With the Middle East still in chaos and rumors of war in the air, the idea of rebuilding the Jerusalem Temple on a foundation occupied and administered by Islamic militants might seem fanciful – even preposterous.
But the author of a new book, “The Islamic Antichrist: The Shocking Truth About the Real Nature of the Beast,” returned from Turkey recently with news that a prominent Islamic teacher and best-selling author and Jewish Sanhedrin rabbis are hoping to do just that.
In a column penned in WND today, author Joel Richardson reveals the historically unprecedented development.
Adnan Oktar, who uses the pen name of Harun Yahya, is a controversial but highly influential Muslim intellectual and author with more than 65 million of his books in circulation worldwide. Oktar recently met with three representatives from the re-established Jewish Sanhedrin, a group of 71 Orthodox rabbis and scholars from Israel, to discuss how religious Muslims, Jews and Christians can work together on the project.
“The objectives of the alliance include waging a joint intellectual and spiritual battle against the worldwide growing tide of irreligiousness, unbelief and immorality,” explains Richardson, who met in Turkey with Oktar. “But even more unusual is their agreement with regard to the need to rebuild the Jewish Temple, a structure that Mr. Oktar refers to as the ‘Masjid (Mosque)’ or the ‘Palace of Solomon.’”
An official statement about the meeting has been published on the Sanhedrin’s website. Concluding the statement is the following call:
“Out of a sense of collective responsibility for world peace and for all humanity we have found it timely to call to the World and exclaim that there is a way out for all peoples. It is etched in a call to all humanity: We are all the sons of one father, the descendants of Adam, and all humanity is but a single family. Peace among Nations will be achieved through building the House of G-d, where all peoples will serve as foreseen by King Solomon in his prayers at the dedication of the First Holy Temple. Come let us love and respect one another, and love and honor and hold our heavenly Father in awe. Let us establish a house of prayer in His name in order to worship and serve Him together, for the sake of His great compassion. He surely does not want the blood of His creations spilled, but prefers love and peace among all mankind. We pray to the Almighty Creator, that you harken to our Call. Together – each according to his or her ability – we shall work towards the building of the House of Prayer for All Nations on the Temple Mount in peace and mutual understanding.”
Oktar explained his vision for the rebuilding of Solomon’s Temple to Richardson:
“The Palace of Solomon is a historically important palace and rebuilding it would be a very wonderful thing. It is something that any Jew, a Christian or a Muslim should welcome with enthusiasm. Every Muslim, every believer will want to return to those days, to experience those days again and, albeit partially, to bring the beauty of those days back to life.”
Joel Richardson and Adnan Oktar meet together in Istanbul July 21, 2009
Oktar added that the Temple of Solomon “will be rebuilt and all believers will worship there in tranquility.” During his meeting with the Sanhedrin Rabbis, Oktar expressed his belief that the Temple could be rebuilt in one year:
“It could be done in a year at most. It could be built to the same perfection and beauty. The Torah says it was built in 13 years, if I remember correctly. It could be rebuilt in a year in its perfect form.”
Richardson later met with Rabbi Abrahamson and Rabbi Hollander, two of the Sanhedrin representatives who conferred with Oktar. Regarding the rebuilding of the Temple, Rabbi Hollander explained, “The building of the Temple is one of the stages in the Messianic process.” But another possibility that has been presented is that the Dome of the Rock that sits so prominently on the Temple Mount be used as “a place prayer for all nations.”
“This should be fairly simple,” explained Rabbi Hollander. “It is said that the structure of the Dome in Haram E-Sharrif (the Temple Mount) was originally meant by (Caliph) Omar to be a House of Prayer for Jews, and the Al-Aqsa for Muslims.”
However, he also explained that religious Jews would not be able to enter the Dome of the Rock unless it had first been ritually cleansed according to Jewish halakhic regulations.
This is not the only similar call to rebuild the Jewish Temple, points out Richardson. Yoav Frankel is an Orthodox Jew who has been deeply involved in interfaith dialogue with Muslims and also envisions a shared Temple Mount. The Interfaith Encounter Association is working on a project called “God’s Holy Mountain.” It sees the day when the rebuilt Jewish Temple will exist side by side with the Dome of the Rock.
Richardson sees such plans tying in to Barack Obama’s calls for internationalizing the city of Jerusalem.
A recent poll showed nearly two-thirds of Israelis back the idea of rebuilding the Temple.
“Meanwhile, the work of the Temple Institute, a group that has openly dedicated itself for years to rebuilding the Jewish Temple goes on,” writes Richardson.
It has already created many of the most significant priestly utensils and pieces of furniture necessary for the Temple once it is ready.
“The suggestion of rebuilding the Jewish Temple is deeply significant to Christians, particularly those who are students of Bible prophecy,” explains Richardson. “According to the Bible, an impostor messiah known as the Antichrist will someday invade the land of Israel and ‘set himself up’ in the ‘God’s Temple.’”
Richardson’s book focuses on the striking parallels between the Bible’s prophecies about the coming messiah and Islam’s traditions regarding the one called “the Mahdi” – Islam’s primary messiah figure, who will one day invade the land of Israel and establish his seat of authority on the Temple Mount.
Richardson’s book stands in stark contrast to most other popular prophecy books of the last 40 years.
The student of Islam and the Middle East says that after decades of reading popular prophecy books and even best-selling fiction like the “Left Behind” series, millions of evangelical Christians around the world are expecting the Antichrist to emerge from a revived Roman Empire, which many have assumed is associated with the Roman Catholic Church and the European Union.
Not so, argues Richardson. His book makes the case that the biblical Antichrist is one and the same as the Quran’s Muslim Mahdi.
“The Islamic Antichrist” is almost certain to be greeted in the Muslim world with the same enthusiasm as Salman Rushdie’s “The Satanic Verses.” The author, Joel Richardson, is prepared. He has written the book under a pseudonym to protect himself and his family.
“The Bible abounds with proofs that the Antichrist’s empire will consist only of nations that are, today, Islamic,” says Richardson. “Despite the numerous prevailing arguments for the emergence of a revived European Roman empire as the Antichrist’s power base, the specific nations the Bible identifies as comprising his empire are today all Muslim.”
Richardson believes the key error of many previous prophecy scholars involves the misinterpretation of a prediction by Daniel to Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel describes the rise and fall of empires of the future, leading to the endtimes. Western Christians have viewed one of those empires as Rome, when, claims Richardson, Rome never actually conquered Babylon and was thus disqualified as a possibility.
It had to be another empire that rose and fell and rose again that would lead to the rule by this “man of sin,” described in the Bible. That empire, he says, is the Islamic Empire, which did conquer Babylon and, in fact, rules over it even today.
Many evangelical Christians believe the Bible predicts a charismatic ruler, the Antichrist, will arise in the last days, before the return of Jesus. The Quran also predicts that a man, called the Mahdi, will rise up to lead the nations, pledging to usher in an era of peace. Richardson makes the case these two men are, in fact, one in the same.
His book was an instant best-seller on the Amazon charts when it debuted Tuesday. It remains No. 1 in two religion categories.
Richardson is the co-author with Walid Shoebat of “God’s War on Terror: Islam, Prophecy and the Bible” and co-editor of “Why We Left Islam: Former Muslims Speak Out.”
“The Islamic Antichrist” is published by WND Books and is available autographed in the WND Superstore.