Category: Antichrist

Ahmadinejad’s End-Times Speech At The UN Calls The Mahdi ‘The Ultimate Savior’ Who Is Coming ‘Soon’ To Rule The World

2 Thessalonians 2:1-4, “Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.”

With great anticipation, the Islamic world awaits a “savior.” They call him “The Mahdi.” They believe that he will unite the Muslim world together against all who refuse to submit to Islam, creating peace and lasting security by leading all nations into a new era of global Islamic “justice.” And today, at the annual United Nations General Assembly and in front of millions of people around the world, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has announced that we would soon witness a new “global management” ruled by the Mahdi and his deputy, “Jesus Christ.”

The world of Biblical eschatology has undergone a major shift over the past few years. Many discerning Christians now recognize immediately this “Islamic messiah” as a prime candidate for the Biblical Antichrist. But despite all that has happened and continues to happen in the Muslim world as of late, there are still many others who continue to resist any notion that Islam is the religious ideology of the Beast in Daniel and Revelation and that the Biblical Antichrist could be a Muslim or arise out of Islam. In their way of thinking, the argument always begins with the premiss that the Antichrist will be someone who will literally announce to the world that “I am God” and will then demand to be worshipped as God. Since no Muslim would ever dare claim to be God (under accusation of blasphemy and penalty of death) and since no Muslim would ever dare to worship a mere man who made such a claim (under accusation of blasphemy and penalty of death), Islam must, they believe, either be all but destroyed before a non-Islamic Antichrist comes to power or undergo a significant theological metamorphosis, making it virtually unrecognisable to the Islam that we have today. But there is something very significant that many are missing, and it involves the premisses upon which their conclusion is derived.

When someone assumes even one or two false premisses as true, the wrong conclusion will more often than not be the end result. The belief that the Antichrist must say “I am God” is one example in particular. In 2 Thessalonians 2:4 the Apostle Paul writes that the man of lawlessness “shows” or “proclaims” himself to be God. The Greek word is “apodeiknymi” and it means “to declare” or “exhibit” or “show” or “demonstrate”. The implication of “apodeiknymi”, therefore, is not that the he says “I am God” in any sort of a veracious verbal declaration, but rather that he displays himself as God through behaviour or action. But how?

According to Sunni and Shi’a Islam, the Mahdi or 12th Imam is believed to be “the infallible intercessor between Allah and faithful Muslims” [1]. The Iranian President even described the Mahdi today as ”The Ultimate Savior” of the world. The significance of this claim cannot be overstated. According to Scripture, there is only One who is the intercessor between man and God:

Romans 8:34, “Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.

And there is only One who is worthy to be called the Savior:

Isaiah 43:11, 46:9b, “I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior… I am God, and there is none like me.”

According to Biblical Scripture, anyone who would proclaim himself to be the “intercessor” between man and God or the “savior” of the world would be attributing to himself a title or position that is exclusive to God alone, therefore presenting himself as God. To the Islamic way of thinking, however, this is not the case at all. Their religious jurisprudence is based upon Islamic texts, not upon the Hebrew/Greek Scriptures. Since ”savior” is not one of the 99 names of Allah in the Qur’ancalling someone the “savior” or claiming to be the “savior” is therefore not an attribution or declaration of divinity in the Muslim mind. They will not view any such proclamation as making oneself equal to the Almighty.

One of the claims often pushed by Muslims against the Christian belief in the Deity of Christ is that Christ never said, “I am God” anywhere in Scripture. And they are right. Jesus never said to the Sanhedrin “I am God.” However, He showed Himself as God by accepting worship. He demonstrated it by forgiving sins. He proclaimed it when He declared to the Sanhedrin to be “I Am” and called God His father. And the Sanhedrin understood immediately the theological significance of His words and sought to kill Him because He was “making Himself equal with God” (cf. John 5:18) by attributing a title or function to Himself that can only be attributable to the Almighty or His office. If someone was present who did not know the Hebrew Scriptures as the Jews did, would they have understood the theological significance of what Jesus did or what He said? Of course not. Likewise, when Antichrist proclaims himself to be God, he will do so in such a way that Jews and Christians will recognize it immediately, but those who believe the lie will not. The elect will not be deceived (cf. Matthew 24:24). Proclaiming to be God does not therefore necessitate the words “I am God” in order to make the claim. In fact, while accepting the position or claiming to be the “savior” on one hand, he would deny the accusation that he is claiming to be God on the other. But in the eyes of the God of Israel, this is precisely what he would be doing.

Does The Prophet Daniel Tell Us That Antichrist Will Exalt Himself Above Every God, Including Allah?

One other argument against an Islamic Antichrist that is often raised involves Daniel 11:36-37:

Daniel 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, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.”

The argument asserts that the Antichrist could not be Muslim since Daniel tells us that he will “magnify himself above every god” and “will exalt himself above them all.” And since “every” must also include Allah, the Antichrist therefore cannot be a Muslim.  To address this concern, we should first be made aware that even though most translations incorporate the word “every” in verse 38, it is not included in the original Hebrew. For instance, the NCV renders Daniel 11:36 to say that Antichrist “will brag about himself and praise himself and think he is even better than a god.” Wycliffe’s translation says that “the king shall do by his will, and he shall be raised [up], and magnified against each god, and against God of gods he shall speak great things.” Moreover, the thrust of Daniel 11:36-37 will not be fully understood unless it is read in full light of the verses that follow it:

Daniel 11:38-39,But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things. Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge [and] increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain.”

Context is key. Daniel 11:36-39 is not only a perfect description of how Islam operates, but it is also a perfect description of what Islam is. An Islamic Antichrist will exalt himself over every faith and belief system that exists or has existed outside of his estate, outside of the religious ideology that the “seat of the beast” forces upon everyone under its control. Antichrist (and by direct implication the one whom he represents, Satan) will position himself against everything called god or considered God or divine, outside of his base/estate/office (H3653 ken — base, estate, office). He will exalt himself over Ayyavazhi. Over Buddhism. He will exalt himself over the gods of Hinduism and each and every single one of its sects or denominations. He will exalt himself over Manichaeism. Over Mithraism. Over Zoroastrianism. Over Confucianism. Over every Shinto sect and school of thought. Over every indigenous religion that exists or has existed in the Americas, in Eurasia, in Africa, in Oceania or elsewhere. He will even exalt himself over the One True God of gods — the God of his fathers — over Adonai, over Mashiach, over Ruach ha Qodesh. He exalts himself over them all. How? By calling himself the savior of humanity, and by definition declaring himself to be the God of gods. Daniel was clear to show us in verses 38-39 that “in his estate shall he honour the God of forces.” He honours “a god whom his fathers knew not,” one that would be familiar to him, but not one that would be familiar to his fathers Abraham and Ishmael.  He cannot honour his god and increase him with glory if he believes that he is his god [Allah] or that he is above him. That would be nonsensical.

Calling the Mahdi the savior makes this man to be “Christ.” (The word “anti” doesn’t just mean against. It also means “in place of”).  This is blatant idolatry and blasphemy in the eyes of God, making YHWH and His Messiah a liar, and is all a part of the deception that is Islam. Consider for a moment their behaviour and teachings in light of Biblical revelation. On one hand, Islam convinces Muslims that they must not worship idols, yet on the other hand it commands them to kill anyone who says or does anything negative to the Qur’an, and to be willing to die for it. It commands them to kill anyone who says anything negative about Mohammed, and to be willing to die for their prophet.  It causes them to bow down facing Mecca five times a day where the Black Stone (Kaaba) sits, even teaching them that touching the Kaaba absolves them of sin(!). They will gladly offer their lives for every one of these, each of which is blatant idolatry in the eyes of YHWH because it is worship of the Qur’an, of their “prophet”, of the Black Stone, of their “savior.” It is worshipping the image of the Beast.

