The Christian view of the signs of the end times

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It is said that our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) predicted in the hadiths what would happen in the world during the End Times before Judgment Day. When we look at today’s events in the light of the hadiths and the explanations of Islamic scholars, we realize that the period we are living in is the End Times. According to the hadiths, this period will be a Golden Age in which the world will experience the ascendancy of Islamic morality under the leadership of Mahdi, Jesus (pbuh) will come to the Earth for the second time and gather the People of the Book together in a period of abundance, blessing and wealth. When we look at the parts of Christian holy scripture that predict that the signs of the End Times are nearly complete, we see an important parallel between them and the hadiths of our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace).

At various times, Almighty Allah has sent messengers and books to human beings to show them the right path.  Because of this, people have been aware since Adam’s (pbuh) time of Allah’s existence and commands and have found the best and wisest solutions for life’s problems in revealed religions.

Even though revealed religions contained decrees that varied according to the conditions and the environments of the periods in which they were sent, they presented to people the same model of belief and morality. They all declared to people the same basic truths about Allah’s existence and unity, His qualities, the purpose of the creation of human beings and other living things, how one must become Allah’s servant and live so as to earn His favor, how to live and act, the concepts of good, evil, truth and falsehood, how people should order their lives in this world, and what one must do to have eternal life.

But, in the course of time, Judaism and Christianity underwent some corruption and certain superstitious beliefs and legends entered their holy scripture. But still, when we look at the books of these two religions in the light of the Qur’an, we see that many true beliefs and moral values proper to revealed religion have survived intact. These beliefs and values are those held in common by all three revealed religions. 

When we look at these common beliefs, we find that many Christians believe in the End Times when Jesus (pbuh) will return to Earth for the second time.  These Christians believe, based on their own scripture, that the signs of the End Times have occurred one by one and that Jesus’ (pbuh) second coming is near.  In this regard, it is stated in the New Testament as thus: 

As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age? Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am Jesus,’ and will deceive many.” (Matthew 24:3-5) 

Here are some of the remarkable examples of similarity between the signs described in Christian scripture and the hadiths:  


THE APPEARANCE OF FALSE PROPHETS AND MESIAHS: 

For many will come in my name, claiming, “I am Jesus,” and will deceive many. (Matthew, 24:5) 

and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. (Matthew, 24:11)

Recently Jim Jones, David Koresh and many other individuals have claimed to be the Messiah.  According to Christian interpretation, these false prophets will be the prelude for the coming of the last false prophet-the Antichrist. In the hadiths, our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) alludes to this event:

The Last Hour will not come before there come forth thirty Dajjals (imposters), each presenting himself as an apostle of Allah. (Abu Dawud)

WARS 

You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. (Matthew 24:6) 

In the End Times, there will be reports of wars and conflicts in all parts of the world. These events will become more frequent in the End Times and Christians interpret this as a sign.  

Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.  (Matthew 24:7) 

More lives were lost in wars in the 20th century than at any other time in history. The use of weapons of mass destruction (nuclear, chemical and biological) was predicted both in Christian scriptures and in the hadiths.

At a time when the world will be in harj [utter confusion and disorder], fitna will appear, people will be attacked…(Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Al-Burhan fi `Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir az-Zaman, p. 12)

FAMINES 

Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.  (Matthew 24:7) 

In countries like Ethiopia and Sudan, famine has been a problem for years and has caused the death of people of all ages. According to the report of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization of the year 2000, 826 million people are undernourished. In other words, one in every six people in the world is hungry. This is acknowledged both in Islamic sources and by Christians as being a harbinger of the End Times.  Famines and the spread of poverty are mentioned in the hadiths as signs of the End Times:

The poor will grow in number. (Amal al-Din al-Qazwini, Mufid al-`Uulum wa Mubid al-Humum) 

…there will be exceedingly stressful days and hunger will rule. (Muhammad ibn `Abd ar-Rasul Barzanji, Al-Isha`ah li Ashrat as-Sa`ah, p. 220.)


