The Looming Conflict Between Islam and the West and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

1/ Introduction

As most people in the world now and since September 11, 2001 know one central and growing feature of world events is strife, conflicts and threat of an even wider or deeper conflict between Islam on one hand and the West and the rest of the world on the other. I do not limit this phenomena to only a conflict between Islam and the West because other parts of the world have substantial numbers of both Muslims and non-Muslims. In these places there are some problems with strife or violent incidents especially by militant or fundamentalist Muslims and but sometimes with provoking by non-Muslims. Some notable areas of conflict with Muslims outside the West are in mainly Xinjiang region of northwest China, the mostly Muslim province of Kashmir in northern India and in some African countries like Nigeria and Sudan that have significant populations of Muslims and non-Muslims. Having said that it seems especially true since and partly as a result of United States' "War on Terrorism" that started and was provoked by the Al Qaeda terrorist group's use of fueled hijacked airplanes that were crashed into and unfortunately very successfully destroyed the two World Trade Centre towers in New York City. This attack also killed many people in New York City. On September 11, 2001 militant Muslims with Al Qaeda also crashed another hijacked plane into the U.S. Pentagon in Washington D.C. There are also rumours with some substantiation that a 4th hijacked plane was targeted for the U.S. Capital building or White House in Washington D.C. Fortunately the plane targeted for the Capital building or the White House was brought down over a field in Pennsylvania with little or no damage on the ground. This was due to the courageous actions of some of the crew or passengers overpowering the hijackers while the plane was in the air.

2/ Intention and Reaction of September 11 Attacks and War on Terrorism

What is quite clear and what was likely the reason for the Al Qaeda terrorist group choosing these three targets was to cause damage, destruction and/or loss of life at the buildings that are key sites of United States' (America's) economy, military and government. This was also intended to give a general sense of vulnerability, terror, fear and depression to the West but especially the United States. While there is more widespread resentment in the Muslim world against Israel and the Jews having their own nation in the Holy Land and the United States led War on Terrorism that is mostly against militant Muslims or militant Muslim countries or organizations such as Al Qaeda, most moderate Muslims do not agree with the tactics of Al Qaeda or similiar militant Muslim organizations. Instead most moderate Muslims want to try to live more at peace with the West and the rest of the world although they would still hold to Islam as the superior religion, society and world view or system. In the Great Tribulation some especially moderate Muslims will trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour and receive God's eternal life and forgiveness of all their sins through His blood shed on the cross. Some other moderate Muslims will join the one-world interfaith movement or religion of the last days described as mystery Babylon led by the Roman Catholic Church in the Great Tribulation. Many moderate Muslims will probably continue to be moderate Muslims also in the Great Tribulation.

3/ Immediate Developments After September 11

This of course was followed by U.S. President George W. Bush declaring and ordering steps be taken for both offence and defence and national security against "terrorists" especially associated with the Al-Qaeda terrorist group led by Osama bin Laden who made no secret of his directing of his directing and organizing the September 11, 2001 attacks against United States but instead gloated over these actions as was plainly shared on some videos with Osama bin Laden first aired on the Arabic television network Al Jazeera.

4/ Al Qaeda and Early Post 9/11 Developments in Afghanistan

From my own research and from the index of an excellent book "Inside Al Qaeda - Global Network of Terror" by Rohan Gunaratna I have found that Al Qaeda means literally "the (military) base (or barracks)" and is a very telling indication of the mindset and intentions of Al Qaeda. It probably originally referred to their bases in Afghanistan where they had their base, headquarters or stronghold when Afghanistan was ruled by the likeminded Islamic Taliban government. This Taliban government has since been overthrown and replaced by a pro-western government led by Hamed Karzai. However there is a continuing struggle with Afghan and western forces to prevent the Taliban or a similiar force from gaining power, influence and territory in Afghanistan. Although the U.S. and the U.S. sympathizing anti-Taliban Afghan warlords and militias gained control over most of Afghanistan, not many Taliban political or military leaders were caught to face justice or perhaps reformed but instead fled to live among the people or across the border in Pakistan or in other Muslim countries where they could live safely and for some of them plan future attacks or operations against the West or non-Muslim non-Western countries that co-operate with the West. There were also many Muslim fighters in Afghanistan from Arabic or other Muslim countries like Iraq, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Yemen, Syria and others.

