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It is fascinating listening to Dr. Michael Youssef’s teaching about the end times on Sunday morning television. It is remarkable comparing current events to prophesy in Scripture. Youssef is uniquely positioned to inform us, given his Egyptian heritage, his doctoral status, and his long standing in the pulpit.
For many centuries people have wondered about the Antichrist, asking how it will be possible for a wicked, charismatic leader to sway the entire world, demanding everyone bow down and worship him. In a column published in September of 2014, Dr. Youssef provides this profile of the Antichrist:
Paul calls him “the lawless one,” “the man of lawlessness,” and “the man doomed to destruction” who “will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12). The most detailed description of the Antichrist is in Revelation 13, where the Apostle John refers to the Antichrist as “the beast.” The Old Testament prophet Daniel describes the abominable works of the Antichrist, but gives him no name or title (Daniel 9:27).
In the last 100 years we have seen many wicked rulers attempt to set themselves above God, taking power by force, then wielding global influence, always with catastrophic results. However, the real Antichrist will usher in a period of woe never before known in all human history. Again, Dr. Youssef describes the scene:
He will be a world leader of unparalleled political, military, and religious power. He will be charming, persuasive, and popular beyond measure. The world will not know him as the “Antichrist,” but by some attractive name and appealing title. But just as the word “Antichrist” suggests, he will be the opposite of the Lord Jesus Christ in every way. Everything Christ is, the Antichrist is not; everything Christ is not, the Antichrist is.
Can you think of a political/religious/military power existent today capable of exercising such global domination, a cultural and theological force contradicting Christ at every turn? Can you think of a world leader today in the West who promotes, protects and panders to that political/religious/military power, laying the ground work for the Antichrist? Do you see presumptive world leaders enjoying enormous popularity despite the fact they are glaringly wicked?
Is it therefore difficult to believe that the Antichrist is not only quite possible, but in truth, altogether likely? The more the world descends into chaos and confusion, the more people cry out for a savior, but instead of turning to the One True Savior, they cry out for a human savior, be he pope, premier or presidential candidate.
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Youssef is quite direct in telling us that the Antichrist will be the Mahdi arising out of Islam:
Though Muslims revere Jesus as a prophet, they deny that Jesus is the Son of God. Jews and Christians are, to Muslim fundamentalists, “pigs and dogs” who must either convert to Islam or be eliminated. Bible prophecy makes it clear that the Antichrist will target Jews and Christians for destruction, just as Islamic prophecy states that the Mahdi will wage war against Jews and Christians. Those who oppose the Antichrist’s worldwide religion will be executed. There can be no doubt: Muslims are preparing to accept the Mahdi as their leader—and the Mahdi is indistinguishable from the world leader we know as the Antichrist.
Christians therefore should be very careful evaluating those who claim a right to leadership by claiming Christ, all the while denying his deity. Such ‘leaders’ are false prophets, promoting the spirit of antichrist, wolves in sheep clothing.
So what is the good news? Again, Dr. Youssef:
Christians should not fear. Regardless of whether the Antichrist comes in this generation or a hundred years from now, those who have placed their faith in God’s Messiah, Jesus the Christ, fear no one nor even death. Their eternity is secure in the one who is the only one to defeat death and rise from the grave.
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