Documentation for every aspect of this report may be found on the corresponding topic pages in Prophecy Central
and Apologetics Central.
Scripture quotations are from the New International Version. Hypertext links to Scriptures are to the King
James Version in the Blue Letter Bible.
2 - ARAB SPRING AND ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALISM
Another significant prophecy development was the series of Arab protests leading to the overthrow of several Middle East regimes. It started
in Tunisia in January and spread next to Egypt. One surprising factor in the huge turnout in Cairo was the use of Facebook to spread the word
and invite protesters to the developing crowd in Tahrir Square. After 17 days of protesting, President Hosni Mubarak stepped down, turning the
reins of government over to the military until the country could have elections.
The unseating of corrupt leaders, brought hope that these countries would gain a better, more democratic government. Middle Eastern experts,
however, warned that just under the surface of these uprisings were groups like the Muslim Brotherhood that most people thought were small in
number and influence, but were actually poised to provide aggressive new leadership. And that leadership would be a major step toward Islamic fundamentalism - meaning a return to sharia law, intolerance of other religions, and animosity toward Israel.
The Truth about the Muslim Brotherhood
The Muslim Brotherhood had existed since 1928, shortly after the end of World War I and the abolition of the Ottoman Empire. According to Middle
East expert Walid Shoebat its sole purpose was the resurrection of the Caliphate.
The Obama administration assured Americans that the Muslim Brotherhood was not a danger. It is clear in retrospect that representatives of
the brotherhood had infiltrated policy-making organizations in the U.S., U.K. and France so that there was support for their cause instead of
War of Gog and Magog
There were protests in other Arab nations, including Libya and Syria.
The revolutionary spirit spread to Yemen and then Libya where Colonel Muammar Gaddafi had reigned as a virtual dictator for many decades.
His government's treatment of the protesters was excessive, and civil war began against the militants from various tribal groups in Libya
who saw their chance to get rid of Gaddafi. The protestors asked for, and received air support from NATO to keep the Libyan military from
crushing their movement. After months of bloody fighting Gaddafi was flushed out, beat, and shot to death by the opposition. Again, the new
leaders that rose to the occasion were also Islamic fundamentalists.
The protest fever continued to grow, eventually reaching Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, and Oman.
Protests were slow to start in Syria, but once they did, they continued for months, even though Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's
regime was brutal in its dealings with their dissidents and it is not yet clear what the outcome will be there. Syria has a different
inclination than most other Islamic countries because of their close relationship with Iran.
Difference Between Sunni and Shia
Christians need to affirm their love for Muslims (Christ died for all men), and stand against any persecution against them based on their religion
or ethnicity. We should also seek to enter into dialog with them where possible, so that they might learn more about Jesus, whom they respect as
a prophet, but do not accept as savior. At the same time, we should be entirely opposed to the wanton murder of innocent people by terrorists.
And we should not give the false impression, so prevalent in our culture today, that our beliefs are equal. Jesus said He is the only way to God
the Father (John 14:6).
Radical Islam has continued to grow. Their aim is to control the world. Intelligence experts warn that another great attack is likely in America.
Few Muslim mosques stand effectively against violence. Instead, they tend to serve as places of recruitment for jihadists. Outdated immigration
policies and weak border control allow the continued flow of trained terrorists into our country. Americans and their leaders need to wake up and
find ways to stop this trend before it is too late for us. (Opening statement on Prophecy Central's Islam page)
Differences between Sunni and Shi'a Muslims
Iraq and Afghanistan - both countries that have been subdued and supposedly rehabilitated by the U.S. since the beginning of the War on Terrorism
- are deeply divided between the two major sects of Islamic belief.
Most people don't really care about the differences between these branches of Islam and are not willing to go to the effort of learning about
them. This is unfortunate because understanding the world in which we are living requires at least a basic concept of Islam and its major divisions.
The majority of Muslims are Sunni (80 to 90%). Shia (Shite) Muslims are the minority (5 to 20%).
The original difference between the two groups is their concept of the line of authority descending from Muhammad. It is a primarily
political distinction but they have accumulated some religious differences over time. About.com gives this introduction:
The division between Shia (Shi'ite) and Sunni dates back to the death of the Prophet Muhammad, and the question of who was to take
over the leadership of the Muslim nation. Sunni Muslims agree with the position taken by many of the Prophet's companions, that the new
leader should be elected from among those capable of the job.
The Sunni (from a related Arabic word that means "one who follows the traditions of the Prophet.") accepted the first four Caliphs, starting
with Muhammad's friend Abu Bakr, as the rightful successors to lead the Muslim nation. Sunnis accept the writings of these official Caliphs,
known as the Hadith ("traditions" of the Prophet's life and spiritual practice). Osama bin Laden was a Sunni Muslim as are the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Shia (shortened form of the Arabic "Shia-t-Ali" - "The Party of Ali") believe that the rightful successor was the prophet's cousin/son-in
law, Ali. Ali and the leaders who followed him were all supposed to have been appointed by either the Prophet Muhammad or Allah himself).
There were twelve of these leaders or Imams. Many Shia today are known as "Twelvers" because they believe the Twelfth Imam went into hiding
and will return as a messiah at the End of Days. The Shia reject the Hadith and only follow the Qur'an (Koran). Iran's Ayatollah and their
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are Shia Muslims.
Predominately Sunni Areas (Many countries in each area)
- Africa - Including recent countries in the news: Egypt, Libya
- Arab world - Including recent countries in the news: Afghanistan,
- Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria
- South Asia - Including recent countries in the news: Afghanistan, Pakistan,
Predominately Shia (Shi'ite) Countries
The Muslim population in Lebanon is about half Sunni and half Shi'ite.
Revived Roman Empire
Iron and Clay
Calls for a Caliphate
A Caliph is the ruler of the Islamic world. The last caliphate was the Ottoman Empire, which was disbanded at the end of World War I.
There are calls for unity among Muslims emanating today from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran and Turkey. If a new Islamic caliphate were to emerge,
it would certainly seek to include the European countries where Muslim culture is becoming predominant. Such a coalition would resemble the old
Roman Empire at its greatest extent, and could be what was predicted in Daniel, chapter 2, where it depicts the final world empire, symbolized
by iron [Rome] and clay [Islamic Caliphate?].
Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron-for iron breaks and smashes everything-and as iron breaks things to
pieces, so it will crush and break all the others. 41 Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and
partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron
mixed with clay. 42 As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle.
43 And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more
than iron mixes with clay. - Daniel 2:40-43
During the coming year Prophecy Central will explore the popularity and influence of another major movement within the Islamic world
known as Tablighi Jamaat (TJ).
War of Gog and Magog
1 - THE WAR OF GOG AND MAGOG
This is the war of Ezekiel 38 and 39. We relate it to the war of the Second Seal in Revelation 6:3-4, a major conflict near the beginning of
the Tribulation Period. Some respected scholars apply it to The Battle of Armageddon later in the Book of Revelation.
According to Ezekiel 38:1-4, an alliance of enemies will attack Israel in the End Times. The leader will be Gog of the land of Magog (Russia).
He is assisted by Persia (Iran), Cush (Ethiopia), Put (Libya), Gomer, Beth Togarmah and other nations (possibly Turkey and/or other Islamic
nations like those that were once part of the Soviet Union). Most of these names are listed in the genealogies of Genesis 10.
God will bring a quick end to this future war. He may use literal fire and brimstone, as in the days of Sodom, or he might pit nation
against nation, the way he often did in the Old Testament, to precipitate a nuclear exchange.
And with pestilence and with blood I shall enter into judgment with him; and I shall rain on him, and on his troops, and on the
many peoples who are with him, a torrential rain, with hailstones, fire, and brimstone. - Ezekiel 38:22
War of Gog and Magog
The most consistently alarming drama of 2011 from a prophecy perspective has been the threats and counter-threats between Israel and Iran.
Iran claims that its nuclear program is only for the purpose of generating electricity. Intelligence from many sources indicates that they
are bent on producing nuclear weapons as soon as possible. In November the United Nations watchdog organization, the International Atomic
Energy Agency (IAEA), which normally waits too long to sound the alarm, issued a warning that Iran is indeed on track to have their own
atomic arsenal in the near future. .
Iranian president Mahmud Ahmadinejad has said for years that Israel needs to be wiped off the map. And unlike the political dynamics of
the past that kept the U.S. and Russia from destroying each other, he and Ayatollah Khamenei are expecting the Twelfth Imam, the Islamic
Mahdi, to appear soon to bring order to the world. Unfortunately their prophecies indicate that their messiah will come after a great
apocalyptic event occurs. From that point of view, Iran's leadership would even be willing to sacrifice their own country in a nuclear
exchange that would eliminate Israel. Such a war would also have serious consequences for Russia, the supplier of military and nuclear
expertise to Iran, and for the United States, as we stand with Israel.
Many nations, including the U.S. tried half-hearted sanctions against Iran to cause them to abandon their nuclear ambitions. These
sanctions have not worked because Russia, China, and others have not been cooperative. Therefore many observers thought that Iran would
have nuclear weapons by now unless Israel and/or the United States would conduct pre-emptive strikes to disable their nuclear programs.
Middle East War
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Are You Ready?
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of this situation has been the covert actions that have set back their progress repeatedly during the
past year or so. Just before the beginning of 2011, The Stuxnet worm caused the first-ever major computer attack against a specific target.
It seriously disrupted Iran's centrifuges that were enriching uranium. It eventually appeared that Israel had developed the virus.
During the year U.S. and/or Israeli operatives assassinated nuclear scientists and caused major explosions at the Amir-al-Mo'menin
Iranian Revolutionary Guard missile base where they were preparing for attacks against Israel, and at their Isfahan nuclear enrichment
facility. No one "took credit" for these accidents, but shortly afterward Iran announced the arrest of at least 15 "American and Zionist"
spies. Their names and fate were not disclosed. Near the end of the year Iran captured an American drone spy plane.
Here is the bottom line about this top prophecy story of the year. At some point a major war between Israel and Iran will break out,
drawing Russia and her Islamic allies into the battle. If this turns out to be the same as the great war of the 2nd Seal (Revelation 6:3-4),
the quick end of that war might very well be the start-point of a seven-year covenant between Israel and the final evil world ruler
(the Beast of Revelation). These seven years will be the period of the Tribulation, and believers of the Church Age will have been
caught up in the Rapture (2 Thessalonians 4:13-18)! If you need basic information this near-future event check it out in our
If you are not sure you are prepared for it, read "Are You Ready?"
Connecting the Dots
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I have personally known Ron Graff as a friend for many years. He is a man of integrity with a genuine pastor's heart
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Christ with a fallen humanity as the present age draws to a close. -Gary H. Kah, author of En Route to Global
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Be sure to visit Prophecy Central often to get updates on all of these issues and many others. There is literally news of interest to
prophecy students every single day! And remember to test every development against the Bible itself as we wait for the return of our
Lord Jesus Christ!
Scripture references are from the New International Bible (NIV). Documentation, Scriptural references and illustrations may be found
in the various sections of Prophecy Central, "A World of Information about Bible Prophecy."
Copyright © 2011 by Ron Graff.
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