Islamic vs Christian Eschatology Part I– Bill Wilson
As you may know, from September 15 through the 23rd I am leading a mission team to Ghana, West Africa. Our primary mission is to witness to Muslims as we are establishing a mission school, conducting outreach in a predominantly Muslim slum, and developing future prospects for providing homes to the homeless. Witnessing to Muslims is a challenge. Most of it is establishing relationships, credibility and sharing truth. What many Christians do not know, however, is that Muslims regard “Jesus, Son of Mary” as a prophet who plays an instrumental role in Islamic eschatology. In fact, there are tremendous similarities in Islamic end time prophecies and those of Christians, but they are polar opposites.
There are four holy books for the Muslims. The Qur’an: the first and most sacred holy book of Islam written by Muhammad as given by Allah; the literal word of Allah. It is broken down into chapters called Sura. The Sunna is the written account of what Muhammad said, did, condoned or condemned, giving Muslims the “perfect” example for living life. It is divided into two types of literature–the Hadith and the Sirat or Sirah. The Hadith is the specific recording of Muhammad’s sayings. Each Hadith consists of two parts–the isnad and the matn. The isnad is essentially who said the Hadith and the matn is the sayings or actions of Muhammad. The Sirat or Sirah is the biography of Muhammad.
The basis of Islamic eschatology is found in the Qur’an’s Sura 2:177, “It is not righteousness 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.” You see that there are therefore five basic tenets of Islamic belief: Allah, the Last Day, Angels, the Qur’an, and the prophets. Unlike Christianity, where eschatology is rarely taught, Islam is very specific about its believers understanding what Muhammad believed about the end times. Central to the Islamic end time prophecies is the 12th Imam or the Mahdi. This is Islam’s “Lord of the Age” and “Awaited Savior.”
Amazing enough, the Mahdi is strikingly similar to Christianity’s Beast or Antichrist. Some of the many similarities include: Ruling the world spiritually, politically and economically for seven years; Muslims identify the Mahdi as the rider of the white horse in Revelation 6:1-2; the Mahdi will war against the saints and Israel; the Mahdi declares himself the most high; the Mahdi agrees to a 7 year peace treaty with the Jews; the Mahdi seeks to change the times and the laws as prophesied in Daniel 7:23 by moving worship to Fridays and establishing Sharia Law. Yeshua said in Matthew 24:4 when asked about the end times, “Take heed that no man deceive you.” The deception is actually found in how Muslims view Jesus–tomorrow’s Jot.