When our minds are illuminated with truth, we ache to share it with others. Though not having first done our due diligence, we naturally look for shortcuts and ways to simplify complex topics because of our impatience. It is like, when we were taught models in high school to introduce new concepts and later at university, found out that the models hardly reflected reality. Why? because the reality is complex! Similarly, with the Scriptures we are overcome by zeal and become expert regurgitators of tradition, rather than being studious in the book.
A few examples: prove from the Scriptures that Nimrod built the tower of Babel; or that the apostle Peter was the first pope; or that the Messiah’s ministry on earth lasted for three and one-half years. What does the Bible say?
We know Nimrod was a strong hunter and ruled many cities including Babel. But was the tower of Babel built in his generation or later? Was he the one who came up with the idea and coordinated it? The Scriptures are silent. His name does not appear even a single time in the recount of the tower (Genesis 11)! While it is quite probable that he was heavily involved, we simply cannot prove it from the Scriptures.
As for the apostle Peter, we know he was active in Israel, Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) and various parts of the middle East (1 Peter 1:1). As for going to Rome and inaugurating the papacy, that is simply “profane and old wives’ fables” (1 Timothy 4:7).
But what about the duration of Yahshua’s ministry? The evangelist John writes his entire record from this perspective – to prove that Yahshua is indeed “the Lamb of Elohim, Who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29; 20:30-31). In fact, half of the book is dedicated to the last week of Messiah on earth! Three Passover observances with the disciples are specifically mentioned – John 2:13, 6:4, and 13:1. Moreover, in John 5:1, there is mention of an unidentified “Feast of the Jews” – a euphemism referencing the moedim stipulated in the Torah – and perhaps, chronologically speaking, admitting the possibility of a Second Passover following John 2:13 and preceding the two in the 6:4 and 13:1 accounts.
We should be remiss not acknowledging the Evangelist’s penchant for enumerating the occurrences of this notable Event during the Savior’s ministry. Whether, however, the Master observed three, or possibly four, Passovers with His disciples, it is certain that we can prove from the Scripture, that He was with His disciples for at least two and one-half years. But because of the uncertainty of which “Feast of the Jews” is inferred in John 5:1, we have refrained from including it in the timeline that follows.
The Seventy Weeks’ Prophecy
Many have come to realize that a “three days and three nights” entombment means Yahshua was impaled on a Wednesday and resurrected on the weekly Sabbath just before sunset. The ‘shortcut’ method to prove this, is to reference Daniel 9:26-27 which is made to say that Messiah was ‘cut off in the middle of the week.’ Really? Is this what the Scripture says, or has it been misconstrued? This will be the catalyst for the discussion to follow.
From the issuing of the decree to restore and to build Jerusalem until the time Mashiach, the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and 62 weeks … Then after the 62 weeks Mashiach will be cut off and have nothing. Then the people of a prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary … Then he will make a firm covenant with many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put an end to sacrifice and offering, Daniel 9:25-27 (TLV).
Is there any evidence in this passage, that Messiah will be ‘cut off in the middle of the week’? Noting that “weeks” (in original Hebrew shabuim) refers to sabbatical years, we see that:
1. The time to rebuild Jerusalem lasted seven weeks (i.e. 7 sabbaticals = 49 years)
2. Messiah came after 62 more weeks and was “cut off” (i.e. 62 sabbaticals = 434 years)
3. A coming prince (ruler) will bring Jerusalem and the sanctuary to ruins
4. He will establish a covenant (peace treaty) for “one week” (7 years)
5. He will stop daily sacrifices “in the middle of the week” (3½ years)
Messiah was NOT ‘cut off in the middle of the week.” The middle of the week here is prophetically referring to the last three and one-half years in the final sabbatical (week) before the Messianic age, at which point the Antimessiah will: break a seven year peace treaty, introduce the abomination of desolation and stop sacrifices in the sanctuary (see also Isa. 63:18, Dan 8:13, 11:31, Psa. 79:1-7; Matt. 24:15; Rev. 11:2).
Islam’s Messiah – Bible’s Antimessiah
When you read the following remarks, who comes to mind?
“He will govern the people, the way David governed”
“The wolf and the lamb will live in harmony”
These are quotes from Islamic figures presenting their Messiah in a documentary, The Government of Imam Mahdi. Islamic eschatology (doctrines about the end times) revolves around three prominent figures:
• Al-Mahdi (which means ‘the guided one’) who is the Islamic Messiah; and
• Isa ibn Maryam (i.e. ‘Jesus son of Mary’) who is subservient to the Mahdi; and
• Al-Masih ud-Dajjal (which means ‘the deceiving Messiah’).
In his book The Islamic Antichrist, Joel Richardson outlines a number of parallels between Islamic end time figures and the Biblical realities, a few of which are summarized below:
Islamic theology is nothing short of “doctrines of demons” (1 Tim. 4:1). Woe to them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter, Isaiah 5:20.
What the Bible calls ‘Antimessiah,’ Islam calls ‘Messiah;’ what the Bible calls ‘false prophet,’ Islam calls ‘Jesus;’ and what the Bible calls ‘Yahshua,’ Islam calls ‘deceiver.’ How twisted and warped! Those who do not know the Bible, will fall prey to the conglomeration of truth and error, thinking they are one and the same, under the cloak ‘we all believe the same “god.”’
