Preaching the Gospel, Preparing a People

Middle East Chaos: What's Happening and Why

You are here

Middle East Chaos

What's Happening and Why

Downloads
MP3 Audio (23.79 MB)

Downloads

Middle East Chaos: What's Happening and Why

MP3 Audio (23.79 MB)
×

What is it about the beliefs and worldview of Islam that leads to murder, warfare, slavery, sexual slavery, beheadings and the like? To understand that, you must first examine Islam’s bloody beginnings under Muhammad and the supposed revelations of Allah in the Koran—which commands such actions against non-Muslims, as we cover by chapter and verse in this study. In the latter part of this message, we examine how Islam’s warfare against the West and the declaration of a new caliphate may play into the fulfillment of Daniel 11, a key prophecy about events leading up the Jesus Christ’s return. It’s impossible to understand current events without an understanding of the role and beliefs in Islam that drives them.

Sermon Notes

Middle East Chaos: What’s Happening and Why     Scott Ashley     September 2014

 

What news items have dominated the headlines over the last few years? Think about that. About 3 1/2 years ago we saw the so-called “Arab Spring” when several Arab governments were overthrown. Supposedly this was a democracy movement, but subsequent events showed it was far from it. In several cases Islamic forces took over, as in Libya, and in Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood took control before it was ousted by the army.

Then there was the Syrian civil war, which has claimed about 200,000 lives so far.

In the background during this same time period we had Iran pursuing nuclear arms and endless rounds of negotiations with Western nations during which nothing was accomplished other than Iran buying more time to pursue its goals of a nuclear arsenal.

We’ve also been introduced to a movement called “Boko Haram” in Nigeria, made most famous by their kidnapping of several hundred Nigerian schoolgirls and their subsequent disappearance.

In more recent months we’ve witnessed history being made as we’ve seen a new nation arise on the world scene—the Islamic State, spanning much of Syria and Iraq. Not much has been said about it, but Iraq as it existed from its inception no longer exists. It’s now divided up into Kurdistan to the north, a homeland for the Kurds, the Islamic State in the middle, and what left of the former Iraq in the middle and south.

And in more recent weeks we’ve seen yet another war between Hamas in the Gaza Strip and Israel. I’ve sent you many news articles about that, so I won’t go into details about that here.

What do all of these things have in common? Why are we seeing history written and rewritten before our eyes? Why are we seeing such chaos in the Middle East? What’s behind it, and where is it going? That’s why I’ve titled today’s message “Middle East Chaos: What’s Happening and Why.” Because we literally cannot understand so much of what’s going on in the world if we don’t understand what’s taking place in the Middle East, and more importantly, why it’s taking place. Because the Middle East isn’t the only place affected by these trends. They’re increasingly affecting the rest of the world.

If you’ve been reading the material I send you in my weekly e-newsletters, you probably recognize immediately what all of these events I’ve listed have in common—and that’s Islam. They’re all driven by Islamic beliefs spelled out in their holy book, the Koran. But that’s not where the story begins. The story begins far earlier. It begins back about 4,000 years ago in the first book of the Bible, Genesis. It begins with a man named Abraham and some very foolish decisions he made to have a son by his wife’s servant girl, an Egyptian woman by the name of Hagar, and she became pregnant.

You may remember the story of how Sarah became very jealous of Hagar, and Sarah dealt harshly with Hagar to the point that she ran away into the desert. We’ll pick up the story in Genesis 16, where Hagar is about to die of thirst in the desert when an angel appears to her and tells her something about the son she will have. We’ll pick it up in Genesis 16:10 Genesis 16:10And the angel of the LORD said to her, I will multiply your seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.
American King James Version×

10 The angel added, “I will so increase your descendants that they will be too numerous to count.”

So Hagar’s son, the son of her and Abraham, and her other children were to become a large nation, too—not just the descendants of Abraham through Isaac.

11 The angel of the LORD also said to her: “You are now with child and you will have a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the LORD has heard of your misery.

12 He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility towards all his brothers.”

This last verse isn’t translated all that well in the New King James. Several other versions translate it better, like the NIV here which says: “He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility towards all his brothers.”

That is a perfect description of the descendants of Ishmael—the Arab peoples—to this day. They have seldom been able to get along. The only time they are mostly unified is when they are all hating and fighting someone else, like the Israelis.

The Arabs, the sons of Ishmael, have a long history of fighting and conflict, not getting along with others. It was Arabs, mostly from Saudi Arabia, who flew those jets into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 13 years ago. They are the ones who came into Afghanistan, took over and made it a terrorist haven and essentially ran it through the Taliban. They are the ones still holding out and fighting in Afghanistan. They are the ones forming the backbone of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. They have not been united for very long except under force of arms and out of hatred for common enemies.

Moving to the next chapter, in Genesis 17:20 Genesis 17:20And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.
American King James Version×
we find out more about Abraham’s descendants through Ishmael. Here God is talking to Abraham and He says:

Genesis 17:20 Genesis 17:20And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.
American King James Version×
—“And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation.

21 “But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year.”

