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We are a Christian Fellowship meeting in North London with a strong interest in teaching the Bible and understanding our time in

the light of Bible prophecy

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Islam and the Second Coming

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Our readers may be surprised to learn that the second coming of Jesus is

something Muslims too believe in. Although not explicitly mentioned in the

Koran, there is a Hadith which gives a detailed series of events connected

with the second coming. (A Hadith is a saying or tradition, not part of the

Koran but given importance in Islamic thinking). It speaks of Jesus going to

Jerusalem with a lance in his hand with which he will kill the Antichrist.

'Then he will kill the pigs, break the cross, demolish oratories and

churches and kill Christians except those who believe in him (i.e. in the

Muslim sense as a prophet not as the Son of God).' 'There will be such

security in his time that lions will lie down with camels, leopards with

cattle and wolves with sheep. Youths and boys will play with snakes without

harming them or being harmed by them. Then he will tarry on the earth for as

long as God wills - perhaps for 40 years. Then he will die and the Muslims

will pray over him and bury him.'

 

We see here elements of the biblical narrative (the destruction of

Antichrist at the second coming of Jesus in Revelation 19 and the millennial

rule of Messiah which will follow). The Bible account is changed and given a

different meaning to fit in with Islamic thinking. This is consistent with

the whole message of the Koran which is largely made up of altered stories

of Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and other biblical figures. The Muslims claim

that the difference between their account and ours is that we have 'changed

the books' (i.e. our Bible is not the original message but the Koran is).

However in the Koran, which was written about 600 years after the New

Testament, Mohammed actually recommends Muslims to 'observe the Taurat

(Torah) and the Injil (Gospel)' (Sura 5.6-8). He did not say anything about

the books being changed, a Muslim doctrine which was introduced much later

when contact with Christians showed them that their version of the same

stories differed from the original accounts found in the Bible.

 

It is not only the accounts which have been changed, but the spirit behind

them. A proper understanding of the biblical prophecies should inspire us to

a concern for unbelievers and a desire to see them saved from 'the wrath to

come' by believing the Gospel of peace and reconciliation with God through

the Messiah Jesus. Islamic groups looking for the end of days are motivated

in the opposite direction. One such group, Hizb ut Tahrir, has been active

in British universities calling on British Muslims to 'fight Jews and kill

them' in order to hasten the end of days. They also believe that when Jesus

comes again, he will kill all the Christians (except those who believe him

to be merely God's servant or messenger rather than the Son of God). There

is a Hadith which says that when Jesus returns, 'even the rocks and trees

will say, 'O Muslim, here is an unbeliever. Kill him!' Hence Allah will

cause all unbelievers to perish.'

 

Less extreme Muslim groups are seeing the present spiritual crisis in the

West as an opportunity for Islam. A Muslim family magazine says, 'Western

society is ripe for receiving Islam, as Islam has the answer for many of

society's ills.' A BBC 'Everyman' programme featured the way Islam is being

promoted, with such activities as open air preaching in Hyde Park, lectures

in universities and the use of pop culture to put across the message. It is

clear that many of the techniques of evangelical Christians are being used

by Muslims to promote their faith.

 

At the same time there is a growing fear amongst moderate Muslims about the

influence of extremist groups. According to an article in 'The Guardian'

(7/2/94) 'Liberal Muslims say a climate of fear is growing in Britain's

estimated 1000 mosques. Imams and officials say they feel besieged.' Young

radicals are openly campaigning for a more fundamentalist approach to Islam.

Worshippers at London's Regent's Park Mosque have to run the gauntlet of

dozens of young men raising money for 'holy wars' against foreign

governments (e.g. Israel, Egypt, Algeria). 'The Young Muslims' organisation,

based in Nottingham organises charter trips for young people to centres of

Islamic Revolution, Sudan and Iran, and holiday camps with lectures from

Islamic militants and political leaders. A Huddersfield local paper has an

article about a magazine produced by the local Muslim youth organisation

which 'declares a jihad or holy war on the Church of England and Jews as

sworn enemies of Islam. It encourages people to kill Salman Rushdie and

refers to the Queen as a prostitute.'

 

What is the prophetic significance of the rise of Islam?

 

The rise of Islam clearly has a significance for the end times. The whole

religion, coming out of a form of Christianity, but changing the heart of

the message, fits in with John's description of the 'many antichrists' who

will arise:

 

'They went out from us but they were not of us; for if they had been of us

they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out that they

might be made manifest that they were not all of us... Who is a liar but he

that denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist that denies the

Father and the Son.' 1 John 2.19-22

 

Wherever Islam arises in its militant form, blood flows. Across the Middle

East and Africa the Islamic Revolution now being exported to young Muslims

in Britain, has brought untold suffering to millions of people. One of the

worst examples is Sudan, where the UN has submitted a report on a catalogue

of extreme human rights abuses committed by the Islamic government

torture, death by crucifixion and stoning, forced conversions to Islam and

slavery. The Islamic government was furious at the UN's denunciation of its

human rights, claiming that it is running the country according to Islamic

law (Shari'ah) and that criticisms of this are a 'flagrant blasphemy' and a

'deliberate insult to the Muslim religion.' Islamic fundamentalism sweeping

across the world is creating the conditions of nation rising against nation,

of persecution of Christians and brutal dictatorship described in prophecies

of the end times (Matthew 24, Revelation 13).

 

Many biblical commentators have connected the final antichrist system with a

revival of the Roman Empire (see following article). It is interesting that

the original Roman Empire was divided into eastern and western sections.

Today the western half is dominated by Roman Catholicism and the eastern

half by Islam. Both are religions which 'came out' of New Testament

Christianity, but actually changed the heart of the Gospel message and

became persecutors of those who are true to the Gospel. Both are in

conflict, but are in their own way contributing to the final antichrist

system, which will ultimately destroy both of them.

 

So how should we respond to the rise of Islam?

 

Despite all of this we should respond to Muslims not with fear and

hostility, but with love, as the Muslims are also those for whom the Messiah

Jesus died and rose again. We should have confidence in the greater power

that is available to us in the Lord Jesus, knowing that the reason our

society is in such a mess is that we have rejected the Gospel message he

came to bring us. Islam with its terrible record of human rights abuses and

violent conflicts has nothing to offer us as the solution to our troubles.

We have eternal life and forgiveness to offer to the individual Muslims. The

Lord assures us that 'greater is he that is in you than he that is in the

world.'

 

With this in mind it is moving to read of an incident in Africa in which

some Pentecostal Christians built a church in a predominantly Muslim area.

One morning the Christians came along and found that their church had been

burnt down by unknown people. They prayed on the spot for those who had

committed the act. Two weeks later a Muslim came to the pastor and confessed

that he and two others had burnt down the church. One of them had fallen

sick and died and the other had disappeared, and he wanted to be prayed for

because he feared that something bad was going to happen to him. The man was

forgiven. (Information from IISIC).

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