While we have already discussed the actual person of the Antichrist, the Bible also talks of an antichrist spirit. Apart from the one direct reference in the Bible to The Antichrist, there are four other times that the word is used in a more general sense by the Apostle John. Each time it is in reference to a particular spirit. This spirit is defined by its denial of some very specific aspects of Jesus’ nature and His relationship to God the Father. Following are the verses that describe this “antichrist” spirit:
This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God. But every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist–he denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist.
From these verses, we learn that the antichrist is a spirit that is identified as a “liar” and a “deceiver” which specifically denies the following:
The religion of Islam, more than any other religion, philosophy, or belief system, fulfills the description of the antichrist spirit. The religion of Islam makes it one of its highest priorities to very specifically deny all of the above points regarding Jesus and His relationship to the Father. In fact, it can very fairly be said that Islam literally is a direct polemical response against the above essential Christian doctrines. Regarding the above points however, Muslims will be quick to argue that Islam teaches that Jesus is indeed the Messiah. But this is really just trickery. While it is true that Islam does retain the title of Messiah for Jesus, when one asks a Muslim to define what the title “Messiah” actually means in Islam, the definitions given are always hollow and fall entirely short of containing any truly messianic substance. In Islam, Jesus is merely another prophet in a very long line of prophets. Biblically speaking however, the role of the Messiah, among other things, also entails being a Divine Priestly Savior, a Deliverer and the King of the Jews. As we saw in the earlier chapters about the Muslim Jesus, rather than being a Messiah that saves or delivers Israel and all of his faithful followers in any way, in the Islamic traditions, Jesus instead returns to lead Israel’s enemies against her in battle and to kill or convert all Jews and Christians. This would be the equivalent of calling Adolph Hitler, rather than Moses, Israel’s deliverer. For now, we see that the apostle John informs us that just before the final hour, a very specific “spirit” will dominate the earth. This spirit will deny many of the essential biblical doctrines regarding who Jesus is and what He came to do. Islam epitomizes this spirit perfectly.
Tawhid and Shirk
In order to properly understand the antichrist spirit of Islam, there are two doctrines that must first be understood. The first is called Tawhid. It is the most essential belief in Islam. Tawhid refers to the belief in the absolute oneness of God. Islam adheres to the strictest form of unitarian monotheism possible. In Islam, God is utterly alone. But in order to understand tawhid, one must understand that it is more than just a doctrine. In Islam, belief in tawhid is an absolute commandment. And if adherance to tawhid is the highest and most important commandment in Islam, then the greatest sin is called Shirk. Shirk is the opposite of tawhid. It is in essence, idolatry. From the “Invitation to Islam” newsletter published by a Muslim group from Toronto, we read a very telling statement, which helps us to understand exactly how shirk is viewed by Muslims:
Murder, rape, child molesting and genocide. These are all some of the appalling crimes which occur in our world today. Many would think that these are the worst possible offences which could be committed. But there is something which outweighs all of these crimes put together: It is the crime of shirk. 1
Thus many Muslims feel as though either believing in the trinity, or ascribing divinity to Jesus are both among the greatest sins conceivable. In fact, believing in these essential Christian doctrines is more than just a sin; it is the most heinous of all crimes! In the Muslim mind, shirk refers not only to the beliefs of polytheists, or pagans but also to the essential historical doctrines of the Christian faith. Below we will examine these three essential doctrines and how Islam specifically denies them.
The religion of Islam has as one of its foundational beliefs, a direct denial of Jesus as God’s Son. This denial is found several times throughout the Quran:
In blasphemy indeed are those that say that God is Christ the son of Mary. -Surah 5:17 (Yusuf Ali)
They say: "God hath begotten a son!" - Glory be to Him! He is self-sufficient! His are all things in the heavens and on earth! No warrant have ye for this! Say ye about Allah what ye know not? -Surah 10:68 (Yusuf Ali)
They said, "The Most Gracious has begotten a son"! You have uttered a gross blasphemy. The heavens are about to shatter, the earth is about to tear asunder, and the mountains are about to crumble. Because they claim that the Most Gracious has begotten a son. It is not befitting the Most Gracious that He should beget a son. –Surah 19:88-92 (Rashad Khalifa)
…the Christians call Christ the son of Allah. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say. Allah's curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth! -Surah 9:30 (Yusuf Ali)
The Quran literally pronounces a curse on those who believe that Jesus is God’s Son. People say such things utter “gross blasphemies” and are likened to “unbelievers” or infidels. Without question then, in this regard, Islam is an antichrist religious system. Remember Jim Hastings comments from chapter one? He was the priest in training who converted to Islam. "The thing I've always latched to is that there's one God, he doesn't have equals, he doesn't need a son to come do his work." Islam attempts to create an acceptable form of monotheistic worship yet it not only leaves out the most essential aspects of a saving relationship with God, but it also literally exists to directly confront these things and even calls them the highest forms of blasphemy. “Far be it from God that he should have a son!” These words encircle the inside of the Dome of the Rock Mosque in Jerusalem. This is the very location where for centuries God’s people; the Jews, worshipped in their Temple awaiting their Messiah. This is also where Jesus, the Son of God and the Jewish Messiah will someday rule over the earth. Islam has literally built a monument of utter defiance to this future reality.
The same claim of blasphemy is also applied to those who believe in the trinity:
They do blaspheme who say: Allah is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no god except One Allah. If they desist not from their word (of blasphemy), verily a grievous penalty will befall the blasphemers among them. –Surah 5:73 (Yusuf Ali)
Thus belief in trinity is also defined as blasphemy. But what is the “grievous penalty” that shall befall those who believe such things? Well, as we saw in previous chapters, many Muslims are ironically expecting their version of Jesus to return and actually kill these “polytheist Trinitarian Christians.”
And the Quran does not stop at denying that Jesus is the Son of God or that God exists as a trinity.
With tears in his eyes, Paul the Apostle warned the Thessalonians that, “many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.” (Thessalonians 3:18) It should not come as a surprise then that Islam also even denies the most central event of all of redemptive history: The crucifixion of Jesus. Speaking to the Jews of Jesus’ day, the Quran says:
That they said (in boast), "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah"; but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not:- Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise – Surah 4:157-8 (Yusuf Ali)
Among Islamic scholars, there are actually numerous conflicting theories regarding exactly what happened to Jesus. (For ironically, regarding this issue, it is actually they who are the ones who have “only conjecture to follow.”) But despite the inability of Muslims to arrive at any form of consensus regarding what happened to Jesus, they are very much in agreement on at least one issue: He was not crucified! This passage of the Quran makes at least this much clear.
So we see that Islam very specifically and very deliberately denies all three of the specific doctrines that the Apostle John identifies as defining the antichrist spirit. And the Quran does not merely deny these doctrines, but actually expresses utter disdain for them, actually cursing those who believe these things, accusing them of gross blasphemy. But how do these Quranic attitudes then affect Muslims? This statement may sound strong, but in all of my years of outreach, interfaith dialogue and casual conversations with those who are not Christians, the two groups that I have personally witnessed express the strongest degree of contempt and mockery toward the gospel have been Satanists and Muslims. (Yes, believe it or not, I’ve actually had quite involved conversations with more than a few Satanists.) Now, let me be clear that I am in no way trying to liken all Muslims to Satanists in any way. I have met many wonderful and very decent Muslims who would never express any form of blatant disrespect for Christian doctrine, even if they secretly felt this way. But I am speaking very truthfully when I say that in terms of my personal experiences of witnessing assaults toward the Gospel message, only Satanists and Muslims have expressed such a high degree of venomous disgust. While there are indeed many religions and systems of belief that do not agree with the doctrines of Christianity, many which do not even believe in God, only Islam fills the role of a religion that exists to deny core Christian beliefs. And of course, following the lead of the Quran, the three doctrines that are most severely and most often attacked and mocked by Muslims are the doctrines of the trinity, the divine incarnation and the atoning sacrifice/crucifixion of Jesus. I recently saw a suggestion by a Muslim on an Internet discussion group, for a bumper sticker. It read: “Divine Insanity: God died on the cross to save his own creation from his own wrath.” One Muslim friend insists on referring to Jesus as a “god-man sandwich.” I have weathered innumerable accusations that by believing in the historic Christian God I am no different than a pagan polytheistic idol worshipper. Many times, I have been told that the doctrine of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus is as archaic and pagan as a human sacrifice to some kind of “volcano god.” I have been accused of believing in a God who is a “sadistic child abuser.” I have seen attempts to liken Jesus’ death on the cross to a suicide bombing. I have even weathered the mocking of the Christian God as a “blood-thirsty vampire.”
If you are a Christian and you love God, I’m sure these statements grieve you as they grieve me, and I apologize for recalling them. I don’t relate these attacks in any way to provoke negative feelings against Muslims. Please do not come away with any such feelings! My reason for relating these examples is to acquaint you with the blatant antichrist spirit that resides within the religion of Islam and that many Muslims therefore manifest. We should not be surprised then to find that one of the descriptions of the Antichrist is that he will be very fond of uttering great blasphemies against the God of the Bible:
The king will do as he pleases. He will… say unheard-of things against the God of gods. Daniel 11:36
He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints. Daniel 7:25
The Quran itself expresses such blasphemies. As someone who is in continual dialogue with numerous Muslims from all over the world, I can testify that the blatant antichrist spirit that we saw expressed in the Quranic passages above, quite often blooms into an overt disdain and utter contempt not only for Christian beliefs but also for Christians themselves. While this is not always the case, should we really be surprised when Muslims act out against those who the Quran literally curses as idolatrous infidel blasphemers? And if we are being realistic, should we expect the future of Islam to be given to those Muslims who identify with the Quranic scorn for Christians or to those who show an amiable attitude despite the curses of their own holy book?
And lastly, in regard to whether or not Islam is specifically the Antichrist system that the Bible foretells, there can be no question that this, the second largest, fastest growing religion in the world, is and has been from its inception, the quintessence of the very antichrist spirit that John the apostle warned us of.
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