A survey by Pew Research has found that an estimated 672 million Muslims expect to see the return of the Mahdi in their lifetime (“The World’s Muslims: Unity and Diversity,” The Pew Forum, Aug. 9, 2012). In the Middle East, North Africa, and South and Southeast Asia, more than half have this expectation. For example, the number in Afghanistan is 83%, Iraq 72%, Tunisia 67%, Malaysia 62%, Turkey 68%, Shi’as in Iraq 88%. The Imam Mahdi, or the Twelfth Imam, is often mentioned by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The Mahdi, believed by Shiites to have disappeared as a child in A.D. 941, is supposed to return and reign on earth for seven years before bringing about a final judgment and the end of the world (“Jesus, Mahdi Both Coming, Says Iran’s Ahmadinejad,” WorldNetDaily, Dec. 19, 2006).
The Twelfth Imam is supposed to be accompanied by Muslim Jesus, who will take a subordinate position. According to the Bible, the next event on God’s calendar is the catching away of church-age saints (1 Thessalonians 4:13 - 5:5), followed by the appearance of the antichrist (who will come on the scene as a man of peace) and a miracle-working prophet that will accompany him (2 Thess. 2:3-12; Revelation 13:11-17; 20:10). These men will be accepted by Jews, apostate Christians, Muslims, New Agers, Hindus, and Buddhists alike. Mankind will rejoice that the Middle East problem has been solved and the long-awaited “Age of Aquarius” has arrived, but the peace party will be short-lived (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3) and the antichrist will show his true colors, setting himself up in Israel’s Third Temple as God and requiring the world’s worship at the point of death (2 Thessalonians 2:3-12; Revelation 13:15-17).
The Aquarian Age Community has accredited NGO status with the United Nations and conducts its meetings in a conference room at the U.N. headquarters. AAC is based on Alice Bailey’s channeled messages from the supposed Ascended Masters and has the objective of ushering a Cosmic Christ into the world to create a mystical new world order. The AAC’s web site identifies this Christ as Buddha, Maitreya, and “the Imam Mahdi,” and says he “works by means of a meditation centered within the heart.” The Aquarian Age Community participates in meditation and other mystical practices in the Meditation Room at the UN building in New York City (http://www.aquaac.org/un/medmtgs.html#dates). (For more about the United Nations and the New Age see the book The New Age Tower of Babel, available in print and e-book formats from Way of Life Literature -- www.wayoflife.org.)
(Friday Church News Notes, August 17, 2012, www.wayoflife.org, email@example.com, 866-295-4143)