Will Jesus return to earth one day as King of kings and Lord of lords, or will He come back to let all the Christians know that they have been getting it wrong for the past two-thousand years? This question illustrates the large chasm that exists between what Christians and Muslims believe about Jesus’ Second Coming.
In part one, I wrote about what Muslims and Christians believe about the nature of Christ. If you haven’t read it yet, you may want to start there. You can read part 1 here.
In part 2 we looked at the beliefs pertaining to the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. You can find part 2 here.
Today, we will survey the beliefs Muslims and Christians have concerning the return and future destiny of Jesus.
It is impossible to encapsulate the beliefs of billions of people into a few short paragraphs. Likewise, neither Muslims nor Christians are homogeneous in their beliefs even within their own religion. We can however extrapolate the most commonly held views by the vast majority of each group. I hope that I will adequately achieve that goal here.
The Return of Christ
Everyone who has read or watched “Left Behind,” or other fictional accounts of the Last Days, have been introduced to the idea of the “Rapture”, where Jesus returns to take away His Saints. Although the “Left Behind” series and other works usually represent a single view of when and how this will take place, it is actually very controversial in theological circles. For that reason, and the fact that Islam has no corresponding doctrine, we will leave this for another discussion.
When speaking of the return, or Second Advent, of Christ, Muslims and Christians are referring not to a Rapture, but rather an actual earthly – feet on the ground – return of Christ. Though it can get pretty deep, pretty fast, I will attempt to sum up some basics for our purposes here.
Christians teach that Jesus will return to the Mount of Olives, the same place He ascended from. (Zechariah 14:4, Acts 1:11)
Islam teaches that Jesus will return to earth near a mosque in Damascus while the Jihadist forces of Islam are preparing for prayer and battle. (Ahmad and Abu Daawood)
Christians teach that Jesus will return to destroy the Antichrist and False Prophet and re-establish the throne of David to reign for one-thousand years before the earth is renewed. (Isaiah 9:6-7, Revelation 20:4-6)
Islam teaches that Jesus will come to serve the Mahdi (sometimes called the Twelfth Imam) who will rule the earth under a global caliphate and bring everyone into submission to Allah and Islam. They also teach that He will destroy the Dajjal (false messiah / deceiver.) (Ahmad and Abu Daawood)
Islam goes on to teach that Jesus must return because He never died. When he comes back, they say that He will perform the hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca), visit Muhammad’s grave where He will salute Muhammad, and Muhammad will return the salute from the grave. (Hakim Mustadrak 2:65` #4162)
Christians teach that Jesus’ purpose will be to defeat the armies of the Antichrist, save Israel and create a Kingdom of peace and prosperity. (Daniel 8:23-27, 2 Thessalonians 2:8, Revelation 20:4-6)
Islam teaches that Jesus will defeat the Dajjal, support the Mahdi, enforce sharia law and confess Islam as supreme. According to their teachings, Jesus will explain to Christians that He is a Muslim, and that they have missed it by worshiping Him rather than Allah. According to Islam, Jesus will illustrate His passion and authority for Allah in four primary ways: (Imam Tirmidhi(d.279/857))
1. Breaking the Cross
According to Muslim teaching, Jesus will break and banish crosses around the world illustrating that He never died on the cross. (Sahih Bukhari Volume 3, Book 34, Number 425)
2. Killing Swine
According to Islamic scripture, Jesus will kill swine as a sign that the law was never altered. Peter’s vision of the clean and the unclean in Acts 10 is apparently fiction and that the dietary laws of the Old Testament remain intact including of course, the uncleanliness of Pork. (Sahih Bukhari Volume 3, Book 43, Number 656)
3. Abolishing Jizyah
The Islamic Jesus will ostensibly abolish the Jizyah. The Jizyah is the tax that is sometimes paid by kafirs (unbelievers / infidels) who live in Muslim controlled lands but refuse to convert to Islam. According to Islamic eschatology, The Jizyah tax will no longer be needed as Jesus will simply kill (probably behead) everyone who does not convert to Islam. (Sahih Bukhari Volume 4, Book 55, Number 657)
4. Killing the Dajjal
As mentioned previously, the Muslim Jesus is supposed to kill the false messiah/deceiver. (Imam Muslim (d.261/839))
In addition to the above, the Muslim Jesus will apparently marry, have children, die and be buried next to Muhammad thereby finally living out a natural life similar to Muhammad. (Wali ad-Din, Miskat Al-Masabih, (tr. James Robson), Vol.II, p.1159; Sahih Muslim, Vol.1, p.92).
So in a nutshell, there is a brief comparison of the two views concerning the return of Jesus to earth. I’m currently debating on whether I should do a comparison of the views of the Antichrist and False Prophet of the Last days. If you are interested, let me know. Otherwise, I may just move on to another topic.