5/ Developments in U.S.A. Since September 11

Since September 11, 2001 the U.S. led war against and overthrowing the Taliban regime has led to intense and expensive nation wide security measures. These measures are continuing to develop in the United States and to some extent other Western or non-Islamic countries. There has also been much general anti-Muslim or anti-Arab backlash in the West especially in the United States. This has made things very difficult for Muslims or even other Middle Eastern people who wish to take a more moderate stand and differentiate themselves from more radical Muslims. This phenomena is so prevalent and viewed as unjust stereotyping it has gained the unenviable name of "racial profiling". Although expensive, the anti-terrorism security measures taken by the U.S. and other countries have likely and in some cases certainly foiled specifically planned and well advanced terrorist attacks.

6/ Some Connections of the Arabic World to the Looming Islam/West Conflict

There also continues to be occasional new video tapes from Al Qaeda with Osama bin Laden or other high- ranking members or spokesmen of their organization. It is worth noting that although Saudi Arabia is officially an ally of the United States and the West most, I think 15, of the 19 terrorists who hijacked and crashed or tried to crash the planes into key American targets were from Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has a hardline or fundamentalist version of Islam despite its alliance with the West including providing space for a Western mility base in Saudi Arabian territory. The "War on Terrorism" was also used as part of the excuse for George W. Bush's launching his war against Saddam Hussein's Iraq. This was a much more controversial decision than the war against Afghanistan, has less international support, divided the United Nations and has now led to a difficult process of setting up an alternate government in Iraq and rebuilding the country and opening it to the rest of the world.

December 2015 Further Update of (Looming) War of Fundamentalist War of Fundamentalist Islam With the West Led Now by Islamic Fundamentalist/Terrorist Group Isis

A lot has happened since I first wrote this article but the general idea of a culture clash between especially militant Islam and the west and other parts of the world still stands unfortunately. Actually this clash seems to be now even more intense than it was under Al Qaeda on the part of militant Islam. That is because the militant Muslims are now led by Isis (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria). Although many people both political commentators and general people are quite unnerved that Isis controls some of its own territory, this shouldn't be viewed as something new as Al Qaeda or the Taliban before 9/11 controlled and still control some of their own territory in northern Pakistan and Afghanistan although it is true most of Afghanistan is now controlled by an Afghan government with some ties to the west but that is still threatened by the Taliban and similiar groups. However the territory now controlled by Isis is more strategic being right in the middle of the Middle East including being much closer to both Israel and Europe and so can more easily threaten those areas. Also Iraq and Syria contain many more Christians than northern Pakistan or Afghanistan does and many of them have had to flee from those areas, be killed, pay heavy tribute money or convert to Islam against their will because of the oppressive rule of Isis in these countries where up to recently Christians received some tolerance although not total freedom such as to evangelize Muslims under their Muslim rulers. This reception of tribute money along with much revenue from the sail of oil from oil fields in Syria and Iraq in areas under control of Isis as well as the sale of antiquities by Isis on the black market from former great civilizations in Iraq and Sumeria such as those of ancient Rome, Greece, Persia, Babylon, Assyria and Sumeria give much greater sources of cash to fuel their militant activities than were available to the Taliban or Al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan. However the Taliban and Al Qaeda did obtain much income from the sale of the products of opium including opium and heroin from poppy fields in Afghanistan to drug traffickers and addicts in the west and other areas of the world.