What about this promise that the Arabs would become a great nation? That promise was fulfilled—beginning more than 13 centuries ago. From the Arabs sprang the religion of Islam in the 600s A.D. The Arabs took that religion and spread it to half the known world, as shown in orange on this map, all across the Middle East, North Africa and even into some parts of Europe, including Spain and Portugal. They spread Islam by force. They had a very effective evangelistic tool: They put the sword to someone’s throat and said, “Accept Islam or die.”

After that first wave of expansion, Islam more or less stalled out for several centuries and retrenched. But then it started a second wave of expansion in the 12th century, as we see on this map in the lighter color. For several centuries, while Europe was in the Dark Ages, the Arab Islamic Empire was the most civilized on earth. They studied mathematics, architecture and astronomy. They truly became a great civilization.

Part of the reason for the jealousy of the Arabs over the success of the Western world is that they remember they once had a great empire, but it came and went. They think they still have the right to have a great empire, and they’re very resentful that the Western world has risen to such greatness while Arab civilization has declined. This is not the way things should be according to the Koran, because Muslims are the ones who are to be blessed and running the world.

But how did we get to this point that much of the world, and nearly all of the Middle East, is in chaos due to Islam? There’s a lot that we need to understand about Islam, and we’ll cover some of the key points today. I’ll tell you in advance that most of what I’ll be telling you today is definitely not politically correct. In fact, nearly everything I’ll tell you has been diligently ignored or not reported by the mainstream media. If you’d like to educate yourself on this, many books are available that go into quite a bit of detail about the things I’ll be telling you.

What is the magnitude of the Islamic religion? Out of a world population of about 7 billion, approximately one in four to five people—1.5 to 1.6 billion—is a Muslim. However, I’ve read accounts that place the number of Muslims at as high as 2 billion. Muslims make up more than half the population in 50 nations—those shown in green on this map. The yellow areas show countries where the Muslim population is 10 to 50 percent. The entirety of the Middle East, with the exception of Israel, is overwhelmingly Muslim—and by overwhelmingly, I mean in the 90 to 99 percent range. Most of the northern half of the African continent is also overwhelmingly Muslim. Muslims control most of the supply of the lifeblood of the world economy, which is oil. All of these facts make Islam a huge and growing factor in world geopolitics.

Does Islam affect your life? Does it affect the lives of other non-Muslims around the world? Consider these facts: On Sept. 11, 2001, 19 Muslim hijackers flew planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and the one that crashed in a field in Pennsylvania was apparently headed for the White House or the U.S. Capitol building. They killed 3,000 Americans that day. All the hijackers were Muslim; 15 were from Saudi Arabia, the heart of Islam. And our world was forever changed in that one day.

How did we get to this point? What is it in Islamic teaching and history that has brought the world to the point where it seems that Islam is at war against the rest of the world? To find out why Islam is in its current state, and to understand where it’s going, we have to go back and look at its history. The story starts more than 1,400 years ago in what is today Saudi Arabia.

Muhammad, the founder of the Islamic religion, was born in A.D. 570 in Mecca in what is today Saudi Arabia. Muhammad was born into a poor family. From childhood one thing had been unusual about Muhammad. He experienced strange visions. Some researchers suggest that Muhammad’s early visions were the result of a combination of epileptic seizures and an overactive imagination. While Muhammad was in such a trance-like state he would receive what he thought were divine visitations. After the trance, he would get up and proclaim what had been handed down to him. At the age of 40, Muhammad again experienced one of these visitations. As a result of this experience, he claimed that Allah had called him. He told people that he had been asleep in a cave in the mountains when the angel Gabriel spoke to him and began revealing the word of Allah to him.

He claimed he was sent to restore the religion of Abraham, and that he was the last of a long series of prophets. Muhammad started reciting his visions and revelations to his disciples, claiming they were the actual words of Allah which he repeated word for word. His disciples memorized his words, and they were written down—some then and some after his death—to form the Koran.

As he began to acquire greater power, he announced that Allah had ordered Muslims to fight unbelievers. He began to drive away people who didn’t agree with him and arranged for opponents to be assassinated. Muhammad began to test his own power in making war. He first sent out six followers who attacked and looted a caravan. This proved so successful that Muhammad then began leading the battles himself. Their successes led to more followers who wanted to get in on the fighting, killing and plundering.

It was around this time that Muhammad decided that the Jews were not going to convert to his new religion. He had at first tried to encourage the Jews to accept him as a prophet by preaching monotheism, observing the Jewish sabbath, praying toward Jerusalem and adopting some of their dietary laws. But when it was obvious that the Jewish merchants were not going to become his disciples, Muhammad decided to drop the observance of Jewish rites. He changed the direction of prayer from Jerusalem to Mecca, dropped the Saturday sabbath and adopted the pagan Friday sabbath instead. He adopted some of the pagan religious rites in which he had been raised by his family.

Around this time he began actively persecuting and killing Jews. At first he sent out assassins to kill individual Jews, but later he expanded to target entire Jewish settlements. There was a financial as well as a religious reason for such attacks. Some of the Jewish settlements were centers of the gold and silver trade—and by conquering them, he and his followers could obtain great wealth. After one Jewish town had surrendered, Muhammad had up to 1,000 men beheaded and all the women and children sold into slavery. His men looted all the possessions of the town.