What Does It All Mean?

Islam is directly influenced, controlled and is even being given its authority by Satan himself. I think most of us would agree. Lately, however, Islam has been strengthening considerably in its authoritative influence, and may even strengthen militarily if/when Iran reaches nuclear capability. But it is more than just a violent religion that hates everything outside of its ideology. It is Satan’s platform upon which he is attempting to exalt himself and become like the God of Heaven. It is a means to an end.

As the Prophet Isaiah tells us, Satan has explicitly declared his intention to rise above the stars of God and to become like Him:

Isaiah 14:12-14, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! [how] art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation … I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.”

It is no coincidence that this also happens to be the exact description of Antichrist as given to us by the Prophet Daniel. Isaiah exposes Satan’s own corrupted ambitions, to magnify himself above everything that is called god, above everything that is associated with the God of gods, to be like God Himself.  And the Ummah of Islam is how he intends to accomplish this. The “stars of God” may even be referring to the the people of God, His ekklesia:

Deuteronomy 1:8-11, “‘See, I have set the land before you; go in and possess the land which the LORD swore to your fathers–to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob–to give to them and their descendants after them.’ … ’The LORD your God has multiplied you, and here you [are] today, as the stars of heaven in multitude. ’May the LORD God of your fathers make you a thousand times more numerous than you are, and bless you as He has promised you”

The name of Satan in Isaiah 14:12 (Lucifer) is “heylel,” which means “light-bearer”. The Arabic equivalent of Satan’s name is “hilal,” which means “crescent moon.” Also consider the “Takbir” of Islam, the victory cry of “Allahu Akbar.” What are they saying? It doesn’t mean “God is great” as it is often translated in the West. It actually means “Allah is greater.” If it is Satan’s intention to be like the Most High and to exalt his throne above the stars of God and sit upon the mount of his own congregation, it only stands to reason that Satan will seek to accomplish these things and perform these blasphemies through Islam, through the system to which he has given power. After all, those who marvel and follow the Beast “worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast” (Rev 13:4), and Satan knows that when they are worshipping “Allah” and the image of the Beast, they are worshipping him. Satan is therefore working to exalt and magnify himself as the Prophet Isaiah described through the office of Antichrist, through the religious ideology of Islam that diametrically opposes everything that the Judeo-Christian faith represents and stands for. But although the enemy will try to destroy what God has created, he cannot and will not prevail against the ekklesia of God. All he can do is create his own corrupted version of God’s elect, to wage war against God’s elect, in an effort to replace God’s elect with one that is created in his own image:

Yahweh has the Ekklesia.
Satan has the Ummah.

Yahweh’s Ekklesia is “as a bride adorned for her husband” and filled with “the glory of God”.
Satan’s Ummah is a harlot “decked with gold and precious stones and pearls” filled with abominations.

Yahweh has given the Ekklesia His Word, the Bible.
Satan has given the Ummah its corruption, the Qur’an.

Yahweh’s Ekklesia is the multitude of the Lamb, whom they follow.
Satan’s Ummah is the multitude of a man, the “prophet” Muhammed, whom they follow.

Yahweh’s Ekklesia comes out of Great Tribulation.
Satan’s Ummah is responsible for it.

Yahweh’s Ekklesia receives the seal of God upon their foreheads and are redeemed.
Satan’s Ummah receives the Mark of the Beast upon their foreheads and are condemned.

Yahweh’s Ekklesia will be lead to springs of living waters.
Satan’s Ummah will drink of the wine of the wrath of God.

In the “theatre” of Biblical eschatology, the stage is now set for the final act.  All “props” are in position.  The “characters” are in full costume.  And the world is watching in attendance. Very soon we will witness the final act begin, and through Islam Satan will make his final stand against the Prince of princes.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4203

IRAN OFFICIAL: ‘BIG WAR’ MEANS MAHDI’S COMING

For the first time, Iran’s highest-ranking military official has tied the reappearance of the last Islamic messiah to the regime being prepared to go to a war based on ideology.

“With having the treasure of the Holy Defense, Valayat (Guardianship of the Jurist) and martyrs, we are ready for a big war,” Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said, according to Mashregh news, which is run by the Revolutionary Guards.

“Of course this confrontation has always continued; however, since we are in the era of The Coming, this war will be a significant war.”

Shi’ites believe that at the end of time great wars will take place, and Imam Mahdi, the Shi’ites’ 12th imam, will reappear and kill all the infidels, raising the flag of Islam in all corners of the world.

Vahidi became the Revolutionary Guards intelligence officer after the 1979 Islamic revolution and later was promoted to chief commander of the Quds Forces. He is on the Interpol most-wanted list for the Jewish community center bombing in Buenos Aires in 1994 that killed 85 and injured hundreds.

Vahidi also played a major role in the 1996 Khobar Tower bombing in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 U.S. servicemen.

Speaking at a mosque in remembrance of the martyrs who died in service to Iran, Vahidi stated that, “The Islamic republic is going to create a new environment on the world stage, and without a doubt victory awaits those who continue the path of martyrs. … we can defeat the enemy at its home and our nation is ready for jihad. Martyrdom has taught us to avoid wrong paths and return to the right path. Martyrdom is the right path, it’s the path to God.”

Vahidi said Iran’s enemies would have taken action in Syria in the past couple of years if they had the capability. Iran is a much more formidable power than Syria, he said, and concluded that Tehran can easily wipe out the “Zionist regime” of Israel.

Several U.S. officials, including Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have called the officials of the Islamic regime “rational actors.”

Meanwhile, a Revolutionary Guards report quoting the head of the Guards’ public relations, Ramezan Sharif, revealed that Iran has military assets in several countries.

The presence of Quds Forces in Syria and Lebanon, Sharif said, is with the goal of supporting the Islamic nations and for the special situations that exist in those countries.

Sharif said Iranian presence is based on international laws and that, “Currently the Revolutionary Guards has presence in 15 countries, among them Syria and Lebanon, while the Iranian military also has presence in some other countries.”

As revealed recently, terrorist assets of the Islamic regime have been put on high alert for attacks on Israeli and U.S. interests. This extends from the Middle East to Africa, Latin America and the United States.

In a report Thursday in the Washington Times, Kevin L. Perkins, deputy director of the FBI, told a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee that the agency considered Iran’s assets a “serious threat.”

“Quds Forces, Hezbollah and others have shown they both have the capability and the willingness to extend beyond that (Middle East) region of the world and likely here into the homeland itself,” he testified.

Guard commanders have openly stated that they have recruited assets from Latin America and even some from European countries to avoid suspicion by intelligence agencies and will target America should it get involved militarily against Iran.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4181

Mahdism (and Sectarianism and Superstition) Rises in the Islamic World

 

Last week the prestigious and non-partisan Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life released a new study on beliefs and attitudes in the Islamic world, entitled “The World’s Muslims: Unity and Diversity.” Surveying over 28,000 Muslims in 24 countries, this massive report is not only statistically sound and extensive in geographic scope — it’s the first to examine a number of topics of profound importance to U.S. foreign, defense and intelligence policy which have heretofore been largely off the radar screen of analysts as well as pollsters. Clearly the most fascinating — and disturbing — data in the Pew study is that revealing the great depth of belief in the “imminent return” [sic] of the Mahdi, the Islamic messianic figure who according to both Sunni and Shi`i traditions will make the entire world Muslim. (1) (“Sic” because the good Pew folks don’t seem to totally understand Mahdism, in which the Mahdi only returns for Twelver Shi`is; for Sunnis, the Mahdi has yet to step onto the historical stage, despite the plethora of mutamahdis, or “false Mahdis,” who have declared themselves over the centuries.)

