Last night’s nightmare, and Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) on the final overthrow of Islam

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I seldom get nightmares. Well, at least I seldom wake up remembering them. But this morning I woke up from a nightmare about as vivid as I’ve ever experienced.

With the ever-increasing rise of Islam and the inevitable threats which accompany it (despite what liberals and several Muslims have told me, even a transitory glance at the history of Islam reveals that from the beginning it was spread by the sword – contrary to Christianity, which was spread by the preaching of the Gospel), it has perhaps crept into my subconscious. Despite political propaganda trying to convince us that groups such as ISIS and Boko Haram are not truly Islamic, a comparison of the actions of such groups to the texts and history of Islam reveals great continuity. We all know of the mass slaughters of “infidels” in the Middle East which is happening even as you read this – all attended with the cry of “Allahu Akbar!”

Having been involved with several evangelism trips to the Indian community in Phoenix, Durban, many of whom are Muslims, and having spoken about these matters to a number of them, as well as to two Imams (one in Chatsworth, Durban, the other in Kimberley), few of them denied that a vital goal of Islam is, in the words of the Imam in Kimberley which I distinctly remember, “that the whole world submit to Allah, in whichever way this may be accomplished.”

I realize that not all Muslims are radical Jihadists, and my criticism of Islam does not, as Ben Affleck would have it, constitute racism. My desire is that Muslims around the world would come to a saving knowledge of Christ, as many have done despite hell itself rising up against them through persecution from their own people. The critique is against Islam as a system, which even some secular liberals acknowledge is a “motherload of bad ideas” (see link above).

I guess all the news of Islamic terrorism and mass-slaughters, as well as the ever-increasing Muslim populations in Europe and the rest of the western world through immigration and industrious reproduction (long gone are the days of Charles Martel!), has had some effect on my psyche, and hence the nightmare I woke up to this morning:

I dreamed that the Muslim population in the world had become so numerous, that almost all nations were now under Islamic control. The various Islamic terrorist groups all united in the cause of Jihad, and were plundering every city they came across to force “infidels” to convert, or pay the ultimate price: death. And so I dreamt that they burst into one of our church services, and lead us all to line up outside, kneeling on the ground. One by one they shot us in the back of the head, similar to the horrific scenes in the videos which have been circling the internet in recent years. As the gunman approached me, I recall calmly praying that the Lord’s will be done, that He may forgive my sins as well as the sins of those persecuting us, and that He may receive my spirit. Then came my turn, and I felt the cold steel tip of the rifle against the back of my head, heard the shot go off, and faded away into blackness, expecting to wake up in eternity. To my astonishment and, indeed, my disappointment, I woke up in my bed and realized that it was only a dream. My disappointment, of course, did not relate to the fact that I woke up in the real world where Islam does not dominate the whole world, but rather because in my dream I felt so ready to leave this world and be with the Lord.

I find it interesting that I should dream of such things when I only recently read in Jonathan Edwards’ (1703-1758) A History of the Work of Redemption about the overthrow of Islam, or, as he and many others called it back then, Mahometanism, as part of the eschatology which is yet to be fulfilled. While I do not agree with all of Edwards’ eschatology (he’s postmillennial, whereas I’m of amillenial persuasion), his discussion of Islam and its final overthrow reminded me that there is great comfort and hope in Christ, in the face of this threat.

Edwards speaks of two kingdoms that rose up against Christ after the days of Constantine the Great: the kingdom of Antichrist (a reference to the Roman Catholic Church), and the Mahometan kingdom (Islam). Edwards says that

“the remains of the Christians that are in those parts of the world, who are mostly of the Greek (i.e. Orthodox) Church, are in miserable slavery under these Turks, [and] treated with a great deal of barbarity and cruelty…” (p. 329)

He later goes on:

“Satan has ever had a dread of having his kingdom overthrown, and he had been apposing it ever since the day of Constantine the Great. To this end he has set up two mighty kingdoms of Antichrist and Mahomet, and brought in all the heresies, superstitions and corruptions, which there are in the world. But when he sees all begin to fail, it will rouse him up exceedingly. If Satan dreaded being cast out of the Roman Empire, how much more does he dread being cast out of the whole world!

It seems as though in this last great opposition which shall be made against the church to defend the kingdom of Satan, all the forces of Antichrist and Mahometanism and heathenism will be united: all the forces of Satan’s visible kingdom through the whole world of mankind. And therefore it is said, that ‘spirits of devils… [shall] go forth unto the kings of the earth, and of the whole world, to gather them together to the battle of that great day of God Almighty’ (Rev. 16:14). And these spirits are said to come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet; that is, there shall be the spirit of Popery, and the spirit of Mahometanism, and the spirit of heathenism, all united. By the beast is meant Antichrist; by the dragon, in this book, is commonly meant the devil, as he reigns over his heathen kingdom; by the false prophet, in this book, is sometimes meant the Pope and his clergy, but here an eye seems to be had to Mahomet, whom his followers call the great prophet of God. This will be as it were the dying struggles of the old serpent, a battle wherein he will fight as one that is almost desperate.” (p. 375-376)

“But Christ and his church shall in this battle obtain a complete and entire victory over their enemies…” (p. 377)

“In this victory, the seventh vial shall be poured out. It is said of the great army that should be gathered together against Christ, ‘And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon’, and then it is said, ‘And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done’ (Rev. 16:16-17). Now the business is done for Satan and his adherents. When this victory is obtained, all is in effect done. Satan’s last and greatest opposition is conquered; all his measures are defeated; the pillars of his kingdom broken asunder, and will fall of course. The devil is utterly baffled and confounded, and knows not what else to do. He now sees his Antichristian, and Mahometan, and heathenish kingdoms through the world all tumbling about his ears. He and his most powerful instruments are taken captive. Now that is in effect done which the church of God had been so long waiting and hoping for, and so earnestly crying to God for, saying, ‘How long, O Lord, holy and true!’ Now the time is come.” (p. 377-378)

One thought on “Last night’s nightmare, and Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) on the final overthrow of Islam

  1. Jake, you’ve greatly encouraged me. Thank you!
    Maria

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