Uprisings and Power Shifts Amongst Israel’s Enemies

Prof. Johan Malan, Mossel Bay, South Africa (February 2013)

Uprisings and major power shifts in Muslim countries of the Middle East, against which not even the strongest governments are able to stand, are rife and serious. Conflicting objectives are pursued by discontented crowds, giving rise to a situation in which they often become victims of their own revolution. On the one hand they demand more rights and a bigger share in the country’s wealth, but at the same time they demonstrate in favour of reverting to fundamental Islamic principles, through which human rights will be severely restricted. Their final objective is the establishment of an Islamic world order which will rule over all its adversaries.

However, there are major differences between Islamic factions in these countries, particularly between the Shias (or Shiites) and Sunnis. These differences, together with widespread grievances against oppressive governments, in many cases give rise to bloody civil wars. Syria is the most recent victim of such a civil war, which has already claimed about 60 000 lives, while large numbers of Syrians are refugees in neighbouring countries.

There nevertheless are also unifying factors in these mutually divided Muslim countries, although the rest of the world experience them as negative factors which pertain to the planned downfall of Judaism and the Christian civilisation, as well as the rise of Islam to become the dominant world power. The big question is: how will this conflict develop from here, which methods will Islam use to achieve their purpose, and what will they do to bridge their internal differences? The following are the most important characteristics of the present conflict, as well as the final objectives of the Islamic revolution:

Fundamental Islamisation

Arabian Muslim countries in the Middle East, as well as neighbouring Muslim countries such as Turkey and Iran, are under strong pressure by radical fundamentalist groups which committed themselves to subject the entire society and all its institutions to the authority and dictates of Islam’s shariah laws. In 1979, radical Islam gained full control over Iran in a bloody revolution under the leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini.

Since that time, Iran exerted themselves towards the fundamental Islamisation of Arab countries, and widely propagated holy wars (jihads) as prescribed by Mohammed and the Koran. Radical groups that are extensively supported and instigated by Iran are Hizbollah in Lebanon, as well as Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza. Al Qaeda is a well known radical group which functions independently from Iran.

Outside the Muslim world, Jihadists are described as terrorist groups who wage their holy wars on the following two fronts: Firstly, they wage an internal war with a view to subjecting the government, the judicial system and all other institutions of society to the control of radical Islamic leaders and shariah law. Secondly, they fight against all Islam’s external foes and their non-Islamic ideologies. In the Middle East, Israel is mostly singled out for attacks, but the jihadists also attack targets everywhere in the world in countries that are regarded as enemies of Islam.

In terms of numerical strength, the largest radical Islamic movement in the Middle East is the Muslim Brotherhood that was founded in Egypt in 1928. They are largely responsible for toppling Egypt’s previous government under Hosni Mubarak, and are also the largest opposition group in various other Arab countries. In an article, Wikipedia says: “The Brotherhood’s credo is: Allah is our objective; the Quran is our law, the Prophet is our leader; Jihad is our way; and death for the sake of Allah is the highest of our aspirations. Its most famous slogan, used worldwide, is Islam is the solution. ... In the group’s belief, the Quran and Sunnah constitute a perfect way of life and social and political organization that God has set out for man. Islamic governments must be based on this system and eventually unified in a Caliphate. The Muslim Brotherhood’s goal, as stated by Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna, was to reclaim Islam’s manifest destiny, an empire, stretching from Spain to Indonesia. ... The Brotherhood strongly opposes Western colonialism, and helped overthrow the pro-western monarchies in Egypt and other Muslim countries” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muslim_Brotherhood).

The Shia and Sunni power struggle

The Shias and Sunnis are the two most important religious factions in Islam. The vast majority of all Muslims are Sunnis. Sunnah means Tradition and refers to the fact that this group observes a collection of traditions (the hadiths) which enjoy full recognition on the same level as the Quran. They recognise all the caliphs who are honoured as descendants of Mohammed and served as rulers in the Muslim word, while the Shias regard the lineage of Sunni caliphs as intruders who illegally appropriated their positions, and whose teachings are also rejected.