Muhammad had two great weaknesses. The first was greed. By looting caravans and Jewish settlements, he had amassed fabulous wealth for himself, his family, and his tribe. His next greatest weakness was women. Although in the Koran he would state that Allah said a man should have no more than four wives, he himself took far more—a total of 22 women. The first 16 were wives, but he also took two others who were slaves or concubines, and another four who were neither wives or slaves but rather devout Muslim women who gave themselves to Muhammad to satisfy his sexual desires.

Muhammad’s third wife, Aisha, was only eight or nine years old when Muhammad took her as a wife. Several years ago a prominent American evangelist stirred up a hornet’s nest of criticism when he said Muhammad was a pervert and child molester. This is what he was referring to. All kinds of people apologized for the man’s statements, but nobody had the courage to point out that he was right—for taking an eight- or nine-year-old girl as a wife, with all that that entails.

After accumulating great power and wealth, Muhammad died in A.D. 632. Since his two sons had died young, he had no living son and had made no arrangements for a successor. Because Muhammad hadn’t spelled out what was to be done after his death, Islam soon broke into two major sects, the Shiites and the Sunnis, over who were to be Muhammad’s rightful successors.

Shiite Muslims, who are the minority and are concentrated mainly in Iran and Iraq and Lebanon as shown in dark red on this map, believe that only a descendant of Muhammad and his son-in-law, Ali, may be a ruler or caliph. Sunni Muslims, who are the majority nearly everywhere else, believe that any Muslim who is sufficiently following in the footsteps of Muhammad may be a caliph. That’s basically what the divide is over and they’ve been fighting and massacring each other for the last 13 centuries over—who can be the rightful successor to Muhammad.

I should mention here that the religion of Islam is in that sense like traditional Christianity. Muslims don’t all believe and teach the same thing. They are divided into dozens if not hundreds of different branches. Again, basically Muslims are united only when they are fighting someone else. And they are united on following what’s in the Koran and the example of Muhammad.

Going back to the map we looked at earlier, after Mohammed died in 632, his successors continued to spread Islam with a vengeance. Within l00 years Arab armies had spread from the Arabian peninsula to overrun the Middle East, northern Africa and Spain and Portugal. They advanced into central Asia and India. As they went, Christians and Jews—considered “people of the book”—were allowed to retain their religion but were required to pay a special tax and put into a status call dhimmitude, meaning that they were permanently second-class citizens and lost most of their rights. Those of religions other than Judaism and Christianity were given the choice to convert to Islam or die.

This first surge of Islam eventually stalled after about a century, so they dug in there at that point. A later wave several hundred years later, in the 12th century, spread Islam further into Africa, central Asia, India, Turkey and eventually even into the Balkan region of Europe as far as Vienna. Muslim traders spread Islam into China, Indonesia and Malaysia. That is basically the Muslim world that we see today and a brief history of the spread of Islam.

This map also explains what’s behind so many of the wars we’ve been hearing about in recent years—in Algeria, Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya, Nigeria, the Balkans, Russia (Chenya), Tajikstan, Uzbekistan, the western provinces of China, The Philippines, Israel and India (Kashmir). One historian referred to this as “the bloody borders of Islam.” It’s where Muslims are pressing outward once again to claim more territory for Islam.

But what drives these actions and this violence? What are the basic beliefs and practices of Islam behind what we see in the world today, and particularly in the Middle East? The Arabic term Islam literally means “submission” or “surrender,” in this case to the will of Allah. Some say that Islam means “peace.” Not true. It means submission or surrender.

A believer of Islam is called a Moslem or Muslim, meaning one who accepts “surrender to the will of Allah.” 

A Muslim must recite the profession of faith, the shahada, which states: “There is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet.” According to Moslem doctrine, a Muslim must recite aloud this profession at least once in his lifetime, with an understanding of its meaning and with full intent from the heart.

The Shahada, we might note, is inscribed on the Saudi Arabian flag. There’s no such thing as separation of church and state in Islam. They are one and the same. And to reinforce the point about the seriousness of Islam, the other symbol on the Saudi flag is a sword. It also appears in a more basic form on the black flag of the Islamic State, which is starting to show up everywhere—such as in European riots, as shown here, and in Iraq, as shown here where it is being waved over a group of Iraqi men before they are led away to be executed.

Where do Muslims get their ideas and practices? For the most part they come from the Koran. There’s another set of works called the hadith which records sayings and actions of Muhammad. Most Muslims consider these to be guides and rules for living as well. But we’ll focus on what the Koran itself says that drives Muslim actions. I’ll go through these rather quickly, and you may want to only write down the references, which are called Surahs or chapters, then the verse numbers. You can look these up yourself later if you want, or read them in a copy of the Koran.

