Home > Radical Islam, Theology and Eschatology, Wars and Rumors of War > Joel Richardson: ‘Whether We Like It Or Not, There Are Dark Clouds, And Black Flags, Gathering On The Horizon’

Joel Richardson: ‘Whether We Like It Or Not, There Are Dark Clouds, And Black Flags, Gathering On The Horizon’


By Joel Richardson – “It was in 2004, when American businessman Nicholas Berg’s brutal execution by beheading was widely shown all over the Internet, that most Americans caught their first glimpse of the black flag of Islam. Hung on the wall behind Berg and his murderous executioners was a black banner with Arabic writing in white.

Osama Bin Laden speaking in front of the black flag of Islam

Osama Bin Laden speaking in front of the black flag of Islam

Since the murder of Nicholas Berg, in numerous al-Qaida videos posted online, the same black flag has been observed hanging prominently behind the speaker. And now the same black flag is proudly flying high over the U.S. Embassy in Tunisia and is waving across the world. Welcome to Obama’s so-called ‘Arab Spring.’

Over the past few days, the black flag has been observed amidst the protests and riots in Egypt, Libya, Sudan, Nigeria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Kuwait, Bahrain, Iran, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Indonesia, India, Turkey, Jerusalem, Gaza and even Germany, Australia and England. That’s at least 22 nations. Across the world, Muslims of every race, tribe and nation are marching under the same black banner.

Protesters burn the U.S. flag under the black banner of Islam in London (Photo: YouTube)

Protesters burn the U.S. flag under the black banner of Islam in London (Photo: YouTube)

While many commentators have been referring to this banner as the flag of al-Qaida, this does not convey its full meaning and history. What exactly what does the black flag of Islam truly symbolize?

According to Islamic history and tradition, during the career of Muhammad, the ‘prophet’ and founder of Islam, his forces carried a large black banner known as ar-Rāya into battle. The first black banner was said to be made from a large piece of cloth once wrapped around the head of his child-bride, Aisha. When Muhammad and his men attacked a convoy, or village, it was this black flag that would herald their approach and lead them into battle.

Protests turned to violence in Sydney, Australia, as Muslims marched under the black banner of Islam (Photo: Twitter/@jttozer)

Protests turned to violence in Sydney, Australia, as Muslims marched under the black banner of Islam (Photo: Twitter/@jttozer)

When the Muslim forces returned to Mecca in conquest after a prolonged expulsion to Yathrib (Medina), enforced by the powerful Qurayshi tribe, this marked a major turning point in the expansion and victory of the Muslims over the region. Prominently leading the Muslim armies was Muhammad’s black flag. It is for this reason, namely the military conquests of Muhammad, that some versions of the flag today have a silhouette of the sword of Muhammad running along its lower half. Another name for the flag in Arabic is al-Ùqāb, and is sometimes referred to as ‘the Eagle’ or alternately as ‘the Punishment.’ Since the time of Muhammad’s original military victories, the black flag has represented the unified and ever-expanding Islamic movement or government, and is a reminder of the expansionist conquests of Muhammad and his armies.

The element of black seen today in many of the national flags of Islamic countries is a hearkening back to Muhammad’s original black flag.

Islam’s black flag flies over the U.S. Embassy in Tunisia (Photo: Al-Jazeera)

Islam’s black flag flies over the U.S. Embassy in Tunisia (Photo: Al-Jazeera)

Last week, in the midst of the fierce anti-American rioting and protesting, there were even attempts to hoist the black banner over the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.

Protesters wave Islamic black flags at Embassy in Cairo, Egypt

Protesters wave Islamic black flags at Embassy in Cairo, Egypt

Ar-Rāya, the black flag of Islam, with the Shahada and the sword of Muhammad

Ar-Rāya, the black flag of Islam, with the Shahada and the sword of Muhammad

Islam’s black flag is most often emblazoned with white Arabic writing. The phrase in Arabic, lā ʾilāha ʾillà l-Lāh, Muḥammadur rasūlu l-Lāh translates into English as, ‘There is no god but God, Muhammad is the messenger of God.’ This is the creed and very heart of Islamic theology. This phrase is known as the ‘Shahada.’ The Shahada affirms not only the exclusive and singular claim to deity of Allah, the god of Islam, but also the supreme role of Muhammad as the final messenger of this god to mankind. If one wishes to convert to Islam, this is the phrase that one must recite. When every Muslim child is born, the first phrase they will hear are these words whispered into his ears by his father.

