Futurist Guesswork Concerning the Antichrist: Not This or That Politician, and — Not a Muslim Either!
Futurist expositors of Bible prophecy are those who, usually without being aware of it, follow the Jesuit-inspired theory that the Antichrist is some super-politician who will arise in the near future. As a result, over the years all kinds of men have been accused of being the Antichrist. Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, the Ayatollah, Henry Kissinger, Mikhail Gorbachev, Bill Clinton, Saddam Hussein, Barack Obama, Osama bin Laden, Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince Harry – these are just a few. The list goes on and on. Usually they have been very prominent and powerful politicians, but even some lesser-known ones have had their supporters. For example, in 2015 Alexios Tsipras became the new prime minister of Greece. Hardly had the ink dried on the ballot papers, and Futurist prophecy “experts” were insisting he was the Antichrist, and providing all kinds of supposed “proofs” for their assertion. There is nothing new under the sun. Each “candidate” has, in his time, been confidently declared to be the Antichrist by this or that Futurist prophetic expositor.
And each one has been proved wrong, each and every time.
But of late, a theory that has floated around, along with all the others, for many years, has come to the fore among many Futurists, for the simple reason that the religion of Islam has taken such a centre stage in the world today. This is the theory of an Islamic Antichrist.
One author promoting this error, heralded as a Bible teacher and “prophecy expert” by the ignorant, is Joel Richardson. He has written such books as The Islamic Antichrist, Mideast Beast, and When a Jew Rules the World. He has stated, “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”. In this he is in great error. Certainly Islam is a very grave threat to the true Christian Church in many parts of the world, and certainly there is no religious or political power that is openly persecuting Christians in our day to the extent, or with the brutality, that Islam is doing. But even so, it is not the single greatest challenge the Church is facing. Furthermore, it never will be.
Sometimes the so-called “prophecy experts” pushing an Antichrist arising from the Muslim world get very excited by claims from within the Muslim world itself. For example, the leader of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was seen in 2015 “as more than just a president”. Indeed, devotion to him was known as “Erdoganism”, and was “morphing into an ideology unto itself”, a personality cult. A deputy of his party declared that touching Erdogan was a form of prayer, and another deputy stated that Erdogan has “all the attributes” of God. In 2014 at a political rally, a woman fainted and Erdogan had her carried up to the platform, where he touched her, shouting, “Allah Akbar!” She was supposedly “healed”.
Although Joel Richardson said he did not believe Erdogan was the Antichrist, he called him the “Adolf Hitler of the Middle East” and reiterated his belief that Turkey would be a key player in end-time events. Reading his statements, he clearly believed that, if not Erdogan personally, some false messianic figure – the Antichrist – would likely arise from Turkey in the near future. “In the years ahead, the world must keep its eyes on the profoundly dangerous combination of Islamism and messianic nationalism that has arisen in Turkey,” he said. He is wrong, and is (ignorantly or not) creating a dangerous smokescreen. While he says we must all be looking to Turkey, the real Antichrist continues his deadly work from Rome, just as he has done for centuries.
The Dovetailing of Some Futurist, Islamic and Roman Catholic Notions of the “End Times”
It is certainly interesting, and even in one sense significant, that the Islamic world, itself, is excitedly awaiting a messianic figure of its own. Futurist prophecy “experts” who see Antichrist as being a future Muslim make much of this. But here we must be extremely careful.
Let us consider what Muslims are saying.
In 2015 a mainstream Sunni Muslim website, DiscoveringIslam.org, stated that the Mahdi, the Islamic messiah, would make his appearance in 2015 or 2016. This would be the first phase of the end of time, and would lead to the “Day of Judgment” in seven years, when the Muslim Jesus would return in 2022, to “break the cross” and conquer the world for Islam, even converting the world’s Christians to Islam.
Note the similarities between the Islamic messiah, and the Futurist Antichrist! Both are fictions of the imaginations of men. One is Islamic, the other is Jesuitical, in origin. And the reason for their similarities is that neither one is grounded in the Bible, the Word of God. A sixteenth-century Spanish Jesuit named Francisco Ribera came up with the idea that the Antichrist would be a future world leader, and the entire “pre-trib rapture” theory was developed over time by other Jesuits, and by still others who, although Protestants, were influenced by these Jesuit works. Satan is not too original: if an idea works, he is very willing to see it adapted to other circumstances. As he is behind both Jesuitism and Islam, no wonder there are similarities.
Worldwide, many Muslims believe that the events occurring in Syria and Iraq prove that the return of the Mahdi and the Muslim Jesus is imminent. One, an influential Turkish Muslim media personality and author, Adnan Aktar, believes the Mahdi will appear in Istanbul, and will communicate with demons, called the djinn in Islam, who will assist Muslims to conquer the world. As for the Islamic terrorist organisation, ISIS, it believes there will be a major battle in the Syrian city of Dabiq between the soldiers of Islam and those it calls the “Romans”, meaning the Western leaders. When this battle is won by Allah’s soldiers, as ISIS believes, a period will begin during which Israel will be destroyed and Islam will be victorious worldwide. And as for the Iranians, in September 2012 Iran’s former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, gave a speech to the UN General Assembly in which he stated that the time was set for a “new world order” based on government by the coming Islamic Mahdi, also known as the 12th imam in Shiite Islam.