This has been my academic specialty, upon which I wrote my doctoral dissertation and first book, Holiest Wars, as well as many articles; I also maintain a website following Mahdism. But while I have long suspected, based on anecdotal and qualitative research, that Mahdism was and still is endemic in the Islamic world, I was nonetheless taken aback by Pew’s quantitative data which clearly shows the breadth and depth of such belief:

In South Asia, Southeast Asia and the Middle East and North Africa, clear majorities of Muslims expect the Mahdi’s coming in the next few decades. Almost a third in Central Asia do so, as well. Only in Southern and Eastern Europe is the figure below 20 percent. (Pew, for some reason, did not ask this question in the sub-Saharan African Muslim region — but if it had, I would wager that the percentage would be even higher than anywhere else, knowing what I do of historical Mahdism in Africa.) Looking at specific countries, the highest percentage of the population expecting the Mahdi’s near-term appearance is found in Afghanistan (83 percent), followed by Iraq (72 percent), Turkey (68 percent) and Tunisia (67 percent). Sixty percent of Pakistanis, 51 percent of Moroccans, 46 percent of Palestinians and 40 percent of Egyptians are looking for the Mahdi in their lifetimes. The conventional wisdom in recent decades among many journalists, and not a few area “experts,” has been that Mahdism is an eccentric outlier belief held mainly by (Twelver) Shi`is and the uneducated on the fringes of the Sunni world. This Pew data, among other things, shows the intellctual vacuity of such biases. The average for the 23 countries Pew surveyed on this issue of Mahdism comes out to 42 percent, and extrapolating from that to the entire Muslim world means there are over 670 million Muslims who believe the Mahdi will return here in the first half of the twenty-first century.

What does this Pew information on Mahdism mean? First and foremost, Mahdism must be taken seriously as an intellectual, sociological and even political strain within the entire Islamic world — not dismissed as archaic, mytical nonsense. In addition, the good, the bad and the ugly faces of Mahdism throughout history need to be considered — political correctness be damned. The good is that Mahdism (mainly Shi`i, but also Sunni) does have peaceful social justice elements, akin to Catholic Christian “liberation theology,” that can be harnessed to improve Muslims’ lives (as is done on a regular basis by the Isma’ili, or Sevener, Shi`is, who define jihad as nonviolent benevolence) and ecumenical proclivities toward other “People of the Book” (as preached by the Turkish Mahdist Adnan Oktar and his followers). The bad is that Mahdism has often manifested as a political movement, against not just occupying non-Muslim (generally Christian) powers, but in point of fact far more often as a counter-Islamic-establishment revolutionary program. And the ugly truth about belief in the Mahdi is that Islamic history is rife with violent jihads led by self-styled Muslim messiahs and waged by their followers — from Ibn Tumart in medieval Morocco to nineteenth-century Sudan’s Muhammad Ahmad (of Khartoum fame) and, more recently, 1979’s attempted Mahdist putsch in Saudi Arabia as well as the flare-ups of Mahdist violence against U.S. and Iraqi government forces in Iraq in 2007, led by Jund al-Sama’ (“Army of Heaven”). If even 1 percent of the 672 million Muslims who believe in the Mahdi take the jihad route, that provides the AQN (al-Qa`ida Network) with a pool of almost seven million jihadists.

In terms of specific countries: the stratospheric Mahdist belief rate in Afghanistan is very likely connected to the fact that that country is occupied by “infidel” Christians; Turkey’s very high eschatological proclivities might be attributable to the influence of the aforementioned Adnan Oktar, as well as to another neo-Mahdist strain of thought coming from the followers of Fethullah Gülen; (2) and Mahdist expectations in Tunisia could very well be due to the still-lingering legacy of Ibn Tumart and other Mahdist movements in the Maghrib in centuries past. In terms of policy ramifications, it is worth considering that: Mahdist fervor in Afghanistan could very possibly be contributing to the opposition to the continued presence of U.S. forces there; we should be thankful that the predominant strain of Islamic messianism in NATO’s only majority-Muslim nation is, at least so far, pacific — while at the same time wary of what appears to be a burgeoning alliance between Turkish Mahdists and the neo-Ottomanists in the AK party in power; and such high levels of Mahdist belief in the vanguard country of the “Arab Spring” might very well be a harbinger of this political movement trangmogrifying from an Arab “liberation” one into a more violent eschatological register, as at least one prominent Muslim intellectual is already preaching. One might also observe that when over half of the Lebanese, almost half of the Palestinians, millions of Egyptians and a large plurality of Jordanians expect the Mahdi soon, the Israelis might have good reason to fear the Arab eschatological pot being brought to boil by the those arch-Mahdists in the Islamic Republic of Iran (a country which, curiously, was not included in Pew’s polling on this or other issues). As for Pakistan, the fact that six in ten of its people are looking for eschatological deliverance in the near-term means that even Deobandi fundamentalism — the South Asian equivalent of (Saudi) Arab Wahhabism — is far from immune to Islamic messianism.

Pew also reports that significant minorities of Muslims believe in Jesus’s imminent return. In both Sunni and Shi`i hadiths (alleged sayings of Muhammad), the prophet “Isa will return from heaven, having been taken up there before he died on the cross,” (3) and once back will work with the Mahdi to defeat the forces of evil led by al-Dajjal, “the Deceiver” (or Antichrist). Across the 22 countries Pew surveyed on this issue, an average of 35 percent of the Muslim population believes Jesus is coming back soon — with the strongest expectations in Tunisia (67 percent), Turkey (65 percent), Iraq (64 percent), Lebanon (52 percent) and among Thailand’s Muslims (51 percent). This pales in comparison to the 79 percent of Christians who look for Christ’s Second Coming (as per Pew, from a 2009 study), especially considering there are 2.2 billion Christians (far more than there are Muslims); but whereas Christian history is not replete with violent crusades led by men claiming to be the returned Jesus, Islamic history has witnessed legions of Mahdist claimants, many militant — as explained previously. The import of some 435 million Muslims looking for Jesus’s return in the early twenty-first century would seem to be mainly as another apocalyptic signifier, reinforcing the more primary Islamic eschatological expectation of the Mahdi.

The Pew data on Muslim interpretations of Islam, and views of Islamic sects, are two sides of the same coin.

Interestingly, Pew included 16 sub-Saharan African countries in this survey question, as well as 23 in other parts of Eurasia. The overall average for all 39 countries is just at 61 percent–meaning over six in ten Muslims “say there is only one interpretation of Islam,” ranging from a high of 78 percent in Muslim Brotherhood-ruled Egypt to a mere 34 percent in Morocco. Pew also asked, separately, whether Ahmadis, (4) Alawis (5) or members of Jaringan Islam Liberal (6) are Muslims. An average of 41 percent of respondents said Ahmadis were not; 38 percent (of Lebanese, the only nationality polled on this sect) said Alawis were not; and 58 percent of Indonesians rejected Islam Liberal members as Muslims. Relatedly, Muslims in 23 countries were asked whether Sufis (7) were Muslims; on average, 21 percent said they most decidely were NOT Muslims — ranging from a high of 44 percent in Egypt and Indonesia to a low of 6 percent in Thailand’s Muslim provinces. However, large percentages in each of these 23 countries also said that they either “had never heard” of Sufis, or “didn’t know” whether they were Muslims; and since Pew didn’t break that data out further, it’s safe to conclude that the percentage of Muslims who suspect Sufis are not really within the Islamic fold is much higher than 21 percent. This is important because Sufis still exist in large numbers in the Islamic world: majorities of Muslims in Senegal and Chad belong to Sufi order, as does over 25 percent of the Muslim population in nine other African countries; 26 percent of Bangladeshi, 17 percent of Pakistani, and 9 percent of Egyptian Muslims claims to be Sufis, as well. Thus, that would mean there are some 38 million Sufis in Bangladesh, 30 million in Pakistan and well over 6 million in Egypt. Historically, and still to this day, Salafists — Islamic fundamenalists who strive to emulate the “ancestors” of Muhammad’s time — dislike Sufis, and vice-versa. The daily news reports are rife with accounts of Islamic sects like the Ahmadis being persecuted by Muslims, as well as of Sufis and their beliefs being attacked by Salafists, Wahhabis, and/or jihadists, and sometimes fighting back. Yes, Christianity is divided into even more denominations and sects than is Islam — but since the Thirty Years War and the Enlightenment, Christians have abandoned killing each other in the name of their religion and, in fact, Western Christian civilization is the one among the world’s cultures that developed the idea of religious tolerance. Southern Baptists may doubt that Roman Catholics are true Christians, but they certainly don’t plant IEDs on the Catholics’ cars during Mass. Muslims and the Islamic cultural zone, however, are still mired in religious intolerance and, far too often, violence against their own sects — a sad reality which no amount of American occupation and constitution-writing will change. As I argued three years ago on HNN, the reigning Qur’anic exegetical paradigm in Islam is a literalist, fundamentalist one — and until that changes (something only Muslims can do), Muslim sectarian minorities have every reason to fear the (usually Sunni) majority far more than they do Christians, Hindus, Buddhists or even Jews.

