Posts Tagged ‘Abraham’

Understanding Islam in the Light of Christianity–the Book

May 8, 2019

Now Available!!

understandingislamcover.png

This is the go-to resource on Islam from a Christian perspective.  It is designed to provide everything one needs to know about Islam, the greatest challenge of the 21st century for the Church and the Christian community.  An invaluable compendium for homeschooling parents and organizations, church pastors and leaders, Christian schools, universities and seminaries.  If you truly want to reach the Muslim community with the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ or just want to be more knowledgeable about what is happening in the world, the West and America, this is a must resource book for your library. After nearly 20 years of research, Dr. Gauss has put together a one of a kind resource that is designed to educate Christian leaders/teachers on the unadulterated truth about Islam and the extreme challenge it presents to the Church and the Christian community and how Muslims can be presented with the truth of the Gospel without the Church lowering itself to “Common Ground” or “Interfaith Dialogue.” Understanding Islam in the  Light of Christianity A comparison of the Messenger, Message and Mission of the Qur’an and the Bible  An Invaluable Compendium By James F. Gauss, Ph.D. Author of Islam & Christianity, A Revealing Contrast.

Dr. Gauss, in this profound study, is upholding the truth of the Gospel, revealing the fallacies of a false religion. His pen is sharp but the imprint of his spirit is marked with compassion and love for a lost people who believe they are worshipping the one true God.

I commend Dr. Gauss on writing such an informative book bringing out the darkness that covers every page of the Quran and delusions of the Islamic faith.

May there be more voices such as Dr. Gauss proclaiming the truth of God with boldness and in the spirit of Christ. And may we witness freedom for millions of Muslims who are bound by a dark and evil force!

Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill. Let all who live in the land tremble….

Pastor Reza Safa (Former Iranian Shi’a Muslim); President, TBN Nejat TV; Director, TBN Middle East; Author of Inside Islam: Exposing and reaching the world of Islam

Understanding Islam in the Light of Christianity

8.5 x 11 – Over 480 pages $49.95 Hardcover (plus tax) • $34.95 Soft cover (plus tax)

Order from Lakeside Press at: http://www.lakesidecreates.com or call 1-800-371-5849.

Advertisements

Apostasy in the American Church, Part 2 of 2

July 20, 2015

And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?          

2 Corinthians 6:15

Do Judeo-Christian Faiths Have Any Common Ground With Islam? There is not, nor can there ever be any “common ground” between Islam and the Judeo-Christian faiths.

NOTE: 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 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 (surah 3:64);
  • that God’s love is conditional (because Allah’s love is);
  • 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.

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). 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.

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).

The Apostasy of the Roman Catholic Church. In my book on the Roman Catholic Church, I wrote the following discourse on the RCC’s position on Islam.

On November 29, 2014, in a gesture of what the Vatican described as “interreligious dialogue”, Pope Francis entered the Sultan Ahmet Mosque (known as the “Blue Mosque”) in Istanbul, Turkey and solemnly bowed his head in silent prayer with Ankara’s Grand Mufti (Muslim expert of Islamic law), Mehmet Görmez, and two imams (Muslim religious leaders). In 2006, Pope Benedict XVI visited the same mosque and offered a similar prayer. While the Vatican and the Holy Sees (popes) may have seen these ventures into the Blue Mosque as an innocuous interfaith gesture, it was and is viewed differently by the Muslim community and Jehovah God of the Christians and Jews. Among Muslims, especially Islamic leadership, this was seen as a great victory and legitimizing of their cause, which is world domination by Islam.

After the Pope’s silent prayer it was reported that the Grand Mufti read verses from the Qur’an that touted Allah as being a god of love and peace. However, nothing could be further from the truth (read Islam & Christianity, A Revealing Contrast). The Pope remarked that God must be adored as well as worshipped. On that, the Grand Mufti and the Pope agreed, which would imply that both the Pope and Mufti believe they worship the same god. The Vatican described it as a “beautiful moment of dialogue”.

The Roman Catholic Church has a distorted and non-biblical understanding of Islam as disclosed by this proclamation: But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator. In the first place amongst these there are the Muslims, 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 (from the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, Solemnly Promulgated by His Holiness, Pope Paul VI, on November 21, 1964).

Muslims do not and cannot trace their faith to Abraham, but Arabs rightfully do through their ancestry from Ishmael according to the Bible. In the Bible (Genesis 16 & 17), Abraham’s son, Ishmael, born of the slave girl, Hagar, was banned from the Promised Land and had no inheritance with Abraham. In fact, God never acknowledged Ishmael as Abraham’s son, but only Isaac.

Muslims do not worship the God of Jews and Christians (again, read Islam & Christianity). Their god, Allah, is a false, pagan god of antiquity who is the antithesis of Jehovah God of the Jews and Christians. It is interesting that in the preceding declaration the Vatican and the Pope believe that the plan of salvation includes among the first, the Muslims and not the Jews, to whom Jesus was the promised Messiah. Muslims are not taught, nor do they believe that they worship a “merciful” god, but to them (and as written in the Qur’an), their god, Allah, is a god of vengeance, not mercy. Muslims worship a creator, not The Creator, God Almighty.

From Vatican II’s “Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions, Nostra Aetate, #3”, the Roman Catholic Church clearly states: The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all-powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God. Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet. They also honor Mary, His virgin Mother; at times they even call on her with devotion. In addition, they await the day of judgment when God will render their deserts to all those who have been raised up from the dead. Finally, they value the moral life and worship God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting.

“If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods,” Jehovah God warned the Israelites, “then He will turn and do you harm and consume you, after He has done you good” (Joshua 24:20; NKJV). To acknowledge the god of Islam as the One and Only true God that the Jews and Christians worship is an apostasy—a falling away from God—of the highest order.

Jesus said, “But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:33; NKJV). By aligning themselves with the pagan faith of Islam and acknowledging that their god, Allah, is the same as God Almighty, the Roman Catholic Church is denying Jesus Christ, who made it clear that “No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).

Christianity and Christians can have no bond with Islam or its god. Their god and the teachings of Mohammad deny and reverse all that Jesus stood for and taught. Once again, the Apostle Paul warned the followers of Jesus Christ:

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?  And what accord has Christ with Belial [Satan]? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?  And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:

“I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”

Therefore “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18; NKJV).

[From, “Why I Left the Catholic Church”, pp. 55-59.]

Blasphemimg the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come” (Matthew 12:31-32).

The Apostle Mark recorded Jesus’ words more succinctly. “Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation” (Mark 3:28-29).

Why is blaspheming the Holy Spirit more important than speaking against Jesus Christ? Because Jesus said that the role of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s life is to teach you all things, to bring to your remembrance all things that Jesus taught (John 14:26) and that “when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.  He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you” (John 16:13-14). Jesus made it clear that the Holy Spirit has the authority from God the Father to be the author of all truth and that truth is spoken by the Holy Spirit direct from God Almighty. To reject or ignore that truth is blasphemy and the unforgiveable sin that Jesus spoke of. For Christians and Christian leaders to state or imply that Allah is God or that Christian, Jews and Muslims worship the same god is to blaspheme the Holy Spirit of God.

The Apostle John wrote, “But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him” (1 John 2:27).

The author of the letter to the Hebrews warned: “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame” (Hebrews 6:4-6); “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins” (Hebrews 10:26).

Be sure to read Apostasy in the American Church, Part 1 here.

For more information and insight, read Islam & Christianity, A Revealing Contrast by this author.

Apostasy in the American Church, Part 1 of 2

July 20, 2015

And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?

2 Corinthians 6:15

Prominent leaders in America, from President Obama, to former President George W. Bush to the late Pope John Paul II and the current Pope Francis, as well as numerous well-known Christian leaders in America and around the world, all profess that Christians, Jews and Muslims worship and pray to the same god.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Is Abraham the Father of Islam?  Islam is not an Abrahamic faith.  Despite the numerous proclamations by Muslim scholars and imams and even those in academia, including professors of Christian colleges, universities and seminaries, Abraham is not the “father of Islam”, nor can Islam rightly lay a claim to such.  First, let us look at the biblical and historical facts.  Most sources estimate that Abraham (nee Abram) was born around 2166 B.C.  Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, was born around 570 or 571 A.D. or about 2,700 years after Abraham.

Although the Arabic nations of the Middle East can rightfully claim Abraham as their ancestral father, Muslims cannot.  According to the Bible and other historical records, Ishmael, the illegitimate son of Abram and the pagan slave woman, Hagar, was driven by Abram into the wilderness.  Ishmael became the father of twelve 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).  So, the Arabian kingdoms were established about 2,700 years before Muhammad, the purveyor of Islam was even born.  Therefore, despite their incessant claims to legitimize their faith, Muslims have no ancestral claim to Abraham as do the Jews and Christians through the Hebrew Messiah, Jesus Christ.

In addition, in another fallacious attempt to validate their religion, Muslims claim that Islam is the “original” religion of everyone in the Bible, from Adam to Moses to Jesus Christ and the Apostles—all were really Muslims.  This claim persists, despite the fact that, Islam was not “birthed” until almost 600 years after Christ’s death and resurrection.

Is Allah, the God of Jews & Christians?  The demonic anti-Christ, anti-Jew god of Islam is not the same as the God of the Jews and Christians.  For a Christian or Jew to profess otherwise is an apostasy and abomination to the One and Only True God of the universe.  Allah, as portrayed by Muhammad and in the Qur’an is a demonic revelation from the pits of hell.  Even Muhammad first believed that his “revelations” were from demons.

For anyone who is a student of the Bible, and especially those that have a “personal” relationship with Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior (and therefore an intimate relationship with God the Father), it is abundantly clear that the God of the Bible is not the god portrayed in the Qur’an or by his prophet, Muhammad.  The God of the Bible has humanity-favoring characteristics that Allah does not.  The God of the Bible has a loving, merciful plan of redemption for all mankind.  The god of the Qur’an does not.  Every characteristic of Allah in the Qur’an and that espoused by Muhammad is the converse of God Almighty of the Bible.  The Qur’an and Muhammad repeatedly portray Allah as a vengeful, unloving, unmerciful god who has no plan to redeem mankind from its sins.

While the God of the Bible does punish the Jews for their rebellion against Him; their unfaithfulness and turning to pagan gods, He is always ready to forgive and receive them back once they repent and return to Him.  By contrast, Allah is unforgiving and only wants to destroy all those that refuse to acknowledge him—especially the Jews and the Christians.

For the persistent reader and student of the Bible, it is clear that Jehovah God had a covenant plan of redemption and salvation for His people, the Jews, and for all those who chose Him through the redemptive work on the cross by His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.  Allah reverses all that, claiming that no such covenant or plan of redemption existed and that Jesus Christ was nothing more than a man who by Qur’anic implication was of lesser importance than Muhammad, the vendor of evil and mayhem.

Both the biblical and historical records define the ministry of Jesus as one of compassion, love and peaceful redemption.  Jesus never led any rebellions; never conducted any raids upon the people; never assaulted or killed anyone; never robbed anyone or took their possessions; never advocated revenge upon His enemies or those who disagreed with Him or refused to follow Him.  Muhammad, on the other hand, was the dead opposite of Jesus.  Muhammad was violent, oppressive; a murderer and rapist; a man of hate and vengeance. Everything that Muhammad was or represented, Jesus was not.

Now, if Allah is the same god as the God of the Jews and Christians (the God of the Bible), why would he send Muhammad and a message that completely reversed everything He stood for in thousands of years of biblical and historical truth?  The answer is simple: Jehovah God, the One and Only True God, would not and did not.  The Bible says that the true God cannot lie and cannot go back on His word, but fulfills what He promises (Number 23:19) and His promise throughout the Bible was the coming of the redemptive love of His Son, Jesus Christ.  There are over 300 prophecies in the Old Testament about the coming of Jesus Christ.  There are no prophecies about the coming of Muhammad, the false prophet.

