Most Christians are not aware that Islam has an End Time belief that is absolute. Many Christians in the West tend to be nonchalant about a belief in the Last Days. Its almost as if one can take it or leave it; however, in the Islamic faith you must believe in the Last Days or you are not a Muslim. With that in mind, let us begin to look at some key beliefs in Islam.
Most of Islamic studies of eschatology are divided into two categories, The Minor Signs and The Major Signs.
The Minor Signs – thought of as the equivalent of what Jesus called “the birth pangs” or those signs that precede the Major Signs. Because many of the Minor Signs take place concurrently with the Major Signs, the Minor Signs are not the first signs but rather the lesser signs.
The Major Signs – thought of as the Greater Signs. The Major Signs are absolutes and nonnegotiable in the Muslim mind.
The Qur’an mentions five things that a Muslim must believe in order to be a Muslim. The Qur’an states:
It is not righteous that ye turn your faces to the East and the West; but righteous is he who believeth in Allah and the Last Day and the angels and the Scripture and the prophets … (Sura 2:177; Pickthall)
In Biblical Christianity, end time belief was prominent within the Early Church; however, in the Western Church, belief in the last days is optional or ignored by most. This is not the case with Islam. All true Muslims believe in the last day and the events that precede it. I find that so ironic.
The Mahdi: Islam’s awaited Messiah:
Among the Major Signs, this is the most anticipated and central sign that Muslims are waiting for – the coming of the Mahdi (meaning “the Guided One”). He is also at times referred to by Shi’a Muslims as Sahib Al-Zaman or Al-Mahdi al-Muntadhar, which means “the Lord of the Age” and “the Awaited Savior.”
The Mahdi is the first of the Major Signs. 14th century Muslim scholar Ibn Kathir writes:
“After the lesser signs of the Hour appear and increase, mankind will have reached a stage of great suffering. Then the awaited Mahdi will appear; He is the first of the greater clear signs of the Hour. “(Izzat and ‘Arif, Al Mahdi and the End of Time, 18)
The coming of the Mahdi is the central crowning element of all Islamic end-time narratives. It is so central to Islamic eschatological expectations that some Muslim scholars refer to the Minor Signs as “the signs accompanying the Mahdi.”
There are some differences of belief between the Sunni and Shi’a sects of Islam, and while some quarters of Sunnis reject the Mahdi altogether, general belief in the Mahdi is universal among most Muslims. According to Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani, chairman of the Islamic Supreme Council of America, “The coming of the Mahdi is established doctrine for both Sunni and Shi’a Muslims, and indeed for all humanity.”
Ayatullah Baqir al-Sadr and Ayatullah Murtada Mutahhari, both Shi’a Muslim scholars, in their book, “The Awaited Savior” describe the Mahdi this way:
“A figure more legendary than that of the Mahdi, the Awaited Savior, has not been seen in the history of mankind. The threads of the world events have woven many a fine design in human life but the pattern of the Mahdi stands high above every other pattern. He has been the vision of the visionaries in history. He has been the dream of all the dreamers of the world. For the ultimate salvation of mankind he is the Pole Star of hope on which the gaze of humanity is fixed… In this quest for the truth about the Mahdi there is no distinction of any caste, creed, or country. The quest is universal, exactly in the same way as the Mahdi himself is universal. He stands resplendent high above the narrow walls in which humanity is cut up and divided. He belongs to everybody. For all that and much more, what exactly is the Mahdi? Surely that is the big question, which the thinking people all over the world would like to ask.”
The above statements briefly describe the Mahdi. Now let us see what the Bible says about the Antichrist. The Bible only uses the word Antichrist one time in 1 Jn. 2:18. However, Scripture assigns him various names:
The Beast Rev. 13:4
The Abomination that causes desolation Mat. 24:15
The Desolator Dan. 9:27
The Man of sin The Man of lawlessness The Son of Destruction 2 Thes. 2
The Little Horn Dan. 7:8
The Assyrian Micah 5:5; Is. 10:5; 14:25
The Oppressor The King of Babylon Is. 14
Gog Ez. 38:1; Rev. 20:7
The Mahdi is like Islam’s Messiah but how does he compare to the Bible’s Antichrist?
1. The Mahdi is Islam’s primary messiah figure.
In the simplest of terms, the Mahdi is Islam’s messiah or savior. The “rising” of the Mahdi is to the majority of Muslims what the return of Jesus is to Christians. Sheikh Kabbani writes:
“Jews are waiting for the Messiah, Christians are waiting for Jesus, and Muslims are waiting for both the Mahdi and Jesus. All religions describe them as men coming to save the world.”
