Recently, I was led to read a book that I highly recommend. The information in it was not new to me. I had already discovered the main facts of the message several years ago. But I felt at this point God wanted me to have a more in-depth perspective of what is coming. The book is called, “The Islamic Antichrist” by Joel Richardson. It might challenge some of your traditional theology of what you were taught would happen in the end, but his case is compelling, showing what we can already see rapidly coming to pass. He uses prophecies from the Bible, the Qur’an and Islamic traditions to show how the person named the Antichrist that the Bible says is coming, corresponds with the person the Muslims soon anticipate, that they call the Mahdi. He also shows how they look for a person coming to oppose the Mahdi that Christians see as the return of Jesus Christ. It is a sobering book, but we are living in sobering times and it is a MUST read for preparing for what is at hand. (If you are concerned about the “fear factor” of delving into this information, I suggest you read the last 3 chapters and appendix A first, as one friend said she did.)
Many believers are lifting the “veil” of theology to just read the Bible and take it at its word, and they are coming to see that it is clear in scripture that we (the church) WILL go through tribulation and suffering before Jesus returns. How could we possibly think that our Lord would have to suffer and we would not? (Especially when He clearly says over and over in scripture we will – Hebrews 5:8 tells us that Jesus “learned obedience from what He suffered” and 1 Peter 4:17 says “judgment begins with God’s household.”) In truth, the birth-pains of tribulation are evident all over the planet – people suffering and dying for their faith in Jesus. It is well documented that there have been more Christians martyred for their faith over the past 100 years than in all the previous 1900 combined! And you would truly have to be in denial to not see how that is rapidly approaching the church in the U.S. as well.
Much of the confusion regarding what is prophesied in the Bible that will happen in the end times, comes from the fact that much of this information has been “sealed” until the “appointed time” (Daniel 12:9). So people have tried to decipher what would happen with limited information and understanding, and then formed whole theologies around it that lead people to not recognize what is now happening, because it doesn’t fit what they’ve already concluded it would look like (which is why so many of the Jewish leaders missed Jesus’ first coming as their Messiah, because He didn’t fit the “paradigm” they’d formed in analyzing their prophecies – despite the fact that He fulfilled every last one of them!)
Jesus constantly warned us to be “watchful” for the signs of His return. He urged us to not get so caught up in the comforts of this world that we lose our focus of keeping our eyes on the horizon. So are you going to bury your head in the sand and believe that life is going to continue as it always has, despite all the signs to the contrary, or are you going to wake up and ask the Lord how to prepare physically, mentally and spiritually for what is coming? The cry is going forth, “THE BRIDEGROOM IS COMING” – which kind of virgin are you? (Matthew 25:1-13)