Is Islamic Isis The Fulfillment of Matthew 24?
The world is witnessing the horrors perpetrated by ISIS, an Islamic JiHaadist movement. Beheadings, burning victims alive, even the killing of children who refused to renounce their faith in Christ. It is simply unbelievable that anyone would commit such things in the name of their religion. And, I might add, it is totally irresponsible when the president of the United States of American equates the “Christian Crusades” with what is happening in the Middle East today. What the president did in his very recent speech as the National Prayer Day, was reprehensible and “convenient.” what the president totally failed to notice, totally ignored that the Crusades– admittedly horrible – were the direct response to the Muslim invasions of Europe and then the Holy Land! Christians did not just arbitrarily decide to gather together and go to war! They were defending –rightly or wrongly– Christian who were being slaughtered by the Islamic armies! For the president to conveniently ignore and overlook the historical facts of the Crusades speaks eloquently – in my mind at least – to his personal agenda. But, that is another story. The question is, are we seeing, in the current situation with ISIS, the fulfillment of Bible prophecy? According to some Dispensationalists, we are.
I recently subscribed to “Tribulation Watch Newsletter,” out of Arlington, Tx. The paper was started to support and spread the Dispensational theology, and to share with its readers the “signs of the times.” This “journal” in the two issues that I have received it, is some of the most fear mongering twisting of scripture that I have read. It is, simply stated, horrible.
The paper addresses some of the legitimate moral issues of the day, but then, invariably claims that what we are seeing is the fulfillment of Bible prophecy, “proving” that the end is near! As is usually the case with many in the Dispensational camp however, their use of scripture is awful. I am not trying to be unkind here, but, let me illustrate from the latest issue of the paper.
Under a bold heading “Conspiracy Alert!!!” the author notes how the radical Islamic group ISIS has been spray painting the word “Nasara” (meaning Nazarene, i.e. a follower of Jesus) on the houses of Christians. The report states, as the world has indeed witnessed, that Christians in the ISIS controlled areas are persecuted unmercilessly. As noted above, Christians and non-Muslims are often beheaded, shot, and the women raped, even children beheaded. Make no mistake, ISIS is horrible reality, and one that must be dealt with. There can be no negotiation or compromise with those who want to kill anyone that does not agree with them.
Anyway, the author of the article says, “According to the Bible prophecy, the Christian cleansing that is currently taking place today in Iraq, Syria and Nigeria will eventually spread to every nation in the world. Jesus Christ prophesied this would happen two thousand years ago. Let’s read it: “They shall deliver you up to be afflicted and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my names’ sake” (Matthew 24:9).”
Wow! Sounds real, right? Sounds like Bible fulfillment right before our eyes, right? Surely we are living in the last days! Right? NO, NO, and a thousand times, NO! The author of “Tribulation Watch Newletter” is guilty of the worst sort of fear mongering, and he has done so by absolutely ignoring the actual context that he cites as his proof!
Islamic ISIS and the Olivet Discourse?
Note that the context of Matthew 24:9 is Jesus’ response to the disciples’ question about when Jerusalem and the Temple that was standing there, 2000 years ago, would be destroyed! The subject matter is the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem– not modern Islamic ISIS! To rip Jesus’ answer from that context is just wrong.
Second, note that Jesus, speaking to living, breathing humans, said “they will deliver you up.” What right does someone living 2000 years removed from those contemporary “you” apostles and say it had nothing to do with them, but has to apply to us?
Third, and this is so critical, note that in the parallel text, Mark 13:9, Jesus is recorded as saying: “They shall deliver you up to councils, and in the synagogues you will be beaten…” Do you catch the power of that?
The word translated as council is from the Greek word “sunedra” and means Sanhedrins! Jesus was speaking to his first century disciples and telling them that they would be brought before the Jewish Sanhedrin councils! (There were “minor” Sanhedrins in any city large enough to qualify). “Sanhedrins” did not, and does not refer to ISIS and the Islamic JiHaad!
The Olivet Discourse| Who Does the Persecuting?
Now, notice that in Acts 4-5, Peter and John were brought before the Sanhedrin, and persecuted!
The indisputable fact here is that Jesus, in the Olivet Discourse, was predicting that it was to be the Jews that would carry out the persecution! It was not ISIS! It was not the USA! It was not some far distant persecutor, unknown to the first century disciples.
For modern day Bible commentators to ignore this direct, specific and undeniable Biblical evidence is inexcusable. It demonstrates how presuppositional theology is. Dispensationalists (and all futurists to some degree) have a concept of the “last days” and the nature of the Day of the Lord, and that concept is such that they are willing to blatantly, flagrantly ignore the emphatic words of the text to maintain their presuppositional theology.
The indisputable fact is that just as Jesus foretold, it was the Jews of the first century who were the “movers and shakers” of the persecution against the church. His words in the Olivet Discourse were fulfilled, and the record is there on the pages for instance of the book of Acts, and the rest of the NT epistles. For documentation of this, see my book Who Is This Babylon? in which I document this beyond doubt.
I am sure that the author of the article in “Tribulation Watch” is sincere in believing we are in the last days. But, his sincerity does not justify ignoring the actual context and the actual words of the text that he appeals to. This is not Bible interpretation. It is the manipulation and perversion of the Biblical text. It is fear mongering, and needs to be revealed for what it is.
Don’t forget that the 2015 Preterist Pilgrim Weekend will be July 16-18 here in Ardmore, Ok. I can tell you that interest in this year’s seminar is already building. We are already receiving registrations! The theme is: Dispensationalism: Dangerous or Divine? We will be examining the hermeneutics of Dispensationalism that leads to such egregious articles as the one examined here. We will be taking a look at John Hagee’s claims about the Four Blood Moons (And since the seminar is in July, and Hagee says the last of the Four Blood Moons is in September, this means that our seminar is near the end of the last days!! Wow!) We will be examining the doctrine of the Rapture, the Postponement Theory of Daniel 9, and much, much more! You do NOT want to miss this year’s Preterist Pilgrim Weekend! Register Now!!
The Olivet Discourse has nothing – nothing – to do with ISIS and the Islamic JiHaadist movement. To make that application is a distortion – and overt denial – of what the text says.