In his best-selling book “Mideast Beast,” author and filmmaker Joel Richardson uses scriptures to back his argument that the antichrist is a Muslim who will emerge from the Middle East.
Needless to say, he views the region as a pretty important area for end-time prophecies.
Richardson recently visited Morningside to speak at the 2016 Prophetic Conference, and took some time to speak candidly with The Jim Bakker Show news team about the current situation in the Middle East, how it pertains to the Bible and what he’s watching for in the days ahead.
He also gave Christians some advice about how to prepare for the events he believes are coming, and how much time the world may have. The second part of his exclusive Q&A appears below.
Q: What do you see now in Syria and the Middle East as a whole? Because it’s not just Syria. There’s a conflict in Yemen. There’s Iran testing missiles. But in Syria especially, Russia just announced they would be pulling forces out of there. Do the Russians have an agenda, and how can that situation evolve in the coming days?
A: The last message I did when I was here was on Daniel 8, and I’m convinced that there is this merging Sunni-Shia war that’s going to happen that will, in all likelihood, be an Iranian invasion of Iraq and Syria. A full-blown military invasion, maybe with Russia helping, and that the chaos of the Middle East has only just begun. The scriptures are clear, there’s going to be a series of major regional wars, and then eventually it seems there’s this Western, perhaps a Turkish response. And then the question is ‘Is this going to be World War III? Are the United States and NATO going to get pulled in?’ We’re contractually, through treaty, obligated to Turkey.
So the main conflict right now, ultimately the two alpha dogs are Turkey and Iran. And in a larger sense, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan, they’re all sort of siding — but they don’t like Turkey. So this kind of crazy, chaotic chessboard of the Middle East — I think that we’re going to see several years of some major, unfolding regional wars, which is only going to cause the refugee stuff to majorly explode and multiply 100 times. It’s just going to get really, really messy.
Q: So how do Americans, and not just Americans but Christians as a whole, react and prepare for what may be coming? Is it just being strong in our faith and sticking to the Gospel, or is there anything more that we can do?
A: We have to come to terms with the fact that the United States has been washed with this incredibly one-sided message, this prosperity Gospel. And the only way that we can make it through the days ahead without going nuts, whether it’s the United States, whether it’s the whole world, is to come to terms with the fact that it’s going to melt down.
Basically, what that means is we die. We embrace the cross and die. To all these dreams and demands of ‘Make America Great Again,’ ‘Fix the World’ — we have to come to terms with the fact that yeah, there will be ebbs and flows and stuff like that, but the bottom line is these things must happen. The chaos, the breakdown, the destruction of things that we love — including our own lives.
Once we fully fix our hope in the age to come, then when the world melts down around us, we have an anchor of hope — firm and secure — but it’s in the age to come. If our hope is fixed in this age, making America great again or whatever it might be, we’re going to be incredibly filled with rage. Because it’s not going to work out.
I’m not saying there’s not going to be a little upswing. I don’t know. I don’t see all of the valleys between here and there. But I know that before He returns, it takes a massive nosedive. And even those that believe all these things, we still somehow think we can avoid it. And really, it’s an issue of embracing the cross and dying to this world.
Once you die to this world, then when the world collapses, you’re like ‘I’ve already let it go.’ That’s a really hard thing to do. You have kids and things. I love my country and I’m a patriot, but ultimately — even this election cycle — once we come to terms with the fact that no (candidate) is coming to save us, then the term the blessed hope has much more substance. It has a lot more meaning.
Q: What you’re saying is not an easy thing to get people to do.
A: No. Selling a book, ‘Your Dead Life Now,’ that doesn’t really sell big. ‘Embrace the Cross and Die’ — ‘Ooh, I need to get that one!’ My next film though, that’s coming out in a few weeks, and this is the culmination of this project, it ends with a call to embrace the theology of martyrdom. And being willing to say yes.
Q: And taking a stand for Christ?
A: Look, ISIS has recruited 30,000 kids from all over the world. Most of them burnt their passports, left everything behind. They’re not preaching a secret, friendly message. We’re doing everything we can to make church more fun. … We’re doing everything we can to try to recruit the youth and we’re losing them. As a nation, by and large, I think it’s something crazy now like three out of every four kids that grow up in church move on. They’ve recruited 30,000. We have not recruited 1 percent of what they’ve recruited as missionaries to go to the Middle East. We need to, I think, get back to preaching the Gospel of the early church, which is lay down your life and die. I think the youth will actually resonate with that if they see people actually doing it. And going ‘Oh, so authentic Christianity? Yeah, let’s give it a try. Because nothing else is working.’
Q: The last time you were here, you were talking about the antichrist. You’ve got books about that too. I was wondering if you could get into that a little bit more, but what I really want to get into is the Bible gives us a timeline. All these seals that break and trumpets that sound. Where are we on that Biblical timeline today?
A: Not yet. We’re not in the seven years yet. I think there are a few things that need to unfold before that. … We’re not in the final seven years yet. The first 3-½ years are marked by seeming relative period of somewhat stability — there’s the birth pains, and then it’s in the middle where the contractions start. And that’s when persecution breaks out globally. Antichrist. There’s a profound spiritual event that happens when Satan is cast out of Heaven down to Earth. That happens at the midpoint. A lot of people think Satan has already been cast out of heaven. He has access in heaven. He is the one who accuses us before the throne day and night. That doesn’t stop until the midpoint of the final seven years.
Here’s the thing: In terms of timing, I don’t have clarity exactly on the timing, but there are multiple timing indicators that say within the next 20 years or so, that we’re running out of time. We have arguably 50 years of oil left. People say, ‘Well, maybe we’ll find more reserves.’ But we can’t access it easily. It ends up becoming more cost-prohibitive. So it’s there, but can we get it?
Everything that exists, look out. Every car tire is eight gallons of oil to make. Every motor, every part in that car takes copious amounts of oil. Everything. Every piece of plastic. All of the food, to grow these potatoes, oil moving these massive machines. Everything. The fertilizer that we use on almost everything is petroleum-based. The amount of petroleum that we’re using is just skyrocketing. The conservatives would say ‘Oh, we’re just going to come up with something new by then because we’re innovators and that’s what Capitalism does.’ Well, nobody really knows what that’s going to be yet. So we’re banking on the fact that humanity can exist beyond this.
There are a lot of brick walls that are just down the road. … There are multiple trends merging at the same time that say it could be very, very soon — within the next several years — but I really don’t see it going past 25 years, and that’s before we are in the seven years and he’s on the ground. We’re definitely coming up to the culmination. Even if you just throw the Bible out the door and just analyze it from a pure environmental (standpoint), any number of things.
Q: What do we need to be looking for? You’re suggesting, possibly, that there’s more time than maybe some other people might think. But no one really knows.
A: To me, the main sign that I’m looking at right now, the passage that I’m looking at is Daniel 8. And that would be an Iranian invasion of the Middle East. I’m considering that as the next major event. Then, if there’s a major Western response, then that really is the countdown. Because if that begins to unfold, as the prophecy goes, you have the two-horned ram followed by the single-horned goat, the prominent horn on the goat is broken off, this thing is broken up into four and out comes the antichrist. That’s the pattern.
And Gabriel says three times to Daniel, he says ‘Listen Daniel, the vision concerns the time of the end.’ … He states it three times, very clearly. So here is, in a sense, the signpost, the roadmap to the rise of the antichrist. But Biblically, the next major event is the confirmation or the strengthening of the covenant for seven years. Some people will try to remove that and say ‘Oh, that’s all based on one verse in Daniel’ — No, there clearly is a seven-year period. There’s a seven-year agreement, a covenant, a treaty of some kind — and then it’s 3-½ years into that.
I’m pre-wrath, so I would say then in that three-year period, somewhere in there, is the return of Christ. We don’t know exactly when it is. That’s the rapture. But the return of Christ is a complex event. He doesn’t just come back and snap his fingers and whoosh, everything is new. He actually comes back and conquers.
In the first part of this Q&A, Richardson spoke about the global refugee crisis, his ministry work overseas and the responsibility he feels Christians have to minister the Gospel during this time.
Richardson’s Prophetic Conference evening service centered on Biblical prophecies concerning Israel in the last days. If you missed it, you can watch it on the 2016 Prophetic Conference DVD Set that also contains messages from Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, Michael Snyder and Hubie Synn.