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Printed News Letter

September 2009 Issue

Islam and the Last Days
Sep 1st, 2009
Art Sadlier
Uncategorized

Today Islam is threatening to annihilate Israel, to replace Christianity and turn the whole world into an Islamic State. Today Islam is the fastest growing religion on earth. The main tenant of Islam states, “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet”. You just simply affirm that and you are a Muslim. Understand that in Muhammad’s day the Arabs worshipped 300 gods. The moon god was named Allah and Allah was chosen as the only god to the exclusion of the other 299. That is why the crescent moon is the symbol of Islam.

Fifty years ago, it was completely unforeseen that Islam would rise to dominate world affairs as it does today. Unfortunately some Bible teachers have tried to adapt Bible prophecy to the circumstances involving Islam’s dominate position in the world today. We must never interpret Bible prophecy in the light of the current world situation but rather the current world situation in the light of the Bible. The Bible does not teach that the Antichrist is to be from Islam, it clearly teaches that he is to be the leader of the Revived Roman Empire. These new teachings are a distraction for the Body of Christ. Paul said, “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine” Ephesians 4:14a.

The Bible clearly spells out Islam’s end time activity and her sudden demise early in the tribulation period. Ezekiel 38-39 describes how that Islam will be destroyed early in the tribulation period. Ezekiel 39:2 tells us that five of every six Muslims and Russians who come against Israel at that time will be killed, leaving Islam and Russia no longer a factor in the tribulation scenario from that point onward.

Islam hates Israel with a hatred that is hard to comprehend. At this present moment Islam stands in the way of Israel’s rebuilding the Temple on the Temple Mount. We know that the Temple is soon to be rebuilt, in spite of Islam’s vow that it will never happen. Today signs all around indicate the Temple is soon to be rebuilt. The question is, what scenario will suddenly appear to cause Islam to assent to the rebuilding of the Temple?

I believe that as we study Islam’s eschatology the answer will be clear.

The Church has been given an end time scenario (eschatology), Christ will take the Body of Christ home to heaven, Antichrist will appear and sign a Peace Treaty, that peace will be short lived as sudden destruction sweeps the world. Seven years later Christ will come from heaven with the Church and destroy Israel’s enemies and set up the promised kingdom for Israel and the world.

Israel has been given an end time scenario; she is awaiting the coming of her Messiah to bring peace and prosperity to Israel and the world, and to set up the kingdom.

Islam has a system of eschatology; the central figure in Islam’s end time expectations is the Mahdi. His full name is Al Mahdi Al-Muntadar (The awaited Savior). The Mahdi is the universal hope of both Suni and Shite.

The last days will be days of great deception, both Jesus and Paul taught this. Paul said, “Then shall that wicked be revealed … Even him whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders. And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion that they should believe a lie”, 11 Thess.2:8-11.

After the church is caught away there will be three groups that will be deceived by Antichrist. Not only will they be deceived by Antichrist, God will also send them a strong delusion that they should believe the lie that Antichrist is their Messiah. The church will believe that Antichrist is actually Christ. Israel will believe that he is their Messiah. Islam will believe that he is their Mahdi. This will involve an incredible deception that will sweep over men and women who have rejected the claims of God and His Word on their lives.

There is a similarity between the eschatology of Islam and the eschatology of Israel. This is not to be wondered at because in Muhammad’s day before he founded Islam he was greatly influenced by both Christianity and Judaism.

Today there is a wave of anticipation of the coming of the Mahdi. The following news item recently appeared. “Iran last week held a multi-day conference, bringing together politicians, mullahs, students - Shite and Sunni alike – to plot what can be done on this earthly plane to hasten the coming of the anointed one, a messianic, end times personage known as the Mahdi”. This is the fifth annual such conference.

Someday, perhaps soon, Antichrist will come and present himself as Christ to the apostate church that has been left behind after the rapture has taken place.

Someday, perhaps soon, Antichrist will come and offer Israel peace and prosperity. Israel will be deceived into receiving him as their long awaited Messiah.

Someday, perhaps soon, the Mahdi will come and offer to Islam their greatly desired world kingdom.

I suggest to you that the Mahdi of Islam and the counterfeit Messiah of Israel will be one and the same person, the Antichrist. That is the only possible way that a peace treaty could be agreed upon by Islam and Israel.

It is fascinating to understand Islam’s expectations of the Mahdi; there is a striking similarity to the person and program of Antichrist. The following is the expectation of Islam concerning the Mahdi.

---  An unparalleled political, military and religious world leader. (That is also Antichrist).

