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The rumblings stirred by record-setting new film in Turkey are triggering alarm bells with students of biblical prophecy, who warn the world system the Antichrist will use to rise to power is already on the march.

“Constantinople will surely be conquered one day. The commander who conquers it is a blessed commander. His soldiers are blessed soldiers” – thus opens the film “Fetih 1453.”

“Fetih” (meaning “conquest”) begins in 7th century Arabia with Muhammad, who is presented off camera lest pious Muslims be offended by his physical portrayal, declaring the quote above. The film tells the story of the conquest of the Christian East Roman Empire and its capital Constantinople by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II, thereafter known as Mehmet Fatih, or the Conqueror.

Director Faruk Aksoy’s film is the now the most watched and highest grossing movie in Turkish history, earning more than $60 million worldwide.

But Joel Richardson, author New York Times best-selling “The Islamic Antichrist: The Shocking Truth About the Real Nature of the Beast” and “Mideast Beast: The Scriptural Case for an Islamic Antichrist,” just released by WND Books, views the release of “Fetih 1453″ and the rise of Turkey as a world power as confirming biblical prophecy.

“In my book ‘Mideast Beast,’ I walk the reader through several key biblical texts that also point to a renewed Turkish power in the last days,” Richardson told WND. “As the Obama administration is openly getting behind the Islamist government in Turkey, numerous world events are all aligning with what the biblical prophets spoke. For those who take biblical prophecy seriously, awaiting the return of Jesus, the events now unfolding in Turkey and the region – the days in which we are now living – are absolutely profound.”

Christian prophecy teachers are reexamining previous dogma regarding the empire of the Antichrist. Until recently North American prophecy teachers almost exclusively held to the European Antichrist theory in part because they believed that the Antichrist would succeed the Roman Empire, which some said never really fell. Modern scholars of biblical prophecy suggest the prior theories were historically inaccurate and contend that the Roman Empire was in fact conquered and succeeded.

Richardson’s work has been instrumental in the reexamination of the geographic region where the Antichrist will arise. The historical parallels between the time period depicted in “Fetih 1453″ and now are worth considering, said Richardson.

Taking a hard look at the most significant biblical end-time texts, “Mideast Beast” argues persuasively that the Antichrist, his empire, and his religion will come from the Middle East and not Europe, as has been widely taught by many prophecy teachers.

“When Mehmet gathered his Muslim soldiers around Constantinople, he purposefully had imams walk through the camps of the soldiers reading the prophecy concerning the conquering of the city, empowering the soldiers with a deep sense of divine and prophetic destiny,” said Richardson. “It was in fact the alleged prophecies of Muhammad that were among the most motivating factors driving the attack.

“Likewise today, throughout the Islamic world, there is a radical renewed interest in the many Islamic prophecies. Among these are prophecies concerning the renewal of the Islamic Caliphate, the invasion of Israel, the establishment of the Caliphate specifically from the city of Jerusalem, the genocide of most Jews in the land and also the secondary conquering of Constantinople,” Richardson continued. “Many Turks believe that the present Islamic takeover of Turkey by the AK Party is the actual fulfillment of this prophecy. Among the significant events that are leading many Muslims in the region to believe they are again living in a moment of prophetic fulfillment are the present ‘Arab Spring’ or ‘Islamic Awakening,’ as it is more commonly referred to as throughout the region, the rise of an assertive Islamist Turkey as a regional power.”

The release of “Fetih 1453″ comes at an interesting time. Turkey is now ruled by an elected Islamist government that celebrates its Ottoman religious and imperial past. It has even been praised by Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan, notorious for his popularity among youth in the Middle East and his belligerent behavior toward the State of Israel in recent years.

“It is also important to note the fact that beyond the Islamists of Turkey, so also do many of the secularist nationalists desire to see a revival of regional Turkish power in the Middle East,” said Richardson. “The yearning for the glories of the Ottoman Empire are not limited to the Islamists alone.”

Whereas most students of the Bible have long held that some form of humanism or universalist religion would catapult the Antichrist to world power, “Mideast Beast” systematically proves that the long awaited system of the Antichrist is even now before us and knocking at our door – virtually unnoticed by the church.

“I am firmly convinced that Islam is the single greatest challenge the church will face before the return of Jesus, yet most are still either asleep or in denial,” Richardson states in “Mideast Beast.”

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