“Hidden in Plain Sight” by Mark Davidson, Xulon Press, 2011
Mr Davidson has written a book that puts forward a new theory on ‘End Times’ biblical prophecy leading up to the emergence of the Antichrist and preceding the return of Jesus Christ, predicted in the Bible. It approaches these prophecies from the increasingly common viewpoint that it is the Islamic world (the countries surrounding Israel) that produces Antichrist and not a “Revived Roman Empire” of 10 Western European nations, the prevailing understanding over the last half century. This new view has also been advocated in such books as “Islamic Antichrist” and “Mideast Beast” by Joel Richardson, one its most well-known proponents. It is also discussed every week on CBN by Erick Stakelbeck. Many Christians are turning to this view as events in the Middle East are leading toward Islam as the “End Times Beast” rather than Western Europe. I agree that there is much biblical support for the Islamic End Times paradigm.
Briefly, Mark sees parallels in three prophetic visions, two in the Book of Daniel and one in Revelation. Daniel Chapter 7 discusses four beasts – a lion, a bear, a leopard and a terrible beast, while Daniel 8 tells the story of two, a ram and a goat. The Revelation vision that he relates are the four horsemen of the sealed scrolls – they are white, red, black and pale green, in that order. Mr. Davidson believes that all three visions are discussing the same period of time, just prior to the “Tribulation”, a 7-seven year period of regional and perhaps world-wide trauma that (some Christians believe) immediately precedes the return of Christ.
Here is the unique aspect of this book: Davidson’s view that Daniel 7 is not “rerunning” prophecies in Daniel 2 as most current commentators believe, but is previewing End Times events with “Four Signposts”. Briefly, these are:
- the lion = Saddam Hussein and Iraq (already completed),
- the bear = Iran invading Islamic Countries to its south, west and north (soon to occur),
- the four-headed leopard = Turkey and a confederation of Sunni nations that repel Shiite Iran (further in the future), and
- the terrible beast = the Antichrist empire that subsumes the previous three just before the Tribulation.
He believes that the four horsemen correspond exactly with these and the Daniel 8 Ram and Goat reiterate the 2nd and 3rd of them.
Davidson supports his thesis by first showing that although the Daniel 2 vision of the four-part metallic statue and the Daniel 7 vision of the four animals/beast concern the same four general people-group/empires, Daniel 2 tells the history of these empires during Daniel’s day through the formation of the Islamic Caliphates, while Daniel 7 reprises them during the end times, recapitulating, if you will, their lives in a last effort for greatness before being put down by each subsequent empire. The book of Daniel self-identifies the first three of these as Babylon, Persia and Greece, while Davidson shows from historical sources that the fourth “terrible beast” can only be the Antichrist.
The strengths of this book include the solid historical research into the empires, their accomplishments and conquests and how they relate to biblical prophecy, particularly the Islamic Caliphates of the Middle Ages. He digs up some important events that support the notion that the fourth beast is indeed Islam. He has included some great maps of the Middle East, graphically showing each phase of his interpretations clearly and understandably. Mark delves into the original languages, particularly interpretations of Hebrew and Greek words to buttress his points.
As I stated earlier, I too am a believer in the Islamic Antichrist End Time paradigm and I share many beliefs in common with Mark. In the final analysis however, Mark did not convince me to join him in seeing Daniel 7 as future to us, just preceding ‘the Tribulation.’ I continue to believe that Daniel 2 and Daniel 7 are strongly related to each other (the most common view today, I think he would agree). What Mark unraveled for us regarding the 2nd chapter I see as being reiterated in the 7th. I believe the Islamic terrible beast will remain in power (more or less) until Jesus returns.
I thought Mark could have provided more discussion and rationale of his theory that the seven-headed dragon of Revelation 17 consists of nations that all eventually become Muslim; I thought he tried to force this point and I did not understand the need for it. I also did not see the strong correspondence between the four horseman and the animals/beasts of Daniel 7, however I do agree with his conclusion that the last, green horseman concerns Islam. I know it was beyond the scope of his topic, but isolating the first 4 scrolls (four horsemen) from the last 3, and for that matter the Trumpets and the Bowls left me wondering how they related; a brief discussion of this would have helped. Davidson is careful not to assign possible dates to his predictions, and also leaves some room for variance from his theory and how events might transpire. He writes with an air of humility.
Davidson opened my eyes to some great revelations, particularly in the areas of history relating to Islam destroying the eastern Roman empire headquartered in Constantinople, the evolution of Baal worship into the ‘Allah’ of the Arabian peninsula, and the translation of original language words and their meanings as they relate to End Times realities. One example is the Greek word is toxon, meaning “bow”, often used for launching poisoned arrows. The word of course came to mean “poison”; it shows up in Revelation 6:2 as the bow being carried by the rider on the white horse. Davidson relates this to Saddam’s WMDs; I’m not ready to agree with him, but it is intriguing.
I learned a great deal from his book and would recommend it to others. I was challenged to examine my beliefs and investigate scripture more closely. This is always worthwhile. I often find myself adjusting my beliefs as I consider the light given to my brothers and sisters from God’s Word. This book will certainly help you do that too.