Over the past four years I have studied, prayed, and studied some more about Second Coming of Christ and how it will play out in a practical way. As a result of my intense studies, I have changed my belief system about the Rapture of the Church, Jesus’ Second Coming, and how it will affect us as Christians.
Walid Shoebat will be at Victory Church this weekend, so I want to address some of the the insights I have received from him and others about Jesus’ return. Walid is a former Muslim turned Christian and has written an excellent book, God’s War on Terror in which he reveals a belief that Islam and its Jihad ideology may be a key player in bringing the events spoken of in Revelation to fruition.
I also read a book entitled The Islamic Anti-Christ by Joel Richardson which again reveals an eerie parallel between the coming Islamic leader called the Mahdi and the Anti-Christ reveal 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 Anti-Christ will come from that region of the world.
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 Ottoman Empire (Islamic) toppled the Byzantine Roman Empire in Constantinople by 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 II, 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 of the coast of Northern Africa that hindered free trade.
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. There is a striking and possible parallel with this development 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 Anti-Christ 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. From history, we know that the first six of these empires that ruled over Israel are 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!
Then, notice that verse 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 anti-Christ 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 simply state it again. 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 II. 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 be the emerging of an eighth empire, an Islamic Empire, that will eventually rule over the Middle East and then seek to attack Israel? Time will tell, but it is very possible!
Now let’s talk about the most interesting part of this whole scenario. Recep Erdogen, the Turkish Prime Minister, is becoming a huge player in rallying the Arabic nations into a political unity. He is involved in talks with the leader of the Palestinians, Mahmoud Abbas, and is encouraging him to make peace with Israel. 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 together reaching for a common goal of unity among the Islamic nations in the Middle East and Northern Africa, then 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 Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, and other nations there will eventuate into radical Islam being integrated and Sharia law being integrated into the fabric of these nation’s governments. The eventual end of this will be these nations uniting under the rule of the anti-Christ and attacking Israel.
Jesus will come back in His blazing Glory to defeat these nations 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 anti-Christ 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 condition are quickly lining up with prophetic revelation from the Bible!
I’ll leave you with Paul’s comments on the day:
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 (Romans 13:11-14 –NLT).