In PART I we introduced a few basic concepts that we’ll need to keep in mind going forward. First of all, the Islamic world is awaiting their own version of Messiah. They call him the Mahdi and he is returning to lead the end times fight between good (Islam) and evil (the rest of the unbelieving world.) [And some believe that this Mahdi is already here on earth.] Iran is actively preparing for his appearance, which will come at a time geo-political chaos. So wars and even terror are a part of the process of making conditions right for his ascension to power. There is one other thing. Islamic writings in the Koran and the Hadith make the Mahdi look a whole lot like the Christian Antichrist. Today we’ll start to explore those similarities.
PART II – WHO DAT MAN ?
“Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, ‘Come and see.’ And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.” (Revelation 6:1-2)
Islamic tradition is very revealing. The Great Mahdi, is predicted to make his appearance riding a white horse. Even Islamic scholars will grant that this is one area where the Bible has not been corrupted. To their way of thinking, the Mahdi will return following the opening of the 1st seal judgment described in Revelation 6:1.[i] Arab leaders in the Middle East are taking their own prophecies very seriously indeed. Many are said to have white horses on hand, in case they are selected as ‘the One’. Forward thinking indeed!
There is much to read into that short passage of Revelation quoted above. Notice the rider will be on a “white horse,” have a “bow” and a “crown” and go out “conquering and to conquer.” The redoubtable Hal Lindsey helps us break that passage down. The first seal, he points out, is broken near the beginning of Daniel’s 70th week, shortly after the believing Church has been raptured. That is when both the Mahdi and the Antichrist are expected to come on the scene. Secondly, the white horse and the bow without arrows are symbolic of his entre’ as a man of peace. Coming out of a time of turmoil, Daniel 8:25 confirms of the Antichrist: That “by peace he shall destroy many.” Even the Greek word for crown used in the passage denotes the crown of a conqueror not royalty. This Prince is a usurper. Then there is this. Lindsey sees a clue to the identity of the rider in Genesis 21:20. The first man with a bow mentioned in Scripture is identified there as Ishmael. Now Ishmael is the son of Abraham through Hagar, his servant girl; – and is the father of the Arab race. Interestingly this returning 12th Mahdi is the direct descendant of Mohammed, who is the direct descendant of Kedar, the second son of Ishmael.[ii] There is some scriptural support for the notion that the Antichrist will be indeed be an Arab. Micah 5:5-6 identifies him as “the Assyrian” from the “land of Nimrod.” Now Assyria encompasses what is now Iran and Iraq and Nimrod, whose name means “rebel,” ruled his empire from Babylon itself, – the very symbol of mankind’s end-time rebellion.[iii] Babylon is of course in Iraq. Saddam himself began to reconstruct the city. Revelation clearly identifies Babylon as the seat of Man’s End Times anti-God rebellion. Scripture tells us that in the end, it will be destroyed. The long-held objection to the notion of an Islamic Antichrist has been the clear understanding that he must come from the revived Roman Empire. Daniel 9:26 tells us that he shall be of “the people of the prince who is to come [who] Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.” It was the Roman Army that destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in AD 70. The general interpretation has been that the Antichrist would come from the European Union, which occupies the territory of what was the Western part of the Roman Empire. In Daniel 2, God gave Daniel a clear understanding of the general outline of history. He showed him King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of a large statue, representing the 5 world empires that would rule over Israel: Babylon, Medo-Persia, Alexander’s Greece, Rome, and in the last days, a revived Rome. In fact the legs of the statue represented the Roman Empire. This accurately portrayed the split in the Empire between its Eastern and Western halves. Many forget that there even was an Eastern Roman Empire, ruled from Constantinople, (modern Istanbul), that outlasted the West by about a thousand years. This Eastern leg took in all of the Middle East including the territories now occupied by Syria, Iran and Iraq. This certainly opens up the possibility of an Arab / Islamic Antichrist and comports with Micah 5, quoted above.
Now according to Islamic tradition, when the Mahdi comes, he is to initiate a war that will result in the destruction of one-fourth of mankind.[iv] Again, just look at what Scripture has to say. The opening of the Second Seal produces “Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword.” Along with the riders of the next two horses, “power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth.” (Revelation 6:4,8) It is instructive that Islamic tradition again agrees with the Bible here, telling us that the war which the Mahdi will wage will kill a fourth of mankind. With that by way of introduction let’s take a comparative look at what Islam and Christianity teach about their respective Messiahs.