December 2015 Update to Article the Looming Conflict of Islam Against the West With Special Reference to the Changes in the Leader of Militant Islam

In the original version of this web article I mentioned some symbology in the Bible about a last days anti-Christian personality that well matched Osama bin Laden the former leader of the Islamic terrorist group Al Qaeda. These included that he actually some times rode on a white horse and sometimes was pictured with a war-like demeanor such as with fighter jets and missiles that could represent the great sword mentioned with the rider on the red horse although some Bible commentators think and I agree that the great sword could especially refer to nuclear weapons. Currently the new leader of militant Islam Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi the leader of Isis (or Isil or Islamic State or Daesh) does not normally portray himself as riding on a white horse although I think the general picture of someone leading a group going forth to conquer in an anti-Christian way still applies to Isis under Mr. Al-Baghdadi. There is no doubt also that Mr. Al-Baghdadi is of Arab background that could include some blood from Esau who married a daughter of Ishmael and combined his line with that that of Ishmael to form what we have come to call the Arabs and so the analogy of a bow and arrow and a biblical symbol of war including the rider on the white horse can apply to him and Isis. Also Isis under Mr. Al-Baghdadi has at least as much weapons as Al Qaeda under Osama bin Laden did and they would like to obtain nuclear weapons and there are already some rumours they have used chemical weapons in Syria although I don't know if this has been proven but anyway as with Al-Qaeda the reference to this Islamic terrorist leader as having or trying to get a great sword applies just as well as it does to Al-Qaeda under Osama bin Laden. Of course it should be mentioned that it is probably true that now Osama bin Laden is dead and if he is not he is in hiding or sick and keeping a very low profile and not as much an inspiration to Muslim terrorists or would be ones as before and that many former Al Qaeda people have switched over to instead following Isis under Mr. Al Baghdadi.

As a literal Bible believing Christian I still do not believe though that the main application of the fulfillment of the horses of the apocalypse mentioned in Revelation 6 is being currently fulfilled but that current events are quickly leading up to when they will because other conditions for that time have not been fulfilled such as that according to Daniel 9:27 the seven year tribulation will start with the Antichrist who I believe will come from Europe achieves a Middle East peace (covenant) including allowing Israel or the Jews to build their third Jewish temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem (that the Antichrist will later take over for people to worship him as God) or that there be the main use by the true God of the Bible of the 144,000 Israelite believers in Jesus (the Lamb of God) in sharing God's message of salvation to all people or that other of the plagues mentioned in Revelation are literally coming true or that true Christians of this age are still on earth and not taken to heaven before the tribulation including the events of the seal judgments of the horsemen of the apocalypse as mentioned in this article. The above things would all have to have been in progress or have taken place for the current events with Isis led by Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi to be a full fullfillment of the horsemen of the apocalypse mentioned in Revelation 6 at the beginning of the tribulation time. I do still think it will be the real Antichrist who will be the one to defeat this militant Islam led by Mr. Al-Baghdadi or whoever is leading militant Islam when the Antichrist comes to full power by the half-way point of the tribulation with worldwide control until the Lord Jesus Christ defeats the antichrist or beast and the devil and this world system to set up the true God's (Jehovah or God the Father) or the divine Trinity the true God that is One in Being but Three in Persons) including Jesus as God the Son and the Holy Spirit Kingdom over all the earth and to judge this world unbiblical and anti-Christian world system.

