Archive for the ‘Bible study’ Category

God’s Judgment in One Hour

March 19, 2020
BookCoverPreview.Revelation 18.front

Revelation 18 and the fate of America

(Excerpted from Revelation 18 and the fate of America.)

Therefore her plagues will come in one day—death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her. . . .

. . . standing at a distance for fear of her torment, saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour your judgment has come.’

Revelation 18:8, 10

In Revelation 18 it is stated that Babylon’s judgment will come swiftly—“in one hour”—and is mentioned twice in verses 8, 10 and 17. But is that possible in this day and age? The simple, direct answer is, yes, but first let us take a look at America’s financial foundation and the financial stability of the world before reaching any conclusions.

United States of America’s National Debt. On October 18, 2013 America’s National Debt was rapidly advancing past $17 trillion or 107 percent of GDP (Gross Domestic Product). To gain a perspective on the significance of America’s debt one should look at the history of America’s indebtedness as well as compare the current national debt to that of some other countries.

At the end of 1929 America had just suffered a major financial collapse. The national debt was a mere (by today’s standards) $17 billion or 16 percent of GDP. By the end of 1933 and with advent of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “New Deal” Great Depression recovery plan, the United States was $23 billion in debt or 40 percent of GDP. At the end of 1941 and just after the country entered into World War II against both Germany (and the Axis powers) and Japan, the national debt stood at a manageable $49 billion or 39 percent of GDP.

The same prudence which in private life would forbid our paying our own money for  unexplained projects, forbids it in the dispensation of the public moneys. Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Shelton Gilliam, June 19, 1808

When World War II ended in 1945 at a cost of $296 billion for the United States, by the end of 1946 America’s national debt had soared to $269 billion and a historical high of 121 percent of GDP. During the post-war recovery the debt remained relatively stable from 1946 to 1960, ranging from $252 billion in 1946 to $286 billion in 1960. During the same period the debt to GDP ratio steadily declined from 121 percent to 54 percent. During the decades of the 1960s and 1970s the debt grew steadily, but the GDP growth rate exceeded the debt growth rate so that the debt to GDP ratio dropped further to a post-World War II low of 31 percent by the end of 1981 but just before the recession of 1982 hit.

We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Samuel Kercheval, July 12, 1816.

Just before the start of Ronald Reagan’s first presidential term, the national debt had risen to just under one trillion dollars—$908 billion or 33 percent of GDP by the end of 1980. During the Reagan presidency of two terms the national debt more than doubled to $2.6 trillion or 51 percent of GDP by the end of 1988.

During the two presidential terms of William Clinton the debt grew modestly from $4.4 trillion to $5.674 trillion while the debt to GDP ratio fell from 66 percent to 57 percent. From 2001 to the end of 2008 (the George W. Bush presidential years) the debt climbed significantly to a little over $10 trillion or 70 percent of GDP. Although this increase in indebtedness was dramatic, America was about to become shell-shocked.

With the election of Barack Hussein Obama in 2008 as the country’s president, America would witness the reality of a big-spending government behemoth like never before. By July 4, 2013, less than six months into his second presidential term, President Obama has overseen the growth of the country’s debt to $16.9 trillion or 107 percent of GDP. By the end of his second term (if the taxpayers allow him to get there), the national debt could well exceed $20 trillion. If so, he will have accumulated more debt than all 43 presidents before him and the United States will be on the verge of financial ruin (if not before then).

Everett Dirksen, the former Republican who represented the state of Illinois in the U.S. Senate from 1951 until his death in 1969, when reflecting on the national debt in 1965 (which was $317 billion), told this humorous story, which he labeled “cat in the well”:

One time in the House of Representatives (a colleague) told me a story about a proposition that a teacher put to a boy. He said, ‘Johnny, a cat fell in a well 100 feet deep. Suppose that cat climbed up 1 foot and then fell back 2 feet. How long would it take the cat to get out of the well?’

Johnny worked assiduously with his slate and slate pencil for quite a while, and then when the teacher came down and said, ‘How are you getting along?’

Johnny said, ‘Teacher, if you give me another slate and a couple of slate pencils, I am pretty sure that in the next 30 minutes I can land that cat in hell.’

If some people get any cheer out of a $328 billion debt ceiling, I do not find much to cheer about concerning it. (Congressional Record, June 16, 1965, p. 13884).

In the world of American politics and financial mismanagement, the way to deal with the ever skyrocketing debt is not to restrain spending but just to raise the level of the amount one is allowed to spend. A similar philosophy followed by the American taxpayer would soon land them in prison.

Debt to GDP Ratios Around the World. The one most commonly used measure of a country’s economic health is the Public Debt to GDP (Gross Domestic Product) ratio or percent of public debt a country owes compared to their GDP. Public Debt is the amount of money the federal government owes itself and other creditors.

With America’s debt to GDP ratio at 107 percent and rising daily, how does the country measure up to other developed countries, as well as third world or undeveloped countries? Global Finance reported on the Public Debt to GDP projections for 2014 for OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries. The OECD includes just about every developed and developing country in the world. The debt to GDP for all OECD countries is projected to be 113 percent.

The worst country by far is Japan at 246 percent. Japan is followed by the European Union countries of Greece (200%), Portugal (135%), Italy (131%), Ireland (128%), United Kingdom (114%), France (110%) and Spain (105%). All of these Euro countries are in significant financial trouble and turmoil. The United States is projected to be at 114 percent debt to GDP, the same as the UK.

Other European Union countries, such as, Switzerland (39%), Germany (85%), Sweden (47%), Norway (43%), Finland (54%), Denmark (48%) and the Netherlands (72%) are looking much better.

By comparison, how do some of our non-European allies and adversaries look financially? Of the United States’ clear allies, Canada appears to be in the worst shape but still healthier than the U.S. Canada’s projected 2014 debt to GDP is 86 percent. Australia, a long term U.S. ally, on the other hand, is far healthier with only a 28 percent debt to GDP. However, two of America’s long term antagonists and adversaries are also very healthy financially. China has a 2014 projected meager debt to GDP of only 17.3 percent and its neighbor to the north, Russia, at merely 10.8 percent. Ironically, the United States has not been near that level of debt to GDP since the financial crash of 1929 when debt to GDP was at 16 percent.

Clearly, the majority of America’s long-standing allies in Europe are battling tremendous financial pressure, while its two largest and most bellicose decades-long enemies are financially strong and in a much better position to threaten the United States at every level of diplomacy or future military confrontation.

I wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our Constitution. I would be willing to  depend on that alone for their reduction of the administration of our government to the genuine  principles of its Constitution; I mean an additional article, taking from the federal government  the power of borrowing. Thomas Jefferson. Source: letter to John Taylor, November 26, 1798

Even Mexico is fairing far better than its northern neighbor with a debt to GDP of 43 percent. In South America, even Venezuela with a ravaged economy for over a decade has a debt to GDP of 62 percent. South America as a whole is looking relatively strong compared to the U.S. when using the 2014 projected debt to GDP index. Brazil (59%), Argentina (42.5%), Bolivia (32.6%), Columbia (30%), Peru (17.6%), Chile (12.6%) and Paraguay (11.8%) are projected to hold on to healthy debt to GDP ratios. Even tiny Ecuador—the size of the state of Nevada—is very healthy with an 18 percent debt to GDP.

When it comes to Islamic countries that include current or potential enemies of the United States, the majority are financially healthy, at least when measuring debt to GDP. Egypt is one of the worst but far lower than the U.S. with a debt to GDP at 78.5 percent. Egypt is followed by Pakistan (61.6%), Turkey (36%), Indonesia (21%), Iraq (20%), Nigeria (16%), Iran (8%) and Saudi Arabia (5.2%).

America’s Total Indebtedness. America’s national debt is only a hairline crack in the window of indebtedness and overall view of the financial problem for the United States. Although the national debt seems insurmountable in terms of ever being paid off or even reduced ever again, the real financial issues defy comprehension.

The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but  swindling futurity on a large scale.  Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Taylor, May 28, 1816.

The total debt (total debt of households, businesses, state and local governments, financial institutions and the federal government) of the United States of America was estimated to be $59.577 trillion on July 4, 2013, the 237th anniversary of the country’s Declaration of Independence. As bad as the total debt sounds and looks, it is the obligation of the United States government for Unfunded Liabilities—present and future—that is truly mind-boggling. On Independence Day, 2013, the American government’s “promise to pay” but unfunded liabilities for Social Security ($16.438 trillion), Prescription Drug ($21.748 trillion) and Medicare ($86.490 trillion) was at a hefty $124.677 trillion or $1,094,701 per taxpayer. To add to this financial debacle and impossible to mitigate financial debt heap, we will be adding another financial behemoth of government largesse and theft of taxpayer monies, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare” that will further plunge the country into that ever downward spiraling cesspool of public debt.

George Washington, the first president of the United States of America foresaw the danger of the federal government taking on too much debt without a quick resolution and commitment to repaying it. In his address to the House of Representatives on December 3, 1793, he stated: “No pecuniary consideration is more urgent, than the regular redemption and discharge of the public debt: on none can delay be more injurious, or an economy of time more valuable.”

In a letter to John Taylor on November 26, 1798, Founding Father and third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, also expressed concern about the federal government’s uncontrolled ability to borrow money. “I wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our Constitution” Jefferson wrote. “I would be willing to depend on that alone for their reduction of the administration of our government to the genuine principles of its Constitution; I mean an additional article, taking from the federal government the power of borrowing.”

Washington and Jefferson, as well as the rest of the Founding Fathers, would be aghast at what has transpired so recklessly at the hands of unrestrained politicians and presidential leaders during the “modern era.” They would likely waffle between absolute disbelief and their restraint from saying: We told you this would happen.

The Harbinger of Financial Catastrophe: Debt to Government Revenue.   As interesting and informative as the Public Debt to GDP ratio is in helping to get a financial picture of a country, other financial experts argue that it is an inaccurate and perhaps misleading measure of a country’s true economic health. Among them, investment banking firm, Morgan Stanley, advocate the use of the Debt to Government Revenue ratio, that is, the government’s ability to pay its debt from its annual revenue or tax receipts. On that basis the outcome for the United States is quite sobering if not downright petrifying.

Federal Budget: The multiplication of public offices, increase of expense beyond income, growth and entailment of a public debt, are indications soliciting the employment of the pruning knife. Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Spencer Roane, March 9, 1821.

Ever since the real estate and financial crisis of 2008 (and beyond), the news fluttering out of the Eurozone countries has not painted a pretty financial picture. The headlines and newscasters worldwide have reported almost daily on the financial gloom that had descended upon countries like Ireland, Greece, Portugal, Spain, France, Italy and the United Kingdom. Greece, which perhaps has been in the financial headlines the most frequently, suffered from a debt to revenue ratio of 351% in 2012. It was followed by Ireland (340%), Portugal (302%), United Kingdom (212%) and Germany (181%). The Scandinavian countries of Denmark (82%), Finland (99%) and Sweden (75%) had the lowest debt to revenue ratios.

So, how does the (once) great United States of America compare? On Independence Day, 2013, debt to revenue ratio for the U.S. stood at a whopping 656 percent (you read it right). At the end of President Ronald Reagan’s second presidential term in 1988, the ratio was an unimpressive, but much lower 260 percent. When President Barack Obama took office just after the end of 2008, the ratio was 397 percent.

As bad as the financial picture continued to look for the Eurozone countries, the average revenue to total GDP ratio for all 27 countries was a respectable 40 percent. By contrast, on July 4, 2013, the revenue to GDP of the United States was a mere 16.3 percent.

The Derivative Financial Volcano. Men around the globe in general and Americans in particular, in their greedy quest for wealth and more wealth, have been led and known to do some very foolish things. It was greed that led, in part, to the “Crash of ‘29” and the ensuing “Great Depression”. It was greed that led to the real estate and banking collapse in 2008. The only question is not if another financial collapse will come, but how soon?

In the Bible there is a stark warning to all those who make money their god. In his first letter to his disciple, Timothy, the Apostle Paul wrote: “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition” (1 Timothy 6:9; author’s emphasis). Paul knew human nature and that the temptation to be rich was more than most men could deny. “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil,” Paul continued, “for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (verse 10; author’s emphasis).

It is not money that destroys men’s lives—we all need a form of money to live—it is the love of money that draws men to do all kinds of evil. “But you, O man of God,” Paul warned, “flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness” (1 Timothy 6:11).

Because of modern man’s lust for money and more and more of it, there is one foolish financial move over the decades that could come back to haunt him and financially destroy the big and small fortunes of millions of people and the hopes and dreams of current and future generations for years to come.

So, what exactly is a derivative? They were at the center of the 2008 real estate and banking collapse. A derivative is a type of options contract—a gamble that some underlying investment will go up or down in the future. Derivatives are largely “imaginary” investments with little or no intrinsic value. In essence, rather than a true tangible investment, they represent more of a “crap-shoot”—a horrific gamble by men driven by an insatiable appetite for wealth and more of it. The future impact, when the derivative market unravels, will be catastrophic and unfathomable.

Steve Denning, in an article for Forbes, in an explanation for the financial collapse of 2008, wrote “the warning signs were everywhere: too much borrowing, foolish investments, greedy banks, regulators asleep at the wheel, politicians eager to promote home-ownership for those who couldn’t afford it, and distinguished analysts openly predicting this could only end badly.

The worldwide derivative estimate: $600 trillion to $1.5 quadrillion (that is $1,500 trillion or 1.5  followed by 15 zeroes). At the upper estimate, the financial risk is 20 times the entire global  GDP, which was estimated to be around $75 trillion in 2012.

[UPDATE: According to the Bank of International Settlements (BIS), as of March 1, 2020, the Global exposure of the world’s nations to derivatives was $640.44 Trillion or 7x the world GDP of $90.52 Trillion (Statistics Times, February 20, 2020). On April 1, 2019, Wall Street on Parade    reported that just five of America’s mega banks held $201.2 Trillion in notional (face value) derivative exposure. They are: JP Morgan Chase ($48.2 T), Citigroup ($47 T), Bank of America ($31.7 T), Goldman Sachs Bank USA ($42.3 T) and Morgan Stanley ($32 T).]

“. . . The root cause wasn’t just the reckless lending and the excessive risk taking,” Denning explained. “The problem at the core was a lack of transparency” [among financial institutions].

The worldwide exposure to derivatives is anyone’s guess. Estimates range from $600 trillion to $1.5 quadrillion (that is $1,500 trillion or 1.5 followed by 15 zeroes). At the upper estimate, the financial risk is 20 times the entire global GDP, which was estimated to be around $75 trillion in 2012. No one really knows what the world financial markets exposure is to these worthless financial “investments”.

The Current Problem: Many financial analysts and financial writers like Denning are warning that the next financial crisis, which they see as imminent, will make the burst of the financial bubble of 2008 look like a blip on the financial radar screen.

Denning points out that one financial institution alone, JPMorgan, at the end of the third quarter of 2012, had a “notional” (that is, “imaginary” or “speculative”) exposure to derivatives of $72 trillion or about five times the world economy at that time. According to the United States Controller of the Currency office, at the end of 2012, American banks held an astounding $223 trillion in “notional” derivatives with only four of the nation’s largest banks holding 93 percent of the total.

The Flash Crash and Electronic Meltdown—In One Hour. So, is it possible, in this day and age, for America’s financial system and that of the world to collapse in one hour? Absolutely! Not only in one hour, but perhaps in a matter of seconds. With absolutely everything tied together by computer systems, electricity and electronics it would not take much to create havoc with a nation’s or the world’s financial system and life in general.

On July 29, 2013 a panel of experts convened in Washington, DC to consider the level of the threat on the U.S. infrastructure via an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack, whether naturally occurring or via terrorists or a nation-state. The panel included R. James Woolsey, former Director of Central Intelligence under President Bill Clinton; former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich; Ambassador Henry Cooper, former Director of the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization under President George H. W. Bush and Dr. Peter Vincent Pry who served on the Congressional EMP Threat Commission.

They assessed America’s vulnerability to a natural or enemy attack by means of an electromagnetic pulse coming from the sun or a nuclear device. They concluded that the U.S. is extremely susceptible to EMP disruptions whether natural or from a lone terrorist or a rogue government.

On a smaller, local scale, many people have had the experience of a temporary interruption in electrical power or use of electronic devices due to a powerful thunder (electrical) storm. On a grander scale, such interruptions can be caused by the electromagnetic pulses sent from the sun as a result of solar flares or solar storms. Such natural EMP events can be regional or wide spread; can be minor inconveniences or devastating.

Mr. Woolsey pointed out that an EMP event originating from the sun struck the electrical grid in Quebec, Canada on March 13, 1989. The solar geomagnetic storm resulted in the blackout of eastern Canada and billions of dollars in economic losses. Within two minutes the entire Quebec power grid was shut down and millions thrown into darkness and winter cold. Schools, businesses and transportation hubs were closed. The impact affected some northeastern U.S. power grids as well. The energy released during the event was estimated to be like thousands of nuclear bombs exploding. The geomagnetic storm that it created resulted in spectacular “northern lights” being seen as far south as Florida and Cuba. Over 200 power grids from coast to coast in the United States experienced disruptions.   Even some satellites were affected, tumbling out of control for several hours.

Although such solar geomagnetic events are relatively rare, Mr. Woolsey warned that if the Quebec event had occurred on the east coast of the U.S., 20-40 million Americans might have been thrown into darkness for up to two years.

The most recent mega solar storm occurred on August 28 through September 2, 1859 and is known as the “Carrington Event” after amateur British astrologer, Richard Carrington. On the morning of September 1, on his estate just outside London, Carrington observed “two patches of intensely bright and white light” erupting from the sunspots. Within hours, the powerful geomagnetic pulses produced impacted the entire earth, damaging telegraph machines and disrupting communications worldwide.

Around the entire globe bright, colorful auroras of light exploded like 10 billion nuclear bombs. Although in some parts of the world it was still the middle of the night, the light display was so bright that men were going to work thinking it was daylight. Although the initial impact was felt three days earlier, the biggest impact occurred on September 1-2.

The South Carolina newspaper, Charleston Mercury, recorded the observation of a woman on Sullivan’s Island, just east of Charleston Harbor. “The eastern sky appeared of a blood red color. It seemed brightest exactly in the east, as though the full moon, or rather the sun, were about to rise. It extended almost to the zenith. The whole island was illuminated. The sea reflected the phenomenon, and no one could look at it without thinking of the passage in the Bible which says, ‘the sea was turned to blood.’ The shells on the beach, reflecting light, resembled coals of fire.”

If such a solar event of the Carrington magnitude happened today, it would destroy electrical grids and critical life-supporting infrastructures worldwide and put the lives of billions of people in peril.

What would people do without electricity for months or even years; no computers; no cell phones or other communication devices; no transportation (due to vehicle computer systems shut down); no refrigeration; no heat; nothing that mankind depends on for daily life working. It would be catastrophic and many would suffer and die, but not before their fortunes and life savings were wiped out.

According to the Center for Security Policy, scientists believe that the earth is overdue for such a geomagnetic incident on the scale of the Carrington Event. Ambassador Cooper believes, that because of America’s unpreparedness, a solar event like Carrington or a terrorist EMP attack would be devastating and as many as 285 million or 90 percent of the U.S. population would perish due to disease, starvation or the collapse of society. Cooper also remarked that the earth narrowly missed a solar EMP in mid-July, 2013 when a mammoth Carrington-type solar emission of ionized gas crossed the planet’s orbit.

While preventing a solar EMP event is impossible, the panel expressed grave concern that an EMP attack from terrorists or a rogue state could be imminent. Dr. Pry warned that there have been a disturbing high number of cyber attacks on U.S. computer systems (government. military and infrastructure) with viruses and hacking, that are probing America’s critical systems and looking for weaknesses. In addition, Dr. Pry noted, that the military doctrines of four of America’s enemies (China, Iran, North Korea and Russia) include EMP attack plans.

To emphasize his point, Dr. Pry pointed out that in the early morning hours of April 16, 2013 the San Jose (California) PG&E experienced a sabotage attack when cables were cut and transformers were shot at, causing significant damage. In “connecting the dots” of cyber attacks, sabotage and the recent discovery of a North Korean freighter in the Caribbean carrying nuclear capable missiles, Dr. Pry warned that the U.S. is extremely vulnerable and a defense of the nation’s power grid should be of utmost importance.

Woolsey noted that a single EMP attack from a nuclear device detonated at high altitude over the U.S. would destroy America’s electrical grid, as well as critical infrastructure and put millions of lives at risk. America’s power utilities, Woolsey stated, are ill prepared to protect themselves against such an attack. To complicate matters, the U.S. has no ballistic missile early warning (BMEW) systems facing south, thus making the country extremely susceptible to any attack from the south.

For in one hour your judgment has come.  Revelation 18:10

Update: As of March 19, 2020, derivative exposure has risen to $673 Trillion. U.S. National Debt is approaching $23.6 Trillion and Unfunded Liabilities nearly $132 Trillion, a liability of $408,000 per U.S. citizen. U.S. Federal Budget Deficit has mushroomed to over $1.6 Trillion (with the Federal response and cost of COVID-19, this deficit is likely to climb.

Revelation 18 and the fate of America is available on Amazon and other online bookstores.

 

 

Muslims are not Descendants of Abraham

January 22, 2020

Excerpted from the author’s, Understanding Islam in the Light of Christianitya treasure trove of biblical truth, theological insight, and practical application (Dr. Ed Hindson, Dean of Divinity, Liberty University).

understandingislamcover

The Muslim Claim to Fame. Although Arabic Muslims claim Abraham as their heir, biblically they are descendants of pre-covenant Abram, the one who disobeyed God and disbelieved His promise of an heir through Sarah. God could bless Ishmael, but He could never establish His covenant with a sinful seed of the flesh.

Ishmael became the father of 12 Arabian princes (nations) whom God said that He would “multiply . . . exceedingly” (Genesis 17:20). Ishmael and Hagar were driven into the Wilderness of Paran to dwell (Genesis 21:20-21). This wilderness covers the eastern Sinai and the southern and southeastern borders of present-day Israel.

Ishmael’s sons initially inhabited an area from Egypt and the Sinai Desert, the Arabian peninsula to Assyria (which includes present day Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Syria and the lesser Arab kingdoms). Remember, God said that Ishmael and his descendants would be wild men whose hand would be “against every man.”

If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise (Galatians 3:29).

According to the Apostle Paul, in the above scripture, other than being an Israelite, the only way one can be an heir of Abraham in through faith in Jesus Christ.

Some Bible translations of Genesis 25:18 state that the descendants of Ishmael “lived in hostility toward” or “in defiance of” all their brethren (New International Version, New Living Translation and North American Standard). Other versions (including the King James, New King James and Amplified Bibles) state only that Ishmael’s descendants lived “close to” or “in the presence of” their relatives.

Over 25 centuries later, Muhammad and his followers have found a simple solution to this dilemma of a negative biblical image and how to expropriate God’s promise and covenant with the Jewish people. Muhammad simply revealed that Allah told him that it was Ishmael, not Isaac, that Allah chose to test Abraham’s faith; and therefore it was Ishmael and all those who are descendants of him that are the true chosen people to fulfill Allah’s covenant. 

Remember, in Genesis 22:2, God called Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac on a makeshift altar on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem.   However, Muhammad ignored that biblical reality and declared that Allah called Abraham to sacrifice Ishmael on Mount Mina outside Mecca. It was that simple to change historical truth and create an alternate reality that Muslims have believed for 14 centuries.

According to the Qur’an, Abraham prayed to Allah: “‘My Lord! Grant me [a son who shall be] of the doers of good deeds [that is, righteous].’ So We gave [Abraham] the good news of a boy, possessing forbearance. And when [Ishmael] attained to working with him, [Abraham] said: O my son! Surely I have seen in a dream that I should sacrifice you; consider then what you see.

“He said: O my father! Do what you are commanded; if Allah please, you will find me of the patient ones. So when they both submitted and [Abraham] threw [Ishmael] down upon his forehead, and We called out to him saying: O Ibrahim! You have indeed shown the truth of the vision; surely thus do We reward the doers of good: Most surely this is a manifest trial” (surah 37:100- 106). More information on Islam as a non-Abrahamic faith occurs in the following chapter.

God did not Recognize Ishmael as Abraham’s Son. The preceding version in the Qur’an of Abraham’s call to sacrifice his son strongly contradicts the biblical story. “Then God said, ‘Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about’” (Genesis 22:2; author’s emphasis). Notice that God refers to Isaac as Abraham’s only son. That is because only Isaac was God’s choice to fulfill His covenant with Abraham—not Ishmael, the son of the flesh.

In Genesis 22, God told Abraham three times that he (Abraham) only had one son, Isaac. “Then God said, ‘Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you’” (Genesis 22:2).  

Again, after Abraham followed God’s call to sacrifice his only son, God intervened when he saw Abraham’s faithfulness. “And He said, ‘Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me” (Genesis 22:12, NKJV, author’s emphasis). Once again, “Then the Angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said: ‘By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son’” (Genesis 22:15-16, NKJV, author’s emphasis). 

By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,” (Hebrews 11:17-18). 

In the Genesis account, Isaac had no prior knowledge of his role in the sacrifice.    “But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, ‘My Father!’

“And he said, ‘Here I am, my son.’

“Then he said, ‘Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?’

“And Abraham said, ‘My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering’” (Genesis 22:7-8a).

Because of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his only son and not withhold him from God, God promised Abraham that “through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me” (Genesis 22:18).

From the present day and historical perspective of the daily violence against mankind by the followers of Islam, it is hard to see that this was God’s plan for blessing the nations of the earth through the descendants of Ishmael. Among the descendants of Isaac, however, was Jesus, the sacrificial lamb who brought salvation to the world by the shedding of His blood and not that of another human being—truly a blessing to all who will receive Him. 

The Apostle Paul affirmed that descendants of Isaac are the true heirs of God. “It is not as though God’s word had failed,” he asserted. “For not all who are descended from Israel are [of] Israel. Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, ‘It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned’ [Genesis 21:12]. In other words, it is not the natural children who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring” (Romans 9:6-8, NIV).

In his letter to the Galatians, Paul reasserted the striking difference between the seed of the pre-covenant Ishmael and the covenant-fulfilling seed of Isaac. He made both historical and spiritual comparisons.

For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman [or slave], the other by a freewoman [Genesis 16:15].  

But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise, which things are symbolic.                        

For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar – for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children – but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all. . . .

But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now. 

Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman” (Galatians 4:22-26, 29, 30).

Paul makes it clear that Ishmael was the pre-covenant seed of a slave and therefore could not represent God’s covenant with His people. Isaac, on the other hand, was a freeman, born of a freewoman as the fulfillment of God’s promise to His people. Those who are heirs to the bondswoman of the flesh (viz., Ishmael), will remain in bondage until set free by the salvation of Christ, who is heir to the covenant of the freeman, Isaac.

In the preceding letter to the Galatians, Paul also pointed out that the descendants of Ishmael will always be persecuting the descendants of Isaac, the freeman, and that the heirs of the two can never share in the inheritance of the freeman. The only hope of sharing this inheritance that the descendants of Ishmael have is to be grafted in through the salvation of Christ. 

Despite the clarity from both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible and testimony from God’s own mouth, Muslims, some Christian leaders and other ignorant or uninformed individuals continue to claim that Muslims—or at least Arabic Muslims—are descendants of Abraham, therefore, Islam can lay claim to being an “Abrahamic faith.” Muslims also claim that the Old Testament prophets, the Apostles and Jesus Himself were Muslims.

It is important to recognize, from an Islamic viewpoint, it was necessary for the god of Islam to supplant Isaac with Ishmael as the one God called Abraham to sacrifice. Why? Because it was through Isaac’s lineage that Jesus the Messiah would be born (Hadian, Shahram. The Trojan Horse of Interfaith Dialogue Between Christians and Muslims, Speech, November 27, 2018).

Understanding Islam in the Light of Christianity is available from the author’s website, https://understandingislaminthelightofchristianity.com/ or on Amazon.com.

 

Do Judeo-Christian Faiths Have Any Common Ground With Islam?

January 18, 2020

James F. Gauss

There is not, nor can there ever be, any “common ground” between Islam and the Judeo-Christian faiths.

For Christian leaders and Christians to accept common ground or a common word with Muslims,

• they must accept that Muhammad was a prophet of God Almighty;
• that Muhammad was superior to Christ;
• that Jesus did not have a divine nature;
• that Miriam, Moses’ and Aaron’s sister gave birth to Jesus, because that is what Allah revealed;
• that Jesus was not part of God’s plan for mankind;
• that there is no salvation through Jesus Christ;
• that Allah is just another name for the One and Only True God of the Bible;
• that God, through Muhammad, reversed His plan of Salvation through Jesus Christ;
• that Jesus is not Lord and Savior, or the Son of God;
• that God’s love is conditional (because Allah’s love is);
• that God hates the sinner, but loves the sin;
• that it is God that causes one to sin;
• that God desires to send all people to hell, because Allah does;
• believe the lie that Muslims are commanded to “love their neighbors” (it does not exist in the Qur’an or teachings of Muhammad);
• that Jesus was not crucified or raised from the dead in the resurrection;
• that we achieve God’s favor through our works and not by faith;
• that there is no assurance of salvation;
• that heaven is a place of personal gratification and perversion;
• that the Holy Spirit does not exist or play a role in the life of a Christian;
• and many other Biblical truths would have to be rejected.

Jesus said that in the End Times “. . . false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24). Apparently, we are in those times, because more and more Christian leaders and their followers are being deceived by the wiles of the devil.

The Apostle Paul, in his second letter to the church of the Thessalonians, wrote, “and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12).

Many leaders in the Christian church as well as in Christian colleges, universities and seminaries are being deceived by the evil one. In their desire to see harmony between Christians, Jews and Muslims, they are casting aside foundational principles and teachings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Although Jesus called His followers to love all people, He did not call them to cast aside wisdom, understanding and discernment of the devil’s tactics, nor to make an alliance with evil. By making alliances with Muslims, Christians are choosing to embrace an anti-Christ ideology that seeks to lead people away from the truth of the Gospel of Christ and His saving work on the cross. Instead of preaching the truth to Muslims, they seek to find non-existent “common ground” that perverts the true word of God and condone the devil’s alternate and false gospel.

Paul also wrote to his protégé, Timothy, warning him about deceiving spirits in the End Times. “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron” (1 Timothy 4:1-2). Unfortunately, too many Christian leaders, in an effort to be more in line with the world and to be politically correct, are abandoning the teachings and doctrines of the Christian faith and are succumbing to deceiving spirits and the doctrines of demons.

In an attempt to bring peace between Muslims and the Judeo-Christian world, there is a desperate move to acquiesce to the satanic faith of Islam. This will not bear forth good fruit, but only more deception and weakening of the Christian faith.

“Do not be deceived,” the Apostle Paul wrote, “God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7).

Excerpted, in part, from the author’s book, “Understanding Islam in the Light of Christianity.”

Faith Over Fear: The True Meaning of 1 John 4:18

November 22, 2019

(This is an excerpt from the pre-edited, pre-publication book by the author, tentatively titled, The Heresy of Interfaith Dialogue with Muslims).

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2019 newspaper clipping in Minnesota.

By extracting the phrase, “perfect love casts out fear,” from 1 John 4:18, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, either deliberately or ignorantly misquote the scripture within its full context and apply an unintended and completely erroneous Biblical message that is not supported by the Apostle John.

First, the complete verse is, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” What is the “fear” that John is referring to and why would it involve “torment”?
To completely understand this verse, one must understand the context of John’s intent and message which starts in verse one of the chapter.

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world (1 John 4:1; author’s emphasis).

The “Beloved” are the followers of Jesus Christ and John is reminding them that they are not to believe every spirit, but rather, to “test the spirits” in order to determine if they are from God. Why? “Because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” That was true during the life of the Apostle John and it is exceedingly true today.

By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, (1 John 4:2; author’s emphasis).

“Every spirit,” the Apostle John wrote, “that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God.” In the last verse of chapter three, John makes it clear what he means about those who confess Christ as coming in the flesh.

Now he who keeps His [Christ’s] commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us (1 John 3:24).

Those who are able to confess that Jesus Christ, the Son of God (see 1 John 3:8, 5:5, 10, 12-13, 20), has come in the flesh, can only do so by the presence of the Holy Spirit that resides in them. Muslims do not believe Jesus is the Son of God, nor do they believe in the Holy Spirit.

The Qur’an proclaims, “Wonderful Originator [Allah] of the heavens and the earth! How could He have a son when He has no consort [partner], and He (Himself) created everything . . . (Qur’an 6:101).

Again, the Qur’an asserts, “. . . and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah; these are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah destroy them; how they are turned away!” [from the truth] (Qur’an 9:30; see also, 4:171).

Muhammad had no concept of the Triune God or Trinity, and, in fact, included Mary, the mother of Jesus in the Trinity instead of the Holy Spirit. “And when Allah will say: O Isa [Jesus] son of Marium! Did you say to men, Take me and my mother for two gods besides Allah, he will say: Glory be to Thee, it did not befit me that I should say what I had no right to (say) . . .” (surah 5:116).

The writer to the Hebrews made it clear the purpose of Jesus coming in the flesh as the Son of God.

Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham (Hebrews 2:14-16).

The Apostle Paul, who persecuted and killed Christ-followers before Jesus revealed Himself to him, knew the importance of God sending His Son in the flesh. “O wretched man that I am!” Paul proclaimed. “Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin” (Romans 7:24-25).

In his first letter to the Church in Corinth, Paul shared further his understanding of Christ coming in the flesh.

So when this corruptible [body] has put on incorruption, and this has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory” [Isaiah 25:8].

“O Death, where is your sting? [Hosea 13:14].
O Hades, where is your victory?”

The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:54-57).

It was essential for Almighty God to send His Son in the flesh; to die to the flesh as a sacrifice for all sin, for all mankind—for all those who would accept Jesus as Lord and Savior and His sacrificial death on the cross and subsequent resurrection from the dead.

The Apostle John explains it this way: Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years (Revelation 20:6).

Now, back to 1 John 4. As a reminder, in verse two, John stated: “Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God,” and in the next verse, he wrote,

and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world (1 John 4:3; author’s emphasis).

In verse four, John provides comfort for those that follow Christ.

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4; author’s emphasis).

Who are them and who is he? Them are the antichrists and he is the devil. Those who are in Christ Jesus—who are saved by grace through faith in Him—need not fear the antichrists or the devil because through Christ’s shed blood, He and those who accept His work on Calvary, have overcome the antichrists and the works of the devil.

“They [the antichrists] are of the world,” John continues. “Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them (1 John 4:5; author’s emphasis).

We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error (1 John 4:6; author’s emphasis).

The Apostle John is making it clear, those who are able to discern false prophets, false teaching and the antichrists are those who truly know Jesus Christ and have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The Islamic ideology is born and bathed in an antichrist spirit or the antichrist spirit, Satan himself. Islamic ideology proclaims the following:

• Jesus is not the Son of God;
• Jesus did not die on the cross, nor did He die at all;
• that Jesus was not resurrected;
• that He did not die for anyone’s sins;
• that there is no salvation through Jesus Christ;
• that there is no guarantee of eternal life;
• and the reversal of many other Biblical truths.

Despite this obvious antichrist ideology and firm Muslim stance against the Christian faith, interfaithers would much rather stand “shoulder to shoulder” with antichrist Muslims than join with their supposed “brothers and sisters in Christ” to bring the Gospel of Jesus to those lost in darkness.

In verse six, John states that, We are of God. Who are the we? The we of verse six that John refers to are the true followers of Jesus Christ—those who can discern the false prophets and the antichrists. Those who fully accept Jesus Christ, His atoning work on the cross and share His Gospel of salvation.

Now, for the moment, let us jump ahead to verse fourteen. “And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world (1 John 4:14; author’s emphasis). To testify is to swear by, affirm, provide evidence of, bear witness to or be a witness of the truth; the reality that God the Father Almighty—not Allah—sent His Son, Jesus Christ—not Muhammad—as the Savior of the world.

All true Christians—true followers of Jesus Christ—desire to provide testimony to the truth, sacrifice and mission of Jesus Christ and His saving grace for everyone that calls upon Him for forgiveness and redemption.

But what does it [the righteousness of faith] say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Romans 10:8-10

Now, to look at verse seventeen, the verse right before the verse that the interfaith group, Faith Over Fear, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, likes to partially misquote.

Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the Day of Judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world (1 John 4:17; author’s emphasis).

The New Living Translation (NLT) states the verse this way:

And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the Day of Judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world (author’s emphasis).

First, let us refresh verse 18 in its entirety:

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love (1 John 4:18; author’s emphasis).

Remember, the phrase “cherry-picked” by the ELCA interfaithers is perfect love casts out fear. However, verse 17 states clearly that this “perfect love that casts out fear” has to do with the followers of Jesus Christ not having to fear or “be afraid on the Day of Judgment.”

There is no fear in love, John proclaims. No fear in the Day of Judgment. Why? Because perfect love casts out fear. Love of who and fear of what?

According to the Apostle John, true love is this:

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another (1 John 4:7-11; author’s emphasis).

Who are the beloved? Are they the strangers among us; the non-believer; our neighbors? No, the “beloved” are strictly brothers and sisters in Christ, and only them. Are the followers of Christ called to love the non-believer and even their enemies? Yes, but that is not what John is addressing here.

The Apostle John is reiterating what Jesus taught His disciples.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:34-35; author’s emphasis).

Right before His sacrifice on the cross, Jesus told His followers that the world of non-believers would come to know Him and His love by how those who confessed to be Christ followers loved one another. Not by how they loved their non-believing neighbor.
John, one of the apostles closest to Jesus, wrote:

If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.

Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him (1 John 4:20-5:1; author’s emphasis).

Interfaithers prefer to misquote the Bible in order to justify standing with those who believe in an antichrist ideology, rather than stand with brothers and sisters in Christ who have a real desire to see captives set free from an oppressive, satanic belief system.

So, why are true Christ followers not to fear the Day of Judgment? Because:

• they discern the false spirits and the false prophets (1 John 4:1);
• they know the Spirit of God (1 John 4:2);
• they know and can identify the antichrist spirit (1 John 4:3);
• they are of God and God is in them (1 John 4:4);
• they know the antichrists are of this world (1 John 4:5);
• and they know the spirit of truth (1 John 4:6).

So, in 1 John 4:18, which interfaithers so proudly proclaim in faith over fear has nothing to do with fearing people. It solely has to do with the fear of the Day of Judgment, which the followers of Jesus Christ need not fear because Christ’s perfect love for those who chose Him, casts out all fear of judgment.

NOTE: If you are interested in receiving a notification of when the author’s book on Interfaith Dialogue will be available, visit his website at: https://understandingislaminthelightofchristianity.com and click on “Contact” and provide your e-mail address. Publication is anticipated to be in the first quarter of 2020.

Biblical Reasons on why Allah is not the God of the Bible

October 30, 2019

©2019 James F. Gauss, Ph.D.

(This is an excerpt from the pre-edited, pre-publication book by the author, tentatively titled, The Heresy of Interfaith Dialogue with Muslims).

bible-and-quran

The list of comparative contradictions between the God of the Bible and the god of the Qur’an are limitless, but the following are some of the most obvious.

How supposedly learned men and women in the Christian Church can ignore the obvious and proclaim Allah and Jehovah God are the same, is not only heretical and sinful, but is leading thousands, if not millions of church goers into the pits of hell, as well as affirming the satanic beliefs of millions of Muslims and diverting them from the One and Only True God and His Gospel of liberation and salvation.

First, the God of the Bible commanded Abraham (nee: Abram) to sacrifice his only son (see Genesis 22), Isaac, whereas Muhammad claimed that Allah commanded Abraham to sacrifice the illegitimate son (Ishmael) of the ungodly union of Abram and the pagan Egyptian, Hagar. Why would the God of the Bible choose Isaac for the sacrifice, but the god of the Qur’an call for Ishmael to be sacrificed? Because it was through the lineage of Isaac and his son Jacob that Jesus Christ would be born. The god of the Qur’an wanted to abort that Biblical ancestry.

Second, the God of the Bible told Moses that His name was Yahweh (YHWH) or I AM WHO I AM (Exodus 3:13-15). God Almighty of the Bible is not Allah or to be called Allah despite the assertion of some Middle Eastern and Southeast Asia missionaries that Allah is just the Arabic name for God. It is not! It is the name of one of the 360 pagan gods known during the life of Muhammad.

Third, the God of the Bible gave Moses the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) as a moral compass for life. Allah of the Qur’an calls for his followers to violate most of those commandments.

Fourth, throughout the Torah (Pentateuch)—the first five books of the Bible, Yahweh made it clear where the Jewish people were to live after their exodus from Egypt and their 40-year wandering through the Sinai desert. Their homeland, known as Canaan (the Promised Land), as set forth by God in Genesis 15:18-21, included from the river of Egypt (NKJV), which could be interpreted as the River Nile, to the Euphrates River to the northeast. Some Bible versions refer to the western border as the Wadi of Egypt (NIV) which put the western border of Canaan in the eastern Sinai Peninsula. The New Living Translation simply refers to this western boundary as the border of Egypt, but then has a footnote stating that it could be the eastern fork of the River Nile or the Brook of Egypt in the eastern Sinai. From the western to the eastern border, Canaan included the lands occupied by the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites (vss. 19-21). Today, such boundaries would include (at minimum) the eastern Sinai and all the land east of the Mediterranean Sea, including western Jordan and southwestern Syria.

In the Qur’an, it is acknowledged that Canaan—the holy land—belongs to the Jews in perpetuity. However, throughout the Qur’an, Allah instructs his followers to persecute the Jews and drive them from the Promised Land.

And when Musa said to his people: O my people! Remember the favor of Allah upon you when He raised prophets among you and made you kings and gave you what He had not given to any other among the nations.

O my people! Enter the holy land which Allah has prescribed for you and turn not on your backs for then you will turn back losers (surah 5:20-21).

Fifth, Yahweh of the Bible made an everlasting covenant with Abraham and his descendants, the Jews (Genesis 17:4-8) and promised them the land of Canaan as an everlasting possession. At the same time He changed Abram’s name to Abraham and promised the Jews that He would be their God and they would be His people.

“As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”

Allah of the Qur’an acknowledges no such covenant with the Jews, nor does he offer such a covenant to anyone who follows him.

Sixth, Yahweh, through Moses foretold the coming of Jesus in Deuteronomy 18:15, 18. “The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear, . . . I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him.”

While Muslims believe in the Bible and the Old Testament prophets, they have been taught since the days of Muhammad that the Bible has been corrupted and therefore cannot be fully relied on as God’s word.

However, there is one biblical verse, in particular, Muslims do rely on as a testimony of Muhammad’s coming. They cite Deuteronomy 18:15 as evidence that the coming of Muhammad as God’s prophet was foretold by Moses about 2,000 years before Muhammad’s birth. There are a number of problems with this assertion. First, the full context of the scripture carries through verse 22.

The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me [Moses] from among your own brothers. You must listen to him. For this is what you asked of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you [the Israelites] said, ‘Let us not hear the voice of the Lord our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die.’

The Lord said to me: ‘What they say is good. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account. But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death.’

You may say to yourselves, ‘How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the Lord?’ If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him (Deuteronomy 18:15-22; author’s emphasis).

The particulars of this prophecy of Moses should shed some light on the claim of Islam, that this prophecy refers to the coming of Muhammad.

• First, the prophet is to represent the God of the Jews. The word “Lord” in the first verse refers to the self-Existent Jehovah God of the Jews.
• Second, the prophet foretold is to be like Moses. Moses was a Jew born to the house of a Levite (Jewish high priest). Muhammad was neither a Jew nor born of the house of Levi.
• Third, the prophet was to be from among your own brothers, that is, from among the Israelites themselves. This does not fit Muhammad either, since he was an Arab, a descendant of Ishmael.
• Fourth, this prophet is to speak only the words of Jehovah God, not Allah or a god by any other name. Muhammad spoke the words of an unknown god, and initially believed that it was a demon who spoke to him and that he was demon-possessed.

Jesus, on the other hand, made direct reference to this prophecy by Moses. As He was speaking to the Jews, Jesus said, “If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me” (John 5:46).

Seventh, the God of the Bible—Old Testament—prophesied the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, in over 300 Old Testament prophesies, but not one prophesy about the coming of Muhammad or any other Arabic “prophet.” There is no prophecy in the Qur’an about the advent of Muhammad.

Eighth, the character of the god of the Qur’an is the antithesis of Jehovah God of the Bible. Clearly, throughout the Qur’an, Allah is portrayed as an impersonal, unloving, unforgiving and vengeful god who desires to see everyone, including his followers, in hell.

By stark contrast, the God of the Bible demonstrates His immeasurable love and compassion for all people. “Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live” (Ezekiel 33:11).

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved (John 3:16-17).

Allah, on the other hand, sent Muhammad to curse the world and persecute, maim and murder all those who refused to accept the Islamic tenets of belief and follow him.

Ninth, Yahweh foretold of the crucifixion and resurrection of the Messiah (verses), but Allah denies that Jesus was crucified, that He died or was resurrected (see Psalm 16:10, 22:16, 30:3; Zechariah 12:10).

The god of the Qur’an claims that he substituted Judas for Christ on the cross and took Jesus to heaven without his dying or being resurrected. This, of course, is an effort by the devil to deny one of the central truths of the Bible and the Christian faith.

Tenth, through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection, the God of the Bible demonstrated His clear plan of salvation for all mankind. The god of the Qur’an has no plan of salvation for his followers.

Eleventh, the God of the Bible proclaims Jesus to be His Son, the only begotten of the Father God. The god of the Qur’an denies having a son.

Twelfth, Jehovah God of the Bible calls those that accept Jesus as His Son and Lord and Savior of their lives, “children”, sons and daughters of Almighty God. Allah of the Qur’an proclaims that he has no children.

Thirteenth, through Jesus Christ, God’s Son, His followers have a guarantee and promise of eternal life in Heaven with God. Allah offers no such promise. In fact, the only guarantee the followers of Allah have, is that they will all go to hell before Allah’s judgment (surah 19:70-72).

Again We do certainly know best those who deserve most to be burned therein. And there is not one of you but shall come to it; this is an unavoidable decree of your Lord. And We will deliver those who guarded (against evil), and We will leave the unjust therein on their knees.

Fourteenth, and most important. The entire Bible points to Jesus Christ as the promised Messiah, the promise of God to all mankind. The entire Qur’an is anti-Christ and anti-Christian and anti-Jew.

Fifteenth, the core of Christianity, after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, is the release of the promised Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity of God. Without the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the coming of the promised Holy Spirit, the Christian faith is meaningless. Allah denies the existence of the Holy Spirit, the essence of God’s empowerment on earth for those who believe in Him and His Son.

NOTE: If you are interested in receiving a notification of when the author’s book on Interfaith Dialogue will be available, visit his website at: https://understandingislaminthelightofchristianity.com and click on “Contact” and provide your e-mail address. Publication is anticipated to be by January 1, 2020.

understandingislamcover

Available at: https://understandingislaminthelightofchristianity.com/

Interfaith Dialogue with Muslims—is it Biblical?

October 16, 2019

James F. Gauss, Ph.D.

Imagine, you are asked to become a member of your church’s community outreach ministry. However, there are two concessions you must agree to: Never share your faith or the Gospel of Jesus Christ and you must acknowledge that your Christian faith is no better than another faith, such as Hinduism, Islam, et al.

Would you be interested in participating? Would you be denying your faith if you did so? Most importantly, would you be denying Jesus Christ and His salvation work in your life?

The goals of “interfaith dialogue” are really not dialogue at all, especially when it comes to interfacing with Muslims in one’s community. The goals are to be “sensitive;” to consider the other’s “feelings;” to build “friendships;” and, of course, to do “good works.” Through all this it is hoped that the love of Christ will be demonstrated with understanding and compassion. On the surface, there is nothing wrong with this. As Christ followers, we are all called to be loving and caring toward our neighbors, the stranger and even our enemies, but interfaithers, when it comes to “bridging” relationships with Muslims, often make erroneous assumptions.

First, they assume that Muslims worship and pray to the same God as Christians and Jews. This is categorically false. Allah is not the God of the Bible, but a pagan god of satanic origin. While interfaithers will strongly recoil at such a statement, the statement is factually true. Just ask any former Muslim who has turned to Jesus Christ for eternal salvation (or read my highly researched and detailed compendium, Understanding Islam in the Light of Christianity).

Second, those that seek interfaith dialogue incorrectly believe that Islam is an Abrahamic faith. This is also false. In my book there is a long detailed explanation on why Islam is not an Abrahamic faith, but for now, I will just say that while Arabic Muslims can legitimately claim to be descendants of Abraham, through Ishmael, Muslims as a group cannot. The reality, according to the Bible, is that Arabs descended from Ishmael 2700 years before the birth of Islam. In addition, an estimated 80 percent of Muslims in the world are non-Arabs. In Genesis 22, God denies that Ishmael is Abraham’s son, referring to Isaac as Abraham’s “only son” three times.

Third, interfaith dialoguers maintain that Islamic teaching offers similar views on family, loving one’s neighbor, etc. That is also misleading and largely false, especially when it comes to love of neighbor. Islamic teaching is clear and firm and commands Muslims not to take Christians and Jews as “friends.” The only acceptable way for a Muslim to befriend an unbeliever is to deceive the one befriended in order to achieve a higher, likely nefarious purpose. This is difficult for those in the West and especially in America where older generations have been taught that a man’s word is his bond. We like to believe that everyone says what they mean and stands by what they say as a badge of honor. It is not so with most Muslims, nor in Islamic teaching—and, yes, I know it is becoming sadly too true among Americans, many of whom “truth” no longer holds the weight of honor.

Fourth, the interfaithers refer to Muslims as “brothers and sisters,” which is also erroneous. The designation of “brothers and sisters” according to Christian teaching is reserved for Christ followers and not for an association of a Christian with a non-believer. There is no spiritual relationship between Christians and Muslims or between Christians and non-believers. On the other side, Muslims do not believe that a Muslim can enter into any meaningful relationship with a non-believer or infidel. Any such friendship perceived by a Christian is both false and against true Islam tenets of faith.

Fifth, interfaithers believe that we (Christians, Jews, Muslims and everyone) are “children of God” and therefore have a lot in common.

While my emotions want to proclaim the same, the truth is that according to the Bible that is not true. The term, “children of God,” is not used until the New Testament. In the Old Testament, the Israelites were most often referred to as the “children of Israel.”

The Apostles John and Paul were the ones to use the term in the New Testament. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:” (John 1:12).

Later, John wrote, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:1-2). According to John, only those who call upon Jesus as Lord and Savior are the children of God. Although that may seem harsh, if we truly believe in the unadulterated Word of God, then we must accept this as true. A few verses later, John wrote, “In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother” (1 John 3:10). Again, Muslims do not worship the God of the Bible, nor the same God as Christians and Jews. While they are a part of God’s creation, as we all are, they are not “children of God” (that is, the One True God, whom they neither recognize, nor serve).

The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the church in Rome, had this to say: “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together” (Romans 8:16-17). Only those who are heirs to God’s promised covenant through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the shed blood of Christ are the legitimate “children of God.”

“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” (Romans 9:8). Not my words or proclamation, but the Spirit of God through the Apostles John and Paul.

Despite those among the interfaith who want to see Muslims as children of God, Muslims, themselves do not believe they are children of God because Islam teaches that Allah has no children, nor does he want any. Allah does not want such a personal, loving relationship. That is what Muslims fleeing Islam love about the Christian God—the true God.

Again, there is nothing wrong with reaching out with the love of Christ to those in need or to non-believers. That is part of Christ’s teaching and the calling of every Christian, but it is not the Great Commission for the Disciples of Christ.

“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen” (Matthew 28:18-20). Although Jesus is concerned about the physical and emotional wellbeing of people, His greatest concern and calling for His followers is to call people to the Kingdom of God and everlasting salvation through His death and resurrection. Interfaith dialogue does not accomplish that, nor is it the goal.

As an example of the goals of Interfaith Dialogue, one should consider the bylaws or mission statement of your local group. In one community, the goals, in part, were stated as such: “Dialogue should enhance our sensitivity to the feelings of all professing religious people in their relationship with God.” Two misconceptions here: First, Christians are not called to be sensitive “to the feelings” of others when sharing the truth of the Gospel. Yes, we can be understanding and compassionate, but we are not to hold back on sharing the Gospel for fear of offending someone’s sensibilities. If that were the case, the Gospel would never reach anyone. Second, the erroneous assumption that all faiths have a “relationship with God.” Muslims, as well as many other faiths, do not believe in or have a relationship with Jehovah God. If you approach a Muslim on that foundation you are committing heresy, leading an unbeliever astray and will fail.

In order to participate in the aforementioned interfaith group you must agree to two things:

1. You may not “proselytize any other participant.” In other words, you may not share your faith in Christ or what He means to you. Essentially, you must deny your faith and calling as a Christian.

2. “. . . no group possesses total and absolute knowledge regarding the nature and works of God and human involvement with the Divine.” Really! Did not Jesus Himself say: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). If one does not believe that, then one is not a Christian. As Christians we must undeniably believe the Bible is God’s final uncompromising and infallible Word to His creation—not the Qur’an or any other man contrived text.

End Note. Fellow Americans, brothers and sisters in Christ, we are in a battle for the very survival of constitutional America and the Church in America. The future of us, our children, grandchildren and all that come after is at stake. This is not a war against Muslims, but against the evil, oppressive ideology that holds them in bondage. Everyone needs to know the truth to turn the tide of Islamic indoctrination. I am trying to do my part but could use your help. I am trying to raise funds to print and distribute the truth about Islam and get it to politicians, educators, community leaders, church and seminary leaders and Muslims as well. If you can help, visit our campaign site here, for more details. Your prayers are also appreciated and please spread the word. Thank you and God bless you.

New Release–Be Pruned

August 26, 2019

BrPrunedFINAL

Pruning-masterful pruning-is the most important practice in developing a good or sound tree (vine, shrub, or other plant). Spiritual pruning, the subject of this book, is the most important development process for the growing Christian who desires to be more Christ-like each day. God, the Master Gardener of us all, uses spiritual pruning to bring forth the greatest purpose for which our life was created. As you prune your plants with care to avoid injury, and thus encourage and stimulate maximum growth, function, beauty, and production, so it is God’s intention in our pruning process. This masterful pruning procedure by the Master Gardener (while it may seem painful at times) does not inflict harm or injury upon those He desires to see mature to their fullest potential. This devotional/Bible study book is excellent for small groups or personal reflection and spiritual growth.

Awesome book, easy read but powerful!—Amazon customer.

The ideal gift/Bible study book for those wanting a greater understanding into the challenges one faces in the Christian walk. Perfect for personal growth & reflection, students, youth groups, small groups & Sunday schools, homeschool & Christian school students, special occasions (youth & adult).

Available from Lakeside Press at: https://lakesidecreates.com and many other online retailers. For bulk discounts, non-resale of 10 or more copies, call 1-800-371-5849.

Or direct link here: https://lakesidecreates.com/shop?olsPage=products%2Fbe-prunedto-bear-fruite-that-will-last

About the Author. James F. Gauss earned a B.S. “With Distinction” in Horticulture degree from the University of Delaware and a Ph.D. in horticulture from Rutgers The State University. Before retiring he held university level research, teaching, and extension positions in horticulture; served as the horticulturist for a major botanical garden and worked as a landscape horticultural consultant for residential and commercial clients for many years.

It is through this experience that he is able to present insight into the horticultural concepts presented in the Bible. He is the author of 19 books; mostly on Christian topics and spiritual growth.