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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Are we in the last days?....are you sure of your end of times scenario?

     I have always been a history buff.  Not just the kind who gets bogged down in the wonkiness of dates, times, and events alone.  But, one who also dwells on the "what ifs" of alternative endings of chance historical events.  Encounters that eventually led to major events that ultimately changed the course of nations, cultures, and the world.  The ponder ables, like What if Adolph Hitler had pursued nuclear weapons over V-rockets?  What if the Bolsheviks had been defeated by the Tsar early on?  What if Abraham Lincoln had lived?  Our world and lives would be a much different place today, if any of these events had turned in the other direction.  History wonks love this sort of game of mental gymnastics.
     I also like to project myself into the mindsets of the people who actually lived through historic times.  Today, we have the benefit of 20/20 hindsight through which we render judgement on our ancestors actions.  But, would we have had the insight to recognize for ourselves that we were entwined in monumental times had we lived through them?
     There have always been cases of individuals who seemingly were caught swimming upstream against both public opinion and apathy.  These so called voices crying in the wilderness like Winston Churchill for example are seldom heeded.  For the better part of a decade, he warned against German militarism and Adolph Hitler.  His reward was to be marginalized, electorally defeated, and denounced by the governmental opinion of his day.  Until, the public in it's darkest hour sought him out as the only voice of reason.  There were voices in 1928/29 just like 2007/08, who warned of over enthusiastic "market exhuberance" and that a possible crash was imminent.  Yet, somehow all of the "experts" were "shocked, and caught off guard" by the events that we lived through a couple of years ago.
     I guess to be a voice in the wilderness is to accept the mocking of many, until a tipping point is finally reached.  With those thoughts in mind, I cannot seem to let go of my mental gymnastics over a book written by Joel Richardson entitled " The Islamic Antichrist".  This book is interesting, challenging, and all backed by lots of research by Mr. Richardson.  I can guarantee that to the average evangelical Christian it will be a challenge to all that they have been taught about the "End of Days".  But, if we are to desire and search for truth?  we must be able to wrestle with a good challenge to our current mindsets.  Challenges are neither good nor bad. They can be used to test what we believe, and see if our worldview needs tweaking.  The Islamic Antichrist will tweak you!
     You see going back to my history wonkability, I have been intrigued by what has been called, "the Arab Spring".  My interest piqued even more when I read this recently released book.  I have not been a starry eyed optimist enough to believe that these events are all unplanned, unfunded, and unsupported by anonymous outside groups used to further their own political agendas.  If I were to think that way, it would be as naive as saying that the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the collapse of Eastern European communism just happened because freedom was in the air in the late 1980's.  I may be a bit jaded, but I don't recall it happening quite like that.
     So for me seeing the Arab Spring of 2011 unfold across my television screen as repressive Arab regimes fell to radical community organizers, I sensed a pattern beginning to emerge.  This was not just a happenstance of singular events.  But, a tidal wave of change arising in some of the most brutal of closed societies on the planet.  These kind of events do not happen without a little prodding from either spiritual or human outside sources.
   The premise of the Islamic Antichrist is simply that the much dreaded global Antichrist prophesied to arise in the end of days is not European but actually will come from the Muslim world.  This shadowy figure doesn't come from the revived European Common Market/Western Roman Empire but from a conglomerate of ancient eastern Roman Empire nations.  The book goes into extensive detail, both chapter and verse of how Islamic doctrines and beliefs eerily parallel the biblical world leaders positions and policies.
    It answered for me some nagging questions that were always left unanswered by even the best of our current crop of conservative evangelical end times eschatalogical commentators and teachers.  I have always believed that the scriptures held the truth, yet I found the explanations of those truths by theologians to be found wanting in their ability to satisfy my questions.
     Combined with this new knowledge, and the move of current events, a reawakening occurred in me of thoughts and beliefs that I have  held dormant for over 20 years.  The light bulb really went off when my eldest son, who both myself and the church have failed really failed to teach about end times events came to me with an honest observant comment.  He said, " Dad , after reading Ezekiel 38 and 39 and watching the nightly news, it really looks like the Bible being played out".  It was then that I knew a true reawakening had to be stirred up in the church that had pretty much fallen asleep for a generation in regards to her position of truth and light in the last days concerning these events.
     But, if we were looking in the wrong place for a person of note to arise from nations that he was not supposed to rule over anyway, we would be blinded to the pertinence of the events of the Arab Spring.  We would be like the Pharisees of old, that Jesus criticized when he said that they knew the scriptures, yet failed to see the actual Messiah who was standing right before their very eyes.  Has our church pride and yes even arrogance hidden truth from us, because we have not walked hand in hand with the Lord  and were open to His proddings, as opposed to trusting in our man made doctrines?  Led to the precipice of world events, blindfolded by teachings of the last generation or two, only to see it literally begin to be paraded before our eyes on a daily basis on CNN.  I realize that I am using strong language here, and I am no theologian.  Yet, I am one who searches for the truth even when it challenges my preconceived notions.
     That is why I encourage you to read Joel Richardson's book.  Most Christians do not even have a clue that the pre-tribulation rapture position is less than 200 years old in a religious faith that goes back over 2000 years.  A lot of conservative evangelical believers do not realize that large sectors of the church do not even believe in it as part of their particular doctrine of faith.  With just these glaring realities, why shouldn't we take the time to search out a contarian end times worldview that could very well be growing under our noses?  Joel Richardson maybe wrong, but we could be the ones that are playing a great cosmic shell game, where the pea is hiding under a shell other than the one we  have already picked.  Current Caliphate Article  , Global War on Christians,Gog and Magog: Islamic Views                

2 comments:

  1. Interesting view, Rob, with which I concur. We should not be too set in our beliefs to outright discount other views. It's too easy to become totally dogmatic about our own biblical view, and escape from a set viewpoint becomes especially difficult if it's heaped with other traditions or doctrines of men, as in the case of the Pharisees, for example. Today an error, I believe, in a good part of the church is that if one is holy enough, one will totally refrain from all alcoholic beverage; what if perchance a brother or sister stumbles by seeing us drink? On the face of it, this seems harmless enough, and seems to have merit. But if it is indeed a valid viewpoint, why did not Jesus--who as a drinker was wrongly accused of being a drunkard--believe this was a proper view, & therefore refrain from all alcohol? This, I believe, becomes a stumbling block for unbelievers who see the discrepancy.

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  2. I believe that we need to be more open to alternative views that use the Word as a basis, and not heap too much of man made teachings on top of it. I trust that the Holy Spirit will lead true believers into all truth.
    I fear that the Church will get bitten in the backside IF it doesn't shake itself loose from the blinders that constrain it in some of today's current eschatalogical teachings.

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