Before we go any further, we need to deal with a key question. How can we even consider tagging Ariel Sharon as "antiChrist" when he has passed away? Isn't that gross - we're not supposed to speak ill of the dead, are we? Ariel suffered a grave stroke on January 4, 2006 and was in a coma for the next eight years. Three months after the stroke he was formally replaced as Israel's prime minister. What is the writer doing, besmirching his memory like this?
Clearly there is a dilemma here; for Jesus told us what our stance toward each person should be:
I give you a new commandment, that you love one another.Then loving is what we must be, that's for certain, but the question remains, What does loving Ariel Sharon mean in this situation? This scribe has a choice: Either, to sit on his view that Sharon was an antiChrist, which means that the ugly charge is suppressed. Or, to make plain what he believes are the facts, as he has been shown them. In the first case, the feelings of Ariel's family, and all those loyal to him are spared. But the truth is hidden. On the other hand, laying out every piece of evidence for the antiChrist identity of the ex-prime minister is going to offend those close to Ariel, and seems a hurtful way of exposing someone who is no longer here to defend themselves.
As I have loved you, you should also love one another.
John 13:34 (MKJV)
But concealing facts means people are denied the opportunity to weigh up for themselves what the situation is regarding this man, and by extension, the whole picture concerning the three antiChrists. Ignorance is not helpful - how can people make the right response to this issue unless they are informed?
The loving thing surely, is to bring out the truth, but to be aware of the need for compassion as well. Quakers have the belief that there is "that of God in everyone"(1). As one of their number, this witness is helped by that belief. In the light of this, Ariel Sharon is as worthy of respect as every other human who has walked the Earth, and the purpose sought for in the material that follows is to uphold this ideal.
Further, among the three antiChrists, Sharon played a key role. As indicated by this chapter's heading, he was at the "fulcrum." As Israel's prime minister, he was located at the one place in the whole planet that Messiah has chosen to be His home. Recalling that Mount Zion is in Jerusalem, and that Sharon identified himself with Zion(2) then, as can be seen, it's confirmed in this Bible verse that Zion is to be the key location in the coming Kingdom:
"Shout and celebrate, Daughter of Zion!Now Jerusalem had already been revealed by the Psalmist as the "city of the Great King" - (Psalms 48:2). And so it follows that the Enemy of Jesus - Satan - was bound to make it the place where he would concentrate his forces. This can be seen in history: "no other city has been more bitterly fought over than Jerusalem,"(3).
I'm on my way. I'm moving into your neighborhood!"
Zechariah 2:10 (Msg.)
In line with this, Scripture shows that antiChrist would lead the charge against the true believers - from Jerusalem. The next verse is one example out of several that point to the destroyer/desolater working his wickedness in Jerusalem:
... in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease;
and upon the wing of abominations ["of the Temple" - TEV]
shall come one that maketh desolate;
and even unto the full end, and that determined,
shall wrath be poured out upon the desolate.
Daniel 9:27 (ASV)
On September 28, 2000, Ariel Sharon walked onto a place sacred to Muslims - on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Along with several hundred riot police, he went into the compound surrounding the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Jewish Temple had been here 19 centuries before. Did he not fulfill the above Prophecy? Certainly he was on "the wing" of the mosque - to God a "house of prayer" - (Isaiah 56:7). But to complete the Prophetic picture, "abominations" need to be present. Question - in the mind of Palestinian Muslims, would not the very presence of Sharon by the Al-Aqsa Mosque be abominable?
To help answer that question, let us go back a bit in history. In 1982, Sharon was Israel's defense minister. In June of that year he sent the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) into Lebanon, and three months later he allowed Lebanese militias to enter the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps (camps in Southern Lebanon set up for Palestinians after the 1948 exodus from Israel). The consequence was a massacre - many Palestinians, and newly-arrived Lebanese in the camps - lost their mortal lives. Sharon was forced to accept "personal responsibility" for the terrible outcome which he had made possible. This was the finding of the Israeli commission which ruled on the matter, recommending that Sharon should no longer be defense minister(4). And he did at that time resign from the defense ministry post. However, we should also be aware that the Sabra-Shatila disaster was neither the first nor the last of the many offences that Sharon committed in his long campaign against the Palestianians. Small wonder if the Al-Aqsa worshipers saw his intrusion at their holy place as an abomination.
The above events are also key to another way in which Ariel Sharon showed his antiChrist identity. Namely that, despite his background as disgraced head of the defense ministry, come February 2001 the people of Israel elect him as their prime minister! Bearing this in mind, you may see in the following Prophecy a distinct resemblance to Sharon:
And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death;
and his deadly wound was healed:
and all the world wondered after the beast.
