So, who are these other so-called "Messiahs" we discussed above? Let's briefly examine them:
Several people have called themselves "Mahdi" ("divinely guided one"), but, for anyone who is interested, there is an indepth description of the history and future of the Mahdi in an article entitled Al-Imam al-Mahdi, The Just Leader of Humanity.
According to the January 6, 2006, WorldNetDaily, Mahdi is the Savior figure in Islam for which there are several different interpretations in Sunni Islam; and one dominant interpretation in Shi'I Islam. In Islamic eschatology, he is the prophesied redeemer of Islam, who will change the world into a perfect society before the "Day of Resurrection" or the end times.
The figure of Mahdi and his mission, is not mentioned in the Koran. As a matter of fact, the idea of the Mahdi appears to be a development in the first 2-3 centuries of Islam (according to the above website). In the case of the Shi'i Mahdi many scholars have suggested that there is a clear inspiration coming from the Messiah-figure of Christianity and its ideas of a judgment day in the hands of a religious renewer.
The "Prophet" Muhammad stated:
"Even if the entire duration of the world's existence has already been exhausted and only one day is left before the Day of Judgment, Allah will expand that day to such a length of time, as to accommodate the kingdom of a person out of my Ahl al-Bayt who will be called by my name. He will then fill the Earth with peace and justice as it will have been filled with injustice and tyranny before then."
Sahih Tirmidhi, V2, P86, V9, P74-75.
According to one Islamic website, we are warned:
Please do not confuse Imam Mahdi with Hadhrat Isa (Jesus) Alayhis Salaam. They are two different persons, and both will come during the last days. According to Hadeeth, Imam Mahdi will appear first, and Hadhrat Isa (A.S.) will appear during Imam Mahdi's lifetime. Furthermore, only Hadhrat Isa (A.S.) will be able to kill Dajjal (the "anti-Christ").
NOTE: It is clear from the content of the above paragraphs that the Koran contains many similarities to the Tanach. In fact, Muhammed "borrowed" from the Tanach and twisted its holy scriptures in order to form the religion of Islam some 600 years after the death of Yeshua. Since his "notes" weren't consolidated in any particular order, his disciples eventually arranged them from the longest to shortest "surahs". According to MidEast Web:
"The internal organization of the Qur'an is somewhat ad hoc. Revelations consisted of verses (ayat) grouped into 114 chapters (surahs). The arrangement of the suras is mechanical: the first, al-Fateha or "the Opening," is a short prayer exalting God that has become an essential part of all Islamic liturgy and prayer. The rest are graded generally by length, from longest to shortest. It is impossible to tell from the book the chronological order of the surahs. Some of the Surahs begin with letters of the Arabic alphabet, as though meant to be numbered, others do not. Some Surah of the Qur'an refer or allude to religious and historical events but seldom provide comprehensive accounts. God in the Qur'an speaks in the first person. The Qur'an is written in an especially elegant and difficult Arabic that is not easily interpreted or rendered into other languages."
Luckily for believers in Yeshua, the BIBLE - containing documented prophecies of which nearly 400 have so far come true - is an accurate historical document that flows in chronological order.
Maitreya (Arabic for "friend"), according to some, is a man who is supposedly alive and living in Europe awaiting the appropriate time to make his world appearance. He supposedly will appear to each form of religion as their particular messiah, which means that Christians know "Maitreya" as Christ, Jews await him as the Messiah; Hindus look for the coming of Krishna; Buddhists expect him as Maitreya Buddha, and Muslims anticipate the Imam Mahdi or Messiah....
Besides the illustrious, all-knowing Rael, there is another Maitreya: Shoko Asahara, a forty-something guru of Aum Supreme Truth, a Buddhist sect, who offers his followers spiritual enlightenment through mystical practices, painful religious rituals, and purchasing "sacred goods". According to an article on the Christian Information Ministries Asahara, as a guru or teacher, teaches the oneness of all things and that salvation only comes through achieving his brand of enlightenment. He has taken the name Maitreya as his own in an attempt to establish himself as the World Teacher.
Many Buddhists, however, desire the arrival of another Buddha - Maitreya Buddha, to lead them to personal enlightenment. Maitreya is not only believed to be the World Teacher but also the head of the Spiritual Hierarchy, a group of "enlightened masters" who rule the world.
According to one Benjamin Creme, a Scottish esotericist and spokesman for the ascended Master, Maitreya has already returned. He is believed to be the most highly evolved being (physically or spiritually) and is the head of what is believed to be the Hierarchy or the Masters of Wisdom. Crème says Maitreya's priorities are to: establish peace; inaugurate a system of sharing; remove guilt and fear - cleanse the hearts and minds of man; educate mankind in the laws of life and love; an introduction to the Mysteries; and create a pool of knowledge for all mankind.
...Creme declared that "very soon now, a most unusual event will allow the world to know that the Masters do, indeed exist . . . When men see Maitreya, they will know that the time has come to choose; to go forward with Him into a future dazzling in its promise - or to cease to be."
The one thing that all the above "Messiahs" have in common is their similarities to the Biblical description of Messiah: Savior of the world, peace maker, etc. The major difference is their respective approach to "messiah-hood", while the one thing they have in common is their lack of Biblical qualifications for Messiah. The supposed "Christian" Bible-believing "messiahs" mentioned above, are similar to the Muslim Allah in that they expect US to die for THEM, whereas Yeshua, the one and only Savior of the world, died for US....
Believers in Yeshua HaMashiyach believe in their heart of hearts that the biggest deceiver of all time is yet to come - the Anti-Christ who will make his appearance and introduce the period of the 7 years of what many refer to as the "Tribulation". (Actually, this is the period wherein the Anti-Christ will make a seven-year peace treaty with Israel; and, after three and a half years, he will show his "true colors" and begin to terrorize the world. (Please see Carmen Welker's article, about the end times.)
Today evil men holding positions of great wealth and/or political power are working feverishly to implement Satan's plan to enthrone his "christ" as the supreme ruler of the Earth. They apparently believe their efforts are close to being fulfilled because the arrival of the "Maitreya" continues to be predicted by their respective spokesmen. On the other hand, many Christians and Messianic Jews and Gentiles believe that current events point to the Biblical Second Coming of Christ.
Oddly, for the first time in history, both sides are expectantly waiting for something to happen....
Matthew 24: 24 For there will appear false Messiahs and false prophets performing great miracles - amazing things! - so as to fool even the chosen, if possible.
2 Corinthians 11: 13 The fact is that such men are pseudo-emissaries: they tell lies about their work and masquerade as emissaries of the Messiah. 14 There is nothing surprising in that, for the Adversary himself masquerades as an angel of light; 15 so it's no great thing if his workers masquerade as servants of righteousness. They will meet the end their deeds deserve.
How can we discern these imitators sent by Satan who are teaching doctrine of demons? 1 John 4:1-3 tells us to "test the spirits":
1 John 4: 1 Dear friends, don't trust every spirit. On the contrary, test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 Here is how you recognize the Spirit of God: every spirit which does not acknowledge Yeshua is not from God - in fact, this is the spirit of the Anti-Messiah. You have heard that he is coming. Well, he's here now, in the world already!
We, at The Refiner's Fire pray that God will open the eyes those He knows are, or will be His, and give them His wisdom concerning the matter of the coming Messiah. May He also supernaturally protect His people in the perilous times ahead.