The clear teaching of Islam is that it is the supreme and only true religion and that it will win out over all other religions, and eventually the entire world will come under Islamic rule. Surah 61:9 states: “It is He [Allah] who has sent for His apostle [Muhammad] with guidance and the true faith, so that he may exalt it above all religions, much as the idolators [those who worship other gods, including Christians and Jews] may dislike it.” In other words, accept Islam or tough luck.

A clear command is given in Surah 2:193: “Fight against them until idolatry is no more and Allah’s religion [Islam] reigns supreme.” Keep in mind here that idolatry = any religion other than Islam, which would include Christianity and Judaism and anything else. In Islam, if you don’t worship Allah, you are an idolater worshipping a false god and therefore subject to death.

In Islamic theology the world is divided into two spheres—the sphere of dar al-Islam, meaning “the land of Islam,” and dar al-harb, meaning “the land of the unbeliever [or heretic].” A fundamental aspect of Islamic teaching is that all non-Muslim lands must eventually be absorbed or conquered by Islam, preferably by peaceful conversion, but by force if necessary.

Another aspect of this that bears bringing out is that most of the Muslim world is united against Israel because it is an abomination for land that was once dar al-Islam, part of the land of Islam, to revert to dar al-harb, to come under control of the infidel, to come under domination of Jewish or Christian heretics. That’s why Muslims are so determined to wipe out Israel and bring that land back under Muslim domination. Western leaders, including our own government, don’t understand this. That’s why they’re always pressuring the Israelis to negotiate with Hamas and the Palestinian Authority for a peaceful solution. In fact, there is no peaceful solution for those who believe with their heart and soul that your land belongs to them and you should be dead.

So how is Islam to become the supreme and only true religion in the world and to convert dar al-harb into dar-al-Islam? That is accomplished through jihad or holy war—meaning you eliminate all other religions. To many Muslims, the teachings of Islam require violence to spread Islam. I’ll read just a few passages from the Koran:

Surah 9:5 says: “When the sacred months are over slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them.” The part that I want to point out here is that Mohammad’s followers are specifically told to “fight dirty”—to lie in wait to ambush others, not to fight them out in the open. One area in which the differences between Allah and the God of the Bible come out is in the absolute cruelty and lack of mercy that we see in the Koran.

This reminds me of the passage about how the Amalekites attacked the Israelites when they came up out of Egypt. The Amalekites attacked the rear of the Israelite column, killing the weak and the infirm, the young children and the elderly people rather than attacking the Israelite fighting men. That’s probably the earliest recorded incident of terrorism in all of history, and that’s exactly what it is. It’s basically the same people still doing it, killing the weak and innocent, and it’s the same mentality at work over the centuries from the time of the Exodus to the time of Mohammad right down to our day. Of course, God’s judgment on the Amalekites was that their actions were so despicable that they were to be wiped out entirely.

Surah 9:73 says: “Prophet, make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their home: an evil fate.” Here Mohammed is justifying the brutality of his religion by saying that Allah himself revealed to him personally that people of other religions are evil and belong in Hell. Therefore, according to Mohammad, any barbaric act against the unbelievers is justified because they deserve it and they’re going to hell anyway. Since they’re going to hell anyway, you’re justified in doing anything to them to get them to convert to Islam, and if they don’t, well, they deserve it anyway.

Surah 9:123 says: “Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Deal firmly with them. Know that [Allah] is with the righteous.” I mentioned earlier “the bloody borders of Islam”—that nearly all of the world’s wars are taking place around the edges of the Muslim world where Muslims are pushing outward against non-Muslims. Here is a specific command for Muslims to do exactly that—not to love your neighbor, but to make war on him and deal cruelly with him.

I should also mention that in Islamic thinking, the only sure way to enter paradise is to become a martyr fighting for Islam. As soon as a martyr sheds the first drop of blood, he is guaranteed a place in paradise. And when he arrives, he has waiting for him 72 young, dark-eyed, beautiful virgins whose skin glows like sunlight to be his perpetual companions in paradise. This is one way that they are able to recruit so many suicide bombers—because suicide bombers are guaranteed entry into paradise as soon as they blow themselves up, since they are dying in the act of jihad.

The Koran also says that Allah will punish those who do not wage jihad as he commands. Surah 9:39 says: If you do not go to war, [Allah] will punish you sternly, and will replace you by other men.” In other words, if you’re a Muslim and don’t wage jihad, you’re going to hell and Allah will choose someone else to fight in your place.

The Koran also commands using terror and cruelty in waging jihad. Surah 8:59-60 says: “Let not the unbelievers think that they will ever get away. They have not the power so to do. Muster against them all the men and cavalry at your command, so that you may strike terror into the enemy of Allah and your enemy, and others besides them who are unknown to you but known to Allah.”

This is why the Sunni fighters of the Islamic State are so viciously cruel. They use terror to strike fear into their enemies to demoralize them and make them give up their will to fight. Those whom they capture, who are Shiites whom they consider apostates or non-Muslims, they generally execute—in accordance with what they read in the Koran.

The Koran mentions specific methods to sow terror, which they use. Surah 8:12 says: “Allah revealed his will to the angels, saying: ‘I shall be with you. Give courage to the believers. I shall cast terror into the hearts of the infidels. Strike off their heads, strike off the very tips of their fingers!’”