The Antichrist File
Let’s begin by looking at the profile that the Bible gives of the coming “man of sin.” (2Thessalonians 2:3) The Scriptures also refer to him as a “king of fierce countenance” (Daniel 8:23), “the beast” (Revelation 11:7), and “son of perdition;” (2Thessalonians 2:3) – 33 names in all.[v] Each name given reveals a little more of the character of this ‘seed of the Serpent’. (from Genesis 3:15). Zechariah 11:17 even gives some clues as to the physical appearance of the Antichrist, referring to him as a “foolish shepherd.” “Woe to the worthless shepherd, Who leaves the flock! A sword shall be against his arm And against his right eye; His arm shall completely wither, And his right eye shall be totally blinded.”[vi] Revelation 13:3 tells us “And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed.” Scholars see this referring to a “fake death and resurrection” staged by the Antichrist to increase his following. (Remember, the Antichrist will in all ways possible, be an imitation of the True Christ, Jesus.) Revelation 13:3 finishes by telling us, “And all the world marveled and followed the beast.” Below we’ll look at some of what the Bible tells us about the career and the character of that future prince.
- Rise From Rome – The Antichrist will rise from a revived Roman Empire. (Daniel 9:26) Rome controlled most of Europe as well as the Middle East. (Consult Daniel 2, Daniel 7, Revelation 6, and Revelation 17)
- Come To Power In Turmoil – Daniel 12:1 reads: “there shall be a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation.” It will be a time of both physical and spiritual trouble. (Revelation 12:7-10)
- Seven Year Reign – His effective career will last seven years beginning with his confirmation of a treaty involving Israel. (Daniel 9:27 & elsewhere)
- Pose As A Man of Peace – (Revelation 6:2) However that will just be a front. Daniel 8:25 tells us that “through his policy…by peace [he] shall destroy many.”
- Great Orator / Man of Genius – Daniel 7:20
- He Will Pass For A Gentile Prince – (Daniel 9:26-27)
- He Will Invade Jerusalem – He will control the Temple Mount (Revelation 13:1-2)
- Received As The Jewish Messiah – Jesus told the Jews in John 5:43, that though they rejected Christ, “if another comes in his own name, him you will receive.”
- Unify The World’s Religions – The world will follow the False Prophet (The Islamic Jesus, perhaps??), who will lead the world in the worship of the beast. (Revelation 13:11-15) And “All who dwell on the earth will worship him.” (Revelation 13:8)
- He Will Make War Against True Believers – (Revelation 13:7) And he will behead those who have been faithful in their “witness to Jesus and for the word of God.” (Revelation 20:4)
- Rule Much Of The World – “And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.” (Revelation 13:7) Many are now openly working for world government. Former Deputy Secretary of State, Strobe Talbott is longing for a time when “nationhood as we know it will be obsolete”…and there will be but one “…single, global authority”.[vii]
- He Will Declare Himself God – 2 Thessalonians 2:4 reveals that he will sit “as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” Revelation 13:3 tells us that the world “will worship the beast, saying ‘Who is like the beast?’” [viii]
In summary, here’s what the reign of the Antichrist will look like. He will institute:
- One World Religion – Authority Over All Religions
- Total Economic Control – The Mark of the Beast will control all financial transactions.
- One World Government – Total Political Control
This combination of all-encompassing political and religious authority which the Antichrist will exercise has been attempted before, but never quite pulled off. This office of priest-king was pretended to by a line of kings, beginning with Nimrod, builder of the tower of Babel and founder of false religion. During the Tribulation, the last 7 years before Christ’s return, the Antichrist will succeed in pulling it off. Like another would-be priest-king ruler, Antiochus Epiphanes who did it in 167 BC, the Antichrist will desecrate the Temple of God with something called the “abomination of desolation”, the ultimate insult against a Holy God. (See Matthew 24:15, Daniel 11:31) Next we’ll look at what Islamic scripture has to say about their coming Mahdi. The similarity may astound!
[i] Jack Kinsella, Mahdi Rising…, Omega Letter, April 6, 2006
[ii] Hal Lindsey, The 4 Horsemen, al Mahdi, and the Magnetic Polar Reversal, Oracle, March 14, 2006
[iii] Chuck Missler, The Return of Nimrod, Personal Update News Journal, October 2002
[iv] Jack Kinsella, Mahdi Rising…, Omega Letter, April 6, 2006
[v] Jerry Robinson, Understanding the Antichrist Part I, WIR
[vi] Chuck Missler, A Man On Horseback, from Behold A White Horse, from The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse, November 1999
[vii] Strobe Talbott, The Birth of the Global Nation, Time, July 20, 1992, as quoted by Chuck Missler, A Man On Horseback, from Behold A White Horse, from The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse, November 1999
[viii] Much of the preceding was adapted from Chuck Missler, The Man On Horseback, Behold A White Horse, Personal Update News Journal, November 1999