Understanding the Times of the Signs – Part One
Vol: 89 Issue: 23 Monday, February 23, 2009
Christianity is not the only faith that believes that God not only recorded the future in advance, but that He did so to a specific purpose. Both Islam and Judaism both have their own eschatology (signs of the times).
The Scriptures tell us that wisdom plus instruction equal understanding and that ‘understanding’ is the senior of the three attributes.
Psalms 111:10 says “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do His commandments: His praise endureth for ever.”
Proverbs 1:7: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
Proverbs 3:13: “Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. “
Proverbs 8:5: “O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart.”
When one seeks wisdom through instruction, the Bible promises the result will be understanding.
Wisdom is something one uses to drive a car in traffic to keep from being involved in an accident. Understanding is what one requires to fix a car when it breaks down. Lots of people have the wisdom necessary to drive. Only a few have the understanding necessary to be a mechanic.
If you are stuck on the side of the road with a dead engine, you don’t need somebody with safe-driver wisdom. You need somebody with engine-fixing understanding.
There is a difference between the signs of the times and the times of the signs. The Lord gave us signs of the times thousands of years in advance. The signs were described long before the times in which they were possible.
People living in 500 AD knew the signs — but the time was not yet. People living in 2009 are living in the times the signs describe.
Over the next couple of days, we’re going to seek understanding about both the signs of the times and the times of the signs.
There is a term within Islam called “The Pillars of Islam” that outlines the five (or eight) duties incumbent upon every Muslim. The duties they impose are as follows:
1) Shahada: The Profession of Faith. To become a Muslim, one need only recite the Shahada (“There is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet” three times before witnesses.
2) Salah: Prayers. Muslims are required to pray five times a day at fixed times; dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset and night. During salat the faithful face the Kaaba in Mecca. Failure to perform Salat is a personal sin.
3) Zakat: Alms-giving. All Muslims who are able to do so must give Zakat. Zakat consists of spending a fixed portion of one’s wealth for the benefit of the poor or needy, including slaves, debtors and travellers.
There are two main types of Zakat. First, there is the kajj, which is a fixed amount based on the cost of food that is paid during the month of Ramadan by the head of a family for himself and his dependents.
Second, there is the Zakat on wealth, which covers money made in business, savings, income, and so on. Zakat is based on 2.5% of one’s annual income or nisab, the minimum, which is three ounces of gold (currently $2,640.00.)
4) Sawm: Fasting. The Koran recognizes three kinds of fasts; ritual fasting, fasting as compensation or penance, and asthetic fasting.
5) Hajj: Pilgrimage to Mecca. It is the duty of every Muslim to make a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in his life time to throw stones at the devil.
Islam, like Christianity or Judaism, is not monolithic; within Islam are dozens of sects or ‘denominations’. Within Shia Islam there are eight pillars; in addition to the five already listed are:
6) Jihad: Jihad refers to ‘the struggle”. ‘Moderate’ or apostatic Islam argues that the jihad is a internal struggle with the sin nature. The problem with this interpretation is that Islam denies the sin nature. Sura 7:23-29 argues that men are basically good and are turned by Satan with Allah’s permission.
7)Walayah: Guardianship of the Umma (world-wide Islamic community).
8) Taharat: Purity or Islamic hygiene.
Islam includes similar imagery to that of Christian or Judaic eschatology. Until one begins to study it. Then the similarities cease.
The Muslim Jesus
Islam has a role for Jesus in the last days. The Muslim Jesus (Isa) is not the Son of God, but instead a minor prophet with a big job in the last days.
Isa will return to overthrow the antichrist (al-Dajjal) at the Battle of Aqabat Afiq in Syria. After having defeated al-Dajjal, Isa will ‘kill all pigs and break all crosses’ to confirm Islam as the one true religion. After defeating al-Dajjal, Isa subordinates himself to Mohammed. Isa marries, has children, dies forty years later and is buried next to Mohammed.
When he returns, Isa partners up with the Islamic messiah, the Mahdi. The two will rule for seven years, with Isa serving as the religious imam and the Mahdi serving as the political imam.
At the end of Jesus’ and the messianic Imam’s rule, the angels will be destroyed and the earth will “spill out its contents”.
Islam’s Signs of the Times
Islam divides up the signs of the end into “Major Signs” and “Minor Signs.”
The major signs that the end times have arrived include:
1) Gross Materialism will infect the world.
2) Women will outnumber men.
3) Christians and Muslims will fight together against unbelievers. Once the unbelievers are defeated by this combined force, the Muslims will turn on the Christians and defeat them.
4) Muslims will defeat Jews in battle.
Let’s examine each.
1) Gross materialism. (nuff said)
2. According to UNFPA statistics, globally, women now outnumber men 52% to 48%.
3) Muslims and Christians joined forces in 1991 to defeat Saddam Hussein and his secularist government.
Fighting alongside the world’s most Christian country in 1991 were Kuwait, Bangladesh, Egypt, Syria, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
Ten years later, 19 Saudi citizens hijacked four US planes and murdered 3000 innocents, kicking off what became a world-wide war on Islamic-inspired terror.
4) The 2006 Lebanon War ended without Israel achieving any of its stated objectives. Hezbollah declared victory and the Islamic world celebrated its first ‘victory’ over the Jewish state.
Israel also pulled out of Gaza leaving Hamas intact and in power — another defeat of the Jews by the forces of Islam.
The minor signs that the Islamic end-times have arrived are:
1) An increase in bloodshed and war: This is another ’nuff said’ category.
2) Contraction of Time: Islam believes that time will speed up as the days count down.
3) Religious knowledge decreases: This is a reference to pure Islam. The existence of ‘moderate’ Islam is a fulfillment of this ‘sign’.
4) Prevalence of the ungodly. If the majority of world-wide Islam is truly ‘moderate’ then the ‘Islamic ungodly’ represent the majority.
So to Islam, these must be the signs of the times. From the Islamic perspective, therefore, these are the Times of the Signs.
How seriously do you take Bible prophecy? Do you believe that every word of God is true? Are you one of those, “if the Bible said it, I believe it” type Christians?
Do you believe that Bible prophecy must be 100% accurate, 100% of the time in order to be Divinely inspired?
If you are, then you are a perfect candidate for applying wisdom and coming up with understanding as it applies to Islam.
In that sense, they are just like us. They believe that it is their obligation to obey God, just as we do.
Except if we don’t obey God, we’re still saved. There is a penalty due in this lifetime for sin, but the eternal penalty was already paid at Calvary. We were born as sinners so that we could learn to trust Him for our salvation.
Islam doesn’t have that blessed assurance. No Muslim knows for sure if he is saved or not.
Salvation for a Muslim comes at Judgment Day. On that day, works will be weighed on the scales of justice hung on a pillar on the east side of the Temple Mount platform. If the good works outweigh the bad works, then that Muslim is saved.
Now, suppose, as a Muslim, you look at your life and you KNOW that the scales of justice aren’t going to fall your way.
Indeed, that is how most of us come to Christ. We realize that on balance, we won’t come out ahead — and THAT’s why we need a Savior.
What does an observant and religious Muslim do when he weighs his life on that scale? Within fundamental Islam, there is but one certain road to salvation. Death by jihad.
If Christian salvation can be expressed as salvation by grace through faith, then the Islamic version is salvation by death through murder.
Tomorrow . . .
Understanding the Times of the Signs: Judaism and the Last Days.