Goodnews Christian Ministry
"Listen, a rumbling in the mountains like a great crowd. Listen! The din of kingdoms, of nations mustering. It is the Lord God Almighty marshalling the troops for battle. They come from the far horizons, God and the instruments of his fury to lay the whole earth waste." ---Isaiah 13:4-5
"Then I saw a second beast; it emerged from the ground;
it had two horns like a lamb, but made a noise like a dragon. This second beast was servant to the first beast, and extended its authority everywhere,
making the world and all its people worship the first beast,
which had the mortal wound and had been healed.
And it worked great miracles, even to calling down fire from heaven on to the earth while people watched."
When Daniel said that the Rebel of the End will "use the people of a foreign God to defend his fortresses" Dn.11:39), it meant that we must look beyond the geographic identity of his forces to their religious composition as well.
The vast majority of people in the areas involved in Daniel's prophecies who are religious are currently Islamic -- both in the North and the South -- and while political empires have come and gone over the intervening centuries, the muslim presence in these lands has not waned at all -- in fact, it has grown stronger.
Because it is not likely that the Rebel will be able to overcome this vast Islamic influence in his empire, he will have to alter it.
This is exactly what Daniel predicted when he indicated that those who support the Rebel will not worship like their fathers or ancestors did. Instead, they will honor a god of fortresses and wealth.
"Heedless of his fathers' gods, heedless of the one whom women love, heedless of any god whatever, he will consider himself greater than them all. Instead of them, he will honor a god of fortresses -- a god unknown to his ancestors with gold and silver, precious stones and valuable presents." (Dn.11:37-38).
Daniel's words clearly indicate that the Rebel will honor a god unfamiliar to the Islamic rulers of today.
The Koran strictly forbids the worship of gold and silver. So if the Rebel of the future commands muslim forces, they will have to be different than any ever seen before -- an entirely new sect.
Because Shiite muslims detest the West, are prone to the use of violence to achieve their ends, and given their strength in what was once the Parthian stronghold of Iran, it could be argued that the Persian army to come will be composed of members of this sect.
While the early hostilities may well involve Shiite muslims fighting against Sunni muslims, the Rebel himself, worshipping gold and silver, will obviously gather support from a group that has nothing to do with either of these.
Confirming this, Daniel has revealed that the Rebel's following will start from a very small base. (Dn.11:23).
It is not surprising that profound changes could soon occur in the religious character of the Middle East given the widespread warfare that scripture says will ravage this part of the world as the days of the end wind down.
Religions can be changed by warfare. When the Roman army rolled through Judea in 70 A.D., it completely erased the Jewish religious structure we read about in the New Testament; and that warfare cannot begin to compare with the violence the Bible predicts is now about to unfold in the Middle East.
In the short time that is left, the muslim religion, now so ubiquitous in the Middle East, has no possibility of simply dissolving and disappearing.
It is certain, however, to fracture.
The fundamental structure underlying Daniel's prophecies, remember, calls for a divided Middle East -- one that splits apart at the Euphrates river. Because Islamic politics and religion are so closely united, this could not occur without a concomitant and shattering theological schism within the muslim faith.
Since none of the forces of the future are likely to supplant Islamic supremacy in the Middle East or alter the ethnic balances of the regions specified in the prophecies (on one side of the Euphrates, the Persians -- descendants of the Parthians -- and on the other side of this river, the Arabs), whatever happens there must occur within the framework of these two pre-existing cultures.
What the prophecies call for are conditions to appear which will inflame emotions to such a pitch in this area that it will produce a schism between these two groups so violent that it will forever alter the moderate and peaceful policies now holding sway there.
There can be no doubt, then, that Daniel's prophecies reveal a future marked by a major split in the muslim world -- a rent so severe that it will become the fundamental mechanism for all the warfare of the last days.
It will create the 'North' and the 'South' in Daniel's prophecies -- a division the very roots of which will exist on schismatic terms.
The ten-nations will be deeply involved in this split -- promoting it, in fact -- and as the time of the end gets closer the people of these two areas (separated from one another by the Euphrates river) will become involved in a series of armed conflicts that will escalate in intesity as they progress. (Dn.11:5-13).
In these battles the areas that lie above and to the east of the Euphrates will be pitted against the nations that lie to the south and west of this river. (See Map).
This can mean nothing less than Islamic civil war -- a civil war dividing the Arab muslims in the south from the Parthian strongholds of Persia and the Asian north.
The entire scenario of Middle Eastern politics in the prophecies of Daniel revolves around the battles and truces between these two empires -- with a third force -- the superior forces of the West (almost certainly the United States), acting to try to modify the aggressive policies of the North.
