The rise of Islam in the West
I see this as the Lord’s doing, the same way He sent the Babylonians to carry away Israel into captivity (Jeremiah 29:1-14) or the way He used the Assyrians (Isaiah 10:5) to chastise Israel for her sins. This time the chastisement is to the Christian Church (spiritually Israel) and again to the chosen people, the Jews, wherever they may be. I believe the Lord Jesus will come again and restore His assembly of believers, whether they be Jews or Gentiles. And the Lord will Himself judge those who disobey His laws and murder innocent people.
For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Zechariah 14:2
The Lord Jesus will gather all nations against Israel again. But He will return in the last days and stand on the Mount of Olives causing it to cleave in two in a great earthquake.
And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. Zechariah 14:4
He says that He will make the enemies of Israel tremble.
Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. Zechariah 12:2
Eventually He will be victorious over His enemies and rule as King over all the Earth–all Jews and Gentiles–and all will know Him. Not in a Millennial kingdom on Earth but in the New Heaven and New Earth after His second coming and final judgment on the wicked.
And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one. Zechariah 14:9
Here Scripture speaks of a kingdom where Christ reigns as King over all the Earth and Jerusalem will be safely inhabited. God will smite all those who fight against Jerusalem. This is not a physical kingdom on Earth (as Jesus said) but the New Heaven and New Earth consisting only of the saved whether they be Jews or non-Jews.
And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth. Zechariah 14:12
And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. Zechariah 14:17
And the Jews shall be saved.
In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness. Zechariah 13:1
The fountain is symbolic of the Word of God that will be received into the hearts of the messianic believers. God, HaShem (the name the Jews use for יהוה– YHVH) will not only purge His Church but also He shall save one third of the nation of Israel. This will occur before Christ returns. (Romans 11)
And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God. Zechariah 13:9
Decay in the Church
Today we see an enormous apostasy in the so-called Christian Church. We read of ministers who deny the basic tenants of Scripture, the virgin birth, even the resurrection, without which we are doomed.
If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. 1 Corinthians 15:19
We also see and read of the horrors of Islamic hordes murdering their own countrymen, Shi’ite Muslims, Christians, or Yazidis or whoever they deem unfit to live. Where Have I heard that before? Oh, the Nazi’s with their racial purification eugenics madness, which had a basis in Darwin’s evolutionary ideas. We read of the angry mobs of Muslims in the West who demand special treatment like a privileged class.
This all seems to me to be that God is sending again a chastisement from the Muslim nations into the post-Christian nations of the West through mass immigration. When Christian faith moves out, because evolutionary teaching moves in, the next step is Islam moves in to fill the ‘vacuum’ left behind. See insert here for an example of this.
Mind you, the Western mindset is largely against large families but the Muslims are multiplying rapidly and taking advantage of the left-leaning self-loathing post-colonial Western nation’s welfare systems. They are breeding themselves into the majority in some countries. The traditional churches are asleep, even facilitating it with their left leaning communist attitudes and policies, but God is sovereign in all events.
This rise in Islam in the West is similar to the time when God sent the Assyrians against Israel, as an axe wielded by God (Isaiah 10:15). Then God judged that nation, his instrument, which He used. But that nation was judged for their own sins (Jeremiah 50:18). This is like Pharaoh and all Egypt (Exodus 12:29,30). God chastened the nation of Israel, by using the Pharaoh, who did not know (or remember) the patriarch Joseph, and sent the Israelites into hard labour in the brick pits in Egypt. But then He judged Pharaoh and his armies who pursued the children of Israel as they fled Egypt (Exodus 14:25-27). This judgement on the Egyptians though was for their own sins.
In the past 2000 years the false church has risen to great power. The Popes wield major political power and leading mega-church evangelicals bow the knee to him and kiss his ring.
The false church has oppressed the poor believers throughout its history killing the martyrs who opposed its power and translated the Word of God into the languages of the people, especially in Europe, notably William Tyndale and the Reformers. There were periods of the Inquisition, persecution of the Waldensianisms and English protestants. The false church has oppressed the widows, the orphans and the poor.
And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart. Zechariah 7:10
But God warns that none should imagine evil let alone do evil to his neighbour. Today we see a world full of evil and strife and within the so-called Church as well. We read of all sort of crimes, greed, lust, and even murder. One example, 300,000 children were stolen and trafficked by the Roman Catholic Church in Spain. From a dailymail.co.uk news item, commenting on a BBC documentary,
The children were trafficked by a secret network of doctors, nurses, priests and nuns in a widespread practice that began during General Franco’s dictatorship and continued until the early Nineties.
But the false church has made their hearts hard like stone
But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear. 12 Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the LORD of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the LORD of hosts. Zechariah 7:11,12
The Jews were like this before God sent them into captivity in Babylon and the nations around about.
But I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations whom they knew not. Thus the land was desolate after them, that no man passed through nor returned: for they laid the pleasant land desolate. Zechariah 7:14
However, after their chastisement the Lord bought them back from the captivity.
And I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness. Zechariah 8:8
Quite obviously the chastisement worked. I see the same pattern again in our Western societies, with hopefully the same final good fruit will result.
These militants who say they are doing God’s work are really pawns in the Hands of God. Yet Scripture teaches us that there will come a time when there will be some who will kill Christians. Jesus foretold that this would happen in the last days.
They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time comes, that whosoever kills you will think that he does God service. John 16:2
Certainly this happened to the early Christian believers, but also it is happening today. It happened to the true believers at the hands of the Roman church. Many were martyred for the Word of God. Today, we read of Islamic fundamentalists who are very clear in their plans. They say Allah orders them in the Quran to terrorize non-Muslims on His behalf.
Strike terror (into the hearts of) the enemies of God and your enemies. Surah 8:60
Fight (kill) them (non-Muslims), and God will punish, (torment) them by your hands, cover them with shame. Surah 9:14
I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers, smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them. It is not ye who slew them; it was God. Surah 8:13-17.
The true church is not a physical organisation or institution, it is in the hearts of the believers. God wants to bring people to Him. He wants them to reject their idols, to reject their idolatry, which dominates their lives.
And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered: and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land. Zechariah 13:2
God will overcome all the idols and the idolatry of false religions, of atheism—the religion of worship of self, and those who parade themselves as the representatives of God on Earth.
Woe to the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock! the sword shall be upon his arm, and upon his right eye: his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened. Zechariah 11:17
There are many ‘idol’ shepherds, both idolatrous as well as good for nothing, a spiritual wasteland. The scripture says these idol shepherds are spiritually dead (right eye darkened) and they will use physical force and military power (the sword).
However, God judges those evil shepherds (pastors, ministers, imams, etc) who do not take care of His flock.
Three shepherds also I cut off in one month; and my soul lothed them, and their soul also abhorred me. Zechariah 11:8
Finally God saves the Jews, His chosen people.
And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. Zechariah 12:10
This is a prophecy of Christ, pierced on the Cross, for our sins.
In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness. 9 And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God. Zechariah 13:1,9
They shall know it is Jesus (Yeshua), the Christ who is God Almighty. God is in control. It His business if He chooses to save whom He will–and bring them through the fire. The Lord Jehovah will overcome. He is sovereign over all the Universe. There is nothing that can defeat Him.
Update 20th August 2014
David Wilkerson had a vision of the future of the world and the Christian church in 1973. A lot of it is relevant to this discussion.