Monthly Archives: February 2013

Will the antichrist be a Muslim?

From GotQuestions.org

Answer: With the increasing tensions in the Middle East in recent years, and particularly the statements by Shiite Muslim extremists regarding the Twelfth Imam, many people have begun to ask how this relates to Bible prophecies. To answer, we must first find out who the Twelfth Imam is and what he is expected to do for Islam. Second, we must examine the statements by Shiite Muslims in relation to those hopes, and, third, we need to look to the Bible to shed light on the whole issue.

Within the Shiite branch of Islam, there have been twelve imams, or spiritual leaders appointed by Allah. These began with Imam Ali, cousin to Muhammad, who claimed the prophetic succession after Muhammad’s death. Around A.D. 868, the Twelfth Imam, Abu al-Qasim Muhammad (or Muhammad al Mahdi), was born to the Eleventh Imam. Because his father was under intense persecution, the Mahdi was sent into hiding for his protection. About the age of 6, he briefly came out of hiding when his father was killed, but then went back into hiding. It is said that he has been hiding in caves ever since and will supernaturally return just before the day of judgment to eradicate all tyranny and oppression, bringing harmony and peace to the earth. He is the savior of the world in Shiite theology. According to one writer, the Mahdi will combine the dignity of Moses, the grace of Jesus, and the patience of Job in one perfect person.

The predictions about the Twelfth Imam have a striking similarity to Bible prophecies of the end times. According to Islamic prophecy, the Mahdi’s return will be preceded by a number of events during three years of horrendous world chaos, and he will rule over the Arabs and the world for seven years. His appearance will be accompanied by two resurrections, one of the wicked and one of the righteous. According to Shiite teachings, the Mahdi’s leadership will be accepted by Jesus, and the two great branches of Abraham’s family will be reunited forever.

How do the statements of Shiite Muslims, such as the President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, tie into this? Ahmadinejad is a deeply committed Shiite and claims that he is to personally prepare the world for the coming Mahdi. In order for the world to be saved, it must be in a state of chaos and subjugation, and Ahmadinejad feels he was directed by Allah to pave the way for that. Ahmadinejad has repeatedly made statements about destroying the enemies of Islam. The Iranian President and his cabinet have supposedly signed a contract with al Mahdi in which they pledge themselves to his work. When asked directly by ABC reporter Ann Curry in September 2009 about his apocalyptic statements, Ahmadinejad said, “Imam…will come with logic, with culture, with science. He will come so that there is no more war. No more enmity, hatred. No more conflict. He will call on everyone to enter a brotherly love. Of course, he will return with Jesus Christ. The two will come back together. And working together, they would fill this world with love.”

What does all this have to do with the Antichrist? According to 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, there will be a “man of sin” revealed in the last days who will oppose and exalt himself above all that is called God. In Daniel 7 we read of Daniel’s vision of four beasts which represent kingdoms which play major roles in God’s prophetic plan. The fourth beast is described (v. 7-8) as being dreadful, terrible, exceedingly strong, and different from those which came before it. It is also described as having a “little horn” which uproots other horns. This little horn is often identified as the Antichrist. In verse 25 he is described as speaking “great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time” (3 ½ years). In Daniel 8, the vision of the ram and the goat identifies a king who will arise in the last days (v. 23-25), destroy many people, and stand up against Christ, but this king will be broken. In Daniel 9:27 it is prophesied that the “prince that shall come” would make a 7-year covenant with many people and then bring in much desolation. Who will this Antichrist be? No one knows for certain, but many theories have been given, including the possibility that he will be an Arab.

Regardless of the various theories, there are a few parallels between the Bible and Shiite theology that we should note. First, the Bible says that the Antichrist’s kingdom will rule the world for seven years, and Islam claims that the Twelfth Imam will rule the world for seven years. Second, Muslims anticipate three years of chaos before the revealing of the Twelfth Imam, and the Bible speaks of 3 ½ years of Tribulation before the Antichrist reveals himself by desecrating the Jewish temple. Third, the Antichrist is described as a deceiver who claims to bring peace, but who actually brings widespread war; the anticipation of the Twelfth Imam is that he will bring peace through massive war with the rest of the world.

