Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Is this possible?

In today's Wall Street Journal, Bernard Lewis writes:
In Islam, as in Judaism and Christianity, there are certain beliefs concerning the cosmic struggle at the end of time--Gog and Magog, anti-Christ, Armageddon, and for Shiite Muslims, the long awaited return of the Hidden Imam, ending in the final victory of the forces of good over evil, however these may be defined. Mr. Ahmadinejad and his followers clearly believe that this time is now, and that the terminal struggle has already begun and is indeed well advanced. It may even have a date, indicated by several references by the Iranian president to giving his final answer to the U.S. about nuclear development by Aug. 22. This was at first reported as "by the end of August," but Mr. Ahmadinejad's statement was more precise.

What is the significance of Aug. 22? This year, Aug. 22 corresponds, in the Islamic calendar, to the 27th day of the month of Rajab of the year 1427. This, by tradition, is the night when many Muslims commemorate the night flight of the prophet Muhammad on the winged horse Buraq, first to "the farthest mosque," usually identified with Jerusalem, and then to heaven and back (c.f., Koran XVII.1). This might well be deemed an appropriate date for the apocalyptic ending of Israel and if necessary of the world. It is far from certain that Mr. Ahmadinejad plans any such cataclysmic events precisely for Aug. 22. But it would be wise to bear the possibility in mind.
I certainly hope that Lewis is wrong. For one thing, I have not read any reports that claim that the Iranians currently possess nuclear weapons (at least not of their own making). On the other hand, they do possess other devastating weapons - but would they use them against Israel at the cost of Israeli retaliation? Perhaps Mr. Ahmedinejad is a believer in the close approach of the end-times, but do all those in power in Iran have such a time-line in mind?


  1. "I have not read any reports that claim that the Iranians currently possess nuclear weapons...."

    That seems utterly unlikely. It's possible that they might have an unknown source of fissionable material in the amount necessary for a bomb -- bought off North Korea, say -- and it's possible they might be able to get a secret, sufficiently large, line of centifuges going in the future faster than current estimates have it, and thus it's possible -- not likely, I stress, but possible -- they could get to a working bomb faster than anticipated, perhaps even in 2-3 years -- although absent reason to think so, I think 5-6 years remains a considerably more likely estimate for now -- but the notion that they could have completed a bomb now seems, well, ungrounded in any known facts, shall we say.

    Not 100% impossible, but I'd put the likelihood somewhere around 1% at best.

    I'd also be hesitant to go too far with wild speculation about Iranian intentions, just as I'm hesitant to engage in believing that the wilder talk out of Iran is just talk, and to be entirely ignored.

    Frankly, I don't think anyone outside their leadership circles has much of a good clue as to what they really think, and I've not observed anyone to cause me to think differently. When people strongly assert otherwise, that they are sure that the leadership believes X or Y, in either extremely apocalyptic, or dismissive, terms, it seems to me that they're letting preference triumph over knowledge.

    I don't think we really know. I'd tend to avoid assuming either the best or worst, while largely simply reserving judgment until such time as we have more evidence. Myself.

    And Lewis is a fine scholar, but I'm not aware of his possessing any particular special insight into the minds of the Iranian leadership, really.

  2. That's what I thought too. And the Iranian leadership just seems so convoluted, from here - how can one tell what their decision-making processes are?

  3. Fatal Flaws in Judeo-Christian-Islamic Prophecy

    Hello Rebecca and all,

    Remember the saying that "the truth will set you (and others) free?" How does "opening one's eyes to the truth" relate to "making the blind see again" or "shining the light" or "illuminating a subject?" Notice the inherent symbolism associated with this supposed New Testament "miracle?"

    Pay close attention, profundity knocks at the door, listen for the key. Be Aware! Scoffing causes blindness...

    Here's the key to proving that the rapture and related expectations are complete nonsense based on the failure to understand (and the purposeful confounding of) the ancient Hebrew symbology used to construct all of these prophecies. Consequently, Christian timelines and interpretations of these prophecies are verifiably wrong on many key points.

    Did you ever consider that Christianity is the False Prophet symbolized in the Apocalypse, that Rome (Vatican/Papacy) is the so-called anti-messiah, and Jesus Christ is the false messiah? I have produced stunning and comprehensive proof that this is the true interpretation of pivotal prophecies long confounded by Christianity's founders and leaders. Recasting the symbolism of earlier Hebrew texts as literal events in the New Testament is one of the central deceptions associated with Christianity.

    The symbolism of seven years (tribulation, etc.) refers to seven 360-year cycles on the Hebrew calendar. Ezekiel 39.9 is referring to the 10th to 16th cycles inclusive, while the Apocalypse symbolizes the 11th cycle (second temple period) until now, the beginning of the 17th cycle (seventh angel/star/seal, etc.). Greece (Alexander the Great) conquered the Persian Empire and Judea during the 10th cycle and Rome did so again during the 11th cycle. Both Ezekiel and the Apocalypse are symbolizing an overlapping period of time that starts during ancient Judea and ends now. Gog refers to Greco-Romans (...from the "isles"), which means Magog is Eurasia and the "army" that besets "Israel" for seven "years" refers to the activities of the nations of the Greco-Roman/Vatican Empire over the previous two-plus millennia.

    It is completely wrong to interpret any of these prophecies as literal timelines and events. Unlike Christian assertions, they symbolize long periods of time, pivotal situations, and the flow of activities during that period. Remember, they were written by ancient Hebrew sages, not Romans or other Europeans, and Revelation is the most symbolic of all prophecies. Consequently, in this context, "years" and "times" are symbols for 360-year cycles on the Hebrew calendar and days symbolize literal years. Therefore "Judgement Day," "Great Day" and "in that day" all refer to a literal year-long period. Accordingly, the so-called "Seven Years Tribulation" began in ancient Judea and is now nearing its end, not starting. The nations and followers of all three faiths of Abraham have been thoroughly deceived by Rome during the previous age, which ended in year 2000 (5760). A new age began in 2001 (5761) and now the seventh angel has begun to sound!

    Read the full article below:

    Here is Wisdom


  4. Well, er, thanks - everything is cleared up now, right?

    Just to make it clear - I'm not a fan of anyone's apocalyptic thinking, whether Jewish, Christian, or Muslim. I don't think the Messiah, or Jesus, or the Mahdi is about to arrive and usher in the war of the end of days. The conflict between Israel & Hizbollah is a this-worldly war, involving real people, who are dying in horrible ways. When it's all over (may that be soon!) we'll all stand around and see how much has been destroyed - and the Messiah, Jesus, or the Mahdi will not be there with us.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. Also, soon Herbie will arrive to bop us all with his big lollipop. Stay alert.

  7. Or perhaps the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

  8. Could be. Incidentally, are you aware of this page of Laurie Mann's? (Feel free to delete this comment if you don't want to leave the link lying around, although in which case an e-mail reply would be lovely.)