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Posts Tagged ‘Antichrist’

The Qur’anic Con: How Revelation’s Predictive Biblical Prophecy Foresaw Islamic Teachings

07/30/2015 12 comments

By ICA

Revelation 1:1, “The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place …”

BookOfRevelation

Prophecy. Unlike the self-fulfilling Islamic “predictions” that are contingent upon its own believers to manufacture, maneuver and manipulate events in an effort to somehow render “Islamic prophecy” as genuine, the Bible is filled with true predictive prophecy of human behavior, demonstrably independent of any effort to facilitate its fulfillment. For nearly two-thousand years Christians have shuddered at some of the most frightening predictions described in the Book of Revelation, a sister-book to the texts of Daniel and filled with eschatological language that has inspired end-of-days folklore for nearly two millennia. Though filled with metaphor and symbolism, many aspects of Revelation’s predatory, beast-like kingdom as it relates to the conduct of its adherents are not. Beheading and forced conversion, for example, are understood as the literal conduct of a kingdom that would rear its ugly head prior to the Second Coming of Christ. Christians would be one of its primary targets.  Decapitation would be one of its preferred methods of execution. And all, regardless of race, tribe, language or social status, would be forced to submit to its religious dictates on pain of death. It’s the stuff of nightmares.

As the article “Unsealed: A Closer Look At Revelation 6 And ‘The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse’” explains, the seals of Revelation depict separate progressive, compound stages to an end-of-days beast kingdom that would one day expand to become the largest, most deceptive politico-religious system the world has ever known, the kingdom of Islam. Though much of the following will overlap with other articles on this site, the intent here is to briefly compare the conduct of those who follow after the Beast of Revelation with the conduct expected by the teachings of Islam. After all, logic only dictates that if the seals describe the rise (and subsequent fall) of an Islamic Beast, then Muslim teachings would need to necessitate that those who follow the “prophet” of Islam therefore engage in precisely the sort of key behaviors typified by the Beast’s followers we read in Revelation.
Read more…

Islamic State: Our Caliphate Will Take Over Entire World And Behead Everyone Who Does Not Worship Allah

07/29/2015 1 comment

For peaceful purposes. It’s just the sort of thing that every good Muslim must do. If this isn’t precisely what the Book of Revelation warned us about, then I have no idea what it was …

Revelation 13:15, “The second beast was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed.”

Qur’an Sura 8:12, “… terrorize and behead those who believe in scriptures other than the Qur’an …”

Qur’an Sura 8:39, “And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and polytheism: i.e. worshipping others besides Allah) and the religion (worship) will all be for Allah Alone [in the whole of the world ].”

And What It Says Is Anything But Peaceful

And What It Says Is Anything But Peaceful

USA Today – “An apparent Islamic State recruitment document found in Pakistan’s lawless tribal lands reveals that the extremist group has grand ambitions of building a new terrorist army in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and triggering a war in India to provoke an Armageddon-like ‘end of the world.’

The 32-page Urdu-language document obtained by American Media Institute (AMI) and reviewed by USA TODAY details a plot to attack U.S. soldiers as they withdraw from Afghanistan and target American diplomats and Pakistani officials.

AMI obtained the document from a Pakistani citizen with connections inside the Pakistani Taliban and had it independently translated from Urdu by Harvard researcher and translator Mustafa Samdani. The Pakistani’s identity was shared with USA TODAY, which has agreed not to identify him publicly because of concerns for his safety.

The document was reviewed by three U.S. intelligence officials, who said they believe the document is authentic based on its unique markings and the fact that language used to describe leaders, the writing style and religious wording match other documents from the Islamic State, also known as ISIL and ISIS. They asked to remain anonymous because they are not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

The undated document, titled ‘A Brief History of the Islamic State Caliphate (ISC), The Caliphate According to the Prophet,’ seeks to unite dozens of factions of the Pakistani and Afghan Taliban into a single army of terror.  It includes a never-before-seen history of the Islamic State, details chilling future battle plans, urges al-Qaeda to join the group and says the Islamic State’s leader should be recognized as the sole ruler of the world’s 1 billion Muslims under a religious empire called a ‘caliphate.’

