Will He Be A Moslem?
John Hoole – November 11, 2012
All three mono-theistic religions in the world have an antichrist in their eschatology. Christianity, Judaism and Islam each teach about a powerful and sinister world ruler who will emerge during the end times. They are all looking for a man of unparalleled evil, an ultimate enemy who will come during the last days and take over the world.
Over the last decade, there have been a number of writers who have concluded the antichrist will be a Muslim. This has become the focus of a variety of books, articles, and radio and television shows.
Some books by those who advocate for a Moslem Antichrist
Islamic Antichrist by Joel Richardson (2009)
Mideast Beast by Joel Richardson (July 2012)
God’s War on Terror by Walid Shoebat and Joel Richardson (2008)
The Assyrian Connection by Philip Goodman (1993: reprint in 2003)
Unveiling the Man of Sin by Dr. Joe VanKoevering (2007)
Is it really possible that the biblical references to the Antichrist are referring to an end-time Muslim leader? The idea has gained some recent popularity. I want us today to evaluate this hypothesis from a biblical perspective and test whether it is truly a viable interpretive option.
Before examining why some Christians believe the antichrist predicted in the Bible will be Muslim, let’s first examine what Muslim eschatology broadly teaches on these matters.
The Islamic view of the Antichrist
In Islam, this person is call Al-Dajjal – which in Arabic means “deceiver.” His full title is Al-Maseeh (the Messiah) Ad-Dajjal, (Liar/Deceiver). Here are some of his main characteristics, according to Islamic teaching:
• He will be a Jew born in Iran
• He will be born to parents childless for 30 years
• He will be a young man
• He will appear during a time of great tribulation
• He will have thick hair
• He will have the word Infidel (Kaafir) written in between his eyes, or possibly on his forehead, but only true Muslims will perceive its meaning.
• He will be blind in one eye (there are conflicting sources as to which eye)
• He will possess incredible supernatural powers that he will use to deceive Muslims
• He will claim to be God and seek to be worshiped
• He will be the incarnation of evil
• He will conquer the world – except Mecca and Medina – with a large army
• He will set himself up as ruler in Jerusalem
Islamic view of their Messiah
The Messiah, according to Muslim theology, is called the Mahdi.
• He will be a descendant of Muhammad
• He will ride on a white horse
• He will bring global deliverance from the reign of the antichrist, the Dajjal.
• He will conquer and slaughter the Jews
• He will establish his headquarters in Jerusalem
• He will reign for at least 7 years
Islamic view of Jesus
The Jesus of Islam is substantially different from the Jesus of biblical Christianity. According to Muslim theology, Jesus…
• was one of the foremost prophets of Allah
• was a lesser prophet than Muhammad
• was sinless man who was a messenger of God
• was not the Son of God or God in human flesh
• was not crucified or resurrected but was raised directly to heaven by Allah
• was not a sacrifice to atone for the sins of humankind
• will come back to earth to the Mount of Olives, meet up with the Mahdi and submit to him then slay all who do not accept Islam as the one true religion. He will also kill the Dajjal.
• will marry and have children.
• will die and be buried next to Muhammad in Medina
• will then be resurrected with all other men and women on the last day
Contradictory nature of Islamic Eschatology
Most of what we know about Islamic eschatology does not find its source in the Islamic Quran. They come from the Hadith, which is a written form of Islamic traditions. Some of them are said to have been sayings of Mohammed, and compiled some 200 years following his death.
But, many of their tradition written in the Hadith are greatly contradictory. This makes it difficult to construct a detailed Muslim eschatology that all Muslims would agree with.
Dr. David Reagan, founder of Lion and Lamb Ministries, and a prophecy scholar, writes:
“It is extremely difficult to piece together the Islamic concept of the end times. The information is greatly disjointed, being spread throughout the Hadith.”
Why is this important? It is important because it is a primary area of doctrinal conflict between Shi’ite and Sunni Muslims. This is one of the main reasons that a major split among Muslims exists. These two varieties of Muslims hold to different views of the Mahdi.
• Shi’ite Muslims believe the Mahdi is now on earth but is in hiding and will soon emerge.
• Sunni Muslims, by contrast believe that the Mahdi has yet to emerge.
And most Christians who hold to the Muslim Antichrist theory ignore these conflicting views. Historian Timothy Furnish has summed up the difference between the two groups over the Mahdi by observing:
“For Shiites he has already been here, and will return from hiding; for Sunnis he has yet to emerge into history…”
Richardson, in his books, does not mention or allow for these differences.
The point is that if a Shiite leader suddenly appears on the world scene claiming to be the Mahdi, he will be rejected by the Sunnis (who constitute 90% of the Muslim world). And in like manner, any Sunni claiming to be the Mahdi will be rejected by the Shiites.
Another aspect of Richardson’s presentation is his heavy reliance on quotations from the Hadith to establish his scenario for end time events. He treats the Hadith as if it contains inspired prophecy, when, in fact, it is nothing more than the ramblings of some men.
