2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 (NASB) 3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.
How does the “man of lawlessness” “take his seat” in a temple that no longer stands?1 “Obviously, it must be rebuilt,” you say? Gonna be awhile, then. The “coming of our Lord Jesus” will not occur until the “man of lawlessness” is revealed and the “apostasy comes first.” As most of you know, I interpret the “man of lawlessness” to be the spirit of antichrist that was made manifest through Islam’s messenger, Muhammad. The apostasy, of course, is the falling away of believers in the end-times for various reasons. One need only do a head-count on most Sunday mornings to see that the day of apostasy is fast upon us. So what about the man-of-lawlessness “taking his seat” in the holy place?
(Reuters) – By Ahmed Rasheed, BAGHDAD,Wed Mar 11, 2015 10:36am EDT
Iraqi security forces and militias fought their way into Saddam Hussein’s home city of Tikrit on Wednesday, advancing from the north and south in their biggest counter-offensive so far against Islamic State militants. The provincial governor said the army and militia fighters captured part of the northern district of Qadisiya, while in the south of the Tigris river city a security officer said another force made a rapid push toward the center. … More than 20,000 troops and Iranian-backed Shi’ite Muslim militias known as Hashid Shaabi, supported by local Sunni Muslim tribes, launched the offensive for Tikrit 10 days ago, advancing from the east and along the Tigris river.
The Islamic State is a Sunni-Salafi Islamist organization which declared itself the “caliphate” of Islam on June 29, 2014. (Read more). The Islamic State overran Tikrit in June, 2014, in one of the deadliest battles of the ISIS surge into north Iraq. Tikrit is the birthplace of the late Saddam Hussein who likened himself to ancient King Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 1:1) of Babylon, who besieged and destroyed Jerusalem in three separate sieges, 605, 597, 586 BC. Many of the senior members of Saddam’s Iraqi government were from Saddam’s own Tikriti tribe, the Al-Bu Nasir, and were members of his Iraqi Republican Guard, headquartered in Tikrit during Saddam’s presidency.
Iraqi forces (Sunni and Shia) are now launching a counter-attack to retake Tikrit from ISIS. The primary force in the counter-attack appears to be Iranian-backed, Hashid-Shaabi (literally, “Popular Mobilization“), comprised of local Shia militias from various areas in Iraq. Iranian Quds Force commander General Qasem Soleimaniwas seen in Iraq directing Shia militias in their fight against ISIS militants. ISIS is reported to be straining to hold on to areas it claimed easily in 2014, including Mosul, where loudspeakers warned residents fleeing Mosul they would be considered apostates if they fled. Perhaps evidence of ISIS loosing its grip on 2014 territories gained is the destruction of ancient archeological sites in areas previously taken. Reports include destruction of artifacts from the ancient city of Dur-Sharrukin near Mosul as well as the famed Nergal Gate entry to the ancient city of Nineveh and bulldozing the site of Nimrud (Genesis 10:8-10).
There are some interesting parallels between what is happening in the Middle East right now and Bible prophecy. A key passage is Daniel 11 which provides in part:
Daniel 11:43-45 (NASB) “But he will gain control over the hidden treasures of gold and silver and over all the precious things of Egypt; and Libyans and Ethiopians will follow at his heels. … But rumors from the East and from the North will disturb him, and he will go forth with great wrath to destroy and annihilate many. 45 “He will pitch the tents of his royal pavilion between the seas and the beautiful Holy Mountain; yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him.
The nations from the East and North are significant in Bible prophecy. Biblically, Babylon (modern-day Iraq) is referred to as the nation “from the North” (Ezekiel 1:4, 9:1, 26:7). Persia (modern-day Iran) is referred to as the nation “from the East” (Isaiah 41:2, 46:11). Daniel 11:45 states that these two nations will “disturb him,”and this is exactly what is occuring right now. This “disturbance” will cause the antichrist-type of Daniel 11 to erupt in wrath and destroy and annihilate many.
If Daniel 11:44-45 is in the process of being fulfilled by ISIS, several events must still take place before the Islamic State “will come to its end.” First, the antichrist-type must “enter the Beautiful land. (Daniel 11:41). The Beautiful land is Israel, but notice, he only “enters” the Beautiful land. The Beautiful land does not appear to fall to him as does Egypt (Daniel 11:42). Second, Egypt must fall and its “precious things” will be taken over by the antichrist-type. Daniel 11:42-43. Third, the antichrist-type must make Jerusalem his capital (Daniel 11:45); or, at least he will declare it to be so since Daniel 11:43 states he only “enters” the Beautiful land. Lastly, many countries will fall to his hand. Daniel 11:42, 11:44.