This means that the turbulence which is now beginning to sweep across the planet today in the wake of Satan's reappearance on earth will continue to grow in its scope and intensity -- and as it does so it will drive moderation and peace out of most human hearts and replace these values with bitter hatred and a clamor for war.
This planet-wide return to brutality and paganism at the end, so clearly defined in the prophecies, is the very mobilization John alluded to in his description of Satan's return from the Abyss. (Rv.20:8).
The false prophet will be closely correlated with Satan's plan for this angry mobilization. His two horns will deceive the nations and enrage them to the point where they willingly carry out all the brutality the visions of scripture predict.
These two horns, at least one religious, yet both brutal, seem closely related to the expected appearance on earth of a future 'false messiah'.
There have been several Jews down through the centuries making claims to this title. One just a year or so ago, was written about in the New York Times.
The last serious contender was a military leader, Ben Koseba, proclaimed by Rabbi Akiba as both Messiah and the 'Star' of Numbers 24:17.
Deriving his messianic title from scripture, Rabbi Akiba dubbed this Jewish warrior 'Bar Kokeba' (Son of the Star). Instrumental in the final destruction of Judea, he led the last revolt against the Romans in 135 A.D., and died in the process; his claim to the title dying with him.
As do the Jews, most muslims also believe that a messiah lies in the world's future.
According to the Koran, he is to be called 'Al Mahdi' (the 'guided one'). And when he appears he is expected to restore the glory and power of Islam throughout the world.
Unlike the Christian Messiah, Al Mahdi, according to Islamic tradition, will be beneath God, not His equal. So there will be no Trinity associated with him.
Perhaps the most famous challenger to this title in the past was Hasa ibn-Sbah, who, many centuries ago spurned the Koran and all of its moral laws and founded the muslim order of Assassins.
Hasa ibn-Sbah's appearance shows that precedent has already been set in the Islamic world for the acceptance by some of a militant and violent messiah.
So while the Rebel's philosophy -- a theology based on emperor-worship -- will violate everything decreed by the Koran, he could still try to claim an alliance with Mohammed by discarding that Islamic scripture the way Hasa ibn-sbah did.
By claiming to have received the blessings of Mohammed, the Rebel, standing on the doorstep of imminent victory in an Islamic civil war, could put himself in a position to make a powerful claim to the messianic title of Al Mahdi.
Especially after he sets the stage for muslim reunification by tearing down the resistance of the traditional Islamic forces gathered against him in the South.
It seems certain that the desire to accomplish such reunification will be a strong underlying agenda in the Rebel's war with Israel and the gathering of all the armies at the battlefield of Armageddon.
Moreover, the incredible victories which accompany his swift rise to power will be viewed, all over the world, as having a divine component to them.
By crushing the Arab moderates and eradicating Christian influences throughout Asia and the western nations of Europe and replacing these with his own philosophies, he could well appear to some the Islamic hero of the prophecies.
After all, world rule for him would lie just beyond Armageddon.
The problem with this, of course, (and it is a major problem) -- the Rebel of the last days is going to claim that he, himself, is God. (2 Thes.3:4).
No muslim today could ever accept such a claim -- not from anybody.
Furthermore, Daniel's prophecies show that the religion of the beast will be nothing like the religion practiced in the Middle East now -- it will be a faith of pomp and show -- of nationalistic glory and emperor worship -- reproducing on earth the kind of ostentatious spectacle that emanated from the ancient Roman empire at the height of its glory.
The Koran specifically forbids such pageantry -- prohibiting even statues and icons. Emphasizing this contrast, Daniel says that the Rebel will reject the God of his fathers and set himself up in God's place. "Heedless of his fathers' gods...heedless of any god whatever, he will consider himself greater than them all." (Dn.11:37).
Not unlike Christians, most muslims believe that the world is coming to an end and that certain 'signs' will occur which will usher this final day in. Among the signs that muslims expect to see involve a decay in faith; various turmoils across the earth; increased warfare and the appearance of an 'Antichrist'.
At the conclusion of these hostilities, the people of Mohammed expect, not just Al Mahdi, but Jesus as well to appear on earth; and when he does so, to reject Christianity and to rule in favor of Islam.
In this respect, there is an intriguing prophecy in the Book of Daniel which has God ruling, instead, in favor of the crushed forces of Christianity. "I watched the horn making war on the saints and proving the stronger until the coming of the one of great age who gave judgment in favor of the saints of the Most High..." (Dn.7:21-22).
