Fox News talk show host Glenn Beck today said Americans should be alarmed over the revelations of a WND Books release, "The Islamic Antichrist," in which author Joel Richardson documents the similarities between the "bad guy" of the Bible, the Antichrist, and the "good guy" of the Quran, the Mahdi.
The author contends they are, in fact, the same.
"You have to look at this, really ask yourself, 'Wow, is this true?'" Beck said.
He also cited the Islamic teachings that some Muslims like Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad believe – that they can speed the coming of the Madhi, their end-times savior, by creating chaos, from which they expect him to emerge.
Beck, applying such a belief to Christianity, suggested facetiously, "What do you say we go start slaughtering people so Jesus will come back?"
Richardson's book discusses his analysis of the Bible's account of the end times and that of the Quran, including his conclusions about the "Antichrist," who is described by the Bible as the ultimate enemy of God and His people, the Jews and Christians. The Mahdi, meanwhile, in Islam is forecast to come to establish a worldwide Islamic caliphate.
Following the broadcast, the book's ranking on Amazon shot up. It's now ranked No. 1 among "movers and shakers" on the site and No. 9 among all books. Just hours after Beck's interview, it was rated No. 1 in books on theology and No. 3 in books on eschatology.
Beck cited a number of similarities between the prophecies regarding the Antichrist in the Bible and the Mahdi in the Islamic tradition.
"You have the bad guy of the Bible, he primarily persecutes God's people, Jews and Christians," Richardson said. Meanwhile the "12th imam," or Islam's Mahdi, "causes Jews and Christians to submit to Islam or be killed."
Both prophecies call for a time of rule of 7 years, a leader of the world who makes peace with Israel but then breaks the accord, and then invades Israel and kills nonbelievers, setting up a seat of government on the Temple Mount.
While the biblical Antichrist is evil personified, the culmination of antagonism to God and His word, Richardson described in a column for WND the Islamic perspective:
"The Mahdi is Islam's primary messiah figure Muslims believe will come at the end of the age to lead Islam to global dominance. Much popular discussion of Mahdism in recent years has inaccurately expressed that belief in the Mahdi is merely a Shia phenomenon. While variances in the details do exist between Sunni and Shia Muslims on this issue, belief in the Mahdi is nevertheless not reserved to one group or the other. Numerous renowned Muslim scholars, Sunni, Sufi and Shia affirm the orthodoxy of belief in the coming of the Mahdi."
Beck noted that the Mahdi story results in a character that is the "polar opposite" of the biblical prophecy, and another guest, Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, agreed.
Jasser, a moderate Muslim who publicly denounces terrorism, the Muslim Brotherhood and all attempts to impose Shariah, said the belief that Muslims can speed the return of their savior is "toxic."
Richardson said, "In both stories, Jesus returns. On the biblical side, Jesus returns to deliver his people from being persecuted. On the Islamic, a Muslim Jesus tells the Christians of the world, 'You've had it wrong all along. I never said God was my father. I never died on the cross.'"
Beck played video of Ahmadinejad repeatedly saying during his speeches, "Oh God, hasten the arrival of Imam al-Madhi and grant him good health and victory."
That, Beck said, is the reason some Muslims seek chaos, and Richardson explained that is because it is from chaos they expect their Madhi to emerge.
Other commenters included retired Lt. Gen William G. Boykin, who said Iran's activities these days show its leaders are "trying to establish themselves as the leader of the Islamic revolution."
And Richardson had noted in a recent WND column that when Iran launched a surface-to-surface missile, it had the words "Ya Mahdi" emblazoned on its body – the equivalent of "Go Mahdi."
Boykin noted Muslims believe their savior's return can happen only when "bloodshed and chaos" are worldwide.
"What circumstance," he questioned, would bring that about more quickly "than using nuclear weapons against the nation of Israel?"
Media Matters for America launched an immediate response, called, "Who is Joel Richardson, Beck's End Times Prophet?"
It noted that Beck's website has published writings by Richardson, and the author also appears in a new video by Beck that talks about the threat of a nuclear Iran to the U.S. and Israel.
Richardson's book also takes on the popular assumption among Christians that the Antichrist will come from a revived Roman Empire, which many have assumed is associated with the Roman Catholic Church and the European Union.
"The Bible abounds with proofs that the Antichrist's empire will consist only of nations that are, today, Islamic," Richardson explains. "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 end times. 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 rule of 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.
Those who are unaware of the similarities of the prophecies for the Antichrist and the Mahdi will be stunned by chapters including "Islamic Eschatology," "The Sacred Texts of Islam," "Comparing the Biblical Antichrist and the Mahdi," and "The Dark Nature of Muhammad's Revelations."
The author is a human rights activist, lecturer and artist. He is also the co-author with Walid Shoebat of "God's War on Terror" and co-editor of "Why We Left Islam: Former Muslims speak out."
"The Islamic Antichrist" - autographed