So what the Koran tells them to do, they do. When it tells them to cut off heads, they cut off heads. Perhaps you have seen clips from some of the beheading videos posted on the Internet that are cut just before they carry out the act. Or perhaps you have listened to one and wondered what all the shouting and chanting is in them. Generally they are saying two things. One is that they are shouting “allahu Akbar”—“Allah is the greatest.” The second is that they are chanting verses from the Koran, quoting what it says about beheading infidels. They are simply quoting scripture.

Another Surah that illustrates Allah’s cruelty is Surah 5:34-35: “Those that make war against Allah and His apostle [referring to Mohammad] and spread disorder in the land shall be slain or crucified or have their hands and feet cut off on alternate sides, or be banished from the land. They shall be held up to shame in this world and sternly punished in the hereafter . . .”

Notice that here Allah commands torture, crippling and maiming of prisoners. Crucifixion is a horrible form of torture and execution, and they practice it with relish. Here you can see crowds of people lined up to take pictures of two men who have been crucified on some kind of steel crucifixion instruments that seem to have been made for that purpose.

And cutting off a prisoner’s hand and one side and his foot on the other side was absolutely barbaric, deliberately crippling and maiming a person for the rest of his life. In Islamic lands ruled by Islamic law, called sharia law, thieves typically have a hand cut off for stealing. Contrast that to God’s punishment for theft. What did God’s law say about punishment? The thief had to restore the value of the stolen item several times over. Under the law God revealed to Israel, if the debt was paid, the thief hopefully learned his lesson, would repent and could go on with his life and no one is any worse off. But under Islamic law, a thief would be permanently crippled and marked as a thief for the rest of his life.

There is no room for mercy, repentance and forgiveness. Instead there is vengeance and utter humiliation and crippling a person for the rest of his life. There is no room for mercy or allowing for repentance, but only carrying out vengeance by maiming in a most cruel way. This is a totally different concept and motivation than the kind of punishment God gave.

After the United States overthrew Iraq and Saddam Hussein, we began hearing some of the most incredible stories of torture and cruelty about how Saddam Hussein and his cronies dealt with people who disagreed with him. And I’ve read a great deal more about things that happen in Afghanistan and with terrorists in Iraq. Those things haven’t happened in a vacuum. The cultures in that part of the world are cruel.

It’s ironic that the people in that part of the world can be so hospitable on the one hand, inviting total strangers into their homes for tea or a meal, but on the other hand they can be very cruel and vengeful. That is part of their culture. Islam was a religion of the desert, started among people who lived in a hard and cruel land and who worshiped hard and cruel gods. So we shouldn’t be surprised that from that environment came a religion and a culture and a god that were also very harsh and cruel. They go hand in hand.

What about Christians and Jews? What does the Koran say about them? Surah 98:6 says: “The unbelievers among the People of the Book and the pagans shall burn for ever in the fire of Hell. They are the vilest of all creatures.” Here “People of the Book” is a term that refers to Christians and Jews, meaning people who believe the Bible. However, Muslims view the Bible as corrupted and the Koran as the successor to the Bible and the true word of Allah. So according to Mohammed, Christians and Jews who don’t accept Islam are like the pagans and deserve to burn forever in hell because “they are the vilest of all creatures.” When you hear Muslims spout that they respect Jews and Christians as “people of the book,” don’t believe it. I used to believe that before 9/11. I don’t anymore.

Earlier I mentioned the hadiths, the recorded sayings and actions of Muhammad. I would like to read one that helps explains the utterly irrational Muslim hatred of Jews. Here’s what it says: “Allah’s Apostle [Muhammad] said: ‘The Hour [of the Last Judgment] will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say. “O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him.”’”

What this is saying is that Jews are so contemptible that even the stones of the earth will call out to Muslims to kill the Jews who are in hiding. So if this is how Muhammad and the earth itself feel about Jews, then obviously Muslims should do what they can to kill Jews now. So it’s no wonder that groups like Hamas in Gaza and Hizbullah in Lebanon bring up their children from a young age to hate Jews and want to kill them. It’s utterly irrational, but then so is much of the Koran.

What about women? What is their status? Let’s notice in Surah 4:34: Men have authority over women because [Allah] has made the one superior to the other . . . Good women are obedient. . . . As for those [women] from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them, forsake them in beds apart, and beat them. Then if they obey you, take no further action against them.”

So Muslim men are allowed to beat their wives. And not just with hands or feet. One Muslim cleric got in some hot water with the Western press several years ago when he ruled that men could beat their wives with a stick, so long as it was no larger than the width of the man’s thumb. He was surprised at the outrage. He thought he was being very generous toward women. And of course, Muslim men are allowed to have up to four wives at one time. But in practice, because it is so easy for them to divorce, they can have as many wives as they can afford.

In Islam there is also a practice called “temporary marriage” which has been mentioned in a few of the articles I’ve sent in my weekly newsletters. In this, a man and woman can enter a temporary marriage contract for anywhere from an hour or two to several years, have sexual relations, and when the contract is up the relationship is over. I don’t know how this started, but it seems to have been done originally as a way to legalize prostitution. But it has sanction from most Muslim clerics, so it’s no big deal in Muslim societies.