If we looked at other hints in the passage to determine its application, we have at least these:
1. He seeks to be “acknowledged” by others (Daniel 11:39) in the same way that the Islamic State seeks to be acknowledged by Muslims the world over as the caliphate and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as its legitimate caliph;
2. The Islamic State is already ransacking the ancient treasures of Iraq just as it is prophesied to do of Egypt. If we interpret this as a characteristic of the Islamic State for it to occur in Iraq implies it will also apply in Egypt — in due time. Daniel 11:43.
3. Boko Haram has just proclaimed allegiance to the Islamic State, revoking its allegiance to al Qaeda. This is significant since Boko Haram’s influence extends to the western border of Egypt, i.e., Niger, and by proclaiming allegiance to ISIS, ISIS now extends its reach into North Africa. Given that the Daniel 11 prophecy extends itself to the fall of Egypt, Boko Haram’s African force should not be dismissed as meaningless since it now nearly surrounds Egypt. This is the case particularly when one considers that the Islamic State includes militant forces in the Sinai Peninsula which have continued to attack Egyptian forces after the fall of Muhammad Morsi. The impact of Boko Haram’s allegiance to ISUS is described by NBC news analyst as follows:
The transaction is important because Boko Haram controls an area where “ISIS has very little, if any, control,” Laith Alkhouri, director of Middle East and North African research and analysis at Flashpoint, told NBC News when the offer was made last weekend. “This gives ISIS the extra credibility and the additional territory to further its growth around the world.”
4. The final hint contained in the prophecy is the last sentence of the last verse — “… and no one will help him.” This statement is particularly relevant when one considers that the success of ISIS will depend on whether or not other Muslims join them in their jihad (either by personal efforts or financial efforts). According to James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, financial donations to ISIS have fallen dramatically. Clapper states:
Donations to Islamic State jihadists have dramatically declined in the wake of brutal executions by the group that have shocked public opinion in the Middle East, the chief of US intelligence said Monday. “I think there is change afoot in the Mideast,” said James Clapper, director of national intelligence, referring to perceptions of the IS group in the region.
What this statement by Clapper implies is that in spite of the fact that ISIS has been so successful, its success is beginning to show cracks. These cracks could become more significant to the point that ISIS will ultimately lose its support around the world. This is what Daniel 11:45 prophesies.
As we seek to interpret Bible prophecy, our interpretations cannot be dogmatic; but that does not mean we cannot find the identifiers and hints in prophetic passages and make informed conclusions. If ISIS is in Daniel 11, then there is much to unfold in Bible prophecy, including the revealing of the Antichrist, the last false prophet. Daniel 11:45 states the antichrist-type prophesied therein will “come to his end.” When he does, another will fill his place; for there is only one “last false prophet,” and that one will be the Antichrist. Perhaps this will be Muhammad al-Mahdi, the one “who was, and is not, and is about to come up from the abyss and go to destruction.” (Revelation 17:8).
Al-Monitor reports Matthew Olsen, Director of US National Counterterrrorism Center, describes two issues — the threat of an attack on US soil on 9/11/14, and the Islamic State becoming the dominant voice in the global jihadist movement (outpacing al-Qaeda):
By Barbara Slavin, Sept 3, 2014. Matthew Olsen, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said Sept. 3 that the Islamic State (IS) “poses a multifaceted threat” to the United States but there was no “credible information” at present that the group was planning to attack in the United States or had a cell of fighters here capable of doing so. … However, in rare, wide-ranging public comments that followed the beheading of a second American journalist in Syria by IS, Olsen told a packed audience at the Brookings Institution in Washington that the terrorist group was “an extremely dangerous organization” that was “threatening to outpace al-Qaeda as the dominant voice of influence in the global jihadist movement” because of its territorial advances, financial resources and sophisticated propaganda. …IS “has proven to be an effective fighting force,” Olsen said, which “employs a battlefield strategy that is both complex and adaptive” and mixes terrorism with paramilitary assaults. … Even though al-Qaeda expelled IS earlier this year because of the latter’s extreme brutality toward other Muslims and religious minorities, members of al-Qaeda have traveled from Pakistan to Syria recently and IS pamphlets have been spotted in the Pakistani border city of Peshawar. Asked if IS might not assist in a revival of al-Qaeda and the Taliban in South Asia, especially as the US withdraws from Afghanistan, Olsen said the United States was aware of the possibility and would work to prevent that…. “Since the fall of Mosul, [al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri] has said nothing about IS, Caliph Ibrahim or the American war in Iraq,” Riedel told Al-Monitor in an email. “That is very unusual for him and very intriguing. AQAP has called IS ‘brothers’ and offered advice on fighting drones. My guess is that AQ/[Zawahri] and AQAP want to avoid further public disagreements with what is a winning organization at least now.” Read more.
