I believe the Islamic Antichrist view is the most dangerous theory about the end times that has ever been proposed. I believe it surpasses all the other suspect views about the last days because it has the potential to be used so effectively by the Antichrist to convince both Jews and Christians that he is their savior. I should point out that this theory is only dangerous to those people who will live to encounter the Antichrist. It is not a dangerous belief for the average Christian; but for the people who encounter the Antichrist, it could be devastating.
To explain why I think the Islamic Antichrist theory is so dangerous, I will need to discuss some of my personal views about the Antichrist, which I intentionally avoided in the previous chapters. I don’t expect many people to agree with my views, but I would ask that you at least suspend your disbelief for a while and be open to considering the disastrous course of events that would occur if my view is correct. I promise not to lead you down a path of quirky or unorthodox views about the Antichrist. In fact, the view I propose was the earliest view of the church and was the majority view of scholars up until the most recent times.1
In 2013 I wrote a book called False Christ, which explains my views in much greater detail than I will attempt to in this chapter. The basic thesis of the book is that the Bible seems to suggest the Antichrist will present himself as the Jewish Messiah and he will attempt to make it look like he is fulfilling all the prophecies the Messiah is supposed to fulfill in the last days.
Prophecies To Be Fulfilled by Jesus in the Last Days
For each one of these prophecies about the Messiah, there are corresponding prophecies about the Antichrist suggesting that he will attempt to make it look as though he is fulfilling each messianic prophecy, which suggests that he will want the world (especially Jews and Christians) to believe that he is their true Messiah.
The Antichrist Attempts to Fulfill Those Prophecies
I wrote False Christ, leaving open the question of whether the Antichrist will claim to be the return of Jesus or will claim to be the true Messiah, as opposed to Jesus, giving credibility to his claims by seeming to fulfill all the prophecies that Jesus didn’t in His first coming. Both are real possibilities, but I lean toward the view that he will claim to be the return of Jesus. (See Appendix 6 entitled Will the Antichrist Claim to Be Jesus?)
I will end the discussion of my view at this point since my intention is not to try to convince you of my theory but rather to invite you to suspend your disbelief for a moment and conduct a kind of thought experiment about what would happen if this theory were true.
A combination of factors have come together to make Christians and Jews fear the Muslim world as they do nothing else. Certainly it cannot be questioned that radical Islam is extremely dangerous and the religion of Islam is diametrically opposed to the teachings of the Bible. But because of acts of terrorism like 9/11, the rise of groups like ISIL, and the media’s constant encouraging fear of the Muslim world (justified or not), the level of dread and hatred for Islam has never been higher. When you add the Islamic Antichrist theory into this mix, which is fast becoming the most prominent view of Christianity, the level of fear and hatred blossoms to apocalyptic proportions. After all, if Islam is the religion of the Antichrist, there is so much more reason to fear it, and hope desperately for its demise.
The high level of fear of the Muslim world puts both Jews and Christians in a psychologically vulnerable position. All the Antichrist has to do to be seen as their savior is destroy the enemies of Israel in a miraculous way during a war big enough to look like the battle of Armageddon. The scary thing is that this is exactly what the Bible tells us the Antichrist will do.
We have seen that the Antichrist’s ability to fight wars is supernaturally empowered (Daniel 11:38-39, Revelation 13:2, 4), meaning that he will have the capability to wipe out any enemies he chooses in a way that makes the world worship him. In fact, we see them doing just that in Revelation 13:4:
“So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?’”
We also know that he turns his invincible military might on the Muslim enemies of Israel in Daniel 11:40-45. There we are told that the Antichrist destroys Egypt, Libya, and an Arab coalition that includes Iraq, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, and others. We also see that when he enters the “Glorious land” to set up his throne in verses 41–45, his primary targets are those Muslim nations that surround Israel (Edom, Moab, and Ammon. He is never once said to attack Israel itself in that passage.
The concept that the Antichrist will seem at first to be a champion of Israel has not occurred to many people, and so it follows that they will be sitting ducks for this deception. I don’t think many Christians have considered the possibility that the deception of the Antichrist would be to fool them into believing that he is the return of Jesus. I should note that I don’t think the Antichrist will always appear to be the champion of Israel. Instead, toward the end of his allotted time, he seems to try desperately to destroy it, but by that time he will have such a powerful hold on the world that opposition to him will only end in death.
