Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Mideast Beast: The Scriptural Case for an Islamic Antichrist

Joel'sTrumpet

With the arrival of a limited number of pre-release copies of my newest book, Mideast Beast: The Scriptural Case for an Islamic Antichrist, due on May 1, I wanted to give readers a preview by posting the preface.

IN 2006, MY FIRST BOOK was published as Antichrist: Islam’s Awaited Messiah, but later republished as The Islamic Antichrist. On the surface, the book was a comparison of Islamic and biblical eschatology (the study of the end-times), but in spirit, it was also my best attempt to blow a trumpet and sound an alarm. I am firmly convinced that Islam is the single greatest challenge that the Church will face before the return of Jesus, yet most are still either asleep or in denial. Islamic Antichrist was my sincere and deeply heartfelt effort to awaken the believing community from its slumber regarding the looming challenge and relevance of Islam as well as its premier role in the last days. And beyond this, the book was a call to action; to imitate Jesus, embrace the cross, and fearlessly give ourselves to the Muslim world, so as to perhaps snatch a few from the fire.
Islamic Antichrist set the basic biblical end-time narrative side by side with the Islamic vision of the end-times. The resultant picture brings to light the shocking reality that as a religious system, Islam is anti-Christ to its very core. Islam’s basic doctrines represent a direct frontal attack against Christianity, declaring many of those doctrines that the Bible sets forth as holy, foundational, and essential to be the greatest abominations and blasphemies imaginable. Whereas the Christian faith is founded upon the belief that God Himself became a man in Jesus the Messiah, Islam declares in its Qur’an that anyone who believes in the Incarnation commits the worst form of blasphemy imaginable, is cursed by Allah, and will suffer “a grievous penalty” in this life and in the next. Beyond this, Islam’s end-times narrative, in so many ways, is simply the biblical end-time story flipped on its head. While the whole book cannot be summarized here, just a couple of brief examples should paint a sufficient picture.
First, the biblical descriptions regarding the coming of Jesus the Jewish Messiah bear many striking resemblances to the coming Antichrist of Islam, whom Muslims refer to as the al-maseeh al-dajjaal (the counterfeit Messiah). Second, the Bible’s Antichrist bears numerous striking com- monalities with the primary messiah figure of Islam, who Muslims call the Mahdi. In other words, our Messiah is their antichrist and our Antichrist is their messiah. Even more shocking to many readers was the revelation that Islam teaches that when Jesus returns, He will come back as a Muslim prophet whose primary mission will be to abolish Christianity. It’s difficult for any Bible believer to read of these things without becoming acutely aware of the satanic origins of the Islamic religion.
In 2008, I also had the opportunity to coauthor another book on the same subject with Walid Shoebat, a former operative for the Palestine Liberation Organization. This book, entitled God’s War on Terror, is an almost encyclopedic discussion of the role of Islam in the last days, as well as a chronicle of Walid’s journey from a young Palestinian Muslim with a deep hatred for the Jews, to a Christian man who spends his life standing with the Jewish people and proclaiming the truth concerning the dangers of radical Islam.
Together these two books have become the cornerstone of what has developed into a popular eschatological revolution. Today, I receive a steady stream of e-mails and reports from individuals expressing how much these books have affected them and transformed their understanding of the end-times. Students, pastors, and even reputable scholars have expressed that they have abandoned the popular notion that the Anti- christ, his empire, and his religion will emerge out of Europe or a revived Roman Empire. Instead they have come to recognize the simple fact that the Bible emphatically and repeatedly points us to the Middle East as the launchpad and epicenter of the emerging empire of the Antichrist and his religion. Many testify that although they have been students of Bible prophecy for many years, never before had anything made so much sense, or the prophecies of the Bible become so clear. And even more important, some have even written to share that they’ve become believers or recom- mitted their lives to Jesus as a result of reading these books. Hallelujah!
Others, however, express that while the thesis presented in Islamic Antichrist and God’s War on Terror makes a great deal of sense, they still have many unanswered questions. The purpose of this book is to set forth a scholarly, yet popularized, succinct presentation of the Islamic Antichrist theory based on the most relevant passages of Scripture. If there is even a chance that Islam is, in fact, the primary subject of the Bible’s many antichristic prophecies, the possibility alone should be enough to merit serious consideration of the relevant texts.
I want to state at the outset that this book’s purpose is not to debate what many might feel is irrelevant or even morbid end-time trivia. Many may ask why it even matters if the Antichrist will emerge from Europe or the Middle East, whether he will be a humanist or a Muslim. The fact of the matter is that the practical implications of the many subjects discussed in this book are profound. If, in fact, Islam is the religion of the Antichrist, the significance is earth-shattering. As much of the Church today, including large segments of the missions movement, increasingly embraces an approach toward reaching Muslims that flirts with syncretism and outright heresy (I am referring to what has become known as the “Insider Movement”), it is imperative that followers of Jesus determine exactly where they stand concerning the origins and nature of Islam. As we strive to love Muslims, must we also love Islam? Or is it possible to passionately care for Muslims, while hating Islam? Is Islam a faith system that can create a genuine relationship with God, or is it purely a soul destroying ideology? Can one be both a Muslim and a follower of Jesus, as many evangelical missiologists claim? Are the Allah of the Qur’an and the God of the Bible one and the same? And what about Israel and the Jewish people? Fierce anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are now spreading from the Muslim world into the Christian Church; what did the prophets say about these things? Where is a disciple of Jesus seeking to love both Muslims and Jews to stand on these matters? What about the “Arab Spring”? Does the Bible inform us as to where this sudden and drastic change in the Muslim world is heading? Further, while numerous demographic models inform us that Islam will soon emerge as the world’s largest religion, many within the Christian Church believe and teach that most of the Islamic world (and Russia) will soon be destroyed in a series of prophesied battles, resulting in the religion of Islam virtually disappearing from the earth. But does the Bible really teach this? How we answer these questions and what we believe about these things will drastically affect our approach toward prayer, intercession, evangelism, and missions. These are not questions that the Church can afford to get wrong. Carefully searching the Scriptures so as to answer these questions accurately is absolutely essential. This is why this book was written. While this study will certainly answer many questions concerning the end-times, it is far from irrelevant or morbid eschatological trivia. As the Church seeks to plot its way forward into the ever-changing world, it is essential for the Church to grasp the truths brought forward in this study.
I also appeal to you to approach this book prayerfully. I have written the book prayerfully and I ask you to talk to the LORD as you read it. There are few subjects that are as serious and pressing as that discussed here. As we study the subject of the end-times, we must do so in a spirit of prayer. Across the body of Christ, throughout the earth, many believe this is the generation that will live to see Jesus’ return. So then does this generation have a greater duty to become a community of prayer dedi- cated to loving one another? “The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:7–8).
This very well may be the generation that has inherited both the massive opportunity and the immense responsibility that was spoken of by the prophet Daniel: “And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever” (Daniel 12:3).
Daniel saw a glimpse of it—but many reading this book may very well be among those who will actually live it. I appeal to you to seize this opportunity with everything you have. The urgency of the hour demands no less.