Islam s Antichrist
Vol: 114 Issue: 23 Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Apart from the total disintegration of the Libyan ‘mission’ – once the Europeans realized America really wasn’t going to lead – there are a number of other issues, some related, some not, but equally worth our attention.
There really isn’t much more to say on the subject. Having said that, we’ll move on to other topics, for now.
I note that the folks over at Worldnetdaily are getting into the theology business in a big way. One of their headlines, “Why Beck is Concerned about ‘Islamic Antichrist’ is actually a plug for Joel Richardson’s book, The Islamic Antichrist.
WND cited Glenn Beck’s interview with Joel Richardson in which Glenn Beck “cited a number of similarities between the prophecies regarding the Antichrist of the Bible and the Mahdi of Islamic tradition.”
“You have the bad guy of the Bible, he primarily persecutes God’s people, Jews and Christians,” Richardson responded. Meanwhile the “12th imam,” or Islam’s Mahdi, “causes Jews and Christians to submit to Islam or be killed.”
The WND column notes that the book is co-authored by Walid Shoeblatt, a former Islamic militant who later left Islam after becoming a Christian. According to WND, Joel Richardson is “a human-rights activist, lecturer and artist” who has been “involved in evangelism and ministry to Muslims since 1994.”
I get a lot of emails from folks wanting me to comment on Richardson’s premise, which is essentially that Islam’s Mahdi is the Bible’s antichrist.
We examined the possibility back in 2004 — long before Richardson’s book was published.
While there are TONS of similarities between the world religion of the antichrist and that of the Twelvers of Shia Islam, I have to reject it as a plausible scenario insofar as Bible prophecy is concerned.
Islamic tradition says the Mahdi will make his appearance riding on a white horse. Richardson links the Islamic Mahdi to the First Seal Judgment — the Book of the Revelation’s rider on a white horse as described in Revelation 6:3:
“And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.” (Revelation 6:3)
Richardson notes that Islamic tradition says that the Mahdi will bring about a war that will kill a quarter of mankind.
Revelation 6:8 says about a quarter of mankind will be killed by the first four judgments of the Tribulation:
“And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.”
It sounds interesting. It even sounds almost the same. But Bible prophecy doesn’t allow for “almost.”
I don’t want to nitpick, but Revelation doesn’t attribute the death toll to the antichrist – it attributes it to the sword, hunger, death and the beasts of the earth.
It is a culmulative death toll resulting from four separate judgments: it starts with the ascension of the antichrist, who carries a bow but no arrows. Why is that?
Because the Prophet Daniel said it would be “by peace that he shall destroy many.” Not even the most generous interpretation of the Islamic Mahdi depicts him as peaceful.
The Mahdi, according to Iran’s state religion, is Muhammad ibn Hasan, the “righteous descendant of the prophet Mohammed” who has been in hiding for a thousand years.
His return will be preceded by cosmic chaos, war, bloodshed and pestilence. That is the reverse order of judgment, according to the Book of Revelation. Again, close. But only close.
After this cataclysmic confrontation between the forces of good and evil, the Mahdi will lead the world to an era of universal peace under Islamic rule. The Mahdi is Islam’s messiah.
But Islam already has an antichrist – the Dajjal.
“Dajjal will be a Jew. His distinguishing feature is that he will be one-eyed and the word “Kafir” or “unbeliever” will be written on his forehead. . . That he is a Jew is confirmed from another hadis, which says that his followers will be mainly of Jewish religion.”
According to the Sunan of Abu Dawud #4306, not only will the Islamic antichrist be a one-eyed Jew, he has a few other distinguishing characteristics:
“I have told you so much about the Dajjal (Anti-Christ) that I am afraid you may not understand. The Anti-Christ is short, hen-toed, woolly-haired, one-eyed, an eye-sightless, and neither protruding nor deep-seated.
And just in case some of the faithful still have trouble spotting him in a crowd, Abu Dawud offers this final bit of sagacity:
“If you are confused about him, know that your Lord is not one-eyed.”