December 2015 Assumed Qualifications and Main Reason for Appeal of Isis Leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi as Caliph and leader of Isis and Militant Islam and As Currently Most Likely Fulfillment for Anti-christian Rider on White Horse and Red Horse of Revelation 6

This brings me to the two main reasons I see for the ongoing popularity, inspiration and power of Isis under Mr. Al-Baghdadi especially with militant Muslims or those people that can be easily swayed by that ideology or version of religion. These are that Mr. Al Baghdadi claims to be and is believed to be by Isis supporters to be a well qualified claimant to revive the position of Caliph which is the Arabic title of a leader of the Islamic world that was in practice at least under the Islamic world was divided first by its division between Sunni and Shiite and then perhaps by other factors due to disputes in who should be the successor to Mohammed as the leader of the Islamic world at least 100 years after Mohammed's death in 632 AD. I recently found the word Caliph is from the Arabic word Calipha or Khalifa that means Viceroy or Vice-regent that is a leader of a people regarded as God's people. As a Christian I do not believe Muslims worship the same God as Christians and Jews that is the God of the Bible that among other things is faithful to His word and covenants and relies on shedding of a blood substitute for forgiveness but that the Muslim god is Allah who is the moon god of Arabia and that can be evidenced as still being the case as the god of Islam as noticing that the flags of many Islamic countries use a crescent moon and there is a crescent moon above many mosques or Islamic centres in the world. Anyway although I think the Quran is an important and influential religious book and I appreciate it acknowledges many events and people that are mentioned in what I believe is the true word of God the Holy Bible it does not for instance give the true record especially about Jesus of Nazareth that He is God in the form of a man Who came to die for the sins of the world and then rise from the dead to offer salvation to people of all nations who are all separated from the Creator God because we are all sinners in His sight and cannot save ourselves by our own merit or good works and need salvation in a sinless substitute that is provided in God's Son Jesus Christ.

Anyway I did look in the Quran since I acknowledge it was the best place to look to see what would be the basis of some Islamic ideas including the idea of Caliph as a world Muslim leader. I thought there would be some important and clear verses about the Caliph as the successor to Mohammed. I did not find that but I did find something almost as important under the time Viceroy or Vice-regent in the Pickthall version of the Quran (Koran) and that is that the Quran mentions there was a Viceroy (Caliph they think led the world by Adam after creation and after the re-creation of the world and by successors to Noah after Noah's flood and by some of the Israelites in the time of Moses after Moses led the Israelites from Egypt into the Sinai on the way to the land of Israel. It is true that in a way also in God's word the Holy Bible and in accurate history that each of these times did start a new world and some of the these times were led by certain individuals such as Noah after the flood and Joshua, Moses' successor, to bring the Israelites into the promised land of Israel and perhaps of Adam leading the world after the flood but it is not true that there would be an effort by earthly fighting to obtain a new world for God's people in this last time as Muslims think of for the Caliph such as Mr. Baghdadi to fulfill. However the Bible does in the New Testament does portray Adam, Noah and Joshua as representations of the Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God who will take the world over for the true God but when He comes from heaven to fight with supernatural power and not with earthly armies at His second coming at the end of the tribulation or 70th week of Daniel. Jesus is also not portrayed in the Bible as in the line of Mohammed including for Jesus' second coming. Jesus in truth will be joined by the restored of Israel and the nations to God and the true Church to lead the world not by Muslims led by militant Muslims or a muslim Caliph. The two characteristics however that Muslims and those swayed by their beliefs think that Mr. Al Baghdadi is a good candidate for last days Caliph is that he is a qualified Islamic scholar which he probably is and that is a direct descendant of Mohammed that could be the case but I don't know for sure. Anyway these qualification or claimed qualifications are what is giving special appeal to militant Muslims or would be militant Muslims to join or support Isis.

Reference in the Quran to Viceroy (Caliph) as Claim for the First Man Adam in Surah (Chapter) 2 The Cow

And when thy Lord said unto the angels: Lo! I am about to place a viceroy (caliph) in the earth, they said: Wilt Thou place therein one who will do harm therein and will shed blood, while we, we hymn Thy praise and sanctify Thee? He said: Surely I know that which ye know not. And He taught Adam all the names, then showed them to the angels, saying: Inform me of the names of these if ye are truthful. Surah 2:30-31

Reference in the Quran to Viceroys (Caliphs) as Claim to the Successors after Noah and after the Worldwide Flood from Surah (Chapter) 7 The Heights

