Mahdi Spirit: Facing The Future With Hope And Faith


Matthew D. Taylor and Paul A. Djupeast, in an article on Religion News Service, said that last April a group of self-styled American Christian prophets released an urgent word from God on YouTube about an impending Islamic uprising in the U.S. Pointing to pro-Palestinian protests on college campuses, they declared that an “insurrection is forming that is like unto the communist takeover in Russia.”

If this God-speaking-through-prophets-and-warning-nations-about-other-religions business sounds oddball in modern Christianity, it once was. But such prophecies and these prophets are redefining American evangelical theology, practice and politics. They are affiliated with a movement called the New Apostolic Reformation, a set of leadership networks whose leaders call themselves modern-day prophets and believe they are commissioned by God to take over the world.

This NAR movement runs like a thread through recent evangelical Christian support for Donald Trump, Christian nationalism and Christian extremism. House Speaker Mike Johnson has a flag outside his office that is closely associated with the NAR’s aggressive prophetic politics.

Like Judaism and Christianity, Islam has a powerful ‘end of days’ strand. Islam anticipates the end to the world as we know it; a final historical confrontation between the forces of good and evil; after which human life will be transformed.

Many Islamic traditions (Ahadith) say that Prophet Jesus, will return and will join forces with the Islamic messiah, the Mahdi, in a battle against a false messiah, the cruel one eyed Dajjal, called Armilos in Jewish tradition. After the death of both the Dajjal and the Mahdi, the Muslim Jesus will come. Most important, the Hadith say that these events will come to pass when Islam itself is threatened from within by its own corrupt fanatics.

As ibn Babuya writes in Thawab ul-A'mal, "The Apostle of God said: `There will come a time for my people when there will remain nothing of the Qur'an except its outward form, and nothing of Islam except its name, and they will call themselves by this name even though they are the people furthest from it. The mosques will be full of people but they will be empty of right guidance. The religious leaders (Fuqaha) of that day will be the most evil religious leaders under the heavens; sedition and dissension will go out from them and to them will it return."

Most secularists believe that these religious apocalyptic visions of the future are absurd, although many secularists themselves fervently believe that artificial intelligence, run away genetic modification of food, and/or extreme climate change is going to doom much of human civilization in the next generation.

The basic difference between the pessimistic, humanist secularists and the religious optimists is that those who believe in the God of Prophet Abraham also believe that God's inspiration guarantees that the spiritual forces of good will overcome all the world's evils at the end of days; and justice, peace and religious pluralism will prevail. Or as the Biblical Prophet Micah envisions: (4:1-5)

“In the end of days the mountain of the Lord’s Temple will be established as the highest mountain; it will be exalted above the hills, and peoples will stream to it. Many (not all) nations will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the Temple of the God of Jacob. who will teach us His ways, so that we may walk in His paths. Torah will go out from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. God will judge between many (not all) peoples and will settle disputes among powerful nations far and wide.

"They will beat their swords into ploughs, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war any more.
Everyone will sit under their own vine and under their own fig-tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the Lord Almighty has spoken. All the nations will walk in the name of their gods, and we (Jews) will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever.”

If we can live up to the ideal that religious pluralism is the will of God. we will help fulfill the 2700 year old vision of Prophet Isaiah: “In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt, and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. In that day Israel will join a three-party alliance with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing upon the heart. The LORD of Hosts will bless them saying, “Blessed be Egypt My people, Assyria My handiwork, and Israel My inheritance.”…(Isaiah 19:23-5)

Thus, the Bible and the Qur'an's final judgement is the self-destruction of violent, hate filled terrorism and narrow 'my way or death' philosophy and the victory of kindness, love, justice and religious pluralism. As a Hadith warns: “Beware! Whoever is cruel and hard on a non-Muslim minority, curtails their rights, burdens them with more than they can bear, or takes anything from them against their free will; I (Prophet Muhammad) will complain against him or her on the Day of Judgment.” (Abu Dawud 10)

Many first century Jews believed Jesus was not an original prophet; but was a revived Biblical prophet: “Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man [the term Jesus used to describe himself] is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the [other] prophets.” (Matthew 16:13-14, Mark 8:27-28, and Luke 9:18-19)

And perhaps this is why Prophet Jesus stresses so strongly that he has not come to replace, but only to enhance Judaism: “Do not think that I have come to abolish Torah laws, or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not a dot, will pass from the Torah until all is accomplished.

“Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same; will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them, and teaches them, will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the [synagogue] scribes and Pharisees [Orthodox Jews]; you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:17-20)

But what most Jews failed to understand was that nowhere in the Hebrew Bible, or in the rabbinic tradition, does it state that there will never be any non-Jewish Prophets for all the polytheistic nations and tribes that remained. Indeed, there is one passage in the Talmud that indicates that there were three spiritually powerful individual non-Jews from the past; who in the future would help the Jews survive an evil occupation of the Land of Israel.

Prophet Micah asserts that: “When the Assyrian shall come into our land, and tramples our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight princes among men” (Micah 5:4).

The Talmud asks: Who are these seven shepherds, and explains: David is in the middle; Adam, Seth, and Methuselah to his right; Abraham, Jacob, and Moses to his left: and who are the eight princes among men? They are Yishai, Saul, Samuel, Amos, Zephania, Zedekiah, the Messiah, and Elijah.” (Jerusalem Talmud Sukkah 55b, and Babylonian Talmud Sukkah 52b)

The princes are all Jewish, but of the more important seven shepherds, the first three are non-Jews: Adam, Seth, and Methuselah who are placed on the right hand of King David. The next verse [6] states: “They will shepherd the land of Assyria with swords , the land of Nimrod [Mesopotamia] at its entrances; and He [God] will deliver us from the Assyrian when he attacks our land and when he tramples our territory.”

Thus, in the time of turmoil from Ya’juj and Ma’juj (Qur’an 18:92-99 and 21:96-97) Israel is destined to be protected by three non-Jewish leaders comparable spiritually to Prophets Abraham, Jacob and Moses. The name Methuselah comes from two Hebrew roots: mut, a root that means death; and from shalach, which means “to send,” or “send a messenger”. So, the name Methuselah signifies, “death messenger” because Methuselah started warning the world’s people that their widespread corruption would result in a deadly flood long before his grandson Prophet Noah.

God had promised Methuselah that the flood would not happen in his lifetime, so it came shortly after Methuselah died. Thus Methuselah’s very long lifetime was a symbol of God’s mercy and patience in forestalling the coming judgment of the flood; and thus could be a hidden reference to Prophet Muhammad; because in several rabbinic literary sources Methuselah was said to have been a very pious and righteous man, more than equal to Prophet Noah.

And Just as Prophet Methuselah was the last of the pre-flood prophets; Prophet Muhammad was the last of the post flood prophets.

Also Prophet Micah asserts that even in the peace time of the Messianic Age, “All peoples will walk, each in the name of its God.” (Micah 4:5) So world wide peace and religious unity will not be the result of conformity to one universal religion, but will result from the harmony of many different monotheistic religions, each following its own view of the one God, respecting other monotheistic religions’ views; while disagreeing with them.

As the Qur’an says: “For every one of you did We appoint a law and a way. If Allah had wanted He could have made you one people (nation), but (He didn’t) that He might test you in what He gave you. Therefore compete with one another to hasten to do virtuous deeds; for all return to Allah (for judgement), so He will let you know [about] that in which you differed.” (5:48)

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