In the providence of the Lord I was recently encouraged to read a small work published in 2011 by Gene Gurganus titled Islam: Past, Present, Future. What Every Loyal American Needs to Know.
The first twenty-four pages of the book are very helpful as the author provides a brief overview of Islam (lit. submission) and the mindset of a Muslim (lit. one who submits). Mr. Gurganus is familiar with the Koran (lit. recitation) and the Muslim people having served as a pastor and church planter in Bangladesh for seventeen years. Ninety percent of the religious population in Bangladesh is Muslim.
Unfortunately, Mr. Gurganus has placed upon himself the mantle of a modern day prophet after rejecting other modern day prophets such as C. I. Scofield. Mr. Gurganus laments, “Sorrowfully, yet understandingly, our prophecy teachers did not see Islam in prophecy. They lived too long ago. Dr. C. I. Scofield published his Study Bible in 1909, a hundred years ago.”
Think about that observation. “Our prophecy teachers did not see Islam in prophecy. They lived too long ago.” But did not a true Biblical prophet see far into the future? Moses made predictions about the Messiah more than fourteen hundred years before His coming (Gen. 3:15; Deut. 18:18-19). Daniel saw four hundred and ninety years into the future (Dan. 9:24-27). The idea of a prophet not being able to foretell the future because he lived too long ago is preposterous. What is true is that Mr. Scofield has been proven to be a discredited prophet. Unless Mr. Gurganus repents and returns to Biblical orthodoxy in the area of prophecy he too will go down in history as a discredited prophet, or worse.
Mr. Gunganus starts his prophetic punditry with the presuppositional idea that Islam comes within the sphere of Biblical revelation as the seventh empire of Scripture. The Bible does speak of the Egyptians, the Assyrian Empire, the Babylonian Empire, the Mede-Persia Empire, the Greek Empire, and the Roman Empire. It does not speak of the Islamic (Ottoman) Empire as Mr. Gunganus asserts. A wrong premise will lead to a wrong conclusion.
Not only has Mr. Gunganus wrongly concluded that the Bible foretold of the rise of Islam and the Ottoman Empire, but he is wrong to conclude that “Rome was not a destroyer but a builder.” With just a few words, Roman history is rewritten, and the Biblical prophecy of Daniel 2:40 is dismissed. Mr. Gunganus asserts that Rome was not hard as iron, cruel in character, and willing to break in pieces all that opposed it. The Jews who were slaughtered by the Romans in AD 70 would certainly disagree with this re-assessment of history. Rome was ruthless in conquering other nations, and cruel in character reflected in the beheading of its citizens, such as the apostle Paul, the crucifixion of innocent people, including Jesus Christ, and the apostle Peter. Rome gave to its citizens the bloody and violent gladiators of the Colosseum.
There is more. Mr. Gunganus asserts that the Muslim Mahdi and the Biblical Antichrist have “striking similarities”. Eight similarities are then listed, all without a Scriptural reference. It is the nature of modern prophetic pundits to merely assert something, rather than appeal to Scripture in context for proper exegesis. On page 32 of his book, Mr. Gunganus abandons any hesitation and boldly asserts “The Mahdi is the Antichrist and at the beginning of the Tribulation is a true Muslim.”Mr. Gunganus has “one more shocker” for his readers. The other modern day prophetic teachers are all wrong. Mystery Babylon is not Rome, or New York, but Mecca!
While all this is interesting, and to a point entertaining, it is also very disturbing, for many Christians are susceptible to letting sincere and passionate Bible teachers interpret the Scriptures for them in light of contemporary events. It is wrong for Bible teachers to do that, and it is unwise for Christians to allow themselves to be swept up with novel teachings, many of which are just silly, such as, when Mr. Gunganus states that the “wine of her fornication” of Revelation 17:2 is really a reference to Arab crude oil. Now that is a novel interpretation.
Daniel was given a vision of events that would take place within a time frame of four hundred and ninety years. The prophecy God gave to Daniel was fulfilled on schedule. John was given a vision of events that were to come to pass shortly and within his generation. “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John” (Rev. 1:1).
It is unfortunate when well-meaning individuals arise to assert that all others have been wrong, and they alone know the future in certain critical areas. The Biblical antidote against modern day prophets is very simple.
First, be a diligent student of Scriptures. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).
Second, remember there is a difference between interpretation and application. The interpretation of Scriptures demands that attention be paid to the audience to whom a passage was intended, the time period in which it was written, and the style of language that was used. Having discerned the proper interpretation of a passage, it is not wrong to seek a spiritual and personal application, for the principles of God’s Word live and abide forever.
Third, be patient. While much study can be weariness to the soul, a hasty conclusion can be damaging to the cause of Christ. God has given to His people a sure word of prophecy. That is what the believer must find and embrace. “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts” (2 Pet. 1:19-20).