But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (9 )After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him. (10) As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. (11) “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go! (Acts 1:8-11-NLT).
Today, with terrorist activities increasing worldwide, we could be watching the beginning of the era of time that will bring Jesus Christ our Savior back to earth as He promised. There is a lot of information covered here, but read slowly with an open mind. A phrase from the old song by Andre Crouch comes to mind – “Soon and very soon, we are going to see the King!”
The next several blogs come from my studies eight years ago as I addressed our congregation about some changes in my thoughts about the Second Coming of Christ. I taught about some current events that may give a glimmer of light to us as to how the sequence of events may practically play out in the return of Jesus in the Rapture and in His Second Coming.
Back in 2010 I had a man named Walid Shoebat minister at our church. Walid is a form Muslim turned Christian and has written an excellent book, God’s War on Terror in which he reveals a belief that Islam and its Jihadist ideology may be a key player in bringing the events spoken of in Revelation about the Second Coming of Christ to fruition.
I also read a book entitled The Islamic Antichrist by Joel Richardson which again reveals an eerie parallel between the coming Islamic leader called the Mahdi and the Anti-Christ revealed as the arch-enemy of Jesus Christ and the kingdom of God. I encourage your reading of both of these books.
As I was studying in the spring of 2010, I saw some things that I had not seen before. I saw that the book of Daniel mentions a “reviving” of the old Roman Empire prior to Jesus return. Most eschatology (the study of end-times) teachers believe strongly that the Western Roman Empire will “revive” before the return of Jesus, and that the AntiChrist will come from that region of the world. So, particularly in the US, there has been a belief that the Antichrist would come from the “revived” Roman empire which means he would arise from nations on the European continent and from there set up a dictatorship that would encompass the world. I’ve heard this since I was a child.
But as I studied and refreshed myself in world history, some things began to change for me. I saw that the Western Roman Empire lost its power just prior to 500 AD. But the Roman Empire continued as the Byzantine Roman Empire through Constantinople in modern Turkey for almost a thousand years.
Now follow me here for just a moment in a short history lesson. Islam was founded by the prophet Mohammed in the 600 A.D.’s and shortly afterwards was pushing through the Middle East and Europe in a world conquest. The Islamic Ottoman Empire toppled the Byzantine Roman Empire in Constantinople in 1453 A.D., and changed the city’s name to Istanbul.
The former Catholic cathedrals in Constantinople (now Istanbul) were transformed into mosques and for almost 500 years Islam and the Islamic Caliphate (rule) dominated the Middle East. After World War I, the Ottoman Empire lost its control of the Middle East to other nations. Its’ Islamic influence ruled Israel and the Middle East, and was a force to be reckoned with by other nations. One stanza of our Marine Hymn reads: From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli, we will fight our country’s battles, on the land and on the sea, and is actually speaking of the battles engaged by Marines from the newly formed USA in the early 1800’s against the Muslim pirate ships off the coast of Northern Africa that hindered free trade.
After World War 1 in the early twentieth century, the Islamic Caliphate dissolved in Turkey in the 1920’s and was replaced by a secular government. No longer did Islam play a major role in the governing of that nation, until recently! The current government of Turkey has been turning towards to re-emergence of a combination of Islamic rule with the government of that nation. With this development there is a striking and possible parallel found in Revelation 17.
Notice Revelation 17:8-11 :The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. (9) “Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits. (10) There are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come. And when he comes, he must continue a short time. (11) The beast that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven, and is going to perdition.
In short, here’s what the above verses from Revelation reveal: The woman mentioned is a false religious system that will be utterly defeated at Jesus’ Second Coming (Islam?). The Antichrist will be affiliated with this false religion. The seven heads are kings or leaders, and the seven mountains are seven empires that have ruled over Israel since its inception as a nation three thousand years ago. From history, we know that the first six of these empires that ruled over Israel are the Egyptian Empire, the Assyrian Empire, the Babylonian Empire, the Persian Empire, the Greek Empire, and the Roman Empire.
