Islam pushing world towards End Times as it welcomes the Antichrist (Mahdi), says Christian scholar Michael Youssef

The Antichrist with the devil, from the "Deeds of the Antichrist," an art work done by Luca Signorelli (1450-1523) in 1501.(Wikipedia)

Islam is pushing the world towards the end times where Muslims believe their messiah the Mahdi will appear, popular Christian Pastor, biblical scholar and author Michael Youssef writes in his new book.

However, Youssef proposes that the Mahdi is the evil Antichrist himself, who is described in the Bible as the one figure who will bring about the end of the world.

In "The End Times & the Secret of the Mahdi," Youssef details how biblical prophesies are being fulfilled leading toward the events described in the Book of Revelation and elsewhere in the Bible.

Youssef, the head of the global outreach ministry Leading the Way and founder of Atlanta's Church of the Apostles, says conditions are rife for the coming of the Antichrist.

"I came to the conclusion that we are coming into the period of time like we have never seen before in history," Youssef told CBN News recently in an interview.

Youssef, who was born in predominantly Muslim Egypt, said he deeply loves Islamic people but believes their religion is opening the gate for the Antichrist.

"He [the Antichrist] will lull the world into believing in him, even worshipping him as their messiah. But he will end up abusing humanity like it's never been tormented before," Youssef says in the promotional video for his new book.

Youssef quotes Muslim scholars in his book on what Islam preaches about their messiah.

"When their messiah comes, he's going to cover the whole world," he says. "He's going to rule the world. And he's going to declare himself to be a Muslim. And he's going to turn on the Christians and the Jews."

Youssef says the Bible also states the same thing about the Antichrist.

Youssef cites other parallels he sees between the Mahdi and the Antichrist in the CBN interview.

"He will call himself 'the man of peace.' That he's going to come at a time of chaos and confusion and people longing for somebody to guide them and lead them and bring them peace because they will be worn out," Youssef says.

Both the Bible and Islam talk about this figure's seven-year global reign from Jerusalem and say this figure of "peace" will turn out to be excessively violent.

"He's going to begin to persecute people. He's going to demand their worship," Youssef says. "Same thing on the other side—that he's going to kill everybody who does not worship him."

He says some Shiites, particularly those in Iran, have actually been trying to shape world events to bring about coming of the Mahdi.

"He will appear when the world is in chaos and he will bring peace," Youssef says. "So (Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad, the former president of Iran, basically wanted to stir up trouble and get the nuclear weapons so they could attack Israel and create an atmosphere of chaos, so to force their Mahdi—or the 12th caliphate—to show up."

Some of the most violent Sunnis are trying to set off the end times as well, Youssef adds, referring to the Islamic State (ISIS). "They also have that concept that when chaos and bloodshed reign supreme—and that's why they're shedding so much blood—that their messiah will come."

However, Youssef says Christians should not fear.

"The Lord said, 'When you see these signs, lift up your head, for the day of your redemption is drawing nigh.' And so, far from being afraid and worried and concerned, we should be rejoicing," Youssef says.

The Bible warns that the world will be deceived by Antichrist's global false religion, which at first will tolerate and bring all religions together.

In this regard, Youssef notes about the emergence of "Chrislam"—a combination of Christianity and Islam.

"There is something that is rampant among mainline denominations called Chrislam," Youssef states. "There are churches in Canada and the United States where they read from the Quran as well as the Bible. There are churches that have the Quran in the pews."

But there is a way to be immune from false religion, Youssef says.

"If a person is a genuine believer in Jesus Christ, he will not be deceived," Youssef says. "The Holy Spirit is going to give us discernment that we will be able to tell the difference."