Friday, January 20, 2017

From the Archives: Is Allah = Satan?

(Originally posted July 1, 2012)

    This week, I want to return to the Anti-Christ may be Muslim (or related to Islam) theory from last week. First, some background. Last week I had posted about the identity of Gog and Magog, spurred by Joel Richardson's theory that the anti-Christ is Muslim (or, at least, derives his initial authority from Islam) and the nations under his rule represent a latter-day Caliphate empire. In this regard, Mr. Richardson specifically notes that the popular conception that Magog is Russia (or part of Russia) is wrong. He goes on to note that Biblical scholars place Magog in the heart of Turkey.
The question that Bereans and students of Bible prophecy must now ask ourselves is: Why is there such a radical discrepancy between Magog’s identification according to popular belief, and these various scholarly resources? Are the atlases and the many conservative scholars that created them all wrong? Or are the prophecy teachers wrong? How have the two groups arrived at such different conclusions?

The answer lies in the different methods of interpretation used by these two groups. Most conservative, trained scholars of the Bible use what is called the historical-grammatical method of interpretation. This is to say that they simply identify the names found within Ezekiel’s prophecy according to how Ezekiel himself would have understood them. Thus in the late seventh and early sixth century B.C. when Ezekiel prophesied, Magog, Meshech and Tubal were known to have dwelt in Asia Minor, or modern-day Turkey.

Far too many prophecy teachers use what I call the bloodline-migration method. This method of interpreting the names within prophecy attempt to trace the bloodlines, intermarrying and migration of the ancient peoples mentioned within a prophecy to link them to their modern-day descendants and the nations where they now live. But this method is fraught with problems, variables and inconsistencies. When using this method, five different teachers will, and usually do, arrive at five different conclusions. None uses this method consistently, with each interpreter stopping at random periods of history, whenever it may suits his view and provide the result desired. Because there is such an abundance of data out there, and a few millennia between the ancient prophecies and modern times, the data are easy to manipulate and mold to one’s own prophetic bias.

     In my post, I noted another traditional identification of Magog with the Scythians, based on writings by Josephus and ancient Greek writers. (See, e.g., herehere and here). However, Dr. Jeffrey Goodman commented that even this interpretation is incorrect. From his article on the subject:

The popular identification of the nations of Ezekiel 38-39 is not correct. Despite the traditional viewpoint, professional archeologists know the identity of these nations from the Assyrian Royal Court records. The reliable, clear and detailed records of Assyrian Royal Court show they dealt directly with each of these nations about 100 years before Ezekiel wrote. These are the same records that are referred to in Ezra 4:15, 19 and 5:17-6:7. These passages tell how the Jews of the fifth century BC 538 BC–457 BC overcame opposition by the local Persian governor to the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem by referring to these same Assyrian cuneiform court records. They are also the same records Bible scholars now use to provide independent verification and edification of the Bible's historical accounts from about 805 BC to 530 BC.

The Assyrian Royal Court records provide direct evidence and represent an incontestable primary source on this subject, since they were written during the time period in question by people who were directly involved. Primary sources have greater value than secondary sources, which can include generalizations, speculation and interpretations made long after the occurrence of the events. On this particular subject, too often what has been written about these countries constitutes secondary evidence and is not based on facts. In some instances statements are the product of mischief, bias or not studying all of the available information.

The Assyrian Court records show dealings with Magog, Meshech, Tubal, and Togarmah (Ezekiel 38:3-6), the nations that stretched across ancient Asia Minor (modern Turkey) from west to east. From these records we also learn that the ancient nation of Gomer (Ezekiel 38:6), an enemy of the Assyrians invaded Asia Minor by coming down from an area around the northeast shore of the Black Sea. Archeologists know that the militant leader called "Gog" in Ezekiel 38/39 led a confederacy of these nations against invading Gomer.
Dr. Goodman also writes:
Gog is a historical man who the Greeks called Gyges of Lydia. In Gyges of Lydia we have the leader the Assyrians called "Gugu, King of Ludu," and "Gugu of Magugu," who is referred to in the Bible as Gog of Magog. "Magog" simply means "the land of Gog." In Akkadian ma means land, so in Akkadian Ma- gugu means "the land of Gugu," which becomes our Ma-gog. (Just as the Assyrian eponym for the land of the leader called Zamua is rendered as Ma-zamua). Magog is an eponym for the ancient nation of Lydia that was in the westernmost part of Asia Minor. The Assyrians often referred to a new land by the name of the first leader they learned of from this land. The Assyrians dealt with Lydia through Meshech, who were subsequently defeated by Gomer, and thus the Assyrians finally came to deal with Lydia directly. In the prophecy of Ezekiel 38/39 Gog is being used as a "historical type" of the "antichrist" who is prophesied to come during the end times, and Magog is being used as a "historical type" of "the land of the antichrist."
So, once again we are back to Turkey, and the possibility that the anti-Christ system may be Muslim or derived from Islam.

