Birthpangs: the signs of the coming future (Mark 13:5-6) Part 1
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BIRTHPANGS: part one
The True Signs of the Coming Future–from the Gospel of Mark 13:5 to 8
Which religious leader comes to mind when I read the following biographical sketch about him? Even though he was not an honor student in school, by age twelve he had memorized the entire New Testament word for word. It wasn’t uncommon for him to pray on his knees in his bedroom for hours, earnest tears of fervency flowing down his cheeks. He was thought of as a spiritual child prodigy at twelve years of age.
Which well known religious leader do you think I’m describing? David Koresh–remember him, alias the Wacko from Waco? The very same man who years ago promised the branch Davidian group he’d serve them and provide loving leadership and help them rebuild their compound that had fallen into disrepair. The very same man who eventually insisted he be called the Messiah. The very same man who had taken nineteen wives from among the group, some of them as young as 12-years-old. The very same man who not only beat children as young as 8-months-old, but who carried out the threat of leading the entire group to their doom.
Interesting isn’t it? At twelve he memorized the entire New Testament, prayed fervently, promised to serve and lead this quiet collection of deeply needy people in the South. But after child abuse, female abuse, sexual abuse and power abuse, he led them into a local Armageddon of flames and death.
Many of you can remember the horror of Jonestown. Those images of mothers, children, fathers and grandfathers strewn around a South American compound, Dixie cups dotting the landscape–almost a thousand people voluntarily drinking cyanide cups at the request of a leader who just some years prior was a fairly well respected religious leader, and a humanitarian activist in downtown San Francisco. Religious deception is a sign of the end.
Open your Bibles to Mark 13:1 to 13, and listen to Jesus as He describes the difficulty of living on this planet in our day, and of His clear indicators pointing to the coming worldwide Tribulation, and the soon Second Coming of Christ as King. Stand with me, and let’s read it together from our outline.
DESTRUCTION “As He was going out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, ‘Teacher, behold what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!’ 2 And Jesus said to him, ‘Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left upon another which will not be torn down.’ 3 As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew were questioning Him privately, 4 ‘Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are going to be fulfilled?’ [DECEPTION] 5 And Jesus began to say to them, ‘See to it that no one misleads you. 6 Many will come in My name, saying, “I am He!” and will mislead many. [DISASTER] 7 When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be frightened; those things must take place; but that is not yet the end. 8 For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will also be famines. These things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.’”
Do not miss some obvious introductory truths with what we just read.
1 God’s control is EXACT.
The Temple stones of verse 2 were taken apart and torn apart exactly the way Jesus predicted. Thirty-seven years later, the Lord’s prediction came true precisely, in 70 AD. This wasn’t symbolic, this wasn’t allegorical, but it happened just as the Lord said. “Not one stone will be left upon another which will not be torn down.” And the point?
This reminds us that just as the Temple was destroyed exactly as the Lord described it, so will the other prophecies about the end of the world in Mark 13. One of the reasons why prophets and our Lord would predict a soon coming event, then prophesy about the very end is so that you’ll have confidence that the far off eschatological end is going to happen in the exact same way Jesus predicted the Temple would come to an end.
The Temple was destroyed literally, and the end times will occur just as described literally. The amillennial position of no literal Kingdom, and its allegorical descriptions of the end times is contrary to what the Lord teaches and demonstrates here in Mark 13.
2 This age will be marked by relentless TROUBLE
Don’t freak out over plagues, diseases, sickness, earthquakes, fires, volcanoes, tsunamis, tornados or persecution– Jesus said our age will be full of them. And the closer we get to the end, the more intense they will become. And remember, when you pray, “Come, Lord Jesus,” you are also praying for this world to get a whole lot worse first.
3 Jesus is clearly PESSIMISTIC about what is coming
Our Lord is not optimistic about the future, but clearly pessimistic in Mark 13. The postmillennialists maintain this world is going to get better. It’ll become so good it’ll go right into the Millennial Kingdom. Then they say Christ will come at the end of the Kingdom—postmillennial. With the postmillennial types, the Kingdom will be the product of the efforts of the Church and the redeemed in this world. And together they will produce a better world by taking over the institutions of man, and by living under the Law of God. They believe they will ultimately produce the Kingdom, and then they’ll give the Kingdom to Christ when He returns. Wow!