Some muslims believe that when Jesus returns in the last days, he will not only reject Christianity and choose Islam, but that he will also assassinate a religious figure on earth which is reputed to be the Antichrist. After completing this violent assault he will then assume a station subservient to that of Al Mahdi.
Since a key assassination is at the heart of the Christian prophecies as well (Dn.9:26), it seems inevitable that these two forecasts will converge at the conclusion of history.
In Christian prophecy it is not Jesus, but the Antichrist who will direct the assassination, and it will be aimed at a great Christian leader, termed by Daniel, 'The Anointed One'. (Dn.9:26).
The most notable Christian figure on earth, of course (especially in the Eastern Hemisphere), is the Pope. He leads the largest Christian church in the world and has his headquarters in Rome -- the city that most Christian's believe is Babylon, the capitol city of the pagan world.
Any extremist capable of successfully corrupting the religion of his own ancestors the way scripture foresees the beast doing in the last days would have little compunction branding the Christian Bishop of Rome, the Antichrist. It is a view, after all, that thousands of Protestant Christians have entertained for centuries.
Committed to warfare against Christ in the last days, this same malignant attitude will almost certainly seep into the Rebel's hostile theology as well, leading him, when the time is appropriate, to issue a call for this Bishop to be removed.
Any 'Jesus pretender' who might happen upon the scene at that time, willing to carry out such a wicked call, would appear to many to have fulfilled the prophecy.
Salmon Rushdie has proved that calls for public assassination can come from the religious east even during ordered times, let alone during times like those of the beast when everything is out of control and religious principles are all crashing down like hailstones.
In his vision, John saw two beasts coming against the House of Israel. The first beast is Babylon -- a creature with seven heads and ten horns. The second beast is a creature John called the 'False Prophet'. (Rv.16:13).
The False Prophet, John wrote, had two horns and made a noise like a dragon. It was a servant of the first beast and in that servitude, extended the authority of the first beast everywhere, making the world and all its people worship Babylon.
The only people on earth who will not worship the beast or have themselves branded with his name are those who turn their lives over to Jesus. Everyone else, the Bible says, will become a servant of the beast. (Rv.13:8).
The False Prophet will command everyone on earth to worship the first beast, and everyone in the world will do so except those whose names have been written in God's Book of Life. Again, the first beast is Babylon -- the creature mortally wounded by the preaching of the Gospel.
The message of the False Prophet, then, can be seen in every teaching that arises in opposition to Jesus and His Gospel -- whether it be intellectual, philosophical or religious -- and no matter which age it ever appeared in.
However, the presence of this figure will be most apparent in the last days when it preaches all-out war on Christ. It will play a central role in the destruction of the Church.
Commanding spiritual obedience by all the people conquered in the victories of the confederacy of the beast, the first horn of this prophet will strongly oppose Christianity, promoting a harsh philosophy of religious and moral austerity in its place.
The second horn, far more pagan and secular, will command honor to a god of gold and silver. A warmongering god. (Dn.11:37-39).
Its two horns are the two great philosophers who will arise to command the world to the obedience of these non-Christian doctrines, and whose policies effectively dismantle the work on earth of the servants of Jesus Christ.
John's characterization of this second beast as a 'prophet' clearly reveals its affiliation with religion. (Rv.16:13, 19:20, 20:10).
The fact that he calls the second beast a 'false' prophet confirms that its teaching will be opposed to the philosophy of Jesus Christ.
The second beast, then, (the False Prophet) will constitute a religious empire intensely hostile to the Lord and to his Church -- it's two horns the two figures who will bring these philosophies to world power.
The fact that these two horns are characterized as being lamb-like, while issuing the sound of a dragon, lets us know that the second beast will appear in religious form, but it's two horns will be bent on mayhem: "...it had two horns like a lamb, but made a noise like a dragon." (Rv.13:11).
Despite its religious veneer, this empire and the religion it promotes will be war-like and have a strong tendency toward violence.
All these images point to the warfare against Jesus Christ which will be promoted by the Confederation of the Medes in the last days.
As we have already shown, the ten-nation empire from which the beast is destined to spring will produce two kings who are very similar. The second of these two kings will be the Great Rebel -- the beast, himself.
Both of these northern rulers will cross the Euphrates river and make deep incursions into the west, and both will defeat the army of Israel as they come against Jerusalem.
In its appetite for warfare, this second beast (the ten-nation eastern confederacy) will be the servant of the first beast (pagan Babylon). In fact, at the very end the two will actually merge, transforming the False Prophet and the beast into a single entity.
By leading the eastern forces to Rome, the second horn of the False Prophet will end up becoming the eighth and last head of the beast itself.
This is not as confusing as it sounds.
Emperor worship is its own religion.
