By now, I’m sure some of your readers have written to you about the eerie similarity of Ahmadinejad’s rant that the USA is blocking the return of the Mahdi to what Paul said to the Thessalonians in his second letter (especially the 7 and 8th verse):
3 Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way. For [that day] will not come unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction. 4 He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he sits in God’s sanctuary, publicizing that he himself is God. 5 Don’t you remember that when I was still with you I told you about this? 6 And you know what currently restrains [him], so that he will be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; but the one now restraining will do so until he is out of the way, 8 and then the lawless one will be revealed. The Lord Jesus will destroy him with the breath of His mouth and will bring him to nothing with the brightness of His coming. 9 The coming [of the lawless one] is based on Satan’s working, with all kinds of false miracles, signs, and wonders, 10 and with every unrighteous deception among those who are perishing. [They perish] because they did not accept the love of the truth in order to be saved.
I’m familiar with the views of some who think that there will be an Islamic “anti-christ” in the latter days. Ahmadinejad’s rant certainly indicates that his “mahdi” (or “hidden imam) is one such anti-christ or false messiah. However, we need to remember that Jesus prophesied there would me “many false prophets” and “false christs (“messiahs”) in the end-times (Matthew 24:11, 24). Ahmadinejad’s false messiah certainly helps fulfill that prophecy.
However, II Thessalonians 3:3-11 and Revelation 13:11-18 and 19:20 prophesy that there will eventually be one particular “son of perdition” or “”false prophet” that will be so intensely deceptive that he will even have appeal to many Christians. Indeed, II Thessalonians 2:3 prophesies that there will be a widespread “falling away” of believers to follow the final “son of perdition,” and Jesus himself prophesied in Matthew 24:24 that the final deceiver will be so powerful that “if it were possible,” the “very elect” would be deceived. Consider the implications of this statement. The “very elect” have to be Christians who have a strong faith and understanding as well as a strong personal relationship with Jesus Christ the Savior. Yet even these “very elect” will feel the attractive pulls of the final antichrist’s deceptions. I doubt that the “very elect” Christians could be deceived by an Islamic false “messiah.” The final antichrist has to be someone who claims to represent Jesus Christ or claims to be Jesus Christ in order to have any chance of deceiving the “very elect.” II Thessalonians 2:8-10 and Revelation 13:14 indicate that miracles, signs and wonders will be done by this false antichirst (via the power of the devil). Apparently, only the very elect will be able to discern that the miracles and the religiosity of the antichrist are the deceptive tricks of Satan. The rest of the world will be deceived (as Revelation 12:9 says will happen).