I must admit, though I don’t agree with Mr. Silva’s perspective, he makes several arguments that deserve a Berean’s consideration. I enjoyed reading this book because I often find that when reading points of view with which I disagree, it helps me see the weaknesses or inadequacies in my own understanding. Rodrigo Silva’s book, The Coming Bible Prophecy Reformation is a sweeping panorama which sees the Biblical antichrist arising from a yet to be reborn nation of Assyria. With great detail and numerous citations, Mr. Silva builds his case for a regional fulfillment of the Bible’s prophecies concerning the coming Man of Sin.
One of the things I really appreciated about this book was that Mr. Silva provided full Scripture quotations not just the references. In my opinion this encourages the reader to do their Berean duty. I love to learn about Biblical history and this book is full of great information spanning the Babylonian era up through the second temple and on to the present. I learned a lot, and though unconvinced, I appreciated seeing the subject through Mr. Silva’s eyes.
On a more critical note, here are some of what I consider to be the weaknesses of Mr. Silva’s arguments for a Middle Eastern antichrist:
1. The regional antichrist and a global Messiah
2. Daniel 9 as it applies to the book’s premise
3. Satan’s ultimate religious deception
Addressing point #1 above I find myself in disagree with Mr. Silva’s argument that the Bible’s prophecies concerning the antichrist are limited to a regional (Middle Eastern) fulfillment. I quote Mr. Silva:
“Jesus Christ will have the privilege of ruling the entire globe. The Antichrist on the other hand seems to be given a regional dominion. This regional dominion will include the Middle East and some of the nearby surrounding regions such as North Africa, Central Asia, and southern Russia.” (Kindle Locations 1164-1166)
Using Revelation 13 as a basis Mr. Silva explains his position:
“The words `’ world’ and `’ earth’ in Revelation 13: 3-8 that are in connection with the beast are translated from the same Greek word gç which refers to a territory, a region, a land enclosed with fixed boundaries and a tract of land and depending on the context, the earth as a whole . In other words, it is not the entire globe that is ruled by the Antichrist, it is a territory, a region, a tract of land. The Antichrist’s dominion seems to be only regional, not global according to the Greek word used in Revelation 13.” (Kindle Locations 1152-1157).
Honestly I don’t see how “all kindreds, and tongues, and nations” of Revelation 13:7 could refer only to those people of the Middle East. The same Greek word “ge” Mr. Silva uses to support his regional Antichirst, is used in Revelation 21:1 to describe the “new heaven and new earth”. In summary a regional Antichrist is a radical premise with far reaching implications for nearly every aspect of eschatology. As such, it should be considered carefully in light of the Biblical record.
Revelation 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
In my opinion, another weakness of Mr. Silva’s premise is his interpretation of Daniel 9. His interpretation relies on a so called 360 day year which is nowhere found in the Biblical record. Such a calendar year would wander through the seasons much in the same the Islamic calendar does today. The Biblical calendar, on the other hand, from the 2nd temple era to the present is based upon lunar/solar reckoning of time.(either 12 or 13 months)
Also, inherent in Mr. Silva’s interpretation of Daniel 9 is an assumption that Ezra and Nehemiah were contemporaries of the Persian king Longimanus. A close examination of the Biblical chronological record shows that this could not be the case. All Biblical evidence shows that Ezra and Nehemiah were contemporaries of Darius “the Great” Artaxerxes.
Finally, I find little grounds in the Biblical record to support the premise that Islam is the Mother of Harlots. Satan’s original religious deception in Eden was the promise of secular humanistic enlightenment, that ancient deception which promised that mankind’s eyes would be opened and we would become gods. Islam may be one of the religious harlots of this world but by no reasonable Biblical argument can it be considered the Mother of them all.
* * *
On a more positive note I thought Mr. Silva’s quote of Tracy Tramm offered a fascinating view on Revelation 17:10-11. I quote Mr. Silva:
“In his book From Abraham to Armageddon, author Tracy Tramm offers a very interesting theory. He writes: `’ Starting with Babylon, the seven empires that have ruled in the Middle East, North Africa and Southern Europe (but specifically Jerusalem) are as follows:
1 – Babylonian
2 – Media-Persian
3 – Greek
4 – Roman
5 – Arabic
6 – Ottoman
7 – British
Note that the fifth and sixth kingdoms (although both Islamic) are listed separately. Some scholars have mistakenly combined the Arabic and Ottoman empires into one `’ Islamic Empire.” This has led some to conclude that the seventh head of the Beast was Islamic rather than the British Empire. History reveals that the Arabic empire , started by Muhammad in 632 A.D. lasted approximately six hundred years. The Ottoman Empire began in 1299, and although Islamic, it was not Arabic. This common oversight leads to a faulty interpretation of the identities of the seven heads. To further bolster the validity of our list of seven kingdoms (or heads of the Beast), we consider an important clue that we are given: `’ And when he comes, he must continue a short time.” This passage makes it clear that the seventh kingdom will only rule over Jerusalem for a `’short time.’
….The British took Jerusalem from the Ottoman during World War One (in December of 1917) and ruled it until Israel became an independent nation again in 1948. True to the word of the Bible, the British occupation of the Holy City was by far the shortest in duration (only thirty-one years) relative to the other candidates, therefore, the British Empire alone fits the profile of the seventh kingdom that would continue for a `’ short time.”” (Kindle Locations 1599-1623).
In light of Mr. Tramm’s premise it is worth noting that today’s organization of Middle East nations has its roots in the British empire’s imperial efforts of the 19th & 20th centuries. Indeed just as the Persians allowed the Jewish people to return to Jerusalem during the 2nd temple era it was the British who after nearly two thousand years of Jewish exile allowed the Jewish people to once more return to their homeland. I think it fascinating, that today a new nation, who itself was once a subject of the British empire, now finds itself as the world’s only superpower and one of the few remaining allies of the Jewish state. Truly amazing times we are living in.
Revelation 17:10-11 10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. 11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.
* * *
In summary this is a subject which deserves a Berean’s stewardship. Anyone interested in the subject of a Middle Eastern antichrist will find a lot to agree with in this book. Even those, who like myself find themselves in disagreement, would be well served by reading this book and then opening their Bibles to see if these things be so.
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Author: Rodrigo Silva
Book Title: The Coming Bible Prophecy Reformation
Author Website: thecomingbibleprophecyreformation.wordpress.com/
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Book Reviewed by: William Struse