I just finished reading “The Islamic Antichrist” by Joel Richardson and have to admit that it makes a pretty good case that the Antichrist will be Muslim. I know this sounds like a case of associating the latest bogeyman with the worst tyrant the world will ever know but this interpretation does better explain a lot of what we see going on today. And given the rapid pace of prophetic developments these days, I’d say this is a case of better understanding passages related to the Lord’s return. As He said in Daniel 12:4, “seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase” (NKJ).
Before I summarize the arguments in Joel Richardson’s book, I should point out that he never mentioned the Rapture once and expects the Church to go through the Tribulation. So while I disagree with his post-tribulation Rapture view, this does not detract from his position on the Antichrist. Indeed, I think a pre-tribulation Rapture strengthens the case for an Islamic Antichrist. When the true Bible believing Christians are gone, what better time for people to turn to the greatest religion on earth? Perhaps the “strong delusion” people will have explaining away the Rapture (2 Thessalonians 2:11) is that Allah removed the most radical Christians to make the way for Islam to grow into the world’s one religion.
What is most amazing about the idea that the Antichrist will be Islamic is that it fits so well with what Muslims themselves are expecting to happen. Despite differences in Islamic sects, all Muslims are expecting their Messiah to come to unify the world under Islam. The Muslim Messiah is known as the Mahdi or Twelfth Imam and represents their great hope. This belief is certainly compatible with the Antichrist unifying the world under one religion as described in the Bible. If the Quran and the commentaries interpreting it are inspired by fallen angels, Satan who has knowledge of Scripture would certainly put his own spin on how he'd like history to unfold.
Another interesting aspect of what Muslims expect is for Jesus to return. They don’t believe He was really crucified but was instead Raptured to heaven like Enoch and Elijah. The Muslims expect Jesus to come back to convince Christians that Muhammad was correct that he is not God and that they should instead worship Allah and follow the Mahdi. This perspective fits very well with what the Bible tells us to expect about the False Prophet. Indeed, Jesus warned in His Olivet Discourse about those coming in His name and deceiving many.
Joel Richardson points out that beheading their enemies is a traditional way of death in Islam. We have certainly seen this to be the case of the Islamic terrorists and in places like Saudi Arabia, beheading is the way they conduct state executions. The Bible says that this is what the government of the Antichrist will do to followers of Christ in Revelation 20:4.
Joel Richardson cites Ezekiel 38-39 as biblical proof that Islam is religion of the Antichrist. The best interpretation of the nations mentioned is that they are all Islamic. We have tried to make Russia out to be the main perpetrator but those holding that interpretation must use un-scholarly linguistic gymnastics to do so. Yes, our view has been tainted by Russia being the bogeyman of the West for so long so that is why we need to be careful casting Islam in that same role. But careful analysis of the nations mentioned in Ezekiel 38 reveal that Turkey is actually referenced in several different ways so it is really pretty obvious what country will be the main leader of the Islamic coalition against Israel. This certainly fits with recent developments regarding Turkey. Also, the only other reference to Gog is in Revelation which makes it clear that Gog is the leader of the world in opposition to Christ and is thus has to be another term for the Antichrist.
Joel Richardson also provides a good analysis of the “seven heads” representing the governments that have ruled over Jerusalem in Revelation 17:9-10. The five governments that have fallen at the time this Scripture was written were the Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, and Greeks. Rome was the one that is, and the one that would come would also be the nation of the Antichrist would come from. In addition to ruling over Jerusalem, each of these governments would destroy or absorb the one that preceded it. The Roman government morphed into the Byzantine Empire but they were succeeded by the Turkish Ottoman Empire as the seventh head. So Turkey fits as the nation from which the Antichrist is most likely to come from.
I will not be able to help but view today’s developments in light of the view that the Antichrist will be the Mahdi that comes on the scene from the Islamic world. This is certainly not a time to be ignorant of Bible prophecy… “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24, NKJ).