The ‘Sudden’ Rise of Radical Islam
Vol: 63 Issue: 22 Friday, December 22, 2006
Have you ever watched the news and wondered just where in the heck did all these Islamic terrorists come from, anyway?
Twenty years ago, most of us were only peripherally aware of Islam and about all we knew about them politically was that they hated Jews.
Insofar as Islam as a religion, most of us were content to include it as one of the world’s Three Great Monotheistic Religions, assuming that Muslims worship the same God as do Christians and Jews.
And that’s if we even gave Islam a thought, back in 1986. It was so far under the radar that, to most Americans, it seems as if Islam just appeared out of nowhere.
As far as ‘radical’ Islam is concerned, as far as most of us were concerned, that was the only kind there was. The only Islam we ever heard about was radical Islam.
It was Islamic radicals that took over the US Embassy in Tehran in 1977. It was Islamic radicals that blew up the US Marine Barracks in Beirut in 1983. Islamic radicals hijacked an airplane every couple of years or so, but that about the only introduction to Islam most of us ever had.
None of us knew much about Islam until after September 11 — but it hasn’t left the front pages since. It is worth asking ourselves, how could something so powerful and so dangerous have escaped our notice for so long?
And why its sudden rise at THIS particular point in history?
Christians who study Bible prophecy and interpret it literally are generally dismissed as ‘prophecy nuts’ by ‘mainstream’ Christianity and marginalized as ‘doom merchants’ or something less flattering.
Most Christians would be surprised to know that eschatology (the study of the end times) is one of the three major principles of Islam.
Eschatology is even more central to Islam than it is to Christianity. And they take it much more seriously.
Islamic eschatology includes a second coming of Jesus, except that Islam’s Jesus isn’t Christ, but a prophet. At a time appointed by Allah, Isa (Islam’s Jesus) will return to earth physically and join forces with the Mahdi during the Islamic version of the Tribulation.
Together, they will defeat the infidel hordes. Isa finally kills ad-Dajjal, (Islam’s antichrist) and ushers in the Messianic era. “Dajjal” means ‘false prophet” or “imposter”.
Islamic eschatology follows the basic New Testament outline for the last days in many respects, although the description of the Dajjal sounds like a comic book character.
“He will be physically misshapen, and will be blind in his left eye. His right eye will be present but it will be dark (black). In a number of hadith he is referred to as one-eyed. He will ride a giant white donkey whose each step will span a mile, will eat fire and exhale smoke, fly over land and cross seas.” – (Wikipedia)
Giant, flying, fire-eating donkeys aside, Islamic eschatology plays a big role in radical Islamic thinking.
The Islamic world is looking at the same signs of the times that we are and reaching the same conclusions. The only places where we differ is in the details.
That is one of the reasons for what appears to us to be the ‘sudden’ appearance of Islam on the world’s stage.
It explains why radical Islam seems to be everywhere; Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, the Russian ‘stans’ Egypt, Indonesia, India, across Europe — it would be shorter to list the countries where radical Islam does NOT have a foothold.
Islamic eschatology follows the basic Bible outline for the last days. So, to a Muslim, seeing the general end times outline unfold before them validates all Islamic prophecy as Divinely inspired.
Since they believe these are the last days, they expect the Mahdi to soon appear on the scene to lead them in glorious victory.
One can’t lead an army of jihadists to glorious victory without first having an army to lead. That world-wide jihadist army is already in place and growing exponentially as the Muslim world prepares for its own version of the Tribulation.
In the first half of the 20th century, the world’s Jews began responding to an irresistible call to return to the Land of Promise, as the Bible said they would, in the last days. With the restoration of Israel, the countdown clock to Armageddon began ticking.
In the last half of the 20th century, the Islamic world began responding to an equally irresistible call to mobilize for jihad in accordance with Islamic-inspired belief that these are the last days.
The Jews believe these are the last days. The Muslims believe these are the last days. Each reached their conclusions independently based on the study of their own scriptures and comparing it to the signs of the times.
Among Christians, the only ones who believe these are the last days are the ‘merchants of doom’ — precisely as the Bible predicted.
“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” (2nd Peter 3:3-4)
Here in the West, we’ve got our eyes shut tight, our fingers in our ears, in literal fulfillment of Jesus’ prediction:
“Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.” (Luke 21:26)
What does it mean to us? It means that we are not following “cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” (2nd Peter 1:16)
We, too, are eyewitnesses to His majesty. Each day, I sit in awe as I watch His Word come to life as the Bible’s outline for the last days continues to unfold exactly as predicted.
“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (2nd Peter 1:20-21)
Islam’s version of prophecy is close enough for them to see the signs of the times. But Islamic eschatology promises only war and conquest and blood and death, reflecting the spiritual nature of its author.
The Bible promises salvation, hope and eternal life, reflecting the Spiritual nature of ITS Author:
“For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
“Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (1st Thessalonians 4:16-18)