Roots of BitternessWorld Events

Roots of Bitterness: The Coming Apocalypse

By now, I hope it’s clear that Canaan’s rebellious acquisition of Arpachshad’s land started events in motion that created much of the Middle Eastern turmoil throughout history.

If not for Canaan, there would have been no need for God to call upon Abraham and promise the land of Canaan to him and his offspring as an eternal inheritance, followed by all the discord that happened in the land of Canaan until the day Jacob left for Egypt.

It all traces to Canaan…

Abraham’s impatience in attaining God’s promise resulted in the birth of Ishmael, and Ishmael’s heartbreaking disappointment over being disinherited.  Despite God’s promise to make him a great nation, he was still described as a donkey of a man who would be in constant conflict.

Esau surrendering his birthright would have been far less significant if not for the promise given to Abraham, Isaac, and eventually Jacob.  Esau knew what he gave up, and he hated Jacob for it.

If not for Canaan, there would have been no need for God to use Moses and Joshua to drive his descendants out of Arpachshad’s land.

Although I didn’t cover it earlier in this study, think about Egypt and the exodus of the children of Israel.  Do you think there was any residual bitterness due to the plagues (including the death of every firstborn), the stripping of their wealth, and the death of all the Egyptian soldiers in the Red Sea?

That had to have an impact in Egypt and the surrounding nations as word spread and people migrated.

Unfortunately, Moses, Joshua, and the twelve tribes of Israel didn’t completely drive Canaan’s descendants out of the land, so they became a great stumbling block to Israel.

As history unfolded, the combined jealousy, fear, and bitterness of Ishmael, Esau, and Canaan’s descendants spread throughout the Middle East, culminating with a religion that extracted its revenge on the Jewish “occupiers” by supplanting the promises of the Jewish and Christian God (YHWH) with the new revelation of Islam’s Allah.

The Islamic system of religion, government, and jurisprudence ultimately became a world power via the Islamic Caliphate and Ottoman Empire, which leads us to the common thread among the Abrahamic religions.

All three Abrahamic faiths have an apocalyptic view of the end-times, culminating with a great military battle involving Gog and Magog, and each of the three believe the faithful will be rewarded while the unfaithful will be punished.

Jews and Christians both await the Day of the Lord, but their perception of how the events unfold is significantly different.

In Ezekiel 38-39, Gog and Magog are joined in battle against Israel by a number of other nations.  Jews and Christians both agree the events depicted usher in the end of the age where YHWH, the God of the Bible, vindicates Himself and His chosen people, the children of Israel (Jacob).

Most Jews believe the final battle depicted in Ezekiel ushers in the age of Messiah and peace for Israel, whereas most Christians believe Ezekiel 38-39 depicts the battle of Armageddon which coincides with the second-coming of Jesus Christ.

Judaism rejects Jesus as the Messiah, so they still await messiah.

In fulfillment of scripture, messiah must be a descendant of King David, and Jews expect him to be a charismatic military leader and righteous judge (Jeremiah 33:15).  They expect him to gather the Israelites to Jerusalem (Isaiah 11:11-12), restore the Temple and its worship (Jeremiah 33:18), and establish a government in Israel that rules the world with God’s law as the law of the land (Isaiah 11:10, Daniel 2:44, Zechariah 9:9-10).  Most important, they believe messiah will be a man, not equated with deity.

Since Jesus didn’t accomplish every Old Testament prophecy before His death, and especially because He equated Himself with God, Jews do not accept Him as Messiah.

Christians, on the other hand, view Jesus as the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy concerning Messiah, allowing Himself to be crucified so mankind could be reconciled with God through the forgiveness of sin His death and resurrection provided.

Although Jesus didn’t accomplish everything the prophets foretold prior to His death — or immediately following His resurrection, Christians await His promised return when He will fulfill the remaining prophecies, ushering in the millennial age of Messiah on Earth.

Prior to Jesus’ return and the battle of Armageddon, the New Testament warns of a period of great tribulation, punctuated by wars, famine, disease, and earthquakes (Matthew 24).  During this time, a prominent figure (anti-Christ) will arise to coordinate a global system of governance (Revelation 13:1-12, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4, 1 John 2:18-25), accompanied by a false prophet to encourage the world to follow/submit to the new system put in place (Revelation 13:11-18).  The Bible indicates the anti-Christ is given his power and authority by Satan (Revelation 12:9; 13:3).

In the end, the anti-Christ, the false prophet, and Satan are all defeated, along with everyone who followed them (Revelation 19:20; 20:10):, and God will establish peace as He makes His dwelling on Earth forever (Revelation 21).

As I have alluded to already, the Muslim faith hijacked the Old and New Testament scriptures to give itself legitimacy, but they turned everything on its head, claiming Jews and Christians corrupted the truth.

For Muslims, YHWY (Jehovah, The LORD) is replaced by Allah.  For Muslims, the Abrahamic covenant does not flow through Isaac, it flows through Ishmael.  For Muslims, Jesus is not the Messiah.  Instead, he is just one of the prophets of Allah.

Unfortunately, Jesus being a prophet cannot be reconciled with Islam without discrediting the entire New Testament, since Jesus declared Himself the Son of God and equal with God.  Muslims think it is beneath Allah to have a son.

Specifically as it pertains to the end of days, Muslims also await a final epic battle, incorporating Gog and Magog.  They also await the return of Jesus.  According to Muslim tradition, however, Jesus will be Muslim and will convince the world to follow Islam.  Muslims also await the leader of the Caliphate, their messiah, otherwise known as the Mahdi or the 12th Imam.

So, let’s compare notes…

Christian scriptures predate the Quran by hundreds of years, and Jewish scriptures predate it by more than one thousand years.  In addition, Christian scriptures affirm what is written in the Jewish scriptures.  Nonetheless, adherents to the Islamic faith would like the world to believe their scriptures are correct and the others, although mostly correct, have been corrupted and needed to be corrected.

Does that make any sense?

Instead of refuting the many claims of scripture, they simply replace the God of the Bible with Allah while diminishing the role of Jesus to mere prophet.  At least the Jews are honest enough to reject Jesus outright.

How can anyone accept Jesus as a prophet if they don’t accept everything He taught about Himself or the Old Testament scriptures He claimed were true?

The Christian view of the end times depicts the anti-Christ creating a one-world government, battling against followers of Jesus (and the Jews), and accompanied by a false prophet.  These events happen prior to Jesus’ return and the battle of Armageddon.

Muslim tradition depicts the Mahdi leading the global Caliphate of Islam, destroying the enemies of Islam, and accompanied by Jesus who kills the Jews and Christian.  Then, a deceiver will appear (Daijahl) claiming to be Jesus, the Son of God.  Hmmm…

Both Christianity and Islam depict an end-times duo battling against the Jews and Christians, followed by the return of someone who claims to be the Son of God.  At the same time, Jews anticipate the end-times culminating with the arrival of Messiah and an epic battle that ushers in the age of Messiah.

The difference between these narratives is who is perceived as the righteous victor and who is viewed as the unrighteous loser.

Both Christians and Jews believe YHWY is the One true God, maker of Heaven and Earth, and Who will — one day — establish His throne among His people on Earth.  They may disagree (for now) concerning Jesus being Messiah, but the Old Testament reconciles that, as well.

“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn” (Zechariah 12:10 ESV – highlights mine).

Muslims, although keeping much of the biblical framework, replace YHWY and the preeminence of Jesus with Allah and Muhammed, respectively.

Both cannot be right.

You be the judge.  Just be sure to make your choice quickly.  Time is short, eternity is not…

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