GENEVA (Reuters) – The United Nations, expressing deep concern, said on Thursday that militant group Islamic State had ordered all girls and women in and around Iraq’s northern city of Mosul to undergo female genital mutilation. … “We have current reports of imposition of a directive that all female girl children and women up to the age of 49 must be circumcised. This is something very new for Iraq, particularly in this area, and is of grave concern and does need to be addressed,” Badcock said. (Read more)
Here are two posts that specifically address the oppression of women in Islam and the fulfillment of Daniel 11:37 NASB by such actions.
Islam’s Treatment of Women – The Odor of Antichrist Abounds – Read more.
No regard for the “desire of women” – Islam Fits the Profile – Read more.
The Reuters article gives an explanation of the specifics of “FGM” and the degrading, cruel, and heinous impact upon women:
FGM, the partial or total removal of external female genitalia, is a tradition practised widely in many African and Muslim countries and often justified as a means of suppressing a woman’s sexual desire to prevent “immoral” behaviour. Worldwide, more than 130 million girls and women have undergone FGM and more than 700 million women alive today were children when they were married. … “This is not the will of Iraqi people, or the women of Iraq in these vulnerable areas covered by the terrorists,” she added.
I suppose it goes without saying that FGM “is not the will of … the women of Iraq.” Only in the darkness could such a practice be a part of any “religion.” In fact, such a practice reveals the presence of evil in the religion. It is what my book, Islam the Cloak of Antichrist, seeks to reveal to the world. Islam is not a religion of peace. It is the hand through which Islam will operate.
Jesus come quickly.
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Good morning to my subscribers. It is good to be in the house of the Lord – and the whole earth is His sanctuary to those who abide in Him through faith. May the Lord’s face shine on the desolate places today that all the world might know the Only-Begotten One. Daniel 9:17 NASB.
Today is my first day back in this country from a ten-day trip to a country on the other side of the world. Since away, I have pretty much been unable to access internet and other outlets normally available. It will take me a few days to get caught up on unread emails and some more days before posting to my blog. I cannot wait to be fully engaged again as I seek to interpret the events of our world in light of the prophecies of Scripture. I must tell you — I have been to the mountaintop; that place where God transforms us from the inside out; that place where we are drawn-in to Him, revived and strengthened for serving Him in the Valley. Mark 9:9-10 NASB. I am ever more convinced that the spirit of antichrist is active (1 John 4:3 NASB) and at war with the Holy One and those who serve Him. Revelation 12:17 NASB. It is my joy to be one of many who wait for the day of the Lord’s coming and the defeat and imprisonment of the weak, deceiving one, who has made captive so many of God’s children. Revelation 20:3 NASB. I shall stand with the body of Christ declaring that the “will of God be done on earth as it is in heaven,” and that one day the good Lord Jesus will forever bind-up satan and his minions. I join the righteous as we declare victory in the blood of the Lamb and defeat of the dark one, and I pray to my Lord that I may prove worthy of suffering in His name. 2 Timothy 1:8 NASB. May my strength be in the fullness of His coming victory and may the Lord Christ make me ever faithful in my work against satan. Thank you, Lord, that it will not be in my personal righteousness that I will be victorious but only in the blood of the Lamb and the power of the word of testimony that He has given me. Revelation 12:11 NASB.
It is good to be on the side of the Lamb, and to find my only comfort, my only hope, my only resting place in the one Name, Jesus Christ, given to men that we might be saved.
Ezekiel 28:14-15 (NASB) 14 “You were the anointed cherub who covers, And I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked in the midst of the stones of fire. 15 “You were blameless in your ways From the day you were created Until unrighteousness was found in you.
There was a time when verse 14 above had a meaning quite different than I know it to be now. Originally, I assumed the Hebrew word translated “covers” referred to a protective type of covering, sort of like a mother might “cover” her child for warmth or protection. Then I looked deeper. “Cover” in the original language means to “overshadow, screen, cover . . .” as in Exodus 40:3, Lamentations 3:43-44 (see BDB Hebrew Lexicon). That is, the anointed cherub (satan) is the one who “covers,” who is veiled, in the sense that he masks or overshadows himself so that his presence is not known. We find this precise meaning in Matthew 16:22-23 where Jesus is the only one who is aware of satan’s presence. Satan has “covered” himself through the one disciple least possible to be duped: Simon Peter, the Rock. The verse reads:
Matthew 16:23 (NASB) But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”
Reuter’s Reports: “CHILMARK/VINEYARD HAVEN, Massachusetts – President Barack Obama announced on Thursday that the United States is cancelling joint military exercises with Egypt next month, saying normal U.S. cooperation cannot continue in light of the armed forces’ bloody crackdown.” (Read more)
According to Reuter’s, “Stopping military exercises in Egypt was one clear way the White House could show its displeasure. It was the first significant U.S. move to penalize Egypt’s military rulers. Previously, the U.S. government had announced a decision to halt delivery to Egypt of four U.S.-made F-16 fighters.”
