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Will Muslim messiah mark the end of the age?

It’s no secret that with Israel’s astonishing victory in the Six-Day War, eschatology students went into overdrive, eagerly anticipating the next biblical prophecies that would be fulfilled. Similar enthusiasm had followed the Balfour Declaration of 1917, and the founding of the State of Israel in 1948.

For many years, prophecy teachers have focused on a handful of hot-button topics that fire the public’s imagination. None is more intense than the man described in the Bible as the “beast.” Not a beast, but the beast.

Researchers have attempted to identify the coming Antichrist, fixating on any number of potential candidates: Hitler, Stalin and Mao, followed by a slew of politicians and world powerbrokers. Heck, once when I was a book editor, a fellow sent me a manuscript in which he had argued that Prince Charles is that man of sin.

But none of the researchers has been more compelling than Joel Richardson, whose “The Islamic Antichrist: The Shocking Truth about the Real Nature of the Beast,” has just been released. It is a riveting and important contribution to this field of study.

By going to Islamic source documents, such as the Hadith, Richardson does important original research. And with Iran’s mullahs now openly enthusiastic for the return of the “Twelfth Imam,” their last-days messiah, Richardson’s book is all the more timely for Christians.

A major theme of Richardson’s book is that Islam’s eschatology overlaps the Bible’s in myriad ways. This is another indication that Muhammad borrowed heavily from the Hebrew Scriptures as he compiled his supernatural “revelation.” This overlap will be a surprise to many Westerners, and Richardson’s easy writing style make this a scholarly work accessible for laypersons. Bible prophecy students in particular simply must read this book as they study where we are at on the prophetic clock.

Just one of the intriguing nuggets Richardson points out is that the Islamic practice of beheading infidels fits nicely with the tribulation period described in the Bible, particularly in the book of Revelation. It adds a layer of reality to the printed page; who can forget the gruesome public beheadings carried out by Al Qaida operatives in the years after America’s invasion of Iraq?

Other factors that come into play, adding to the weight of Richardson’s critical work, involve Islam’s ancient hatred of the Jews and the overall goal of the religion to dominate the world. Further, of special interest to Bible prophecy students, Richardson notes that Hadith teachings (oral traditions related to Muhammad) parallel Christian traditions in eerie ways, such as a seven-year peace treaty that the Muslim antichrist will sign with the “Romans” — Christians and Westerners in general.

And while Richardson points out the similarities between the Christian and Muslim faith traditions (again, Muhammad is known to have borrowed heavily from the Bible), there are critical differences.

For example, Richardson writes, “Islam denies the sonship of Christ.”

As Islam spreads its propaganda throughout the U.S., finding willing participants among mainline Christian leaders, it is all the more important that Christians in the pews understand these vast differences between the faiths. Not surprisingly, Islam also denies the doctrine of the Trinity and denies the atoning work on the cross.

Although the entire book is invaluable, Richardson is at his best when he contrasts Islamic teaching with that of the Bible, to shed light on his key premise: Islam is an antichrist religion.

For example, Richardson shows the reader that Islam denies all three of the specific doctrines the apostle John “identifies as defining the antichrist spirit.”

The book includes a fascinating interview with Harun Yahya, a Turkish Sunni Muslim who is moderate in certain areas, such as origins research. Richardson asks Yahya some hard questions, and the answers provide startling insights into the vast differences between the religions.

Sadly, Richardson is forced to use a pen name, and the reason is obvious. He says that on any given day he receives emails from radical Muslims who issue death threats against him. The writer has really put himself on the front lines to bring the rest of us information that just might save our lives one day soon.

Discover how real and relevant Bible prophecy is to you with Jim Fletcher’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine): How to stop worrying and learn to love these end times”