Rise of the Mahdi: The Antichrist Poised to Enter World Stage?
ATLANTA -- Some of the most violent Muslims are trying to bring their messiah into the world, popular Pastor Michael Youssef details in a new book.
But in the pages of The End Times & the Secret of the Mahdi, Youssef suggests the shocking surprise is that this figure will turn out to be the evil Antichrist described in the Bible.
Over the centuries, people have guessed incorrectly again and again that the Antichrist -- that ultra-violent world dictator -- was soon to appear.
Unprecedented Time in History
But Youssef, head of the global outreach ministry Leading the Way and founder of Atlanta's Church of the Apostles, believes only now are conditions set for the coming of that evil one.
His book details how what's going on in the world right now is leading straight toward those events prophesied in the Book of Revelation and elsewhere in the Bible.
"I came to the conclusion that we are coming into the period of time like we have never seen before in history," Youssef told CBN News in an exclusive interview.
Hailing from Cairo himself, Youssef said he deeply loves the Islamic people, but believes Islam is hurtling the world toward the dark days of the Antichrist, as the promotional video for his new book shows.
In it Youssef says of the Antichrist, "He will lull the world into believing in him, even worshipping him as their messiah. But he will end up abusing humanity like it's never been tormented before."
Watch the promotional video below.
The Mahdi Is the Antichrist
This biblical scholar's been researching Islam's beliefs in their end times' messiah alongside the Bible's revelations about the Antichrist. What he writes about is described exactly by his new book's subtitle: "Unlocking the Mystery of Revelation and the Antichrist."
His conclusion is stated in that same promotional video for the book: "Christians know him as the Antichrist. Sunni Muslims know him as the Muslim Christ. Shiite Muslims know him as the Mahdi."
Youssef quotes Muslim scholars in his book on what Islam preaches about their messiah.
"When their messiah comes, he's going to cover the whole world," Youssef said. "He's going to rule the world. And he's going to declare himself to be a Muslim. And he's going to turn on the Christians and the Jews."
"And we know, of course, the Bible said the Antichrist is going to come and he's going to turn on the Christians and the Jews," he noted.
Youssef laid out for CBN News other parallels he sees between the Mahdi and the Antichrist.
"He will call himself 'the man of peace.' That he's going to come at a time of chaos and confusion and people longing for somebody to guide them and lead them and bring them peace because they will be worn out," Youssef shared.
Both the Bible and Islam talk about this figure's seven-year global reign from Jerusalem and say this figure of peace will turn hyper-violent.
"He's going to begin to persecute people. He's going to demand their worship," Youssef said. "Same thing on the other side -- that he's going to kill everybody who does not worship him."
Ushering in the Mahdi
Youssef says some Shiites have actually been trying to bring about the prophesied time of the Mahdi, to make it happen themselves.
"He will appear when the world is in chaos and he will bring peace," Youssef explained. "So [Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad, the former president of Iran, basically wanted to stir up trouble and get the nuclear weapons so they could attack Israel and create an atmosphere of chaos, so to force their Mahdi -- or the 12th caliphate -- to show up."
And some of the most violent Sunnis are also trying to set off the end times.
"Particularly those who the Middle East people call Daish or ISIS or IS," the pastor stated. "They also have that concept that when chaos and bloodshed reign supreme -- and that's why they're shedding so much blood -- that their messiah will come."
So if Pastor Youssef's belief is correct that this Muslim messiah will be the Antichrist, it's the first time in history believers of a major religion have been actively working to bring him into the world and welcome him.
No Fear for Those in Christ
But Youssef insists Christians should not fear.
"The Lord said, 'When you see these signs, lift up your head, for the day of your redemption is drawing nigh.' And so, far from being afraid and worried and concerned, we should be rejoicing," Youssef said.
Many believe the Bible warns that the world will be deceived by Antichrist's global false religion, which at first will tolerate and bring all religions together.
In his book, Youssef writes about the already popular 'coexist' bumper sticker with the Islamic crescent forming its "C," the Jewish Star of David for "X," the witchcraft or pagan pentacle dotting the "I," the Taoist yin and yang symbol for "S" and the cross of Christ as the "T."
Churches Welcoming 'Chrislam'
Youssef also told CBN News about another way major religions are merging.
"There is something that is rampant among mainline denominations called Chrislam," Youssef stated.
"And there are churches in Canada and the United States where they read from the Koran as well as the Bible. There are churches that have the Koran in the pews," he said.
But, he added, there's a way to be immune from false religion.
"If a person is a genuine believer in Jesus Christ, he will not be deceived," Youssef insisted. "The Holy Spirit is going to give us discernment that we will be able to tell the difference."
Christ Is the Only Way
And though they may be cursed as intolerant, Youssef preaches it's time for Christians to insist Christ is the only way, not just one more option.
"We don't hate anyone. We love everyone," he said. "But there's only one name under heaven by which men and women can be saved. And His name is Jesus."
What Youssef emphasizes when he broadcasts around the world from Leading the Way or preaches anywhere he goes is that Christians need not fear all those scary events in the Book of Revelation.
But, he said, they do have to go through that horrifying time of the Antichrist before they can get to the victorious return of Jesus Christ.