‘Accept the fact that this caliphate will survive and prosper until it takes over the entire world and beheads every last person that rebels against Allah,’ it proclaims. ‘This is the bitter truth, swallow it.’

Retired Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who also reviewed the document, said it ‘represents the Islamic State’s campaign plan and is something, as an intelligence officer, I would not only want to capture, but fully exploit. It lays out their intent, their goals and objectives, a red flag to which we must pay attention.’

Alistair Baskey, deputy spokesman for the White House’s National Security Council, told AMI, ‘we are aware of the presence of ISIL-affiliated militants in Afghanistan, and we are monitoring closely to see whether their emergence will have a meaningful impact on the threat environment in the region.'” Read more.

Qur’an Sura 24:2, “Let not compassion move you from carrying out [Allah’s] law …”

Flashback: Saudi Arabia ‘Justice’ Minister: Beheading Is Enshrined In Divine Islamic Laws, ‘We Cannot Change Them’ – “Saudi Arabia’s Justice Minister has defended tough Sharia punishments such as beheading, cutting off hands and lashing, claiming they ‘cannot be changed’ because they are enshrined in Islamic law. ‘These punishments are based on divine religious texts and we cannot change them,’ Mohammed Al Eissa reportedly said during a recent speech in Washington… ‘Islam is a religion of wisdom that calls for dialogue with other religious faiths and peaceful coexistence with other communities. [Edit ICA: Then why is there not one single Christian church in all of Saudi Arabia?]” Read more.

Flashback: Decapitation 101: Saudi Training Session Teaches Students ‘How To Enjoy Beheading Procedure’ – “In a recently-released video footage a Wahhabi Takfiri sheikh demonstrates for his students how to perform beheading and ‘enjoy’ the horrific act. The video release of the appalling training session on ‘how to enjoy beheading procedure’ comes amid growing reports about unimaginable levels of brutality and violence practiced by extremist terrorist groups, such as the ISIL, particularly in Syria and Iraq… The Wahhabi preacher further emphasizes in the video piece that beheading a sheep is different from beheading a [human] captive and that the beheading of captives should not be done ‘indifferently’ as in the sheep’s case, rather it should be conducted with harshness along with pleasure.” Read more.

Daniel 9:27 Redux: Will Antichrist Make A False 7-Year Peace Treaty With Israel?

12/10/2013 162 comments

By ICA

Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”

Also see the complementary article titled “Daniel 9:27 And The Confirmation Of The Covenant – A Peace Treaty?” for an in-depth examination of Daniel’s 70th week …

BookOfDanielOne of the most commonly held positions by many premillennial Christians today asserts that the time leading up to the Second Coming of Christ will be immediately preceded by a seven-year “peace treaty” signed between Antichrist and Israel. While I had at one time held to this position myself, subsequent studies have lead me to conclude that there is no solid Biblical basis for this view, only interpretative assumptions. Years of personal study as it relates to Biblical eschatology has also made it apparent to me that, even though we’d all love to believe we have every aspect of the prophetic texts completely figured out, we still continue to see as through a glass darkly. With as many opinions regarding secondary doctrines as there are Christian denominations, one obvious reality is that there is not a single pastor or teacher or author who has a complete and perfect understanding of Scripture or that is free from error, myself included, indicating that one interpretative method or hermeneutical approach alone cannot provide all the answers that we so often seek as students of Scripture.