Is Islam a Religion of Peace?  Islam’s teachings and 14 centuries of practice are the antithesis of peace and peacemakers.  In spite of the incessant proclamations by Muslims and Muslim leaders and ignorant Christians and media talking heads, Islam is not and never has been a religion that fomented or propagated the concept or reality of peace.  Unlike Christians, Muslims have never had a “prophet of peace” or a leader for peace.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus said: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).  By stark contrast, Muhammad reportedly said: “I have been sent with the sword between my hands to ensure that no one but Allah is worshipped.”  This is quoted by virtually every Muslim jihadist in their justification for their murderous purges against the “infidels” of the world.

[From Islam & Christianity, A Revealing Contrast] . . . Twenty centuries of secular and religious history attest to Jesus Christ as the “Prince of Peace.” No other deity or human being has or can claim that title. Around 740 B.C., the Old Testament prophet Isaiah heralded the coming of the Jewish Messiah with this revelation from God:

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6, NKJV).

“Surely,” the prophet Isaiah testified, “he [the promised Messiah] took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:4-5). Certainly, this type of sacrifice for others is not something that Muhammad could lay claim to as Allah’s last and most important prophet. Muhammad never took upon himself anyone’s sicknesses or sins. He never suffered torture or extreme punishment and pain for the sake of his follower’s inner peace and spiritual freedom.

. . . Not only is the Judeo-Christian God known as the God of Peace, but He sent His Son to be the example of His peace on earth. Christ established a new covenant built upon the old promises of God, restoring God’s peace to mankind through His shed blood on the cross. The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the church at Ephesus, put it this way:

For he himself is our peace, who was made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out

of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility (Ephesians 2:14-16).

It was Almighty God’s intention from the beginning to bring His Son into the world to abolish the old covenant that brought enmity between God and His creation. Through Jesus’ sacrifice and shedding of blood on the cross, God installed a new covenant of reconciliation and peace. Allah, on the other hand, according to his revelations to Muhammad, used Muhammad to bring about discord and blood shed—not the sacrificial blood of Muhammad, his chosen prophet—but the shed blood of all those deemed to be the enemies of Allah.

. . . According to the Qur’an, adherents to Islam are to fight against all who stand in the way of the spread of Islam and to fight against anyone who refused to enter into the Islamic faith.

And fight with them [the unbelievers] until there is no more persecution and religion should be only for Allah; but if they desist, then surely Allah sees what they do (surah 8:39).  Islam & Christianity, A Revealing Contrast, pp. 93-95.

A Common Word Response.  On October 13, 2007, an initial group of 138 Muslim scholars, Muslim religious leaders and Muslim organization leaders from around the world penned an open letter (A Common Word between Us and You) to leaders of Christianity worldwide.  It was a veiled attempt to establish that there is common ground among Muslims, Christians and Jews, including the worship of the one and same god.  The fact that some of the signatories represented known U.S.-based terror sponsoring groups is not comforting.

The gist and appeal of the lengthy letter is that we all (Muslims, Christians and Jews) have the same heritage, worship the same god and desire peace in the world.  “The future of the world depends on peace between Muslims and Christians”, the Muslim letter begins.  “The basis for this peace and understanding already exists,” it continues. “It is part of the very foundational principles of both faiths: love of the One God, and love of the neighbour. These principles are found over and over again in the sacred texts of Islam and Christianity. The Unity of God, the necessity of love for Him, and the necessity of love of the neighbour is thus the common ground between Islam and Christianity.”

The letter proffers that Allah is a god of love and that he wants nothing more than justice and freedom of religion for all.  But then the authors offer up this conundrum: “The central creed of Islam consists of the two testimonies of faith or Shahadahs [Muslim prayer of faith], which state that: There is no god but God, Muhammad is the messenger of God. These Two Testimonies are the sine qua non [indispensible condition] of Islam. He or she who testifies to them is a Muslim; he or she who denies them is not a Muslim.”  That is the bottom line that supersedes all the Muslim rhetoric:  If you are not a Muslim, you are an infidel that is worthy of persecution and death.  Forget all the proclamations that Islam offers freedom of religion or that it is a religion of peace.  Those and many more claims are the deceptive lies of Satan.