While some in the Western media have claimed that the symbol of the black flag belongs exclusively to radical terrorist groups, in fact, the flag is also used by Hizbut-Tahrir, an international Islamic group whose goal is to reestablish the Caliphate, though it claims to reject all violence or terrorism.

A primitive version of ar-Rāya, not only has the Shahada, but also the ‘Seal of Muhammad’

A primitive version of ar-Rāya, not only has the Shahada, but also the ‘Seal of Muhammad’

The restoration of the Caliphate, a goal shared by jihadist groups such as al-Qaida, as well as moderate activist groups such as Hizbut Tahrir is a vision to unify the entire Islamic world into one Islamic superstate, called the Caliphate, led by a single leader, known as the Caliph. The Caliph is the pope, president and general of the Islamic world, bringing the religious, governmental and military offices all under one head. At virtually every Hizbut Tahrir rally, it is the black flag that will be the most prominent symbol on display.

Hizbut-Tahrir activists wave the black banners of Muhammad in support of a unified Islamic superstate (Photo: AFP)

Hizbut-Tahrir activists wave the black banners of Muhammad in support of a unified Islamic superstate (Photo: AFP)

The official Hizbut Tahrir logo

The official Hizbut Tahrir logo

Finally, beyond symbolizing the return to a unified Caliphate/Islamic superstate, there is a very important eschatological dimension to the symbol of the black flag as well.

According to Islamic prophecies, Muslims believe that the emergence of Muslim armies carrying black flags is powerful sign of the end times, heralding the coming of the Mahdi, the Islamic messiah figure. Muslims believe that the Mahdi will unify the Islamic world, conquer Israel and cause Islam to gain victory over the non-Muslim peoples and religions of the world as the Caliph of Islam. One version of the prophecy of black flags, as relayed by Suyuti, commands all Muslims to join this army:

“The black banners will come from the East and their hearts will be as firm as iron. Whoever hears of them should join them and give allegiance, even if it means crawling across snow.”

Another version of the prophecy as recorded by Tirmidhi, has the armies marching from the east and placing their flags on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, as the seat of the coming unified Islamic superstate under the Mahdi/Caliph:

“Armies carrying black flags will come from Khurasan. No power will be able to stop them and they will finally reach Eela, (Baitul Maqdas, “The Holy House” in Jerusalem) where they will erect their flags.”

Christian theologians have highlighted the similarity between the Islamic vision of their Mahdi with the warnings of Jesus and Paul who saw the biblical Antichrist setting himself up on the Temple Mount as the demonic claimant to world leadership:

So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel – let the reader understand – then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. – Matthew 24:16

He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple. – 2 Thessalonians 2:4

To discerning Christians who still recognize the warnings of biblical prophecy, it is clear that the Islamic Caliphate, or the ‘Mideast Beast’ is on the way (Daniel 2, 7, Revelation 13, 17). Of course, even if one rejects the words of Jesus and Paul, it is clear that there is a powerful movement swirling throughout the Islamic world with strong apocalyptic or eschatological threads running throughout. But God knows that it is not a matter of if, but when the apocalyptic volcano that is the Middle East will explode. As we all anxiously watch the events unfold in the Middle East, it is time for Christians and unbelievers both to prepare their hearts and lives for all that lies ahead. For whether we like it or not, there are dark clouds, and black flags, gathering on the horizon.” Source – Joel’s Trumpet.

Recommended: 2 Thessalonians 2:4 — A Rebuilt Jewish Temple, or Something Else?

  1. 09/17/2012 at 5:59 PM

    I wonder how long it will be before we see the black flag being hoisted over the White House? You can bet that Obama would like nothing more than to bring America into submission to his god, Allah.

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  2. iamnotashamedofthegospelofchrist
    09/17/2012 at 6:14 PM

    God bless Joel Richardson,. It is indeed time for us to prepare our hearts and minds. I’ve thought for a while now that this abomination spoken of by Jesus, Daniel and Paul would be the muslim influence now I know it will be the black flag of Islam.