Pew also asked Muslims in 23 countries whether they believed in jinn (8) and witchcraft. Fifty percent of Muslims are convinced the former exist, while 33 percent feel the same way about witchcraft. Regarding jinn, belief is highest in Morocco and Bangladesh (each over 80 percent); Malaysia, Tunisia, Pakistan and Lebanon (each over 70 percent); Egypt, Palestinian territories and Turkey (each over 60 percent). Furthermore, some 16 percent of Muslims overall claim that “they have experienced evil spirits [being] driven out of a person” — ranging from almost half of Ethiopian Muslims, to over 20 percent of Indonesians, Bangladeshis and Afghanis and even 11 percent of Palestinians, arguably the most Westernized of all the Arabs. As with Mahdism, the lowest percentages of belief on this issue were found in the former Soviet Central Asian republics: Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan. Did eight decades of Marxist occupation and indoctrination inoculate Central Asian Muslims against such beliefs? Or is some other factor at play in the ‘stans?

Pew finished the study with a few questions aimed at U.S. Muslims — the results of which hold some good news. Whereas six in ten of Muslims outside the US say there is only one true interpretation of Islam, only 37 percent of American Muslims believe that. While 80 percent of global Muslims believe that the Qur’an should be read literally, only half of Muslims in the U.S. agree. The first bit of data indicates that Muslims in America seem to have imbibed at the well of American religious tolerance far more than their foreign co-religionists. The latter information, while positive, is not all that reassuring, however; what it means is that while eight in ten of the world’s Muslims believe that a literal reading must be made of passages such as “behead the unbelievers,” (9) “beat your wives,” (10) and the infamous “Sword verse” of the Quran, “fight and slay the infidels wherever you find them,” (11) only half of the Muslims in America would go that far — not exactly a reason to celebrate.

Several real-world policy ramifications for the U.S. State and Defense departments, as well as the IC (Intelligence Community), can be drawn from this Pew study. First, a civilization laden with eschatological expectations AND a historical track record of militant movements motivated by messianic leaders, infused with intolerance toward its own schismatics, convinced of ongoing problems with demonic entities and witches and in thrall to a literalist reading of a violent religious text might not be amenable to rational actor theory in international relations. Second, political consolidation and/or jihadist movements led by self-styled Mahdis should be considered as real possibilities in the twenty-first century, especially as we approach key dates such as the hundred year mark from the dissolution of the Ottoman caliphate (2024) or the year 1500 of the Muslim calendar (2076) — since Mahdism, historically, clusters around such important dates which spark attempts to create rival caliphates, often violently. The vast geographic breadth, and suprising depth, of Mahdist belief in the Islamic ummah evidenced in this Pew data makes Mahdi-inspired movements, including jihads, quite plausible in the near future. Third, the Islamic Republic of Iran may not be pursuing a pipe dream by seeking de facto leadership of the Islamic world — especially once it has nuclear weapons (and short of U.S. Army and Marine boots on the ground, it is hard to see how Tehran’s quest for them can be stopped). An Atomic Ayatollah-ate will not only be seen as the strong horse in the region; it will thus be all that more convincing, as the self-styled “Mahdist state in microcosm,” in its appeals to the almost 700 million Muslims who are waiting on the Mahdi. Finally, the fact that Afghanistan and Iraq have the highest levels of Mahdist beliefs in the Islamic world tells us, very likely, that U.S. — “Christian, Crusader” — invasion and occupation, while ameliorating some problems (better roads, schools and hospitals, for example), greatly exacerbates another one: Muslim messianism and attendant jihadism. What does it profit an occupier if it gains new infrastructure, but loses the eschatological war.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3998

670 MILLION MUSLIMS EXPECT MAHDI IN THEIR LIFETIME

Two-thirds of a billion Muslims expect the Mahdi – the last Islamic imam they believe will come and rule the world – to arrive in their lifetimes, according to a new Pew Research poll.

The results affirm the warnings from author Joel Richardson, whose just-released book “Mideast Beast” it moving up Amazon listings.

 

It’s a sequel to his New York Times bestselling 2009 “The Islamic Antichrist,” and it recently surged past Joel Rosenberg’s “Implosion: Can America Recover from its Economic and Spiritual Challenges in Time?” and “The End: A Complete Overview of Bible Prophecy and the End of Days” by Mark Hitchcock to claim the top spot in the Eschatology category on Amazon.

In a column written in WND, Richardson notes that he has been criticized repeatedly for believing many Muslims have a faith in the coming Mahdi, especially that there are a significant number who believe that will happen soon.

The survey by Pew Research notes that in the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia, “half or more Muslims believe they will live to see the return of the Mahdi. This expectation is most widespread in Afghanistan (83 percent), Iraq (72 percent), Tunisia (67 percent) and Malaysia (62 percent).

The survey said that belief drops to about four-in-10 across Central Asia, except for Turkey, where 68 percent expect to witness his return. It drops slightly further across southern and eastern Europe.

“In some countries with sizable Sunni and Shi’a populations, views on the Mahdi’s return differ by sect. In Iraq, for example, Shi’as are more likely than Sunnis to expect the Mahdi to return in their lifetime, by an 88 percent to 55 percent margin. In Azerbaijan, the difference between the two groups is also large (25 percentage points),” the report said. “Differences between Shi’as and Sunnis on this issue may reflect the more central role that the Mahdi’s return plays in Shi’a Islam.”

The result? An estimated 672 million Muslims expect to witness the Mahdi’s return.

On his portrayal that such a belief is widespread, Richardson said, “I have certainly had my share of critics, not only from the pollyannas on the left, but also from within the Christian church.”

He said, for example, prophecy teacher and evangelist David Reagan has been vocal, saying, “Richardson’s presentation of what Muslims believe about the end times is very misleading, for what he presents is the Shi’ite version which revolves around the concept of an Islamic Messiah called the Mahdi. He leaves the impression that all the Islamic world is living in breathless anticipation of the appearance of the Mahdi, when the reality is that 90 percent of all Muslims – the Sunnis – are not looking for a Mahdi.”

Richardson said until now it’s been hard to refute any statements regarding the percentage of Muslims who await the Mahdi.

“Now, for the first time, a comprehensive study including tens of thousands of Muslims, in over 23 countries, were asked if they believed that the Mahdi’s emergence was imminent, that it would occur within their lifetimes. And the results conclusively prove that which I have been warning about all along,” he wrote.

           

Richardson explains that the false claim that only 10 percent of Muslims await the Mahdi may now be “put to bed.”

“The bottom line is that it is far worse, far more widespread than even I would have guessed,” he wrote.