After Mohammed’s death in 632 AD, leadership of the Islamic community passed to Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, one of Mohammed’s closest companions.  Some in the community felt that this succession was not legitimate, and that the title of caliph really belonged to Ali ibn Abi Talib.  Both sides believe that Mohammed specifically designated their leader as his successor: supporters of Abu became the Sunnis, those of Ali the Shias.

Among the Sunnis there were various successors of Mohammed who were known as caliphs. Among the Shias, the successors of Ali held the position of Imam. This dynasty of religious leaders ended with the twelfth Imam who disappeared in 940 AD when he allegedly went into hiding at the well of Jamkaran in the present Iran. Shias believe that in the end-time he will re-emerge as the Imam Mahdi who will work together with Isa (Jesus Christ) in order to fulfil their mission of bringing peace and justice to the world. In the meantime, ayatollahs are elected to act as custodians of the Islamic faith. Bitter rivalry between Sunnis and Shias over the question of spiritual leadership in the Muslim world is widespread, and in countries such as Iraq and Syria they often engage in violent clashes in which thousands of people are dying.

There are large groups of Shia Muslims in Iran and Iraq, and Iran is the most important stronghold of this group. There is also strong representation of this faction (although still a minority group) in Syria, as well as Gaza in Palestine (particularly the Hamas movement). The other important Arab states are completely Sunni dominated – most notably Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt. There are also large groups of Sunnis in Syria and Iraq, and that has considerably increased the potential for civil war in those countries.

According to Daniel 11:31-45, there will be a major power struggle among Israel’s enemies in the end-time. Daniel describes the one faction as the king of the North and the other one as the king of the South. In ancient times the northern kingdom was Assyria or Babylonia, and Egypt the southern one. The present countries to the north and northeast of Israel are Iran, Iraq and Syria, and together they form a powerful stronghold of the Shia Muslims. The end-time king of the South does not only refer to Egypt, but also to other Sunni oriented countries. This battle will eventually be won by the king of the North, which is an indication that the Antichrist will arise from this region (Isaiah 10:12-14 also refers to the Antichrist as the Assyrian).

The present war in Syria may be an important prelude to the final battle between the two major power-blocks in Islam. The conflict between them has already been internationalised since the Shia alliance between the governments of Syria, Iraq and Iran enjoy the support of Russia and China. The Sunni opposition in Syria do not only enjoy the support of most of the Arab countries but also of the largest part of the Western world. In spite of this extensive backing they are heading for defeat against the northern alliance. The opposition forces in Syria are largely controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood, which is Egyptian in origin. It can reasonably be expected that Egypt (the king of the South) will play a major role in the expansion of fundamentalist, Sunni oriented Islamism, but that they will eventually have to bow the knee before the northern alliance.

Israel has all reason to be concerned about the polarisation between the Shia and Sunni factions of Islam since both of them are highly hostile towards Zionism. Israel is situated between these two “kings” and will often suffer as a result of wars between the northern and southern power blocks. According to Daniel 11:41, many of the Jews will flee to Jordan (which, in ancient times, was known as Edom, Moab and Ammon) as the aggression of the king of the North will not be directed against this country. Within Israel itself, some of the deceived and compromising Jews will recognise the false messiah from the north and collaborate with him, but the rest of the Jews will have to flee from him (Dan. 11:32-33).

The establishment of a Muslim caliphate in Jerusalem

Jerusalem, and specifically the Temple Mount, is to Islam the third holiest place on earth after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. There is general consensus among them that Jerusalem should be the capital of a Muslim caliphate, over which a descendant of Mohammed should rule. It is contemplated that such a state will play a unifying role to consolidate all Muslim factions into an undivided religious body.

