COLUMN: Is Islamic messiah driving Iran?
(Comtex Energy Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)TUSCALOOSA, Ala., Apr 26, 2006 (The Crimson White, U-WIRE via COMTEX) --"And I looked, and beheld, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer." - Revelation 6:2
In Christianity, Jesus Christ is our messiah who came to earth and died on a cross to pay the ultimate price for the debt of sin we couldn't pay.
On the third day, he rose again and empowered his servants to preach his gospel to the world. Christ sits at the right hand of God, serving as the mediator and high priest between God and man.
But one day, Christ will return to gather his saints together and judge the world for its sin.
Until just a few years ago, I had not realized that there is a concept of a messiah figure in some Islamic traditions. Now, the characteristics of this messiah differ based on Sunni and Shia interpretations.
But, in this version of the end of the world, things don't end too peachy for Christians.
The Mahdi will be a direct descendant of Muhammad through Muhammad's daughter Fatima. According to the Shia tradition, Muhammad said, "During the last times, my people will be afflicted with terrible and unprecedented calamities and misfortunes from their rulers, so much so that this vast earth will appear small to them ... At such a time, God will raise from my progeny a man who will establish peace and justice on this earth in the same way as it had been filled with injustice and distress."
He will make his appearance somewhere in the Middle East, and, according to Islamic tradition, Jesus will be following the man.
This "Jesus" will perform signs and wonders to prove he is Jesus, and then he will say that he really didn't die for the sins of the world. This Jesus will say that Islam is the true religion, and then he and the Mahdi will convert the entire world to Islam.
Now, why is this talk about the Mahdi important to the United States at all? Well, Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, believes in the concept of the return of the Islamic messiah fervently. He truly believes that the Mahdi will make his appearance on the earth in two years.
Because of this Mahdi, Iran must do everything in its power to prepare the way for him. The one thing Iran can do to fulfill some Islamic prophecies and cause the Mahdi to make his appearance sooner is to kill the Jewish people (destroy Israel).
The Iranian and some clerical leaders have also taken it upon themselves to begin fulfilling prophesies through converting the world to Islam so the Mahdi will reward them when he comes.
Holding nuclear weapons makes it much easier for Iran to convert the world to their religion. Plus, it makes it much more difficult for the United States and other bodies to use logic to convince the country not to pursue the weapons.
If Iran's clerics and its president believe they are fulfilling the will of God by developing nuclear weapons and attempting to destroy Israel, it will be difficult for the United States and other bodies to convince them to stop their actions.
According to various news sources, Ahmadinejad has told people he has secretly met with the Mahdi. He also claims the Mahdi told him in a dream to destroy Israel.
The entire world has something to lose if Iran gets nuclear weapons, especially if you have a leader bent on the belief that the world will be converted to Islam.
With the news that Iran has begun enriching small amounts of uranium, the West must use every diplomatic means now while the problem is "small." If this issue is about electrical power, let's find a way to burn the oil ocean they are sitting on.
If this problem isn't solved, it may lead to another 1980s-style attack on their nuclear producing facilities.
We can't - I mean we just can't - have another war. But, I just don't know how successful diplomacy will be if the leader believes he is doing the will of God.