Marvel ye that there should come unto you a Reminder from your Lord by means of a man among you, that ye may warn you? Remember how He made you viceroys (caliphs) after Noah's folk, and gave you growth of stature. Remember (all) the bounties of your Lord, that haply ye may be successful. Surah 7:69

Reference in the Quran to Viceroys (Caliphs) as Claim for the Children of Israel After They Came from Pharaoh's Egypt with Moses to the Sinai Towards the Land of Israel from Surah (Chapter) 7 The Heights

And Moses said unto his people: Seek help in Allah and endure. Lo! the earth is Allah's. He giveth it for an inheritance to whom He will. And lo! the sequel is for those who keep their duty (unto Him). They said: We suffered hurt before thou camest unto us, and since thou hast come unto us. He (I think Moses) said: It may be that your Lord is going to destroy your adversary and make you viceroys (caliphs) in the earth, that He may see how ye behave. Surah 7:128-129

7/ Cultural Background of Looming Islam/West Conflict

There are various reasons for significant support or willingness for some from Muslim countries to join Al Qaeda or similiar and sometimes co-operating hardline Muslim terrorist organizations. One reason is that some of the more fundamentalist or militant Muslims regard the culture of the 7th century in Arabia, that their prophet Mohammed lived in, to be the ideal society for all Muslims to establish in their countries in all centuries until it is established in all the world. This would also force the use of Sharia law that is based only on the Muslim scriptures, the Quran and I think their commentary the Hadith, to govern all aspects of religion, politics and society. This of course is in direct conflict or cross purposes with many other worldviews both secular and religious in the world. These other worldviews include secular humanism and most versions of Christianity that are common in the West that encourage scientific, technological or cultural progress and embracing new things.

8/ Further Background Details of Looming Islam/West Conflict

Personally I believe and I also think the Bible would say especially from Genesis 1:28 where God gave Adam the first man and by extension Eve and the whole human race the authority "to replenish (fill) the Earth and subdue it" and to have dominion (rule) over creation. This would among other things condone the modern scientific method and progress. The affluence and peace of the West due to such factors as Judaeo-Christian God acknowledging values, compassion ministries to the sick, poor, old or otherwise less well off such as hospitals, food banks, subsidized housing, nursing homes, social security, life and heart transforming gospel preaching and bible teaching, Judaeo-Christian and old Roman legal systems, widespread education, democracy with orderly replacement and accountability of government and their spending and actions and, scientific and technological progress and innovations are both envied and resented in the Islamic world. However these aspects of the West are mostly resented by militant or fundamentalist Muslims. They especially resent what they see as an excessive share of world power and influence even in relation to or in the lands of Islamic nations or people. These militant or fundamentalist Muslims see the modern society of the West as corrupt, ungodly and/or worldly departures from what they see as the simple and strict original Islam of the 7th century under Mohammed. Muslims particularly fundamentalist Muslims, see Islam in the 7th century under Mohammed as Allah's (their idea of God's) pure form of government, religion and society. Especially the militant and fundamentalist Muslims like those associated with Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda also greatly resent the re-establishment of Israel as a Jewish nation in the holy land since 1948 and Israel's capturing and continuing to have some sovereignty over the old city in east Jerusalem since 1967. Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda also resent western political (including in the United Nations), military and other support of Israel by the West especially the United States.

