What’s the difference between Apocalyptic Islamic eschatology & Biblical eschatology? And why does it matter?
What Iran’s Leaders & Allies Say They Will Do: Annihilate America
“The slogans of the Iranian nation on Al-Qods Day show what its position is. The
slogans ‘Death to Israel’ and ‘Death to America’ have resounded throughout the
country, and are not limited to Tehran and the other large cities. The entire country is
under the umbrella of this great movement [of ‘Death to Israel’ and ‘Death to
America’].”—Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, July 18, 2015.20
“Even after this [nuclear] deal [with the P5+1], our policy towards the arrogant U.S. will
not change.”—Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, July 18, 2015.21
“Saying ‘death to America’ is easy. We need to express ‘death to America’ with
action.”—Hassan Rouhani, then a presidential candidate, and later the elected president
of Iran, May 8, 2013.22
“God willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world without
the United States and Zionism.”—Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, October
International Leaders Summit
Joel C. Rosenberg
First, some background: Radical Islam is a serious threat, but it’s not the most dangerous threat the West faces. Apocalyptic Islam is far more dangerous.
Radical Islam seeks to attack us. Apocalyptic Islam seeks to annihilate us.
Radical Islam (al Qaeda, Hamas, the Taliban, Muslim Brotherhood, etc) uses violence for the purpose of persuading Jews, Christians and other so-called “infidels” to withdraw from — and leave entirely — the holy lands and holy places they consider their own, namely the Middle East and North Africa.
Apocalyptic Islam (such as the top leaders of Iran, and the leaders of the Islamic State) do not merely seek to drive infidels out of their region. They are driven by ancient Islamic prophecies. They believe the End of Days is at hand, that their messiah (known as the Mahdi) will come at any moment to establish an Islamic kingdom or caliphate that will rule over the entire globe, and that the way to hasten the coming of the Mahdi is to annihilate the infidels who refuse to submit to their brand of Islam.
To be clear: having an eschatology is not necessarily wrong. What is both wrong and horrific is having an eschatology that requires a person or an entire religion to rob, kill, destroy and even commit genocide to achieve their religious objectives.
Devout Jews believe the Messiah will come one day to establish a global kingdom (see Daniel 7, Jeremiah 23 and Isaiah 9, among other passages). Christians believe this as well and believe that Jesus of Nazareth is, in fact, that Messiah and that He will come again to establish His kingdom in the last days (see the Book of Revelation, among other passages). Having said that, it’s important to understand that both devout Jews and Christians believe God will supernaturally achieve these objectives. We do not believe that God requires us to slaughter our enemies en masse to bring about the End of Days and establish His kingdom.
Most world leaders do not understand these issues. Most citizens don’t either. But the rise of Apocalyptic, genocidal Islam makes it urgent that we and our leaders study and understand these distinctions. We cannot defeat an enemy we cannot or will not define.
There are some similarities within Islamic, Jewish and Christian teachings about the End Times. Indeed, when it comes to the study of eschatology, most devout Muslims (Sunnis and Shias), Jews and Christians — that is, those who take their holy books seriously and haven’t rejected or drifted from the orthodoxy of their religions — agree on five basic points.
- Ancient prophecies in our holy books give us signs to watch for that will indicate when the End of Days has come.
- So many signs are coming to pass in our time that we can be confident that we are, in fact, living in the End of Days.
- The Messiah is coming to earth, and it is possible that this will happen very soon.
- The coming Messiah is the King, He will establish a global kingdom, and He usher in justice and righteousness on the earth.
- Each of us must live differently in view of the fact that we are living in the End of Days and the fact that each of us will face the Final Judgment soon.
What, then, are the main differences between Apocalyptic Islamic eschatology (based on the Qur’an and the hadiths) and Biblical eschatology (based on the Old and New Testaments)? I’ve prepared a simple chart to draw out some of the important distinctions.Some important questions are these:
- According to the Bible, how does one enter the Kingdom of God?
- According to the Bible, how is one adopted into the royal family of God?
- What did John the Baptist mean when he preached, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”?
- What did Jesus mean when he preached “the gospel of the kingdom”?