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  3. Willard
    09/18/2012 at 11:46 AM

    We are not there yet BUT there are serious signs of more and more escalation!! I heard on Fox News today a hypothetical discussion about if things were to continue to go down hill drastically and the US and other nations had to evacuate hundreds of thousands of people from the ME what would that do to the world economicly, politically, and militarily, it would be a total disaster.

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  4. iamnotashamedofthegospelofchrist
    09/18/2012 at 7:09 PM

    My thoughts are all over the place lately with everything that’s going on. But what do you suppose is keeping them from overunning Jerusalem or just hoisting this flag over the temple mount? Is it the fear that Israel will retaliate and force them off the mount? Is it the fear of the US? Is it fear of Russia, because we know that Russia has wanted the warmth of the mediterean for a long time. Or maybe it’s just not God’s time yet. But in any case, we know that it is getting alot worse, and soon the Angel will say “Let there be no more delay” We’re very close.

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    • ICA
      09/18/2012 at 7:36 PM

      iamnotashamed, “But what do you suppose is keeping them from overunning Jerusalem or just hoisting this flag over the temple mount?”

      The Restrainer. The fulfilment of prophecy can only happen when the time comes for it to be fulfilled. When the Restrainer stands up to step aside and be still, all hell will break loose.

      Daniel 12:1, “At that time Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; And there shall be a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation, Even to that time …”

      Matthew 25:15,21, “… when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place … then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.”

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  5. iamnotashamedofthegospelofchrist
    09/18/2012 at 7:45 PM

    ICA, that thought actually crossed my mind as I was writing. I still haven’t decided yet, exactly what the restrainer involves. Jesus promised us he would never leave us, and if the restrainer is the Holy Spirit, as some scholars believe, than that means that we as Christians are truly raptured before the revealing of the AoD. I just can’t see the Holy Spirit removing his promised presence, as Jesus said, I will be with you even till the end of time. The reason I question this is because, i have held to the for lack of better words, mid or post trib rapture. But things are happening so fast.

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  6. ICA
    09/18/2012 at 8:09 PM

    The Restrainer isn’t removed in the sense that he is completely gone. The Restrainer simply “steps out of the way” and ceases from restraining. The view that the Holy Spirit is the restrainer isn’t supported by Scripture hermeneutically or exegetically.

    2 Thess 2:7, “For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way.”

    The Greek for “taken out of the way” is “ginomai ek mesos” and the word “ginomai” is a deponent verb (middle for active voice), so it need not mean removal by an outside force, but rather removal through a determined act on the part of the subject. In other words, the Restrainer moves himself out of the way by stepping aside or getting out from in between. He stops restraining. It does not mean to be completely removed as some have suggested, but to simply cease from standing in between or to refrain from actively restraining. The closest English translation for 2 Thess 2:7 is found in the NLT:

    2 Thess 2:7, “For this lawlessness is already at work secretly, and it will remain secret until the one who is holding it back steps out of the way.”

    If it’s not the Holy Spirit, then who or what is it? Well, when Paul told the Christians of Thessalonica about the revealing of the “man of lawlessness”, the one “Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” (2:4) he was obviously alluding directly to the Prophet Daniel (Daniel 11:36-37) who spoke of the exact same event:

    Dan 11:36-37, “And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods … for he shall magnify himself above all.”

    Paul even continues by saying, “Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?” (2:5). Told them what things? The things that were written in the Book of Daniel. Up until then, the Old Testament was their only Scriptural reference to draw from, and after Paul reminds them that he told them these things from the Book of Daniel he then continues, “And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time” (2:6). So, given the reference to the end of Daniel 11, what else does Daniel say that would have caused them to remember? A few verses later Daniel writes:

    Dan 12:1, “At that time Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; And there shall be a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation, Even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, Every one who is found written in the book.”

    Archangel Michael has watched over the people of God throughout history, but a time would come when Michael would “stand up”. The Hebrew word for “stand up” in Dan 12:1 is “amad” (H5975) and it means “to stand aside or stand still, stop (moving or doing), to cease.” We know that this is the intended meaning because after Michael does this we read about “a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time”. And wouldn’t you know it, this is exactly what Jesus said would happen after the Abomination of Desolation in Matthew 24:15,21, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place … then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” Why? Because now “the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped …” (2 Thess 2:3-4).

