The Coming Deception
We know that a popular but wicked ruler is coming. He will not be alone; a religious deceiver will aid and abet this global leader. Let’s consider the end-time teaching of the world’s fastest-growing religion to see if there is an interface with the Bible’s predictions about what’s next:
What We Know (vv. 11-18)
There will be strong delusion during the last days, caused by the Antichrist (see vv. 1-10) and the False Prophet (see vv. 11-18).
The Antichrist will be known by his wickedness, world dominance, wonder, worship, and war (see Revelation 7-11; Daniel 9).
The False Prophet will work for the Antichrist, cultivating a global religion and economy. His authority will be spiritual–not political–and his intent will be to deceive (see v. 14).
His primary incentive to encourage people to worship the Antichrist will be economic (see vv. 16-17), supported by a system of global government.
Probe: Consider how the 1.8 billion Muslims in the world might fit into prophecy (see Daniel 7:8-11, 24-27; 9:24-27).
What We’re Told (assorted writings)
Islamic theology says there will be three signs of the end times:
The Mahdi will come (the Muslim messiah). He will establish a seven-year treaty with Israel and bring global peace.
Jesus (known to Muslims as the human prophet Isa al-Masih) will follow. Muslims teach that Jesus will come back and say that Allah is the true God and Muhammad is his prophet.
The Dajjal–the Muslim antichrist–will come as a false miracle worker, claiming to be Jesus. The Dajjal will attempt to stop the Mahdi and Isa al-Masih.
Probe: Consider the differences between the Bible’s true Christ and Muslims’ understanding of Christ (see Daniel 7). The Bible’s Antichrist is Islam’s savior, the Bible’s False Prophet is Islam’s Jesus, and the Bible’s Christ is Islam’s antichrist.
What We Hope (v. 8)
Revelation 13:8 implies that during the tribulation, some will resist the Antichrist, finding hope in the true Christ, Jesus.
Muslims live without assurance of salvation: Allah can remove his blessing at any time, and becoming a martyr is the only guarantee of paradise. But Christ brings lasting forgiveness for those who believe; it’s His work on the cross, not ours, that saves us (see Ephesians 2:8-9).
Probe: Millions of Muslims have converted to Christ after discovering the truth of Islam’s teachings and contrasting it with Christ’s forgiveness. Pray for the newly converted and those needing miraculous intervention.
Connect Up: How can understanding the end times draw you close to God? Why is it important to have a general understanding of eschatology?
Connect In: Because we live with the assurance of heaven–knowing that we’ll be with one another throughout eternity–how should we treat one another now?
Connect Out: Though the end times will unfold as God intends, how can we partner with the Holy Spirit in reaching out to Muslims? Remember who the real Enemy is: Satan.