2.He will be a descendant of Muhammad and will bear Muhammad’s name (Muhammad bin Abdullah).
“The world will not come to pass until a man from among my family, whose name will be my name, rules over the Arabs.” (Sunan Abu Dawud, (Sahih), vol. 5, p. 207.
The prophet said, “The Mahdi will be of my family, of the descendants of Fatimah [Muhammad’s daughter].
3. He will be a very devout Muslim.
4. He will be an unparalleled spiritual, political, and military world leader.
We see and will see that the Antichrist and the Mahdi are both described as political and military leaders the likes of which the world has never seen before. The description given concerning both the Antichrist and the Mahdi surpass any powerful leader yet seen in history. They are both viewed as more than just political and military leaders. They are both viewed as supreme religious leaders as well.
The Bible establishes the fact that the Antichrist will be a spiritual leader whose authority will be acknowledged worldwide. After examining the Antichrist’s role as a universal religious leader, many Bible prophecy teachers have talked about the coming of the “one world religion” or “the false church,” which the Antichrist will both created and enforce upon the entire earth. This concept of a coming dominant and demonically inspired world religion is partly arrived at due to the frequent references to worship associated with t he Antichrist throughout Scripture. In the Book of Revelation we read that the Antichrist will both inspire and demand worship. This worship will be directed at both Satan, referred to as “the dragon,” and the Antichrist, referred to as “the beast”: Rev. 13:4, 8
“And they worshipped the dragon, which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?
And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”
Beyond the fact that the Antichrist establishes a worldwide worship movement, another reason to see him as a spiritual world leader is because the Bible says a man referred to as “the False Prophet” will assist him. The very title False Prophet assumes the religious nature of this man: Rev. 19:20
“And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur.”
It is clear that the Bible teaches that the Antichrist will lead a worldwide religious worship movement that will attempt to displace and usurp worship from the God of the Bible.
5. He will emerge after a period of great turmoil and suffering upon the earth.
6. He will establish justice and righteousness throughout the world and eradicate tyranny and oppression.
The Mahdi will establish right and justice in the world and eliminate evil and corruption. He will fight against the enemies of the Muslims who would be victorious.
“He will reappear on the appointed day, and then he will fight against the forces of evil, lead a world revolution, and set up a new world order based on justice, righteousness, and virtue… Ultimately the righteous will take the world administration in their hands and Islam will be victorious over all the religions.”
“He is the precursor of the victory of the Truth and the fall of all tyrants. He heralds the end of injustice and oppression and the beginning of the final rising of the sun of Islam which will never again set and which will ensure happiness and the elevation of mankind… The Mahdi is one of Allah’s clear signs, which will soon be made evident to everyone.”
7. He will be the caliph and imam (vice regent and leader) of Muslims worldwide.
Throughout the Islamic world today there is a call for the restoration of the Islamic caliphate. The caliph in Islam may be viewed somewhat as the Pope of the Muslims. Muslims view the caliph as the vice regent for Allah on the earth. It is important to understand that when Muslims call for the restoration of the caliphate, it is ultimately the Mahdi that they call for, for the Mahdi is the awaited final caliph of Islam.
Muslims everywhere will be obligated to follow the Mahdi: “If you see him, go and give him your allegiance, even if you have to crawl over ice, because he is the Vice-regent [Khalifa] of Allah, the Mahdi.” “He will pave the way for and establish the government of the family [or community] of Muhammad… Every believer will be obligated to support him.”
8. He will lead a world revolution and establish a new world order.
The Mahdi is believed to be a future Muslim world leader who will not only rule over the Islamic world, but the non-Muslim world as well. The Mahdi is said to lead a world revolution that will establish a new Islamic world order throughout the entire earth.
The Bible tells us that, in the Last Days, the Antichrist will emerge. He is a very powerful man who will lead a powerful world empire. The prophet Daniel gives us our first glimpse of this man known as the Antichrist. Dan. 7:7-8, “After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, terrifying and dreadful and exceedingly strong. It had great iron teeth; it devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. I considered the horns, and behold, there came up among them another horn, a little one, before which three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots. And behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things. ” Then in v. 15-17, “As for me, Daniel, my spirit within me was anxious, and the visions of my head alarmed me. I approached one of those who stood there and asked him the truth concerning all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of the things. ‘These four great beasts are four kings who shall arise out of the earth.'”
Daniel asks the angel specifically about the fourth beast and the angel responds: Dan. 7:23-24
“Thus he said: ‘As for the fourth beast,
there shall be a fourth kingdom on earth,
which shall be different from all the kingdoms,
and it shall devour the whole earth,
and trample it down, and break it to pieces.
As for the ten horns,
out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise,
and another shall arise after them;
he shall be different from the former ones,
and shall put down three kings.
The angel explains that the fourth kingdom causes great destruction to the whole earth. Initially the kingdom will consist of ten kings. Then an eleventh king will rise and displace three of the previous kings. The eleventh king is the Antichrist referred to as the “little horn.” Based on what Daniel saw, the Antichrist is a future king who will gain control over three other kingdoms or nations, and eventually over ten, thus forming his future ten-nation “beast” empire which will devour the whole earth trampling it down and crushing it.”
Dan. 7:25-27 describes the king’s end.
“He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. But the court shall sit in judgment, and his dominion shall be taken away, to be consumed and destroyed to the end. And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; his kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.’”
Three hundred years after Daniel’s visions, the Apostle John describes the Antichrist in similar terms.
Rev. 13:2, 4-8, “And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority. And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?” And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.”
The “beast” again refers to the Antichrist, king over a ten-nation empire. The horns represent authority and power. Ten horns speak of an extremely high degree of authority as well as the number of nations and their kings that will unite to form the beast’s kingdom. The “dragon” who gives the beast his authority is Satan. Satan is often spoken of in the Bible as a dragon or a serpent. Thus, we have seen that the Bible prophesies that the Antichrist will be a political and military leader with power unparalleled by any other world leader throughout history.
9. He will lead military action against all those who oppose him.
The Mahdi’s means and method of accomplishing this world revolution will include multiple military campaigns, or holy wars (jihad). While some Muslims believe that most of the non-Muslims of the world will convert to Islam peaceably during the reign of the Mahdi, most traditions picture the non-Muslim world coming to Islam as a result of conquest by the Mahdi.
Abduallrahman Kelani, author of “The Last Apocalypse” says this of the Mahdi’s many battles: “Al-Mahdi will receive a pledge of allegiance as a caliph for Muslims. He will lead Muslims in many battles of jihad. His reign will be a caliphate that follows the guidance of the Prophet. Many battles will ensue between Muslims and the disbelievers during the Mahdi’s reign.”
10. He will invade many countries.
Harun Yahya, a moderate and very popular Muslim author says this, “the Mahdi will invade all the places between East and West.”
Perhaps one of the most chilling signs in light of today’s issues with ISIS is the Mahdi’s ascendancy to power is said to be preceded by an army from the East carrying black flags or banners of war.
Sheikh Kabbani states: “Hadith indicate that black flags coming from the area of Khorasan (Iran) will signify the appearance of the Mahdi is nigh. Khorasan is in today’s Iran, and some scholars have said that this hadith means when the black flags appear from Central Asia, i.e., in the direction of Khorasan, then the appearance of the Mahdi is imminent.
Another traditions states that: “The Messenger of Allah said: The black banners will come from the East and their hearts will be as firm as iron. Whoever hears of them should join them and give allegiance, even if it means crawling across snow.”
Islam waves two flags. One is white and one is black. Written across both flags in Arabic are the words, “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his Messenger.” The white flag is called Al-Liwaa and serves as the sign for the leader of the Muslim army and is the flag of the Islamic state. The black flag is called Ar-Raya and is used by the Muslim army. It is also called the flag of jihad, and is carried into battle. One flag is governmental and the other is military. When Muhammad returned to his home city of Mecca after eight years of exile, he returned as a conqueror. With him marched ten thousand Muslim soldiers. They carried with them black flags. On the flags was one word written in Arabic: punishment.
11. He will make a seven-year peace treaty with a Jew of priestly lineage.
There are several traditions regarding the nature and timing of the Mahdi’s ascendancy to power, one particular hadith places this event at the time of a final peace agreement between Arabs and the Romans (Romans refers to Christians, or more generally, the West). The Mahdi is said to initiate Islam’s fourth and final treaty between “the Romans” (Christians in the West) and the Muslims.
This fourth treaty is said to be made with a descendant of Moses’s brother, Aaron the priest. Such a descendant would be a cohen. That is to say, he would be a priest. Only cohanim (priest) among Jews can officiate the priestly duties of the Temple. This is important in light of the fact that many Christian prophecy teachers and theologians have speculated that the treaty the Antichrist will make with Israel will include an agreement to allow the Jews to rebuild their Temple. The most amazing aspect of this treaty the Mahdi makes with this cohen is its time frame. The specific time frame given for the treaty is exactly the same as the Antichrist’s peace treaty – seven years.