To add some additional details – the Sunnis and Shi’ites also disagree on how the Mahdi will rule. The Sunnis believe that the caliph who will someday head their government, should be elected by Islamic governmental representatives. The Shi’ites, on the other hand, believe the caliph will be chosen by Allah from among the direct offspring of Mohammed.
Gary Stearman, of “Prophecy in the News,” writes:
“And the most radical Shi’ites, called the Twelvers, believe that the supernatural being, a messianic figure they call the Imam Mahdi, will personally come to present himself as their leader, arising from a subterranean hiding place, where he has resided for the past several centuries.”
The Antichrist will be a Roman
I believe Scripture reveals that the Antichrist will be a Roman. I covered this in more detail in our prior lesson on the “Antichrist and His Kingdom” than I will today.
In Daniel 9:24-27, we find the prophecy of what is commonly called “The 70 Weeks of Daniel.” In verse 26, Daniel says that after the 69th week and before the 70th week two events are prophesied to happen. The first is that the Messiah would be crucified, which occurred approximately A.D. 30.. The second is that the city of Jerusalem and the Jewish Temple will be destroyed. We all know the second prophecy occurred in A.D. 70, when the Roman General Titus put down any Jewish rebellion.
Daniel 9:26 adds some additional information. The prophet links the coming Antichrist with the people who destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple. The prophet tells us that the Antichrist will be from the same kingdom as those who destroyed the city and its temple. The people who destroyed Jerusalem and the coming Antichrist come from the same nationality stock.
One of the best arguments raised by proponents of a Moslem Antichrist, is in stating that the Roman Legions that destroyed Jerusalem, consisted largely of non-Roman people. In other words, as the Romans conquered lands, the conscripted local people into their forces. Some even narrow it by saying the Romans used Assyrians to destroy Jerusalem. I will say more about the Assyrian theory in a few minutes.
Let me provide a little background Roman history. Gaius Julius was a Roman general, a statesman and a writer of Latin prose. He lived from 100 BC to 44 BC. He did much in the transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire. And he becomes the first Caesar – Julius Caesar.
There were underlying conflicts, however, that had not been fully resolved. The internal conflicts turned at times into Civil Wars. To subdue these, Julius Caesar formed a number of military groups that became known as Roman Legions. The Roman Legions had names that would identify them and their positions. But, on the Ides of March (March 15), 44 BC, Julius Caesar was assassinated.
His successor, Octavian, who became Augustus Caesar, continued to use the Legions, and is the Caesar that actually put the Roman Empire on the map, so to speak. Augustus still had to quell several uprisings.
I am taking you through this information about the Roman Legions because we know which ones were involved in the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. There were three Roman Legions in the Jerusalem uprising.
Legio X Fretensis
The name means “Tenth Legion of the Sea Strait.” This name depicted the location of those who manned this Legion. The sea strait it refers to was called “Fretum,” later to be called the “Strait of Messina,” which is located at the southern end of the Roman “boot” between Italy and Sicily. This Legion had little, if any, personnel who were not totally Roman. Historical records allow us to track the movement of this and other Roman Legions. This Legion was brought into Syria and then Palestine at the time Caesar Augustus called for a census.
The two other Roman Legions were:
• Legio V Macedonica, which obviously are from Macedonia, but also from Eastern Europe.
• Legio XV Apolinaris, which most of the time were stationed on the Danube River between Austria and Slovenia.
All of these Roman Legions were staffed by Roman (Europian) citizen soldiers from the lowest rank all the way up the chain of command to General Titus Vespasianus.
As we can see, the “people who destroyed the city and temple” were indeed Romans. I believe this does much to show that the coming Antichrist will rise from Western Europe. The above information should also put to rest the argument that the Antichrist is an Assyrian. But let me make some additional statements on the Assyrian theory.
The biblical basis presented by Goodwin and VanKoevering is Isaiah10:24 (NKJV).
24 Therefore thus says the Lord God of hosts: "O My people, who dwell in Zion, do not be afraid of the Assyrian. He shall strike you with a rod and lift up his staff against you, in the manner of Egypt.
In response I would point out first of all that Isaiah 10:24 has absolutely nothing to do with end times prophecy. Isaiah 10 is a prophecy that God will use Assyria as His “rod of anger” (Vs. 5) to judge Israel. “Israel” mentioned here is speaking of the 10 northern tribes of Israel, and this prophecy was fulfilled in 721 B.C., when Assyria defeated “Israel.”
God is telling these tribes that they should not fear the Assyrians because after His indignation against Israel is spent, He will turn and judge Assyria. In other words, God will use Assyria to discipline Israel but He will not allow them to destroy the Jewish people. And once Israel is disciplined, He will destroy the Assyrian Empire.
One more thought concerning the Assyrian theory. The Old Testament Hebrew term for Assyria or Assyrians is Ashur or Ashshur. It is used in the Old Testament more than 150 times, and yet, the Book of Daniel, that gives us the most definitive origin for the Antichrist, never mentions the Assyrians even once. Daniel is considered by most to be the Old Testament authority on the subject of the Antichrist. Apparently he didn’t feel the Assyrian shoe fit the foot of this coming leader.