Seeing himself as the reincarnation of Nero, this final Parthian king, already claiming himself to be the messiah of the prophecies, will be obsessed with rebuilding Nero's earlier empire. In order to do this he will need to move his headquarters to Rome.
With that accomplished he will then issue an order transforming the ten-nation empire of the East into a reincarnated Roman empire. "This second beast was servant to the first beast, and extended its authority everywhere, making the world and all its people worship the first beast, which had received the fatal wound that had been healed." (Rv.13:12).
By this decree, what had been the empire of the Medes will suddenly become the empire of Rome, reincarnated.
In that instant the Prince of Persia will become the final Caesar of Rome.
This will transform the second horn of the False Prophet into the eighth head of paganism -- i.e., the eighth head of the dragon in John's vision.
He will accomplish this twist of prophecy by crowning himself emperor.
His self-appointment to this post is one of the reasons he is referenced apart from the other seven in the prophecies. "He will not be given royal honors, but will insinuate himself into them in his own time and gain possession of the kingdom by intrigue." (Dn.11:5).
A part of this 'intrigue' will include the 'false Jesus' bowing to the Rebel (who has taken up residence in the Vatican) after he has violently removed his predecessor from the throne of St. Peter.
It is at this point that the Beast will issue his famous proclamation, raise the Abomination and implement branding in order to distinguish Christians from non-Christians in his empire.
"He compelled everyone -- small and great, rich and poor, slave and citizen -- to be branded on the right hand or on the forehead, and made it illegal for anyone to buy or sell anythng unless he had been branded with the name of the beast or with the number of its name." (Rv.13:14-17).
It is clear that once the Rebel comes to power, he will promote, not just a continuance of the militant polices of his predecessor, but launch a terrible holy war against the spiritual structure of the western world (its Christian community), as well.
As we have already seen in the Book of Daniel, his initial act in this endeavor will be to murderously remove the Christian Bishop who oversees Rome, and this will be followed by an attempt to remove all others on earth who follow the tenants of the Christian Church.
The Rebel's vendetta will include not only Christians and Jews, but all muslims who fail to support him.
His willful attack on the main body of the House of Israel on earth will encompass the last stages of the harvest of Israel. It will be a most terrible time on earth.
The violence of this period, of course, will bring to maturity the 'rapture; which, in its final aspects will occur amidst unprecedented devastation and bitter warfare.
This purge is defined in scripture as the second war of the Apocalypse -- the second war of the end-times.
The first war occured in the wake of Christ's crucifixion and involved all those Christians fed to lions during the days of the Caesar's. The second war will lead to Armageddon. And between the two has existed the 1700-year troubled millenium of Christian rule on the planet.
And so it is that the grain harvested by God will come to lie on the threshing floor of Babylon. (Jer.51:33).
Everyone who does not follow Christ, the Book of Revelation says, shall be considered a servant of the beast.
This means that the Great secular Revolt against Christ which is now sweeping the world is part and parcel of the teaching of the False Prophet.
Paul said that "nothing can happen until the Great Revolt has taken place..." (2 Thes.2:3).
Obviously, then, the Christian world has come to the most decisive moment in its entire history right now. The Revolt that Paul warned about is beginning to spread across the globe.
That means the message of the False Prophet can be seen today. We can view one part of it in the secular and pagan revolt that is driving the world community out of the Church, and we can see another part in the religious antagonism toward Christianity growing so virulent now in the Middle East.
Only full scale prayer and repentance by the people of the world can slow down the processes which this two-pronged Revolt have begun to unleash.
If such repentance does not happen, the end will come very quickly. There is little time, because we are close to a point where repentance will no longer be possible. Jesus warned that "once the master of the house has got up and locked the door, you may find yourself knocking (in vain)".
This is why world prayer is so essential -- especially now. And it explains why Christian visionaries in the churches today are proclaiming this need on a greater scale than ever before in history.
The forces which the Revolt are unleashing are very powerful, but God has given the people of Christ a power that is even greater -- as long as it is used.
If not, or if there is no faith through which the power of God can flow in order to make that prayer work -- the pagan forces which are now beginning to make their bold reappearance in the world will find little opposition in their attempt to return the world to Satan's complete control.
While intelligent and thoughtful diplomacy can play an important role in ameliorating the tensions that are now building in the world, only a spiritual renewal in Christ can actually reverse the turbulent processes now in progress.
That is because the real power of the East lies in the West's rejection of Christ's word. For this reason, faith, prayer and a return by the western world to the ethical commandments of Christ is the only process that can alter the timetable concerning these events.
That is why a deep spiritual revival is such a crucial imperative during these momentous times.
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