Muhammad said: “There will be four peace agreements between you and the Romans (Christians). The fourth agreement will be mediated through a person who will be from the progeny of Hadrat Haroon [Honorable Aaron – Moses’s brother] and will be upheld for seven years.” The people asked, “O Prophet Muhammad, who will be the imam [leader] of the people at that time?” The Prophet said: “He will be from my progeny and will be exactly forty years of age. His face will shine like a star…”
12. He will conquer Israel for Islam and lead the “faithful Muslims” in a final slaughter/battle against the Jews.
Islamic tradition pictures the Mahdi as joining the army of Muslim warriors carrying black flags. The Mahdi will lead this army to Israel and re-conquer it for Islam. The Muslims will slaughter Jews until very few remain and Jerusalem will serve as the location of the Mahdi’s rule over the earth.
Rasulullah [Muhammad] said: “Armies carrying black flags will come from Khurasan (Iran). No power will be able to stop them and they will finally reach Eela [Baitul Maqdas (meaning the Holy House referring to the Dome of the Rock) in Jerusalem] where they will erect their flags.”
A very famous tradition often quoted throughout the Islamic world speaks of the Mahdi’s military campaign against Israel:
“The Prophet said… the last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him.”
The Bible is very clear that Satan, through the Antichrist, will specifically target first Jews and then Christians for death. Rev. 12:1 – the woman is the family or nation of Israel, the Jewish people. Crowned with 12 stars represent the 12 sons of Israel who became the 12 tribes (Gen. 35:23-26).
Rev. 12:2-5 she gives birth to a male child who will… Reference to Jesus, the Jewish Messiah (Ps. 2:9). Satan (the dragon) desires to kill Jesus, but instead Jesus is “snatched up to God and to his throne.” (Acts 1:8).
Rev. 12:1-6; 9, 13-14, 17 We see that Satan is “enraged at the woman” (Israel) and “went of to make war against the rest of her offspring – those who obey God’s commands and hold to the testimony of Jesus. This is the only passage that makes specific reference to Satan making a direct target of both Jews and Christians. And we know that this passage speaks specifically of the end times, because it mentions twice the 31/2 year period that the Antichrist will have authority to war against the saints: (Rev. 13:5-7) (Dan. 7:25). The Bible is clear that the Antichrist will specifically target those who resist his attempts to establish his religion all over the earth. According to the above scriptures, the two groups that enrage Satan the most are Jews and Christians.
Another interesting fact is that in Islamic tradition much is said of the Mahdi’s special calling to convert Christians and Jews to Islam, yet speaks very little specifically of conversions from other faiths. It seems as though converting Christians and Jews to Islam will be the primary evangelistic thrust of the Mahdi. Ayatollah Ibrahim Amini clearly articulates this vision:
“The Mahdi will offer the religion of Islam to the Jews and Christians; if they accept it they will be spared, otherwise they will be killed.” Also, a hadith that is a favorite with many Muslims:
“The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, of the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad (Boxthorne, boxwood) would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews.”
“The Mahdi will be victorious and eradicate those pigs and dogs and the idols of this time so that there will once more be a caliphate based on prophethood as the hadith states… Jerusalem will be the location of the rightly guided caliphate and the center of Islamic rule, which will be headed by Imam al-Mahdi… That will abolish the leadership of the Jews… and put an end to the domination of the Satans who spit evil into people and cause corruption in the earth, making them slaves of false idols and ruling the world by laws other than the Shari’a [Islamic law] of the Lord of the worlds.”
The Bible teaches that the Antichrist, with his multi-nation coalition, will attack Israel, and specifically Jerusalem, to conquer it: Zech 14:2 “For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered and the women raped. Half of the city shall go out into exile, but the rest of the people [who submit to Antichrist’s rule] shall not be cut off from the city.”
“You [Gog – Ezekiel’s name for the Antichrist] will advance, coming on like a storm. You will be like a cloud covering the land, you and all your hordes, and many peoples with you. Thus says the Lord God: ‘On that day, thoughts will come into your mind, and you will devise an evil scheme and say, ‘I will go up against the land of unwalled villages. I will fall upon the quiet people who dwell securely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having no bars or gates,’ to seize spoil and carry off plunder, to turn your hand against the waste places that are now inhabited, and the people [Israelites] who were gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell at the center of the earth.”