---  He will be revealed after a period of great turmoil and suffering on earth. (That is today, according to Ahmadinejad)

---  He establishes justice throughout the world. (That is also the promise of Antichrist)

---  He will lead a revolution to establish a new world order. (That is the expectation of both Israel and Islam today)

---  He will go to war against all nations who oppose him. (That is the common expectation of both Islam and Israel and it is what scripture says Antichrist will do, see Rev. 13:7)

---  He will make a seven year peace treaty with a Jew of priestly lineage. (That is the preconditioning of Islam, to welcome Antichrist’s peace treaty between themselves and Israel)

---  The Mahdi conquers Israel for Islam and leads the final battle against the Jews. (That is why Islam will welcome the peace treaty)

 ---  Rules for seven years in Jerusalem. (The expectation of Israel and Islam)

 ---  Causes Islam to be the only religion practiced on earth. (Islam`s great hope)

 ---  Has power from Allah over wind and rains and crops. (That is Antichrist’s signs and wonders - 2 Thess. 2:9)

 ---  He will posses and distributes great wealth. (See Daniel 11:38)

 ---  His face will shine like a star and he will be loved of all people. ( That is a description of Antichrist)

The obvious fact is that both Israel and Islam are being prepared for the moment when Antichrist will appear on the scene. The incredible hatred of Islam for Israel today would lead us to believe that a peace treaty and the building of the Temple is impossible, suddenly the impossible will happen.

The European dictator will appeal to Islam according Daniel 11:38, “....a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things”. What god was unknown to the Romans during the days of the Roman Empire? The answer can only be “Allah”, who was virtually unknown until the days of Muhammad in the 7th century A.D. This text implies that Antichrist will spend great sums to gain the acceptance of Islam, perhaps building a mosque that will be of tremendous wealth and beauty. Perhaps he will move the Mosque of Omar to Mecca?

Among all of the proofs that Antichrist will be a leader of the Revived Roman Empire is the text of Daniel 9:26. We have this statement, ‘...and the people of the prince that shall come (Antichrist) shall destroy the city (Jerusalem) and the sanctuary;’ It was in 70 AD that the Romans came and destroyed Jerusalem and the sanctuary. That means that the prince that shall come will be a Roman.

I suspect that early in the tribulation period Islam will realize that they have made a mistake and the scenario of Ezekiel 38-39 will unfold. The Islamic nations will come against Israel to utterly destroy her.

Ezekiel tells us that this attempt to destroy Israel will be, according to Ezekiel 38:8:

First – “In the Latter years”, during the end times, that’s our day.

Second – After Israel, “is gathered out of many people” that again is our day.

Third – “They shall dwell safely all of them”, that is not this present hour. This points to the time immediately after the Peace Treaty is signed.

Paul indicates that the Peace Treaty will be short lived (1 Thess. 5:3); therefore this war will take place early in the tribulation period.

The burning of the weapons for seven years (Ezekiel 39:9) indicates that this war takes place very early in the tribulation period. In the Old Testament times, the years of the rule of the kings were numbered from the date of his ascension to the throne, any portion of that year was counted as a whole year, so likewise if they began burning the weapons in the middle of the first year of the tribulation period that would be counted as a whole year. Seven years would then end prior to the beginning of the millennial kingdom. They will surely not be burning these weapons in the millennial kingdom.

Notice what will happen to Islam in this war early in the tribulation period. In Ezekiel 39:2 we read that five out of every six Islamic and Russian soldiers will die. Verse six indicates that this destruction will fall on the homelands of these peoples as well. Islam and Russia will cease to be a factor from that time onward.

If the USA has met its demise by this time, who will be left standing, who will control the oil of the Middle East, who will have the only standing army in the Mideast? The answer is the Antichrist. From that point onward his kingdom will explode, until it fills the whole earth. I suspect that the collapse of the USA will bring an economic recession to China. This will be a situation that will not be relieved until late in the tribulation period when China will come to the Mideast for the battle of Armageddon.

The scriptures spell out the role of Islam in the last days. We do not need to help God out by inventing new scenarios to explain the unexpected rise of Islam.

The stage is being set for the trumpet to sound to call the body of Christ home. The stage is being set for Antichrist to come. The stage is being set for Islam to play out its role in the drama of the last days.

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Understanding the Hour in Which we LIve
Sep 1st, 2009
Art Sadlier
Uncategorized

It is vitally important for believers to understand the times in which we live. We need to understand that we are living in the Laodicean age and we need to understand the implications of that.

In Revelation 2-3 our Lord gives a message to each of seven churches.  Who are these seven churches?

First – There were seven literal assemblies of believers which were in existence in John’s day in the first century.

Second – The seven churches represent a picture of different kinds of churches that exist in every period of church history.

Third – We are reminded in Revelation 1:3 that the book of Revelation is a prophecy. So we are not surprised to discover that each of these seven churches represent a period of church history.

Now that the church age is almost completed, we can look back over the church age and see that the seven churches are indeed a progressive picture of church history from the day of Pentecost to the end of the church age. Each of the seven churches dominated a period of church history. Each era of church history had a dominant church that had the characteristics of one of the seven churches.

Ephesus – Existed in the first century and it had its own peculiar characteristics. It began as a model church and became a lukewarm Church.

Smyrna – The church of the 2nd to 3rd centuries, it was a suffering Church.

Pergamos – The church of the 4th to 5th centuries and it was a compromising Church.

Thyatira – The church of the 6th to 16th century represents the Roman Catholic Church and it is the church of false doctrine and spiritual fornication.

Sardis – The church of the reformation in the 17th to 18th century was the church that came out of Rome and returned to the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith alone. They are the state churches or the mainline churches of our day. Although they rediscovered the truth of the gospel, they did not go far enough and soon died spiritually. They didn’t live up to what they had discovered.

Philadelphia – The church of the mid 18th to mid 20th centuries is the fundamentalist, missionary church. Laodicea – The church of the mid 20th century to the present day is an unregenerate church.

Understand that Thyatira, the Roman Catholic Church, is still in the world though its day in the ascendency is past. It will continue right on into the tribulation period according to Revelation 2:22.

Sardis is represented by the mainline churches which are still in the world though their day in the ascendancy is past. It will also continue and go into the tribulation period, Revelation 3:3.

Philadelphia, is the Fundamentalist church that is filled with love and zeal for Christ it is also still in the world.  Though its day of ascendency is also past, it will continue as a remnant and be caught up in the rapture prior to the tribulation, Revelation 3:10.

Laodicea, is the Evangelical church that is today in the ascendancy. It is a church that holds the truth but is spiritually dead. It will continue on and miss the rapture and go into the tribulation period to become a part of the Harlot church of Revelation 17. Though it is evangelical in name, it is in name only; it is spiritually dead; according to Revelation 3:16, 17, it is an unsaved church.

The need of the hour is to understand that we are now living in Laodicean age.  We need to understand that the Evangelical church has become the Laodicean church. We also need to understand that it is possible to remain Philadelphian and separate from Laodicea.

There are similarities between Philadelphia and Laodicea, read Revelation 3; 7-22.

Both hold to sound doctrine – Though other churches, Pergamos, Thyatira and Sardis are all warned of false doctrine. No such warning comes to Philadelphia or Laodicea.  Philadelphia is commended, Laodicea is condemned but not for false doctrine or unorthodoxy. Doctrinally there is no significant difference between the two churches. Basically, Philadelphia barred the front door to liberalism and Laodicea came in the back door with her lukewarmness and worldliness and compromise.  I believe that the Emergent church is not Laodicean, but the beginning of the Harlot church, which Laodiceans are in danger of being drawn into.

Both exist side by side until the rapture of the church – Philadelphia will be caught up in the rapture, Revelation 3:10. Laodicea will be cast into the tribulation period, Revelation 3:15.

The differences between the two churches – There is a profound difference between evangelical Philadelphians and evangelical Laodiceans.

Philadelphia has a passion for souls, Rev., 3:8, a missionary passion, a passion to witness. That was the dominant characteristic of evangelicals 50 years ago. Today much of evangelical missions do not involve soul-winning and church planting as it did in the past.  Today most evangelicals have a passion to be like the world so that the world will be drawn to them; the end result is that the world wins the church back into the world from which it came. That is reverse evangelism. Today there is almost no discernable difference between Laodiceans and the world.

Philadelphia is despised by the world – In the days gone by evangelicals were despised by the world. They were called uneducated narrow minded bigots, they were called simple and naive and ignorant.   They were called Funnymentalists.  Look at the contrast, Laodicea is accepted by the world, Laodicea impresses the world, Rev., 3:17.  They have lots of money, beautiful expensive buildings, entertainment and wonderful programs and the world is impressed.

Philadelphia has a zeal for God and His Word, Rev., 3:8. In days gone by evangelicals declared that their only rule of life and practice was the Word of God. They held tenaciously to it, they defended it, they lived it. They preached it exclusively and proclaimed it wherever they could. Today a majority of evangelical pastors do not preach the Word of God exclusively, they mix God’s Word with philosophy and psychology, and they build messages around stories with good moral analogies. Today evangelicals stand on the inerrancy of God’s Word, but fail to preach it, they fail to obey it and they fail to live it.