Yahweh’s Redemption Plan
Since the first transgression in Eden, Yahweh has made clear His plan of redemption through a promised Seed. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will crush your head, and you will strike His heel, Genesis 3:15 (NIV). This promised seed refers to Isaac (Gen. 21:12), Israel (Deut. 4:5-8) and ultimately Yahshua (Gal. 3:16) through Whom all humanity will be reconciled to Yahweh. However, notice that the serpent also has a seed throughout history to try to thwart Yahweh’s plan. The manifestation of this treachery is reserved to the kingdom of the Antimessiah.
In Daniel 2, Nebuchadnezzar is shown in a dream, a metallic statue outlining what would happen to his kingdom after him. The dream is recapitulated and confirmed to Daniel in chapter 7 as a mysterious beast, ending with a courtroom scene in heaven, where Yahweh bestows upon Yahshua all kingdoms of earth and power to execute judgment.
Most commentators will say that the Roman Empire was the fourth kingdom in history. Contextually, however, the dream was first given to Nebuchadnezzar to explain what would afterward happen to his kingdom. Foreseeing well past the Roman Empire, the Islamic Caliphate, under the Ottoman Turks, had emerged to dominate what once was under Nebuchadnezzar ... geographically, religiously, culturally, and linguistically. In contrast, the Roman Empire tolerated, even accommodated, religions and embraced Grecian culture entirely.
The 10 toes of iron and clay (Daniel 2), correspond to the 10 horns (Daniel 7) which Revelation 17 clarifies belong to the kingdom of the Antimessiah and which cannot be assigned to a revived Roman Empire.
In Revelation 17 we see a woman who rides the beast. This woman is the religious entity and region birthing the religion of the beast. She controls the beast through her harlotry (religion). The beast is described as progressive kingdoms bent on destroying Israel, through whom are the covenants and promises (Romans 9:4). And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, Revelation 17:10-11.
“Five are fallen” – Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece
“One is” – Rome
“The other is not yet come” – Islamic Caliphate
“The eighth” – Kingdom of the Antimessiah
The Roman Empire (“one is” – when the apostle John was writing) continued in the East as the Byzantine Empire and was at war with the Muslims between the 7th and 11th centuries C.E. Eventually the Islamic Caliphate (“the other is not yet come”) took control until its dissolvement in 1923. Since then, the beast empire has suffered a fatal wound, with the seventh head (kingdom) broken. And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast, Revelation 13:3. It is important to recognize that the Scripture refers to both, the succession of kingdoms against Israel and the Antimessiah himself (the manifestation of Satan on earth) as “the beast.”
Turkey has been ambitiously waiting to revive the Islamic Caliphate under their rule as it formerly was. Current President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has championed this effort by trying to reestablish Ottoman rule over the Middle East by 2023 (100 years after its fall) with him as the next Sultan. Without doubt, his ambitious feat will be a precursor to setting the stage for the man of sin, who will be revealed at the time appointed (2 Thess. 2:7-9).
Ezekiel 38-39 bears witness of a leader, “Gog of the land of Magog, the chief prince (in Hebrew rosh which means ‘head’) of Meshech and Tubal.” He will lead the Middle Eastern nations to battle against Yahshua and Israel just before the Messianic age.
Many will go down a rabbit trail and make stories of how rosh refers to Russia, when it is simply a Hebrew word which means head or chief. For example, we previously read in Genesis, “He will crush your head.” That word “head” is rosh, but no one is going to say that means Messiah is going to crush Russia, because the plain meaning is Messiah will destroy Satan.
Honest scholarship (without prophetic bias) will acknowledge that all the places which Gog is said to rule is in Asia Minor in what was called Lydia – today, part of Turkey – not Russia. For example, the NIV Study Bible Commentary for Ezekiel 38:2 says, “[Gog] king of Lydia … [Rosh] identification with Russia is unlikely, and in any case cannot be proven … [Meshech and Tubal] are probably located in eastern Asia Minor.”
As a final note on this point, Revelation 13:2 shows that the kingdom of the Antimessiah is a composite of the lion (Babylon), bear (Medo-Persia) and leopard (Greece). The Islamic Caliphate once revived, will truly be the beast with all three faces in terms of geography, people, culture, and hatred against the Holy Covenant.
Awake, For Now is High Time
What does all this mean for you and me today? Daniel was puzzled over the visions he was shown and asked for clarity. The angel replied, “Daniel this is not for you to know, but this scroll will be sealed until the end times, when many will diligently search and understanding will increase” (Dan. 12:4, 8-13).
This is not a message about hating Muslims at all! Yahweh loves all people, but not all love Him. The adversary is always looking for a vehicle to manifest his will and destroy the holy people. The reality is, in these days leading up to the return of the Messiah, the hatred for the Holy Covenant is most intense in the religion of Islam, which all the Middle Eastern nations embrace. Satan does not care about which method to use. It was prophesied that he would have a seed to oppose Yahshua the promised Seed.
As we approach that 100-year anniversary since the fatal head wound of the beast empire, we can know with certainty that the kingdom of the Antimessiah will be exposed not many years thereafter. It is very likely that many who are reading this right now, will be eyewitnesses of the ‘gut-wrenching’ events which were prophesied long ago. Some will be taken captive, others will die as martyrs (Rev. 12:11) and some will be given the overwhelming task like Jonah, to preach a warning message of repentance to those who yield themselves as “instruments of unrighteousness” (Rom. 6:13).
It is important to keep in mind that there are a number of things that must first happen before the Messiah comes. We need to watch and pray, but most importantly watch ourselves that we build the faith required to endure to the end now!
And do this, understanding the present time: the hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed, Romans 13:11 (NIV).
-Brother Rohan John (Australia)
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