According to the Bible, after this attack, the Antichrist will specifically set up his “throne” in “God’s Temple.” The Apostle Paul clearly sums it up: 2 Thess. 2:4, “who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.”
The location of the Jewish Temple has always been on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem. Today, Mount Moriah, sometimes known as the Temple Mount or in Arabic as Haram Ash-Sharif, is the location of two mosques and the third holies site in Islam. The verse from Paul certainly seems to indicate that a rebuilt Jewish Temple will indeed appear in Jerusalem. Paul say that the Antichrist will “set himself up in God’s Temple,” or more literally, “he takes his seat in the temple of God.” This speaks not so much of a literal sitting down as it does of a taking a position of authority. Thus we see that the Antichrist will make Mount Moriah and, more specifically, the rebuilt Jewish Temple, the specific location of his rule. Jesus spoke of this: Mat. 24:15-22
“So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.”
Severe persecution against Jews and Christians will immediately follow when the Antichrist’s true identity is revealed.
The Mahdi will attack Jerusalem and reconquer it for Islam in order to establish Islamic rule over the earth from Jerusalem:
“[Armies carrying] black flags will come from Khurasan [Iran]. No power will be able to stop them and they will finally reach Eela [the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem] where they will erect their flags. Jerusalem will be the location of the rightly guided caliphate and the center of Islamic rule, which will be headed by Imam al-Mahdi.”
The Mahdi’s establishment of the Islamic caliphate will not go peacefully and it will not be a benevolent rule over the Jews.
“… that will abolish the leadership of the Jews… and put an end to the domination of the Satans who spit evil into people and cause corruption in the earth.” This is another correlation between the actions of the Mahdi and the actions of the Antichrist.
14. He will rule for seven years (possibly as much as eight or nine).
After rising to power, and as a prelude to his invasion of Israel, the Antichrist is said to initiate a treaty with the nation of Israel for seven years: Dan. 9:27, “And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.”
In context, this verse shows us the Antichrist will establish a “covenant” with Israel for seven years, giving the Israelis a false sense of security. In the middle of the seven years, the Antichrist will renege on his treaty and stop the offering and sacrifices in the Jewish Temple and then he will proclaim himself not only the ruler of the world, but God himself. Isaiah makes mention of this “covenant” and rebukes Israel for making it: He actually refers to is as a “covenant with death.” (Is. 28:14-15).
The Prophet Muhammad said: “He will divide the property, and will govern the people by the Sunnah of their Prophet and establish Islam on Earth. He will remain seven years, then die, and the Muslims will pray over him.”
The Prophet said: “The Mahdi will fill the earth with equity and justice as it was filled with oppression and tyranny, and he will rule for seven years.”
15. He will cause Islam to be the only religion practiced on the earth.
The Mahdi of Islam will be the leader of a worldwide worship movement, a worship movement that will seek to cause anyone who practices any religion other than Islam to renounce his faith and worship Allah, the god of Islam. The Mahdi “will govern the people by the Sunnah of their Prophet and establish Islam on Earth.” And “Islam will be victorious over all the religions.”
Islam will be the only religion allowed. Both the Antichrist and the Mahdi are said to be the unqualified leaders of a global religious movement that will draw worship away from the God of the Bible and His Son Jesus Christ. Inherent in the worship of Allah within the context of Islam is a direct denial of the God of the Bible and His Son Jesus Christ.
According to Daniel (7:25), another goal of the Antichrist is to “change the set times and the laws”:
“He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.”
We have seen that the Mahdi will change the law by instituting Islamic [shariah] law all over the earth. He will also desire to change the calendar to the Islamic calendar which is based on the career of Muhammad. It begins at the migration (hijra) of Muhammad from Mecca to Medina. The Muslim calendar is mandatory for all Muslims to observe. Dr. Waleed Mahanna writes: “It is considered a divine command to use a [hijra] calendar with twelve [purely] lunar months without intercalation, as evident from… the Holy Qur’an.” Not only does Islam view as divine mandate the use of their religious calendar, it also has its own week. Islam holds Friday as its sacred day of prayer. This is the day they meet at the mosque to pray and listen to a sermon.
Thus, it is plausible that the scripture in Daniel which describes a goal of the Antichrist, describes a Muslim. Islam fits the bill of a system with its own mandatory calendar, a week based on its own religious history, and a clear system of law that it wishes to impose on the entire earth.