I promise you–Jesus Christ was not a postmillennialist. The Lord certainly didn’t believe things were going to get better. Mark 13 is one long, pessimistic look at history. While we wait for the Lord to come back, there will be a barrage of false christs, false teachers, false prophets, wars, disasters, persecution all throughout human history, and intensifying as we get closer to the end.
Then as we arrive at the eschatological end, the Tribulation, there’ll be an explosion of these events that will reach epoch proportions, described in Mark 13 and in Revelation 6-19, which details that coming, horrible, seven-year period. That time is so awful, the second half of that seven-year period is called the Great Tribulation, which entails the worst suffering, destruction and death this world has ever seen, or ever will see.
4 These predictions could not have been fulfilled in AD 70
These prophecies do not describe 70 AD–that’s impossible. Yet there are people called preterists who say that everything our Lord predicted here came to pass in 70 AD, or by 70 AD. That is an impossible interpretation, if you’re going to take Scripture at face value and allow the Bible to speak for itself.
5 There is one correct view about the end, not many
The Second Coming of Christ is not a doctrine where you have the freedom to take any view you want. The Lord said something, not everything. It’s popular to be uncertain about eschatology. Yet there is only one biblical view. There’s only one accurate interpretation of the Second Coming. I believe the correct view is arrived at by seeking the author’s intended meaning through a historical, grammatical, contextual approach, using the same rules you’d use to interpret any other passage–seeking a normal sense. If you do, you will end up with an eschatology very similar to the chart in your outline.
And the point is, as a church, FBC today lives in anticipation of Christ’s return. But before He comes, there will be a time of great torment. The events described in Mark 13:1 to 13 have been happening all throughout human history, and are happening now. But they will increase in intensity during the Tribulation, like the intensity of birth pangs increasing during labor.
As our Lord opens up His description of what is to come with His men, He begins with the first half of the Tribulation. Though the events described in verses 5 to 13 have occurred to some degree in the age we are living in, when these birth pangs intensify, it means we are getting closer and closer to that seven-year period where the wrath of God is unleashed on the earth.
Let’s continue in our study, and today enter into the Tribulation. And remember what we’ve studied thus far in the Olivet Discourse. We have already seen that destruction is coming.
First Christ PREDICTS the Temple’s future destruction Verses 1 to 2
“As He was going out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, ‘Teacher, behold what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!’ 2 And Jesus said to him, ‘Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left upon another which will not be torn down.’” The destruction of the Temple is just a type, or a foreshadowing of the destruction coming in the Tribulation. Jesus prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem, then went beyond the Temple’s destruction to the end of the world.
Second Christ is questioned PRIVATELY by His disciples Verses 3 to 4
“As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew were questioning Him privately, 4 ‘Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are going to be fulfilled?’” The disciples want to know the chronology–the when? And they want to know the indicators–the what do we look for? The Lord answers these questions in reverse order–first the signs, and then the timing in Mark 13.
So the Lord skillfully wove together a prophetic scene involving two perspectives:
- a) the near event, the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem in 70 AD, then
- b) the far event, the Second Coming of Christ in power and glory
Jesus made sure the disciples knew that the Temple was a type of the final events, and that there would be a gap between them–the end is coming later, not immediately. Luke 19:11, “They supposed that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately.” Luke 21:9, “When you hear of wars and disturbances, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end does not follow immediately.”
The disciples originally thought Jerusalem’s destruction of the Temple meant the immediate return of Christ and the end of the world. But the Lord tells them there is a gap between Jerusalem’s fall and the Second Coming of Christ, and that gap will be filled with signs which will intensify like contractions during childbirth, until we finally arrive at the Tribulation, when these signs will be at their most severe.