You can read more of A Common Word between Us and You here.

The “Christian” Response.  On November 18, 2007, a full page ad was published in the New York Times, with the heading: Loving God and Neighbor Together: A Christian Response to A Common Word Between Us and You.  It was authored by scholars at the Yale (University) Center for Faith & Culture and was initially signed by 300 Christian leaders from around the world.  The letter agreed with the Muslim letter premise of having a common goal with Muslims of loving God and loving one’s neighbor and implied that Muslims and Christians worship the same God.  Many well-known Christian leaders (pastors, priests, Christian college, university and seminary leaders and heads of Christian organizations and denominations signed on to the letter, thus agreeing with its content.

The letter started out by affirming Islam as an Abrahamic faith and then stated, “we ask forgiveness of the All-Merciful One [Allah] and of the Muslim community around the world” for the Christian crusades against the Muslims. The crusades were the response of from Pope Urban II and the kings of Europe to recover southern Europe from decades of insurgency by murderous Muslims from Africa and the Middle East and recover the Holy Land from Islamic domination.  That the signatories would plead for Allah’s forgiveness is a travesty of the Christian faith.

Throughout the letter it is stressed or implied that God and Allah are one and the same.  The signatories accept the Muslim premise and lie that Muslims are commanded to love their neighbor just like Christians.  However, there is no such command in Islam.  While Muslims are called to love each other (but fail to do so), there is no such requirement in the Qur’an to love non-Muslims.

You can read the entire letter of Christian response here , as well as see the initial 300 signatories.

Continued: Be sure to read Apostasy in the American Church, Part 2 here.

For a more complete study on Islam, read Islam & Christianity, A Revealing Contrast.

Standing in the Gap—It Only Takes One

April 18, 2015
Revelation 18 and the fate of America

Revelation 18 and the fate of America

[Excerpted from Revelation 18 and the fate of America, pp. 347-354, 359-361.]

Although it could be justifiably said that American Christian missionaries over the past two centuries have evangelized the world, now with America’s decline, some of the world’s Christian missionaries are being sent to America.  They are coming from such countries as Brazil, China, South Korea and elsewhere.  In 2010, while the U.S. still sent 127,000 Christian missionaries abroad, an estimated 32,400 Christian missionaries were sent to the United States from other countries.  In the history of America, millions of Christians have stood in the gap for their fellow man at home and abroad through prayer, charity, ministry and missions.  Today, while many believers in Christ still do so, more and more Christians sit idly by, content to be CINOs (Christians in Name Only) while the country they live in is going to hell in a hand basket 

The Lord is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the righteous. Proverbs 15:29

The words of the prophet Isaiah, spoken on behalf of God to the Hebrew people many centuries ago, could be spoken to America today.  “I was sought by those who did not ask for Me; I was found by those who did not seek Me.  I said, ‘Here I am, here I am,’ to a nation that was not called by My name.   I have stretched out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, according to their own thoughts;   a people who provoke Me to anger continually to My face;” (Isaiah 65:1-3a).

When the Hebrews were taken captive to Babylon because they had sinned against God and were once again led astray by their leaders, God raised up Ezekiel, a common man; the equivalent of a street preacher.  Through Ezekiel God spoke and illustrated what he required of His people to return to Him.  God told Ezekiel that He had “looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn’t have to destroy the land, but I found no one” (Ezekiel 22:30; NLT).

What God was looking for was one truly faithful person who would stand up for righteousness at all costs to lead His people back to Him so that their land; their heritage, would not be destroyed.  But God lamented that He could not find one among all Israel who was willing to stand in the gap, offering resistance to evil, on behalf of the people.  God was not necessarily looking for a high priest or theologian, but a common man like Abraham who pleaded with God on behalf of Sodom, or Moses, who stood in the gap and interceded for all of Israel and led them out of slavery in Egypt.