 

Warning to all those Philadelphians who have not yet become Laodiceans:

Today we are exposed to Laodiceanism; it comes at us in a thousand ways. Today there is not a church, Bible school or believer that is not bombarded with Laodicean/New Evangelicalism, and tragically many are unaware of the menace. It is a total contradiction of the New Testament pattern for the church. Don’t be caught up in it!  Don’t compromise with it! That is the message that needs to be sounded today! If you are in it, come out of it!

Gradually over the last 50 years Philadelphia has been giving way to Laodicea. There are still Philadelphian churches around and Philadelphian believers around, but their numbers are shrinking fast!

An Analogy – I have stood on the shores of the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans and watched the tide come in.  There is something fascinating about seeing the tide come in. It is almost imperceptible, you have to watch carefully for a while before you can tell whether the tide is rising or falling. The casual passerby does not notice the gradual change that is taking place.

For nearly 2000 years of church history there has been a constant changing situation in the visible church of Jesus Christ. At the end of the first century Ephesus the ideal church gave way to the church of Smyrna, the suffering church. In the fourth century Pergamos, the compromising church replaced Smyrna. In the sixth century Thyatira, the corrupt church replaced Pergamos.  In the sixteenth century Sardis, the reformation church moved to the fore in place of Thyatira. In the middle of the eighteenth century Philadelphia came out of Sardis because of its deadness. Sometimes the change was sudden and dramatic; sometimes the change was slow and almost imperceptible, like the incoming tide. The last church of history is the Laodicean church. For some time now the tide of change from Philadelphia to Laodicea has been imperceptibly creeping over evangelicalism.  Change so slow and gradual that to the average Christian it goes unnoticed.  Like the rising tide an inch at time with changes that are profound and fundamental and drastic.

Those evangelical fundamentalists, who made up the church 50- 70 years ago, would not recognize the evangelical church today as having anything in common with them. The amazing thing is that we do not perceive that we have changed! We are blind to the profound changes which have taken place in the evangelical church; this is why the Lord called the Laodicean church blind. “And knowest not that thou art.......blind”, Rev., 3:17. Blindness is one of the characteristics of Laodicea.

Jeffrey E. Wilson of the Edinburgh Banner of Truth stated, “Today’s Christianity is in a state of decay and disarray and the condition is deteriorating year by year. The truth of God’s Word has been watered down and compromised to reach a common denominator that will appeal to and accommodate the largest number of participants. The result is a hybrid Christianity which is essentially man centered, materialistic, worldly and shamefully dishonouring to the Lord Jesus Christ”.

Today there is a change in the worship service that is sweeping through Evangelical churches. One Pastor in BC told me, we must make the worship service interesting or people will not come back. True worship is focused on God; new worship is focused on man. These changes are taking place to satisfy the growing numbers of unsaved in evangelicalism who are false professors of faith in Christ.

The evidences of this catastrophe that is sweeping over the evangelical church are all around us. Surveys show that only 6% of evangelicals tithe. Divorce rates are higher among evangelicals than in the rest of society.  It has been reported by Chuck Swindoll that 50% of evangelical men are involved in internet pornography, and that 37% of pastors are seriously involved with internet pornography. We are talking about an unregenerate church. I believe Jesus was talking about evangelicals when He said in Matthew 7:21-23, “I never knew you”.

I believe, with all my heart, that by far the greatest single threat to the body of Christ today is the creeping spread of Laodicean New Evangelicalism. The transition from Philadelphia to Laodicea is nearly complete, thank God for the remnant that is holding true to God and His Word.

What the Lord said to the Church of Philadelphia is for us today, “Behold I come quickly:  hold fast that which thou hast, that no man take thy crown” Rev. 3:11. Here is how to lose your crown, just follow the Laodiceans, follow their example; just emulate their lukewarmness; just lose your passion for souls; lose your spiritual humility and your zeal for Christ and fall in love with the world AND your crown is gone!

Brothers and sisters in Christ we are living under the sound of the trumpet!  It will not be long! The rise of the Laodicean church is a sure sign of Christ`s soon return. This is no time to yield to the lukewarmness and spiritual apathy that is all around us. Stir up your passion for souls, rekindle your love for Christ, fan your zeal for God`s Word, turn away from the love of the world. ”Hold fast that which thou hast” - “Behold I come quickly”

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