16. He will appear riding a white horse.
The Mahdi is believed to ride on a white horse. Whether or not this is symbolic or literal is hard to say. This tradition comes from the Muslim interpretation of Christian Scriptures. Despite the fact that Muslims view the Bible as changed and corrupted by Jews and Christians, they claim to believe that some portions of the “original” inspired books remain within the “corrupted” Bible.
So we have a similarity between the Antichrist and the Mahdi riding a white horse. The basis for the white horse in both traditions is Revelation 6. John describes his vision of the release of the events that mark the beginning of the end. It is the picture of Jesus holding a scroll with seven wax seals. The breaking of each seal releases a specific and distinct end-time event: Rev. 6:1-2, “Now I watched when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say with a voice like thunder, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a white horse! And its rider had a bow, and a crown was given to him, and he came out conquering, and to conquer.”
The seals that follow this rider are:
1. Peace is taken from the earth.
3. Plagues and death.
4. Persecution and martyrdom of God’s people.
5. A great earthquake.
6. The wrath of God.
Many Bible scholars interpret this passage as: the white rider is an imitation of the white horse that Jesus will ride when he returns (Rev. 19:11) “Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.” Thus the rider is an imitation Christ, an imposter, an Antichrist. The true intent of this rider is to conquer not to bring peace. This is not a problem for Islamic scholars, who adopt a pick-and-choose approach to the Bible. Muslim scholars see a clear picture of the Mahdi.
A tradition within Islamic scholarship seeks to extract those portions of the Bible that Muslims feel may be untainted by the corrupting influence of Jews and Christians. They call these Judeo-Christian traditions isra’iliyyat. One such Islamic scholar views, the description of the rider on the white horse as found in Revelation is indeed the Mahdi.
Ka’b al Ahbar says (early Muslim transmitter of hadiths): “I find the Mahdi recorded in the books of the Prophets… For instance, the Book of Revelation says: “And I saw and beheld a white horse. He that sat on him… went forth conquering and to conquer.” They go on to say: “It is clear that this man is the Mahdi who will ride the white horse and judge by the Qur’an [with justice] and with whom will be men with marks of prostration on their foreheads [marks on their foreheads from bowing in prayer with their head to the ground five times daily]. ”
17. He will discover some previously undiscovered biblical manuscripts that he will use to argue with the Jews and cause some Jews to convert to Islam.
18. He will also rediscover the Ark of the Covenant from the Sea of Galilee, which he will bring to Jerusalem.
Traditions regarding the Mahdi say that he discovers some previously undiscovered Bible scrolls – even the Ark of the Covenant itself: Ka’b al-Ahbar says, “He will be called ‘Mahdi’ because he will guide [yahdi] to something hidden and will bring out the Torah and Gospel from a town called Antioch.”
As-Suyuti mentioned in al-Hawi that the messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “He is called the Mahdi because he will guide the people to a mountain in Syria from which he will bring out the volumes of the Torah to refute the Jews. At the hands of the Mahdi the Ark of the Covenant will be brought forth from the Lake of Tiberias and taken and placed in Jerusalem.” Ad-Dani said that he is called the Mahdi because he will be guided to a mountain in Syria from which he will bring forth the volumes of the Torah with which to argue against the Jews and at his hands a group of them will become Muslim. Apparently, the purpose of finding these “lost” portions of the OT and NT as well as the Ark of the Covenant is to help the Mahdi win converts from both Christianity and Judaism prior to “eradicating” the remainder who do not convert to Islam.
19. He will have supernatural power from Allah over the wind and the rain and crops.
Islamic tradition says:
“In the last days of my ummah [universal Islamic community], the Mahdi will appear. Allah will give him power over the wind and the rain and the earth will bring forth its foliage. He will give away wealth profusely, flocks will be in abundance, and the ummah will be large and honored.”
“In those years my community will enjoy a time of happiness such as they have never experienced before. Heaven will send rain upon them in torrents, the earth will not withhold any of its plants, and wealth will be available to all. A man will stand and say, “Give to me, Mahdi!” and he will say, “Take.”
20. He will posses and distribute enormous amounts of wealth.
21. He will be loved by all the people of the earth.
“As a result of the numerous benefits that the Mahdi brings, it is said all the inhabitants of the earth will deeply love him.”
“Allah will sow love of him in the hearts of all people.”
“Al Mahdi appears; everyone only talks about Him, drinks the love of Him, and never talks about anything other than Him.”
As we can see, there are several aspects and qualities that the Mahdi and the Antichrist share. The most striking are the persons, their missions, and their actions.
Next post, we will talk about the Muslim Jesus.