Will the Antichrist be a Muslim? Only God knows. Are there connections between Islamic eschatology and Christian eschatology? There certainly seem to be direct correlations, though they are like reading the descriptions of a great battle, first from the perspective of the loser, trying to save face, and then from the perspective of the victor. Until we see the fulfillment of these things, we need to heed the words of 1 John 4:1-4, “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

Recommended Resource: Understanding End Times Prophecy by Paul Benware.

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How Gospel-Centered Churches Handle False Teaching and False Teachers

by Matthew Harmon

All one has to do is walk into most Christian bookstores or tune into so-called Christian radio/TV to realize that false teaching is alive and well. So how should a gospel-centered church respond?

Titus 1:10-16 shows us how. But before noting what that passage tells us, it is important to note that Titus 1:5-9 provides us with qualifications for elders. Within the context of Titus, then, the necessity of biblically qualified elders is in part rooted in the need to deal with false teaching.

Having established that, in Titus 1:10-16 Paul identifies three ways that gospel-centered churches handle false teaching:

1. Gospel-Centered Churches Recognize False Teaching/Teachers (1:10-13a)

When doctors are in medical school, part of their training involves diagnosing illnesses by the symptoms that present themselves. In the same way, Paul provides us with some diagnostic tools to recognize false teaching. He instructs us to observe their character (insubordinate, empty talkers, deceivers, etc.), their tactics (upsetting whole families, playing to the culture), and their motivation (shameful gain).

2. Gospel-Centered Churches Rebuke False Teaching/Teachers (1:13b-14)

When Paul says “Rebuke them sharply” he uses a play on words with the false teachers’ promotion of circumcision. In effect Paul says something like, “Use the sharp knife of correction with those who wield the dull blade of circumcision.” Paul is not advocating legal action, nor is he promoting a witch hunt. But false teaching is so dangerous that it requires corrective action. The goal of that corrective action is “so that they may be sound in the faith” (1:13). The word translated “sound” can also mean healthy. True spiritual health comes from the gospel, not false teaching.

3. Gospel-Centered Churches Resist False Teaching/Teachers (1:15-16)

Knowledge of what the gospel teaches about various subjects is the preventative vaccine that enables the believer to resist false teaching. Truly embracing this vaccine produces not merely head knowledge of the gospel, but good works that flow out genuine saving faith.

Regardless of whether you are an elder or not, every believer is responsible for being so familiar with the true gospel that false teaching is immediately obvious. The gospel is the only way that we can be made pure, because it points us to the only one who is truly pure-Jesus Christ. And everyone who has their hope set on him purifies himself in anticipation of his return (1 John 3:1-3).

Explanation of God

This is from an email, I don’t think I have read much better.

It was written by an 8-year-old named Danny Dutton, who lives in Chula Vista , CA . He wrote it for his third grade homework assignment, to ‘explain God.’ I wonder if any of us could have done as well**.

**He wrote his assignment, in California , and someone published it, I guess miracles do happen !

**EXPLANATION OF GOD:’One of God’s main jobs is making people. He makes them to replace the ones that die, so there will be enough people to take care of things on earth. He doesn’t make grownups, just babies. I think because they are smaller and easier to make. That way he doesn’t have to take up his valuable time teaching them to talk and walk. He can just leave that to mothers and fathers.

”God’s second most important job is listening to prayers. An awful lot of this goes on, since some people, like preachers and things, pray at times beside bedtime. God doesn’t have time to listen to the radio or TV because of this. Because he hears everything, there must be a terrible lot of noise in his ears, unless he has thought of a way to turn it off.”

God sees everything and hears everything and is everywhere which keeps Him pretty busy. So you shouldn’t go wasting his time by going over your mom and dad’s head asking for something they said you couldn’t have.”

Atheists are people who don’t believe in God. I don’t think there are any in Chula Vista …

At least there aren’t any who come to our church.”Jesus is God’s Son. He used to do all the hard work, like walking on water and performing miracles and trying to teach the people who didn’t want to learn about God.. They finally got tired of him preaching to them and they crucified him But he was good and kind, like his father, and he told his father that they didn’t know what they were doing and to forgive them and God said O.K.”

His dad (God) appreciated everything that he had done and all his hard work on earth so he told him he didn’t have to go out on the road anymore. He could stay in heaven. So he did. And now he helps his dad out by listening to prayers and seeing things which are important for God to take care of and which ones he can take care of himself without having to bother God. Like a secretary, only more important.”

