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Islam Our Future – Chapter 21
How Should Christians Respond?
Responding With Prayer
The Antidote For Hopelessness
After reading this book, I’m sure that many may feel slightly hopeless. "Well then," you might ask, "If this Satanic/Islamic Empire is going to take over the world and kill multiplied millions of people, then what can we do? It seems so pre-determined, so hopeless." This chapter addresses God’s primary provision and antidote to all seemingly hopeless situations: Prayer.
Prayer is absolutely the most significant power available to mankind. Yet sadly, it is significantly neglected, even within the Church.
So here’s the question that must be asked: If the Bible says that all of these things are going to happen, then why not simply resign ourselves to "God’s will" and simply let Islam take over our nations and get it over with? Why prolong the inevitable? These are legitimate questions. But they are based on some very false assumptions. Let me explain.
Is Our Fate Already Determined?
Some Bible teachers have speculated that literally every nation of the earth would be taken over by the Antichrist system. We have already looked at some of the Bible verses that suggest such. My take on this subject is slightly different than those who take this position in an absolute manner. Let me explain why. First let’s look at the verses that are used to conclude that every last nation will fall to Antichrist and join him in his attack against Jerusalem:
Let’s look at the first three verses first. Since these verses use the word "all" and specifically the phrase, "all the nations of the earth" when speaking of the attack against Jerusalem at the battle of Armageddon, then surely, it has already been determined that every last nation will fall to the Antichrist’s empire and support him in this battle. I can fully understand how many would arrive at this conclusion.
There are at least two problems with this interpretation however: Firstly, there are plenty of other verses in the Bible that likewise use this very same type of language, yet are clearly not speaking of every single last nation in the world. These verses as well as the ones above all use a Hebrew grammatical construct that essentially uses an exaggeration of sorts or an emphatic type of statement in order to convey their point. Grammarians call this construct a hyperbole. It is the type of statement like, "Everyone loves ice-cream!" or "You never clean the kitchen," or the ancient, "Cretans are always liars, vicious brutes, lazy gluttons." Oftentimes for the sake of brevity, elaborating on the exceptions would entirely blunt the impact of the statement. For instance, imagine a speed limit sign that had several various exceptions painted on it: "Speed limit fifty five, except ambulances, fire trucks, police giving chase, etc." It simply wouldn’t work. Thus exceptions cannot be ruled out on the basis of exclusive language. This type of language is actually found quite frequently in the Bible. For instance, Daniel the prophet, speaking to King Nebuchadnezzar said this:
So, I ask you this question: Did every single nation in the earth fear Nebuchadnezzar’s father? Or did only those nations that had heard of Nebuchadnezzar’s father dread him? Was Daniel speaking of every single last nation of the earth? Or only those nations that were in a close enough proximity to Babylon to be affected by her? Were the native peoples of Papua New Guinea living in dread of Nebuchadnezzar’s father? Personally, I think that Daniel’s use of the phrase, "all the peoples and nations and men of every language" was more of an emphatic expression used to convey his point. Or how about another similar example:
Was Solomon’s wisdom so impressive that not a single king in all the earth failed to hear of it? Or is this verse another expression used to convey the great amount of renown that Solomon had? How about this one:
Should we find it odd that a people here recorded as being "utterly destroyed" come back making trouble just a few chapters later in 1 Samuel? Again, there are numerous such examples like this throughout the Bible. Do you see my point?
Now, if we look at the verses in Zechariah again, we even see that there seems to be a more specific mention of just which nations will be primarily involved in the attack:
Of course, the surrounding nations are the Muslim nations that encircle Israel on every side. In fact, the Prophet Joel confirms this as well. Speaking of the final attack against Jerusalem, Joel prophesied:
The New American Standard Bible words the italicized segments of the above passages as, "all you surrounding nations." Again, who are the "surrounding nations?" Does this include New Zealand? Canada? It could. But contextually, the Bible is specifically referring to the Islamic nations that surround Jerusalem/Israel on every side.
The second reason that the position that every single last nation will fall to Antichrist is impossible, is quite simply because the Scriptures state outright that not every nation will fall to him. In fact there will even be some nations that will resist the Antichrist after he attacks Jerusalem. Consider the following verses from Daniel:
At a minimum it clearly says here that Edom, Moab, and the leaders of Ammon will be delivered from Antichrist’s hand. This is speaking of modern Jordan. So at least Jordan will not submit to the Antichrist nor fall to his control. The verse specifically goes on to define the nations that will fall to him. It says "many countries." Not all. Is the Bible contradicting itself? I don’t believe so. I do believe that every tribe, people, language and nation will be utterly affected by the Antichrist’s influence. I believe that the Antichrist will at least be given a measure of influence and authority over every last nation in that within every nation he will have many followers. Many nations will be completely dominated by him, but not every nation will completely fall to him. I believe that this is the only way that we can fully reconcile all of the verses relating to this issue.
