Antichrist: Islam’s Awaited Messiah, by Joel Richardson

One thing that makes interpretation of apocalyptic Bible prophecy difficult is the many disparate passages in scripture, so that the task of tying them together into a coherent and comprehensible, end-time narrative is daunting. Authors and teachers who attempt to do this very thing ironically often exacerbate this problem by injecting their own notions, arising from speculation on how the prophecies might play out, or through attempting to impose current political alignments onto prophetic passages. The result is that the body of thought in the Christian world on end-time prophecy is muddled, and Christians inadvertently present an uncertain message to non-Christians.

Occasionally, a work arises that brings clarity rather than confusion to our understanding. Such is the case with the opening chapters of Antichrist: Islam’s Awaited Messiah, where author Joel Richardson compares three principle characters of Islamic eschatology – the Mahdi, the returned prophet Isa (Jesus), and the Islamic antichrist Dijjal – with the three principals of Biblical eschatology – the Antichrist, False Prophet, and Messiah Jesus. Though characterized from opposing perspectives, the parallels between these persons is uncanny and immediately recognizable to anyone who has devoted time to reading and understanding Bible prophecy.

The book is divided into three parts, the first being the largest and containing the principle arguments, and subdivides as follows -

Chapters 1-9 lay out the respective comparisons between the Mahdi and Antichrist (or first beast) of Revelation; between the prophet Isa (Jesus returned), who leads Islam in a final battle against the Jews, with the second beast (False Prophet) of Revelation; and between the Dijjal with the returned Jesus. This is the most striking and useful part of the book.

Chapter 10, The Revised Islamic Empire of the Antichrist, identifies the constituent nations of the Antichrist’s empire – essentially a revived Ottoman Empire – and ties the Gog/Magog prophecy of Ezekiel to the Antichrist prophecies of Revelation and Daniel. I have problems with this chapter concerning interpretation of the Ezekiel prophecy, whose parameters make it problematic to fit within the central narratives of Revelation or Daniel. However, it is a very interesting read.

Chapters 11-17 examine the suitability of aspects of Islamic thought and practice as candidates to fulfill Biblical citations concerning Israel’s end-time enemies. I was already familiar with this theme, and the desire to find some resolution to it is what led me to this book.

Chapter 18 summarizes the point-by-point comparisons in Part One.

Part Two contains two chapters. Chapter 19 points out problems with the thesis, and I appreciate that the author offered this. Chapter 20 is a retrospective of how the primary thesis came to be. Together, Parts One and Two form a compelling case for the Antichrist arising as an Islamic figure.

Part Three, entitled How Should We Respond?, contains three chapters recommending personal action through prayer, outreach, and preparation for persecution. This section has a fatalistic tone, and though I have no problem with the specifics, it is clearly premised on an eschatology that rejects a Pre-Tribulation rapture of the church. This is another difficulty I have with the author’s eschatology.

The thesis of this book transforms the perception of Islam from civilization or religion to a vehicle of malevolent spiritual forces at the end of the age. Even if this is true, I personally refuse to harbor an animus against such a large segment of the world’s population. The author is of the same mind, as this work does not appear to be based in ethnic or religious hostility or paranoia. He simply seems serious about interpreting the Bible accurately.

I view the Biblical picture of the end of this age as more complex than what this book presents, particularly in how the Antichrist’s empire will arise. Nevertheless, the principle thesis of the book is well presented. It would be interesting to see a serious and honest attempt at rebuttal, though I suspect there will be none.

I recommend chapters 1-9 for everyone. These with chapters 11-20 would have made an excellent book in itself. Despite my contentions with chapter 10 and Part Three, I still think they are worth reading to spur examination of one’s own eschatology.

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10 Responses to “Antichrist: Islam’s Awaited Messiah, by Joel Richardson”

  1. Logus says:

    The author has been harassed, insulted and impugned by fellow believers, specifically those who believe in a pretrib, Roman view of Biblical eschatology. The foremost of these is a guy named Sean Osborne, but some time ago the reknowned David Reagan wrote a major hit piece on Richardson. Joel rebutted it and offered just what you’re looking for, a serious and honest attempt at rebuttal, an open debate and forum. Reagan has not accepted – instead offering excuses. Osborne continues to be a hothead.

    I find it interesting to note how many pre-tribbers react to post-trib people and moreso, those who have a different view of who the Antichrist will be and where he’ll come from. It’s often worse than cannibalism, it’s torture reading some of the comments and articles of some pretribbers who dispute, mock and wish to remove or at least place into a dunce corner those Christians who have taken a very logical and thoughtful, holistic approach to eschatology and are not preterists, postmillenialists nor amillenialists.

    What is needed amongst the body of believers who accept the premillenial view is to be open minded enough to accept and voice the probability that their analysis may not be spot on, that there at least might be some mingling of opines – Instead what I see quite often amongst pretribbers is hardheadedness that they’re absolutely right (eschatology isn’t the gospel, thus the reason why the church and so many denominations have taken such varied approaches and stances on it) and it comes off as pride. And, more people calling on the “leaders” of the pretrib “classical” view to debate in a public format with fellow believers of the posttrib “Islamic” view.

  2. disciple23 says:

    My prayer is that the church would once again fall back in love it’s first love and that is Jesus. We put so much stock in the the polished words of man that we neglect the very truths that God has given us in His word. Do not get me wrong….yes God gives man deep revelation but when we become lazy and complacent and we neglect to seek God on all things and check all things with the Holy Spirit we find ourselves on a very slippery slop! Now I have always felt in my heart that the pretrib. eschatology has it’s flaws (I am not pointing fingers, just simply bringing it back to biblical truths) It seems that in the western church we are under the nieve assumption that we are above perscution. Reality check!!!!!! We are not and that is where I believe the pretrib. eschatology has it’s basis. Jesus said out of His own mouth that we would suffer for His name’s sake and some of us would even die…no exceptions!!!! But He did promise that He would never leave us nor forsake us. The children of Israel did not leave Egypt before the plagues hit….no they were present but the hand of Almighty God protected them. I truely believe that we are the only or one of the very few nations that actually believes in the pretrib. rapture. In 2 Thes. 2 paul is talking to the GENTILE church and he saids to them “Let no one decieve you by any means; for that day will not come until the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition” 2 Thes. 2:3. Hello we are going to see this happen Saints, not like the movie Left Behind where we will be raptured then Nicolae Carpathia is revealed as the Anti-Christ…no we will see this man come into power after many abandon their Faith in Christ Jesus!!! I am not trying to sound harsh but the church better wake up before it is too late!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Chips says:

    Just some rational thoughts. If indeed we have a pre-trib rapture;that means that all believers are gone at once. If this is true, and what is left behind are people who recieve Christ because of the rapture, what then happens? A pre-trib rapture means that all Pastors, Teachers, Evangelists, Prophets, Apostles, gift of helps, etc. etc. etc. go as well. Which then brings me to the question of who is going to disciple these new beleivers (baby Christians)? It also leads one to believe that Christ must have two body’s but one Head. Christ is coming for a Church without spot, blemish or wrinkle;not two churches or two body’s

  4. admin says:

    Thanks for the replies, all. Actually the rebuttal I was looking for was a sound one against Joel Richardson’s primary thesis, which I still haven’t found. I read David Reagan’s review of this book and found his criticisms lacking in terms of a Biblically-based counter-argument. I respect David Reagan and hoped for better.

  5. Pre-Tribber says:

    I just finished watching Jeol Richardson’s interview on Sid Roth, where he claims that he was specifically chosen by God to impart special truth about the end times to the body of Christ. That in itself doesn’t bother me, nor his views on an islamic empire instead of a revived Roman empire.
    I’m a pre-tribber, and no i’m not looking for an escape from persecution. I excpect it well before the rapture. My beliefs stand on God’s promises straight from the bible. I’m not interested in arguing my case regarding that. When God says he’ll spare us from wrath (a.k.a the tribulation, which will experience God’s judgment) and that we’re held blameless before God because of Jesus Christ and his blood atonement…well, I believe Him :)
    I have some questions for Mr. Richardson. Namely, if he believes in a Middle East Empire (combined with his views of Gog and Magog) and their campaign against Israel, How exactly does that involve the rest of us stuck here in…let’s say, the US? Will the rag-tag coalition of Arab countries in the Middle East really make up the world empire of ten kings…which encompasses the whole globe?
    That’s where the question mark popped over my head. There’s definately going to be a one world government…but his views hint at a ten nation confederation of Arab states along with an islamist Anti-christ. It’s fine if i’m wrong about his views, i admit that i don’t have the resources to read his material. It’s interesting though, if God has truly chosen him for such a monumental task…which is to enlighten us all, he might want to shed some light on how a ten nation confederation will take over the globe…what are his thoughts on the mark of the beast? You know, there are people in high places right now that have already maped out the globe into ten sections, secular humanists/pagans that have been planning a one world government for centuries. There’s too much evidence to refute that SOMETHING isn’t going on with that, either way i’m interested to see how it’ll turn out.

  6. Bonnie Nero says:

    After seeing Joel Richardson today 6/13/11 I found his interview fascinating….things made perfect sense.
    Remember “it rains on the just and unjust”,so whereas I would love to think Christians are”out of here”before events described either in Ezekiel or Revelation….I don’t think that is going to happen.

  7. Another Pre-tribber says:

    Is there any conflict with having a pre-trib rapture and equating Gog-Magog with Armageddon? I think Joel is on to something but that doesn’t mean he has everything right eschatologically speaking…

  8. Hunters says:

    Hunters…

    [...]Antichrist: Islam’s Awaited Messiah, by Joel Richardson « On Second Look[...]…

  9. john says:

    Pre-Tribber. Me personally, I have heard all the theories on tribs and personally all have scriptures that can support their theories. As for as christians suffering God’s wrath let us not confuse that with the wrath of Satan which is what the tribulation will be. God’s wrath (the one you referenced scripture to0) is once we stand before His judgement seat and are found guilty or innocent. The people who have not trusted Jesus will be sent into perdition, will be seperated from God for eternity and this is God’s wrath. As for as people having an issue with this being a entire world war if you look at all kingdoms that the bible used this term for you will see that this was not the case. These kingdoms controlled this total region and Isreal, but I can see where Islamic fanatics are in a sense terrorizing the whole world today. My final thought on which trrib you suuport is that it amazes me how men and women of faith get so bent out of shape because of someone not seeing it their way. When there is disagreement just remeber to focus on Jesus and move on. This is not a salvation issue so sometimes it is alright to agree to disagree!

  10. Doug Hanley says:

    Hey PreTribber and the rest,
    I see the admin found Reagan’s rebuttal lacking and I did as well. One thing I have learned in my years of Hermeneutics, is to avoid Eisegesis, wikipedia defines as the process of interpreting a text or portion of text in such a way that the process introduces one’s own presuppositions, agendas, or biases into and onto the text.

    I challenge you read Mt 24, 2 These 2, Rev 6 with their plain meanings and read into the texts a Pre-Trib rapture

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