Middle East Meltdown – Oil, Israel, and the Religion Behind the Crisis by John Ankerberg and Dillon Burroughs is a fine example of end times prophecy scholarship without the speculative falsehoods that exist in many prophecy writings today. In a time where the Bible continues to be a tool used by false teachers to promote error, this book provides some relief as well as a biblical examination of the end times using actual events that have occurred over time which proved to be nothing short of a miracle. Ankerberg and Burroughs strategically defend their position resting upon the weight of the evidence found in the very pages of the Bible itself and history. Usually, time will tell whether a book can stand the test of time. When events unfold, or does not unfold, an author either gains or loses credibility.
Ankerberg and Burroughs begin their book by pointing out the importance of interpreting current events through the biblical lens. Conflict does exist in the Middle East and the Christian must understand why these events are happening. Thus, Ankerberg and Burroughs give the reader five reasons why Middle East Meltdown – Oil, Israel, and the Religion Behind the Crisis should be read now.
The first reason to read Middle East Meltdown is to understand why continuous conflicts continue to exist in the Middle East. Ankerberg and Burroughs understand that key intelligence leaders currently undermine the religious motivations behind terrorist attacks. Even now, Americans are unaware that that the Jewish people have been preparing to rebuild their temple in Jerusalem. The second reason Ankerberg and Burroughs gives in an effort to encourage readers to read their book is to gain honest information regarding the Middle East and the War on Terror. The liberal media seems to have more of a handle on people’s mind than the Bible. So it would help to gain a real knowledge and read an honest critique on what is actually happening in the Middle East.
Thirdly, Ankerberg and Burroughs say that we need to know where the conflict is heading. In other words, we need to understand what will happen in the future. Since God knows what will happen, the only source for this information is found in the Bible. God is glorified as Omniscient when we clearly see what He has foretold and brought to pass several thousands of years later. Fourth, we need to understand correctly what the Bible teaches regarding the contemporary War on Terror; and five, Ankerberg and Burroughs offers wisdom on how to respond to today’s War on Terror.
Also, Ankerberg and Burroughs gives seven reasons why Bible prophecy should be studied: 1. Prophecy is God speaking directly to humanity. 2. God Himself commands us to study prophecy. 3. Jesus personally encouraged the study of prophecy. 4. Prophecy is evidence that God exists. 5. Prophecy gives us hope for the future. 6. Prophecy encourages a lifestyle of integrity. 7. Prophecy shapes our personal thinking and worldview.
The book goes on to describe briefly, but intelligently, the historical and unfolding events that will precede the Lord’s Second Coming. The religious motivation behind Islamic terrorism comes right from the text of the Quran. The Quran serves as the controlling criterion of Islamic activity. Ankerberg and Burroughs points out a few verses in the Quran that instructs Islamic terrorist action. Also, the Quran conflicts with the historic Christ of Christianity regarding the deity of Christ and His sacrificial death on the cross. The Muslim Quran teaches Muslims that Christians and Jews are not friends of Islam. Muslims are also taught to put to death those who blaspheme the Prophet Mohammed.
In their battle with the Jewish nation, Arab states share a common theological belief —Islam. Ankerberg and Burroughs believe that religion is the motivating factor in these conflicts and takes this position as the central tenet of their book. It is interesting to see that Ankerberg and Burroughs expose the liberal media for promoting false information in an effort to undermine the Republican administration relative to the Iraq War. This ties in with what Ankerberg and Burroughs realizes in the Scripture—-that people will turn from the faith and follow fables (1 Timothy 4:1). In a time where many nominal Christians are actually denying the resurrection of Christ, it should come as no surprise that this was foretold thousands of years ago.
Ankerberg and Burroughs shares with the reader a fascinating discovery by recognizing that Osama bin Laden’s name became popular among newborns after the September 11th 2001 attack on the World Trade Center. This is significant because it confirms that an attack on America is a welcomed event in other parts of the world even as radical Islam gains ground in America.
While radical Islam finds growing support in America, Ankerberg and Burroughs admonished Christians to respond positively and strategically by first loving them as Jesus Himself taught. We should also support national defense, learn about Islam and become friends with Muslims which may led to life-changing decisions for those involved in Islam as well as our personal lives. The Bible encourages us to pray for all people.
Ankerberg and Burroughs points out that Israel becoming a nation in 1948 was nothing short of a miraculous event that was foretold in Scripture. Rather than use speculative sensationalism, they used the actual text and interviewed several scholars in the field known for their expertise in biblical prophecy. Israel is the center of God’s salvation plan on earth. Never in the history of mankind has a dead language and nation become extinct and revive again. Jerusalem is again the central figure in the end times as the Jews prepare to build their Temple where the Dome of the Rock now sits. Ankerberg and Burroughs documents personal interviews where the contents of the temple are now being collected for future use in the new temple.
Ankerberg and Burroughs delve into economic matters regarding oil. This commodity fuels much discussion and seems to benefit rogue nations who can negotiate with more powerful countries who rely on its oil supply. Iran, who is said to have the fourth largest military force in the world, also have an enormous oil supply that can tremendously affect oil prices should they cut off their oil supply to the world as well as the oil traffic through its territories. The Middle East will continue to be the center of war activity until Christ returns. Thus, Christians ought to understand this and live their lives as if Christ will return in a moment.
In my evaluation of this book, I would have to give much credit to John Ankerberg and Dillon Burroughs for carefully avoiding end times sensationalism like Grant Jeffrey and Harold Camping. Many prophecy books have been written but they end up playing God rather than remain within the confines of the Scripture. Middle East Meltdown puts the study of prophecy and its purpose in the correct context and incorporates the scholarship of proven experts like Jimmy DeYoung.