Okay, so let’s say that I have demonstrated that not every single last nation of the earth will attack Jerusalem with the Antichrist, but instead enough nations that Zechariah and Joel were justified in using such emphatic expressions. Why am I taking so much time making this point in a chapter on prayer? Simple. The reason is because I believe that while the Bible indeed gives us a general prophetic framework of what will happen in the last-days, many of the specific details have yet to be determined. God did not reveal every final detail for a reason. He rarely does. If He did, then we would be justified in simply waiting for the Antichrist to come and get us. We would be entirely justified in digging holes in the ground as secret hideouts to store our survival food. But instead, God desires us to actually wrestle with Him in prayer, not only for our own souls and our families, but also for the very nations that we live in and call home. God did not warn, for instance, David Pawson that Islam may indeed eventually take over England in order to give him fair time to flee, but rather to warn the Church in England to join together and fight for the very soul of their country through prevailing prayer! Islam may have an attitude of almost fatalistic resignation to Allah’s will: "Inshallah," (If it be Allah’s will… it will be) they say. But we serve a God who asks us to participate with him as He affects the nations. We serve a God who expects us to spread His beautiful kingdom throughout the earth through preaching (invitation) and prayer.
The point here is that if you find yourself feeling a tad hopeless after reading the scenario that has been opened up in this book, do not fear; there is always something that you can do: You can pray, you can pray and you can pray some more. And you can join with those who are doing likewise. Never underestimate the ability of prevailing prayer to effect reality and the final end of any matter. Remember, the story is not over, until it is has come to pass. I believe that it will be specifically the lack of, or the presence of an abundance of prevailing prayer that will literally determine the final chapter in the story of many nations. The Lord has given us the ability to literally affect the measure of His mercy verses the measure of His judgment that will touch our homes, our cities, our regions and even our nations. Every nation will receive its own measure of God’s judgment. Indeed, every person on the earth will undergo a deep refining process during the last three and a half years of this terrible period. Everything that can be shaken will be shaken. So now is the time to cry out for God’s mercy for the days to come.
There is also another very important aspect of prayer that must also be mentioned. I also believe that prayer can forestall the judgment of God and buy more time for positive changes. We must remember that the reason that the Lord has held off His return thus far is for the sake of more people coming to know him and be saved:
There are dramatic revivals in many nations that would be cut short if the end came now, and there may very well be future revivals that would never take place if the end came now. While I personally believe that the day will indeed come when all of the terrifying prophecies in the Bible will come to pass, I believe that we can beseech God to give us more time and to pour out revival on our nations before these the dark days come. Prayer can forestall his wrath in order that his mercy will have more time to work in the heart of a nation.
God came and spoke to Moses. He said that he was about to judge and destroy the children of Israel. For most of us, that would have been enough. God said it – it was a done deal. But Moses would not accept it. He interceded with God:
Now go back and rewind this scene. First God speaks to Moses and says, "Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation." Okay, press pause… Now let’s insert a few theologians into the scene at this point to discuss whether or not God will destroy the Israelites. "Of course He will," they all agree, "God said it and that settles it." Many might argue the same thing today. Maybe you feel as though judgment is inevitable for our nation. Okay fine. What are you doing about it? Are you complaining really loudly? Or are you interceding for mercy like Moses? Indeed, maybe God will pour out his judgment on your nation. Or perhaps He will relinquish:
I personally believe that we are now living in a crucial time when the future of many nations is hanging in the balance. Now is not the time to fear. Nor is it the time to gripe. Now is the time to pray!
I want to end this chapter by quoting a portion of an article written by prominent Bible teacher and author Francis Frangipane. I felt particularly inspired by Francis’ article as he addressed this very issue that we are discussing and I believe you will as well. The title of the article is "This Day We Fight!"
The conflict before our generation is no less threatening than Nazism and Soviet Imperialism. Radical Islam is a demonic power that seeks world domination. We cannot lose the war against terrorism or morality. We must not open to fear or unbelief, for we were born to fight and win the battles of our times. Again the argument arises, "I was taught that life is supposed to only grow more evil until Christ returns." Yes, such a day will come, but we must not assume that it has arrived. In every age God requires we walk as overcomers. The very fact that there are nations today that are experiencing great harvests and breakthroughs reminds us there is still time for our nations. One of our readers sent us the following excerpt from Aragon, king of Gondor, in The Return of the King. The book’s author, J.R.R. Tolkien, an Englishman, denies his work had anything to do with the Great War. Yet, much of his manuscript was written during the height of WWII. The book is a metaphor of all the battles that each generation must face to conquer evil…
To which I can only add a very heartfelt Amen!
1. Francis Frangipane, "This Day We Fight!" http://www.elijahlist.com/words/display_word.html?ID=2294
© 2009 – 2011, Matt. All rights reserved.
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