As I said, these things are very interesting, in that they reveal what much of the Islamic world thinks will occur in the near future – and as Islam is a grave danger to biblical Christianity, it is very good to be aware of what the enemies of the Gospel are thinking. We are not to be ignorant of the devil’s devices (2 Cor. 2:11). And there is significance in these things, in this sense – that we see a dovetailing of false evangelical Futurism, certain prophetic ideas within Islam, and even certain prophetic ideas within Romanism! For according to the “prophecies” of a Roman Catholic “saint” named Malachy, the present pope, Francis I, is the final pope at the end of the world.
These things, then, are significant in that Satan, it appears, knows that his time is running out, and he is stirring up his forces on earth – particularly Romanism and Islam – to place much emphasis on the present times, and on the times just ahead. And tragically, there are Futurist expositors of Bible prophecy who are placing the same emphases on pretty much the same period, and the same events! This has already led certain “evangelicals” to actually give ear to Malachy’s false “prophecies”. Instead of heeding only the prophecies of the Bible, they are willing to take heed to the lying “prophecies” of a Roman Catholic “saint”! And given the utterly abysmal ignorance of Scripture, and of sound doctrine, among most of the “evangelical” world today, is it too great a stretch to imagine that large segments of it may soon begin to take heed to Islamic “prophecy” as well? All one has to consider is the acceptance of Malachy’s false “prophecies” in some “evangelical” circles, as well as the multiplied millions who readily embrace Pentecostal and Charismatic “prophecies” as if they were messages from the Lord, not to mention the growing acceptance of “Chrislam” – a merger of Islam and so-called “Christianity” –and one is forced to the conclusion that it is by no means too much of a stretch at all.
The Pope of Rome, Each and Every Pope of Rome, is the Antichrist!
According to Bible prophecy, the Antichrist is not still future, nor will he be Islamic. The Antichrist is here, he has been here for many hundreds of years, and his seat is the seven-hilled city of Rome. As recognised by believers throughout the centuries, the pope of Rome, and each and every pope of Rome, is the prophesied Antichrist of God’s holy Word. He, and only he, is “that man of sin”, “the son of perdition”; the one “who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God”; “that Wicked”, “whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders” (2 Thess. 2;3,4,8,9). He, and only he, is the “Antichrist” spoken of in 1 Jn. 2:18,22, 4:3, and 2 Jn. 7. He, and only he, reigns over a counterfeit “Church”, with its headquarters in Rome, a whore pretending to be a virgin (Rev. 17).
The identifying marks of Antichrist cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be applied to a Muslim. Unfortunately many Futurists are so focused on the here and now and on the immediate future, that they pay little or no attention to Church history. They act as if the book of Revelation, and other biblical prophecies, were all given for the Church in the final few years of the world’s history. So when they see Islamic fanatics flying planes into buildings, shouting death threats against Christians, beheading and crucifying professing Christians, etc., they think the Antichrist is about to appear from within Islam. But they ignore the fact that for many long centuries, the Roman popes also massacred true Christians and millions of others, demanding conversion to Romanism or death! They forget, or do not know, that the horrors of the Dark Ages, the Inquisition, etc., were perpetrated by fanatical, bloodthirsty Papists. They are ignorant of the fact that, even as recently as the twentieth century, the Roman Papacy committed atrocities against non-Papists, in Croatia, in Rwanda, and in other places – atrocities which equalled, and even exceeded, the atrocities committed by bloodthirsty Muslims today. Indeed, taken as a whole, the awful deeds committed against Christians and others through the centuries by the popes of Rome exceeded by far the awful deeds committed by Muslims. We are by no means trying to whitewash Islamic atrocities. They are horrific and vast. But what the Papacy has committed has been even worse. This is the testimony of God’s Word (Rev. 17:6; 18:24), as well as the testimony of history.
Yet we cannot identify the Antichrist solely by the blood he sheds. It is not merely a matter of asking who has shed the most blood. Certainly Antichrist has shed rivers of blood, as Bible prophecy declares; but there are other identifying marks, just as important – and no Muslim, however much blood he may shed, has these marks. For example, it is clear that the Antichrist is very much like Judas was, for he bears the same name of “son of perdition” (2 Thess. 2:3; Jn. 17:12) – and Judas was a man who falsely claimed to follow Christ. No Muslim makes such a claim. And the Antichrist exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped (2 Thess. 2:4), which the popes of Rome have done as no others ever will. And Antichrist claims to be God on earth, and to sit within the false, professing “Church” (2 Thess. 2:4) – no Muslim does this. And although the Antichrist pretends to believe that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, in truth he denies it (1 Jn. 2:22) – for regardless of what he says with his mouth, he denies the Lord by his works (Tit. 1:16).
