by Terry James
Two questions, among many, loom large among some within the ranks of those who believe we are at the very end of the Church Age (Age of Grace). I’m hearing about them every day by those who email, and in conversation.
The first matter involves the question of whether, based upon developments in the Middle East and the expansion of Islam into Europe and other places, those who hold to the Islamist Antichrist belief could be correct. Could those who hold to the Western leg of the Roman Empire being the geographical base from which the beast will come, after all of this time spent adhering to that view, be mistaken–having read the prophecy of Daniel 9: 26-27 erroneously?
Certainly, for the Islamist or eastern leg Antichrist view to be brought up by those who are doing so is not heresy, as some dogmatists might have it. While I, personally, maintain that Daniel was given a definite heads-up that the “prince that shall come” will be from the people who comprised the heart of the Roman Empire (western Europe), I can understand reasons for thinking –especially with developments taking place all around us— that a case might be made that Islam is the prophesied beast system, and that Antichrist will be from the people who made up the eastern leg of the Roman Empire.
There is great quaking within the European Union at present, as there is in America, and we will examine some of these things, in view of the relatively new proclamations that the Antichrist will be a Muslim.
The Bible calls that future and last tyrant of the dispensation of earth’s history before the Second Advent of Christ “the Assyrian.” There’s no question that the man, himself, will be of Middle Eastern extraction. Additionally, all geopolitical movement–both in biblically prophetic terms and in terms of what is happening today–is shifting back to the geographical lands surrounding God’s touchstone city, Jerusalem. All attention is on that region, primarily because of its potential for producing nuclear conflict, which would engulf the whole world. An only slightly less powerful exigency that affects the entire world –particularly the Western world—is the influence petroleum exerts on geopolitics.
With the present presidential administration refusing to tap into Canada’s vast quantities of oil, and with its determination to fight the development of America’s own great reserves, the oil-rich Middle East is rapidly becoming even a more volatile point of potential conflict. It is, in my view, almost certainly the “spoil” which Ezekiel was told to prophesy will bring Gog and his Magog forces into the land of the Bible.
By the time of that attack, something catastrophic, apparently, will have happened to the United States. It is almost a guarantee that the economic powers that be–and they are who controls all the world so far as geopolitical power is concerned—would never sit by idly and watch the great petroleum interests that fire the engines of their wealth-empire be taken over by a Russian leader and a swarm of Islamist Jew-haters. But, according to the Ezekiel prophecy, the Western powers apparently send merely a note of diplomatic protest. Very strange…
It is as if the Western leadership knows that the forces of Gog-Magog will be unsuccessful. Of course, they will be more than merely unsuccessful. They will be utterly decimated, with all but one-sixth of them totally destroyed, God’s Word tells us. Satan, of course, controls/influences all sides in humanism’s war against God. He knows Bible prophecy. He believes all of it, I think, except the part that says he loses in the end. His man, Antichrist, will understand that if he just reserves his strength, he will have it for the really big take-over, after God, Himself, obliterates his Middle Eastern opposition. He will still have to contend with the forces from far-distant Asia, but in his arrogance, he will have confidence he can handle that problem when it must be faced.
All of that is just a scenario, as I’m convinced God’s Word teaches it, with my postulations thrown in for good measure. So, it does nothing to prove that Antichrist will be either from the Western leg or from the Eastern leg. We will, of course, have to learn the truth about that after the fact–from the portals of Heaven, for all who are born again into the family of God.
But, when looking at what Daniel the prophet was given to tell us about the “prince that shall come,” we must consider who the people who destroyed the city and the sanctuary were. That is, who destroyed Jerusalem and the Jewish Temple atop Mount Moriah?
The argument by the latecomer, band-wagon jumping, Eastern-leg proponents includes the claim that the forces that destroyed the city and sanctuary were comprised of people indigenous to the region, who made up the Roman legions assigned to control the area. While those of the Middle East did mingle with the Roman soldiers, they were under the very imposing thumb of Romans who dictated from the city of Rome.
General Titus, the son of Emperor Vespasian, was in charge. He and his father gave and saw to it that the put down of the Jewish insurrection was accomplished. Both were Romans in the Western-leg sense. They were head of the people of Rome–the Western leg–who destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in A.D. 70.
We must remember that the Eastern leg of the empire wasn’t established for another three centuries, when Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul) became the Roman Empire’s Eastern capital in AD 330. Daniel’s prophecy – later reflected upon by Jesus Christ, who gave it to the prophet in the first place—told of the Romans’ destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple when there was no Eastern leg. Further, there was no Islam until more than six centuries later than the prophesied destruction. Thus, I conclude that any validity to the claim that Daniel –and Jesus—were referring to a “people” from the Middle East, Muslim world, who would produce “the prince that shall come” as untenable.
There are other reasons why the eastern or Muslim Antichrist doesn’t fit the prophecy, but I must move on. Next week, Lord willing, we will look at the second question I’m getting regularly that is involved in the quaking in Europe and America.