You can pray anytime you want and they are sure to help you because they got it worked out so one of them is on duty all the time.’

‘You should always go to church on Sunday because it makes God happy, and if there’s anybody you want to make happy, it’s God!Don’t skip church to do something you think will be more fun like going to the beach. This is wrong. And besides the sun doesn’t come out at the beach until noon anyway.’

‘If you don’t believe in God, besides being an atheist, you will be very lonely, because your parents can’t go everywhere with you, like to camp, but God can. It is good to know He’s around you when you’re scared, in the dark or when you can’t swim and you get thrown into real deep water by big kids.’

‘But…..you shouldn’t just always think of what God can do for you. I figure God put me here and he can take me back anytime he pleases.

And…that’s why I believe in God.’*

*GARDEN SNAKES CAN BE DANGEROUS…

Snakes also known as Garter Snakes (Thamnophissirtalis) can be
dangerous Yes, grass snakes, not rattlesnakes. Here’s why.

A couple in Sweetwater , Texas , had a lot of potted plants.
During a recent cold spell, the wife was bringing a lot of them
indoors to protect them from a possible freeze.

It turned out that a little green garden grass snake was hidden
in one of the plants. When it had warmed up, it slithered out
and the wife saw it go under the sofa.

She let out a very loud scream.

The husband (who was taking a shower) ran out into the living
room naked to see what the problem was. She told him there was a
snake under the sofa.

He got down on the floor on his hands and knees to look for it.
About that time the family dog came and cold-nosed him on the
behind. He thought the snake had bitten him, so he screamed and
fell over on the floor.

His wife thought he had had a heart attack, so she covered him
up, told him to lie still and called an ambulance.

The attendants rushed in, would not listen to his protests,
loaded him on the stretcher, and started carrying him out.

About that time, the snake came out from under the sofa and the
Emergency Medical Technician saw it and dropped his end of the
stretcher. That’s when the man broke his leg and why he is still
in the hospital.

The wife still had the problem of the snake in the house, so she
called on a neighbor who volunteered to capture the snake. He
armed himself with a rolled-up newspaper and began poking under
the couch.. Soon he decided it was gone and told the woman, who
sat down on the sofa in relief.

But while relaxing, her hand dangled in between the cushions,
where she felt the snake wriggling around. She screamed and
fainted, the snake rushed back under the sofa.

The neighbor man, seeing her lying there passed out, tried to
use CPR to revive her.

The neighbor’s wife, who had just returned from shopping at the
grocery store, saw her husband’s mouth on the woman’s mouth and
slammed her husband in the back of the head with a bag of canned
goods, knocking him out and cutting his scalp to a point where
it needed stitches.

The noise woke the woman from her dead faint and she saw her
neighbor lying on the floor with his wife bending over him, so
she assumed that the snake had bitten him. She went to the
kitchen and got a small bottle of whiskey, and began pouring it
down the man’s throat.

By now, the police had arrived.
Breathe here…

They saw the unconscious man, smelled the whiskey, and assumed
that a drunken fight had occurred. They were about to arrest
them all, when the women tried to explain how it all happened
over a little garden snake!

The police called an ambulance, which took away the neighbor and
his sobbing wife.

Now, the little snake again crawled out from under the sofa and
one of the policemen drew his gun and fired at it. He missed the
snake and hit the leg of the end table. The table fell over, the
lamp on it shattered and, as the bulb broke, it started a fire
in the drapes.

The other policeman tried to beat out the flames, and fell
through the window into the yard on top of the family dog who,
startled, jumped out and raced into the street, where an
oncoming car swerved to avoid it and smashed into the parked
police car.

Meanwhile, neighbors saw the burning drapes and called in the
fire department. The firemen had started raising the fire ladder
when they were halfway down the street. The rising ladder tore
out the overhead wires, put out the power, and disconnected the
telephones in a ten-square city block area (but they did get the
house fire out).

Time passed! Both men were discharged from the hospital, the
house was repaired, the dog came home, the police acquired a new
car and all was right with their world.

A while later they were watching TV and the weatherman announced
a cold snap for that night. The wife asked her husband if he
thought they should bring in their plants for the night.

And that’s when he shot her.*

{from an email}