Friday, November 09, 2012

The Islamic Antichrist?

Ken11/08/2012 6:08 PM

Have you read Joel Richardson's books, The Islamic Anti-Christ and the Mid-East Beast? If so, what do you think about them?

I have not read them, but I get lots of questions from other believers who have read these books and they think his view is persuasive.

This will be a sequel to an earlier post I did:

i) Richardson doesn’t seem to be a Bible scholar. Rather, he appears to be one of those ubiquitous “prophecy teachers.” I don’t think he has any more inherent credibility on this subject than Hal Lindsey, Harold Camping, Tim LaHaye, or John Hagee.

I’m not suggesting we should dismiss prophecy teachers out of hand. But we need to distinguish the genuine Bible scholars from the hucksters.

And unless I missed something, there’s no evidence that he can read Muslim primary sources in the original languages.

ii) On a related note, he strikes me as a guy who’s cashing in on the post-9/11 interest in Islam. This is his meal ticket.

Now maybe that’s not fair. That’s just my impression.

A more charitable interpretation is that he’s sincere guy who’s captivated by his own system of prophecy.

iii) You can currently find a free, online version of his position here:

Here’s his central thesis:

Here’s how he applies his central thesis to contemporary events:

Admittedly, I’ve skimmed his material. I don’t think he’s worth investing a lot of time one. That’s a snap judgment, but folks like him are a dime a dozen, so we have to pick our targets.

iv) I don’t have any antecedent objection to the possibility that the Antichrist will be Muslim, although I define the Antichrist more broadly than he does–for reasons I’ve given in my prequel (see above).

That said:

v) His comparisons between Biblical eschatology and Muslim eschatology are an exercise in misdirection. Since Muslim eschatology is largely bogus–except where it pilfers the Bible–the details of Muslim eschatology have zero predictive value. We shouldn’t use that material to interpret or filter the Bible.

vi) He makes a big deal about the Mahdi. To my knowledge, the Mahdi is central to Shiite eschatology, but more peripheral to other branches of Islam (e.g. Sunni, Ibadi).

So he’s using an eschatological paradigm which represents the minority report in Islam.

vii) Even if an Islamic Antichrist were consistent with Biblical prophecy, this doesn’t mean Bible prophecy implies or predicts an Islamic Antichrist. For other candidates may also be consistent with Biblical prophecy. Why single out the Islamic candidate?

The threats to Christianity are both internal and external.  Major external threats include secularism as well as Islam. Major internal threats include cults and heresies like Mormonism and Roman Catholicism.

Sometimes these intersect. Theological liberalism poses an internal threat to Christianity, but that derives its inspiration from secularism.

All these diverse movements have an Antichrist aspect.

viii) There’s no factual or exegetical reason for him to equate the great apostasy with conversions to Islam. 9/11 didn’t result in mass conversion to Islam.

To the extent that Islam becomes dominant in Europe and the UK, as well as making inroads in the US, that may result in widespread assimilation. On the other hand, there may be a popular backlash.

ix) If you view the Antichrist as an invincible military dictator who is bound to conquer the world, who can only be vanquished by the return of Christ, then that’s a prescription for unilateral disarmament. Armed resistance is futile. Pacifistic martyrdom is our only recourse.

And, indeed, that’s where he’s going with “How Should We Respond?” Needless to say, laying down our arms in the face of militant Islam is a self-fulfilling prophecy. We’d be dooming ourselves to oblivion.


  1. Hey Steve,
    Thanks for those thoughts! I also skimmed the material at that Richardson wrote, (a while back) because I honestly did not want to waste my money on another Hal Lindsay type.

    Since Alan Kurshner wrote the article on responding to Gary DeMar and I think DeMar and Sproul and Gentry effectively (for me) kill all the "Millennial Madness" type stuff of futurism; and since he is a futurist, holding to the Pre-Wrath position, and since he has a link at his web-site for a "Middle East in Prophesy" conference, I just thought I would ask what he thought about those books if he had read them.

    most of what you write above I agree with in principle. But many sincere believers are reading this stuff and asking me questions (since I minister regularly in evangelism with Muslims and in discipleship training with former Muslims) etc. - sometimes I feel like I should know more about the Joel Richardson type stuff.

    I am more convinced about Partial Preterism and Amillennialism, but I also see PreMillennialism as exegetically credible in Rev. 20. But it cannot accept a re-built temple because of Hebrews and that Ezekiel 40-48 is "visions of God" and the sacrifices are "for atonement" - so the idea that that is talking about a re-built temple seems far fetched to me.

  2. But it cannot accept a re-built temple

    should have been

    But I cannot accept a re-built temple

    1. Ken, No obligation to reply.

      Regarding the rebuilding of the temple:

      1. Do you reject it as something that ought not to happen, but may happen nevertheless?

      2. Do you believe it's not prophesied to happen and therefore Premillennialists who teach it will be are misinterpreting the Bible when they say it's predicted?

      3. Do you believe, based on Scripture, that it positively will not happen?

      4. Are you referring to the 3rd temple during the Tribulation, or the 4th "Millennial Temple", both of which many Dispensational Premillers believe will be built(excluding Historic Covenantal Premillers)? I'm guessing you're referring to the 4th temple because you mentioned Ezek. 40-48.