The rest of what we know from the Bible of the Antichrist’s actions seems to suggest that after his conquest of the Muslim world, he sits in the temple as if he were God, in the same way Christians expect Jesus to do when he returns to rule during the Millennium. In essence, I am suggesting that the war against the Muslims that the Antichrist fights to gain credibility will be sold to the public as if it were the battle of Armageddon or perhaps the Gog-Magog war. Then Christians and Jews will be encouraged to believe that the beginning of the Kingdom Age, or the Millennium has begun and Jesus has returned. This is when the Antichrist makes Jerusalem the capital city of the world, institutes pilgrimages and worship, and all the other things that are supposed to occur when Jesus really does return But the difference is, The Antichrist is faking it.
The problem with the Islamic Antichrist theorists is they are telling Christians that when they see a man, who claims to be the Jewish Messiah, defeat the Muslim world (the Dajjal), then they should embrace him as their savior. If the Antichrist claims to be Jesus, which I tend to think he will, imagine the rejoicing among Christians when they hear that the Jews have accepted Jesus as their true Messiah. In fact, Richardson says this is the primary way we will be able to tell that the Dajjal is the real Jesus.3 But the problem is that in this scenario, it would not be the real Jesus they have accepted as their Messiah, but rather the Antichrist. If Christians do not realize that the Antichrist could have such a sneaky trick up his sleeve, then they will be in great danger.
So what is the role of the Islamic world in this scenario? Unfortunately it seems that they are going to be used as little more than pawns in the Antichrist’s game. He is planning on provoking the Islamic world to attack him, so that he can defeat them miraculously and appear to have fulfilled the prophecy of the final eschatological battle. This plan is quite complex, so I will take a bit of time to explain it here. It may help to read Appendix 5 about the seven-year covenant before you continue.
No group will be paying more attention to the monumental developments in Israel when the Antichrist makes his covenant with the Jews than the Muslims. A man who is claiming to be the Messiah, rebuilding the Jewish temple, and allowing Jewish sacrifices to begin again will enrage the Muslim people, who will almost certainly see him as the Dajjal.
Even if, as some believe, a way to construct the temple next to the Dome of the Rock without tearing it down is possible, there is no scenario in which the events that follow the covenant don’t awaken the preprogrammed eschatological passions of the Islamic world.
The Temple Mount is currently controlled by the Muslims, even though Israel technically has sovereignty over the site. Today you can’t be caught bringing a Bible or praying anywhere on the Temple Mount, let alone building an altar and sacrificing animals to Yahweh. Starting the daily sacrifice on the Temple Mount is not going to go over well at all with the Muslims.
I suspect that if the Jews really believe their Messiah has come, they also believe he is about to go to war with and conquer their enemies. So, The one thing that has prevented them from building the temple in the past—imminent war with all Muslims—will cease to be a problem, as they will believe the Messiah will protect them. They might even welcome the chance to defeat the Muslims in the epic war that building the temple will cause. If the Antichrist has a proven military background, which I believe the Bible says he will, this may add to their confidence about this impending war and make them feel free to build the temple.
It’s not just the rebuilding of the temple that will guarantee a war with Islam. It is also the Islamic belief in a coming Dajjal (the false Jewish Messiah) that will inflame their passions to go to war with Israel en masse at this time. The Antichrist will be well aware of the consequences of these actions and will actually be counting on such a war. As far as Satan sees it, the bigger the number of Muslim armies that attack the Antichrist, the better, because he is attempting to make it seem like the Antichrist is fulfilling messianic prophecies of the destruction of Israel’s enemies.
It is important to remember that that the war that follows, which I believe is described in Daniel 11:40-45, has the Muslim armies attacking the Antichrist, not the other way around. In a sense, you could say that the Antichrist has the moral high ground in these battles because he was attacked first by the Muslim world and he is not the aggressor. However, I suggest that in reality he is the aggressor because he knew his actions (building the temple, starting sacrifices, and declaring to be the Jewish Messiah) would force the Muslims to attack him. The great fear of the Muslim world by Jews and Christians will make him seem all the more like their savior when he defeats the Muslims.
To Christians—indeed, to many people in the secular world—there can be no return of the Messiah without a battle of Armageddon. This is one of those non-negotiable aspects of eschatology that spans almost all belief systems. If the Antichrist is going to try to deceive people in this way, he is going to have to fake the battle of Armageddon and win it to validate his messianic claims.
