The Antichrist in Muhammad: Introduction to the Series
to." So the term antichrist means "opposed to Christ."
The term antichrist is Scriptural. We find the term used in St. John's epistles. We should turn, therefore, to those epistles to understand its meaning.
The teaching of the Antichrist appears clearly to have been part of the oral teachings of the Apostles, and so are part and parcel of the Gospel. "[Y]ou heard," St. John says referring to the Apostolic teaching, "that the antichrist was coming, so now many antichrists have appeared." (1 John 2:18).
In the same epistle, St. John elaborates that "every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus does not belong to God. This is the spirit of the antichrist that, as you heard, is to come, but in fact is already in the world." (1 John 4:3)
It is apparent that the Apostle John distinguishes between the one Antichrist (which appears to be the subject of St. Paul's letter to the Thessalonians (2 Thess. 3:7-10) and is referred to as the "man of sin") and which St. John identifies with a definite article, and then many antichrists, so-called forerunners of the Antichrist, which St. John identifies indefinitively and in the plural. It is in this latter sense that we use the term antichrist in the title.
In his epistles, St. John gives us some simple tests to help us distinguish the Antichrist, and therefore also those who participate in the Antichrist's spirit, the antichrists who are the Antichrist's forerunners:
"Whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ, whoever denies the Father and the Son, this is the Antichrist." (1 John 2:22)
"[T]hose who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh; such is the deceitful one and the Antichrist." (2 John 7)
These words obviously meant something. In his letter to Pope Damasus I (376 A.D.), St. Jerome neatly summarized the Scriptural teaching as found in St. John's epistles: "He that is not of Christ is of Antichrist."
This concept is given a little more breadth by St. Leo the Great, who, in his letter to Leo Augustus (No. 156), referred to anyone who denied the teachings of an infallible Church Council, in particular that of Chalcedon, was an antichrist. Presumably, that term would apply to any one who teaches in a manner inconsistent with any infallible council of the Catholic Church.
St. John of Damascus (645-749 A.D.), in his famous treatise on the faith, De fide orthodoxa, acknowledged that many antichrists were "bound to come" in addition to the final Antichrist, and that any one of many expected antichrists can be identified by the fact that he "confesses not that the Son of God came in the flesh and is perfect God and became perfect man, after being God."
St. John of Damascus, in fact, identifies Muhammad as a "pseudo-prophet," pseudoprophetes, and identifies him, or at least Islam (which he calls the heresy of the Ishmaelites), as "forerunner of the Antichrist," prodromos tou Antichristou.
Even more forthrightly, we might point to Peter the Venerable (1092-1156 A.D.), who, in the prologue of his translation of the Qur'an into Latin, referred to Muhammad as the maximal precursor of the Antichrist and the elect disciple of the devil: maximus precursor Antichristi et electus discipulus diaboli Mahumet.
What this series will do, then, is to take some of the fundamental teachings of the Catholic Church regarding Jesus which we know, by the certainty of Faith, are revealed by God. This will include Jesus' identity as the Son of God (which necessarily implicates the Fatherhood of God, and the doctrine of the Trinity), the Incarnation (which also involves the role of Mary as the Mother of God), Christ's message and his mission (which implicates the Gospels and the doctrine of Grace), Jesus' crucifixion and his atoning death (which necessarily touches upon the notion of Original Sin, Atonement, and mankind's Redemption), the gift of the Holy Spirit, the role of the Church, and Christ's Second Coming.
We will then take these dogmas--truths revealed by God and which, from a Catholic perspective, cannot be in error--and compare the teachings of the Muhammad in the Sunna (traditions or reports) and the revelations of the Qur'an to them. To the extent Islamic teachings, founded on Muhammad's teachings and the Qur'an, contradict the teachings of the Catholic Church, one can be assured that the spirit underlying them is not the Holy Spirit, not the Spirit of Christ (Rom. 8:9), but the unholy spirit of the Antichrist.
Andrew M. Greenwell is an attorney licensed to practice law in Texas, practicing in Corpus Christi, Texas. He is married with three children. He maintains a blog entirely devoted to the natural law called Lex Christianorum. You can contact Andrew at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Muhammad, antichrist, false prophet, Andrew M. Greenwell
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