It’s not only evangelical Christians who are sensing that something has changed in the world, and that we may be entering the very last days.
Muslims are also eagerly awaiting their messiah.
In the latest evidence of this messianic fervor, a mainstream Sunni Muslim website has decreed that the Islamic messiah, called the Mahdi, will appear this year or in 2016 and that the Muslim Jesus will return in 2022 to conquer the world for Islam.
DiscoveringIslam.org and the End Times Research Center have calculated that the “first phase” of the end of time will begin soon and lead to the “Day of Judgment” in seven years.
The estimates were derived from “the latest research” into numerical analysis of the Quran, Hadith, Arabic words and historical events,” according to DiscoveringIslam.org.
“The Messenger of Allah [sallallahu ‘alayhi wa-sallam] informed the Companions of everything that would occur until the Day of Resurrection,” the website reports.
“Based on our numerical analysis of the Quran and Hadith, the official beginning of the End of Time and the coming of the Imam Mahdi will most likely be in 2015 (or 2016) and Jesus Christ (p) will come down from Heaven to Earth in 2022, in-sha Allah (if Allah is willing),” the website reported.
The Quran and the Bible put forth end-times narratives that are similar but opposite. The Bible’s antichrist, for instance, resembles Islam’s messiah while Muslims view the Jesus of the Bible as their antichrist or “Dajjal.” The Quran teaches that Jesus returns to earth but for a very different purpose – to “break the cross” and convert the world’s Christians to Islam.
Bible teacher Joel Richardson underscores the inverted end-time views of the two faiths in his New York Times-best-selling book, “The Islamic Antichrist,” and his documentary film, “End Times Eyewitness.”
Richardson is an expert in eschatology, or the order of end-times events, as presented in Christianity, Judaism and Islam. He points to Jesus’ warnings in Matthew 24 and Mark 13 that false teachers and false prophets would arise in the last days to deceive many.
Richardson believes Muhammad is one of those false prophets. But the religion he founded, Islam, must be taken seriously because 1.4 billion people believe in its teachings, which are apocalyptic and getting more so, Richardson said. In fact, it’s impossible to understand what inspires and motivates Islamic radicals such as ISIS or al-Qaida if you aren’t familiar with their eschatology.
But it’s not just the radicals who believe in the Islamic teachings about the apocalypse, he said.
“It is frequently claimed that those who believe these things are but the tiny minority of radicals,” Richardson told WND. “But what the (Discovering Islam) article reveals, is that even many mainstream Muslims now believe that the last days are upon us.”
Many Muslims across the globe see the unfolding events in Syria and Iraq as proof that the prophetic traditions of Islam are coming to pass and will soon lead to the return of the Muslim Jesus and the Mahdi.
As previously reported by WND last October, an influential Turkish Muslim media personality and prolific author, Adnan Aktar, said he expects the Mahdi to appear in Istanbul.
Aktar said the Mahdi will communicate with spirit beings called the djinn, who will help Muslims prevail throughout the world.
ISIS expects a major battle to occur near the Syrian city of Dabiq between the soldiers of Allah and the “Romans,” who are seen as the leaders of the infidel Western powers fighting alongside apostate Muslims. Some analysts have said ISIS could be trying to hasten this battle by goading the U.S. into putting boots on the ground in Syria.
According to the Islamic view the soldiers of Allah will win this battle, ushering in a period marked by the destruction of the Jewish State of Israel and the dominance of Muslims globally.
“Even if none of these things are true, there is power in prophecy, and the sense of divine endorsement that this empowers many with will have horrific consequences in the days ahead,” Richardson said. “When Christians think about Jesus warning of the rise of false prophets in the last days, we often think of false voices within the church. No doubt, we have plenty of such voices, shouting ‘peace and security,’ ‘all is well,’ ‘thrive and prosper,’ etc. But rarely do many Christians think of the false prophetic traditions of Islam that are misleading a large segment of mankind.”
As novelist and filmmaker Joel C. Rosenberg recently noted, the greatest danger to the world is not merely radical Islam, but apocalyptic Islam.
“In Tehran, our own president has just agreed to allow the single most apocalyptic regime in the earth to attain nuclear weapons,” Richardson said. “Never before has the term ‘existential threat’ been so real.”
Truly, the world is entering unchartered territory, he said.
“Now is the time for Christians, whose prophetic traditions are true, to rise up in confidence knowing that the return of Jesus is drawing close, eager to proclaim the Gospel and bring in the final harvest while there is still time,” Richardson said.
Iran’s leaders have been speaking apocalyptically for years. In September 2012, WND reported that former President Mahmoud Amadinejad delivered a speech to the United Nations General Assembly in which he claimed the table was set for a “new world order” based on rule by the coming Mahdi, also called the 12th imam in Shiite Islam.
Joel Richardson tells why he made the film “End Times Eyewitness” in video interview below.
Richardson’s documentary film interprets the events of the Arab Spring in light of biblical prophecy. He traveled throughout Turkey and the Middle East in 2013 to interview Christian, Jewish and Islamic leaders, comparing their views on the last-days apocalypse, including the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.
In a late 2014 interview with Christian radio host Reggie Sternes, Richardson said he changed the focus of his ministry after the 9/11 attacks. He says Islam represents a major challenge to Christianity, quite possibly the challenge of the age, and most Christian leaders are unprepared for that challenge.
“I’m really focused on trying to educate the Christian Church. Even in nations where Muslims are a majority, the Christian leaders, the pastors, they often don’t know how to relate to the issue of Islam,” Richardson said. “They don’t know how to train their people to respond to Islam. One thing I am absolutely convinced of is Islam is clearly the single greatest challenge the church is going to face before the return of Jesus but really it’s the greatest challenge the world is going to face in the years ahead so I want to encourage people and train people to be able to rise to meet the challenge.
“And to meet the challenge courageously, intelligently, and to give it the time that it deserves.”
Watch the trailer for “End Times Eye Witness.”