Then too, there is the very meaning of the name, Antichrist. It does not merely mean one who is opposed to Christ, as even a Muslim is; but it means one who claims to take the place of Christ! And such a blasphemous claim does not fit any Muslim on earth, and never will. But it perfectly fits the pope of Rome! For he is called the “Vicar of Christ” by his followers – and that is precisely what the word “Vicar” means: the “vice-Christ”, the one who takes His place!
There is much, much more that could be said regarding the identification marks of the Antichrist. The reader is referred to pamphlets and recorded sermons of mine on this subject, for more details. But one thing is clear: no Muslim in the past, now, or in the future was, is, or will be the biblical Antichrist. It is a sheer impossibility.
Islam and Romanism: Both Enemies of True Christians, But Rome is the More Dangerous
As brutal and anti-Christian as Islam is, it is not the greatest threat to true Christians in the world. Yes, Muslims worldwide are committing terrible atrocities against true Christians, professing Christians, and multitudes of others. No one can deny that it is a terrible threat indeed, and all believers should pray for their brethren in Christ in various Muslim countries who are facing such a monstrous foe. They should also pray that if it is the Lord’s will, such terrible persecution of Christians would come to an end. We must not downplay the danger of Islam to the true Church of God.
But when your enemy comes at you with a sword in his hand, you can recognise him. He will not deceive you. His true character is not hidden. When, however, he comes as a Judas, pretending to be your friend and pretending indeed to be a follower of Christ, this is the far greater danger. This is why Paul wrote, just before describing the Papal Antichrist, “Let no man deceive you by any means” (2 Thess. 2:3). This is why the Lord Jesus said, just before his discourse on prophetic events, “Take heed that no man deceive you” (Matt. 24:4). An enemy appearing in the guise of a friend is far more deadly than an open enemy. A fanatical Muslim rushes at you with his sword held high over his head, screaming that infidels should die, and you will have no doubt about his intentions. But a Roman Catholic priest (or just an adherent of that religion) comes to you with outstretched hand, a smile on his face, and calling you “brother”, and unless you are well-grounded in the Word of God, you may be deceived. And for this reason the Roman Catholic institution will always be the far more dangerous enemy of true Christians. It is a wolf disguised as a sheep.
Today, Rome is making use of the ecumenical movement to deceive Protestants. The Great Whore wears a smile on her face and prefers not to let the blood of her persecution of Protestants through the centuries show. She leaves the bloody work, for the most part, to Islam. She is advancing through subtlety, deceit, pretence, lies, smiles. And she is succeeding as never before. Islam’s brutality repulses; Rome’s apparent sweetness entices. Islam is most definitely anti-Christian, in that it hates Christ and the true Church; but the Papacy is not only anti-Christian, the Roman pope is the biblical Antichrist. The Papacy is the greatest enemy of the Christ of God, His true Church, and His Word, that has ever existed on the face of the earth, or ever will.
Let no man deceive you by any means!
Shaun Willcock is a minister, author and researcher. He runs Bible Based Ministries. This pamphlet was first published in April 2016. For other pamphlets (which may be downloaded and printed), as well as details about his books, audio messages, articles, etc., please visit the Bible Based Ministries website; or write to the address below. If you would like to be on Bible Based Ministries’ email list, please send your details.
. For evidence, see Trappings of Popery, by Shaun Willcock, Chapter 14: “Praeterism and Futurism”, pgs. 87-102. Bible Based Ministries, 2007. Available from Bible Based Ministries: www.biblebasedministries.co.uk.
. Mahdi to Return by 2016, Followed by Jesus? by Leo Hohmann, April 30, 2015. WND, www.wnd.com.
. Muslims Praise Key Mideast Leader “Like God”, by Leo Hohmann, April 5, 2015. WND, www.wnd.com.
. Muslims Praise Key Mideast Leader “Like God”.
. For evidence, see Trappings of Popery, Chapter 14: “Praeterism and Futurism”, pgs. 87-102.
. Mahdi to Return by 2016, Followed by Jesus?
. See the articles, The Rat(zinger) Abandons His Ship: the Astonishing Resignation of the Roman Pope Benedict XVI, and A Jesuit Becomes the Pope of Rome, both by Shaun Willcock, Bible Based Ministries, 2013. Available on our website: www.biblebasedministries.co.uk.
. For example, the book, Petrus Romanus: The Final Pope is Here, by Thomas Horn, places such emphasis on Malachy’s “prophecies”.
. See Shaun Willcock’s pamphlet and CD set, both entitled The Antichrist, available from Bible Based Ministries: www.biblebasedministries.co.uk.
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