The problem with interpreting Bible prophecy to fit current events is that when current events don’t co-operate, it’s the Bible that has to bend in order to keep the narrative flowing smoothly.
If the interpretation is true, then it will be current events fitting the Bible’s narrative, not the other way around.
That is the first problem I found with the whole premise. To make the antichrist a Muslim, you have to bend too much of the Scripture – and ignore too much of Islam’s own teaching.
The Prophet Daniel says that antichrist will not “regard any god: for he shall magify himself above, but “in his estate” he will honor “a god whom his fathers knew not.”
That doesn’t even sound close to Islam’s Mahdi, who Islam says has been in a state of occultation for 1200 years. Here is what Islam says about the Mahdi:
“We are told that Jesus will descend to the earth soon after the appearance of the Mahdi; he will join the Mahdi in establishing the Kingdom of God on earth; and he will pray behind Imam al-Mahdi. The true Christians will follow Jesus in accepting Imam al-Mahdi as the leader at the time and become Muslims.”
Finally, the entire premise is based on the similarities between Islamic eschatological tradition and Bible prophecy. One arrives at similarities by comparing them to each other.
To compare them demands assigning them equal validity.
Islamic tradition is similar to Bible prophecy because Islam was modeled after Judeo-Christianity. It often refers to the Koran as the “Third Testament.”
It is an Abrahamic religion, which means by definition that Judeo-Christianity served as the model.
Islam was founded sixteen hundred years after the founding of Jerusalem and the construction of the Temple. It was founded seven hundred years after the founding of Christianity and the destruction of the Temple.
So of course there are similarities between Islamic eschatology and Bible prophecy. That doesn’t validate Islamic eschatology.
Here is the central issue to be resolved: Did Revelation prophesy of Islam? Or did Islam simply modify Bible prophecy already long since recorded?
WND is promoting Joel Richardson’s book claiming the identity of the antichrist based on Glenn Beck’s understanding of Bible prophecy.
Glenn Beck is a fine social commentator and I believe he is a patriotic American. And he is most likely sincere in his faith, which Beck self-identifies as Mormon. But that no more makes Beck a Christian theologian than having been sued once would make him a Constitutional lawyer.
Beck articulated his understanding of Bible prophecy the other day when he attempted to define “immanency” as meaning “Jesus could come 5,000 years from now.”
Gee. Is Beck pre-Trib? Post-Trib? Mid-Trib? Post-millennial? Amillennial? Does it matter?
Are we talking about Bible prophecy? Then of course it matters.
I don’t want to be seen as beating up on Glenn Beck, Joel Richardson, Walid Shoeblatt or Islam. I am addressing a question regarding Bible prophecy.
Bible prophecy cannot be molded and shaped and massaged until it fits a particular worldview. Because Bible prophecy IS a worldview. While current events may follow the general lines of Bible prophecy, when current events veer in another direction, Bible prophecy does not.
The understanding of the antichrist’s religion as Islam fits neatly, but only if we make the antichrist a fake Muslim and redefine Islam so that a mere man can claim godhood without violating Islam’s central pillar of faith – “there is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet.”
Or alternatively, we must change Bible prophecy so that the antichrist can lead an Islamic army into battle with a bow without arrows — without contradicting Daniel’s description of the antichrist as one who confirms a peace covenant between Israel and the many.
Somehow we must make room in this narrative for the Mahdi to rebuild the Temple on Temple Mount, institute a global government, impose an economic/religious mark, enforce a peace treaty with Israel, and do it all with the enthusiastic approval of the governed.
Bible prophecy is not a sport where the rules are subject to change. Nor is it a story that can be rewritten to suit popular trends. But that doesn’t stop people from trying. Or from buying into it.
For some, Bible prophecy isn’t spectacular enough – it needs to be spruced up some. Europe doesn’t look scary enough to be the seat of the antichrist’s government.
And a European antichrist doesn’t seem nearly as scary as an Islamic one does.