During the general elections in Egypt, a spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood said: “Our capital shall not be Cairo, Mecca or Medina. It shall be Jerusalem, please Allah.” They see Jerusalem as the future capital of a united Arab state. That is the reason why the Palestinian problem, and particularly their claim on Jerusalem as capital, enjoys so much prominence. Their objective is not only an independent Palestine, but the complete eradication of Israel and the establishment of a seat for Islam’s expected world messiah.

There is also a strong movement among Muslim Palestinians aimed at driving Israelites from their land and capital city in order to incorporate it into Palestine. Sheikh Riyad Salah, head of the Islamic Movement in Israel, has been actively teaching the tenets of Islamic revolution. “We are at the gates of the Islamic revolution,” he proclaims in his sermons to Arab citizens of Israel. “The global forces of evil will be eliminated from the world and the Islamic nation will remain in place in order to bring about the world Islamic revolution, with its capital, Jerusalem.” Salah’s organization contributed to efforts to repair Arab mosques on the Temple Mount, and also attempts to erase the remains of Jewish antiquities on the Mount. Thousands of young Arabs living in the Palestinian territories have been participating in the party’s youth movement under the slogan, Campaigning to Preach Revolution. They have displayed a banner at the Dome of the Rock, proclaiming: Revolution is a Command of Allah. The youth were greeted by party members who shouted: Next year in Jerusalem, under the rule of the Islamic revolution.

The planned destruction of Israel

Israel’s Arab neighbours (moderate as well as radical states) are forming a united front against them as they are all committed to the total destruction of the Jewish state. Various wars were fought between Israel and their Muslim-inspired Arab neighbours since Israel’s independence in 1948. These nations have not yet reached their sinister goal, as the Lord has helped Israel in their struggle for survival. The enemies’ successive defeats have radicalised them even more, and their hatred for the Jews will continue until they will single-mindedly conspire together to annihilate Israel from the face of the earth:

“Oh God! Do not hold your peace, and do not be still, o God! For behold, your enemies make a tumult, and those who hate you have lifted up their head. They take crafty counsel against your people, and consulted together against your sheltered ones. They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more. For they have consulted together with one consent; they form a confederacy against you: the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites; Moab and the Hagarites; Gebal, Ammon, and Amalek; Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assyria also has joined with them; they have helped the children of Lot” (Psalm 83:1-8).

In this section, the ancient peoples are mentioned from which the modern Arabic peoples are descended. The northern Arabs, among whom were also Mohammed and his followers, descended from Ishmael and regard themselves as Ishmaelites. According to them, the promises to Abraham were inherited by Mohammed and his successors through Abraham’s eldest son, Ishmael. The southern Arabs (Egypt and surrounding nations) state that they are descended from Kachtan, which probably refers to Joktan (Gen. 10:25-30). All the Arabs, like the Jews, are descended from Shem and are therefore Semitic peoples.

Large-scale Arabisation occurred in the 7th and 8th centuries during the conquests of the Islamic Arabs. Linguistic and cultural assimilation took place, which caused many peoples from other nations to also regard themselves as Arabs. There are currently about 286 million Arabs in the Middle East and North Africa, and another 14 million dispersed throughout the world – a total of 300 million.

Preparing the way for the Imam Mahdi

President Ahmadinejad of Iran, in conjunction with his country’s religious leaders, says the main objective with their Islamic revolution is to prepare the way for the reappearance of the 12th Imam, the Mahdi. Iran’s government even convened a cabinet meeting at which they decided to conclude a covenant with the 12th Imam when he shows up. A large number of Ahmadinejad’s close friends and political associates openly speak about preparations for the reappearance of the hidden Imam, and also link these preparations to Iran’s nuclear programme. Their argument is that wickedness, tyranny and oppression should be promoted in order to hasten the coming of the 12th Imam.

