Drew Zahn is a WND news editor who cut his journalist teeth as a member of the award-winning staff of Leadership, Christianity Today's professional journal for church leaders. A former pastor, he is the editor of seven books, including Movie-Based Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching, which sparked his ongoing love affair with film and his weekly WND column, "Popcorn and a (world)view."More ↓Less ↑
A WND author’s bold claim that the biblical Antichrist will be Islamic has rankled one of the Mideast’s most dynamic personalities, prompting the creator of a TV show reportedly seen by millions to fire back that it’s not Muslims, but Christians who are “on the side of the Antichrist and Satan.”
Adnan Oktar, who writes Islamic creationist books under the pen name Harun Yahya, is reported by Reuters to be one of the most widely distributed authors in the Muslim world, with a publishing empire that boasts over 250 books in 52 languages. Israel’s Arutz Sheva reports his TV program seen by millions in the Middle East.
But Oktar – a white-suit clad personality who surrounds himself with glamorous women and opulence – is often accused of leading a sex-tainted cult in which some followers believe the author is actually Islam’s long-awaited savior, or “Mahdi.”
Apparently, Oktar is none too pleased with biblical research linking the Mahdi to the Antichrist.
“Evangelical author Joel Richardson, quoting the prophecies of the Gospels, … says that Turkey will become a power in the last days,” Oktar said, according to a translation of the show. “This Joel … is sitting in the lap of the Antichrist and he is not aware of it. The proponents of the Antichrist see the system of the Mahdi as the system of the Antichrist. … Seeing the Antichrist as the Mahdi and the Mahdi as the Antichrist is one of the portents of the end times.”
Oktar continued, “If we get in contact with Joel and explain this to him, he will see that he is on the side of the Antichrist and Satan himself, because he says that there are three, that Allah is three. Someone who is supporting the Trinity, how can be on the side of the Mahdi? How can he be on the side of the savior? They have devastated the world with these claims.”
Oktar’s charge was prompted by a recent WND article about director Faruk Aksoy’s film “Fetih 1453,” a movie about the rise of Ottoman Empire and which translated means “Conquest 1453,” now the most watched and highest grossing movie in Turkish history, earning more than $60 million worldwide.
Richardson views the release of “Fetih 1453″ and the rise of Turkey as a world power as confirming biblical prophecy.
“In my book ‘Mideast Beast,’ I walk the reader through several key biblical texts that also point to a renewed Turkish power in the last days,” Richardson told WND. “As the Obama administration is openly getting behind the Islamist government in Turkey, numerous world events are all aligning with what the biblical prophets spoke. For those who take biblical prophecy seriously, awaiting the return of Jesus, the events now unfolding in Turkey and the region – the days in which we are now living – are absolutely profound.”
Taking a hard look at the most significant biblical end-time texts, “Mideast Beast” argues persuasively that the Antichrist, his empire, and his religion will come from the Middle East and not Europe, as has been widely taught by many prophecy teachers.
“Likewise today, throughout the Islamic world, there is a radical renewed interest in the many Islamic prophecies. Among these are prophecies concerning the renewal of the Islamic Caliphate, the invasion of Israel, the establishment of the Caliphate specifically from the city of from Jerusalem, the genocide of most Jews in the land and also the secondary conquering of Constantinople,” Richardson continued. “Many Turks believe that the present Islamic takeover of Turkey by the AK Party is the actual fulfillment of this prophecy. Among the significant events that are leading many Muslims in the region to believe they are again living in a moment of prophetic fulfillment are the present ‘Arab Spring’ or ‘Islamic Awakening,’ as it is more commonly referred to as throughout the region, the rise of an assertive Islamist Turkey as a regional power.”
“I am firmly convinced that Islam is the single greatest challenge the church will face before the return of Jesus, yet most are still either asleep or in denial,” Richardson states in “Mideast Beast.”
In response to Oktar’s criticisms, Richardson told WND, “Unfortunately, most of the articles in the Turkish media have twisted and misunderstood my comments. I spoke of the rise of neo-Ottoman aspirations throughout Turkish society, which is an undeniable fact that all Turks will openly acknowledge.
“But concerning the idea that the Antichrist is prophesied to come from the region of Turkey, this is what the Bible teaches,” Richardson continued. “But this does not infer that all Turks are evil or followers of the Antichrist. Of course not. I have a deep love for both the nation and the people of Turkey. However, when any person openly gives themselves over to the growing spirit of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism that is spreading like a cancer throughout the world, then that person has given themselves over to evil. My hope and prayer for Turkey is that many righteous individuals would rise up and stand firmly against the rising tide of hatred against the Jewish people and the demonic lust to possess their land, despite the trending of their leadership in the wrong direction on these matters.”
Oktar, according to a Reuters report, believes Koran verses and sayings of the Prophet Mohammed about the end of the world reveal Jesus will return soon as a Muslim to help Islam’s savior, the Mahdi, defeat the Antichrist and establish Islam around the world.
As for rumors that he thinks he is the Mahdi, Oktar publicly denies them.
“I do not make such a claim,” Oktar told Reuters. “Because of parallels in what I have written and the [sayings] of the Prophet Mohammad, some people have thought I could be him … but in Islam it is forbidden for me to make such a claim.”