Issue 69 Autumn 2003
|Warm Christian greetings in the name of the
Lord: in this edition Frank’s son Philip contributes a major,
thought-provoking article on the christ of Islam. We also include
particulars of next January’s prophecy conference.
Blessed be Egypt my people
The Omega Files by Tony Pearce
Reflections on a comment by the ex-bishop of Durham
“BLESSED BE EGYPT MY PEOPLE” Isaiah 19:25 (Gerald Gotzen)
Famous for the ancient civilisation, the land of the Pharaoh, the mysterious pyramids, Egypt has a real connection with the Bible. The maid Hagar, the servant of Abraham and Sarah, came from Egypt. She gave birth to a son called Ishmael from whom many of the Arabs claim descent. Joseph arrived in captivity and through a series of events became Prime Minister. And Moses was actually born here and was appointed by God, after His appearance at the burning bush, as the leader of the children of Israel. The first Passover was celebrated in Egypt followed by the miracle of the Red Sea. Soon after the visit of the Wise Men to Bethlehem Joseph and Mary with Jesus escaped to this land of refuge until the danger was over. At the Feast of Pentecost amongst the listeners in Jerusalem to the message of Peter were visitors from Egypt. According to tradition Mark preached the Gospel here and was later martyred.
I have visited this fascinating country on many occasions and enjoyed the fellowship and hospitality of the Christians. Recently my wife and I stayed in Luxor for a holiday – rest and relaxation. Beside the usual sight-seeing of the temples and tombs I was determined to visit some of the Coptic churches and monasteries which have maintained a witness for 2 000 years. Living in a dormant Islamic society they encounter pressure. There is a certain amount of freedom and the Bible Society is allowed to operate publishing the Scriptures in Arabic and producing videos and cassettes with the Good News. For a Moslem to become a Christian is very dangerous. His life will be under threat from the family and he will be imprisoned: sometimes tortured. Islamic extremists have attacked Christians and about 18 months ago 22 young people inside the church were all martyred for their faith in the Lord. There were many opportunities to witness especially in the souvenir shops belonging to Moslems and also to Christians. During the week and on Sunday I preached in a Pentecostal Church receiving a tremendous welcome. My wife and I also visited a Brethren Assembly. There were many young people. According to their custom we were not permitted to sit next to each other. The women, all of them with head-covering, sat on one side and the men on the other. The worship was a wonderful experience.
To my amazement I discovered in the Word of God that Luxor is actually mentioned where it is called Thebes. The prophet Jeremiah predicted judgement on Amon (the sun god) in 46:25 (KJV) of No (that is, Thebes or Luxor). The Lord has given a destiny for Egypt with Israel and Assyria (that includes Iraq) in Isaiah 19:19-25. Today there is uncertainty about the possibility of conflict in the Middle East (written before the invasion of Iraq - ed). According to the purposes of God in the future “the Egyptians will know the Lord”.
Another very interesting fact is that over 100 years ago the Rev Charles Huleatt who was the chaplain for the tourists visiting Luxor obtained fragments from the gospel of Matthew which have been recently confirmed by scholars to have been written before the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD. This is the oldest document from the New Testament – it is now known as the JESUS Papyrus.
A TESTIMONY (PW)
In the summer of 1985, the Lord called me to join a prayer group, meeting with the purpose of re-establishing the work at a Baptist church in inner London. We met for almost a year, with a real sense of the Lord’s blessing on our times of prayer. At the end of this time the work which we were praying for was not allowed to proceed. In time a church was re-established. I am sure that a good work was done. Yet I believe that the work the Lord really wanted had been prevented from coming to fruition. Why it did not come about and what should have come into being are not the reasons for writing this piece. I am writing to share another conviction that grew in my mind over that time.
We met for prayer in the church building. It was situated in one of the tougher parts of London. Next to the Church was a disused cinema, which had been converted into an apparently thriving Mosque. The situation was ironic. The church had been one of the first Baptist Churches to be established in England. We met as a handful of Christians praying that God would continue what had been a distinguished history and that there would be a truly Spirit-filled work in that place to challenge the darkness all around. We were few in numbers and with little support. The Mosque was teeming with people, the centre of the community. Towards the end of that time when it became clear that the work could not continue, the Lord said to me “London has been lost”, with a very clear picture of the crescent moon over London.
I shared this with a few, but the message was not received. We were still in the days when most believers were expecting imminent revival, starting from London. To say that London had been lost to the gospel and would be dominated by Islam was not a message that any wanted to hear - just me being over melodramatic.
Recently my wife reminded me of this past conviction after we had watched the first of David Pawson’s videos, “The Challenge of Islam to Christians”. In these messages David Pawson sets out a warning that Britain will become an Islamic state. Muslims have targeted London for the spread of Islam believing that if London can be won, Britain and the rest of the West will follow. At times as I go about my daily life, the whole idea seems far fetched. How could Islam ever hold any attraction to the majority population of this land? To the western mind it is not an attractive religion. Yet, with David Pawson, I believe that this is “the word of the Lord”.
There follows the first of a series of articles, which explain how I believe that Britain will become an Islamic State. The articles are submitted to those who pray. I ask that they will seek the Lord’s confirmation that this word is from Him.
ISLAM’S CHRIST (PW)
Islam teaches that towards the end of this present age Jesus will return to this earth. But their beliefs about his return are very different to those held by Christians.
Muslims believe that Jesus was born supernaturally of the Virgin Mary, but he was only a man. He was a great prophet, but little of his teaching is found in the Bible as the early church tampered with the records. He was not crucified. Someone else was mistaken for Him and crucified in His place. At the end of his ministry, He was taken up to be with God in heaven and it is from there that He will come again.
The main beliefs about his coming are:
It is my belief that Islam’s christ will come. For a brief period he will be permitted world dominion. He will be the Antichrist of which scripture warns. It is in this context that Britain will submit to Islam.
Set out below are six reasons for identifying the Antichrist with Islam.
“This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.” 1 John 2: 22
“Say (O Muhammad): “He is Allah, The one and only; Allah to whom all creatures turn for their needs; he begets not, nor was he begotten; there is none like him.”” Qur’an 112: 1-4.
From its inception Islam denied that God had a son. No other world movement, philosophy or religion has so emphatically denied the fatherhood of God. There have been many movements which have denied the existence of God or tried to supplant Him. There has been much false teaching and misrepresentation of God. But only Islam has built its whole creed on the denial of the Father and the Son.
2. Character of Islam
“its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and baked clay.” Daniel 2:33
This is part of the prophecy of the statue to be found in Daniel 2. The prophecy sees four empires which will arise in the future. The first kingdom is Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon. The final manifestation of these empires is described as feet and toes made of iron and clay which will be shattered at our Lord’s return. A fitting description of Islam, which in some ways is strong but is also deeply divided into factions.
“You belong to your father the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44.
Islam twists the truth about Jesus Christ. The Jesus of Islam has no resemblance to the Jesus of the Christian Gospels. Islam says that Jesus was a great prophet but denies that he was divine and that he was crucified for our sins. Jesus said of the Jews that their father was the devil because they refused to accept that he came from God. The same can be said of Islam.
It is striking in reading Islamic literature the extent to which Jesus, the Bible and Christians are misrepresented. This theme cannot be developed here but for a sample of what Islam says about Christianity read: “Christianity and Islam – according to the Bible and Qur’an” by Naser Al Moghamis published by Darussalam. The book may be available from a local Mosque or Islamic bookshop.
3. Location of the Antichrist’s Kingdom
In his book “The development of Antichrist” published in 1852, Andrew Bonar demonstrates that scripture identifies the Eastern part of the Roman Empire not the West as the place where the Antichrist takes power. He was writing to challenge the then popular view that the Pope was the Antichrist. The book does not support this but argues for literal interpretations of Scripture when seeking to understand how prophecy will be fulfilled.
When the Antichrist arises it will be to reign over the area formerly ruled by the Greek, Persian and Babylonian empires, the area we know today as the heartland of Islam.
For a more in depth study of the character of the Antichrist and the location of his kingdom please refer to “The Development of Antichrist” by Andrew Bonar. This can purchased from: Sovereign Grace Advent Testimony, 1 Donald Way, Chelmsford, Essex, CM2 9JB or downloaded from; www.newblehome.co.uk/bonar.
4. The time of the Antichrist’s kingdom
In Revelation, 17 where these ten kings who arise are described again we read
“And the ten horns which you saw are ten kings, who have not yet received a kingdom, but they receive authority with the beast for one hour.”
It is difficult to reconcile this prophecy of the kings, only holding power for one hour, with the nations of Western Europe. The kingdoms of Europe have exercised considerable authority over this world for many centuries. In the Middle East in the territory covered by the former Eastern Roman Empire, there are ten nations, which have only recently gained independence. The time of their formation corresponds to the same period in which the new nation of Israel was established. They are all Muslim and have yet to achieve authority over other nations.
5. The beliefs of Islam
As we have seen above Islam believes in the return of christ. But their christ does not compare with the one whom Christians long for. Primarily, when he comes he will deny that he is the Son of God, and will persecute those who believe in a divine Jesus.
In considering how to recognise Christ, there is a saying in the Hadith attributed to Muhammad which describes him as follows:
“There is no prophet between me and him, that is Jesus (peace be upon him). He will descend (to the earth). When you see him, recognise him: a man of medium height, reddish hair, wearing two light yellow garments, looking as if drops were falling from his head though it will not be wet.”
(Sunan Abu Dawud, vol 3, p 1203)
This is far from the Christian belief that Jesus will return with the glory of Heaven, surrounded by the armies of heaven and all the believers who have placed their trust in Him. None, whether Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, atheist or no faith at all, will have any doubt on that day who it is who has come from heaven.
6. The Completeness of Scripture.
“For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. Now you, brothers, like Isaac are children of promise. At that time the son born in the ordinary way persecuted the son born in the power of the Spirit. It is the same now.” Galatians 4:22 and 28, 29.
The final fulfilment of prophecy will complete the story begun with Abraham. He had two sons - Ishmael born through natural means and Isaac born as a result of Abraham’s faith in God’s promise. Christians by faith in God’s promises are descendants of Abraham. Islam also looks to Abraham, but claim a line of descent through Ishmael. The final conflict of this age will be between the children of faith (Isaac) and the children of works (Ishmael). At the very end of the age it will be as it started 4000 years before.
The Great Deception
The coming of Islam’s christ will be Satan’s final and greatest deception. Muslims will accept him as the christ. Jews will believe that their Messiah has come. Jesus warned them; “if another shall come in his own name you will receive him” (John 5:43). The sleeping church, knowing little of prophecy, will also be deceived and accept him as who he says he is. He will come at first preaching a gospel of peace, and will bring peace to many of the troubled parts of this world.
There is no present leader who fits the one who is expected. His coming will be apparently supernatural, as if from heaven (although scripture tells us he rises from the pit). Satan will use all his power to counterfeit the return of Christ in order to deceive as many as possible. So as to deceive, if possible even the elect (Matt 24:24), is no casual warning, but one we need to take seriously.
When Islam’s christ comes he will overthrow the Dajjal (antichrist). The next article will examine the identity of the Dajjal, whose overthrow leaves the way clear for the antichrist to take complete global power.
The Omega Files by Tony Pearce : New Wine Press (KK)
Though it is impossible to predict the date of the Lord’s return, He does want us to be continually aware of the signs of His approaching coming, and to recognise them as one would recognise the nearness to a great city by the outskirts or a mountain range by the foothills. Having begun, the process is as irreversible as childbirth. Tony lists the ten signs that are the most familiar.
Chapter 2 details the grim picture, with some distressing figures, of a world falling apart, and concludes that the problems of the human race (terrorism, the warming of the earth, violence and immorality) are global.
Chapter 3 sets out the human response in the world coming together: Tony cites the striking example of the assembling of world leaders for Yitzak Rabin’s funeral in two days. Developments in communications and travel now mean we are aware of, and can participate in, world events shortly after they have happened. He also warns of the potentially sinister Verichip, a small device being developed in the USA to counteract fraud, but offering enormous power to spy on individuals. We are all aware of closed-circuit cameras that record our movements and the prodigious increase in the sophistication of technology which allows the global monitoring of e-mails, faxes and phone calls: these all promise control to a dictator. The proposed “new World Order” is a response to the growing realisation that the world’s problems are insoluble on a national basis. Mr Gorbachev’s “Earth Charter” in 1988 and the UN’s “Our Global Neighbourhood” in 1996 with its plan for a world government present blueprints. The EU is the first experiment, and its successful Euro currency launch is being scrutinised by the African Union, the nations of the Arabic Peninsula, and the economies of Asia. There is also the suggestion of a European President who will be “a public face and a driving force of Europe”.
Chapter 4 sees the EU as a revival of the old Roman Empire, which through the Roman Catholic Church has had a profound effect on Europe. The EU is being proposed as a new super-state in which a single faith (Roman Catholicism) will be dominant. The influence of the EU on our lives is insidious: unelected officials wield enormous power. The European Court of Justice and the Human Rights legislation now have the capability to overrule the laws of this country, and there exists the possibility of using these instruments to ban any party or view opposed to EU integration. The author sees this as the fulfilling of Rev 2, 7 and 17. Antichrist will emerge from Europe with the backing of the religious system “mystery Babylon”. Gary Koh’s “World Government: how close is it?” proposes 10 administrative regions and the Club of Rome in its early (1972) study mentioned the 10 regions into which the world would be divided. Could this be the ten kingdoms of Rev 17:12-13?
Chapter 5 examines the disturbing thinking that a new world organisation and economy need a new world religion in which “all gods are equal and all religions and philosophies are different expressions of the same thing.” The UN meditation room is dedicated to “god whom man worships under many names and in many forms”. Tony warns of an EU move to legalise religions (as was done by ancient Rome) in which “ecumenism would be the chief criterion of acceptability” with the attendant threat of persecution for true believers (see Luke 21:12-19). Many churches will go along with this idea and become the false prophets that the Lord warned about as a sign of the end times (Matt 24: 5, 11, 24).
In chapters 6-8 the author outlines the role of Israel in God’s plan, starting with the covenant with Abraham and emphasising the role of prophecy in declaring the ways and works of God. The seventh chapter begins with a seven-point programme of world events regarding Israel. The exciting story of the battle for Israel is told, and the national regathering to their land despite Muslim opposition (foreshadowed in Psalm 83, where the enemies are spelt out as the countries bordering Israel). The various peace plans are discussed, with the ominous warning that it is allowable in Islam to make temporary peace with an enemy to gain ultimate advantage (i.e. the elimination of the state of Israel). This strategy was outlined by Abu Jihad (Arafat’s deputy) at the PLO Algiers summit in 1988 when he emphasised how important it was to “persuade the world of our bona fides, that we don’t intend to carry out the second phase” i.e. the liquidation of Israel following an initial peace phase and the setting up of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. This clearly points to the covenant of Daniel 9:26-27. Both the EU and the Vatican are seen as good “peace brokers” for the Middle East!
The book then offers a likely pattern of future events before the Lord returns, of which the major one is the emergence of the Antichrist. A number of triggers are suggested including a limited Middle East War, and a worldwide financial crash or environmental disaster. The author deals with one possible trigger in an Appendix on the rapture of the saints. The Antichrist appears in the guise of the rider on the white horse in Rev 6 in which role he will counterfeit Christ and come offering the global peace that all seek (and tying in with the immense importance of Jerusalem and Israel, one who solves the Arab-Israel conflict would of course be a strong contender for the leadership of the world.)
Next we have a picture of the rule of the Antichrist and its attendant judgements following the rejection of the true Messiah as set out in Rev 8-9. He will begin by making peace with “ten kings” (Rev 17) and a rebellion by three of them (Dan 7:24) will lead to the God-Magog battle in Ezek 38 (including Russia and the Islamic states not bordering Israel). The defeat of this army ushers in the last half of the tribulation (3.5 years) where with Satan’s backing and the help of the false prophet the Antichrist will rule with absolute global power. This very terrible time is spoken of by Jesus in Matt 24:15-22, and will include a worldwide control of commerce (Rev 13:18). In the religious world the first half of the tribulation will see the emergence and domination of a global world religion, but thereafter Satan will give all his power to the Antichrist and together with the false prophet will operate as a counterfeit trinity. The Antichrist will demand absolute allegiance and worship (Dan 11:36-37; 2 Thess 2:3-4) and will turn on all his “religions”.
However uncertain we are of the details, the book spells out clearly the end in the return of the Lord Jesus, the defeat and destruction of His foes, and the glorious future for the saints. There is much to look forward to if you believe in the Lord and we should look on the approaching signs in the light of Luke 21:28. This is a most encouraging book that sets out clearly what is revealed in scripture of the present and future times, one of the most exciting in world history.
Reflections on a comment from the ex-Bishop of Durham
The Times Letters to the Editor: Jan 14, 2003
from Mr Brian Maiden
Sir, David Jenkins, the retired Bishop of Durham, is asked if, when saying the Lord’s Prayer, he ever felt that no-one was listening up there (T2 January 14). He gives the following answer:
Well I think that, if I was reflecting on it, I’d have to say I don’t think He’s listening up there, but I sometimes think there is “a” listening and I think it’s sometimes in me and sometimes in it.
On the same subject Jesus said:
When you pray, go into your room and pray to your Father who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you (Matthew vi, 6).
I know which I prefer. At least I can understand Jesus.
|Trumpet Sounds is sent free to all who request it: we leave it to the Lord to supply our needs.|