Written in 2016
Islam and Christianity both teach that Jesus will come again and that this event will herald the climax of human history. But what he will do when he comes again is an entirely different story.
In the New Testament there is a great deal of material about what will happen in the days before and after the second coming of Jesus. This is to be found in Jesus’ teaching on His return in the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24-5, Mark 13, Luke 21), the book of Revelation and a number of references in the epistles (1 Thessalonians 4-5, 2 Thessalonians 2, 2 Timothy 3, 2 Peter 2-3) and also many passages in the Hebrew Prophets (Isaiah 2, 11-12, Jeremiah 23, Ezekiel 36-40, much of the prophet Daniel, Joel 2-3, Zechariah 12-14).
By contrast the Quran has no definite teaching about the subject of Jesus’ second coming, however, support of this doctrine may be found in the verse below: “And (Jesus) shall be a sign (for the coming of) the Hour (of Judgement): Therefore have no doubt about the (Hour) but follow ye Me: this is a Straight Way.” (Az Zukhruf 43.61). In his comment on this verse Yusuf Ali says: ‘This is understood to refer to the second coming of Jesus in the Last Days just before the Resurrection when he will destroy the false doctrines that pass under his name, and prepare the way for the universal acceptance of Islam, the Gospel of Unity and Peace, the Straight way of the Quran.’ (Abdullah Yusuf Ali, The Holy Quran, p.1337).
Muslim views about the return of Jesus are mostly based on the Hadith (A Hadith is a saying or tradition, not part of the Koran but given importance in Islamic thinking). There are said to be seventy reliable traditions on the subject but these are the most important ones:
- Narrated Abu Huraira, Allah’s Apostle said, “By Him in whose hands my soul is, the son of Mary (Jesus) will shortly descend amongst you people (Muslims) as a just ruler and will break the cross and kill the pig and abolish the jizya (a tax taken from the non-Muslims, who are in the protection, of the Muslim government). Then there will be abundance of money and no-body will accept charitable gifts. (Bukhari Volume 3, Book 34, Number 425)
- Sahih Bukhari states that on Christ’s return Christians will be judged by the Quran and raises a question as to how they will fare when such an eventuality occurs. “Narrated Abu Huraira, Allah’s Apostle said “How will you be when the son of Mary (i.e. Jesus) descends amongst you and he will judge people by the Law of the Quran and not by the law of Gospel.” (Bukhari Volume 4, Book 55, Number 658)
The consensus of commentators is that the time of his coming will be according to the fixed will of Allah. It is generally agreed that Isa will descend in the Middle East where he will destroy the Dajjal (Antichrist) and all his hosts. He will break the cross as a declaration forever against all the false notions that he was crucified. He will kill the pig and will make pork universally prohibited. He will abolish the Jizya tax which was imposed on non-Muslims who kept their own religion rather than Islam, for in the last day everyone will be required to embrace Islam so the tax will be redundant.
He will usher in an era of peace and prosperity unknown before and will rule over the earth for forty years. The world community will be one and all will believe in the Islamic Christ. He will be a just ruler and a fair judge and will act and instruct others on the Quran and Hadith. He will also lead people in the ritual prayer. During this period all other religions besides Islam will perish and Jihad will cease. Wealth will be abundant and the receiving of Zakat and Sadaqa gifts will end as there will be no poor to receive them! There will be peace, harmony and tranquillity during his time in the world. There will be no animosity for a period of seven years; all hearts will be free from miserliness, envy, hatred, malice and jealousy. For forty years no one will fall ill or die; snakes, scorpions and wild animals will not harm anyone and camels will graze among lions, cheetahs with cattle and the jackals with goats. He will marry and have children, and he will die after forty years and be buried in Medina alongside the tombs of Muhammad, Abu Bakr and Umar.
Muslims believe that the controversy over the nature of Jesus (divine person, Son of God, or prophet of Islam) will be settled by Isa / Jesus himself, who will come and put right all the false representations concerning himself and remove these wrong beliefs kept by generations of Christians. He will preach pure monotheism in accordance with the teachings of Muhammad. When Islam speaks of Jesus coming to ‘break the crosses’ it means to destroy the idea that Jesus died on the cross and rose again from the dead before ascending into heaven. The Islamic Jesus will also destroy all those who believe this and send them to hell.
