“In The Islamic Antichrist, Joel Richardson reveals that the return of the Islamic Imam of the 12th century is none other than the Antichrist of Revelation. Every preacher in America should read this book.” —Tim Lahaye
One wonders why LaHaye didn’t make this discovery himself, given that he’s been in the “prophecy expert” racket for several decades longer than Richardson and has churned out numerous books about the supposed “Last Days”.
LaHaye’s Left Behind series (co-written with Jerry B. Jenkins) famously presents a European Antichrist, who becomes head of the United Nations. The first instalment of the story’s novelised theology features two characters discussing the Antichrist’s characteristics:
“…Almost every end-times writer I respect will come out of Western Europe, maybe Greece or Italy or Turkey” (340)
The book’s Antichrist is described as being of Roman ancestry and as being blond (one character compares him to Brad Pitt); this was a judicious interpretation, given that a few years later Jerry Falwell’s alternative Jewish Antichrist concept was greeted with distaste, for obvious reasons.
LaHaye makes similar claims in his “non-fiction” companion to the series, Are We Living in the Last Days?, in which he further explains that the Antichrist
will sit in the [rebuilt Jerusalem] temple of God and proclaim himself to be God. (278)
In our Left Behind series we imagined that as part of the covenant he promises to dismantle and move the Dome of the Rock to his new capital in Babylon, where the mosque will be set up as a Muslim holy place. That would solve the tension between the Jews and Arabs over the Temple Mount… (128)
To put it bluntly, these are the ramblings of a fool – the notion that someone could claim to be God incarnate and persuade Muslims to go along with such a scheme is one of the most ludicrous propositions that I have ever read. It tells us more about the dynamic within particular segments of Christianity than anything to do with Islam; there is a long tradition of charismatic individuals who claim to receive special messages from God or to have supernatural powers, and it looks to me that Christian fears about accidentally following a “false teacher” who seems plausible have here been projected onto another religion.
LaHaye’s throw-away reference to Turkey fits with Richardson’s predictions about the Islamic world uniting under a Turkish Caliphate, and Islam does have a role in LaHaye’s eschatology, as allied with Russia against Israel – this goes back to apocalyptic books from the Cold War era, although the extent to which Russia will lead the alliance has been tweaked over the years by authors such as Hal Lindsey. However, Islam is not at the centre of LaHaye’s “End Times” universe – the first Left Behind book was published in 1995, and reflects conservative fears about the role of the United Nations during the Clinton era.
The Left Behind industry will doubtless keep on churning out books and spin-off products; but LaHaye is more than happy to jump on a more topical bandwagon.
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