I am not sure whether the Antichrist will attempt to fake two separate wars (Gog-Magog and Armageddon) or if he will make it seem like the wars he fights, described in Daniel 11:40–45, are the fulfillment of both of these wars. Since there are so many similarities between the Gog-Magog war and the battle of Armageddon and since most Christians and Jews already see the two wars as being one and the same, I lean toward the view that he will make no distinction between them. I suggest that he will lead people to believe that when he defends himself and Israel from virtually the entire Middle East in a miraculous way, it should be seen as the fulfillment of all known eschatological wars and the Messianic Age has come.
The belief that the Gog-Magog war will occur before the Millennium, a view I argued against in a previous chapter, is dangerous for a few reasons. First, it makes people believe that a war with the Muslim world is a necessary part of the end-time scenario. This is because, unlike the references to the battle of Armageddon where no specific nations are mentioned, the Ezekiel passages about the Gog-Magog war name certain nations like Persia in Iran and Turkey that are mostly Muslim nations today. It doesn’t matter whether someone believes that Gog-Magog and Armageddon are the same event or are separated by a few years, the effect is still the same: It makes people believe a war with Islam is in the near future. This belief—that we are all to expect a war with the Muslims and the Messiah will emerge victorious from that war—will be exploited by the Antichrist, for reasons I will soon discuss.
As detailed previously, I also believe the Gog-Magog war will occur. But when it does take place at the end of the thousand-year reign (Revelation 20:7–8), it won’t be with people who believe in the Islamic faith. It is impossible to know the mindset of the people who will attack Israel after the millennium, but one thing is certain: Islam will not be a viable religion during the thousand-year reign of Christ. And it’s unlikely that it will be revived when Satan is released from the pit after the thousand years, given the fact that all the major tenets of Islam will have been unquestionably refuted one thousand years prior to the event. In addition, Islam will not play a role in the battle of Armageddon because the people who fight in that war will be firm adherents to the religion of the Antichrist, which requires them to worship a man who had recently fought a war with the Islamic world and is sitting in the Jewish temple as God. These things simply cannot be reconciled with Islam in any form. In other words, neither the battle of Armageddon nor the Gog-Magog war will have anything to do with Islam; yet, this has become a prevailing belief among some prophecy teachers. What is the problem with that thinking? And how could it be exploited by the Antichrist?
As discussed earlier, the Antichrist will easily be able to manipulate the Muslim world into attacking him by claiming to be the Messiah, whom it will see as the Dajjal. His rebuilding the temple and starting the daily sacrifices will also incite the Muslim world to attack him. If Christians can be convinced that the Muslims are the enemy that needs to be defeated to usher in the messianic age, then they will reflexively see the wars that the Antichrist fights against the Muslims as the Gog-Magog war, the war of Armageddon, or both. The obvious problem is that since the Antichrist wins the wars in Daniel 11 and Scripture says God wins the wars of Gog-Magog and Armageddon, the Antichrist will be seen as God by Christians and Jews when he emerges victorious from the wars. Essentially, the Antichrist will be creating an artificial Gog-Magog/Armageddon war long before any of these wars actually take place to convince people that the reign of the Messiah has come.
The following chart shows the chronology of these events:
It should be said that the illustration depicts my best guess. By their very nature, the deceptions of the Antichrist are difficult to anticipate, and I am not dogmatic that it must play out exactly as I suggest. Regardless of the details, however, the fact that that the Antichrist is attacked by the Muslim world and then defeats it before making his claim to be God and starting a fake messianic age should suggest that he will attempt to look like the savior of Israel. Many modern prophecy teachers, especially the Islamic Antichrist proponents, are telling their students that when they see an attack by the Muslim world and then see it defeated, they will know that the person who does that is God. This should be seen as the terrible danger that it is. The Islamic Antichrist theorists, by suggesting that Christians should embrace the Dajjal as Jesus simply because he defeats the Muslim world and convinces the Jews that he is their Messiah, are unbelievably reckless, because these are the same things the Bible says the Antichrist will do.
My sincere hope is that this book will be a wake-up call to Christians. I don’t expect many people to believe my own theories about the end times, and as a result, I don’t expect them to fully appreciate why I consider the Islamic Antichrist doctrine so dangerous. I do, however, hope the first part of this book, which argues against the Islamic Antichrist theory, will be of some use to the body of Christ in slowing down or even stopping the spread of the Islamic Antichrist theory, if for no other reason than because it is wrong.