We see here elements of the biblical narrative. In the Bible we have the destruction of Antichrist at the second coming of Jesus in Revelation 19 and the millennial rule of Messiah which will follow and in which snakes and wild animals will not harm people (Isaiah 11). However we also see a total reversal of the purpose for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Bible. In the Bible salvation comes to those who believe Jesus is the Saviour and Lord, who died on the cross for our sins and rose again from the dead, ascended to heaven from where He will return in power and glory to judge the world in righteousness. In the Muslim version of events Jesus will come to judge the Christians who have believed this and enforce the belief in the Muslim Jesus who is a prophet, not Son of God, and who did not die on the cross to save us.
This Muslim prophet Jesus will then marry, have children and die 40 years later, whereas the Bible teaches that Jesus will rule the earth as King of kings and Lord of lords for 1000 years after which the earth will be burned up and there will be new heavens and a new earth where He will reign eternally in the kingdom of God for all believers.
The fact that the Biblical account is changed and given a different meaning to fit in with Islamic thinking is consistent with the whole message of Islam. The Koran 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). For an answer to this see our article ‘Bible or Koran.’
The Bible tells us that the coming of the Lord Jesus will be in two stages. Firstly He will gather together all who truly believe that Jesus died and rose again to meet the Lord ‘in the air’ (1 Thessalonians 4.13-5.11). This event is commonly known as the ‘rapture of the church.’ Secondly He will come to the earth with the saints (i.e. those who have died as believers in the Lord Jesus and those taken in the rapture). The point of His return will be the same place from which He ascended into heaven, the Mount of Olives to the east of Jerusalem (Acts 1.1-11, Zechariah 14). Then He will put an end to the war over Jerusalem, destroy the Antichrist / Beast and bind Satan so that he can no longer influence the world (Revelation 19-20) and rule on earth from a restored and glorified Jerusalem for 1000 years. For more on this see our articles
Muslim beliefs about the second coming and Muslim groups today.
There are differences between the Muslims themselves about what will happen when Jesus returns and where he will return to. Some Muslims say he will land on the Ka’ba in Mecca, others that he will land on the eastern minaret of the great Umayya mosque in Damascus which is called Isaya Minarah. Others say that Jesus will return by landing on top of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem and that others will help him to the ground on a ladder. Apparently having crossed the vast expanse of the universe on his way from heaven to earth, he will need a ladder to help him down the last thirty feet of his descent!
Some Islamic groups looking for the end of days believe they need to help bring about these events. Radical Islamists believe 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 also this notorious hadith:
- Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar: Allah’s Apostle said, “You (i.e. Muslims) will fight with the Jews till some of them will hide behind stones. The stones will (betray them) saying, ‘O ‘Abdullah (i.e. slave of Allah)! There is a Jew hiding behind me; so kill him.’ ” So killing Jews and Christians becomes a way to prepare for the second coming of Jesus.
Belief in the soon coming of Jesus is motivating Islamic jihadis, who believe that they are fighting for the will of Allah in the end time battle between true Muslims and infidels which will bring about the global triumph of Islam and their reward in Paradise. Many believe in the coming of the Mahdi (an Arabic word meaning ‘Guided One’) who is the prophesied redeemer of Islam who will rule for seven years (or nine or nineteen years in other interpretations) before the Day of Judgment and will rid the world of evil. According to Islamic tradition, the Mahdi will be joined by the Islamic Jesus (Isa), who will assist him against the Masih ad-Dajjal (literally, the ‘false Messiah’, the Islamic version of the Antichrist).
Some Muslims also believe that the Islamic Age will last for a little over 1,400 years. According to the Islamic Calendar (a lunar calendar of 354 days per year, starting in 622), it is already the year 1435. One hadith says: ‘Count two or three decades after 1400 Hijri. At that time, the Mahdi emerges.’ In other words the Mahdi should come about now!
Within Islam there are radically different views about how this should be interpreted and applied today. There are major differences between Sunni and Shiite Muslims over how this will work out. Islamic State is a Sunni Muslim group which believes what it is doing is a fulfilment of Islamic prophecies for the end of days. The flag used by ISIS is black with the shahada (Islamic confession of faith) written upon it in white. According to Islamic prophecy the arrival of an army carrying black flags will be a sign of the coming of the Mahdi. (Musnad Ahmed, vol. 8, No. 2427).
