No, not the Christian Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. Not yet. But what about the Mahdi? The Islamic Messiah? On Sunday, June 29, 2014 an announcement was made of truly historic proportion. The Wall Street Journal and Fox covered the news, but it was largely ignored by the MSM. What was announced in Iraq by a spokesman for the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr a- Baghdadi, may well affect the balance of our days on this planet, that’s how important it was. Okay, enough build-up – what was the news?

On June 29th, the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, ISIS spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani announced in an Arabic audio file that:

1.       ISIS would no longer be called ISIS, nor ISIL. The new name for the Jihadist terrorist organization is “The Islamic State”.

2.       The new name reflected the fact that The Islamic State now claimed to be a nation, in fact, more than a nation. The announcement proclaimed The Islamic State as of Sunday to be the only legal Muslim state and demanded allegiance from Muslims worldwide. “The legality of all emirates, groups, states and organizations becomes null by the expansion of the caliph’s authority and arrival of its troops to their areas.”

3. The Islamic State announced itself as the new “caliphate”.

What is the “caliphate” you may ask? Simply stated, it’s the rule worldwide of Islam’s future messiah, headed by the Mahdi. About two weeks ago, on June 17, 2014, the leader of Iran, Ayatollah ali Khamenei, predicted that the Islamic messiah, the Mahdi, is soon coming soon to the world. Who is the Mahdi? Muslims say that he is the 12th Imam, that he was born in 868 AD and went into hiding in a well in 872 AD, where he has been living ever since, just waiting for the right time to emerge and rid the world of “infidels and unbelievers”. The Mahdi is said to be the “Guided One”, “The Lord of the Age” and “The Awaited One”. (Google ‘The Twelve Imams’ to learn more). But, Iran’s leader said that the returning Mahdi would be a Shiite Mahdi and the leader of the new “Islamic State” is Sunni. So, isn’t this really just another argument between Muslims?

Sort of. Recall that the Bible prophesied about the descendants of Ishmael:

“He shall be a wild donkey of a man,
his hand against everyone
and everyone's hand against him,
and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen.” (Genesis 16:12)

If it only ended with an internecine struggle among Muslims that would be one thing, but prophecy tells us otherwise. Muslims teach that their long awaited Mahdi would be a political and military world leader who will conquer the world for Allah (with a returned Jesus along his side helping the Mahdi to get rid of Christians and Jews). Here’s what author Joel Richardson says about the Mahdi:

“Thus it is fair to say that the ‘rising’ of the Mahdi is to the majority of Muslims what the return of Jesus is to Christians. While   Christians await the return of Jesus the Messiah to fulfill all of God’s prophetic promises to the people of God, Muslims await the appearance of the Mahdi, to fulfill those purposes. Sheikh Kabbani likewise identifies the Mahdi as Islam’s primary messiah figure:

‘Jews are waiting for the messiah, Christians are waiting for Jesus and Muslims are waiting for both the Mahdi and Jesus. All (three) describe them as men coming to save the world’” (Antichrist: Islam’s Awaited Messiah, Joel Richardson, Winepress Publishing)

That being the case, Sunday’s announcement in the Islamic world is similar to, if not directly equivalent, to an announcement in the Christian world that Jesus Christ had returned to rule the world. The Muslim world was rocked by the announcement making the front page in Arab newspapers globally. If some isolated sheik had made such a claim, it could have been widely dismissed. But Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is no isolated Muslim. He has captured large areas of Iraq in just days, including Mosul, Tikrit and Fallujah, among others. He is arguably one of the most violent blood-thirsty human in authority today, as he beheads and shoots hundreds of those who are in his way. Because these extreme acts of terror are so effective, thousands of Iraqi soldiers have discarded their uniforms and fled, many of them joining Abu Bakr’s growing army. Hundreds of thousands of Christians fled Mosul. He captured a large bank in Iraq stealing 429 million dollars as well as Saddam Hussein’s chemical weapons factory.

As Walid Shoebat wrote yesterday, “This will stun Muslim fundamentalists globally to go in full-throttle that a Caliphate is no longer in sight, it’s become a reality.” In one of the final chapters of my new novel published in April (THE DAY based on the non-fiction THE END OF AMERICA) I imagine the emergence of the Mahdi who threatens the Prime Minister of England with nuclear annihilation if he doesn’t accept Muslim rule. Little could I have known how soon after its publication the “caliphate” would be declared in the Muslim world.

What can we expect to happen next? If you were the King of Saudi Arabia or Jordan you might have recently lost some sleep. The Islamic State released a map of Europe, Africa, western Asia and the Middle East showing their five year goal of conquering huge swaths of land including Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Spain, much of western Asia and all of northern Africa. Abu Bakr has what every military leader wants: momentum, excitement and commitment of the troops, money, assets (captured US military equipment we left behind in Iraq and fervor. New recruits eager to join Abu Bakr are arriving daily from all directions. He has repeatedly promised to conquer Israel and destroy America.

Abu Bakr has declared The Islamic State as the revived “caliphate”, but does that mean that Abu Bakr is the Mahdi? Shoebat says this, “We doubt that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi will be the ultimate Caliph, but with the Caliphate established now in Iraq, what is expected is more carnage.” But, by declaring the existence of the new “caliphate”, much awaited by the Muslim world, Abu Bakr is in a position to win and win big. The more of the Arab world that he conquers the stronger he will become, maybe strong enough to declare himself as the Mahdi, or at the very least to ability to name the Mahdi. The Bible says that in the last days many Christians will be beheaded (Revelation 20:4). There is now a man in growing power who has shown that he will behead his enemies. These are all further signs that we are truly living in the prophesied last days.

John Price