The Empire mentioned as the seventh (the one in verse 10 which has not yet come) was not yet an empire at the time of the writing of the New Testament. But notice that if you follow history, the next Empire to rule over Israel and the Middle East after the Byzantine Roman Empire is the Ottoman Empire, an Islamic Empire. That could easily be the seventh Empire mentioned in Revelation 17!
Then, notice that Revelation 17:11 states: The beast that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven, and is going to perdition. The beast is the AntiChrist and his kingdom. This verse says that the eighth kingdom to rule over Israel is from the seventh kingdom, and will be destroyed by Jesus (is going to perdition) at His return.
Let me simply state it again. According to Revelation 17, the last empire to rule over Israel before the Second Coming of Christ will come from the seventh kingdom that ruled over Israel. The exact match from history is the Ottoman (Islamic) empire that ceased to exist in the 1920’s after World War I. That empire is now re-emerging as a huge player in the Middle East through Turkey, where the seat of Middle Eastern power was for almost 500 years. Could it be that the emerging of Turkey as a strong Middle Eastern influence with its increasing Islamic lean is the emerging of an eighth empire, an Islamic Empire, that will eventually rule over Israel? Time will tell, but it is very possible!
Now let’s talk about the most interesting part of this whole scenario. Recep Erdogan, the President of Turkey is becoming a huge player in rallying the Arabic nations into a political unity. His stated goal is the reemergence of a Middle Eastern Islamic caliphate that is ruled by Sharia law (the laws that govern Muslims taken from the Koran and the Hadith – the writings and sayings of Mohammed). Turkey carries a lot of political clout in the Middle East and is the one nation that may be able to bring the different factions of Muslims (Sunni and Shiite) together reaching for a common goal of unity among the Islamic nations in the Middle East and Northern Africa, and then a complete domination of Israel.
Turkey has the 2nd largest army in NATO, and is re-emerging as a key player in the Middle East. Keep watching as this nation is mentioned more and more.
The turmoil in past years in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, and other nations there will eventuate into radical Islam and Sharia law being integrated into the fabric of these nation’s governments. The eventual end of this will be these and other Islamic nations uniting under the rule of the AntiChrist and attacking Israel.
The terrorist attacks that we have seen all over Europe are the results of radicalized Jihadist seeking to create fear and instability in order to push their ideology of the rule of Islam and Sharia law over Western nations. It is interesting that news sources indicate that Recep Erdogan is behind the infiltration of Syrian refugees into the countries of Europe. The goal of these Jihadist attacks throughout Europe is the annihilation of western democratic power and the establishment of Islamic rule.
In my view, we are living in a time of the fulfillment of Bible prophecy concerning Jesus Second Coming. The rapture of the church and the Second Coming of Christ could easily happen in our lifetime. It seems as though there is a quickening of the pace of the words of the Old Testament Prophets being fulfilled. Isaiah, Daniel, Joel, Ezekiel, Zechariah, and others were moved upon by the Holy Spirit and have given clear detail as to what the Middle East would look like at the Second Coming of Christ. Their words are in the process of being fulfilled now!
Jesus will come back in His blazing Glory to defeat the nations that detest Israel, Jews, and Christianity at the battle of Armageddon (Ezekiel 38-39, Revelation 19). I’m sharing these things to show you that world conditions are ripening to the soon return of Jesus.
Joel prophesied that a huge revival with encompass the earth at the same time that the AntiChrist comes to power (see Joel 2:28-32). This is a day for you and me to really get serious about Jesus in our lives. It’s time to be through with compromise and lukewarm living. The day of Jesus return is shorter than you may realize. It’s time to wake up! World conditions are quickly lining up with prophetic revelation from the Bible!
I’ll leave you with Paul’s comments on the day from Romans 13:11-14 – New Living Translation:
This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. (12) The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living. (13) Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy. (14) Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires .