Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Monstrous Mosaic of Malevolence: A Synergy of Multiple Eschatological Predictions

I hadn't put in much thought when I was younger as to who the Beast system in Revelation could be. I remember initially reading through it in 6th or 7th grade and taking all of the symbolism very literally, to great imaginative effect, but total lack of clarity about what may actually occur. A short time later, I realized it would be a "One World Government" of some sort, but I didn't seriously recognize the religious aspect of it, and assumed, much like the Left Behind movies portray (never read the books, so I can't speak to that), that the Antichrist and his followers are essentially atheistic in orientation.

After delving deep into a study of Biblical Inerrancy, followed by Creation science, I was fully convinced of the truth of the Bible, but now had a few loose ends to tie up: what theological groups on the world stage are "with us," and which are not? Furthermore, I doubted that there would be any redeeming qualities to the religion of Islam, but I needed to study it to make certain. In the beginning of the summer of 2010, I came across the helpful website and spent some time on it and others, steeping myself in their thorough Quranic expositions.

One of the most amazing things I came across on that website was an online hosted copy of Joel Richardson's book, The Islamic Antichrist. Please take the time to read it, it was one of the key 'aha' moments in my journey that has shaped my views of theological matters: in this case, eschatology.

Immensely thoroughly researched, and without a sign of quackery, the book made me initially, completely convinced that Islam itself was from ancient days past destined to be the vehicle by which the coming Lawless One would conquer nations and arise as the solitary ruler of all nations on earth during the Tribulation.

The understanding necessitates the realization that America is not symbolic Babylon the Great. For much of the 20th century, after America rose to a "superpower" status, many predictions about the Tribulation have held that America is somehow identified with Babylon the Great, which meets sudden destruction in the pages of Revelation. On the basis of the fact that the Bible, in its prophecy, has always been very Middle-East-Centric, I doubt that America has any implied mention in Scripture at all. But the identity of Babylon the Great is another article's worth of writing. Suffice it to say, a lot of modern views about who the Antichrist would be have also been colored by the peculiar experiences of those people who held those views. The Reformers nearly universally thought that the Roman Catholic Church was sure to be the Antichrist future world government, or at least affirmed that at that time, it represented the most obvious manifestation of Antichrist spirit in the world as they knew it.

I had an epiphany as I contemplated the candidacy of the two religions: Romanism and Islam. Would the Beast come from Rome? Would he come from Babylon, whose ruins lie within 100 miles, give or take, of Baghdad? But what about the hundreds of millions of Hindus and Buddhists, what role do they play? Whether the Antichrist be Catholic or Muslim, would the other groups be subsumed into that religion, or would they be ignored at the periphery of prophecy (top score for that alliteration right there)?

Then I came to realize. The Man of Sin might hearken from one place to begin with, but how would he hope to unite all the peoples of earth underneath his banner?

There are two basic methods: Conquest and conformity, or Synergy.

 I was motivated to explain my current view on a recent post on The-End-Time:
The idea is basically that whereas the Antichrist will initially be some man from a definite place and with a definite persona, he will undoubtedly attempt to be "all things to all people" (in an evil way, opposite of Paul's motive) in order to reach all the diverse people groups of earth. Wouldn't the muslims be more responsive to a man who claims to be the Mahdi? Wouldn't atheists be more responsive to a man who claims to be the spokesperson for an intergalactic alien confederacy--which removed all those religious folks to pave the way for a naturalist utopia, a la Star Trek's view of the 22nd century? Wouldn't unrepentant Jews be more responsive to a man who claims to be the archangel Michael, their defender--since the Antichrist will initially bring peace enough for the Temple to be built? Wouldn't Hindus be responsive to a Shiva-the-destroyer figure who is coming to aid humanity to nirvana through destroying all 'discordant' thoughts and people? Etc etc and many etc.

Consider the world today. We don't get all our news from one place. One 'truth' can be told to America, one to China, one to Europeans and so on. I am nearly certain that the final Antichrist will utilize the world's-best-ever PR machine to present himself as the preferred messiah of each and every religious strain of thought on earth.

Therefore, there will be several rapture explanations. Your above suggestion is attractive as a "conspiracy-theory" one [the Christians got together, dug up their friends, and went into hiding]. I'm certain many atheists, especially atheist spiritualists, will buy into the "Wiser Alien Civilization Removed Those Pesky Christians to Bring Peace and Science to the Galaxy" explanation. Muslims will cheer as they hear the Mahdi exclaim that the enemies of Allah have been destroyed and the global Caliphate can now be achieved. After all, isn't one of the most common descriptions of the unsaved in the end times as those who turn their ears every which way and who believe what they choose to to suit their desires, which are opposed to the truth?

Synergy. I think the best eschatological predictions will all play out in the actual future, in some way, on some level. It will be a monstrous mosaic of malevolence.

I'm sold on the Islamic Antichrist being the primary vehicle for the Beast System to rise and take control over the world. But in order to control the People, operating on the assumption that Islam doesn't actually succeed in subsuming all other strains of thought in the world today: roman catholicism, atheistic spiritualism, rationalistic materialism, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc etc; operating on that assumption, the Antichrist would have to work as a Centralized Federal government: he'd give marching orders to the Pope and Bishops, who would pass them on to their constituents. He'd give a slightly different set of directions to the Western Universities, and to the Islamic Imams. All would be marching in lock-step, but they'd be compartmentalized. I think there will probably be very many different explanations for who the one-world government's leaders are, as there will be many explanations for where the Christians went. In fact, as observed on another post, many people who are left behind will be considered "christians," and so one of the explanations will be that the Rapture didn't even happen, because look at all the christians that are still here.

It will be a time of unparalleled confusion. The main message of my article here is simply this: there are a lot of good scholarly theories out there for how the event may play out. We should not be so narrow-minded as to suppose that only one could be true. In a sense, yes, one will be true, and I anticipate it will be the Islamic Antichrist--but this need not mean that the Papacy does not also oppress the Saints as one arm of the Beast, and it need not mean that many other stories would not be offered as explanations for those still living. On this level, of what will be said, I think there will be a lot of people this side of the Rapture who were at least partially right. But the final orchestration will undoubtedly be far more intricate and in that respect amazing than what we even now can anticipate.

I wonder if God will let us watch from heaven, while we're partaking of the Wedding Feast? It would be quite a show to see.

~ Rak Chazak

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