Will the Antichrist be a Muslim?
In recent times, many have suggested the future Antichrist will be Muslim. Is there any evidence for an Islamic Antichrist? To evaluate the claim, we can look at the end-times teachings of both Islam and Christianity.
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Shi'itic Islam believes in the prophecy concerning the Twelfth Imam. According to the Shi'ites, there have been twelve imams (spiritual leaders) since Muhammad. The twelfth one was Abu al-Qasim Muhammad (also called Muhammad al Mahdi), born around 868. At age six, he allegedly entered a cave to hide during a time of persecution. One day he will return, just before the Day of Judgment.
The Bible also speaks of a future leader who will come shortly before the Day of Judgment. He is called "the beast" in Revelation 13:4. This ruler will promise peace with Israel for seven years, but he will break the treaty in the middle of the seven-year period. He will then declare himself God and rule as a despot during a time of judgment before Christ's second coming. Based on these prophecies, some believe that, when the beast, or the Antichrist, comes, he will be hailed by the Muslim world as the Twelfth Imam.
Daniel 7—8 speaks of four world empires, and the final one, ruling in the last days, will be the revived Roman Empire. Daniel says the leader of this last empire will be "a master of intrigue," and "he will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior" (Daniel 8:23, 25 NIV). This man appears to be synonymous with the Antichrist in Revelation. If so, there are a couple of arguments against the Antichrist being the Twelfth Imam, or even being a Muslim.
The first argument is geographical. If the Antichrist emerges from the revived Roman Empire, then he most likely be found within the nations of the old Roman Empire. These lands do include major portions of Europe as well as North Africa, yet Europeans rather than Arabs have traditionally led the Roman Empire.
Second, there will be a positive relationship between the Antichrist and Israel, at least to begin with. The Antichrist confirms a peace agreement with Israel for seven years (Daniel 9:27), and the Jewish temple will be rebuilt. Due to the traditional hostility between Muslims and Jews, it is unlikely that a Muslim would be in this position.
Of course, no one knows for certain who the future Antichrist will be. It is possible that he will be an Arab, or a man of mixed Muslim and Jewish descent. He will be hailed by all the world as the man who finally brought peace to the Middle East. The Muslims would see him as the Twelfth Imam, and the Jews would welcome him as their long-awaited Messiah.
Until we see the fulfillment of these things, we need to heed the words of 1 John 4:1-4; "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world."
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