I just finished a preaching series on prophecy. I entitled it, “Living with Unshakable Confidence in the End Times.” The last two Sundays while preaching from Daniel and Revelation, I made reference to the keen insights of a former Muslim, now Christian named Walid Shoebat.
It was last year or so that a good friend and traveler with me who alerted me about Walid’s ministry. He is an Arab who grew up as a Muslim in Bethlehem, Israel. In his younger years, he was part of a Palestinian terrorist group as well as the Muslim Brotherhood. He moved to America in 1978. Interestingly, in the process of trying to convert his wife to Islam by attempting to disprove the truth of Christianity, he ended up converting to the Christian faith. Today, he speaks around the country on the topic of biblical prophecy.
While I am not a pastor or teacher who merely tries to interpret prophecy while turning the pages of the Bible with one hand, and surfing the latest internet Headline News with the other (it used to be with a newspaper), I am one who believes that Scripture interpretes Scripture. Not appreciating this can potentially lead to only speculative interpretations. But what makes Walid’s perspective on prophecy at least compelling is that he views biblical prophecy through a Middle Eastern lens. In a quick summary, Walid suggests that the unfolding of prophecy relating to Israel and the end times involves the surrounding Muslim nations.
Given how Islam despises the Jewish nation and calls for its ultimate destruction, Walid suggests that the Antichrist will rise out of a Muslim nation. In fact, within Islamic eschatology, the Muslim world is waiting for their own “Messiah-like” leader, someone referred as the 12th Imam, or Mahdi (depending on being Sunni or Shi’ite). Walid suggests that this Islamic Mahdi and the Bible’s Antichrist is one in the same person!
Indeed, Israel is feeling the hatred the surrounding Islamic nations has for her now. From PM Morsi’s troubling words from the Muslim Brotherhood-led nation of Egypt (e.g. How Cairo, or Mecca, or Medina will not be Egypt’s capital, but rather how Jerusalem will.), to Hamas in Gaza, to Hezbollah in Lebanon, to Ahmadinejad in Iran, to Assad in the troubled country of Syria, to the Islamic AK Party that now leads the government in Turkey. I could go on, but you get the picture. As it has been said, “Israel lives in a neighborhood with not-so-nice neighbors.”
Do I agree with all of Walid’s own eschatology? I don’t. But do I think that some of it is worthy of consideration? I do. One thing is for sure though … God has His Sovereign eye upon Israel and this end time scenario in which we live. May we support Israel in every way. May we continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6). May Israel turn to Yeshua the Messiah for their ultimate hope and security!