“A Mark From God”
Vol: 75 Issue: 27 Thursday, December 27, 2007
Ayman al Zawahiri, really-scary-terrorist-turned al-Qaeda News anchorman, made headlines again last week with his latest proposed video hit, “Ask a Terrorist.”
Zawahiri is exploring his post-al-Qaeda career as a lecturer and journalist, soliciting written questions from reporters over the internet. Zawahiri said he would be taking questions from “individuals, agencies and all media.”
“Anyone who would like to ask him questions must be concise and precise,” media outlets As-Sahab and Al-Fair said in a statement, asking journalists and individuals to submit questions to Al-Qaeda’s Ayman al-Zawahiri via their Web sites by Jan. 16.
Zawahiri would answer questions “as much as he is able and at the soonest possible occasion,” al-Jazeera TV said.
I’d like to ask Zawahiri who does the lighting in his cave. It’s great work.
In fact, the lighting is so good that one can see the little mark on al Zawahiri’s forehead — it looks kinda like what the priest puts on a penitent’s head on Ash Wednesday, like a smudge, or maybe a faded tattoo.
But it isn’t. The mark on the forehead is a mark of piety within Islam, known as the zebibah (Arabic for ‘raisin’)
It is actually a dark callus, sometimes protruding as a bump, created by pressing one’s forehead against a prayer mat five times a day.
Observant Muslims pray five times a day. Each prayer involves kneeling and touching one’s forehead and nose to the ground.
All five prayers require placing one”s head on the ground for a total of 34 times, though many people add prayers and with them, more chances to press their heads to the ground.
“The zebibah is a way to show how important religion is for us,” said Muhammad al-Bikali, a hairstylist in Cairo, in an interview last month quoted by the New York Times.
“It shows how religious we are. It is a mark from God.”
“And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” (Revelation 13:16-17)
This passage calls to attention another unique similarity between John’s description of the religious system of the antichrist and the religious system of Islam.
We’ve looked at other unique similarities; Daniel’s description of the antichrist’s use of peace as a weapon and Islam’s use of the ‘hudna’ to the same end, for example.
There is no other major world religion that either preaches conversion by the sword or encourages false treaties to that end as a matter of doctrine. It is a practice unique to Islam.
There is no other world religion that teaches decapitation as an acceptable penalty for blasphemy or conversion to another religion.
Of the world’s three largest religions, that practice is unique to Islam.
The government of antichrist is depicted by John as a marriage of politics of religion into a single, ruling entity.
It is the False Prophet who issues the religious edicts of worship, proscribes penalties, and pronounces penalties.
The political antichrist simply enforces his religious edicts. Not only does that mirror the Islamic model, once again, it is a characteristic unique to Islam among the great religions of the world.
In an Islamic Republic, like Iran, it is the religious leaders — the mullahs and ayatollahs, who call the shots.
The political leaders, like Ahmadinejad, while not powerless in their own right, are still obligated to give religious edicts the full force of law.
And, uniquely, among radical Islamists, there is the zebibah, a mark in the forehead that is a demonstration of piety intended; as explained Muhammed al-Bikali, to “show how religious we are.”
The Bible presents the antichrist as a system that brings politics, religion and finance together under a single banner; as a partnership between the political beast and the False Prophet; and, as a ‘spirit’.
“And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” (1st John 4:3)
The Psalms declare not once, but twice, that the Messiah would be the begotten Son of God.
“I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You.'”
“Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him. (Psalms 2:7,12)
Islam is unique among the world’s three great religions in that it specifically denies both that Jesus was the Messiah and that He was the Son of God — the exact Biblical definition of the ‘spirit of antichrist’.
“Wonderful originator of the heavens and the earth! How could he have a son when he has no consort? And he created everything and he is the knower of all things.” (Sura 6:102)
“They say: Allah has taken a son (to himself). Glory be to him! He is the self-sufficient. His is what is in the heavens and what is in the earth. You have no authority for this. Say you against Allah what you know not?” (Sura 10:68)
Islam denies the Sonship of the Messiah, but at the same time, accepts a different Jesus (Isa) that Islam assigns the role of lesser prophet (after Mohammed).
“For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” (2nd Corinthians 11:4)
The Prophet Daniel makes it clear that the political beast will be a prince of a revived Roman Empire, (Daniel 9:27).
And the Apostle John identifies the seat of both the antichrist’s government and religious system will be the City on Seven Hills (Revelation 17:9)
It is mainly from those two points of identification that scholars down through the centuries have identified the headquarters of the False Prophet as the Vatican in Rome.
But that’s where the identification effort starts to break down. The Bible doesn’t describe any religious doctrine or practice resembling that of the Roman Catholic Church.
The Vatican doesn’t decapitate its opponents, deny the Sonship of Jesus Christ, condone terrorism as a path to salvation, or incorporate a visible mark in the forehead as form of religious identification and a testament of personal piety.
There is but one great world religion that meets every single prophesied criteria, from its doctrine and methods to its institutional hatred of Christians and Jews.
The Bible says that hatred will eventually bring all nations together on the plains of Megiddo for one, final battle. This generation can already see the signs of such a battle taking shape somewhere in the not-too-distant future.
As some of the signs grow clearer, other formerly obscure signs take on new significance.
“It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter,” writes King Solomon. (Proverbs 25:2)
As the time nears, the Big Picture continues to come into focus as more and more pieces of the puzzle fall into place.
I don’t have all the answers yet, but up close, I have to admit that the enemy looks a lot more like Osama bin Laden or Ayman al Zawahiri than he does the Pope.
I’m not prepared to totally abandon the traditional view, but I am prepared to continue searching out the matter, according to the Scriptures.
Until He comes.