Daniel 9:26 gives us the most detailed literal account within the entirety of Scripture as to the origin of the Antichrist. In his prophecy, he states the Antichrist will originate from the people who would eventually destroy the city of Jerusalem and the Jewish Temple.
Now, let’s look at some additional reasons why the Antichrist will not be a Moslem.
The Antichrist makes a Covenant with Israel
We know, from Daniel 9:27, that the 7-year Tribulation begins when the Antichrist signs a covenant with Israel. It reads the Antichrist will make a strong covenant with many for one week.” That is, one week of years – seven years.
I wonder, like many Bible and prophecy scholars, why a Muslim leader would sign a covenant with Israel guaranteeing it protection. After all, most Muslims today hate Israel and want to wipe them from the face of the earth. Related to this, many prophecy experts down through Church history, have believed this covenant signed by the Antichrist, is what allows Israel to dwell securely so that they can rebuild the Jewish Temple. It seems hard that a Muslim leader would protect Israel in this regard. Most Moslems would not want what they consider a pagan temple built on the Temple Mount. They would not want a Jewish Temple to even be built in Jerusalem.
Just as no Muslim leader would guarantee safety for the hated Jews, neither would Israel ever trust its security to a Muslim leader. Even if such a covenant was reached, Israel would never be quite sure the Mahdi would not break it. The Muslim-antichrist hypothesis assumes that Muslims will universally submit to such a covenant. That is very hard for me to believe. Based on a long historical precedent, it seems clear that Muslims would strongly react against such a covenant made by a Muslim leader.
There is another facet to this part of Islamic eschatology. One of the aspects of the Islamic Antichrist theory is that of comparing the Islamic description of their Mahdi with the Christian description of the Antichrist. Joel Richardson strongly uses this argument in his books, The Islamic Antichrist and The Mideast Beast. This comparison is made, notwithstanding that Sunni and Shia differences.
One place where the Islamic Mahdi is different from the Christian Antichrist, according to Islamic eschatology, is that their eschatology doesn’t say the Mahdi makes a treaty with the Jews. Rather, it is with the Romans. This cannot be reconciled with the biblical account in any way.
Joel Richardson, in his book, The Islamic Antichrist, tries to argue that when the Islamic antichrist appears, he will be able to instantly unite the whole Islamic world. This is highly unlikely since the concept of the Mahdi is one of the key elements of their eschatology that separates the Shiites from the Sunnis.
The Antichrist claims to be God
Daniel 11:36 tells us the Antichrist “shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god.” We also read in 2 Thessalonians 2:4 that the Antichrist ultimately “opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.”
To say the very least, a Muslim antichrist claiming to be God would be trashing the Muslim creed: “There is one God named Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet.” I cannot imagine a true Muslim making any claim that he was God. Just as it is anathema for Muslims to call Jesus the “Son of God,” so it would be anathema to Muslims for any human to claim he was God.
If true Muslims – those who are firmly committed to Allah, Muhammad, the Quran and their creed, if they discover another Muslim who claimed to be God, they would want the behead the infidel. No Muslim would follow such a man and they would not allow such a claim go unanswered.
The Wars of Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38 & 39.
I wonder how the Muslim antichrist hypothesis is feasible with the two separate wars mentioned in Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38 &39. We have addressed these wars against Israel in earlier lessons.
Psalm 83 was covered in “The Destruction of Damascus.”
Ezekiel 38 & 39 was covered in, “Russian and Iran in Bible Prophecy.”
In each of these lesson, I presented my belief that the biblical evidence points to both wars occurring prior to the Tribulation.
Between these two passages, there are 19 populations involved against the nation of Israel. Ten are mentioned in Psalm 83, and nine in Ezekiel 38, and there are none involved in both wars.
I also presented that the people involved in the war of Psalm 83 form an “inner circle” of nations. By that, I mean, these enemies are predominantly immediate neighbors of Israel. The nine nations mentioned in Ezekiel 38 form an “outer circle.” That is, none of them border immediately on Israel. The nations of Psalm 83 are all destroyed.
In the Ezekiel prophecy, we read of a massive assault by Russia, Iran, Libya, Sudan, Turkey, etc. With the sheer size of the assault force, Israel will seem to have no chance of defending itself. God, however, will intervene and supernaturally annihilate the invaders. The nations involved will be reduced to ashes.
Of the 19 different tribes or people groups, all but possibly one are Muslim nations today. If all these Muslim countries are destroyed prior to the start of the Tribulation, the question can be raised how a Muslim leader could emerge from the ashes to be the Antichrist. Nearly all, if not all, the Muslim armies of the Middle East will be totally decimated.
Most likely these two wars occur prior to the arrival of the Antichrist. When the Antichrist signs a treaty with the Jews, Islam will probably be a non-issue. If the Mahdi were to come as the Antichrist, he would have no one to rule.