Monday, February 06, 2006

Prophecy and the Second Coming

I just read an article about the current leader of Iran that promises the coming of . . . well, you tell me what it is the coming of. We are indeed in the last times, and the man of sin will soon be revealed. Where he ends up being revealed from no man is certain, but this does raise interesting speculations. Iran must confront Israel during these last times, and Israel is told to flee to the mountaintops in that day. It is very interesting for me to read of a religion absolutely opposed to both Jews and Christians having a tradition of this coming.
      The current leader of Iran believes passionately in his coming. He looks to his religious creed and says the following: "The ultimate promise of all Divine religions," says Ahmadinejad, "will be fulfilled with the emergence of a perfect human being [the 12th Imam], who is heir to all prophets. He will lead the world to justice and absolute peace.” To a Christian who does believe in the One perfect human who is also God, these words ring in a frightening manner.
      Throughout history many Protestants, (I believe both Calvin and Luther, but I am not on firm ground here, only twenty year old memories of stale studies) have believed the man of sin would be a pope. Today I think many Protestants would be alarmed to even countenance that as a rational thought. We just are not sure. We do know that his rise to power will be spectacular, and many will be deceived.
      When the last pope was selected, I did read of an interesting tradition. I wish I had marked the article, and am going to try to go back and find it. Actually it was maintained to be an actual prophecy. Many popes were prophesied to come and the last pope was named. According to this prophecy of many hundreds of years ago, the current pope is to be the second to last in what the prophecy said was a chain of (here my memory is unclear) of an immense number of popes. Each pope had a specific prophecy about his nature or his work. The prophecies were not too clear especially to one unstudied in popiology, as I am. But the really interesting point of the article was that there is to be but one more pope after the current one.
      In like manner it seems to me that even the irreligious elements of our society are prophesying frantically about the end of the world. Of course they see no coming Savior, preferring to think of the end of the world in a Mad-Max (Mel Gibson) scenario. Al Gore in Earth in the Balance and Rachel Carson in her Silent Spring speak of coming destruction of the earth, though always evading the responsibility of man to his Creator.
      Where and When? We are not sure as Christians, but I do believe the time is very near. In any case here are the Biblical pillars which are important to stress.
1) He is coming. (He who is taken up from among you into heaven will return in the same way.)
2) He is coming soon. (When the fig tree begins to bud, know that that generation shall not pass away until they see the coming of the Son of Man)
3) When He comes He will have a hard time finding faith on the earth. (When the Son of Man returns will he find faith on the earth?)
4) We are to vigilantly watch for his return. (We are told to be as watchmen in the night, for we know not at what hour He comes.)
I used to have an old Southern Baptist friend who often quoted to me the old refrain about prayer: Pray as if it all depends upon God; work as if it all depends on you.
I think that refrain might be slightly changed for the sake of our subject to: Expect him to come today but work as if you are going to have a tomorrow. Of course one day soon we will not have the tomorrow; at least not in our present bodies. What exciting times we do live in! All of the world has groaned and travailed for this brief moment in history that most of us will be privileged to see.


David said...

Mr. D,
How are you doing, sir? I enjoy your blog but I've gotten busy and haven't been able to read it lately.

I went to the news site you mentioned and read the article. It is disconcerting what Mr. Ahmadinejad has said. And also that “he reckons the return of the Imam, AWOL for 11 centuries, is only two years away.” Does that mean Mr. Ahmadinejad will target 2008 for some nuclear disaster to force the appearance of this “perfect human being?” The article says that he believes “his return will be preceded by cosmic chaos, war, bloodshed and pestilence. After this cataclysmic confrontation between the forces of good and evil, the Mahdi will lead the world to an era of universal peace.”

This seems to agree perfectly with what many Christians believe will happen before Christ returns. Is there a similar source of the common belief? How could Iran, which once was the home of Zoroastrianism, or the worship of the Son of Ishtar, the Queen of heaven, and Christianity hold the same belief?

But there is one major difference, that is that the Bible says after the final “chaos,” the righteous will be taken to heaven and not remain here where someone will “lead the world to an era of universal peace.” Yet there are many Christians who believe Christ will return to institute a millennium of peace. Aren’t they in agreement with Zoroastrianism and this Mr. Ahmadinejad?

Revelation 20:1-5 states that that millennium is to be spent in heaven, judging the lost. Where did so many Christians get the idea we would be on earth for the millennium? Maybe from an old, bad source?

Jesus said that false Christs would arise at the end and Paul said “that Wicked” would be revealed who would be destroyed with the brightness of Christ’s coming. We know Satan can parade himself around as an angel of light. Is he preparing the world to expect his appearing, preempting Christ’s actual return, to pull off his best deception ever? Aren’t all the varieties of the whole religious world already looking for some great cosmic being to come and bring peace on earth, to include the New Age spiritualism and the UFO seekers?

Mr. D said...

Welcome back David! I am still new to this blogging, and still find it fascinating. You ask a lot of questions in your reply but I think most of them are posed in the rhetorical speculative sense.
How could Iran, which once was the home of Zoroastrianism, or the worship of the Son of Ishtar, the Queen of heaven, and Christianity hold the same belief?
That was the whole point of my article. It seems mind blowing that all these facets of our society are coming together ready to see what they want to when the coming does happen. I have long seen the connection with those who prophecy desolation caused by man, but it was new to me to find Islam suggesting his coming, albeit I am not at all sure we are talking about the same person.
I really did enjoy your question speculating that Satan will pull off his best deception ever. Whoever and whereever he comes from,most will be deluded. What amazing times we do live in!

Mr. D said...

I found time this morning and pulled up the specific prophecy. It was supposedly written by Malachy and is from antiquity, though some question whether it is an orginal work. We do know that it is a prophecy at least a couple of hundred years old, and if original, it would be nearly a thousand years old.

David said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Deborah said...

Hi Dad!
I'm currently reading a book called The Last Days According To Jesus by R.C. Sproul Sr. I've only read the first 2 chapters, and had to put it aside for all the work on the backroom (I'm too tired when I fall into bed these days to read a book with so many ten-dollar words).
It is a FASCINATING read and compeletly and totally different than the premillineal dispensationalism I have grown up with (he seems to believe in Moderate Preterism -- one of the ten-dollar terms I'd never heard of before). At the very least, the book gives some credence to some other Christian views of end times that I've often scoffed at, or worse than scoffed -- seen as heretical. It is good for me to realize that God gives much grace to us in our wrong-thinking (obviously someone's wrong!), and throughout history hasn't ceased to love us or bless us or know us -- despite much error on our behalf.
I suppose looking at scripture on the end times is very similar the way you described looking at evidence for/against Evolution --people look at things through their own biases...and perhaps cannot see objectively?
Anyway, I'd love for you to read it when I'm done and tell me what you think. I need to go find it and finish the read.

Mr. D said...

I saw that book at your house last time I was there. I would be interested in giving it a read. What is his thesis anyway?