As brothers and sisters in Christ, we can vigorously debate secondary doctrines (these must never be allowed to divide us) yet remain united on the essentials of our faith. Recently, I had the pleasure of engaging in a spirited debate regarding the prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27 with Joel Richardson, author of “Mideast Beast” (which I highly recommend) and a brother in Christ whom I esteem highly. Following our debate, Joel felt it was necessary to defend the view which posits an upcoming seven-year peace treaty between Israel and Antichrist by writing a subsequent article titled “The Antichrist’s False Peace Treaty” and offering a number of reasons why he believed it to be a sound, tenable position. What I present to you, however, are reasons why I believe it is not. Read more…

What Is The War Of Gog-Magog?

05/29/2013 52 comments

By ICA

Ezekiel 38:1-3a, “And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog …”

When it comes to the war described by the Prophet Ezekiel in the 38th and 39th chapters of his book — often referred to as the War of Gog-Magog — there often seems to be a circle of Bible prophecy teachers that keep repeating the same general theories over and over in an effort to impose a specific preconceived idea or timeline into the battle. Instead of allowing the full counsel of Scripture to provide the timing of this war for us, Gog-Magog is characterized as a war that will happen either just before or immediately after the start of “Daniel’s 70th week”. All too often, students of Biblical eschatology who study the positions of a particular author or teacher may then refer to a couple of others who say essentially the same thing for “inquisitive” reinforcement. These students are subsequently conditioned to conclude that these authors and teachers must be correct because they have “all” come at the same conclusion from the text, one that is further strengthened in the student’s mind when the very same teachers also echo similar rebuttals outlining why any opposing position cannot be correct. But as the Bereans in the Book of Acts were called noble because they searched the Scriptures daily to see if what they were being taught was so, we too also need to mimic the Berean example.

Instead of repeating the common misconception outlined above, authors and teachers such as Joel Richardson (read his position here) and Dave Hunt & T. A. McMahon from The Berean Call radio ministry (listen to a segment from their radio program discussing Ezekiel 38 and 39 here) have presented serious, if not devastating, challenges to the more “mainstream” position of Evangelical Christians by offering compelling reasons why Ezekiel’s Gog-Magog war does not describe a “pre-Armageddon” battle. Upon a much closer and careful examination of Ezekiel’s text, it becomes increasingly clear that we can ascertain — simply by comparing Scripture with Scripture — why Gog-Magog is a battle that will, without a doubt, culminate in the war of Read more…

Unsealed: A Closer Look At Revelation 6 And “The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse”

05/02/2013 190 comments

By ICA

Revelation 6:1, “And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see…”

Recommended: See How The Book Of Revelation Foresaw Islamic Teachings

Were John’s apocalyptic snapshots and descriptions of the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” in the Book of Revelation pointing to events that would only take place nearly 2000 years after the visions were first revealed? All too often, many of today’s Christian teachers and Bible prophecy experts have repeated the belief that the entirety of the Book of Revelation, with the exception of the first three chapters, are to be understood in futuristic terms only. I have done this myself in the past. Whether it be the Seven Seals or the Seven Trumpets or the Seven Bowls of wrath, everything contained therein and described by John from Revelation 4:1 onward must be treated as little more than a description of apocalyptic earth-shattering events that we, as Christians, will never witness taking place upon the world in which we live, events that can only begin to come to fruition after an imminent rapture has suddenly removed all followers of Christ from the face of the earth to deliver them from the impending wrath of God and the last-days Beast of Revelation. If we take the time to engage in a careful examination of the text, however, we may begin to see that some of the events often understood as yet to come, are events that are already taking place today.

An Overview Of History: The Islamic Beast Of Revelation – The Past And The Present

After careful study, I have come to the conclusion that, judging from the description of events and their sequence provided for us in Scripture, the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” described in the first four Seals of Revelation 6 are four separate Read more…

The People of the Prince to Come: A Roman-European Antichrist?

05/06/2011 111 comments

By ICA

Daniel 9:26, “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof [shall be] with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.”

Many have traditionally believed that since the army that destroyed the city and the sanctuary in 70 AD was considered Roman then this, therefore, must mean that according to Daniel 9:26 the Antichrist would rise out of Europe.  The majority of popular Biblical eschatology teachers today, even in light of events happening on the global stage, still teach an Antichrist who comes out of Europe, a charismatic leader that rises from within the European Union to then lead a One World Government.  Writers have published novels such as the “Left Behind” series promoting it, even Christian movies have been inspired and produced by this very idea.  However, although the people of the prince to come mentioned in Daniel 9:26 may have been considered “Roman” soldiers merely because they were (supposedly) under the command of Rome, many of these same teachers have either ignored or were just not aware of the following very significant fact. Read more…

Revelation 13: A Commentary

04/06/2011 19 comments

By ICA

Many Christians today can be eschatologically myopic.  This is particularly true for many of us who live comfortably in the West, working comfortable jobs and making enough money to enjoy a fairly comfortable living while Christians in other parts of the world, especially the Middle East, North Africa and parts of Asia where Islam is the dominant religion, live under the constant threat of persecution and even death simply because of the very fact that they are Christian.  According to the World Evangelical Alliance, over 200 million Christians in at least 60 countries are denied fundamental human rights solely because of their faith. David B. Barrett, Todd M. Johnson, and Peter F. Crossing in their 2009 report in the International Bulletin of Missionary Research (Vol. 33, No. 1: 32) estimate that approximately 176,000 Christians were martyred between mid-2008 to mid-2009.  This, according to the authors, compares to 160,000 martyrs in mid-2000 and 34,400 at the beginning of the 20th century [1].  And it’s getting worse.

I believe that we are in the last of the last days and are being plunged into a time that Christ described as “great tribulation” in Matthew 24.  I do not believe, however, in a seven-year-tribulation nor do I believe that we, at any imminent moment, will be whisked away in a secret rapture to avoid any and all persecution that may be coming to our shores, as much as I would love for that to be the case (read here to find out where Paul and John place the rapture of the Church in Scripture, and here to find out what the Church is according to Jesus).

As the end of the age approaches, the picture of radical Islam and its role in the Last Days is becoming increasingly clear (cf. Daniel 12:4), and just as our Christian brothers and sisters on the other side of the world are today being persecuted, imprisoned, tortured, shot, blown up and beheaded for the faith of Jesus, I believe that we, too, will continue to witness all that is taking place. As such, I hereby present to you a commentary on Revelation 13 for your consideration that I believe reveals to us the time in which we are now living today, and the time that will soon be upon us.

Read more…

Iranian Video: The Time of the Islamic Messiah is Near — Israel Shall Be Destroyed

03/28/2011 1 comment

“By Erick Stakelbeck, CBN News Terrorism Analyst – New evidence has emerged that the Iranian government sees the current unrest in the Middle East as a signal that the Mahdi–or Islamic messiah–is about to appear.

CBN News has obtained a never-before-seen video produced by the Iranian regime that says all the signs are moving into place — and that Iran will soon help usher in the end times.

While the revolutionary movements gripping the Middle East have created uncertainty throughout the region, the video shows that the Iranian regime believes the chaos is divine proof that their ultimate victory is at hand.

‘The Coming is Near’

The propaganda footage has reportedly been approved at the highest levels of the Iranian government.

It’s called The Coming is Near and it describes current events in the Middle East as a prelude to the arrival of the mythical tweflth Imam or Mahdi — the messiah figure who Islamic scriptures say will lead the armies of Islam to victory over all non-Muslims in the last days.”  Read more.

Update:  Original video removed by YouTube.  Replacement video substituted, but you can watch the video by clicking the link above.

Lost in Translation: ‘Not Appointed Unto Wrath’ – What Scripture Is Really Saying

03/26/2011 139 comments

By ICA

1 Thessalonians 5:9, “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ …”

Buy a book written by virtually any popular Bible prophecy teacher today and you are guaranteed — at some point within the confines of its pages — to read a sentence or two that sounds a little something like this: “The Bible says that we are not appointed unto wrath, which means that Christians are not destined to suffer the wrath of God. Since the Tribulation is the wrath of God the Church must therefore be removed from the earth before the Tribulation begins. Otherwise, the Bible is lying.” You get the idea. It sounds reasonable, right? Because if the premisses are true then the conclusion must be sound, correct? In theory, yes, but only if all of the premisses are true. So allow me, if I may, to take a closer look at the “not appointed unto wrath” proposition that leads many of us to conclude “removal from the earth”, and join me as together we delve a little bit more into the text in an effort to better understand the wrath that we see in the Book of Revelation, and the wrath that we specifically are not appointed unto. Something very, very important has been lost in translation. Read more…

Antichrist: Leader Of A One-World Government?

03/18/2011 52 comments

By ICA

Many Christians today believe that when Antichrist is revealed the world will suddenly experience some form of global governance virtually overnight, controlled by a man who will be worshiped as God himself.  Although there are a few verses in Scripture that may appear to give credence to the idea that the entire earth will be overcome by the last-days Antichrist at first glance, the whole of Scripture supports neither the idea of a “One World Government” (OWG) ruled by Antichrist, nor the idea of an end-of-days leader who controls literally every last nation on the earth.

Many popular teachers of Biblical eschatology who support the idea of a OWG and Antichrist who controls the political and religious dictates of all the nations of the world will agree, at the very least, that the last portion of Daniel 11 from verses 36 and beyond all refer to the final years leading up to the Second Coming of Christ.  What they fail to consider, however, are the following questions that should be obvious to anyone who holds to both of these positions: Read more…

2 Thessalonians 2:4 — A Rebuilt Jewish Temple, or Something Else?

03/13/2011 71 comments

By ICA

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day [the Day of the Lord] will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”

A thought came to me some time ago with respect to “the temple of God” and how many students of Biblical eschatology expect there to one day be a new Jewish temple built on the Temple Mount before the Second Coming of Christ, one in which the Antichrist himself would eventually stand in and literally claim “I am God.” While an effort does exist by some orthodox Jewish groups to rebuild the third temple, I think it would be wise for all students of Scripture to consider the possibility that this may not have been what the Holy Spirit was referring to in 2 Thessalonians 2 and Matthew 24.

The Temple of God in the New Testament

To understand why, we first need to keep in mind that the Apostle Paul and Jesus both pointed to a Last Days event that would take place just before the Day of the Lord (Christ’s post-trib Second Coming). Paul referred to it as the “man of sin” who sets himself up in “the temple of God” (2 Thessalonians 2:4), while Jesus described it as the “Abomination of Desolation” standing in “the holy place” (Matthew 24:15).  Many have assumed that the temple mentioned by Paul must be a physical temple in Jerusalem. But if we look a little more closely at the text we begin to notice something that we may not have noticed before: Each and every time the Apostle Paul speaks about the “temple of God” and uses the Greek word “naos” (G3485) in Scripture he is always referring to believers both individually and collectively. He is referring to the Church:

1 Corinthians 3:16, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”

1 Corinthians 3:17, “If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.

1 Corinthians 6:19, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?”

2 Corinthians 6:16, “And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God …”

Ephesians 2:19-22, “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”

Even the Apostle Peter agrees in 1 Peter 2, the only time he ever refers to God’s temple:

1 Peter 2:4-5, “Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

When Paul refers to the temple as the Church he uses the word “naos” (G3485) and always called the Church the temple of God or the temple of the Holy Spirit or an equivalent expression. In 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 Paul again refers to the temple of God (“naos” ) which, as in each and every other usage of the expression, would in my opinion again be referring to the Church as it always had before, not a physical temple. According to those who believe that a future literal temple will be rebuilt, however, we are expected to believe that Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:4 suddenly changes what he consistently meant in previous epistles when speaking about the temple of God. But if Paul spoke of the Church each and every time before, then it only stands to reason that he was again referring to the Church when writing about the temple of God in his letter to the believers in Thessalonica:

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in [eis G1519 – or against] the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”

The only other times Paul spoke about a physical temple were in 1 Corinthians 9:13, Acts 25:8 and Acts 17:24. In 1 Corinthians 9:13 and Acts 25:8 he uses the word “hieron” (G2411) specifically to refer to the physical temple in Jerusalem. In Acts 17:24, however, he is quoted as using the word “naos” to refer to physical temples in general, however his entire point was that it was no longer a physical temple in which God dwells. Why? Because the Church was now that temple. In these instances where Paul spoke about a physical temple he never referred to it as “the temple of God” or an equivalent expression.

Acts 17:24, “God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands.”

The Temple of Revelation 11

With this thought in mind, let us now turn our attention to another portion of Scripture that many watchers of Biblical eschatology will often use to support the idea that we’re still waiting for a rebuilt Jewish temple. In the very first verse of Revelation 11 John writes:

Revelation 11:1, “Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, ‘Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there.'”

Many believe that if John could measure this temple using a physical tool like a reed, then the temple must itself be physical. This, however, need not be the case at all. Four quick reasons why:

1. The Angel who speaks to John uses the exact same expression in Revelation 11:1, saying, “Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.” Even the word “naos” is used when referring to the temple of God, the same word the Apostle Paul used when referring to the temple of God as the Church, not a temple made of stone.

2. The very first time we find the word “temple” in Revelation is in 3:12a regarding the Church in Philadelphia when Christ says, “He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more.” To be made a pillar in the temple of God must mean that the temple in view here is not a physical temple made of stone, but rather one that is made of people.

3. Lampstands/candlesticks were important items that were found in the physical temple in the Old Testament, yet John shows us that this time the lampstands/candlesticks in the temple of God are represented by the two witnesses (11:4), which again would indicate that the temple in view is not a physical temple made of stone, but rather one of people.

4. In the Old Testament a priest was one who served within the physical temple. In Revelation 1:6 and 5:10 we are told that anyone who has been washed by the blood of Christ is a priest, and the Christian understanding of this according to 1 Peter 2:5 is that as priests we now “offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” We no longer offer animal sacrifices in a temple made of stone.

Indeed, we are being built together upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone, a building in which all of us as believers are being fitted together, growing into a holy temple in the Lord for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit (Ephesians 2:19-22). Considering all that we have just learned, could it not therefore stand to reason that when John speaks of the “holy city” being trampled under foot in 11:2 that he is referring directly to God’s people, and not a physical temple built in Jerusalem? In my opinion, definitely (cf. Revelation 21 and Psalm 46:4, “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells”; also see Matthew 5:14).

The Prophet Daniel And The Time Of The End

Daniel’s prophecies often spoke about the last days leading up to the Second Coming of Christ. Some will point to these prophecies and assume that since Daniel appeared to speak of a physical temple and daily offerings that the last days temple must therefore be a literal temple in Jerusalem. As we can see from above, however, the New Testament is quite clear that today the “temple of God” is the Church and that we, as believers, now offer up the sacrifice of praise continually (cf. Romans 12:1; Hebrews 13:5; 1 Peter 2:5). Even if the prophet Daniel himself believed the prophecies he was given of the end times referred to a physical temple would not change this reality. The revelation that the Church would become the temple of God was progressive and prophets were evidently not always granted a full understanding of the prophecies they were given, which is quite apparent in Daniel 12 itself:

Daniel 12:8-10,Although I heard, I did not understand. Then I said, ‘My lord, what shall be the end of these things?’ And he said, ‘Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand.’”

Even though Daniel was not always granted full understanding, he was faithful in recording the prophecies he had received. Not knowing that the temple of God would one day be the people of God, however, would have conceivably been somewhat bewildering to Daniel if he had himself assumed that it was a physical temple that would be defiled during the time of the end. This could very well have been one of the reasons why Daniel did not understand all that he was seeing and hearing. According to the words of the Apostle Paul in Acts 17:24, a physical temple today would be little more than an empty building, void of the presence of God. I am sure that Christ would have known this and would in no way have been referring to a physical temple as the “holy place” in Matthew 24:15 when referring to the Abomination of Desolation spoken of by Daniel. A building absent of God is just another building. But the “holy temple” that is the Church in which God dwells, however, is another matter. This may have been why Jesus said “let the reader understand” in Matthew 24:15 — because Daniel did not:

Matthew 24:15, “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand–”

Ephesians 2:19-22, “… you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”

If Jesus in Matthew 24 and the Apostle Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2 are referring to the holy place that is the new spiritual temple of God — the Church — then it may be that all we need to watch for in this respect is “someone” of significant importance made manifest and rise up against the Ekklesia of God.  This new spiritual offensive could even commence as a physical offensive against Jews and Christians at the Temple Mount itself whereby this “someone” would proclaim himself to be something that only the true God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob can lay claim to. And what could that be?

Apart From Me There Is No …

The Muslim world — both the Sunni and Shia branches of Islam — is awaiting the arrival of a “messianic” figure whom they call “The Mahdi” or “The 12th Imam.” They believe that this figure will lead them into a new era of Islamic “justice” that would unite the Ummah (the false Islamic “church” as it were) and spread Islam throughout the earth (see here).  Of particular interest is the fact that Muslims view this man as “Savior” — not only for Muslims, but for all of humanity (see here and here).

In 2 Thessalonians 2:3-8 the Apostle Paul speaks about a “man of sin” or “lawlessness” setting himself “eis” (in or against) the temple of God, seeking to defile it, and then being destroyed by God at the brightness of His coming. In 1 Corinthians 3:17 Paul stated the exact same thing, saying, “If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.” In my view, this is certainly not a coincidence. Most translations say that before the “man of sin” is destroyed he will “sit” or “take his seat” in the temple of God. The Greek word for “sit” is “kathizō” (G2523) but it means more than to simply sit down physically, as one would sit on a chair. It also means to appoint, or to set or to confer a kingdom on someone. When we say that we have a sitting President or Head of State, for instance, it does not mean that they are physically sitting down. It means that they have taken their seat in office. According to the Greek, this “man of sin” will likewise be taking his seat or official position, which could possibly be referring to Islam’s Mahdi as he takes his seat as the proclaimed “Savior of Humanity” in defiance of Yahweh and His people. Thus the “man of sin” is called the “man of sin” for a very good reason: he sins against God and against His people — the Temple of God — whom he sets himself against once assuming the “office” as “Savior.” According to the Prophet Isaiah, this would be showing himself as God, for the Lord Himself declares in no uncertain terms that “apart from me there is no savior… I am God, and there is none like me” (Isaiah 43:11, 46:9b).

If anyone of signifance in the Muslim world — the “Mahdi” or otherwise — proclaims themself to be the “Savior of Humanity” that all must follow, this would be a direct affront to God and His Temple. According to Scripture, anyone making such a claim or accepting such a title would be showing themself to be God by having a title/position that only God can hold attributed upon them. Additionally, demanding that Judaism and Christianity (and all other religions for that matter) be abolished and forcing all under his power to convert to Islam and worship none other than “Allah” would in effect be causing the “sacrifice and oblations (offerings) to cease” in today’s Temple according to the verses of Scripture below:

Romans 12:1, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”

Hebrews 13:15, “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of [our] lips giving thanks to his name.”

1 Peter 2:5, “And now God is building you, as living stones, into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are God’s holy priests, who offer the spiritual sacrifices that please him because of Jesus Christ.”

With these thoughts in mind, we’re now beginning to see the text in a whole new light.

The Nation of Israel and Other Considerations

One obvious question, however, would be how does this affect Jews living in the nation of Israel if 2 Thessalonians 2:4 and Matthew 24:15 are referring to the spiritual temple of God? There are a couple of possibilities that we could deduce from this thought, especially if we accept the likelihood that the coming Antichrist will be Islam’s awaited Mahdi:

1. The Mahdi (according to Islamic teaching) will not only claim to be the “Savior of Humanity” but will also be the driving force behind uniting a coalition of Islamic nations that come up against the nation of Israel. He will also desire to subjugate the world into converting to Islam, according to Islamic teaching. In this way, it would definitely have much bearing on national/physical Israel even if this is only referring to the spiritual temple of God.

2. It will have a direct bearing on all Messianic Jews who would — along with Gentile Christians — recognize this “Abomination of Desolation.” I do not believe that the Olivet Discourse or even the Book of Matthew as a whole was for an “orthodox” Jewish audience only as some contend (who would never read the book anyway, I fail to see the point) but rather I believe that it was for Messianic Jews  and, by extension, all Gentile Christians. Matthew 24:9 says, “… ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.” Orthodox Jews are not hated because of Jesus’ name, but Messianic Jews and Gentile Christians are. (In fact, even many orthodox Jews hate Messianics and Gentile Christians because they adhere to the faith of Jesus).

3. It is possible that there could be a dual fulfillment. Most translations render Matthew 24:15 as “standing IN the holy place” which causes those who read the English translation to envision a fully built temple. However, the word for “in” in the Greek is “en” (G1722) and is also translated as “on”, “by”, “at” or “with” in addition to “among”. Although some orthodox Jewish groups are actively seeking to rebuild the third temple, all that they require to offer sacrifices is an altar and an unblemished red heifer. (The alter began construction in July 29, 2009 and has been completed). This could be on the Temple Mount, or right beside the western wall (which I could see happening if they suddenly have a perfect red heifer but no rebuilt temple yet.) Perhaps this could be Christ’s reference to “standing in/on/by the holy place” and the reason why He did not mention a temple per se, whereas Paul could have been referencing the new spiritual temple of God comprised of Messianic Jews and Gentile Christians.

4.  There is also one final point that needs to be considered as well with respect to the “man of sin”.  We should not discount the possibility that the “man of sin” may not be pointing to one single person as it were, though the general consensus is precisely that, but could instead be pointing to one single entity or system.  The Ekklesia of God is comprised of a great multitude of believing Jews and Gentiles created as “one new man” in Christ who are marked by God (Eph. 2:15, Rev. 14:1) and described by John in Revelation 7 as the “multitude of the lamb”, ie, Jesus Christ. Conversely, the “man of sin” (2 Thess 2:3) could therefore be its direct antithesis comprised of those who have the Mark of the Beast and described by John in Revelation 13 as the “multitude of a man”, ie, the “prophet Mohammed.”  If this is the case, then we may be even closer to the cusp of prophetic fulfillment than many of us realize. In other words, Antichrist may not be a man at all, but rather all things entwined with the religion of Islam itself, a physical manifestation as it were of the spirit of Antichrist. Read the portion of this article subtitled “More Than Just A Man?” for more thoughts in this regard.

In conclusion, it is my belief that the intended meaning of the temple of God in 2 Thessalonians 2:4, keeping the overall context and teaching of the temple of God within the full counsel of the New Testament, is a direct reference to the Church, not a physical, rebuilt Jewish temple.  To show, declare or present himself as God does not necessitate that an “Islamic messiah” or the “man of sin” make an overt declaration of divinity. Jesus claimed to be God without telling the Sanhedrin “I am God”, for they understood the theological significance of His words and sought to kill Him because of them. Likewise, Antichrist could merely approach the temple mount where the Islamic Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa mosque both stand and from there proclaim to be the world’s savior whom both Jews and Christians must follow. Not only would Messianic Jews and Gentile Christians recognize this as an affront to the faith of Christ and the significance of this event, even orthodox Jews would know that this would be a declaration of divinity, someone other than God showing himself to be God. They, too, understand Isaiah 43:11 where God makes it known that “I am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior.” Indeed, “… I am God, and there is none like Me” (Isaiah 46:9).

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