Perhaps a quick review of some key historical developments might be helpful:
Egypt-Israeli peace accord signed in 1979 at Camp David, a consequence of which was the beginning of significant United States military aid to Egypt (and Israel). According to the Congressional Research Study (author Jeremy Sharp) #RL33003, p. 9, United States aid to Egypt and Israel in 1979 totaled $7.3billion, each. According to the same report, “Since 1979, Egypt has been the second-largest recipient, after Israel, of U.S. bilateral foreign assistance.”
The United States aid to Egypt since 1987 has been $1.3 billion, annually.1 In addition to the aid of $1.3 billion, Egypt receives a significant portion of financing for its defense budget. According to CRS #33003, it is estimated that U.S. military aid covers as much as 80% of the Egyptian Defense Ministry’s weapons procurement costs.2
On February 11, 2011, former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak (1981 – 2011) “waived” his presidential powers over to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.3 Mubarak’s departure was in response to the developments in the Muslim world popularly known as Arab Spring. (Read more)
On June 30, 2012, Muslim Brotherhood candidate Muhammad Morsi was elected president of Egypt in what has been described as the first democratic election in the history of Egypt. In November, 2012, Morsi granted himself unlimited powers to “protect” the nation from the Mubarak-era power structure which remained in place following his election. He also gave himself the power to legislate without judicial oversight. Egyptians erupted over his actions (except, of course, his supporters; members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Salafis, and other Islamist groups). On December 8, 2012, Morsi rescinded his own actions, but mass protests had already begun and would only intensify. (Read more)
On December 22, 2012, a new Sharia-based constitution was signed by President Morsi after its ratification by Egyptians in a democratic vote. The constitution had been drafted by the Islamist controlled Egyptian parliamentary and recommended for approval to the Egyptian people. (Read more)
On July 3, 2013, the armed forces chief, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, announced that the constitution had been “suspended provisionally” and that Muhammad Morsi had been “unseated.” (Read more) The actions of General al-Sisi were described by many to be the result of a military coup; by others as an act to restore democracy to Egyptian people.
On July 14, 2013, over 640 members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of Muhammad Morsi were killed by security forces in Cairo as they participated in peaceful protests. Reports estimated the wounded in the 1,000’s. (Read more) Other attacks against Christian targets occurred throughout Egypt in retaliation for the killings by the security forces:
Islamists staged revenge attacks on Christian targets in several areas, torching churches, homes and business after Coptic Pope Tawadros (a member of the council that unseated Morsi) gave his blessing to the military takeover that ousted Mursi, security sources and state media said. (Read more)
Military aid of $1.3billion to Egypt from the United States is in jeopardy. If a coup occurred in Egypt, United States law prohibits any further aid be given to Egypt. One report states:
The United States says the action does not fit the legal definition of a coup because the military acted not to take over the nation but to restore democracy. If the Obama administration labeled the action a coup, it would be forced to withhold $1.3 billion in foreign aid that the United States gives the Egyptian military annually. Egyptians who have risen up against the Muslim Brotherhood also reject the “coup” label. (Read more) To the contrary, read more.
So what does all this have to do with Bible prophecy?
Daniel 11:42-43 (NASB) 42“Then he will stretch out his hand against other countries, and the land of Egypt will not escape. But he will gain control over the hidden treasures of gold and silver and over all the precious things of Egypt; and Libyans and Ethiopians will follow at his heels.
The prophecy is that the land of Egypt will “not escape.” That is — Egypt will fall. The Egyptian military is Egypt’s protector regardless of the political leanings of the current president. If the country falls, then the military has fallen. In addition, the Egyptian military is the protector of the “hidden treasures of gold and silver and over all the precious things of Egypt.” Here is one article describing what is happening to the hidden treasures of Egypt during the chaos of Arab Spring and even more so the chaos ensuing at present. (Read here).