9/ Biblical Background of Looming Islam/West Conflict

However Bible believing or evangelical Christians including myself see the reestablishment and continued existence and western or Christian support of Israel as a Jewish nation a Christian duty and priviledge. Christians also are encouraged to support Israel as we see the re-establishment of the nation of Israel in 1948 as fulfillment of asign according to God's Word - the Holy Bible of the beginning of the last days before the Lord Jesus Christ returns and the assurance that most other prophecies about Israel, the nations and the Church concerning the last days will soon be fulfilled. Israel and the Jewish people, the Lord Jesus Christ and Christians all one way or another trace our background and allegiance back to Abraham and for the Jewish people also Isaac and Jacob (Israel). Muslims claim their links to Abraham through Mohammed who was a descendant of Abraham through Ishmail. Muslims also trace their background through Mohammed to Ishmail and Abraham through following the Quran that was written by Mohammed. Arabs are also directly each descendants or Abraham through Ishmail. There has been strife and a conflict down through the centuries between Ishmail and Isaac and between Esau who gave birth to the Edomites or Idumeansand Jacob who was renamed Israel. Long ago the Edomites were assmilated with the Arabs. Although I personally feel it is not something desirable or to be proud of, there seems to be a continuing development of strife and conflict between the Judaeo-Christian world and the Islamic world. I fear, not for myself but for those that are left behind after the rapture, that this stife and conflict will continue to worsen and get out of control turning into a full-blown war at the beginning of the 7 year 70th week of Daniel or the Great Tribulation. It should be noted that not all westerners are Christians and also that not all Arabs or other Middle Eastern or other people in predominantly Muslim lands are Muslims, some are Christians even true or born again Christians with a personal relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ.

10/ Background of Primary Christian Theologies

One thing about Christianity should be kept in mind in what has been written previously in this paper or any analysis of world events especially with regard to the relation of the West and the Middle East. This is that there are basically two types of theology in professing Christianity. They are Dispensational Theology and Covenant Theology. Although there are a number of differences and some different versions of each of these theologies, there are common characteristics of each. Dispensational Theology comes especially from a literal interpretation of God's Word - the Holy Bible and is held by myself and most evangelical Christians and some Pentecostal Christians. It says that the Church and Israel are both God's special people but that the Church can be thought of as God's chosen heavenly people and Israel as God's chosen earthly people. Covenant Theology teaches there is just one chosen people of God to whom the covenants apply and that this includes both the Church and Israel.

11/ Dispensational Theology

Dispensational Theology teaches that God dealt with the world through Israel from Abraham until Pentecost and will again in the Great Tribulation and the Millenial or Messianic Kingdom when Jesus Christ sets up God's Kingdom over all the Earth ruling from Jerusalem and Israel. Although Jesus Christ and His disciples started the Church, Dispensational Theology teaches that they were under the time of the Law of Moses and God's dealing with the world through Israel until the giving of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and the beginning of the Church Age(Dispensation) or Age(Dispensation) of Grace or Age(Dispensation) of the Holy Spirit. A dispensation can be defined from its word in the Greek original language of the New Testament which is "economio" from where we get our word economy. A dispensation is a specific way or economy or administration God uses with humanity or a subset of humanity in a certain age. This present Church age will last just a bit longer until the rapture when all true Christians who have personally received Jesus Christ as God come in the flesh who died for our sins and rose from the dead as our Lord and Saviour will be raised from the dead(for those true Christians who have already died). They will then be given new eternal heavenly and spiritual bodies. Those Christians still physically alive on Earth when the Lord Jesus Christ comes at the rapture for His Church will instantly have their bodies transformed from our current earthly and natural bodies into heavenly and spiritual bodies. This will all take place when Jesus Christ ends this Church Age by taking His Church of true Christians along the Holy Spirit to Heaven and His restraining work of evil and violence directly and through the Church.

