21 Sep Interview with Joel Richardson: The Islamic Antichrist
Baltimore Christian Examiner: Joel Richardson is author of The Islamic Antichrist, a book whose premise is that Islamic eschatology is sort of a mirror opposite of Christian eschatology. Joel has also written several other books but this is his ministry not his business. Joel has dedicated a lot of his time to studying Islam so that he can share the truth of the Gospel with Muslims and share what he has learned with fellow Christians.
I first met Joel at a local church where he was invited to speak about the Islamic Antichrist. I had never heard anything like this theory before and at first I thought he was completely off base with his theology about the end times because it was different than anything IӤ heard before. However, since that time IӶe been following his ministry on his website Joelӳ Trumpet and have found that his viewpoint definitely has merits and should not be quickly dismissed. Mainstream prophecy teachers who hold the standard dispensational views of the end times have been quick to shoot down Joelӳ ideas. A bit too quick in my view.
Last week Joel gave me an interview and I asked him a few questions about his book and ministry. I think his answers reveal a lot and are very educational.
Below are the questions I asked but Joelӳ answers are paraphrased.
What inspired you to write the book?
To make the church aware of Islamic eschatology. So people can see that Muslims have been setup by their religious system to fulfill prophecies of the Bible. They have been set up to embrace anti Semitism and embrace the Antichrist.
The book is also targeted to Muslims, not just Christians. Muslims get very deep into theology and so the answers are precise and the book is worded in a way to reach Muslims. While I believe their prophecies need to be looked at I do not believe Islam is prophetic.
Who is the Mahdi?
Islamӳ primary messiah figure, they believe in him as well as Jesus. By and large the majority of Muslims do believe in the coming of the Mahdi (also spelled Mehdi.) This belief is espoused by an overwhelming majority of respected Muslim scholars throughout history.
Sunnis in recent times have emphasized the coming of Jesus but Shia Muslims have emphasized the coming of the Mahdi. Over the past ten years however there has been a massive groundswell of belief in the Mahdi across sectarian lines. I have every book on the subject (about 40) and only two of those books donӴ follow this direction. Some Muslims believe that Jesus and the Mahdi will be one in the same.
How does Islam look at Jesus?
They see him as another Muslim prophet in a long line of prophets to reawaken the religion called Islam. Mohammed was the final prophet. They believe Jesus will come back to end Christianity and show that Christians had it all wrong and that the Bible was all wrong. There is a famous tradition that says Jesus will; break the cross, kill the pigs and abolish the Jizya (the Jizya is the tax that subjected people pay to exist in Islamic dominated countries.) They believe the Jesus will remove all crosses from churches. Jesus will expose that Christians eat unclean food. And no longer will a dhimmi status be accepted, people of any and all other religions must convert to Islam or die. Muslims also believe Jesus will kill the Antichrist. They think the Antichrist will be who the Jews will follow as their messiah. They believe the Antichrist will have miraculous powers.
The Islamic version of the Antichrist is called the Dajjal. He is supposed to be one eyed or blind in one eye (speculative) according to pop culture in Islam. Islam is filled with conspiracy theories. Some see the all seeing eye and freemasonry as an all encompassing Dajjal system. Similar to the way some conspiracy theorist view the Ԯew world order.ԠThereӳ even a website called the Dajall New Network.
Itӳ my belief that Satan knows Godӳ plan and has had a long time to study it and theology throughout the ages. So Satan has his own plan and part of that plan is to build an army and the primary method for that army is Islam.
How did you get started with studying Islam?
I went to school to become a missionary to the Islamic world. I lived in the Middle East for a while also. I came back to the US and went to school for engineering as a tent making career. While I was there I spent a lot of time reaching out to Muslims on campus.
I developed a real love for Muslims. One of the reasons for that is that I love to discuss theology and most people donӴ want to talk about theology but Muslims do want to talk to you about it and at length. I was also moved by hearing about the 10/40 window of un-reached people.
Why didnӴ you become a missionary?
My life changed and was taking me in different directions. But after 9/11 a lot of Americans converted to Islam. There was something powerful (not in a good way) about it.
Americans are honest and wanted to know what Islam was all about. People would go online to Muslim websites just looking for answers. Muslims at these sites are generally trained to tear down Christianity and western civilization and that feeds on the self hatred and guilt people of the West sometimes have about their self and their culture. Many Christians and those in the West donӴ know or understand their own theology and culture very well either. At the same time Muslims on these sites would present a westernized version of Islam to get people in the door.
After seeing people convert to Islam online I realized that I could have an online ministry and not have to travel to be a missionary.
Do you believe the Antichrist will come from Islam and why?
I do and the evidence is beyond circumstantial. More than just their eschatology being the opposite of Christianity, Biblical geography points to the Antichrist kingdom of that of the surrounding nations of Israel and not of a Roman Empire or revived Roman Empire. The Antichrist theology also matches with Islam. Islamӳ creed, the shahada is the most Antichrist creed that has ever existed.
I want everyone to take the Islamic paradigm and consider it. I donӴ want to change all of the Christian outlook on eschatology but to expand the horizons to spread out and look at all directions for the fulfillment of Christian prophecy. We are to be watchmen on the wall and right now I think many people are ignoring the Eastern wall.
Calvin, Martin Luther and Jonathon Edwards all looked at Islam as vehicle of the Antichrist. I think bad eschatology can lead to pain and confusion. I just want to share my heart and correct the imbalance of looking only at a Roman empire as the vehicle of the Antichrist.
What makes you think the Antichrist will come soon and that we are living in the end times?
The trends toward Muslim domination in Europe and the Middle East is a big end times indicator I think. Also the Middle East peace push seems to be an indicator. There has been such a push for so long that I think something will eventually come out of it. I think the next major sign post will be the rebuilding of the (Jewish) temple.
Talk about the threats that you get for spreading your beliefs?
Islam allows people to hate, murder and men to live very sexually and to have legal prostitution. In Islam all is acceptable in the name of God. Mohammed was a warrior, and so followers of Islam see themselves as warriors. Muslims get to experience the rush of religion and the freedom to hate. Radical Islam has a lot of appeal.