     Joel Richardson has published on this topic, and I would recommend reading some of his material. However, I came across a different approach recently that looked at the nature and personality of Allah based on Muslim writings, and which notes that the personality of Satan and Allah are similar. The Hesperado blog looks at the question of whether Islam is a Satanic religion in a couple of essays (here and here). In his first essay, he explains:
That hypothesis is, simply put, that Islam is not only “Satanic” in a loosely poetic or rhetorical sense—an adjective likely to be interpreted even among many in the still inchoate anti-Islamic movement as hyperbolic—and not only even a Satanist cult (albeit the largest, longest-lasting and most successful such cult in history), but positively and directly a creation of Satan himself.

And not only that: today’s essay will explore this rather egregious premise by presuming to palpate the mind of Satan himself.
He further notes:
It may well be that defeating God is not Satan’s ultimate aim, because he knows he cannot defeat God, so he sets his sights one step lower—merely to try to destroy as much of Creation as possible, out of the motive, again, of sheer hatred. Knowing he is ultimately (i.e., eschatologically) doomed, he nevertheless desires to bring down as much  of Creation with him as possible before that time. This would be a rather tangential point that does not detract from our overall diagnosis of Satan’s psyche and its effects.

According to the New Testament, when God became Man in Jesus Christ, this was a moment in history that particularly wounded Satan. Things had been going swimmingly for him up until then. The Ecumene was devolving into a bewildering confusion of religions, sects, philosophies, mystery cults and so forth. On top of this, collisions of Empires—first the Macedonian vs. the Persian, then the Roman vs. the Persian and others—were causing enormous dislocations, materially and existentially. People were losing hope, or were flailing about sampling from the cafeteria of meanings of life in a desperate attempt at trying to recapture the former stability of belief offered by the previous pagan mythologies. The birth, life and mission of Jesus Christ, Son of God, threatened to spoil, if not ruin, this rampant welter of misery and confusion that had so pleased Satan.
 * * * 
Islamic Paradise as it is envisioned in various writings of the Sunna (and suggested here and there in the Koran) is a massively crass testament to the lust for material pleasure and power. Thus, Islam inculcates a stubborn incomprehension of, and indeed hostility to, Christian virtues such as humility, meekness, self-abasing charity to others, strength in weakness, wisdom through suffering, and the sublimation of the appetite for power and material pleasure even in the context of the ultimate eschatological rewards. (It is of interest to note that Hitler also expressed bitter contempt for these Christian virtuesand at least once in a context of expressing admiration for Islam!)

This Satanicand Islamicpenchant for expressing right through might, and in turn, might through material displays of what power can deliver, is found then in Satans enticement to Jesus in Luke 4:5-7 and what he will gain by rejecting his divine suffering:
And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.
In the aforementioned short article I wrote on this blog, I called attention to an interestingly disquieting similarity between this enticement of Satanmore specifically, the synoptic version of it in Matthew 4:8-9 which does not differ in substance from Lukes accountand the following passage from the Koran offering to its slavish followers an enticement in the ultimate satisfaction of their material appetites which they shall receive as the reward for their fanatical submission:
And when you behold Paradise, you will see all around you delights and a vast kingdom.
(Koran 76:20)
In the second essay linked to above, Hesperado looks at some additional verses from the Koran and compares them to scriptures from the Bible to further illustrate the fundamental anti-Christ beliefs of Islam. Read the whole thing.

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