And in Turkey, from which he believes the Antichrist will come, “68 percent of Turks, a large majority, are expecting the imminent appearance of the Mahdi.”

“Certainly the popularity of Mahdism within Turkey, when combined with the concurrent radical rise in (1) Turkish nationalism and Neo-Ottoman aspirations, and (2) anti-Semitism within Turkey, in so many ways, sets the stage for this nation to move toward fulfilling many of the last days prophecies of the Bible,” he wrote.

“Another important factor that I have been trying to make for years, is that although conventional wisdom has placed all emphasis on Iran as the nation that would produce a false Mahdi claimant (I say claimant, as there actually is no such thing as the Mahdi), the real danger has always lay with the Sunni world.

“The primary reason for this is because while the leaders of Iran regularly make a lot of noise concerning the the Mahdi – often referred to by them as the 12th Imam – there are some very strong reasons that it is highly unlikely that Iran will ever see a genuine Mahdi claimant figure arise. What outsiders must understand is that Iranian Muslim scholars have developed a very thorough systematic theology to essentially guard against any false Mahdi claimant from emerging. … I do not believe that Iran will ever produce Mahdi claimant who will ever be received widely by the leaders or the people of that nation.”

“In my book ‘Islamic Antichrist: The Shocking Truth about the Real Nature of the Beast,’ I walk the alert reader through the frightening world of Islamic apocalyptic views, comparing them with the biblical prophecies concerning the coming of the Antichrist, showing beyond any doubt that in the Islamic doctrine of the Mahdi, the world should in fact be very concerned. In my new book, ‘Mideast Beast,’ I demonstrate beyond any doubt, the scriptural case for an Islamic Antichrist. As always, it is time for the Christian world to wake up and fall to their knees in prayer. The hour is far later than most think.”

It was in “The Islamic Antichrist,” Richardson’ stunning research and analysis suggested that the biblical Antichrist and Islam’s primary messiah figure (the Mahdi) could be the same person. Now, taking a hard look at the most significant biblical end-time texts, “Mideast Beast” argues persuasively that the Antichrist, his empire and his religion will come from the Middle East and not Europe as has been widely taught by many modern prophecy teachers.

The Pew project reviewed what Muslims believe about angels, predestination or fate, the afterlife, heaven and hell (99 percent in Thailand believe in eternal punishment), the Mahdi’s imminent return and the return of Jesus, who many Muslims believe will deny Christianity and pledge allegiance to Allah.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3987

Daniel Greenfield: The Mega Mosques Boom, ‘A Center Of Subversion And Terrorism’

Revelation 17:5-6a, “And on her forehead a name [was] written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus …”

                        By Daniel Greenfield, FrontPage Mag – “Murfreesboro, a city in the heart of Tennessee, and, Marseille, France’s second-largest city and its largest city on the Mediterranean coast, have few things in common. The two cities are separated by nearly 5,000 miles, and by equally wide divisions of language and culture. And yet Murfreesboro and Marseille are connected by a common challenge. Both cities have struggled against the creeping rise of the mega mosques.

The mega mosque in Marseille has been the subject of an extended legal fight going back a decade. The one in Murfreesboro had a briefer history of being on the wrong side of the law. But in both cases elected officials did their best to aid the mega mosques while ignoring local residents and the law.

The mega mosque business is booming around the world. The Marseille mega mosque has a proposed capacity of 7,000 seats which would make it the largest mosque in France, overshadowing the Ervy mosque which has a mere 5,000 seats. Both of these French mega mosques would have been dwarfed by a proposed London mega mosque with 12,000 seats and usability targets as high as 40,000. If the London mosque is ever built, it will dominate the Mosque of Rome, currently the most mega of all the mega mosques of Western Europe.

The Ground Zero Mosque, located near the site of the most brutal Muslim atrocity inflicted on the West in centuries, had a more modest 2,000 seating capacity plan, but would be vertically taller than most of the mega-mosques with a proposed 100,000 square feet of space. This would make it larger than the Marseille mega mosque, the Murfreesboro mega mosque and the London mega mosque. But despite their differences in size, all four mega mosque projects have followed the same pattern of lawsuits, public protests, exposures of shady mosque backers and public officials eager to look the other way.

The Cologne mega mosque in Germany has also followed the same pattern and is set to become the biggest mosque in Germany. But big is never big enough. The Stockholm mega mosque was finished in the year 2000 and has a capacity of 2,000, but a decade later there was already a proposal to replace it with an even larger mega mosque. At its current size the Stockholm mega mosque had already managed to feature sermons in support of Islamic terrorism and serve as a recruitment center for Al-Qaeda. At several times the size the situation could only get worse.

In yet another common pattern of mega mosques, the Stockholm mega mosque was funded primarily by Sheikh Zayed, the ruler of the United Arab Emirates. The Cologne mega mosque was primarily funded by Turkey’s Islamist government. The Marseille mega mosque is being funded by a number of foreign Muslim governments.

Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan has said, ‘The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers.’ The foreign funding of mega mosques has raised the question of whether Muslim governments aren’t constructing their own barracks and armies in the middle of European cities.

In some cases the militarization of the mega mosque is so overt that it might as well be a bayonet. One of the most blatant examples may be the Copenhagen mega mosque with a capacity of 3,000 which is being financed by Iran. Iran has already constructed another mega mosque in Helsinki and has similar plans all across Europe and the world.

The Copenhagen mega mosque’s Imam is Mohammed Mahdi Khademi who ran the ideology department of the Revolutionary Guard militia, an arm of the theocratic regime, which was designated a foreign terrorist organization by the United States. It would be hard to imagine a more explicit example of mega mosque militarization than a regime that sponsors acts of worldwide terror funding a mega mosque headed by the former Islamist political commissar of its terrorist wing.

Not to be left out the Sunnis are getting their own Copenhagen mega mosque funded by Saudi Arabia. This will involve an architectural ‘mountain’ across from the University of Copenhagen topped by two minarets, transforming the Sunni-Shiite rivalry into a competition to create the biggest Islamist eyesores in a city generally known for a quieter brand of architecture.

It’s not only in the West that the mega mosques are rising. In Moscow, Muslims have taken over entire streets to call for the construction of new mosques. And the Saudis have already offered to cover the cost.

In China, Saudi money has been transforming mosque designs from the Chinese pagoda to the dome and minaret favored by their new patrons. The more traditional Chinese look of the Great Mosque of Xi’an is making way for the Xiguan Mosque, a monstrous 3,000 capacity mega mosque which looks as if a chunk of Saudi Arabia had been dropped into the middle of Lanzhou.

In Argentina, a year after the bombing of the Jewish center by Muslim terrorists, President Carlos Menem, who has been accused of complicity in the attack, allotted 7.5 acres of public land to build the King Fahd Islamic Cultural Center, the largest mosque in Latin America. It overshadows the Caracas mega mosque in Venezuela which has a capacity of 3,500. Both mega mosques were built by the Saudi royal family.

For now the Islamic Center of America, located in sunny Dearborn, Michigan where Christians can expect to be stoned if they get too close, is the largest mega mosque in the United States. The Shiite mega mosque was already the target of a Sunni Islamic terrorist plot. Nearby is the Sunni Dearborn Mosque which claims the same capacity in an extension of the Sunni-Shiite rivalry. But so long as there’s oil money fueling the projects then the mega mosques will keep on growing.

From Markham in Canada down to New York City, and from the West Midlands in the United Kingdom to Sydney, Australia; cities around the world are facing the same threats to their communities. For Muslim states the mega mosque is a tool of power giving them the ability to centralize control of overseas Muslims with a single facility in a single city. For non-Muslim countries, the mega mosque is a center of subversion and terrorism.

As the mega mosque projects grow explosively across the country and the world, so does the resistance to the long shadows that they cast.” Source – FrontPageMag.com.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3821

The Daniel 11 Prophecy And The Antichrist

Interesting article for study from Joel Richardson. Keep looking up!

