Is a toxic combination of religion and politics taking us closer and closer to the End-Times – both intentionally by some and unintentionally by others?
Several years ago I read this book by Joel C. Rosenberg – The Ezekiel Option (The Last Jihad series Book 3). Roesenberg is an evangelical Christian from an Orthodox Jewish background. Before explaining more about The Ezekiel Option, let’s look at what brought all of this up.
I read a New York Times (NYT) article on msn.com this morning – A Vatican Shot Across the Bow for Hard-Line U.S. Catholics. (sorry, this article has been removed from msn.com.) The NYT article is about an article that appeared in La Civiltà Cattolica, which is claimed to be vetted by the Vatican. That original article is Evangelical Fundamentalism And Catholic Integralism: A Surprising Ecumenism.
Early on, the NYT article says –
The article warns that conservative American Catholics have strayed dangerously into the deepening political polarization in the United States. The writers even declare that the worldview of American evangelical and hard-line Catholics, which is based on a literal interpretation of the Bible, is “not too far apart’’ from jihadists.
The actual text from the La Civiltà Cattolica article about jihadists is –
Rushdoony’s doctrine maintains a theocratic necessity: submit the state to the Bible with a logic that is no different from the one that inspires Islamic fundamentalism. At heart, the narrative of terror shapes the world-views of jihadists and the new crusaders and is imbibed from wells that are not too far apart. We must not forget that the theopolitics spread by Isis is based on the same cult of an apocalypse that needs to be brought about as soon as possible. So, it is not just accidental that George W. Bush was seen as a “great crusader” by Osama bin Laden.
Wow. Sounds like both sides have, as the NYT article said – strayed dangerously into the deepening political polarization in the United States. And I’m not talking just here in the U. S. – this involves the Vatican and who knows how many other Catholics around the world.
Actually – maybe it’s all three (or four?) sides – The Vatican, Catholics who disagree with the Vatican, Evangelicals, and Jihadists. While we’re at it, although they weren’t mentioned in the article, let’s not forget that Ezekiel is in the Old Testament – so we really shouldn’t leave the Jewish people out either. especially since Israel is mentioned in the text.
The Bible, to me, is clear about Jesus not wanting to lead a Theocracy, which is –
Depending on how one views Islam, it does call for a theocracy. It started that way – it’s still that way in the middle east – and anyone that supports Sharia law wants at least some degree of theocracy. The thingI’ve written about before – and still have concerns about – is that Christians, including Catholics – want to essentially set up a theocracy. In other words, they want to legislate morality. In Jesus’ time, the Roman sense of morality was clearly different from that of the Jews. And yet, we don’t see any instance where Jesus wanted the Jewish people or His new followers (today’s Christians) to overthrow the Roman government to impose their morality and religious beliefs. Rather, the call was to convert them – to make disciples of them.
In spite of this, too many Christians – whether they be Democrats or Republicans – seem to want to legislate their morals and beliefs into law, setting up a De facto theocracy. They want to do by way of the government, what Jesus told us to do personally –
The Great Commission
Mt 28:16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
So – what does this all have to do with Ezekiel? And what is The Ezekiel Option?
Well, The Ezekiel Option is about forcing world conditions to reach the point described in the Old Testament book of Ezekiel – specifically chapters 38 and 39.
I highly recommend reading Ezekiel 38-39, but if you don’t read all of it – here’s a least a few paragraphs to give you some idea of what’s going to happen –
Eze 38:14 “Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say to Gog: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: In that day, when my people Israel are living in safety, will you not take notice of it? 15 You will come from your place in the far north, you and many nations with you, all of them riding on horses, a great horde, a mighty army. 16 You will advance against my people Israel like a cloud that covers the land. In days to come, O Gog, I will bring you against my land, so that the nations may know me when I show myself holy through you before their eyes.
Eze 38:17 “ ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Are you not the one I spoke of in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel? At that time they prophesied for years that I would bring you against them. 18 This is what will happen in that day: When Gog attacks the land of Israel, my hot anger will be aroused, declares the Sovereign LORD. 19 In my zeal and fiery wrath I declare that at that time there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. 20 The fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the beasts of the field, every creature that moves along the ground, and all the people on the face of the earth will tremble at my presence. The mountains will be overturned, the cliffs will crumble and every wall will fall to the ground. 21 I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Sovereign LORD. Every man’s sword will be against his brother. 22 I will execute judgment upon him with plague and bloodshed; I will pour down torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur on him and on his troops and on the many nations with him. 23 And so I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD.’
Eze 39:1 “Son of man, prophesy against Gog and say: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. 2 I will turn you around and drag you along. I will bring you from the far north and send you against the mountains of Israel. 3 Then I will strike your bow from your left hand and make your arrows drop from your right hand. 4 On the mountains of Israel you will fall, you and all your troops and the nations with you. I will give you as food to all kinds of carrion birds and to the wild animals. 5 You will fall in the open field, for I have spoken, declares the Sovereign LORD. 6 I will send fire on Magog and on those who live in safety in the coastlands, and they will know that I am the LORD.
Eze 39:7 “ ‘I will make known my holy name among my people Israel. I will no longer let my holy name be profaned, and the nations will know that I the LORD am the Holy One in Israel. 8 It is coming! It will surely take place, declares the Sovereign LORD. This is the day I have spoken of.”
This is about a major end-times war. Note that the passage we just looked at says this –
Eze 38:17 “ ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Are you not the one I spoke of in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel? At that time they prophesied for years that I would bring you against them.
This says that God will be the One that decides how this will happen, since He is the One who said He would bring you against them. And yet, many believe that it’s possible to essential force God’s hand – and make this sequence of events happen on their schedule rather than His. That was a premise of the book as well, although the methods were different from what’s happening now.
As anyone who has read both the New Testament and Old Testament end-times prophesies knows, God is quite clear about something else as well – how it will all end.
For the Jewish people – who were left out of the La Civiltà Cattolica article, we read –
Eze 39:25 “Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will now bring Jacob back from captivity and will have compassion on all the people of Israel, and I will be zealous for my holy name. 26 They will forget their shame and all the unfaithfulness they showed toward me when they lived in safety in their land with no one to make them afraid. 27 When I have brought them back from the nations and have gathered them from the countries of their enemies, I will show myself holy through them in the sight of many nations. 28 Then they will know that I am the LORD their God, for though I sent them into exile among the nations, I will gather them to their own land, not leaving any behind. 29 I will no longer hide my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit on the house of Israel, declares the Sovereign LORD.”
For Christians (including Catholics), we see this in Revelation –
Rev 22:1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.
Rev 22:6 The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.”
Before moving on to the Jihadists from Islam, let’s look at something that is shared by both Christianity and Islam – the rider on the white horse.
The white horse in Christianity –
The Rider on the White Horse
Rev 19:11 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. 13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 14 The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:
KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
Rev 19:17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, “Come, gather together for the great supper of God, 18 so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and mighty men, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, small and great.”
Rev 19:19 Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army. 20 But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. 21 The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.
Clearly, in Revelation, Jesus is the rider on the white horse.
The white horse in Islam –
The Mahdi is believed to ride on a white horse. Whether or not this is symbolic or literal is hard to say. Quite interestingly, this tradition is based on the Muslim interpretation of Christian Scriptures. Despite the fact that Muslims view the Bible as having been changed and corrupted by Jews and Christians, they still claim to believe that some portions of the “original” inspired books are still to be found within the “corrupted” Bible. As such there exists a tradition within Islamic scholarship that seeks to extract those portions of the Bible that Muslims feel may be untainted by the corrupting influence of Jews and Christians. These Judeo-Christian traditions are called by Muslims, isra’iliyyat. One such transmitter of biblical traditions is Muslim scholar Ka’b al-Ahbar. He is viewed among Muslims as a trustworthy transmitter of Hadith as well as isra’iliyyat. 31 Ka’b al-Ahbar is supported in his view that this description of the rider on the white horse as found in the Book of Revelation is indeed the Mahdi by two well known Egyptian authors, Muhammad Ibn ‘Izzat and Muhammad ‘Arif in their book Al Mahdi and the End of Time. ‘Izzat and Arif quote Ka’b al Ahbar as saying:
I find the Mahdi recorded in the books of the Prophets… For instance, the Book of Revelation says: “And I saw and behold a white horse. He that sat on him…went forth conquering and to conquer.”
