Occasional editorials written since 2001 

Passion yes, aggression no. Harry Potter All roads lead to God?  
Value of a soul. Homosexuality Passion of the Christ
Islam and Christianity  Love not the world Persecution coming
Biblical or secular worldview? Freewill offering Letter or Spirit?
Faith The sacred and non-sacred Test your self
Discernment The gospel of me Repentance
Sinking sand That awful four letter word Sin
When God offends. Walls, gates and electric fences The curse of pornography
Gender confusion    

Islam and Christianity - a common God?

 

This is a topic which fifteen years ago I could never have imagined I would feel compelled to speak out on.  

 

But as Dr Albert Mohler said,

 

“Hard times come with hard questions and our culture exerts enormous pressure on Christians to affirm common ground at the expense of theological differences. But the cost of getting this question wrong is the loss of the gospel.”

 

The question is this,

 

 Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God?

 

Some years ago while listening to an early morning two minute 'God slot' on the local radio I was disappointed to hear a well known minister, who - by careful use of words in reference to the common heritage of Abraham - implied that the God of Christians, Jews and Muslims was one and the same God. 

 

He also used a news story of Muslim prayers and the actions that followed those prayers as an excellent teaching model for Christian prayer and actions.

 

It was disappointing but not really concerning on a national scale..

 

However as years went by I became aware that this idea was steadily becoming more and more mainstream.

 

And whether fear based or not, it seemed to gather momentum after the infamous 9/11 attacks on the USA.

 

In 2007 President George Bush -regarded as a committed Christian - said this,

 

 “I believe in an Almighty God, and I believe that all the world, whether they be Muslim, Christian, or any other religion, prays to the same God”

 

In 2010 many Christian churches across the United States began a series of sermons aimed at bringing about reconciliation between Muslims and Christians.

 

They sought to focus on a relationship between the Bible and the Koran viewing them both as holy texts.

 

To prove their point, the churches involved placed Korans along side the Bible in their pews.

 

They taught that you can be a follower of Christ without necessarily believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, who died for our sins offering the gift of eternal salvation.

 

Some churches invite Imams to preach or to offer up a Muslim call to prayer from the pulpit. (2)

 

This attempt at syncretism became known as ‘Chrislam’ and those who advocate this have sometimes been called “Chrislims"

 

Chrislam advocates point to facts such as Jesus being mentioned many times in the Quran, of Christianity and Islam having similar teachings on morals and ethics, of the need for the two largest monotheistic religions to unite to fight against the rise of atheism and alternative spirituality.

 

In 2013 Pope Francis, in his first ecumenical and inter-religious event said, “Muslims worship the one living and merciful God, and call upon him in prayer.”

 

In this he echoed the 1964 dogmatic statement from the Second Vatican Council which stated,

 

“the Mohammedans, who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day will judge mankind.”

 

Now one might choose to see such events as merely just another troubling side show but this belief has gradually gained substantial mainstream approval.

 

A George Barna USA survey - released in 2011 - revealed that 40% of born-again Christians believe that Christians and Muslims worship the same God.

 

Then in December 2015 a professor from a leading evangelical college in the USA donned a hijab and stated,

 

“I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book. And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God”

 

So, a question of enormous importance, do Christians and Muslims worship the same God?

 

Is the Spirit that is active in advancing Christianity the same spirit that is active in advancing Islam?

 

Because as we read in Amos 3:3

 

Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?

 

First let me deal with what appears at first to be common doctrinal ground.

 

A Muslim man who converted to Christianity, and authored the best selling book, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus wrote,

 

I had been taught, as a young Muslims are taught, to worship God who created Adam and Eve, who rescued Noah from the flood, who promised Moses a vast progeny, who helped Moses escape Egypt, who made the Virgin Mary great with child, who sent Jesus into the world, who helped the disciples overcome, and who is still sovereign today. Is that not the God of the Bible? For that matter, the Quran asserts that the Torah and the Gospel are inspired scripture and that Jews and Christians are people of the Book. The Quran tells Muslims to say to them, “Our God and your God is One, and unto Him we surrender” (29:46). If the Quran asserts that Muslims worship the same God as Jews and Christians, does that not settle the matter?  For years I thought it did, but I no longer do

 

In addition to that Muslims believe in the ten commandments. They believe that Satan is real and evil and must be resisted. They believe in angels, good and bad. They believe in a day of judgement on which God will send people to either heaven or hell. And that Jesus will return to earth again and usher in the final judgement.

 

If we stopped right there we could almost certainly be convinced that we and they were worshipping one and the same God.

 

But we would be deceived.

 

In researching this I found clarity hard to achieve. Where one major Islamic web site passionately and authoritatively said one thing, it seemed there was always another Islamic web site passionately and authoritatively contradicting it. Both quoting the Quran.

 

The Islam practiced in one region is not always the same as that in another. And we know only too well the disagreements and the resulting enmity and violence between Shia and Sunni Muslims.

 

That said, here are some of the enormous differences beneath and within and beyond those facts.

 

The Bible  - via the Spirit of God - makes it clear that it was Isaac whom Abraham placed upon the altar (Genesis 22:2-9) and it was Isaac and the Jewish people through whom God's covenant promise would come. (Genesis 17:19, 21 Genesis 21:12 and John 4:22)  

 

And although God made this gracious promise to Ishmael...

 

And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. Genesis 17: 20

 

He made it clear that through Isaac would come the promised seed.

 

But God said to Abraham, “Do not let it be displeasing in your sight because of the lad or because of your bondwoman. Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac your seed shall be called. Genesis 21:12 

 

    [See Abraham's two lines]

 

    [See Islam version of God's promise]

 

God also said of Ishmael - and thus of his descendants,

 

...a wild ass among men; his hand shall be against every man, and every man's hand against him. And he shall dwell over against all his brethren. Genesis 16:12.

 

This has certainly proved to be true. Much of the non-Muslim world lives in a measure of fear regarding Islam. It seems that Ishmael's seed is against everyone who is not a Muslim and especially against his brethren's descendants (Israel).

 

In Galatians 4:23 the Apostle Paul confirms that the promise came through Isaac,

 

But the son of the slave (Ishmael) was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman (Isaac) was born through promise.

 

However in Islam it is believed that Abraham is told to sacrifice Hagar’s son Ishmael, and Ishmael is regarded as a prophet and an ancestor to Muhammad.

 

They also claim that Ishmael settled in Mecca where he, along with Abraham, built the Kabah on the same spot as the first shrine to God built by Adam, and passed on the religion of the true God to their offspring.

 

Clearly not one and the same God.

 

Christians believe that...

 

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 2 Timothy 3:16

 

Muslims believe that Christians and Jews have corrupted the Bible, so although the Quran acknowledges the Gospel of Christ, the Torah of Moses and the Psalms of David they believe that the existing copies cannot be trusted. They also believe all Bible scriptures are superseded by the Quran.

 

A major Islamic web site states,

 

We must first of all know that the entire Bible is corrupted and unreliable and is mostly filled with man-made laws and corruption!

 

Clearly not one and the same God.

 

Christians believe that God is one in Trinity.

Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

 

Muslims find this utterly blasphemous.

 

Though interestingly they believe that the Christians worship three gods, namely God the Father, God the Son and God the Mother (Mary)

 

Indeed the Quran condemns worship of the Trinity

 

They have certainly disbelieved who say, " Allah is the third of three." And there is no god except one God. And if they do not desist from what they are saying, there will surely afflict the disbelievers among them a painful punishment. Sura (chapter) 5:73

 

Clearly not one and the same God.

 

Christians believe that Jesus Christ is God's only begotten Son. (John 1:14,18  John 3:16, 18)

 

And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” Matthew 3:16-17 [emphasis mine]

 

Muslims find this doctrine utterly blasphemous.

 

The Quran repeatedly and specifically denies that Allah is a father. (112.1-4) Examples,

 

They say “(Allah) Most gracious has begotten a son!” Indeed ye have put forth a thing most monstrous! - sura 19, ayat 88-93

 

No son did Allah beget, nor is there any god along with him. - sura 23, ayat 91

 

Allah the Eternal, Absolute; he begets not, nor is He begotten - sura 112, ayat 1-4

 

Clearly not one and the same God.

 

Christians believe that Jesus is God incarnate. As one writer put it,

 

Before Mary ever was, the Son of God is. Jesus does not become the Son of God, but the Son of God becomes Jesus. Thus Jesus, as the Son, speaks to the Father about,

 

 ...the glory I had with You before the world began  (John 17:5 Colossians 1:13-20)

 

Jesus amplified this when He said,

 

 Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM. (John 8:58)

 

John the beloved wrote,

 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. John 1:1-3  [all emphasis above mine]

 

Muslims find this utterly blasphemous.

 

Clearly not one and the same God.

 

As Christians we know that we are redeemed by the Blood of Jesus Christ,

 

...knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. 1 Peter 1:18-19

 

In him we have redemption through his Blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace Ephesians 1:7

 

...without shedding of blood there is no remission. Hebrews 9:22

 

The Muslim view is summed up thus,

 

This dogma is not only a denial of the Mercy of God but also of His Justice. To demand the price of blood in order to forgive the sins of men is to show a complete lack of mercy, and to punish a man who is not guilty for the sins of others, whether the former is willing or not, is the height of injustice.

 

Clearly not one and the same God.

 

Christians believe that Jesus is our Saviour.

 

Islam believes that humanity’s need is not salvation, but instruction, hence Islam has prophets but no saviour.

 

Clearly not one and the same God.

 

Christians understand that God is knowable. That when we are born again we come into a wonderful personal relationship with Him through Jesus Christ His Son. 

 

Indeed the whole Bible is the story of God seeking man.

 

In contrast Islam portrays God as one who is 'far'. Who is transcendent only. 

 

As one Muslim theologian has said,

 

 'God reveals only his will, not himself. He remains forever hidden' 

 

We call God our Heavenly Father. (Romans 8: 14 Galatians 4:6) 

 

Jesus taught us to pray,

 

“Our Father, who art in Heaven” Matthew 6:9

 

The apostle John wrote,

 

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. John 1:12 [emphasis mine]

 

The apostle Paul tells us that,

 

...we have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” Romans 8 :15

 

The word ‘Allah’ in Arabic simply means GOD, so when Arabic-speaking Christians use the word Allah, it is usually used in combination with the word al-Ab.  Allah al-Ab means “God the Father,” and this is one way Arab Christians distinguish themselves from Muslims.

 

Islam accords Allah 99 titles, none of which is ‘Father’

 

The Quran tells Muslims to rebuke Jews and Christians for calling God their loving Father because humans are just things that God has created.

 

Clearly not one and the same God.

 

The Bible makes it clear that the Old Testament prophets had their day but that,

 

...in these last days God has spoken to us by His Son. Hebrews 1:1-2 

 

Jesus brought in, and established the 'New Covenant' in His Blood and since then 'It is finished' (John 19:30)

 

Islam teaches that Jesus was just another prophet, created not begotten, and one who was superseded centuries later by the Prophet Muhammad.

 

Only then was God's revelation 'finished'.

 

Clearly not one and the same God.

 

A foundational Christian truth is that we are saved by faith, not by works.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

 

Christ has fulfilled the law (Matthew 5: 17 Hebrews 4:15) and we are now clothed in His Righteousness. (Romans 13:14)

 

"For our sake [God] made [Christ] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

 

Jesus will present us blameless before His Father.

 

To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy. Jude 1:24

 

Muslims have no guarantee of being saved. They believe that their works will be evaluated on judgment day and if their bad works outweighed their good works they would go to hell.

 

The question, "are you going to paradise?" is answered "Inshallah" (if Allah wills) In other words "God will decide whether it be hell or paradise"

 

Clearly not one and the same God.

 

Jesus said His Kingdom was not of this world.

 

“My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.” Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king.   John 18:36

 

From Medina, Muhammad set out to build an Islamic earthly kingdom.

A Caliphate. Mostly by fear, force and subjugation.

 

The current ISIS attempt to establish an end times world caliphate is in our news week after week.

 

Clearly not one and the same God.

 

Jesus is the foundational role model for Christianity.

As Christians our deepest desire is to become more and more like Him.

 

He willingly laid down His Life and made a way for sinners to be able to come into the Kingdom of God through the forgiveness of their sins. (Colossians 1:13)

 

When Jesus was being arrested, Peter, seeking to defend Jesus drew his sword and cut off an ear, whereupon Jesus immediately rebuked him saying,

 

“Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perishby the sword. Matthew 26:52

 

The majority of the apostles and a great many of His followers were brutally killed for following Him and none took up the sword to fight the enemies of their faith. As one writer said,

 

Historical evidence states emphatically that the early Christians never waged a holy war on pagans who refused to convert or on civil authorities who persecuted them. They did not assassinate any opponent for any reason whatsoever, even for composing insult poetry.

 

All of this, in contrast, Muhammad and his followers did, and the historical evidence on this is firm and full.

 

Muhammad is the foundational role model for Islam. Muslims see his life as their example.

 

Even a small amount of historical research shows how-in his latter years- he endorsed using a sword, and he and his followers used the sword on their frequent military raids and wars. Sura 8:12 reads:

 

[Remember] when your Lord inspired to the angels, "I am with you, so strengthen those who have believed. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieved, so strike [them] upon the necks and strike from them every fingertip."

 

I have read Internet forums where Muslims say the Quran verses which seem to be espousing violence and aggression have simply been misunderstood and have posted many peaceful verses from the Quran to counter the accusations that Islam is a religion of aggression or violence.

 

However, the Quran and approved Islamic writings relentlessly tell a different story.


* Infidels are your sworn enemies (Sura 4:101). 
* Be ruthless to the infidels (Sura 48:29). 
* Make war on the infidels who dwell around you (Sura 9:123, 66:9). 
* Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day (Sura 9:29). 
* Strike off the heads of infidels in battle (Sura 47:4). 
* If someone stops believing in Allah, kill him (al-Bukhari 9:84:57). 
* Take neither the Jews nor the Christians for your friends (Sura 5:51, 60:13). 
* Never be a helper to the disbelievers (Sura 28:86). 
* Kill the disbelievers wherever we find them (Sura 2:191). 
* No Muslim should be killed for killing an infidel (al-Bukhari 1:3:111). 
* The only reward of those who make war upon Allah and His messenger will be that they will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternate sides cut off, or will be expelled out of the land (Sura 5:33).

 

The difficulty is that the Quran could be described as two books. The Mecca Quran and Medina Quran - with the latter superseding the first.

 

The Mecca Quran spoke of tolerance, tranquility, spirituality, acceptance, and inner cleansing through submission to the word of Allah.

 

In Medina where he was involved in much violence he claimed to have received new revelations which were intolerant, aggressive and violent and had Jews as the primary focus of this violence.

 

Muhammad ruled that if a later Surah contradicted a previous Surah, then the most recent and newer Surah was the true word of Allah.  Many of the non-violent verses in the Quran were now "abrogated" or canceled.

 

Where Christians have a clear separation between the Old and New Covenants the Quran’s differing Mecca and Medina texts are mixed throughout.

 

This has led to the majority of Muslims seeking to live out the original Mecca revelations of tolerance and tranquillity, while other Muslims seek to live out the latter and superseding texts which encourage aggression and violence, and we see that outlived in radical Islam.

 

Understandably, moderate, peace loving Muslims do not like to be linked with the growing number of Islamic terrorist groups, but the point that we all get is that these groups truly believe they are the real Muslims obeying the Quran and Muhammad's example.

 

As I write this there is hardly a week goes past without one country or another suffering horrific attacks in the name of Allah.

 

The International Pew Research Forum 2015 survey showed that in most countries where the question was asked, roughly three-quarters or more Muslims reject suicide bombing and other forms of violence against civilians.

 

The percentages of those who think favourably about Islamic violence are low, but the numbers are not. The numbers of those who think favourably about Islamic violence are estimated at between 42 and 60+ million.

 

It also showed that 88% of Muslims in Egypt and 62% of Muslims in Pakistan favour the death penalty for people who leave the Muslim religion.

 

The truth is that in most countries where Islam is the dominant religion there is severe persecution of unbelievers, especially Christians and Jews.

 

The Open Doors world watch list shows that - with the exception of North Korea - the top fifteen countries for extreme and severe levels of persecuting Christians are all Muslim controlled nations.

 

Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan, Iran, Pakistan, Eritrea, Nigeria, Maldives, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Yemen, and Uzbekistan.

 

As a result of this relentless Islamic persecution Christian numbers are diminishing so quickly that in some areas they may be completely obliterated.  In July 2014 the Independent Newspaper wrote,

 

3,000 Christians of Mosul who were driven from their homes in northern Iraq last week by Islamist fanatics who broadcast a fatwa from the loudspeakers of the city's mosques ordering them to convert to Islam, submit to its rule and pay a religious levy, or be put to death if they stayed. The last to leave was a disabled woman who could not travel. The fanatics arrived at her home and told her they would cut off her head with a sword.

 

It continued,

 

...the plain fact is that Christians are languishing in jail for blasphemy in Pakistan, and churches are burned and worshippers regularly slaughtered in Nigeria and Egypt, which has recently seen its worst anti-Christian violence in seven centuries.

 

As a result of the spirit behind this Islamic persecution Christians are officially now the most persecuted people on earth.

 

Christians would have to ask what spirit could possibly be behind such a doctrine.

 

Clearly not one and the same God.

 

When the church was birthed at Pentecost and the epistles laid out the Kingdom way of life it was clear that a man was to have only one wife and a wife only one husband.  (Ephesians 5:33 & 1 Timothy 3: 2,12 & 1 Timothy 5:9 & Titus 1:6)

 

Yet more than 500 years later the Prophet Muhammad was sure that God wanted him to have many wives, one being , the seven-year old daughter of his friend Abu Bakr, who he took into his home three years later. He also had concubines.

 

Authoritative Muslim writers have stated,

 

According to Anas ibn Malik, the Prophet Muhammad used to visit all eleven of his wives in one night; but he could manage this, as he had the sexual prowess of thirty men. The historian Al-Tabari calculated that Muhammad married a total of fifteen women, though only ever eleven at one time; and two of these marriages were never consummated. This tally of fifteen does not include at least four concubines.  All of Muhammad’s concubines were his slaves. Al-Tabari also excludes from the fifteen several other women with whom Muhammad had some kind of marriage contract but who, due to legal technicalities, never became full wives.

 

Clearly not one and the same God.

 

The Bible teaches that Jesus was crucified on the cross and rose from the dead on the third day - and of course this is totally pivotal to our faith.

 

As the Apostle Paul stated,

 

... if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. 1 Corinthians 15: 12 - 20

 

Charles Haddon Spurgeon said,

 

"Leave out the cross and you have killed the religion of Jesus.  Atonement by the blood of Jesus is not an arm of Christian truth; it is the heart of it."

 

Islam claims that 'Jesus did not get crucified on the cross and it only appeared that he was’.

 

That they said [in boast], "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of  Allah," but they killed him not, nor crucified him.  Only a likeness of that was shown to  them.  And those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no [certain] knowledge.  But  only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not. Surat Al-Nisa 4:157

 

Clearly not one and the same God.

 

The Bible states that where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty.  2 Corinthians 3:17

 

Those western countries with a strong Christian heritage have allowed other faiths to have that freedom to worship and liberty to express their faith in public. 

 

Those countries with an Islamic heritage, or even those Muslim majority enclaves in western nations show the world the complete opposite.

 

Nezir Hyseni, in an article on the web writes:

 

'A member of the Gideons (an organization which distributes the Bible worldwide) was telling the story of handing out Bibles in the streets of Marseille, a city in France . According to him, the French city of Marseille now claims Islam as the religion of the majority. It was in this city that Muslims who were offered Bibles took them, and either threw them over his head or burned them in front of him. Such an attitude would not be expected from the majority of westerners even if they strongly disagreed with literature distribution and its message. With Islam coming to the West through immigration and conversion, it is to be expected that attitudes in the “public square” are going to be affected'.

 

The spirit behind Islam neither agrees with nor tolerates Christianity.

 

Western nations, especially the Christians in those nations, are in little doubt as to the shape and the direction their society would take should Islam become the dominant religion.

 

Clearly not one and the same God.

 

The list of differences goes on and on.

 

Christians believe that through Adam, sin, like a virus, entered the human race and was dealt with through Jesus Christ.

 

For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 1 Corinthians 15:21-22

 

Muslims believe the opposite. I quote.

 

There is no inherited sin, no original sin. Adam committed the first sin, he prayed to Allah for pardon and Allah granted Adam pardon.

 

Clearly not one and the same God.

 

Christians are told how to treat their wives.

 

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, Ephesians 5:25

 

Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. 1st Peter 3:7

 

While in an interview on Memri TV a Muslim Cleric described the etiquette for beating your wife. He said,

 

Allah honoured wives by instigating the punishment of beatings.

 

The Prophet Muhammad said “Don’t beat her on the face or make her ugly.

 

See how she is honoured.

 

If the husband beats his wife he must not beat her on the face.

 

Even when he beats her he must not curse her.

 

This is incredible. He beats her to discipline her.

 

In addition, there must not be more than ten beatings,

 

And he must not break her bones, injure her, break her teeth or poke her in the eye.

 

There is a beating etiquette.

 

If he beats to discipline her he must not raise his hand high.

 

He must beat her from chest level.

 

All these things honour the woman.”

 

Clearly not one and the same God.

 

The Bible talks about heaven being a worshipful experience. Eternity spent enjoying the Presence of God. Peoples from every nation tribe and tongue worshipping. Elders throwing their crowns at His feet. (Isaiah 66:22,23 Revelation 4:10-11; 5:9; 15:4; 21:24)

 

Islam promises a more soulish experience. As one Islamic web site states,

 

In Islam, the concept of 72 virgins (houri) refers to an aspect of Jannah (Paradise). This concept is grounded in Qur'anic text which describe a sensual Paradise where believing men are rewarded by being wed to virgins with "full grown", "swelling" or "pears-shaped" breasts. Conversely, women will be provided with only one man, and they "will be satisfied with him"

 

Clearly not one and the same God.

 

And then there is Israel.

 

The God of the Bible gave the land of Canaan to the Children of (Jacob) Israel. (Genesis 12:7) 

 

The covenant which He made with Abraham, and His oath to Isaac, and confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, To Israel as an everlasting covenant, saying, "To you I will give the land of Canaan as the allotment of your inheritance," (Psalms 105:9-11)

 

Under the leadership of Joshua they substantially conquered it and settled on it.  

 

Because of their continual unfaithfulness the God of the Bible said that he would scatter the Jewish people to the corners of the earth and the land would be forlorn. (e.g. Deuteronomy 28 : 63-66 32:26  Luke 21:24) 

 

This He did.

 

The God of the Bible said that the forlorn and desolate land would see the deserts bloom. (Isaiah 27:6) 

 

Israel is now one of world’s major fruit exporters.

 

The country exports more than $1.3 billion worth of agricultural products every year.

 

All this and more, the God of the Bible said He would do, and has done.  

Through the prophet Isaiah God said, He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth. (Isaiah 11:12)

 

Israel is indeed, as the Bible proclaims, ‘a banner to the nations.’

 

Proof to the world that God keeps His Word.

 

The Hebrew language had become a dead language, like Latin, and has been resurrected. The only known case of this happening.

 

Yet the spirit of Islam neither acknowledges Israel nor their spiritual right to the land. 

 

The relentless outpouring of violent anti-Israel statements by senior Muslims, government officials and terrorist leaders leaves no one in doubt about their intentions regarding Israel.

 

“Allah’s promise and the Prophet’s prophecy of our victory in Palestine over the Jews and over the oppressive Zionists has begun to come true... Before Israel dies, it must be humiliated and degraded. Allah willing, before they die, they will experience humiliation and degradation every day... Allah willing, we will make them lose their eyesight, we will make them lose their brains.” - Khaled Mashal, Hamas leader (Al-Jazeera TV, February 3, 2006)

 

Islamic terrorist group PLO spoke for many when they stated clearly and succinctly,

 

 "The struggle with the Zionist enemy is not a struggle about Israel's borders, but about Israel's existence”.

 

Interestingly, Jerusalem is mentioned in the Bible more than 700 times but not once in the Quran nor in Muslim prayers.

 

Many nations have sided with this Islam’s claim on Israel's divinely allocated land and capitol city.

 

The Bible speaks of this confederacy with a remarkable clarity.

 

Do not keep silent, O God! Do not hold Your peace, And do not be still, O God! For behold, Your enemies make a tumult; And those who hate You have lifted up their head. They have taken crafty counsel against Your people, And consulted together against Your sheltered ones. They have said, "Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, That the name of Israel may be remembered no more." For they have consulted together with one consent; They form a confederacy against You: The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites; Moab and the Hagrites; (Psalms 83:1-6)

 

The history of Israel is unfolding exactly as the God of the Bible declared long ago.

 

Where the Bible prophesied the miraculous rebirth of Israel as 'a banner to the nations' the Islamic spirit wants to tear this banner down and erect the banner of their anti-Jewish, anti-Christian, anti-democracy God over the land.

 

Clearly not one and the same God.

 

Finally - but not exhaustively - there is the much used and abused issue of Jewish Christian and Muslim heritage going back to Abraham.

 

However Jesus explicitly denied that salvation comes merely by being one of “Abraham’s children” (John 8:39-59).

 

He said,

 

“Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad. Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”  (v.56 & 58)

 

It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. John 6:45

 

When anyone - including Jews and Muslims - reject Jesus they reject God.

 

The apostle John, probably the one closest to Jesus during His time on earth made the issue crystal clear.

 

He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also. 1 John 2:22-23

 

That’s why the Apostle Paul wrote,

 

I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart.  For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.

 

For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, “In Isaac your seed shall be called.” That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.  For this is the word of promise: “At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son.” Romans 9:1-9 [emphasis mine]

 

Being ‘in Abraham’ does not count. Being ‘in Christ’ counts for everything.

 

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.  John 14:6 [emphasis mine]

 

Islam claims that the Bible's promise to raise up a Prophet like Moses (Acts 7:37) was fulfilled in the Prophet Muhammad.

 

However the laws that Muhammad claimed to have received from an angel on God’s behalf were in contradiction to those that Moses brought from God.  

 

For instance, in the Law of Moses a thief must repay the property he stole plus an additional amount of compensation. (Leviticus 6 ; 1-5 and Exodus 22 : 3-4)

 

If he can't pay he was to work to repay his debt. (Exodus 22 : 1) 

 

The maximum length of time he should work to pay of his debt was six years. (Deuteronomy 15:12 -14)

 

In the Quran however a thief is to have his hand cut off (Sura 5:38) 

 

The Bible gives a plum line test. 

 

To the law (of Moses) and to the testimony!  If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. Isaiah 8:20

 

Clearly not one and the same God.

 

But having said all that, here’s the thing.

 

Jesus made a way so that all might come into His Kingdom through the forgiveness of their sins. (Colossians 1:13)

 

This is rightly the Bible’s best known scripture because it captures God’s heart and the gospel. The good news.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believed in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

My soul has immeasurable value to God. No amount of silver or gold can redeem it. Only the precious Blood of Jesus the Messiah can redeem it.

 

Your soul has immeasurable value to God. Only the precious Blood of Jesus the Messiah can redeem it.

 

The Muslim soul, the Hindu soul, the Buddhist soul etc. all have immeasurable value to God. And only the precious Blood of Jesus the Messiah can redeem it.

 

Jesus did not come to condemn people but to save them, and that must be our mission also.

 

Yes, Christians are sorely persecuted in Muslim countries.

But Jesus told said,

 

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’  But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous”. Matthew 5: 243-45

 

When we would not, or could not go into Muslim countries to share the good news it seems that God is bringing them to us.

 

Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! John 4:35

 

And to be heard we must be prepared to build a bridge, not a fort.

 

We must pray for them, not against them. Remember that we don't wrestle against flesh and blood, but against spiritual powers that work through flesh and blood.

 

We must learn how to engage with them and be a living letter from Christ among them.

 

We must live lives that proclaim His Life within us. Too many of us are guilty of not doing that.

 

Encouragingly, stories about massive number of Muslims converting to Christ are appearing around the world.

 

There are estimates of between 2 to 7 million former Muslims who have converted to Christianity in the past two decades.

 

Indeed studies show that more people have converted from Islam to Christianity in the 21st century than at any other point in Islamic history.

 

Aljazeera recently published an interview with an important Islamic cleric (Ahmad Al Qataani) who stated that in Africa alone,

 

 "...there are now 1.5 million churches whose congregations account for 46 million people. In every hour, 667 Muslims convert to Christianity. Everyday, 16,000 Muslims convert to Christianity. Every year, 6 million Muslims convert to Christianity...These numbers are very large indeedy”

 

The web site ‘Muslim Statistics’ claims proof that up to 350,000 Muslims secretly live as Christian converts.

 

A survey of 750 Muslims who converted to Christianity shows five predominant reasons they chose to follow Christ.

  • The lifestyle of Christians. Former Muslims cited the love that Christians exhibited in their relationships with non-Christians and their treatment of women as equals.

  • The power of God in answered prayers and healing. Experiences of God's supernatural work - especially important to folk Muslims who have a characteristic concern for power and blessings - increased after their conversions, according to the survey. Often dreams about Jesus were reported.

  • Dissatisfaction with the type of Islam they had experienced. Many expressed dissatisfaction with the Qur'an, emphasizing God's punishment over his love. Others cited Islamic militancy and the failure of Islamic law to transform society.

  • The spiritual truth in the Bible. Muslims are generally taught that the Torah, Psalms, and the Gospels are from God, but that they became corrupted. These Christian converts said, however, that the truth of God found in Scripture became compelling for them and key to their understanding of God's character.

  • Biblical teachings about the love of God. In the Qur'an, God's love is conditional, but God's love for all people was especially eye-opening for Muslims. These converts were moved by the love expressed through the life and teachings of Jesus. The next step for many Muslims was to become part of a fellowship of loving Christians.

Let us stand with Abraham when he declared thousands of years ago. (Genesis 17:18)

 

"Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!"

 

 

 

 

Note:

The most authoritative and accurate understanding of Muhammed's life, influences and writings I came across are from Egyptian Dr. Michael Youssef and is available on audio here

 

I agree with his opening statement "Every time the church of Jesus Christ departs from living under the authority of scripture Islam expands"

 

 

 

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