12/ Reasons for Dispensational Theology Christians Support for Israel

Dispensational Christians feel obliged to support the Jewish nation of Israel and the Jewish people because we feel indebted to them for their giving us our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (the Messiah) (through the Jewish virgin Mary) and most of the scriptures including most of the New Testament We also feel supportive of them because we believe God still has some covenants with Israel that area not with the Church and because God has preserved the Jewish people and has now also reestablished the nation of Israel. As Dispensational Christians that take a literal interpretation of all of God's Word, unless the literal interpretation doesn't make sense, we believe God has a purpose to use them as His witnesses to the world in the imminent 70th week of Daniel or Great Tribulation starting right after the rapture. We also believe God has preserved the Jewish people and reestablished the nation of Israel so God after the Great Tribulation can set up His 1000 year or Millenial Kingdom in the glorious return of His Son and Annointed One or Messiah (Christ) Jesus of Nazareth. Dispensational Theology Christians don't think God has forsaken the Jewish people because they or their leaders mostly rejected their Messiah Jesus Christ the 1st time two thousand years ago but that God's covenants with the Jewish pepole were mostly at God's initiative and are unconditional and are based on God wanting to preserve His good name not on Israel's faithfulness or lack of it. However these covenants with Israel were established initially because of the faithfulness of some notable people of Israel such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob(Israel), Moses and King David. Finally as Dispensational Christians we place a high value on the literal interpretation and accuracy (infallibility) of all of God's Word - the Holy Bible. This also leads us to believe that God will honour all the covenants with Israel even though it has been over 2000 years since most of them were made and have yet to be completely fulfilled. We see the reestablishment of the nation of Israel in 1948 and the preservation of Israel including through the Nazi Holocaust of World War 2 as an indication God will fulfill the remaining parts of the Old Testament Covenants with Israel literally very shortly.

13/ Scripture Passage About the Rapture

Although there several major and other minor references to the Rapture in the New Testament scriptures, the main passage is in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. It is not referred to in the Old Testament at all. But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that you sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (precede) them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up (raptured) together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.

14/ Main Scripture Passage About the Restrainer (of Evil and Violence)

The main passage about the Holy Spirit being the restrainer of evil and violence at this time and throughout this age since Pentecost and to the Rapture when He or His restraint will be removed is found in 2 Thessalonians 2:6-7: And now you know what withholdeth (restrains) that he (the Anti-Christ or the man of sin or beast out of the sea) might be revealed in his time. For the mystery(something revealed in the New Testament but not in the Old Testament) of iniquity(lawlessness) does already work: only he who letteth(restrains) will let(restrain), until he (the Holy Spirit) be taken out of the way(probably with believers to Heaven). 2 Thessalonians 2:6-7

If the Holy Spirit does have a work on Earth during the tribulation or 70th week(of 7 years) of Daniel it won't be like His current work of convicting all people saved or unsaved of sin and indwelling all believers on Earth. Instead His work in the Great Tribulation will probably be like His work in the Old Testament days and the other 69 weeks of Daniel where He just came upon selected believers for special work in God's service.

15/ Significance of Covenant Theology Relating to Worldly Power

On the other hand Covenant Theology Christians which include most Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox and older Protestant denominations, southern Baptists including President George W. Bush and some of his close advisors or cabinet and some Pentecostal Christians believe that Jews or Israel and Christians or the Church are just different parts of God's chosen people. They don't believe there are different ages or dispensations but that Christians for example can fully apply many of the Old Testament scripures to Israel now. They generally also don't believe in the rapture or in a Millenial Kingdom with Israel as the head nation on Earth as prophesied in much of the Old Testament but think that God permanently abandonned the Jewish people when they rejected Jesus as their Messiah. Covenant Theology Christians also think that since Christians and Israel are both God's people that God has given Earthly or worldly power to Christians or culturally or traditionally Christian nations like some western nations to establish God's Kingdom by force. This would include military, economic, political or other means. This is the thinking behind George W. Bush and many of his leading advisors and administration and his father who was also president of the United States. George W. Bush and many of his advisors are Southern Baptists and feel God has given them a mandate to help establish God's Kingdom on Earth through political, social, economic, diplomatic and military means with respect to countries they see as non-Christian such as Islamic countries. Southern Baptists and some Pentecostals think God hasn't forsaken Israel but that they are the same as Christians and should be supported as part of God's people.

Conclusion of this Article The Looming Conflict
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