2. The establishment of the State of Israel

2. THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL

The most important prophetic event of the last 1,000 years was the establishment of the State of Israel in the year 1948. At that moment the American scholar William W. Orr named it “the greatest piece of prophetic news”1212 of the modern times, and this idea remained unchanged ever since. It was further confirmed through the conquest of Jerusalem in June 1967, which, according to John Walvoord, was “one of the most remarkable fulfillments of biblical prophecy since the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.”1213

The Old Testament often speaks about the banishment of the Israelite people and its regathering in the Promised Land. But the Israelites (the Jews) have been enslaved and liberated several times until the present day. So, it is unclear if the prophecies refer to random future events or to the beginning of the Messianic Age. In the Book of Genesis God promised Abraham that his descendants would have their own country between Egypt and Euphrates (Genesis 15:18). The same promise was made to Jacob, whose descendants would have Israel as their country, they would be spread across the entire world, they would influence the world and they would be regathered in the Promised Land (Genesis 28:10-15). Around 1400 BC Moses warned the Israelites that they would have to leave the country, they would be scattered and they would be killed (Deuteronomy 4:25-30; 28:36-37, 49-52, 64; 29:23). Then, around 750-686 BC the prophet Micah prophesied that the Jews would be hit by calamities (Micah 3:12). Between 520 and 518 BC Zechariah said that God would bring back the Jews from east and west to their country of origin, and that they would live again in Jerusalem (Zechariah 8:7-8). And last but not least, Isaiah wrote between 701 and 681 BC that the Jews would return to their country from all directions (Isaiah 43:5-6).

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4.3.1. Al-Dajjal (the Antichrist)

4.3. THE SIGNS OF THE END

4.3.1. Al-Dajjal (the Antichrist)

Muslims also expect the advent of the Antichrist, whom they name the “Great Deceiver” or the “Impostor Messiah” (Romanized Arabic: Al-Masikh al-Dajjal). The (Romanized) Arabic word dajjal means “to deceive” and it is used in religious contexts to designate false prophets or messiahs. Muhammad said that there will be around 30 dajjals ("antichrists") (Sahih Al-Bukhari 9:237). But Al-Masikh al-Dajjal, written with definite article and capital letter, refers to the “Imposter,” the Antichrist, a unique cunning entity, who will be the last and most powerful of antichrists. He will appear toward the end of civilization, before Judgment Day, will defy God and will make a deceiving interpretation of the scriptures. He will speak beautifully and will fool the world to follow his teachings, saying that Hell is Heaven and vice versa (Sahih Al-Bukhari 4:554). He will appear pretending he is the Jewish messiah and the returned Jesus Christ, but the real Jesus will descend from heaven and will kill him (Sahih Muslim 7023).

Al-Dajjal is believed to appear somewhere between Syria and Iraq, approximately at the same time with the return of Isa (Jesus) on the clouds of heaven and the coming of the Mahdi. Al-Dajjal will travel the entire world preaching his false teachings, but Allah will forbid him to enter Mecca and Medina (Sahih Al-Bukhari 3:105). The hadiths offer details regarding the look and the actions of al-Dajjal, so that he can be identified by believers:

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3.3. The signs of the end

3.3. THE SIGNS OF THE END

The Revelation of John, or the Apocalypse of John, is the last and the only entirely prophetic book of the New Testament. Its main theme is the end of the world. Revelation was most likely written around the year 95 AD, when Christianity was heavily persecuted by Roman authorities. The scribe of Revelation is traditionally identified with John the Apostle, while the author of Revelation is undoubtedly Jesus Christ: “What thou seest, write in a book ... I am the first and the last, and the Living one; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive for evermore” (Revelation 1:11, 17-18).

The word “apocalypse” comes from the (Romanized) Greek apokalypsis (apo – “far”; kalyptein – “revelation”), usually translated as “discovery” or “revelation.”25 Thus, the name of the final biblical book denotes its main theme and the purpose of its writing: the mystical description of the future of the Church of Christ and of the entire world (Revelation 1:1). However, in modern culture the word “apocalypse” is synonymous with “catastrophe” or with the end of the world. This is due to the fact that,

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