Look at verse 8 these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. Just as labor begins with pain that is less severe compared to the hard labor to follow, so too this coming time of the Tribulation will begin with lighter pain, but become excruciatingly intense labor pains just prior to Christ’s return. First Thessalonians 5:1 to 3 describes it this way, “The day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. While they are saying, ‘Peace and safety!’ then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape.”
These birth pangs have a double fulfillment, both in the present age, and a greater fulfillment in the age to come. One writer said, “That is not to say that some of the things that will happen then, don’t happen now, but they’ll happen later, …in proportions that are far beyond anything we’ve ever known now. We have war now, earthquake now, we have famine now, we have trouble now, we have killing now, persecution now, we have hatred now, but nothing compared to the incredible display that’s going to take place in that coming compressed period of time.” There’re five distinct signs, five birth pains growing with intensity. The beginning of the birth pains is . . .
#1 DECEPTION–specifically religious deception
Verse 5, “And Jesus began to say to them, ‘See to it that no one misleads you. 6 Many will come in My name, saying, “I am He!” and will mislead many.’” Before you look for a sign, see that “no one misleads you!” Mislead is planao, which means to wander away, to get off the path–to be led astray, to be deceived, punked, faked out, to be mistaken. Do not be fooled into thinking anything other than what Jesus says here—trust your Bible.
Don’t be deceived into thinking it’s the end if Hitler attacks, or an earthquake wipes out our region–trust your Bible. Verse 5, “See to it” . . . “take heed” . . . “watch out” . . . “be on the alert” . . . “perceive what’s really going on here.” The reverse would be, “don’t follow blindly, don’t get sucked in, don’t buy into what they are selling . . . keep your eyes open!” Why? The greatest threat at the end of the world is not external dangers, but religious deception.
Instead of telling His men the signs of His coming, Jesus warns His men about the false signs to beware of. Not everything that seems to be a sign of the end of the world is in reality a sign–so don’t freak out when bad events hit! What’s going to happen? Verse 6, “Many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He!’ and will mislead many.” Pretenders will arise using the name of Christ, claiming for themselves the title of “Messiah”–messianic imposters. And there will be many—“many will come in My name.”
Since the time of Christ to this day, my old professor, Charles Feinburg said there have been 64 false messiahs who have tried to lead Israel astray. These false messiahs have always been around. But during this final phase toward the end of the world, there will be a proliferation, like nothing we have ever seen. “Many will come in My name”–My name is literally “upon my name,” telling us they base their claims on the authority of Christ. They claim to represent Christ, or be possessors of His authority, or actually claim to be the risen Christ Himself.
Look later in Mark 13:21 to 23, “If anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ’; or, ‘Behold, He is there’; do not believe him; for false Christs and false prophets will arise, and will show signs and wonders, in order to lead astray, if possible, the elect”–meaning, they’ll be very deceptive. What will they say? Verse 6b, “‘I am He!’, and will mislead many.”
“I am He!” Jesus claims the title ‘I AM’ for Himself in Mark 14:62, “And Jesus said, ‘I am; and you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.’” Christ calls Himself God using the name of God, I AM, from Exodus 3. But in spite of that, the true Christ will be rejected, and these false messiahs will be embraced, misleading many. The false pretenders will say, “I myself am Christ.”
These Messianic imposters will continue to pop up, as they have been all throughout history–since the beginning. Roman Jewish historian, Josephus says that there were so many who claimed to be Christ returning in the first century “that they were apprehended and killed every day.” WOW! In the 5th century, Moses of Crete convinced the Jews of Crete he was the Christ, and convinced them to follow him into the sea, to walk on the water from Crete to Israel. Needless to say, they all got wet, and the movement came to a soggy end.
Recently, we’ve had Sun Myung Moon, Jim Jones and David Koresh. Second Timothy 3:13 says, “But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” Over thirty suicides took place in Los Angeles among a group called Heaven’s Gate, because they followed a leader who claimed to know when God was returning. How many of you have watched those crazy so-called Christian evangelists on TV and have wondered, “How can they remain on TV? Who believes this junk? Who supports these wackos?”
The point is, people are deceived now by false religious leaders, and it is only going to grow worse and even more intense toward the end. Second Peter 2:1 to 3 says, “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned.”
