Are the Illuminati, New World Order, a global ruler all clichés?
The Illuminati. The New World Order. A global ruler arising in Europe. These are all staples, maybe even clichés, of any discussion among evangelicals about the final enemy during the end times.
But even as the last days draw nearer, could it be the church is looking in the wrong direction for the identity of the Antichrist?
Joel Richardson, the New York Times bestselling author of "The Islamic Antichrist," thinks so. Rather than fearing a shadowy global elite, Richardson believes the identity of the church's last days enemy is obvious and overt - and so is the city of the Antichrist.
In his newest book, "Mystery Babylon," Richardson claims it is Mecca that will serve - and is serving already - as the spiritual center of the Antichrist system of Islam. And in a recent interview on "Revealing The Truth" with Rabbi Eric Walker, Richardson said the biblical evidence is clear.
"I arrive at that conclusion because it meets all the scriptural criteria," Richardson said.
He said "Babylon" is used as an overarching metaphor in the Bible for a group of different cities with specific characteristics, characteristics Mecca now fulfills.
"Babylon is the final last days capital, spiritually and economically, of the Antichrist system," Richardson said, explaining the symbolism. "In the past, as a prototype, you had the city of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar's Babylon, the capital of this great pagan empire that was in conflict with Jerusalem. It was the great city of seduction. And it was the capital of idolatry in the Earth. This is where Satan was receiving, if you will, the majority of his worship in the Earth.
"In the first century, it was Rome. Rome was the new Babylon, and the early Jews and Christians looked to Rome as the new Babylon, the Babylon of that period. But Scripture draws from all of these, not just Rome, not just Babylon but Nineveh, the city of Tyre, and other great pagan cities, and it speaks of a last days city."
Richardson argues Mecca, where hundreds of millions face daily to pray, is not a city of monotheism but a great city of paganism.
"In the city of Mecca and in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, we have everything that Scripture describes," Richardson explained. "We have the great city of idolatry, talking about Mecca. We have the single greatest city of idolatry that mankind has ever produced. Quite literally, nothing in the history of mankind has even begun to encroach upon the number of people who bow down and pray to that Kaaba, that idol, that shrine, that mosque that lies in the middle of Mecca. It's roughly 1.61 billion people, let's say just half of the Muslims in the world pray, that's still more than the total population of Protestants globally that are bowing towards that shrine. So that's the spiritual component.
"And the city of Mecca and the Kaaba's history is thoroughly pagan. Muslim theologians will always claim that Islam is true monotheism, that they have all these practices that go back to the Bible. They go, 'Oh look, we bow when we pray, Daniel bowed when he prayed, therefore we have the same religion as Daniel,' they do all this kind of thing.
"But I point out all of the thoroughly pagan practices of Mecca, the history of how this shrine came to be, that in all likelihood it was a Middle Eastern Hindu shrine, a great shrine of idolatry. Islamic history records that it once held 360 idols. Go to India today, that's exactly what you'll see in any Hindu shrine. When Muslims circumambulate around the Kaaba, this is a thoroughly pagan practice. The pilgrimage to go to this shrine is thoroughly pagan practice. And Muslim scholars will even admit this. Well, then why do they continue it? Why do they continue with these great pagan practices?"
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What of the Illuminati or the other shadowy groups supposedly working for a global government that will divvy up the entire world? Richardson argues the idea the Antichrist will somehow rule the world or will be installed by a global secret society is a misperception not backed up by the Bible. Instead, the Bible speaks of the Antichrist ruling a geographically limited empire, globally influential but not literally ruling all the nations of the globe.
"We need to recognize the Scriptures don't present a completely global empire," he explained. "Rather the Scriptures speak of, repeatedly throughout Daniel and Revelation, an empire of 10 that will have influence throughout the Earth but will not control every last nation and government. That simply contradicts many other Scriptures.
"The Scriptures make it pretty clear that there are resister militaries against the Antichrist. It actually says right at the end of Daniel 9 ... to the end there will be wars. Wars are decreed. Now if there are wars until the very end that means there must be resister militaries. If there are resister militaries, there must be resister governments, resister nations."
Richardson also suggested those who believe there is an all-powerful global conspiracy are overestimating the ability of groups of people to work together in secret for any length of time. After all, he noted, even Christians can't keep themselves from splitting into different denominations.
"Here we are, the disciples of Yeshua, Jesus the Messiah, and we are so divided," he said. "And yet we believe the kingdom of Satan has this seamless, perfectly functioning, unified thing that controls all the world, that you never have any major divisions and splits and leakers. If we can't function this seamlessly, then I don't believe the kingdom of Satan can do it. There's just a lot of problems with that whole worldview.
"Yes, there's all sorts of powerful bankers and power brokers throughout the Earth. But the idea that they all meet in these secret covens and worship the devil together. ... Is there some occultism? I'm sure there is. But the whole Illuminati worldview, I just simply don't accept it. I don't find any solid evidence for it. And I don't find it in the Scriptures."
In contrast to an unverifiable global conspiracy, Islam is one of the most formidable spiritual forces in the world, the power of which is evident for all to see, he said.
Richardson urges Christians not to underestimate the Islamic threat.
"There is a denialism that pervades the church," laments Richardson. "And we're both looking, on both sides of this, the charismatics and the dispensationalists, people are looking for a mechanism to get rid of Islam. And what I've been trying to say is, guys, Islam is not going away until the return of Jesus.
"It's very clear, in many passages when the Messiah returns, he is shown to be destroying and judging nations that are overwhelmingly Muslim today. So we need to wake up right now and realize this thing is not going away and we need to rise to meet the challenge in our day, because we are 20 years behind the curve."
In his interview, Richardson cautions that none of his comments, nor his warnings about an Islamic Antichrist, should be taken as an insult against Muslims themselves. Instead, Richardson characterizes his evangelism as a mission of liberation, targeted at Muslims as much as everyone else in the world.
"My heart in all of this is because I am passionate about reaching Muslims with the Gospel," he said. "I am absolutely convinced that the Gospel, the primary message of Christians, of the church, of the body of Messiah, is the most wonderful, amazing, emotionally appealing message that mankind has ever known. This is the message that meets the yearning of every man, woman and child throughout the Earth," said Richardson.
"And I really believe that the message of Islam is the greatest counterfeit. It's the greatest counterfeit in the Earth that is deceiving and seducing such a great number of wonderful people into the deception that is Islam. "Obama, Militant Islam, New World Order, Europe, Obama , Militant ISlam , Militant Islam , Anti-Christ , Worlde Ruler, Illuminati