Iran contemplates extremely evil plans in support of its plan to fight Israel, the United States and other Western powers, and with this end in view their nuclear development programme enjoys high priority. It will enable them to fire long-range missiles with nuclear warheads to any country. They are not deterred by sanctions or even the possibility of a military attack on Iran, but threaten to retaliate with great force and to also block the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf to oil tankers. 35% of the world’s petroleum is transported through this strategically important sea strait.

In this way, according to Iran’s radical Muslim leaders, chaos will be caused which will precipitate the Imam’s coming. They are even prepared to sacrifice Iran if only Israel and the West can be crippled so Islam can ultimately prevail over them.

According to biblical prophecies in Ezekiel 38 and 39, there will indeed be an attempted war of annihilation against Israel in the end-time. Russia (Gog, in the far north) and Persia (modern Iran) will play a leading role in this war. It may just be that the Antichrist (Islam’s false messiah) will emerge from the global chaos and instability that will be caused by this multinational invading force in Israel. Because of the Antichrist’s  exceptional ability to deceive, he will offer himself as the universal messiah of all faiths and promise to bring unity and peace to a highly divided world which will be on the brink of a third world war.

Domination of the world trade

Revelation 18 refers to the ancient city of Babylon, which will again be restored in the end-time to become an international economic centre which will be the Mecca of world trade. Babylon was the capital of the once mighty Babylonian Empire which was situated in the Middle East between the Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf. This city was built on the banks of the Euphrates River in the present Iraq, and is presently being rebuilt after having been destroyed during historical times.

It is conspicuous that it is in the region of the ancient Babylonian Empire where the modern oil-producing states of the Middle East are situated, and that great wealth is currently being accumulated here. The seven Persian Gulf states, i.e. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Iraq and Iran, control 60% of the world’s oil reserves, and currently produce 30% of the oil which is daily consumed in the world. They therefore have a vast capacity to produce more oil, thus obtaining a larger share of the oil market. The wealth which they achieved in a short period of time through oil trade has enabled them to build spectacular new world cities – particularly Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Kuwait City and Doha.

These developments are transforming the Middle East into an important trade centre. It is not impossible that Babylon itself may be rebuilt to again play a leading role in the end-time. Economic controlling bodies such as major stock markets, the IMF and the World Bank can easily be relocated to such a centre. Experts say that Iraq has a tremendous growth potential and that this country may even have bigger unexploited oil reserves than Saudi Arabia. Whatever may happen in the Gulf States, which constitute a revival of the ancient Babylonian Empire, will have a major influence in the future world economy.

It is a most disturbing fact that oil-rich Muslim states have an obsession to use their wealth, pomp and glory to promote international prestige for the Islamic culture and religion, with an aim to eventually gain control over all nations in a world empire. In the realisation of this objective they see a close relationship between the religious, political and economic control of the world – everything should be organised in accordance with the dictates of the Quran and ultimately be under the control of Islam’s expected world messiah.

The great deception

The world is subjected to deception in various spheres, aimed at establishing a Middle Eastern dominated new world order in which Islam will play a leading and even a dominating role. But the campaign of deception among other religions is equally as strong as is the case in Islam:

The Shias expect the Imam Mahdi who, according to them, will outlaw and destroy all other religions while subjecting the whole world to the authority of Allah and the Quran. According to them, the Sunnis will also accept the Shia Imam as a descendant and legitimate successor to Mohammed’s position. One of the associates of the Imam will be an Islamic Jesus (Isa) who will assist him in Islamising the world.

The Sunnis also expect an end-time descendant of Mohammed in the lineage of the caliphs. Together with his appearance they expect the second coming of Jesus (Isa in the Quran) who is not God but only a human prophet who serves the singular God (Allah). Isa allegedly prepared the way for Mohammed, who is seen as God’s final revelation to humanity.

Many of the Jews are open to the idea that their Messiah will also be linked to other faiths, and that the rebuilt temple on the Temple Mount should function alongside Islamic and Christian sanctuaries as a place of worship for all faiths (www.godsholymountain.org/).

Deceived Christians also subscribe to the multireligious idea that a universal Christ for all faiths will appear on the scene. He will teach that all faiths have a God-given right of existence and that they are all different paths to the same Creator-God of all religions. Such believers will fully embrace the Islamic Isa.

In the Buddhist world there are also multireligious convictions which allow for the appearance of a so-called “Fifth Buddha” who will also accept titles from other religions. He will introduce a period of harmony and peace in the entire world.

The Hindus do not lag behind as far as these new ideas are concerned. According to them, a new Avatar will make his appearance that will be a new incarnation of both Krishna and Jesus. Everybody will be able to identify with him and also worship him.

Growing pains

The disruptive conditions which presently prevail in the Middle East and, to a lesser or greater degree also in the rest of the world, are growing pains of an emerging new world order which is completely hostile towards the kingdom of God. Because there are so many antichristian powers at work, no agreement which will guarantee durable peace will be reached by them. What they are busy doing, will rather be a way towards more animosity and warfare. “For when they say, Peace and safety! then sudden destruction comes upon them” (1 Thess. 5:3).

The expected Islamic messiah in his role as Antichrist, will “confirm a covenant with many for one week [of seven years]; but in the middle of the week he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate” (Dan. 9:27). During his reign there will only be a false peace lasting for 3½ years, after which he will prohibit freedom of religion and force all people to worship him as God (2 Thess. 2:4; Rev. 13:15). The alliance of false world religions will then lose all rights to observe their own form of religion, and their places of worship will be destroyed (Rev. 17:16).

Islam is already busy propagating this form of religious intolerance, which gives us an idea of what will happen under the rule of a future Muslim dictator. Early in 2012, the following report was widely published by news agencies, also by the television service Russia Today on 16th March 2012: “The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia has said that all churches in the Arabian Peninsula must be destroyed. The statement prompted anger and dismay from Christians throughout the Middle East. ... The Grand Mufti, who is the highest official of religious law in Saudi Arabia, as well as the head of the Supreme Council of Islamic Scholars, cited the Prophet Mohammed, who said the Arabian Peninsula is to exist under only one religion” (http://rt.com/news/peninsula-saudi-grand-mufti-701/). No churches or places of worship for any other religion are allowed to be erected in the territory of Saudi Arabia.

The persecution of Christians will be a characteristic of the Antichrist’s government, and he will succeed with this policy for a certain length of time: “Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God. ... It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation” (Rev. 13:6-7). There will, therefore, be a short-lived empire during which Islam’s dream of world domination will be fulfilled, but that is bad news for all people on earth – also for the Muslims themselves. One only needs to consider how bad they are treating fellow Muslims right now in countries such as Egypt, Libya, Iraq, Iran and Syria.

According to the Bible, peace will only prevail on earth after the true Christ has come and destroyed the powers of the Antichrist (Rev. 19:19-21). When that happens, not only the remnant of Israel will be reconciled with Him (Zech. 12:10–13:1), but also members of all other nations who survived the Lord’s judgements during the great tribulation (Matt. 24:29-30). Only then will there be true peace on earth, also in the Arab world:

“And the Lord will strike Egypt, He will strike and heal it; they will return to the Lord, and He will be entreated by them and heal them. In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian will come into Egypt and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians will serve with the Assyrians. In that day Israel will be one of three with Egypt and Assyria; a blessing in the midst of the land, whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance” (Isa. 19:22-25).

There is only one solution for world peace, also for the deceived, militant Muslims, and that is to be reconciled with the true Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ. He is the Son of God who is one with the Father (John 10:30), and can therefore not be equated with Isa of the Koran who is merely described as the son of Mary. The Lord Jesus, the crucified and risen Saviour, is also exceedingly more than only the Holy One of Israel – He is King and Saviour of the entire world.