Terrorism was introduced to the United States via radical, fundamental Islamists (Muslims) on 9/11. Since then, Muslims have planned and carried out a vast number of international terrorist bombings and attempted attacks.
With about 1.5 billion in population, Muslims are found in virtually every sphere of the world and comprise 22% of the world's populace. So, not surprising is the fact that Islam is the second-fastest growing religion in the world.
Though there are probably millions of peace-loving Muslims, it is the terrorist brand that grabs media attention and puts fear into the hearts of the average citizen. Because modern terrorism was borne out of ("hijacked") Islam, because it is such a fast-growing religion, and because the goal of Islamic terrorists is to destroy anything that stands in the way of a global caliphate (that is, of Islamic worldwide rule), most Christians appear to be, at the very least, concerned with the role Islamic terrorism plays in our world today, while many Christians believe Islam will play a significant role in end-times prophecy.
It appears that a large percentage of Bible prophecy teachers communicate that Islam will play some kind of significant role in the end times. A number of them teach, based on Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38 and 39, that Islamic states, aided or led by Russia, will converge on Israel, seeking to wipe out the Jewish nation. While some teach this battle may rage prior to the rapture of the Church, many believe that it will occur in the first half of the seven-year tribulation period (the seven years following the initiation of the end-times treaty with Israel). Others teach that the end-times Antichrist will be the Twelfth Imam (the Mahdi, the future Muslim Messiah) who will present himself as god to be worshipped as he rules the world during the last half of the special seven-year period.
So, are these teachers correct? Will Islam play a significant role in the end times?
First of all, it is highly unlikely that a major end-times battle will take place against Israel prior to the rapture of the Church, since Jesus presents the rapture as imminent (see, for example, Luke 12:35-40). That means we are to live in expectation of the rapture occurring at any time. Thus, it would appear to be contradictory to see the rapture as occurring at any moment and yet believe there must be an end-times Islamic attack against Israel before the rapture can occur. Therefore, if there is to be an Islamic attack, it must occur following the rapture, during the seven years leading up to the return of Christ.
To begin answering questions about what role Islam will play in end-times prophecy, such as in that seven-year era, we need to turn to the book of Daniel. There we learn that the king of the North (Daniel 11:36-45) will conquer the entire Middle East and North Africa, the "home" of Islam. So is this an Islamic figure conquering Islamic states?
At least two vital passages on this end-times character help to answer that question. In a prediction that has yet to be fulfilled, the Lord announces in Isaiah 14:25–26 that he will "break the Assyrian" in the land of Israel. In addition, in Micah 5:5–6, the prophet predicts that Jews will rise up at the return of Christ against the Assyrian and his forces while he is in Israel. Since neither of these two passages has been fulfilled, we know they will be fulfilled in the future. As we look at them more closely, we will gain valuable clues that will show us how these apply to the king of the North.
Each of the above passages mentions a specific land: "I will break the Assyrian in my land and when the Assyrian comes into our land." Clearly, this is a reference to the land of Israel. After all, in the context, God, who is the speaker, refers to his land. The only land mentioned in Scripture as being uniquely his is the land of Israel—the land he promised to the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their descendents) and the land in which the Lord will dwell in the future via the Messiah's reign (when he brings his kingdom to the earth).
If we look again at those two passages above, we will see they both mention the Assyrian. The singular description indicates that these passages focus on a single Assyrian leader or ruler.
The verses in Micah 5 predict that Jesus will deliver Israel from the Assyrian. Though the reference does not specifically mention Jesus, the context shows Jesus to be the one who will deliver Israel from the Assyrian, and this deliverance must necessarily occur at his return to the earth.
These passages describe a future ruler who will enter the land of Israel. In Daniel 11:44–45, this man is identified as the king of the North who will enter Israel from Egypt, planting "the tents of his palace" (verse 45) at a place that has been identified as located "in the upper Kidron Valley to the northeast of the Temple Mount" in Jerusalem. His removal (in these passages)—by the Lord Jesus Christ at his return—identifies him with the beast in Revelation 19:11–20 and with the Man of Sin in 2 Thessalonians 2:8. Thus, the king of the North, the beast, and the Man of Sin, are all descriptives of the same person, who is an Assyrian.
Therefore, as we return to the king of the North in Daniel 11, we know he is the end-times Assyrian. However, Assyrians are not Muslims; they are Christians. But even at that, Daniel tells us that this end-times figure will not worship the "God of his fathers" (Daniel 11:37); instead, he will worship Lucifer (Satan). (For more on this, see Apocalypse 2012: The Ticking of the End Time Clock—What Does the Bible Say?)
This means that, instead of conquering Israel, Islam will be conquered by the Assyrian; and this Assyrian will NOT be Islamic, meaning he will not be the Twelfth Imam. When this occurs, God will subdue Islam. The tool God will use will be the Assyrian who will eventually set up the world for a different kind of one-world religion, one which will worship Lucifer (Satan), as per Revelation 13:3-4.
Therefore, we should not look for Islam to have a major role in end-times prophecy. Though we may be close to end-times fulfillment, God will be performing some surprising work; and we will then realize that things will not be as they appear now.
In the meantime, keep looking up!
[For a clear understanding on the riveting events leading up to the return of Christ—including the end-times treaty, the rebuilding of the temple, and the incredible events following, see Apocalypse 2012: The Ticking of the End Time Clock—What Does the Bible Say?]