    The fact that Daniel describes great distress after Michael steps aside is no coincidence, and I believe that this is precisely what Paul reminded the Christians of Thessalonica about so that they would remember. Because of this, I believe that the restrainer is therefore Archangel Michael, and when the time comes for Michael to “amad”, all hell will break loose. Literally.

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  7. iamnotashamedofthegospelofchrist
    09/18/2012 at 8:43 PM

    Thank you, thank you, ICA you just slid all the pieces into place for me.

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  8. Anonymous
    09/22/2012 at 12:22 PM

    Joel just did an interview on Messiah’s Branch radio a couple of nights ago on this topic and the whole state of things right now. You can listen or download here:

    http://branch.podomatic.com/entry/index/2012-09-20T18_34_09-07_00

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  9. Virginia G.
    09/05/2014 at 3:42 PM

    I have followed all the events in the ME closely since before Obama took office. I have also studied how these events closely match the Bible prophesies. I have come to a private conclusion that the “Restrainer” of 2 Thessalonians are the U.S. Forces that Obama removed against all warnings of the Pentagon that that will create a vacuum which radical Islam will undoubtedly fill. Now Putin is on the move because Obama unilaterally disarmed our NATO defenses in Eastern Europe. “Tidings out of the North (Russia) and East (Mid East) shall trouble him”. Obama is troubled as shown by his weak dithering stumbling speeches. Obama is the Antichrist. But it is also my conclusion that when the Bible speaks of Antichrist, it sometimes is not clear to me whether it is referring to an individual or a governmental/economic system.
    What bothers me is, if Obama is the A/C then how will he lead his forces into Jerusalem to claim himself above God (Obamanation of Desolation). Or Will it be the Islamic Caliphate
    which is set up on Temple Mount.? Has anyone else had these thoughts. So far I have only one sister who agrees with me. Even my Pentecostal friends do not believe it – yet.
    Virginia G.

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    • 09/06/2014 at 9:55 AM

      Brother Joel, you now have two sisters who agree with you. Like yourself, I’m not exactly sure how these end time events will manifest, but, I am, and have been for a very long time, convinced that Obama is an apocalyptic figure.

      Obama is the fleshly embodiment of distilled evil, possessing not even one redeemable quality. He is a serial liar! People often mock him, calling him naive and inept. Nothing is further from the truth! This one man has brought the most powerful nation on the face of the earth to her knees. It is as though some unseen hand is guiding and protecting him. No one has been able to stop him.

      In reality, we don’t know who Obama really is, or where he came from. HaShem has given us many clues to his true identity. His religion is Islam, not Christianity. Just a cursory look at Allah’s name in Arabic clearly depicts the Serpent. Everyone, the world over knows that the serpent is synonymous with Satan. Even an illiterate person is able to recognize the Serpent, So once again, we are “without excuse.”

      I think that everyone should google; Obama, Lord of the Flies. Look closely at the images, Beelzebub, is Lord of the Flies, this is another title belonging to, and identifying Satan.

      In Isaiah 14: 9-32. Speaking of the Antichrist, it says: “Hell from beneath is excited about you.” It goes on to say that this is “Lucifer,” and that he has “fallen from heaven.” This is not the king of Babylon as some have taught. The king of Babylon is not Lucifer, neither did he fall from the heaven. It also says that that after Yeshua defeats him, those who gaze upon him will consider him, saying: ‘Is this the MAN who made the earth tremble, Who shook Kingdoms, Who made the world as a wilderness and destroyed its cities, Who did not open the house of his prisoners?” The rest of Isaiah 14 confirms that this is the Antichrist and that he is a MAN. I believe that the AC is a man with a Kingdom, the rising Caliphate.

      Thank you brother Joel for your diligent study of G-D’s word. For your willingness to share your understanding, with the full knowledge that by publicly exposing Satan, and his satanic organization, you have made yourself a personal target of the Antichrist, and of his seed, the practitioners of Islam.

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