I have pressed pause, for the moment, on the series entitled The Final Kingdom, in order to ask myself (and you) a question. I will come on to that question shortly, but first, let me explain what has led up to me asking the question.
For some time I have struggled with the notion of what is often described as the ‘great apostasy’ or the ‘great falling away’ which, we are told from various sources, will take place in the end of days. The church, being rather full at times of its own self-importance, gleefully acknowledges that large numbers of the church will fall away from the faith. They accept that the coming of the anti-Christ will cause many to be deceived into believing his message rather than that of God. But, if like me, you can see beyond all self-importance, you will see that it is unlikely to be just the church which are deceived. In fact, if you take a rational look at Biblical prophecy, you will have to admit that it is likely to be the Hebrews who are also deceived.
The things that the Hebrews and Christians have in common, besides being the targets of the coming anti-Christ’s deception, is that they both believe in a single God; accept Scripture as being God-breathed or inspired; and are awaiting the appearance or return of the Messiah, depending on which side of the divide you stand.
With those commonalities in mind, the question I have to ask myself is what would it take for me to be deceived? What would it take for you to be deceived? What would it take for all of the Hebrews and all of the Christians to accept the counterfeit as being the authentic?
Well, the answer is found, quite easily, in the pages of the Bible, and particularly amongst the teachings of the New Testament. At countless places, we are warned that a combination of anti-Christ, beast from the sea, beast from the earth, false prophet, and Satan himself, will use miraculous signs and wonders that will deceive even the elect.
Now, this is the problem I have struggled with. In myself, knowing what I know from the pages of the Bible, I am satisfied enough that I couldn’t and wouldn’t be deceived by these lying signs and wonders. In fact, that we are told about them in advance should be enough to convince us not to fall for them, no matter how convincing they are. However, all the evidence points to a great falling away as a result of such spectacles. For me, I just couldn’t see it happening. I mean, I know that the church is as gullible as it comes when it comes to miracles. As a whole, the church is so desperate to experience the supernatural that they readily accept the fake to be divine. Just look at Toronto and what happened there. (If you want a right perspective on that particular outbreak of falsehood try this: A Different Spirit).
To be honest, the section of the church that was fooled by Toronto and Lakeland and Brownsville, is the section that I expect to be deceived when the anti-Christ comes. However, no Hebrews were ever converted by what happened at those three particular polluted wells. And, for the main, the true and invisible church, managed to see it for what it was and turned their eyes away after an initial bout of curiosity. So, again, I ask, what would it take?
You see, knowing what we know – the warning that we have in Scripture, it could be said that none should be deceived by the lying signs and wonders. After all, that is why the warnings are there. But as clear as the warnings are, the truth is, the Bible predicts that there will be a great falling away from the single absolute truth of God and the acceptance of a counterfeit god instead.
Although I haven’t actually known it until yesterday, I have been looking for the pre-cursor to these signs and wonders that will cause the people of the book and the people of the cross to readily accept what they see performed in the name of God. What exactly would it take to get me, us, them to that place?
Well, I think that I have stumbled upon the answer to that question.
Before I reveal what I think will be the trigger which will make us readily believe the anti-Christ’s lying miracles, let me ask another question.
Where do you think the anti-Christ will come from? It is likely that you might consider that he will rise out of a resurgent Roman Empire like so many Bible commentators declare. You possibly envisage the Pope as the one Satan chooses to deceive the world. As much as I would have once agreed with you, I can tell you that some research I started a little over a year ago has brought me to a very different conclusion. In fact, the evidence is very hard to deny.
It is not only the Hebrews and the Christians who can claim the commonalities which I mentioned earlier. Islam also claims to believe in a single god. And, Islam lays claim to many of the Old Testament prophets as their own. They even believe in Yeshua or Jesus (they call him Isa).
It may come as a suprise to you that they are also awaiting their messiah. They call him the Mahdi. You will find him throughout the Bible. The Mahdi – the Muslim’s messiah, is none other than the one we call anti-Christ.
In my research for The Final Kingdom I have looked at some Muslim eschatology (yes, the Muslims have end times prophecy too!) and I have to tell you that the striking similarities between what they say will take place at the end and what Hebrews and Christians say will take place are uncanny. The only difference is that who we believe to be good, they say are evil, and who we declare as evil, they say are good.
Now, I will cover this extensively in The Final Kingdom – once I have completed my research. There is a great deal of reading material to compare to the likes of Daniel and the Revelation. But, it was during my research that I came across something in the Hadith that made me stop in my tracks.
For those of you unfamiliar with the writing of Islam, there are basically two main volumes of work – the Qur’an and the Hadith. The Qur’an is said to be the teachings handed down from the angel Gabri’el to the Muslim prophet Muhammad. The Hadith is said to be a collection of sayings and wisdoms that the prophet spoke over a 23 year period that were collated by his followers and family but weren’t complied until two centuries later.
One of the entries in the Hadith recorded by Muhammad al-Baqir, the fourth Imam says this of the Mahdi (the Islamic messiah):
“The Master of the Command was named as the Mahdi because he will dig out the Torah and other heavenly books from the cave in Antioch.”
You might not think much of this. You might even say ‘so what?’
However, what Muslims think this will mean is that this Mahdi will discover a Torah scroll that will bring into disrepute the veracity and legitimacy of what we call Torah today. In fact, they say it will be so convincing that both the people of the book and the people of the cross will accept it as truth.
Now, imagine that. Imagine that what we know as the first five books of the Bible was suddenly brought into question. Even if a single chapter was proven to be forged or altered, it would mean that all of it would be rejected. If we Christians and the Hebrews have to reject the very foundation of what we currently stand on, then we have very little. Our foundation is, and always has been, that what we read in the Torah is the very word of God handed down to Moses. If you take that from us and someone can prove, perhaps with an authentic earlier scroll, that some of what is written there – say the account of Ishmael and Hagar or that of Jacob and Esau, has been doctored, then we have nothing. Our faith in what we know would crumble sharply, leaving us open to any new influence, such as the Mahdi.
Whilst there appears to be several threads of commonality between these three monotheistic faiths, one thing should be made clear. In even writing this I run the risk of death threats from Muslims. The one thing that Hebrews and Christians don’t have in common with Islam is that our beliefs are up for constant criticism and we say nothing in response. However, if you criticise Islam, they wish you dead. But, it needs to be said. Their own writings do not promote peace towards the people of the book or the people of the cross. The Qur’an states that if we refuse to convert to Islam we should pay a tax and be treated as second-class citizens. If we don’t pay the tax, we should be beheaded. Just Google ‘Jizya’ to see more.
It doesn’t take a great deal of comparison between what the Muslims say will happen in the last days and what we and the Hebrews agree upon, to see that Islam is the counterfeit faith which will cause so many to fall away from the one true God. There will be counterfeit Holy Scriptures; counterfeit prophets; counterfeit miracles; counterfeit messiahs; and a counterfeit trinity. That is how Satan will deceive so many.
We have been warned of this countless times and yet we are still not ready. When you hear of a Torah scroll being found in Syria that predates any of the Dead Sea Scrolls, you will know that we are very near the end. Brace yourself for what follows and ask yourself exactly what would it take to stop you being deceived.