Who is he?
Q. Who or what is the Mahdi we keep hearing about in Middle Eastern news? Is this the Muslim version of latter days prophecy?
Last Days Prophecies
Strangely enough, the Koran speaks of the last days as does the Bible. Many Islamic prophecies are similar to the Bible's description of Jesus, the Antichrist, the Millennium and the future war of "Gog and Magog" from Ezekiel 38 and 39.
In fact, Muhammad quoted from Ezekiel, Daniel, Joel, Isaiah, and Jesus. One need only to read the Koran to spot the overlap between Islamic, Jewish, and Christian prophetic thought. There are differences, too, however.
Prophecies of the Koran
Like the biblical New Testament, the Koran states that Jesus Christ will return to earth to bring about His kingdom and to judge mankind.
Rather than return to Jerusalem, however, Moslems believe that Christ will return somewhere near Damascus, Syria. There he will defeat the armies of the Antichrist and kill the Antichrist. Victory over hatred will ensue and nature will be restored so that lions and lambs coexist peacefully (Sura 39).
Oracle Concerning Damascus
Islamic belief that Christ will return near Damascus is interesting because the Bible states that Damascus will be completely destroyed - it will become a "heap of ruins" never to be inhabited again - possibly in a nuclear configuration. (See Isaiah 17).
A One-Eyed Monster - the "Worthless Shepherd"
The hadith commentaries prophesy that the Antichrist will have only one eye and will have a mark on his forehead with the letters CFR, which stand for infidel. This is fascinating because of a parallel passage from Zechariah 11:17 which states,
"Woe to my worthless shepherd, who deserts the flock! May the sword strike his arm and his right eye! Let his arm be wholly withered, his right eye utterly blinded!" (Zech. 11:17, ESV)
Mark of the Beast?
Not only is this a physical description of what may be the Antichrist, but it may also have to do with the mark on the hand or forehead required of all world citizens under the rule of the Antichrist. This mark is taken to declare allegiance to the Antichrist and for all business transactions as it is prophesied in Revelation 13:16-17.
It says, "He (the Antichrist) required everyone - small and great, rich and poor, free and slave - to be given a mark on the right hand or on the forehead. And no one could buy or sell anything without that mark…" (NLT).
A False Messiah
The Islamic prophecies declare that Jews will actually accept the Antichrist as Messiah ben David - thinking that he will restore the kingdom to Israel. The Antichrist will appear somewhere near Iraq and Syria, will ride on a colt, and will be followed by 70,000 Jews. Jesus Christ will ultimately destroy him. (One can immediately spot the confusion of older biblical prophecies from these accounts).
The Mahdi (or Director) is never mentioned in the Koran. But, according to tradition and commentaries he is thought to be a descendant of Muhammad. He is the last of twelve imams (spiritual leaders), and was born in the year 255 of Hijra (an Arab calendar).
He will return to be the ruler of the coming worldwide Islamic government (the caliphate). Furthermore, the Koran teaches that the Islamic caliphate will be judged during a 1,000 year period after a worldwide crisis which ends the current age (Sura 32).
Of course, this is similar to the biblical Millennium of Revelation 20.
Witticisms Indigenous to the Near East
Note that the Koran was written at least six hundred years after the New Testament. A cursory reading reveals it to consist of a compilation of Old and New Testament passages, folklore, and bits and pieces of biblical proverbs or cultural witticisms indigenous to Near Eastern culture.
Leader of Iran
The scariest thing about the current Iranian leader is that he believes he can more quickly bring back the Mahdi by deliberately causing chaos worldwide. He believes he can do this through wars, control of oil, nuclear power, and through a deliberate destruction of the U.S. dollar.
He appears to be succeeding at his mission. We suspect that there is just enough "truth" tidbits within the Koran to make its followers a deadly threat to Western civilization.
The western world must wake-up!
Hitchcock, Mark. 2007. The apocalypse of Ahmadinejad, Colorado Springs: Multnomah.
—- 2006. Iran: The coming crisis. Sisters, OR: Multnomah.
Jeffrey, Grant. 2006. The next world war. Colorado Springs: Waterbrook.
Wagner, William. 2004. How Islam plans to change the world. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregal.