Did you know many Muslims believe that the end times are here? According to Mideast expert and theologian J. Richardson, many jihadists have joined the conflict in Syria because they see it as an apocalyptic war. Just before the Muslim messiah, Mahdi, comes to earth, there will arise a Sufyani, an enemy of Mahdi, who will battle for control of the earth. Such are the implications of the Syrian conflict. And because of this end-time perspective, jihadists are willing to fight to the death.
In addition to being just plain fascinating, the Islamic end-time doctrine evokes thoughts of Christian themes: Armageddon, antichrist, martyrdom, and John's description of the tribulation saints who did not love their life even when faced with death (Rev. 12:11). When Jesus told his first followers to pick up their cross, they knew exactly what he meant: they had seen thousands of their countrymen crucified by the Romans. But unlike Islam, Christians don't die for a cause, but for Christ's glory! The start of Passion Week is a good time to consider the question: Have I given up everything to follow Christ (Matt. 10:28)?