IS believes that the conflict in Syria, which they call al Sham, is a lead in to the end of days scenario, in which Isa / Jesus will come to the minaret of the mosque in Damascus. They are preparing for what they call ‘the war of the cross’, an apocalyptic confrontation with the West. Abu Omar, a Sunni jihadist fighting with IS said, ‘If you think that all these mujahideen came from around the world to fight Assad, you are mistaken. All of them came here as it was foretold and promised by the Prophet. It is the war he promised us; the war of The Great Tribulation.’
They also believe Dabiq, a town in northern Syria not far from Aleppo, will be the scene of a great battle to be fought in the End Times, in which the Muslims will be victorious over their enemies. This will make way for the appearance of the Mahdi, their end time saviour who will present the infidels with the choice between conversion to Islam or death and lead the way to the worldwide triumph of Islam. In the event ISIS lost control of Dabiq in October 2016, as it fell to Syrian opposition fighters with help from Turkey. So the combatants on both sides were Muslims, making the prophecy which has motivated ISIS null and void.
For the Sunni Muslim Islamists who support IS and al Qaeda, Shiite Muslims are heretics, part of the enemy who has to be destroyed. The Shiites too believe in the return of Jesus and the coming of the Mahdi, but they have a different version of events to come. According to the Shi’ite version of Islam the 12th descendant of Mohammed, known as the 12th Imam or the Mahdi, went into hiding when he was a child, some 1300 years ago. Shiites believe he will reappear when the world has become full of oppression and tyranny. They believe that he is hidden in the Jamkaran well in Iran, which is a place of pilgrimage for believers who drop their requests for help into the well in the hope that the Imam will read them and come to their aid.
This belief is held by the Islamic government of Iran. In fact their previous President Ahmedinejad lectured the UN in New York about the imminent coming of the Mahdi and the end of days when he addressed them in September 2012. He said the world would “soon” see new “global management” by the Twelfth Imam, also known as the “Mahdi,” and his deputy, Jesus Christ. The Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) website says the world is now in its “last days.” It claims that the Mahdi will first appear in Mecca, and then Medina. He will conquer all of Arabia, Syria, Iraq, destroy Israel, and then set up a “global government” based in Iraq, interestingly enough, not Iran.
Shiite Islamic scholars also say Jesus will come not as the Son of God or even as a leader but will serve as a deputy to the Mahdi to destroy the infidels. “We read in the book Tazkarat ol-Olia, ‘the Mahdi will come with Jesus son of Mary accompanying him,'” the series explains. “This indicates that these two great men are complement each other. Imam Mahdi will be the leader while Prophet Jesus will act as his lieutenant in the struggle against oppression and establishment of justice in the world.”
Among the tasks which need to be fulfilled for his coming is the destruction of Israel and the return of Jerusalem to the rule of the Muslims. This is a key reason for the fanatical hatred of Israel amongst Iranian Shiite Muslims who hold this view and their desire to equip those seeking Israel’s destruction (Hezbollah and Hamas and themselves) with missiles aimed at Israel.
A Sunni Muslim website (which considers Shiite Muslims heretics) has announced that ‘The beginning of the End of Time, including the emergence of the Imam Mahdi (Mehdi), is most likely in 2016 (or 2017), while Jesus Christ ‘s return [or second (2nd ) coming] will most likely be in 2022 (or 2023), in-sha-Allah (if God is willing). … In Islam, based on prophecies of Prophet Mohammad (p) in Hadith, we know that Imam Mahdi will appear in the End Times and there will be attacks against Muslims and Muslims will eventually be victorious. Some Hadiths indicate that the sign of the coming-out of the Mahdi is an evil person described as an Araj arriving from the Maghreb. This means the Araj will come before the Mahdi and will trigger the emergence of the Mahdi. A final Dajjal will emerge shortly before Jesus Christ (p). Then, Jesus Christ will descend from Heaven. Jesus will stay on Earth few years, during which he will perform Hajj (pilgrimage), get married, and finally, he will die. Some Hadiths indicate Jesus will remain on Earth for seven (7) years, others nineteen (19) years, while others forty (40) years. If Jesus Christ returns (comes back) in 2022 (or 2023) as we are predicting, that means the World is not likely to end in 2022 (or 2023). http://www.endtimesbook.com/end_of_the_world.htm This website considers both IS and the Shiite Muslims to be heretics, although it claims that the proclamation of the Islamic State is a first stage of the process towards the end of days scenario unfolding. Since it gives dates for these things to happen it will not be long before we know that this too is a product of false prophecy.