The Daniel 11 Prophecy And The Antichrist

08/02/2012

By Joel Richardson – “Among the many prominent end-time passages of the Bible, one of the clearest passages that proves the Antichrist and his coming armies will arise from the Middle East, is Daniel 11. In this chapter, a prophecy is given that begins with the historical Medo-Persian empire and concludes with the death of the Antichrist.

A large portion of Daniel’s prophecy (vv. 20-34) is focused upon the historical conflict between the infamous Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the king of the Seleucid Kingdom, who is called ‘the King of the North’ and King Ptolemy VI, the king of the Ptolemaic Kingdom who is called ‘the King of the South.’

The Seleucid Kingdom in the north included the region of modern-day Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Iran and even Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Ptolemaic Kingdom in the south ruled Egypt and portions of modern-day Libya and Sudan.

All scholars agree that Antiochus IV Epiphanes, in the north, is perhaps the most significant type of the Antichrist in the whole Bible.

In the later portion of Daniel’s prophecy, the historical events and wars that took place between Antiochus IV in the north and Ptolemy VI in the south bleed into a powerful end-time prophecy concerning the Antichrist (the King of the North) and Egypt (the King of the South). In fact, this chapter is among one of the clearest ‘slam dunks’ for the view that the Antichrist will come forward out of the Middle East and not a revived Roman or European kingdom.

Recognizing the highly problematic nature of this passage for the European-centered view, however, some teachers, in more modern times, have developed a view which holds that the King of the North is not a reference to the Antichrist, but instead is his enemy. Careful consideration of the text, however, reveals that this view simply doesn’t make any sense, as it turns the flow of the entire prophecy completely on its head, casting Antiochus IV as both a type of the Antichrist in verses 20-34, and then suddenly as a type of the Antichrist’s greatest enemy in verses 40-45. This view also takes the flow of the entire chapter, wherein the King of the North and the King of the South are historical enemies, and suddenly casts them as allies. This view fundamentally violates the clear flow of the entire prophecy in multiple ways.

But despite the popularity of this modern interpretation, a survey of views on this passage, from the very earliest days of the church until modern times, shows that the vast majority of responsible interpreters throughout church history have always understood the last-days King of the North to be a reference to the Antichrist. Consider the following brief summary of Christian leaders and theologians, from the earliest centuries of Christianity to modern times, who have affirmed the notion that Daniel’s ‘King of the North’ is none other than the Middle Eastern Antichrist:

Hippolytus of Rome (170–235), one of the most important theologians of the second and third centuries. According to tradition, Hippolytus was a disciple of Irenaeus, a disciple of Polycarp, a disciple of John the Apostle who wrote extensively about the end times.

Victorinus (d. 333), an early Christian bishop and martyr. His commentary on the book of Revelation is the oldest complete commentary on Revelation in our possession.

Lactantius (240–320), a well-known early Christian apologist in the third and fourth centuries.

Jerome (347–420), the renowned Latin theologian and historian of the fourth and fifth centuries.

Theodoret of Cyrrhus (393–457), the highly influential author, theologian and bishop of Cyrrhus, Syria, in the fifth century.

S.P. Tregelles (1813–1875), an English biblical scholar, textual critic and theologian. Tregelles is most well-known for translating Wilhelm Gesenius’ famous Hebrew Chaldee lexicon into English.

C.F. Keil (1813–1890), the celebrated German Hebraist and commentator who co-authored a commentary on the Old Testament with Frederick Delitzsch.

Clarence Larkin (1850–1924), an American Baptist pastor, Bible teacher and author of the classic work on dispensational eschatology, ‘Dispensational Truth.’

Arthur W. Pink (1886–1952), an English evangelist and biblical scholar well-known for his book ‘The Antichrist.’

G.H. Lang (1874–1958), one of the foremost dispensational premillennialist biblical scholars of his day.

F.F. Bruce (1910–1990), another biblical scholar of the highest calibre who needs no introduction.

Edward J. Young, (1907–1968), former professor of Old Testament at Westminster Theological Seminary.

Gleason L. Archer Jr. (1916–2004), another well-known and deeply respected biblical scholar and theologian, known as one of the chief proponents of the doctrine of biblical inerrancy.

Steven R. Miller Ph.D., professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary, author of the New American Commentary on the Book of Daniel.

John Goldingay, Ph.D., professor of Old Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary, author of the Word Biblical Commentary on the Book of Daniel.

Of course, this is only a partial list. Many other pastors, teachers, commentators, scholars and prophecy students alike could certainly be cited.

Some may be surprised to learn that so many highly respected Christian luminaries from across the centuries have supported this Middle Eastern view of the Antichrist. But while numerous Christian theologians and teachers have understood and recognized various elements of the Islamic Antichrist theory, never before in history has this view of prophecy ever been so thoroughly and systematically developed as it is today. In my new book, ‘Mideast Beast: The Scriptural Case for an Islamic Antichrist,’ I make every effort to present to the reader a careful and balanced articulation of this deeply relevant prophetic view in a scholarly yet very readable fashion. It is essential that all true Bereans and students of prophecy take the time to consider what so many other great Christian leaders and theologians of both ancient and modern times have recognized from Scripture.” Source – WND.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3818

Why the Islamic Antichrist Theory Matters

Reposted from Joel Richardson

Why the Islamic Antichrist Theory Matters

July 26, 2012 in Updates

Joel Richardson WND
(Please post this article on your blogs, Facebook, Tweet it, and generally spread it around.)

As a well-known prophecy teacher, my email inbox is frequently full of questions, comments and news articles from those interested in biblical prophecy. While some of these emails are certainly helpful and interesting, there are also many that I would put into the category of “biblical prophecy as morbid trivia.” What I mean is that there are many believers who are overly fixated on discussing the many intricate details concerning the many dark events looming on the horizon. Now, to be clear, I say this as someone who deeply values biblical prophecy, but I will be the first to admit that much of what passes for biblical prophecy today is a mixture of conspiracy theories and extra-biblical concepts with only a thin ribbon of biblical passages intertwined throughout, so as to give it the appearance of credibility. I will also be the first to acknowledge that there are numerous Christians who have lost their way, having become completely distracted from the primary mandate of the Christian church, which is the proclamation of the gospel of the Kingdom – in both word and deed.

On the other hand, there are many Christians, who have overreacted to the unhealthy emphasis of some and now avoid the subject of biblical prophecy altogether. This is equally grievous. The Lord did not fill the pages of the Bible with prophecy because he wanted us to avoid the subject.

Although there are numerous highly relevant reasons for Christians to study biblical prophecy, I would like to use the remainder of this article to touch on just one deeply relevant reason specifically as to why the emerging Islamic Antichrist theory is so essential for the church to get a hold of. In brief, the answer is because the future of the missions movement depends on it. Allow me explain.

Today there are approximately 6.7 billion people in the world. Roughly 2.2 billion consider themselves Christians. This number is divided almost evenly in half between Roman Catholics and Protestants (with about 240 million Eastern Orthodox believers). There are also close to a billion secularists without a religion, a little less than a billion Hindus and only about 500 million Buddhists. The number of Muslims globally however is approximately 1.6 billion. This means that Muslims are far and away, the largest non-Christian people group in the world. More than any other people group in the world, Muslims need the gospel. The Islamic world needs missionaries. So one would expect the church to be obedient to the Great Commission of Jesus as found in Matthew 28:19 among Muslims:

“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Such, however, is far from the case. Although the Islamic world represents the greatest need, it has the least number of missionaries. In fact, on average, for every 1 million Muslims, there is only one Christian missionary! This is an absolute scandal, and I have no question that heaven is not pleased.