What about slavery? Slavery is still widely practiced in the Muslim world. Much of the slave trade during the 1600s, 1700s and 1800s came from Arab Muslims who enslaved Africans and sold them to white slave traders. And it was all okay because it had the Koran’s seal of approval. Surah 47:4 says when you defeat your enemies, you can either kill them or enslave them, whichever you prefer: “When you meet the unbelievers in the battlefield strike off their heads and, when you have laid them low, bind your captives firmly.”

The Koran also allows taking women captive to be used as sexual slaves. Here are a few verses that talk about that. Surah 33:50 says: “We well know the duties We have imposed on the faithful concerning their wives and slave-girls. [We grant you this privilege] so that none may blame you.”

Surah 23:1-6 says: “Blessed are the believers, who are humble in their prayers, who avoid profane talk, and give alms to the destitute, who restrain their carnal desires (except with their wives and slave-girls, for these are lawful to them . . .).”

When we hear things like the kidnapping of several hundred Nigerian schoolgirls, we’re horrified that anyone could do that. But the fact is, those who raided the school and took them captive are simply practicing what the Koran says. And I’ll let you in on a secret. The world is hoping those girls can be rescued. They won’t be rescued. They’ve already been either married off to other Muslims as additional wives or sold as sexual slaves. They’re no longer being held together as a group waiting for a ransom. No, the terrorists already go their money by selling them off or taking them as plunder. Some no doubt converted to Islam to make their lives a little easier, but they’re still in for a horrible life.

 

These are some of the beliefs that drive Islam that are totally contradictory to the true God and the Bible. Islam is not going away. There are between 1.5 and 2 billion Muslims in the world. Islam is a major threat to the Western world because it sees the West, and the United States and Israel in particular, as the major obstacle to Islam regaining the power and prestige it had in earlier centuries at the height of its power and taking its place as the supreme religion of the world. Yes, some Muslims truly are peaceful and renounce violence. But it’s the ones who believe the passages from the Koran that I’ve read to you today that the rest of the world needs to worry about.

How Islam might affect the world in the time ahead? Where might the things we’ve discussed and these fundamental beliefs of Islam mean for the world? Do we see some of this reflected in Bible prophecy?

In our time remaining let’s take a look now at what is perhaps the most significant prophecy relating to the Middle East right now, which is found over in Daniel 11:40 Daniel 11:40And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.
American King James Version×
. This is a crucial prophecy because it triggers a series of events that lead directly to a worldwide bloodbath and the return of Jesus Christ as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Daniel 11:40 Daniel 11:40And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.
American King James Version×
—“At the time of the end [so this gives us a clear time marker of when these events will take place and what they signify—that the time of the end is imminent] the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through.

Clearly, at the time of the end another round of great turmoil will engulf the Middle East. This is clearly describing a full-fledged invasion of the Middle East. What prompts this military invasion is that the end-time king of the South “attacks” the king of the North.

Who is this “king of the South” and “king of the North”? Daniel 11 is a very long prophecy that covers events from Daniel’s day all the way up through the return of Jesus Christ. In this prophecy he tells us of the ebbs and flows of power across this region over the centuries.

Daniel uses the terms “king of the South” and “king of the North” several times. What do these terms mean? In fact these terms refer to a series of leaders who occupy positions of power over lands to the south and north of Jerusalem and the Holy Land. For much of Daniel’s prophecy, these terms are talking about rulers based in Syria to the north of Jerusalem and in Egypt to the south. You’ll find many of these specific rulers spelled out and historically verified in our booklet The Middle East in Prophecy.

But could these terms be talking about leaders in Syria and Egypt going to war against each other today? That’s highly unlikely, because these two countries are now brother Arab and Islamic nations. So who could this end-time “king of the South” be? I think this “king of the South” will be an Arab figure who will emerge at the end time. And since the entire Arab world is virtually 100 percent Muslim, it’s safe to assume that this king of the South will be Muslim, too.

This is why I think the establishment of the Islamic State, a self-declared caliphate, is significant. I won’t go through the history of the caliphate, because that’s covered in this latest issue of The Good News. What’s important for us to realize is how deep this desire runs among Muslims. The Muslim Brotherhood has wanted to establish a caliphate to rule over all Muslims worldwide. Osama bin Laden wanted to establish a caliphate to rule over all Muslims worldwide. Obviously the thousands of Sunni Muslims who established and are fighting for the Islamic State wanted to establish a caliphate to rule over all Muslims worldwide. I think a caliphate will be established, and its leader, the caliph, will be the end-time king of the South.

Is this Islamic State this caliphate? No, I don’t think so. It’s simply too brutal, too bloodthirsty to gain a large following in the Muslim world. But might this pave the way for someone else to declare a caliphate that would be widely accepted among Muslims? I think that’s quite likely. I think that makes a lot of sense with the way things are heading today.

It’s also crucial to note that many Muslims expect an Islamic messiah, called the mahdi, to arise in the end time. This mahdi will be a Muslim leader who, in Muslim belief, will purify Islam and establish it as the dominant religion on earth. Muslims take this very seriously. In Islamic history, about a dozen men have arisen who claimed to be the mahdi or were proclaimed to be the mahdi by their followers—the most recent in 1979, when a man and his followers took over the Grand Mosque in Mecca, leading to a battle in which 300 people were killed. You might also remember that one of the largest resistance groups the American military fought with in Iraq was called “the Mahdi army.”

So this belief in an end-time Islamic messiah is very real. In Islamic teaching, the mahdi will arise in a time of warfare and plagues and the appearance of the antichrist, at a time when Muslims will rise up and throw the foreigners out of their lands. So it could well be that the end-time king of the South will be one who will claim to be this prophesied mahdi, and he may find himself leading several hundred million eager Muslim followers in a new caliphate.

We have no idea who such a leader might be, but there are several precedents and realistic possibilities for someone to rise up and unite the fragmented world of Islam. And someone like this could rise up at any moment.

What about the “king of the North”? Historically, the lands of the ancient “kings of the North” were swallowed up by the Roman Empire. Rome thus became the kingdom of the North. I don’t have time to get into the historical or prophetic background behind it, but the king of the North is the leader of a federation of nations formed from a resurrection of the Roman Empire as prophesied in the books of Daniel and Revelation. We see the early stages of that power forming right now, I believe, in a preliminary form in the European Union.

Most European nations are already united economically through their common currency, the euro. And they have created a European Constitution designed to unite them politically. They are also working on a common European military force. And its leaders have openly talked about Europe being the next superpower and that they intend to challenge the United States for world supremacy. That’s been somewhat derailed of late because of the economic problems of some of the European countries, but those economic difficulties may be exactly the kind of thing that will lead to the final union being whittled down to 10 nations.

So I don’t think the European Union is this power prophesied here and in Revelation 17 and other places, but I definitely think it is a precursor to this final power. And the leader of this end-time power is an individual the Bible calls “the king of the North.” So we don’t know the specific identities of these two individuals, but we have a pretty good idea of the specific roles they will occupy.

I might interject here that a number of people have asked me if it’s possible that this end-time king of the North could be the leader of an Islamic power. While in some ways that might seem to make sense in Bible prophecy, I just don’t think it’s possible. If you remember from 2 Thessalonians 2:4 2 Thessalonians 2:4Who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
American King James Version×
, this person “sits as God in the temple of God [in Jerusalem], showing himself that he is God.”

This is why I don’t see any way that this person could be Muslim. As we saw in the earlier sermons, Muslims view Allah as infinitely beyond the human plane. One of the greatest sins in Islam is what is called shirk—which means to put Allah on the human level or to compare him in any way to human beings. That is utterly blasphemous to a Muslim. Also, as we have seen, Muslims are rabidly monotheistic. Every Muslim has to recite the shahada, which says “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet.” So for any human being to sit in the temple of God and claim to be God is utter blasphemy to a Muslim. For any Muslim to do that would likely lead to him instantly being killed by other Muslims around him. So I do not see any way that the final king of the North could be Muslim.

Going back to verse 40 of Daniel 11 here, let’s pick up some more details:

Daniel 11:40 Daniel 11:40And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.
American King James Version×
—“At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. Why would the king of the South, lands which are at the heart of the Muslim world, attack the king of the North? Remember that in the Muslim mind, Islam is destined to eventually rule the world. So this should not come as a surprise. It has to happen sooner or later for Islam to succeed.

This word “attacks” is also translated “push at” in the KJV. The Hebrew word is used to described the way a goat butts at things with his head, so either “pushes at” or “attacks” or “rams” would be valid translations. Remember we talked earlier about how Muslims view it as an abomination for land that was once under Islamic control to fall back under the control of infidels. We talked about this specifically regarding Israel, but it’s also true of parts of Europe. As we see from this map, a large chunk of Eastern Europe, as well as what is today Spain and Portugal, were at one time for centuries under the control of Muslims. So were Sicily and parts of Italy. I’d like to share a few quotes of what Muslims say about Islam and Europe:

“There are signs that Allah will grant Islam victory in Europe—without swords, without guns, without conquests. The fifty million Muslims of Europe will turn it into a Muslim continent within a few decades.”

—Muammar Gaddafi

“Very soon, Allah willing, Rome will be conquered, just like Constantinople was, as was prophesized by our Prophet Muhammad. Today, Rome is the capital of the Catholics, or the Crusader capital, which has declared its hostility to Islam, and has planted the brothers of apes and pigs in Palestine in order to prevent the reawakening of Islam. This capital of theirs will be an advanced post for the Islamic conquests, which will spread through Europe in its entirety, and then will turn to the two Americas, and even Eastern Europe.”

—Yunis al-Astal, Muslim cleric and member of the Palestinian parliament

“Islamic lands that were occupied by the enemies will once again become Islamic. Furthermore, we will reach beyond these countries, which are lost at one point. We proclaim that we will conquer Rome, like Constantinople was conquered once, and as it will be conquered again. America has occupied, thundered, and foamed with rage, and proclaimed, like Pharaoh, ‘I am your supreme God,’ but it will come to its end, and they have begun to realize that their end is near.”

