Papal and Muslim "legs"
"There are two great antichristian religious systems of deceit
revealed in the book of Revelation. The 'great western antichrist' of Roman
Catholicism (Rev 17; 18) and the 'great eastern antichrist' of Islam (Rev 9).
This has been the majority position of historic Protestant interpretation
(Historicism) for centuries (though later writers often see this with more
clarity). Dr Lee gives us evidence of this in 'Calvin and Islam', citing Calvin
"In our own day, indeed , very many people begin to
waver -- when they consider the long continued dispersion of the Church. As if
this had not been regulated by the purpose of God!... The pretext of the
Romanists which they make in extenuation of the tyranny of their idol [the
Papacy] -- is that it was not possible for Christ to forsake His bride. But
here, the weak have an assurance on which to rest -- when they learn that the
disfigurement which they see in the Church, has long since been foretold. The
impudence of the Romanists, on the other hand, is clearly exposed. Because Paul
declares that when the World has been brought under the rule of Christ -- a
defection will take place....
"The minds of ancients were so bewitched -- that they believed
that Nero would be Antichrist! However, Paul is not speaking of one individual
-- but of a kingdom that was to be seized by Satan, for the purpose of setting
up a seat of abomination in the midst of God's Temple. This we see accomplished
"The defection has indeed spread more widely! For, since
Mohammed was an apostate, he turned his followers, the Turks, from Christ....
The sect of Mohammed was like a raging overflow, which in its violence tore away
about half of the Church. It remained for [the Papal] Antichrist to infect with
his poison the part which was left."
Yet, in the words 'the Lord Jesus shall slay' in 2Th 2:8 --
Calvin insists Paul "predicted the destruction of the reign of Antichrist... He
will be annihilated by the Word of the Lord... Paul does not think that Christ
will accomplish this in a single moment... Christ will scatter the darkness in
which Antichrist will reign, by the rays which He will emit before His coming --
just as the sun, before becoming visible to us, chases away the darkness of the
night with its bright light.
"It does seem that the fourth iron kingdom was in fact both
the pre-Papal and the pre-Islamic undivided Pagan Roman Empire, as well as the
later Western-Roman Papal and the contemporaneous Eastern-Roman Islamic Empire
into which it then subdivided. Indeed, both 'Mahomet' and 'the Pope' -- as we
have already seen -- Calvin called 'the two horns of Antichrist.' Thus they
correspond to the two legs of the later Roman Empire Islam and the
In fact, when the classic historicist position is studied, the
fulfillment in the case of Islam and Rev 9 is seen to be so striking and well
attested that "'even advocates of other approaches who are adamant in their
rejection of the historicist system of interpretation have admitted the
convincing nature of this particular identification' (Steve Gregg, commenting on
Rev 9:1-6 in 'Revelation: Four Views' 176)."
Since the Papacy (Roman Catholicism) and the powers of Islam
are both blaspheming and agitating against Israel today, it surely does seem
that we are still in the "two legs" interpretative section of the image of
Nebuchadnezzar's dream of future empires, and very, very close to the image's
feet becoming shattered by Christ's return.