Yet, despite the value of the “hidden treasures” of Egypt, one cannot help but wonder if there is not another item far more valuable than ancient artifacts? Consider the Suez Canal, the producer of approximately $2.5billion annually, 10% of annual revenues for Egypt, which simply put is “worth it” to whomever controls the canal:
The Suez Canal (Arabic: قناة السويس Qanāt al-Sūwais) is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows transportation by water between Europe and Asia without navigation around Africa. The northern terminus is Port Said and the southern terminus is Port Tawfiq at the city of Suez. Ismailia lies on its west bank, 3 km (1.9 mi) from the half-way point. (Read more)
Recently, political unrest in Egypt led to chaos even along the bordering towns of the Suez Canal. General al-Sisi made this statement nearly six months before Muhammad Morsi was unseated. Read the statement in light of Daniel 11:42 just quoted:
CAIRO — As three Egyptian cities [the three critical cities bordering the Suez Canal, Port Said, Ismailia and Suez] defied President Mohamed Morsi’s attempt to quell the anarchy spreading through their streets, the nation’s top general warned Tuesday that the state itself was in danger of collapse if the feuding civilian leaders could not agree on a solution to restore order. … With the stakes rising and no solution in sight, Gen. Abdul Fattah el-Sisi, the defense minister, warned Egypt’s new Islamist leaders and their opponents that “their disagreement on running the affairs of the country may lead to the collapse of the state and threatens the future of the coming generations.” (Emphasis supplied) (Read more)
It appears that the General took things into his own hands when he “unseated” President Morsi on July 3, 2013. His actions placed him in the “driver’s seat” so to speak; for what purpose? To save his country from self-destruction.
How might we assess modern day events in light of prophetic Scripture?
The spirit of antichrist is working in the hearts of Egyptians to bring about a total collapse of Egyptian society (2 Thessalonians 2:11 NASB; 1 John 2:18 NASB). The spirit of antichrist is working in the “sons of disobedience” (unbelieving humanity) to bring in the wrath of God (Ephesians 5:6 NASB and Colossians 3:6 NASB). Death, violence, destruction, disunity, anger, and unrest are the odor of his breath; such is the case for Egypt today; and such has been the case for the Muslim world in general: “To date, rulers have been forced from power in Tunisia, Egypt (twice), Libya, and Yemen; civil uprisings have erupted in Bahrain and Syria; major protests have broken out in Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, and Sudan; and minor protests have occurred in Mauritania, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, and Western Sahara.” (Read more)
Egypt will fall.
The military will be unable to bring reconciliation between the Islamists and secularists (which includes both Muslim and non-Muslims). The prophecy tells us of this event.
The military will likely continue its assault against Islamists to the point that the United States will be forced to withhold $1.3billion in aid to Egypt for no other reason than the political pressures applied upon it by Americans in general, and by the United Nations and the European Union in particular. No matter how you look at it, democratic free elections brought in Muhammad Mursi; the people who elected him are now being targeted by the security forces of Egypt for no other reason than they support him. If Syria’s Assad and his military murdered people to keep him in office, and the United States condemned such actions, how can we not do the same in Egypt? And how else do we evidence that condemnation than by the withholding of aid?
The economy of Egypt will fail. It is already on the precipice, and the withholding of United States aid will be the “straw that breaks the camel’s back.” The continuing unrest socially between supporters of Morsi and supporters of the military will escalate resulting in the closing of businesses and an eventual impact upon all revenues, including oil and gas revenues impacted by the inability to export same.
The Suez Canal will be closed because of the inability of the military to provide safe passage for shipping vessels. The chaos and lack of leadership in Egyptian society will either close the canal or result in the captains of sea vessels opting for the long way around the continent of Africa to insure delivery of their cargoes. Already questions are being asked about the impact on Suez traffic of rebellion along the bordering cities, particularly Port Said.
The 1979 Egypt-Israeli treaty will be terminated. With the Egyptian military no longer at the wheel to maintain the treaty, and with United States aid withheld, whomever is in control will have no financial incentive to maintain the treaty. Daniel 9:27 NASB will be fulfilled in this event. The tribulation of Ezekiel 38/39 against Israel will be brought in through the doors of Egypt.
The Antichrist will fill the void in the Middle East, perhaps beginning with Iran and Shia Islam, as Iran pulls the trigger upon Israel. Other bible prophecies warn that he will conquer the world in the process. Revelation 13:7-8 NASB.
Stretching it you think? Perhaps, but not from where I sit. Look at the events in the Muslim world over the last two years. Look at the events of the last week – the military (and/or police) killing its own by the hundreds? Who would ever have imagined that the leader of the Egyptian military would warn his own people that unless they reconciled with one another the collapse of the nation was at stake? This has an uncanny resemblance to the prophesied event of Daniel 9:42.
Jesus come quickly.
Footnotes to post:
Congressional Research Study (author Jeremy Sharp) #RL33003 [↩]