—Ali Al-Faqir, the Jordanian Minister for Religious Endowment

So Muslims clearly have designs on taking over Europe, and it’s not something that they see as centuries off in the future. They’re openly talking about it now. Perhaps you’ve also seen some of these photos of British Muslims demonstrating in London. This again shows their true ideology and intentions. And in case you’re wondering, these are not faked. These are actual news photos and I’ve seen them on the site where we buy news photos for use in our publications.

I draw your attention to what their signs say: “May Allah curse the Pope,” “Trinity of Evil: Pope go to Hell” and “Jesus Will Rise, the Sword of Islam.” If you don’t understand that one, Muslims believe that Jesus will return, but he will return as a Muslim and will slaughter all those who don’t convert to Islam. And more signs: “Butcher those who mock Islam,” “Kill those who insult Islam,” “Liberalism go to hell,” “Behead those who insult Islam,” “Europe, you’ll come crawling when mujahideen come roaring” (Mujahideen are warriors in jihad), and finally, Europe, you will pay, fantastic four are on their way.” The “Fantastic Four” is what British Muslims began calling the four suicide bombers who blew themselves up on the London subways and double-decker buses in July 2005.

Whatever this “attack” or “pushing at” by the king of the South is, it triggers a massive retaliation from the forces of the king of the North. Possibly it is a series of terrorist attacks of some sort. In recent years we’ve seen major terrorist attacks in Germany, in Spain, and in Britain. Whatever it is, it leads to the king of the North launching an all-out military response. Continuing in Daniel 11 with the king of the North:

41 “He shall also enter the Glorious Land [so the king of the North invades the Holy Land, modern-day Israel], and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon.

These are the people of modern-day Jordan, so this ruler invades Israel but apparently stops before completely taking over Jordan.

42 “He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape.

So now we see who some of the countries are that he invades. He invades North Africa, specifically Egypt. Egypt is right in the middle of the Muslim Arab lands on the one side and Muslim North Africa on the other side. It’s right in the heart of the Islamic world.

43 “He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels.

So let’s look at a map again. The king of the North invades Israel, but the Jordanians escape this invasion. He also invades Egypt and Libya to the west of Egypt. And Ethiopia to the south of Egypt are also dominated by this end-time power. This would also include Sudan, which is between Egypt and Ethiopia and anciently was part of those two powers.

Why does this king of the North invade these specific areas? Because presumably that’s where the attack came from. As the U.S. first invaded Afghanistan after 9/11 because that was the center of power for Al Qaeda, this power seems to invade these areas because that’s where the threat came from or seems greatest. And, of course, to do anything militarily in this area, you have to have access to the Suez Canal which is in Egypt.

44 “But news from the east and the north shall trouble him; therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many.

45 “And he shall plant the tents of his palace between the seas and the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him.

The Arab nations have long been divided among themselves. Daniel’s prophecy mentions three specific acts, any one of which could lead to Arabs and Muslims uniting against this king of the North—(1) the king of the North’s invasion of Muslim North Africa, (2) his invasion of the Holy Land, and (3) his assuming control of Islam’s third-holiest site, Jerusalem. In the present world climate, it would be hard to imagine such events not inflaming the entire Muslim world into an attack against him and his forces.

So it appears that this stirs up a hornet’s next among other nations to the east and north of this region, and this leads to other events described in the book of Revelation including, ultimately, Jesus Christ’s return to prevent the annihilation of humanity.

For lack of time, I won’t go through all the other details about what happens. You can read more about it in our booklet The Middle East in Bible Prophecy. Basically from this point on we have a European-centered power led by the king of the North occupying the Holy Land and Jerusalem and a large swath of North Africa.

But “news from the east and the north” troubles him, and “he goes out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many.” If you look to the east and the north of Jerusalem and the Holy Land, you see a large swath of Muslim countries—Muslim countries which will not take kindly to what they would probably perceive to be a new Crusade to take over Muslim lands. You have Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and 200 million Muslims in India.

You also have the Russian federation and Communist China to the north and east of Jerusalem and the Holy Land, so possibly these are the tidings that trouble him. Regardless, in Revelation we appear to see two different alliances—a 200-million man army in Revelation 9, and then at some later point another large force in Revelation 16—that react and come surging across the Euphrates River into the Holy Land. These lead into what is commonly called the battle of Armageddon with the result that fully a third of humanity is wiped out and Jesus Christ destroys the massive armies gathered in that area that will fight Him at His return. You can read more about this in our Middle East in Bible Prophecy booklet.

So this is an overview of the current Middle East chaos: what’s happening and why. I hope now you can better understand exactly what is taking place, why it’s significant, and how it might fit into our understanding of Bible prophecy—and also that it will encourage you in your own life, knowing that our Messiah’s return is closer than ever.

You might also be interested in....

Ever watch families fight? It isn’t pretty. But this family clash threatens...