EARTHQUAKES AND NATURAL DISASTERS

Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.  (Matthew 24:7)

Of course, there have always been earthquakes in the history of the world, but, as Christians believe, the number will increase as Jesus’ (pbuh) return comes near.  The frequency of violent earthquakes in the last few years puts them high up in public awareness.  According to data released by the American National Earthquake Center in 1999, there were 20,832 earthquakes of small or great magnitude in the world.  An estimated 22,711 individuals lost their lives in these earthquakes.  When we look at the past, there were far fewer earthquakes; according to a report of the United States Geological Society (USGS), in the approximately 400 years between the 1556 and 1975, there were only 110 whose magnitude was 5.0 or more. The same society reports that, in the 23 years between 1980 and 2003, 1685 earthquakes with a magnitude of 6.5 and greater occurred.  Certainly, these figures show plainly that there has been an increase in the incidence of earthquakes since the prophet’s time 1400. 

Since the 1990’s countless tropical storms, hurricanes and tornadoes have occurred and winds have reached speeds of more than 200 mph.  The hadiths say that natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes are signs of the End Times:

The Hour (Last Day) will not be established until ... earthquakes will be very frequent. (Bukhari)

There are two great hadiths before the Day of Judgment... and then years of earthquakes. (Narrated by Umm Salama (ra))

THE SPREAD OF HERETICAL PHILOSOPHIES

Christians believe that there will be an alienation from the Christian faith in the Last Days. Many denominations will abandon the basic teachings of the gospel in favor of New Age practices, eastern religions, meditation, reincarnation, astrology, communicating with the dead, idolatry and magic.

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. (1 Timothy, 4:1-3)

This situation is mentioned in the hadiths:

…all of the prohibitions are regarded as lawful (Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi `Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntazar, p. 23.)

The Hour will come when people will believe in the stars and reject Qadar [the Divine Decree of destiny]. (Al-Haythami, Kitab al-Fitan)

THE RAPID SPREAD OF EVIL-DOING

Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold. (Matthew, 24:12)

The cruelty, terrorism, murders, assaults, cheating, drug use, torture, alcoholism, robbery, resentment, rebellions and homosexuality that characterizes our time has become excessively widespread. Christian scripture says that this is a sign of the End Times:

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, (2 Timothy, 3:1-3)

When we look at the hadiths concerning the End Times, we read the following of this process of rapid degeneration:

There will be years of deceit, in which a truthful person will be disbelieved and a liar will be believed. (Ibn Kathir)

The Hour (Last Day) will not be established until murders will increase. (Bukhari)

SIGNS IN THE SUN AND IN THE STARS

There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars… (Luke, 21:25)

According to Christian scripture, this sign that will be seen in the sun maybe the huge explosion that happened in the 20th century. The solar eclipse of August 11, 1999, was the last total eclipse of the 20th century. This was the first time that so many people had the opportunity to witness an eclipse that lasted for so long. It is interesting that Turkey was one of the countries where this eclipse could be seen in its totality.  It could be seen in 12 cities and 100 provinces from Bartin to Silopi. The words of our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) in the hadiths ‘There will be a sign from the sun.’ may refer to this event. (Allah knows the truth).

All this shows that signs of the End Times are recorded in Islam and in Christian scripture and there is the expectation of a savior and Messiah. The End Times is a holy period in which religious morality will govern the Earth, Islam will return to its essence and be widely practiced under the leadership of Mahdi; it will also be a period in which the Christian world will participate in this continual rule of morality through the agency of Jesus (pbuh). This period will end with the coming of the Golden Age. In this regard, Christian scripture says:

When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. (Luke, 21:28)

In the Qur’an, Almighty Allah announces to all believers the reign of this moral goodness:

Allah has promised those of you who believe and do right actions that He will make them successors in the land as He made those before them successors, and will firmly establish for them their religion with which He is pleased and give them, in place of their fear, security. “They worship Me, not associating anything with Me.” Any who do not believe after that, such people are deviators. (Surat an-Nur, 55)

2008-07-31 22:00:02

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