‘Izzat and ‘Arif then go on to say:
It is clear that this man is the Mahdi who will ride the white horse and judge by the Qur’an (with justice) and with whom will be men with marks of prostration on their foreheads [Marks on their foreheads from bowing in prayer with their head to the ground five times daily]. http://www.answering-islam.org/Authors/JR/Future/ch04_the_mahdi.htm
Clearly, Muslims (at least those who hold to this interpretation) believe something quite different about the rider on the white horse.
So – Christians believe the rider on the white horse is Jesus, here to save us. On the other hand, Muslims (at least some – remember this article is about jihadists) believe the rider on the white horse will be telling Christians that we were all wrong about what the Bible says – and that Jesus will condemn us for being Christians.
Obviously, these two views cannot both be correct.
Whether intentionally, through belief in something like The Ezekiel Option – or accidentally, by playing into the hands of those trying to force the end-times – all groups may very well be (intentionally or not) driving the world to the point where God Himself will finally say –
Eze 38:1 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 “Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal; prophesy against him 3 and say: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. 4 I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with your whole army—your horses, your horsemen fully armed, and a great horde with large and small shields, all of them brandishing their swords. 5 Persia, Cush and Put will be with them, all with shields and helmets, 6 also Gomer with all its troops, and Beth Togarmah from the far north with all its troops—the many nations with you.
Eze 38:7 “ ‘Get ready; be prepared, you and all the hordes gathered about you, and take command of them. 8 After many days you will be called to arms. In future years you will invade a land that has recovered from war, whose people were gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate. They had been brought out from the nations, and now all of them live in safety. 9 You and all your troops and the many nations with you will go up, advancing like a storm; you will be like a cloud covering the land.”
Who knows – given that these events would take years to happen, maybe He already got it started? No matter what anyone says – and no matter how you may try to interpret what I just wrote – we just don’t know the when.
I can’t help but feel that God can’t possibly be pleased about what we’re doing with religion and politics in His name. And while we know the following –
The Day and Hour Unknown
Mt 24:36 “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.”
– meaning that we cannot force God into doing anything and especially not on out timeframe, it doesn’t mean we aren’t setting the stage so that He will decide to initiate the end.
On the other hand, if we weren’t trying turning the government into a replacement entity to take on the God given responsibilities that we have to uphold His commandments and moral standards – and if we weren’t blasting each other the way this article has some Catholics condemning Evangelical Christians and even other Catholics, even though we all supposedly believe in the same Jesus (although Muslims do not – so I’m not including them here) – then one has to think we wouldn’t put ourselves in the position where God would want to initiate the end-time.
In the passage above, Jesus talks about the way it was in the days of Noah. Let’s look at how it was in those days –
Ge 6:5 The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. 6 The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. 7 So the LORD said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.
True – Noah found favor with The LORD – and yes, God promised to never destroy the earth like that again. However, God also promised that there would, in fact, be an end.
In the days of Noah, people were evil in their hearts. Tell me – how great is the evil in our hearts when even our talk of religion – what’s supposed to be our beliefs about God – turns into the kinds of things it is today? How much evil does it take for one Catholic to call another Catholic equal to a jihadist? How much evil does it take to have some Catholics call other Christians equal to a jihadist? How much evil does it take to pass off our responsibilities, given to us by God, to the government? And if that’s not enough – we fight with each other, condemn each other – because we can’t even agree on how to pass off those responsibilities. The only thing we have in common is that we don’t want the responsibility anymore.
How evil is that?
I’m working on an article titled “The problem of Sodom”. You may think you know what Sodom’s problem was. Chances are, unless you’re really into the Bible – you are wrong. Hint – it wasn’t homosexuality.
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