In the future, as the world begins to unravel, through political change, environmental holocausts and economic upheaval, the time will be ripe for a deliverer to come on the scene and offer himself as the solution. These false messiahs will lead to the ultimate false christ himself–the Antichrist, the extreme deceiver who during the Tribulation, according to Daniel 11:37 will…”magnify Himself” above God Himself! Paul calls him the “man of lawlessness”, “Son of Destruction”, and in Revelation he is called the “Beast”.
Second Thessalonians 2:2 to 3, “Let no one in any way deceive you, for it [the day of the Lord] will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction.” Daniel says of the Antichrist in Daniel 8:25, “And through his shrewdness he will cause deceit to succeed by his influence; and he will magnify himself in his heart, and he will destroy many while they are at ease.”
Do you recall the first seal in Revelation 6:1 to 2–remember this? “Then I saw when the Lamb broke one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of thunder, ‘Come.’ I looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.” Remember this–this deception is crucial to know.
One commentator explains, “The rider upon the white horse under the first seal is a counterfeit. He is a false Christ, who goes forth to conquer. His conquest is a bloodless one, as he has only a bow. He will bring about a false peace among the nations, which for a time may have been alarmed by the supernatural removal of the church. The second rider ‘takes peace from the earth’ from which we would conclude that the first rider upon the white horse (white emblem of peace) has established peace.”
The Antichrist uses peace to destroy. His power will escalate during the birth pangs, then it’ll eventually thrust him into power during the second half of the Tribulation in Daniel 9. And friends, this is only the beginning of birth pangs. Mark 13:5 says, “See to it that no one misleads you.” The first birth pang is religious deception—think deception.
There will be those who claim to be Christ–but think broader for a moment, and consider that there are entire religious systems that deny Christ and exalt the antichrist. Can you imagine? A worldwide, growing religion that is deceptive about Christ, and actually exalts the antichrist? And the religion that does that is the fastest growing religion in the world today–it is the Muslim faith. Islam.
There’ll always be false prophets, false teachers, and people who claim to be Jesus. But as you get to the end of human history, to the period of time called the Tribulation, there is a specific fulfillment of this prophecy you need to see. It has to do with Islam. Most people think of Islam as utterly distinct from Christianity. We think, “If someone is a Muslim, they have absolutely no connection to Christianity.” Not true. There are many religions that have no connection to Christianity–Hinduism and Buddhism have no connection to Christianity. But some faiths have a connection to Christianity because Satan wants to counterfeit and deceive, by getting as close to the truth as he can.
Sadly, there are untaught, misled, mostly unsaved, so-called Christians who think that Muslims are believers, are saved, and going to Heaven just like Christians, because they believe in one God and believe in Jesus. A popular speaker and author, Tony Campolo, said, “When we listen to the Muslim mystics as they talk about Jesus and their love for Jesus, I must say it’s a lot closer to New Testament Christianity than a lot of Christians.” Nothing could be farther from the truth–friends, do not ever think the Muslim Jesus is the same Jesus of the Bible. Now get this . . .
Listen to this lengthy illustration directly from John MacArthur first, and confirmed by others as well, as it best illustrates the broad deception of the last days. As we do, know that I literally double checked this illustration twice over from other reputable sources and in the process I added information about the prophesied nations who support the antichrist being all Islamic, and I have added how the beheadings mentioned in Revelation 20:4 may also point to an Islamic antichrist.
Think deeply about verse 6, “Many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He!’ and will mislead many.” The Muslim Jesus plays a crucial role in Islamic eschatology. Yes, Muslims have an eschatology. They have a theology of the end. Let me describe the Muslim MESSIAH, their Jesus and their antichrist to you.
This comes out of their own writings–the Koran and the Sunnah. The Koran is supposedly the word of Allah–actually it is the word of Satan, but they think, it’s the word of Allah. The Sunnah are the words of and the works of Mohammed. The Koran constitutes their holy scripture. And the Sunnah, sometimes called the Hadith, constitutes their holy tradition. Their theology comes out of the Koran and the Sunnah–just as Roman Catholic theology comes out of the Bible and tradition, or Judaism comes out of the Old Testament and rabbinic tradition, the Muslims also have two sources of authoritative truth.
True Christians, protestant believers, have one–the Bible. But in Islam they have a Jesus. But their Jesus was just a man–he wasn’t God. He did not die, but he did go to Heaven like Elijah. Because he did not die, he did not rise. And because he didn’t die nor rise from the dead, he didn’t provide an atonement for anyone. He is just a man, yet he is a prophet, but he is nothing more. He went to Heaven like Elijah. And he’s in Heaven right now, standing alongside Allah, waiting for Allah to send him back.
In their system, this prophet Jesus, who is now in Heaven, never having died, plays a key role in the end times, because he will return from Heaven without dying, and he will come back when Allah sends him back. Now why would Allah want to send Jesus back? He has a lot of prophets to pick from–why does he send Jesus back? Answer–so that when he shows up, their Muslim Jesus can correct all the Christians who have misunderstood who he is.
The sources for this, again, are the Koran and the Sunnah. The great event of the coming of Jesus is so this prophet Jesus, this man Jesus who comes back, can straighten out the misguided Christians who think Jesus was God, who died and rose again and provided atonement. Their Jesus will return and straighten it out. And by the way, after he gets back here, he’ll get married, have children, die and be buried next to Mohammed. That’s the Muslim Jesus.
Now in Islamic eschatology, there are three great signs for the end of history–three great signs. Quoting their sources exclusively, in their eschatology there’re three great signs, and each of the signs is a man. Let me tell you about each of those three men. Verse 6, “Many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He!’ and will mislead many.”
First The first man that will come in the end of history is the MAHDI
M-a-h-d-i . . . Sometimes he’s called the Twelfth Imam. Every time Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the former president of Iran gave a speech, he always gave glory to the Mahdi, glory to the Twelfth Imam. And I believe the new president, Hassan Rouhani does the same. They’re waiting for the coming of the Mahdi–the promised redeemer of Islam.
What is Mahdi coming to do? He’s coming, listen carefully, to slaughter all who will not worship Allah–kill all who don’t convert to Islam. They are identified in their writings as pigs and dogs. And Mahdi will establish the everlasting, world-dominating kingdom of Islam. That’s what Mahdi will do. The Mahdi, or the Twelfth Imam, which means the guided one, is their long-awaited savior. He establishes the final Caliphate, meaning the final successor to Mohammad.
The world must follow Mahdi as he takes over, and those who don’t follow Mahdi he will destroy, killing all enemies of Islam. Mahdi will carry out a holy war, and either you convert, or you will be killed. He will have an army–exactly the mission of Isis today. Mahdi’s army will be massive, and his army will travel from nation to nation to punish the unbelievers. The holy writings of Islam say this army will carry black flags, and on those black flags there will be one word, and that one word will be the word “punishment”. By the way, the Iranian army today carries black flags. Isis carries black flags. They’re ready for the coming of the Mahdi.
Mahdi will lead the army of black flags first to Israel, slaughter all the Jews, and then he will establish his rule in Jerusalem on the Temple mount. That’s what their literature says. Slaughter the Jews, then establish his rule on the Temple mount. Does that sound familiar to you? According to their holy writings, Mahdi will bring rain, crops, wealth and happiness so all will love him and no one will speak of anyone but him.
Their writings say the Mahdi will come and at first make a peace agreement with the Jews and the west for seven years. They also teach that the reign of Mahdi will last seven years, in which he establishes Islam on the earth. Their holy writings say the Mahdi will come riding on, get this, a white horse. And it even says in their writings, as it says in Revelation 6:1 and 2. Saddam Hussein, by the way, painted murals of this Mahdi on a white horse all over Baghdad. And when he comes, he comes carrying a sword to kill the infidels.
When the Mahdi arrives, he will discover hidden scriptures. He will discover them somewhere near the Sea of Galilee. He will claim that these scriptures are the true scriptures which will be used by the Mahdi to show the Jews and the Christians they were wrong, that their Scriptures, your Bible were false scriptures.
So get this–the Mahdi will be a messianic figure. He will be a descendant of Mohammed. He will be an unparalleled, unequaled leader. He will come out of a crisis of turmoil. He will take control of the world. He will establish a new world order. He will destroy all who resist him. He will invade many nations. He will make a seven-year peace treaty with the Jews. He will conquer Israel and massacre the Jews. He will establish Islamic world headquarters at Jerusalem. He will rule for seven years, establish Islam as the only religion. He’ll come on a white horse with supernatural power. He’ll be loved by all people on earth.
That should sound familiar, because that’s a precise description of the biblical Antichrist. The Bible’s Antichrist is Islam’s Mahdi. In your notes, Mahdi is the biblical Antichrist. We know the rider on the white horse in Revelation 6 is the Antichrist. And they use that verse to describe their Mahdi. The description of the Mahdi is exactly the description of the biblical Antichrist–each detail matches up perfectly. The Bible’s Antichrist is Islam’s savior and world conqueror, who establishes a universal Islamic kingdom. Verse 6, “Many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He!’ and will mislead many.”
Second The second MAN
The second sign is JESUS. The Mahdi is not Jesus. The Mahdi is greater than Jesus, and that’s important to their system, because if Mahdi is greater than Jesus then we Christians are wrong. So the Muslim Jesus will return. Yes Muslims believe Jesus will come again. They believe in the return of Jesus–not the true Jesus, but the Jesus of Islam who is not God, didn’t die, didn’t rise, didn’t provide a sacrifice for sin, but he does return.
He’s a prophet–he comes back and he has one purpose when he returns, and that is to assist and aid the Mahdi. He returns, listen to this, as a radical Muslim. He will arrive at a minaret near Damascus. And he will come back holding the wings of two angels who flew him down to meet the gathering army of the Mahdi in the east, the army of the black flags.
Jesus, when he comes back, will pray to the Mahdi who is greater than he. He will acknowledge the Mahdi as his Lord. He will make a pilgrimage to Mecca. He will worship Allah, and thus he will lead all Christians who will follow him to reject their notion of Jesus and accept the real Jesus, who is nothing but a prophet and a man. Their Jesus will establish worldwide Sharia law. He’ll become the greatest Muslim evangelist, and be the final witness on the day of judgment against non-Muslims.
So-called Christians everywhere will affirm they were wrong, the gospel was wrong, the New Testament is wrong–that Jesus didn’t die, He didn’t rise, He isn’t God, He isn’t the Son of God. He Himself will come back and point out how wrong we’ve been. He will correct all misinterpretations and misrepresentations. Their literature says, “He will shatter crosses.” That’s metaphoric for the destruction of the Church, the symbol of Christianity being placed in the church.
Then this Islamic Jesus will do one more thing. He will kill the Islamic antichrist. He will kill the Islamic antichrist. Then they teach that their Islamic Jesus will die and be buried by Mohammed, but not until he has destroyed Christianity by revealing who he really is. Who is this really? What does the Bible say? When you compare what the Muslim Jesus does to the false prophet in the book of Revelation chapters 13, 16, 19 and 20–when you compare the Islamic Jesus to the biblical false prophet, that false prophet who aids and abets the biblical Antichrist, it is clear that their Islamic Jesus is the biblical false prophet. Their Jesus is the biblical false prophet, and their savior Mahdi is the biblical antichrist.
In your notes, their Jesus is the biblical False Prophet. One of their writings says Jesus espouses the cause of Mahdi. Jesus is the Mahdi’s executioner. Jesus is the Mahdi’s enforcer. Jesus is the Mahdi’s prophet. Verse 6, “Many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He!’ and will mislead many.”
Third The third MAN
The third sign is DAJJAL–he is the Islam antichrist. The Muslims call him Dajjal, the great deceiver. He comes to Earth on a mule, and he’s blind in one eye. And this Islamic antichrist is an infidel and a false miracle worker. But guess who he claims to be? He claims to be Jesus, the Son of God. He claims to be deity. He will attempt to stop the Mahdi and the false Islamic Jesus. But they teach the false Islamic Jesus will kill the Jesus who claims to be God.