Revelation 13:3 (KJV)
Surely this outcome does indeed give us cause to "wonder"? To go from fatally wounded politically to leader of the country? Despite all the bloodshed in his past, Israel gives Ariel Sharon a chance at her highest office. So in this one Prophecy we find two features matching Sharon's career: First, he is wounded as predicted. But now, he is "healed" - he is brought back to center stage by what would in other circumstances be hailed as a Miracle.
Given this opportunity, what did Sharon do with the greater freedom he had to act, when he finally became Israel's leader? Well, he stuck to what he knew, sadly. He continued his policy of implacable opposition to the Palestinians. He built on his deliberate provocation of September 2000 - as you may recall, his Temple Mount walk was a major spark in the eruption of the Al-Aqsa Intifada (or, second Palestinian uprising).
By the way, it should perhaps be noted that there had already been an "abomination" within the earlier Jewish Temple - on the day that Antiochus IV sacrificed swine on its altar, in 167-165 BCE. And this is one recognized Fulfillment of the above Daniel 9:27 Prophecy. However, Sharon's trespass in 2000 came, the writer maintains, in "the end of days," which is where this Daniel Prophecy is set. (As the words "full end" in the Bible version quoted above suggest. [The term in the King James Version - "consummation" - carries the same idea.]) For this reason, it is proposed that the political feat Sharon pulled off should be considered the weightier Prophecy Fulfillment.
^ The tragedy of the Al-Aqsa Intifada meant that Israel-Palestine suffered substantial loss of life. Palestinians - suicide bombers in many cases - took the lives of Jewish men, women, and children. With Sharon as prime minister, it was inevitable that retaliation would follow. Overarching force was used by the IDF, ensuring that there was always a penalty - three Arab lives taken for each Israeli Jew who was killed. By January 2005, the toll was 950 Israelis killed by Palestinians and 3,223 Palestinians killed by Israelis(5).
Eighteen months after the start of the Al-Aqsa Intifada there had been a turn for the worse: on March 29, 2002 Sharon's government authorized Operation Defensive Shield - a rampage by the IDF through the West Bank, which lasted until April 21 and resulted in hundreds of mortal lives being lost(6). So much destruction took place during those 23 days that the last remains of the Oslo peace process were buried - a peace process which had seemed to be renewed in 1998 with the Wye Agreement.
The Israeli:Palestinian peace process, like any peace parley, called for sacrifices by all sides, and the Wye Agreement had been no exception. Israel had accepted once again that the principle of "land for peace" would apply to this pact. Approved by all parties, it looked like the treaty really might breathe fresh life into the Oslo Accords (the 1993 peace agreement calling for a two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict). You may be wondering at this point, Are we going down a sidetrack here? Well, no - please bear with it, there's a key point at issue: Ariel Sharon can be shown to have played a part here, indeed he has fulfilled Prophecy in this, it will be suggested.
The Wye memorandum was signed on October 23, 1998 - for Israel, by Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister, and for the Palestinians by their leader Yasser Arafat. But if we go back to the Daniel 9:27 Prophecy above - "in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease ..." Many Bible commentators agree that this "week" is to be taken as a "week of years," in other words, seven years(7). Half of such a "week" then, would be three and a half years. Going forward by this time period from the date of the Wye Agreement, the date arrived at is April 23, 2002(8). This is just two days after the April 21 end of an offensive that put paid to any idea of "sacrifice" - such as would have been made under the Wye Agreement. An older word for a legal agreement is covenant, and it is worth looking at the first parts of both Daniel 9:26 and 27 now with this in mind:
And after the sixty-two weeks [of years] shall the anointed one be cut off ... .
And he shall enter into a strong and firm covenant with the many
for one week [seven years];
and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and offering to cease ...
Daniel 9:26-27 (Amp.)
It should be mentioned that some of the commentators who equate Daniel 9:27's half a "week" with three and a half years, also state that this Prophecy was fulfilled by the public Ministry of Jesus being "cut off." And His Ministry was indeed for that duration(7). Well, this scribe certainly agrees with their reading of the Scripture. But just as it's a mistake to think of God as limited, might it not be equally wrong to think that a single Fulfillment of Prophecy is all that God is allowed? Especially when in chapter 12 of the same Book of Daniel, a three and a half year period is again predicted - this one placed very firmly in the context of the End-Time.
So the search is on for a "week" of years, cut in half by some signal event that puts paid to any sacrifice or offering that was on the table. And here surely, is the Fulfillment, lasting exactly three and a half years, and set in the End-Time: Begun at Wye on October 23, 1998 as we saw, when it looked as though Israel was taking a real step toward peace. Ending on April 23, 2002 with Ariel Sharon savoring victory, two days after Operation Defensive Shield - the IDF's deadly offensive in the West Bank - had come to an end. And how can we know that there was anything significant about this particular April date? Well, two things happened on that day: Firstly, Ariel Sharon addressed the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference in the USA by video link - telling them how Operation Defensive Shield had been of great help to Israel. Secondly, he told the Knesset Foreign Affairs & Defense Committee: there would be no future evacuation of Jewish settlements in the Palestinian territories - they would all remain(9). It seemed as if Sharon was in the ascendancy on this day, when in this scribe's opinion, he was actually presiding over the lost, golden opportunity of Wye. However, instead of wringing our hands, we should understand that we get something out of this. It is suggested that, since it was Sharon himself who presided over this slide into tragedy, we are helped to see the real identity of this man.
The picture then, is of Ariel Sharon as antiChrist, glorying in his might - subjugating Arafat and the Palestinians to the rule of Israel. (By this time and for some months prior, Yasser Arafat had been hemmed in by IDF tanks - in his compound in Ramallah. You may recall this painful episode?) For the sake of the Palestinian people, how sad, if April 23, 2002 were to be the end of the story. Thankfully, a Just God does not allow injustice, or its perpetrators, to remain forever, and though Sharon cannot have known it, his days as Israel's prime minister had been carefully numbered. As the following verses would seem to suggest:
And from the time that the continual [burnt-offering] shall be taken away,
and the abomination that maketh desolate set up,
there shall be a thousand and two hundred and ninety days.
Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.
Daniel 12:11-12 (ASV)
A burnt-offering is a kind of sacrifice, so the two dates - the halting of the "continual [burnt-offering]," and the ending of the "sacrifice and offering" of Daniel 9:27 - can coincide. Insofar as they apply to Ariel Sharon and Operation Defensive Shield, that ending date is April 23, 2002. Moving on from there, the above verse says that 1,290 days will elapse, but that we should wait a bit longer - until 1,335 days have passed. Going on 1,290 days from April 23, 2002 leads to November 3, 2005. The question then being, Where does this 2005 date lie in terms of Sharon's career? Well, in that year a steady draining away of Sharon's power as prime minister took place; a signal date is July 26, 2005, when two things happen:
Firstly, Ariel's son Omri - who was a Member of the Knesset (MKE) - is charged with fraud(10). Secondly, it is revealed in the Israeli media that a group of extremist Orthodox Israelis had placed a ("Pulsa D'Nura") curse on Sharon(10). This group of zealots had become incensed at what was about to happen in Gaza. Namely that the next month, Sharon was due to preside over the expulsion of the (mainly Orthodox) Israelis from settlements in the Gaza Strip(11). And in that month of August, he did indeed expel the settlers from Gaza. (By the way, this initiative of Sharon's was quite unexpected, certainly outside of Israel.)
The next date to consider is the one at which the above 1,290 days ends - November 3, 2005. It is in this same month that Sharon resigned his leadership of the rightwing Likud political party and formed a new party: Kadima(10). However, there seems to be no obvious match between November 3 and any significant date in Sharon's life. So let's move on a further 45 days, as this figure added to the 1,290 days just elapsed means we are now 1,335 days on from April 23, 2002.
And the date we have arrived at is a very significant one - December 18, 2005. It was on this day that Ariel was hit with a stroke, caused by a hole in the heart condition he had. He survived this stroke, but ignored instructions to stop work, and 17 days later - on January 4, 2006 - he suffered a massive stroke and went into the coma from which he never recovered. The formality of relieving him of the office of prime minister of Israel had taken place on April 14, 2006. A remarkable career cut off in a tragic, shocking way(12).
It might help now if we were to back up and review the thread of the above Prophecies and see how these matched with actual events. Scripture (Daniel 9:27) states that there would be a three and a half year period from the date of a covenant being made, until the final breaking of it. If we take this covenant to be the Wye Agreement, then from its signing on October 23, 1998, to April 23, 2002 was three and a half years. And this end date was two days after the mayhem of Operation Defensive Shield was stopped - the effective end-point for the Wye peace initiative. Going on a further 1,290 days from there, as per Daniel 12:11-12, results in the date of November 3, 2005, at which point Ariel's power is draining away fast. And when the 1,335 days of Daniel 12:11-12 are applied to April 23, 2002, the resultant date is December 18, 2005. At which point, Ariel's premiership is virtually at an end, as he encounters his first stroke on that day. A sad blow for him, but for those who suffered under an antiChrist, Daniel 12:12 represents some long-awaited relief.
Despite this evidence - all the matches with Prophecy - some may still question labeling Ariel Sharon as a major antiChrist. They may be saying, Where's the link with the antiChrist's number - 666? Well there is a link in the record: in the Sharon-led offensive against Lebanon in 1982, according to one source Israel lost exactly 666 lives(13).
^ To summarize, this witness claims that Ariel Sharon fulfilled five antiChrist Prophecies. They are listed here in date order:
1. In 1982 - the match between the 666 Prophecy and the IDF toll from Ariel's incursion into Lebanon.
2. The event in 2000 that had paved the way for his election as prime minister. This was when he walked on the "wing of the Temple" - an "abomination," and a trigger for years of violence. This matched closely with a key part of the prophetic verse - Daniel 9:27.
3. The amazing turnaround in 2001 - Sharon - debarred from being Israel's defense minister - was elected her prime minister. In the language of Revelation 13:3, this corresponded to a fatal blow to the "head" (of the Defense Ministry) followed by such a healing that people "wondered" at it.
4. In April 2002 we see that Sharon was on a high - two days after Operation Defensive Shield ended. But this operation had cut off any peace hopes that may have sprung up three and a half years earlier when the Wye Agreement was signed. Thus it was that the other part of the Daniel 9:27 Prophecy was fulfilled - whatever "sacrifice" the parties to the Wye accord had seemed willing to accept, was to "cease" abruptly as the IDF exacted a terrible price from the Palestinians for the lethal toll they in turn had exacted on Jewish Israelis.
5. Suddenly, Ariel himself is cut down - on December 18, 2005 he suffers the first of two strokes, and his premiership is about to end. This date is 1,335 days after the "high" we just looked at, and is a precise match with Daniel 12:11-12.
So Ariel Sharon was uniquely placed, this writer maintains: No other person was in a position that made the Fulfillment of the Scriptures possible in such a precise way as this man. As a result, there is one thing we can say: ample Warnings about this particular antiChrist were kindly and caringly built into the Bible thousands of years ago. We can praise God for this!
The writer needs to remember at this point to be considerate toward a man who was stricken in the way he was. After all, you may think, whatever ills Sharon was able to bring on his adversaries years ago, he is in no position to hurt them now. And of course that's true and a fair point. Yet in another sense it may not be quite the end of the story, as is pointed out next. For an issue has come up about the background to military planning in Israel: Because the State of Israel has a high level of concern about the threat felt from her neighbors, plans are carefully made well in advance of any action that she feels impelled to take.
It turns out that this was the case with the short but devastating war against Lebanon in 2006. While the world thought that Israel was reacting to the capture of two IDF soldiers by Hizbullah, it seems that this was merely the best moment to go to war. "By 2004, the military campaign ... had already been blocked out"(14). And if the plan dates back that long, it was surely approved by Sharon - who was very much in charge in that year. So in a way could we see Ariel, comatose though he was by the Summer of 2006, reaching out from his hospital bed and "revisiting" Lebanon? Of course, Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister at the time of the offensive, must bear the main responsibility for approving the war on Lebanon. Opinion is that Olmert wanted to show that he had no lack of toughness, despite never having served in the IDF(15). Which means there is an argument for saying that a healthy Sharon might not have visited quite so much destruction on Lebanon as actually occurred?
This witness hopes that the above material has offered sufficient evidence of Sharon's antiChrist identity. Testing his record against the criteria given in John 10:10 - did he bring "life" or did he "steal, kill, and destroy"? Surely there is not much room for doubt. However, in case what is highlighted here looks one-sided, let's see what redeeming features this man has, and in the concluding paragraphs of this chapter, focus on those.
In a long life, Ariel Sharon had shown himself to be a brave soldier. He was also unswervingly loyal to the cause of secular Zionism. And yes he did work untiringly for the creation in Israel of a Jewish state - a state as powerful and unassailable as he could help make it. Part of this belief in Israel was shown in his promotion of settlements in the West Bank (the Palestinian territory West of the River Jordan). Among Israeli Jews he became known as the "father of settlers" for this advocacy.
Was it not his emphasis on Israel's security that enabled him to carry the nation with him following his astonishing comeback as the head of her government?
Finally, he undertook a politically unpopular task when he appeared to round on the Jewish settlers in Gaza, and insisted on driving through a unilateral withdrawal from the settlements in that strip of land.
The Israeli settlers undoubtedly felt he betrayed them, but he must have been looking at a bigger picture. See to what lengths he was willing to go - creating the new party of Kadima when his own Likud party was unwilling to go along with this withdrawal. He appeared statesmanlike then, and at that juncture was withdrawn from the scene by his stroke.
Some now see Ariel Sharon as a heroic peacemaker for
his role in Israel's
withdrawal from Gaza. And it certainly looked that way, at the time.
with the benefit of hindsight, it's fairly clear that this was not a
step forward. Looking at the sorry state of the Gaza Strip
today, should we not ask: What, exactly, was accomplished by Ariel in
Gaza? Removing the settlements there hardly seems to have led to a
breakthrough for the Gazans, but rather the reverse. And so, if Ariel
was not the peacemaker he appeared to be in 2005, then it's fair to
ask, Who is?
Once again, it is demonstrated that if we want a real peacemaker, then
to wait for the only One Who can deliver - namely, the Prince of Peace.
writer is at: