Is the Antichrist a Muslim?

Is the Antichrist a Muslim? – By Britt Gillette –

http://www.raptureready.com/featured/gillette/bg67.html

 
This is one of the questions I’m asked most often – especially in recent years.
 
For centuries, the overwhelming majority of those who have studied bible prophecy have claimed the Antichrist will come from a revived Roman Empire headquartered in Western Europe. But recent events in the Middle East, such as the rise of ISIS, have led some people to question that claim. They say the Antichrist will be a Muslim headquartered in the Middle East. Could this be true? Let’s examine what the Bible says.
 
The Muslim Antichrist Belief
 
Those who believe the Muslim Antichrist vary in the reasons for their belief. But the two most common reasons I encounter are these:
 
1) Similarities between Islamic and Christian end time prophecies, and 
 
2) A belief the Bible says the Antichrist will come from the eastern rather than the western wing of the ancient Roman Empire.
 
So let’s take a look at these.
 
Islamic End Time Prophecies – The Koran does not contain end time prophecies, but the Hadith does. The Hadith is a collection of Muhammad’s teachings. Muslims generally believe these are valuable teachings, but not direct revelations from Allah. According to the Hadith, a ruler known as the Madhi will emerge in the last days. Muslims believe this man will rule the world for seven years and rid the earth of all evil prior to the Day of Judgment. What’s more, they say Jesus will return to earth and support the Madhi’s rule during this time.
 
Does any of this sound familiar? It should. After all, the Bible’s end time prophecies predict the rise of an Antichrist who will rule the earth for seven years just prior to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. And during the Tribulation, the Antichrist will be aided by a false prophet. When you study the texts side-by-side, it appears the Muslim Messiah and the Christian Antichrist are one and the same. At least, that’s the claim made by many believers in the Muslim Antichrist theory.
 
But there’s a big problem with this line of thinking. It gives the same divine authority to both the Bible and the Hadith, and that’s a big mistake. The Hadith is not divinely inspired. Its “prophecies” resemble the Bible’s because many of Muhammad’s ideas came from Judaism and Christianity – two of the major religions of his time.
 
Only the Bible has a flawless track record when it comes to fulfilled prophecy. The Hadith doesn’t. Therefore, I have no reason to believe the Hadith is divinely inspired. And if it’s not divinely inspired, why should I rely on it for insight into future fulfillment of bible prophecy?
 
The Eastern Wing of the Ancient Roman Empire – Much better arguments for a Muslim Antichrist are made by those who base their beliefs on the Bible-the Word of God. According to the Bible, the Antichrist will come from a revived version of the Roman Empire (Daniel 2, Revelation 17). Many supporters of the Muslim Antichrist theory believe the Bible says the Antichrist will come from a revived form of the eastern rather than the western wing of the ancient Roman Empire.
 
The eastern and western portions of the Roman Empire formed in A.D. 285. In that year, the Emperor Diocletian divided the empire into two parts – one governed in Rome (West) and the other governed in Constantinople (East). When Rome fell to invaders in A.D. 487, the power seat of the ancient Roman Empire shifted eastward to Constantinople (in modern day Turkey).
 
Many supporters of the Muslim Antichrist theory believe it’s this eastern portion of the Roman Empire that will re-emerge in the end times. They point to chapters 8 and 11 in the Book of Daniel, which foretell the rise of both the Antichrist and the tyrannical rule of the Assyrian king, Antiochus Epiphanes. Citing these passages, they make a case for an Antichrist of Assyrian descent.
 
What the Bible Says About the Antichrist
 
Despite these claims, here’s what the Bible says about the Antichrist:
 
1) He will sign a peace treaty with Israel – The Tribulation will begin when the Antichrist signs a peace treaty with Israel (Daniel 9:27). This will be a treaty placing the national security of Israel in the Antichrist’s hands. Is it realistic to think Israel will make such a pact with a Muslim leader?
 
2) He will proclaim himself to be God – The Bible says the Antichrist will enter the Temple in Jerusalem at the mid-point of the Tribulation and declare himself to be God (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4). He will demand worship. Such a claim would go against the teachings of the Koran, which says “there is no god but Allah” (Sura 9:129). While it’s possible the Antichrist will only identify with the Muslim faith and not be a strict adherent, it’s unlikely a true Muslim would claim to be God.
 
3) He will worship a god of fortresses – The Bible says the Antichrist “will worship a god of fortresses, a god unknown to his forefathers” (Daniel 11:38) This suggests the Antichrist will be an idolater who worships a new idol. Not Allah. Not Baal. But a god unknown to previous generations.
 
4) He will come from the Italian peninsula – The book of Daniel says the Antichrist will come from among the people who destroy the Temple. History clearly reveals who that was. In A.D. 70, Titus and the Roman legions marched into Jerusalem to put down a Jewish insurrection. In doing so, they destroyed the Temple and enslaved the Jewish people, taking them away in chains to the farthest corners of the empire.
 
This means the Antichrist will come from Rome. Supporters of the Muslim Antichrist theory reject this idea. They claim the Roman legions were composed of Syrians and local people who identify today as Muslims (Daniel 9:26). However, this just isn’t true. Titus and the legions he commanded were composed of Italians and Roman citizens acting under the full authority of Rome. Regardless, the seat of power that conquered Jerusalem was located in Rome, not Assyria. So the Bible is crystal clear in regard to where the Antichrist will come from. He will come from Rome.
 
Now, could he be a Roman citizen of Assyrian heritage? Possibly. But remember, the rule of the Assyrian king Antiochus Epiphanes (a forerunner of the Antichrist) is one of the reasons some believe the Antichrist will be of Assyrian descent. Yet Antiochus Epiphanes was Greek, not Assyrian. So if the idea of a Muslim Antichrist is built on the Daniel 11 description of Antiochus Epiphanes as an Assyrian, that claim is built on faulty ground.
 
What’s the Truth?
 
So with all these conflicting viewpoints, what’s the truth? The answer should be clear. The Bible is the truth. You can count on the Word of God and the fulfillment of all bible prophecy. What you can’t count on is any particular human interpretation of bible prophecy prior to its fulfillment.
 
To illustrate, let’s examine some past fulfilled prophecies. This will show just how difficult it can be to understand specific prophetic details ahead of time. 
 
Before the first coming of Jesus, some scriptural teachers claimed the Messiah would come from Bethlehem (John 7:42) while others said “no prophet comes from Galilee” (John 7:52). Of course, we know from hindsight, the Messiah came from Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), came out of Egypt (Hosea 11:1), and Galilee was filled with glory (Isaiah 9:1). Prior to Jesus of Nazareth, it was difficult to see how one man could fulfill all of these prophecies. Yet it happened – just as the Bible foretold.
 
Oftentimes, we show a tendency to read news headlines into the Bible rather than taking the Bible for what it says. The rise of Islam in recent years only increases the speculation of an Islamic Antichrist. But until he arrives on the world scene, no one can know for sure every characteristic of the Antichrist. Perhaps he will be an Italian Muslim from Syria. But perhaps not. We just don’t have enough information to know.
 
Nevertheless, we can be absolutely sure bible prophecy will be fulfilled to the last letter. In the meantime, a literal interpretation of scripture indicates the Antichrist will come from the Italian peninsula, not the Middle East. And the Bible’s statements that the Antichrist will establish a peace treaty with Israel (Daniel 9:27), proclaim himself to be God in the  Temple (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4), and worship a god of fortresses unknown to his forefathers (Daniel 11:38) strongly indicates the Antichrist will NOT be a Muslim. Any claim that he must be, rather than he might be, is not from the Bible, but from men.
 
Britt Gillette is author of the free ebook  Coming to Jesus: One Man’s Search for Truth and Life Purpose as well as  Signs of the Second Coming: 11 Reasons Jesus Will Return in Our Lifetime. He’s also the founder of  End Times Bible Prophecy.

 

The Number One Sign of the Second Coming

The Number One Sign of the Second Coming – by Britt Gillette – http://www.raptureready.com/featured/gillette/bg58.html

While on the Mount of Olives, the disciples approached Jesus and asked Him, “What are the signs of your coming and the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3). Jesus replied by giving them a list of signs and events to look for, such false prophets, earthquakes, wars, and desecration of the Temple. But Jesus said once they see one sign in particular, they should “look up” because redemption draws near. Fast forward almost two thousand years, and our generation is witness to the #1 sign Jesus said to look for. So what is it?

Convergence

That’s right. The #1 sign is not a single sign, but the convergence of all the signs Jesus, Moses, and the Old Testament prophets said to look for. Jesus said, “When you see all these things occur, look up. For your salvation is near!” (Luke 21:28). Note that Jesus didn’t say, “When you see one or two of these signs.” He said, “When you see all these signs.” In other words, the convergence of all the signs He spoke of are what we should be looking for.

The Converging Signs

“There’s a great deal to say in the Bible about the signs we’re to watch for and when these signs all converge at one place we can be sure that we’re close to the end of the age. And those signs, in my judgment, are converging now for the first time since Jesus made those predictions.” -Billy Graham, World Net Daily, 10/20/2013

Our generation is unique among all those before us because we see the convergence of the signs Jesus and the prophets said to look for. Here are just a few:

1) Israel – In A.D. 70, Roman soldiers put down a rebellion, sacked Jerusalem, destroyed the Temple, and carried the Jewish people to the farthest corners of the Empire to serve as slaves. They tried to eliminate every trace of the nation of Israel, even renaming the land Palestine in honor of Israel’s historical enemies, the Philistines. The Roman intent was to erase all memory of the nation of Israel forever.

But God had other plans. Thousands of years ago, He foretold the long exile of His people. And He promised to call them from “among the nations” (Ezekiel 39:28), from “the farthest corners of the earth” (Isaiah 11:12), and from “north, south, east, and west” (Psalm 107:3). He promised to welcome the Jewish people home from the lands where they were scattered (Ezekiel 20:34), and He promised to restore them to the land of Israel from distant lands (Jeremiah 30:2, 10). And this is exactly what He did. Every single person on earth is an eyewitness to the modern miracle of Israel. The prophets said that following this restoration, the Messiah will come and set up His everlasting Kingdom (Isaiah 35, Joel 3, Jeremiah 23, Micah 4). In other words, Israel’s existence today is a sign that the Second Coming is near.

For 1,878 years, Christians could not point to the sign of Israel. It didn’t exist. The Jews were not in the land. But today, they are.

2) Jerusalem – When the disciples asked Jesus to reveal the signs of His coming and the end of the age, He made a statement that’s one of the keys to understanding the timing of His return. He told the disciples this: Jerusalem “will be trampled by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles come to an end,” and then Jesus promised to return (Luke 21:24-28).

The trampling of Jerusalem by the Gentiles began with the destruction of the Temple in A.D. 70 by Titus and the Roman legions. For centuries thereafter, Gentile kings and kingdoms exercised complete control over the Temple Mount and the Old City of Jerusalem. However, in June 1967, the Six Day War concluded with Israel in control of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount for the first time since A.D. 70. And according to Jesus, the Jewish repossession of Jerusalem will closely followed by His return.

For 1,897 years, Christians could not point to the sign of Israel or the Jewish people controlling Jerusalem. They didn’t. For those 1,897 years, numerous Gentile kingdoms ruled over Jerusalem. But today, Israel controls Jerusalem.

3) Travel & Knowledge – In the Book of Daniel, an angel told Daniel to keep the prophecies revealed to him a secret until a later date. But what later date? The angel said, “Until the end times, when travel and knowledge will increase” (Daniel 12:4). In other words, a significant increase in travel and knowledge will mark the end times and the time just prior to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Have we seen such an increase? I think the answer is obvious. For all of human history right up until the early 19th Century, the fastest mode of land-based transportation was a horse. Yet today, we can travel to the other side of the earth in a matter of hours. As for an increase in knowledge, think about how much information in on the Internet. In 1990, there was only one website. Six years later, the Internet featured more than one hundred thousand. And a decade later? One hundred million. Today, estimates place the number of websites at somewhere around six hundred million. And that number will be out of date before you read this.

4) The Gospel Preached – In answering His disciples, Jesus described many signs to look for. But among them, He said this: “And the Gospel will be preached throughout the entire world, so that every nation will hear it – and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).

Think we’re getting close to that day now? I do. The Bible is available in thousands of languages. Satellites broadcast Christian programming throughout the world, and every day, missionaries carry the gospel to people who have never heard it before. We’re not there yet, but we’re getting close.

But the gospel wasn’t always so widespread. Even after 1,500 years of Christianity, the message of Jesus was largely confined to the European continent. But today, the gospel is preached in every nation.

5) Global Government – According to the Bible, a global government will rule the world for the just before Jesus returns to establish His Millennial Kingdom. The Book of Revelation tells us this government will rule the world politically (Revelation 13:7), religiously (Revelation 13:8), and economically (Revelation 13:16-17).

The Bible also tells us this global government will rise from the ashes of the Roman Empire (Daniel 7:23; Revelation 17:11-13). This world empire will first appear as an alliance of ten kingdoms – some strong like iron and some weak like clay. These kingdoms will try to strengthen themselves by forming a union, but they will fail – just as iron and clay do not mix (Daniel 2:38-43).

Do we see anything like this today? Yes. We don’t see the ten nation alliance yet. But we do see the European Union, a loose confederation of European states – states that historically comprised much of the ancient Roman Empire. And just as Daniel foretold, the European Union consists of both weak and strong states.

Conclusion

By no means are these all the signs of the Second Coming. The Bible cites numerous signs and events we should look for, but recounting all of those signs in exhaustive detail is well beyond the scope of this article. Nevertheless, every one of the signs mentioned in this article is easy for the general public to recognize. They aren’t hidden signs. You don’t need a psychic, soothsayer, or prophet to interpret them. All you need is knowledge of the Bible and access to your daily news headlines.

The convergence of so many specific and detailed events – events Jesus told us to look for – should catch the attention of even the most hardened of skeptics. Why? Because these signs were noticeably absent for more than 1,800 years following the crucifixion. But today, we see them. For the first time ever, each of these signs is present. And all at the same time! Think that’s a coincidence? I don’t. It’s not a coincidence. And time will prove that it’s not. Jesus is coming. Now is the season of His return.

Britt Gillette is the author of: Signs of the Second Coming: 11 Reasons Jesus Will Return in Our Lifetime: http://www.amazon.com/Signs-Second-Coming-Reasons-Lifetime-ebook/dp/B00MKA156Q/

He’s also the founder of End Times Bible Prophecy: http://www.end-times-bible-prophecy.com