Now, while there is more than one reason why Christians are not going to the Islamic world, I want to touch on one very popular theological idea, a prophetic scenario actually, that is deeply demotivating a multitude of potential missionaries within many mainstream denominations from pursuing missions and church-planting among Muslims.

Briefly, this prophetic scenario holds that a series of imminent wars, most often referred to “the Psalm 83 War,” followed immediately by the “Battle of Gog of Magog” will soon result in the complete annihilation of most Muslims in the Middle East and Islam as a religion essentially drying up and fading away. This scenario is not some oddball prophetic interpretation, but is widely taught by numerous very well-known Christian leaders and teachers. Consider below just a small sampling of quotes from some such prophecy teachers, as it relates to future of the Islamic world:

“[T]he war of Ezekiel 38 will result in the annihilation of nearly all the armies of the Muslim nations of the Middle East. … Thus, if the Antichrist is a Muslim who is going to rule a Muslim empire in the Middle East during the Tribulation, then he is going to rule over an empire that has been reduced to ashes!” (David Reagan)

“I believe that the Ezekiel 38-39 war plays a key role in the rise of the Antichrist. It is clear in this passage that Iran and the Muslim coalition suffers a humiliating defeat. I believe God will use this war to bring the ultimate downfall of the Islamic religion and the false god Allah.” (Randy White)

“The elimination of this Russian-Islamic alliance and all their troops will pave the way for the Antichrist to posture himself to take over the world.” (Mark Hitchcock)

“Islam is just another system that will be wiped out before the Antichrist instills his system.” (Nathan Jones)

There is power in prophecy. What prophecy teachers teach has widespread and lasting implications. This teaching that Islam is about to disappear is truly destructive to the completion of the Great Commission among Muslims. And what makes matters worse is that the idea of the Battle of Gog of Magog as a distinct and separate battle from the final battles of the Antichrist described elsewhere throughout the prophets can easily be shown to be a bogus interpretation.

In my new book, “Mideast Beast: The Scriptural Case for an Islamic Antichrist,” I walk the reader carefully through the prophecies of Ezekiel 38 and 39 (The Battle of Gog of Magog), Psalm 83 and many others, so as to thoroughly dispel this false idea that the Islamic world and religion is about to face “annihilation” or “will be wiped out.”

In fact, if there is one primary underlying point I would wish to make with my newest book and which I am struggling to awaken the Christian church regarding, it is the simple fact that Islam is the single greatest challenge the church will face before the return of Jesus. But until he returns, it is not going away.

The mandate of the church at this moment in history is to rise to meet the challenge of Islam. Now is not the time for armchair prophecy-enthusiast Christians to sit back and passively await the destruction of the Islamic world.

Numerous Western Christians today are openly calling for war with Iran, yet few are aware of the fact that Iran is experiencing the single greatest Christian revival in the world!

Now is not the time to pray for the judgment of the Islamic world. Now is the time for the church to lift up their eyes and recognize the fact that the fields are white unto harvest and pray that the Lord of the harvest would send laborers into the fields! (Matthew 9:37-38; John 4:35)

It’s time that the church casts these false and deeply demotivating interpretations of prophecy into the waste basket. Hundreds of millions of souls are depending on it.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3794

IS THE ANTICHRIST BUILDING HIS NATION EVEN NOW?

Rise of Islamic Turkey triggers warnings of biblical prophecy

 

The rumblings stirred by record-setting new film in Turkey are triggering alarm bells with students of biblical prophecy, who warn the world system the Antichrist will use to rise to power is already on the march.

“Constantinople will surely be conquered one day. The commander who conquerors it is a blessed commander. His soldiers are blessed soldiers” – thus opens the film “Fetih 1453.”

 

“Fetih” (meaning “conquest”) begins in 7th century Arabia with Muhammad, who is presented off camera lest pious Muslims be offended by his physical portrayal, declaring the quote above. The film tells the story of the conquest of the Christian East Roman Empire and its capital Constantinople by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II, thereafter known as Mehmet Fatih, or the Conqueror.

Director Faruk Aksoy’s film is the now the most watched and highest grossing movie in Turkish history, earning more than $60 million worldwide.

But Joel Richardson, author New York Times best-selling “The Islamic Antichrist: The Shocking Truth About the Real Nature of the Beast” and “Mideast Beast: The Scriptural Case for an Islamic Antichrist,” just released by WND Books, views the release of “Fetih 1453″ and the rise of Turkey as a world power as confirming biblical prophecy.

“In my book ‘Mideast Beast,’ I walk the reader through several key biblical texts that also point to a renewed Turkish power in the last days,” Richardson told WND. “As the Obama administration is openly getting behind the Islamist government in Turkey, numerous world events are all aligning with what the biblical prophets spoke. For those who take biblical prophecy seriously, awaiting the return of Jesus, the events now unfolding in Turkey and the region – the days in which we are now living – are absolutely profound.”

Christian prophecy teachers are reexamining previous dogma regarding the empire of the Antichrist. Until recently North American prophecy teachers almost exclusively held to the European Antichrist theory in part because they believed that the Antichrist would succeed the Roman Empire, which some said never really fell. Modern scholars of biblical prophecy suggest the prior theories were historically inaccurate and contend that the Roman Empire was in fact conquered and succeeded.

Richardson’s work has been instrumental in the reexamination of the geographic region where the Antichrist will arise. The historical parallels between the time period depicted in “Fetih 1453″ and now are worth considering, said Richardson.

Taking a hard look at the most significant biblical end-time texts, “Mideast Beast” argues persuasively that the Antichrist, his empire, and his religion will come from the Middle East and not Europe, as has been widely taught by many prophecy teachers.

“When Mehmet gathered his Muslim soldiers around Constantinople, he purposefully had imams walk through the camps of the soldiers reading the prophecy concerning the conquering of the city, empowering the soldiers with a deep sense of divine and prophetic destiny,” said Richardson. “It was in fact the alleged prophecies of Muhammad that were among the most motivating factors driving the attack.

“Likewise today, throughout the Islamic world, there is a radical renewed interest in the many Islamic prophecies. Among these are prophecies concerning the renewal of the Islamic Caliphate, the invasion of Israel, the establishment of the Caliphate specifically from the city of from Jerusalem, the genocide of most Jews in the land and also the secondary conquering of Constantinople,” Richardson continued. “Many Turks believe that the present Islamic takeover of Turkey by the AK Party is the actual fulfillment of this prophecy. Among the significant events that are leading many Muslims in the region to believe they are again living in a moment of prophetic fulfillment are the present ‘Arab Spring’ or ‘Islamic Awakening,’ as it is more commonly referred to as throughout the region, the rise of an assertive Islamist Turkey as a regional power.”

The release of “Fetih 1453″ comes at an interesting time. Turkey is now ruled by an elected Islamist government that celebrates its Ottoman religious and imperial past. It has even been praised by Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan, notorious for his popularity among youth in the Middle East and his belligerent behavior toward the State of Israel in recent years.

“It is also important to note the fact that beyond the Islamists of Turkey, so also do many of the secularist nationalists desire to see a revival of regional Turkish power in the Middle East,” said Richardson. “The yearning for the glories of the Ottoman Empire are not limited to the Islamists alone.”

Whereas most students of the Bible have long held that some form of humanism or universalist religion would catapult the Antichrist to world power, “Mideast Beast” systematically proves that the long awaited system of the Antichrist is even now before us and knocking at our door – virtually unnoticed by the church.

“I am firmly convinced that Islam is the single greatest challenge the church will face before the return of Jesus, yet most are still either asleep or in denial,” Richardson states in “Mideast Beast.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3740

Iranian Government: “Jesus” and the Mahdi are coming soon!

 

The following picture was sent to me from a friend in Iran. It is of a small billboard set up in various cities throughout Iran by the present Iranian government. The caption reads,

“Quote from our Holy prophet, His Holiness Mohammad (God Bless Him): ‘I swear to God, for sure, Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) shall descend amidst my followers, the leader of [the] people on that day shall be his holiness (sic) [the] Mahdi. (May God expedite his revelation).’”

Try to imagine if the present United States government placed billboards across the nation informing and encouraging people with the message that Jesus will return soon. The concept is so utterly foreign to us. Please pray for the Church in Iran. Pray that the revival in Iran would only continue to grow and bear great fruit. And do not forget to pray that war with Iran can be averted.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3578

THE BEASTLY, “ASSYRIAN ANTICHRIST

“THE CHURCH IS MOSTLY IN THE DEVILS POCKET AND HE IS DETERMINED THAT THIS WORLD DOES NOT LEARN THE TRUTH ABOUT HIS ANTICHRIST. Satan’s purpose is to fool the church and the world about this beastly man that he is very close to revealing. The “Emergent Churches” are foolish enough to completely ignore “Bible Prophecy”. They hate Fundamental truths and are damning their mega-flocks of people. By keeping them illiterate of the Book of Revelation and the coming rapture with judgment to follow, these big time preachers are in the drivers seat. A First Testament Prophet called them, “DUMB DOGS, THAT CANNOT BARK; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.” (Isaiah 56:10)

Apostle John saw this Antichrist actually rise from the Mediterranean Sea so no one could doubt his actual existence or his Middle Eastern origin. “And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.” (Revelation 13:1) The blasphemy coming from the Antichrist’s mouth will be unbearable. This will not be the blasphemy of the ugly, but the blasphemy of the distorted beautiful. The entire religious world is already glorying in statues, icons, and art forms of different expressions. The choreographed dance is one of the church world’s darkest deceptions. Statues that are proclaimed as anointed, especially where grace is reportedly connected, have already been accepted in Charismatic circles. Millions follow apparitions of Mary. Some writers are describing visions and dreams of incredible creatures and experiences. All kinds of extra Biblical occurrences are preparing the way for religious blasphemy. To assign anything to God that is clearly occultic is blasphemy. To claim to be God is the worst form of blasphemy. To imitate the Son of God is a dark hideous form of blasphemy.

This Beastly Assyrian Antichrist will be the most vicious man that has ever been known. His lineage from the Assyrians could not be more fitting. They were evil and they enjoyed being evil. They treated their enemies or captives in the vilest fashion that our human imagination could think. The ruins of their ancient palaces are filled with grotesque carvings in stone as a testimony to the evil ingeniousness of their character. They were in life and in battle a foretaste of what the Antichrist will be as the final dictator for Satan. The prophets have made it clear that the Antichrist will be an Assyrian. He is so real that the world will worship him. “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Revelation 13:8)

Prophet Isaiah spoke of this future beast that attacked and destroyed the Northern kingdom of Israel. “O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation. I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets.” (Isaiah 10:5-6). Then, Isaiah gave another part of the prophecy that is yet to be fulfilled. “That I will break the Assyrian in my land, and upon my mountains tread him under foot: then shall his yoke depart from off them, and his burden depart from off their shoulders.” (Isaiah 14:25). This has never been fulfilled, so we know it is about the future Antichrist. He spoke of this Assyrian in clear end time chronology to leave no doubt as to His meaning. “And the LORD shall cause his glorious voice to be heard, and shall shew the lighting down of his arm, with the indignation of his anger, and with the flame of a devouring fire, with scattering, and tempest, and hailstones. For through the voice of the LORD shall the Assyrian be beaten down, which smote with a rod.” (Isaiah 30:30-31). The final Antichrist of this thirteenth chapter must be that Assyrian. Even Micah spoke of his death in the gate of Nimrod, which is none other than Ancient Babylon being revisited at this very hour.

To add to the prophetic miracles that are occurring all over the world this Assyrian beast represents an unspeakable mystery that can finally be understood. Except for a few historians and the people of Assyrian lineage, nobody in prophetic literature even considered that there were Assyrian people alive right up to this very time in history. Almost as mysterious as the Jews, but completely off the radar, the Assyrians as a distinct people have survived the centuries with clear unmistakable identity. Living mostly in their own conclaves, they have survived great odds to now surface in Northern Iraq and other nations where they have fled. For them to presently be involved in uniting their own culture and to be a voice in the new Iraq government cannot be less than perfect planning on the part of our Creator.

There are very distinct, positive plans for the future of the Assyrians in the Bible. Indeed they will produce the Antichrist, but this should not and does not indict the present Assyrian people as bad themselves. The Antichrist must arise from a culture and a people that pledge allegiance to the God of the Bible which the Assyrians do and have done since the day of Jesus Christ. Daniel said, “Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.” (Daniel 11:37). But, a much greater future awaits this ancient culture. During the Millennium, there will only be three nations in the Middle East. Assyria will be one of them. This would suggest that at some point the Northern part of Iraq and Iran, may be much of the Southern part of Turkey, Syria, and at least part of Jordan, will be the Assyrian nation. “In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land.” (Isaiah 19:24).

Much bigger and broader than the ancient lineage is the connection of the coming Antichrist to Satan. He will be the slickest masquerader ever produced by Lucifer. The making of this evil character has been centuries in Satan’s planning. He is not a flash in the pan but a well prepared imitation. He will have a partner in the False Prophet that will probably imitate all the works of the Holy Spirit. He should be called the false anointing. Under Satan’s tutorage, these two personalities will finalize a “one world religion” that cleverly unites all religions together.

The Middle East is clearly the geographical center of the rising Antichrist. The United Nations of Europe will slowly connect with the Middle East as the revived Roman Empire regains its footing in the needed order. Iraq had to become a democracy in its own unique style because the Antichrist will begin by flatteries, not by military powers, “And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries:” (Daniel 11:32a). The Antichrist, as an Assyrian by nationality, will be connected to the ancient city of Babylon and that nation. Rising out of the sea as he appears certainly ties him closely to the Mediterranean Sea and the political powers within its vicinity. He quickly unites the political powers and becomes the leader of the emerging Roman Empire, but especially its ancient Eastern wing. His rise to power and his coalition of political partners will be blasphemous in nature and will bear a decidedly anti-Israel and Antichrist tone

Satan especially blasphemes everything that is heavenly about God, the Father. When the Father and the Lamb sent angels to cast him out of the midair, he lost all ability to travel in the stratosphere of God’s domain. Notice that he blasphemes God, His name, His heavenly tabernacle, and those that dwell in heaven. He certainly hates the Father because he is now forbidden to appear in His presence. He is the Sovereign God, and Satan has sought to replace God with himself. He has totally failed and nothing but hatred can now find expression in his disappointed heart. The tabernacle of God is the grandest location in the entire universal system. It is glorious, even beyond words. Paul saw it and was left speechless. Satan has visited it at every opportunity the Father allowed, but now it can only be a distant dream to Satan; and he blasphemes it with vileness. He blasphemes everyone that dwells in this matchless place.

“Here is wisdom … it is the number of a man.” (Revelation 13:18) Nothing reveals the Antichrist better than this statement. Unbridled flesh, the raw appetite of the adamic nature, and the wildest possible life of sin is what the “mark” of the Antichrist will represent. The land will be full of pedophiles, animalistic sexual exploits, sado-masochism, and deeper and deeper vileness will continue until human flesh is worse than the worst beast. It will all be manifest with complete religious acceptance. To take the mark will be like becoming a human animal. The Antichrist and the false prophet will give the devil his masterpiece of deception. Satan knows he has but a short time, so it will be an all out war. When this deception is complete, it will then turn on its head and God will expose and judge. Satan always over plays his hand. He is an idiot god and will finally be cast into the bottomless pit but destined for the Lake of Fire. His two beasts will go directly to the Lake of Fire at the end of the seven years that Jesus called,”The Great Tribulation.”

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