(First of a two-part series on the Apocalypse from Ahmadinejad to former Washington Post reporter Michael Drosnin)
The words, "Apocalypse warning" has a tendency to send shivers up and down one's spine. It's a subject which is often ignored by so-called normal people, who dwell on the rise and fall of stock market prices.
However, even though Terry Mattingly of Scripps Howard News Service claimed such matters as the "end-times" didn't even rate among the top 20 "religious stories" during 2006, it, nevertheless, held high priority in some circles.
Incidentally, such events as the violence ignited by the publication of the Muhammad cartoons and the controversy surrounding the Da Vinci Code movie did make the headlines.
As far back as the summer, and in this column, I detailed that Iranian despot Mahmoud Ahmadinejad believed that the Hidden Imam, would appear by Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2006. It didn't happen, but there were those that believed such an event could occur in the near future.
Just prior to that date, former Princeton professor Bernard Lewis in the Wall Street Journal, wrote: "What is the significance of Aug. 22? This year, Aug. 22 corresponds to the 27th day of the month of Rajab of the year 1427. This, by tradition, is the night when many Muslims mark the night flight of the prophet Muhammad on the winged horse, Burq, 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."
Then I took the liberty to quote from the Zionist.com website, which stated: "Ahmadinejad is a strong believer in the Shi'ite tradition of the 12th imam, the so-called "hidden" Imam Mahdi who Allah had miraculously kept alive since his disappearance in 874 A.D. As the story goes, Imam Mahdi will return at a time of great global chaos, oppression and bloodshed and usher in an era of (Islamic) justice."
However, on Dec. 31, the official Iran website claimed the Imam would arrive by spring along with "Jesus, the son of Mary." This Mahdi, who some believe to be Osama bin Laden, would suddenly appear in Mecca; form an army, head for Medina and eventually take on Islam's chief enemies (Israel and the U.S.) in Jerusalem.
"Ahmadinejad's mystical pre-occupation with the coming of the Mahdi is raising concerns that a nuclear-armed Islamic Republic could trigger the kind of global conflagration he envisions (and) will set the stage for the end of the world," according to the respected website, World Net Daily.
Of course, Ahmadinejad isn't the only one, who has made predictions.
In Dr. Michael Rutford's book, "The Nostradamus Code: World War III -- 2007-2012, he has taken the liberty to interpret the "quatrains" of the often-quoted seer.
In Chapter 4: The Time of Troubles, Rutford's summation included such frightening thoughts as the rise of a crazed (Middle Eastern) leader, who will launch nuclear bombs on the Mediterranean and in Europe, particularly on France and Italy. "This leader is not the Antichrist but helps to set the stage for the Antichrist."
Other interpretations of Nostradamus' quatrains include:
* Volcanoes, earthquakes, flood, droughts. "A very bright, previously unknown comet will appear and coincide with the time of great geological troubles, with earthquakes and volcanoes erupting and disrupting weather systems ... The U.S., in particular, will be subject to serious natural disasters ... Earth changes will take place that will help the Antichrist's drive for world conquest."
However, a modern-day "interpreter," Jack Kelley has written of seven major prophetic signs of the Second Coming (of Jesus Christ): 1. Israel will be in The Land (Ezekiel 38:8); 2. Jerusalem will be in Jewish hands (Luke 21:24); 3. A Moslem coalition armed and led by Russia will attack the Holy Land (Ezekiel 38:2-6); 4. The ancient Roman Empire will re-emerge as a political force (Rev. 17:9-10); 5. The world will embrace a single religion (Rom.13:8); 6. The world will accept a single government (Rev. 13:3); 7. Babylon will re-emerge as a prominent city in world affairs (Rev. 18:2-3).
There are other signs according to Kelley such as: Wars and rumours of wars; the increase of natural disasters; signs in the sun, moon and stars; pestilence; the love of most will grow cold; the gospel will be preached in all nations.
So the question remains: What will really happen in the near future?
Tomorrow: Other "prophets" will vent ther views, from former Washington Post reporter Michael Drosnin, author of the best-selling Bible Code II -- The Countdown to Elijah the Tishbite, aka Frank Ernest Mauck.