If all of this sounds confusing, that is because it is confusing! It is the product of confusion, caused by the false prophecies of Islam. In Isaiah 8.20 we read, ‘To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word it is because there is no light in them.’ The truth concerning the end times is to be found in the Bible alone, being the inspired Word of God, which testifies to the two comings of the Messiah Jesus. He comes the first time as the Suffering Servant to fulfil the prophecies of Isaiah 53 and other passages in the Hebrew scriptures which speak of the Messiah Jesus suffering and dying as a sacrifice for our sins. ‘All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned everyone to our way and the Lord has laid on Him (the Messiah) the iniquity of us all.’ Isaiah 53.6. This passage was fulfilled in detail by the Lord Jesus at His first coming: ‘For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ (Messiah) died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.’ 1 Corinthians 15.3-4. Because the Koran denies that this is the truth, it condemns Muslims to spiritual blindness which prevents them from knowing God in spirit and truth. But if they will repent and believe the Gospel they will know the truth and the truth will set them free from the bondage of sin and give them new life in the Holy Spirit by which they can know God and understand His Word and His purposes for the world in the last days of this age, which we are indeed in today.
The Bible indicates that the end time scenario will involve the nations of the world being drawn into the Middle East which will be the scene of huge conflict. It is clear that Islam will have a major part to play in this. In Isaiah 13 there is a prophecy about Babylon (Iraq / Persian Gulf area) which has an end time application with reference to the ‘Day of the Lord’ when the stars, sun and moon will not give their light and the Lord will punish the world for its evil (verses 10-11). In this prophecy it speaks of an army being gathered for battle ‘from a far country’. In the book of Jeremiah we also read that ‘a great nation and many kings shall be raised up from the ends of the earth’ to do battle against Babylon (Jeremiah 50.41-2).
Ezekiel 38-39 speaks of the War of Gog and Magog as a great nation to the uttermost north of Israel (Russia) is joined by allies including Persia (Iran) and Togarmah (Turkey) in an invasion of the land of Israel which results in the Lord intervening directly to save Israel and bring judgement on those nations which come against Israel in the last days. It is interesting that Russia, Iran and Turkey are now intervening in Syria, just to the north of Israel. This may well be preparing the way for these nations to come against Israel in the War of Gog and Magog in which they will be defeated by God’s intervention.
Jeremiah 25.32 speaks of the end times when ‘Disaster shall go forth from nation to nation and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the ends of the earth.’ Islamic radicalism is part of that disaster which is now affecting nations around the world, not just in the Middle East. Terrorism and strife between nations and within nations are also implied in Jesus’ words ‘For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences and earthquakes in various places.’ Matthew 24.7. Radical Islam is playing its part in creating conditions of war and famine in many parts of the world.
Zechariah 12 speaks of a time when Jerusalem will be a ‘burdensome stone burdening all nations’, in other words there will be conflict over Jerusalem which will involve not just the two parties involved in that conflict, Israel and the Palestinian Arabs, but the whole world. That is what we see happening as Israel has taken control of lands which the Muslims consider part of the Dar al Islam (house of Islam) and in which Jews, considered dhimmis, or subject peoples, are ruling over Muslims. This contradicts the Muslim view that once a country has become Islamic it should be Islamic until the end of days and Muslims should rule, with Jews and Christians in a subject place as dhimmi citizens, subject to the Muslims. According to Zechariah this conflict will involve all nations as the Muslim world makes sure that it is constantly on the agenda of the United Nations. Eventually the nations of the world will come against Jerusalem to battle, the event which will bring about the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to the earth (Zechariah 14).
Now is the time to be ready for the real event of the Second Coming of Christ. He will come firstly to take those who believe in Him to be with himself. Then He will come to the earth, not this time coming in humility as a Suffering Servant, but in power and glory with all power of God at His disposal. He will make an end to war and wickedness and judge the earth in righteousness, ruling from Jerusalem in fulfillment of prophecies in the Bible to be found in Isaiah 2.1-4, Zechariah 14 and Revelation 20. Be ready for that event by repenting of your sins and believing in the Lord Jesus Christ so that you may be saved and have a glorious future and hope.