not think it affected us. We are glad you are keeping us informed on all the developments of biblical prophecy in our days. We now see clearly that it does affect us.

    BJ & Alisa

  • Dave
    Posted at 20:03h, 25 November


    I assume you have heard what John Paul Jackson says about Turkey?

  • Joel
    Posted at 20:29h, 25 November

    Hi Dave,

    I have not heard JP’s views. But I also don’t have 1:30 minutes to find out. Would you be so kind as to summarize for me, or direct to the specific time marker?

    Thanks and Blessings!

  • Dave
    Posted at 13:21h, 26 November

    Opps, sorry. Try this one. Turkey is mentioned at 4.00 under number 7. But it is worth listening to the whole thing as he mentions the fall of Mubarak, the rise of a terrorist regime in Egypt, Israel and Iran, a ruthless new Russian leader who will emerge ahead of the end times and a range of other things that are relevant to what you are discussing.

  • Dave
    Posted at 13:26h, 26 November

    Sorry – not a terrorist regime in Israel and Iran, but further details about Israel and Iran.


  • David W. Lincoln
    Posted at 19:47h, 26 November

    When you have reported, how far are we in seeing

    For, in no way should a Cathedral be turned into a Mosque, and then into a museum, and back again into a mosque.

  • Joel
    Posted at 20:49h, 26 November


    Having just been there this summer as a small group of worshippers were filing in to pray, I can attest to this.

  • David
    Posted at 01:22h, 28 November

    Joel – I am in the process of reading Mideast Beast. I am curious to know how you interpret the prostitute that rides on the beast in Revelation 17. You explained that the seven mountains are equivalent to the seven heads or kingdoms of Satan’s opposition against God’s people but I was not sure how you understood the prostitute herself.
    Thank you in advance.

  • Joel
    Posted at 01:28h, 28 November


    This is a significant question with various theories:

    Global false religion
    Apostate Christianity
    Apostate Judaism
    The literal City of Babylon
    The United States
    Mecca / Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

    In brief, I believe that the final candidate best fulfills the Scriptural criteria on Rev. 17 & 18. But I am not dogmatic.


  • David
    Posted at 15:51h, 29 November

    Joel – First, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.
    Thank you for your quick response. I have traditionally understood the prostitute to represent Apostate Christianity through the Roman Catholic adaptation of the cultic practices of Babylon. However, since being introduced to the Islamic perspective of the End Times, I have been re-examining this position.
    I have considered the Mecca/Kingdom of Saudi Arabia interpretation but I struggle to make this fit with the ten horns of the beast that hate the prostitute and ultimately destroy her (Rev. 17:16-17).
    At the present time, unless you have something to offer that would negate such a view, I continue to lean toward the Apostate Christianity view.
    Nevertheless, I am not interested in maintaining a misguided interpretatiion. I have reached out to you because I am interested in understanding the truth.
    Please share any thoughts you might have that would offer guidance.

  • Joel
    Posted at 18:37h, 29 November


    Please forgive my brevity, as I am extremely limited on time. Simply stated, if the Mecca/Saudi theory is correct, the ten beast nations will someday turn on the Saudi family/government. This is entirely in agreement with present day realities, political alignments and prejudices against the Saudis. One need say little about the hatred between Iran / Shi’a and the House of Saud. It is for this reason that Israel is even right now aligning with the Saudis in mutual concern over Iran’s nuclear program. Beyond this, there is the historical conflict of interest between the Turks, who ruled Mecca for over 500 years, and the present day family who most of the regional Arabs view as a self-imposed, western-supported, anomaly.

    The apostate theory, in my view, has far too many problems. It is almost entirely built on the work of Alexander Hislop’s Two Babylons book. IN my opinion, this book is a theological fraud. I would encourage you to consider the book by Ralph Woodrow, Babylon Reconsidered.

    I hope this brief comment has helped.


  • Jim
    Posted at 20:13h, 29 November

    David, to re-enforce Joel’s discussion of Mecca/Saudi Arabia as the harlot as opposed to Rome. There are zero references to the destruction of Rome in prophecy. However there are multiple references to the destruction of Arabia. Isaiah 21 might all refer to Arabia. “The Wilderness of the Sea” is not Babylon, the city or nation. Yet it is verse 9 of this section that John quotes in Revelation, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon”. We still view this thru a glass darkly but I favor Joel’s reading of scripture here.

  • David
    Posted at 23:30h, 29 November

    Joel – Thanks for your thoughts. I am fully sympathetic to your time constraints. That you correspond at all is greatly appreciated.

    I will prayfully consider your comments and the sources you mention. I do acknowledge the present tensions between the Saudis and Shi’as.

    Jim – I appreciate you input, as well. Thank you. I do not take any of this lightly and am grateful for your and Joel’s thoughts.


  • Joel
    Posted at 00:00h, 30 November


    Also, I address this issue in two introductory sessions in my DVD set, Understanding the Times.

  • David W. Lincoln
    Posted at 21:32h, 01 December

    Mistakes play a role in the weakening of those making mistakes, and the rise of others.

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