Who is this? This Islamic anti-christ is actually the true Christ. In your notes, DAJJAL is the Biblical Christ. Here is a quote from their religious books, “The army of Satan will be led by a person who will claim to be Jesus Christ.” There will be a battle. The Muslim Jesus will fight the other Jesus, and they teach the Muslim Jesus will kill the other Christ (the true Christ) and establish Islam forever.
The truth is, the true Christ will destroy the Antichrist and the false prophet and establish His Kingdom forever. Our Jesus is their antichrist. Our Antichrist is their redeemer. And our future false prophet is their false Jesus–can you say, “Wow!”? And the true Jesus, the biblical Jesus, says to you this morning, “Do not be deceived! See to it that no one misleads you.” Verse 6, “Many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He!’ and will mislead many.”
This is Satan’s counterfeit–Muslim world domination. They’re teaching a false christ–teaching a complete reversal. Someone might say, “Wait a minute, I thought in the future we’re supposed to have a revived Roman Empire? The vast majority of the Roman Empire of New Testament times is today under Muslim control–at least 60 percent, and Islam is moving across Europe rapidly, is it not?
In Ezekiel 38, there is a snapshot of the Antichrist, and a listing of eight nations who will be a coalition for the Antichrist. All eight of those nations right now are Muslim nations–all eight of them. And they ring the Mediterranean. Probably the same eight nations are in view in Revelation 17:9 to 11. Magog is modern Central Asia, the Islamic republics of the former Soviet Union, Meshech is Turkey, Tubal is Turkey, Persia is Iran, Ethiopia is Sudan, Put is Libya, Gomer is Turkey, Beth-togarmay is southern Turkey. That’s an eye opener, isn’t it?
Jesus tells us in verses 5 to 6, as history progresses, more and more people are going to claim to be Jesus, to be the Messiah, to be the hope–gearing up for the final deceiver, the Antichrist. But it’ll not only be individuals who claim to be the Christ. But entire religious systems are misleading people against the true Jesus, and in the future will mislead the world about Christ. There is an entire world of Muslims who think Jesus is someone He is not, and consequently reject the true Christ and His Gospel.
1 Do not be DECEIVED
Do not compromise, do not accommodate, do not say, “Isn’t that wonderful, they love Jesus?” They don’t. Any other Jesus than the true Jesus is not Jesus. And if you worship any other than the true Jesus, you are cursed.
2 Trust your BIBLE
Don’t be fooled by pretenders. The true Jesus will return in glory. Every eye will see Him. Like the Transfiguration, Christ will be unveiled with all His attributes on display (that’s tough to miss). Don’t be fooled by false Christs. Trust your Bible. Horrible events will happen on this planet. Don’t be thinking, “This is it,” when the big one wipes out our homes, or we go to war, or we’re finally persecuted for our beliefs. All these struggles will happen now, but these signs will increase with terrible intensity as we get close to the Tribulation.
3 Correctly understand those who are FOOLED
There will be people you know who are going to be misled. Some of them will be people from a sound local church–FBC too. But God’s Word says those who persist in being misled are merely demonstrating they were never saved in the first place–they were never a genuine born again believer.
First John 2:19, “They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.” There has always been, and there will always be until Christ returns, deceivers and the deceived.
4 Make your goal to ENDURE to the end
There is a rapture, where Christ takes His Church to Heaven–and it is our belief and hope that it will be prior to the Tribulation. In Mark 13:13, Jesus says, “The one who endures to the end will be saved.” You don’t earn your salvation by endurance, you demonstrate you’re genuinely saved by your endurance.” Superficial faith collapses under hardship and persecution. False Christians melt under heat–make-believers wither away when life gets unfair, or difficult, or hurtful.
But all true believers continue to follow Christ and endure by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Have you put your entire hope, all of your life, in the cross? Believing Christ died for your sins, took your punishment and rose from the dead in order to make you right with God–if not, cry out for mercy today, and ask Him to transform you now. Let’s pray.
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