So will I choose their delusions, and bring their fears on them; because, when I called, no one answered, when I spoke they did not hear; but they did evil before My eyes, and chose that in which I do not delight.

Isaiah 66:4

As with Sodom (Genesis 18:32), God did not desire to see the city of Jerusalem destroyed by foreign invaders.  If He could find just one righteous person in the city He would see that Jerusalem was spared.

“Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem;” God told Jeremiah, the prophet, “see now and know; and seek in her open places if you can find a man, if there is anyone who executes judgment, who seeks the truth, and I will pardon her.  Though they say, ‘As the Lord lives,’ surely they swear falsely.  O Lord, are not Your eyes on the truth?  You have stricken them, but they have not grieved; You have consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction.  They have made their faces harder than rock; they have refused to return. . . . I will go to the great men and speak to them, for they have known the way of the Lord, the judgment of their God.  But these have altogether broken the yoke and burst the bonds” (Jeremiah 5:1-3, 5).  God was not looking for someone to give Him lip service or a Sabbath day believer.  He was looking for someone who was totally committed to Him and Him only in righteousness and truth.

Just like the Israel of old, America has gone too far astray from God and beyond any human solutions to her overwhelming problems.  Once again, God is looking for someone to stand in the gap; someone who is sold out to Him that will faithfully intercede for America; to lead His people in repentance and revival and a wholehearted return to Him.

To whom can I give warning?  Who will listen when I speak?  Their ears are closed, and they cannot hear.  They scorn the word of the Lord.  They don’t want to listen at all.

Jeremiah 6:10 (NLT)

God gave the people of Israel many warnings through His prophets and many opportunities for them to return to Him, but they repeatedly rejected Him and His ways.  America and Americans find themselves in a similar situation today.  Over the decades, many men and women of God have repeatedly warned that the United States was on the wrong path in every corner of society.  Despite these warnings, as a country, America has repudiated God and turned away from Him.

When Israel was moving toward self-destruction, the prophet Isaiah offered this stark warning from God.  “Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near.  Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.  ‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord.  ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. . . . So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it’” (Isaiah 55:6-9, 11).

God is fair and just and He is always ready to pardon those who call upon Him and seek His face and return to Him.  The United States and its people are in desperate need of God and His intervention, whether they corporately know it or not.  But God will not intervene where He is not called upon or wanted.  For those who still follow Him and call upon Him, God’s promise to Israel long ago stands for those in America as well.  “Those from among you shall build the old waste places; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; and you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In” (Isaiah 58:12; author’s emphasis).

The Authority of the Believer and the Church.   Many might ask: Why does God not destroy the wicked and idol worshippers of today like He did in the Old Testament times?  The answer is because God has given authority over principalities and powers and wickedness in high places to Christ followers and His church (Ephesians 6:11-13; Colossians 2:15).   Jesus also told His followers that they had the power to “bind” and “loose” God’s will on earth (Matthew 16:19, 18:18).

When it became clear to the Founding Fathers and their compatriots that freedom from the oppressive, tyrannical government of England was imperative, they agreed to assemble in Philadelphia in September, 1775 at the First Continental Congress to consider their course of action.  To start the Congress, they called upon Reverend Jacob Duché, Rector of Christ Church of Philadelphia.  Rev. Duché, on behalf of those gathered, beseeched God through Jesus Christ, for His mercy and deliverance from an ungodly and unjust government.  It would be the first earnest prayer uttered in a Continental Congress, the forerunner of the U.S. Congress.

O Lord our Heavenly Father, high and mighty King of kings, and Lord of lords, who dost from thy throne behold all the dwellers on earth and reignest with power supreme and uncontrolled over all the Kingdoms, Empires and Governments; look down in mercy, we beseech Thee, on these our American States, who have fled to Thee from the rod of the oppressor and thrown themselves on Thy gracious protection, desiring to be henceforth dependent only on Thee. To Thee have they appealed for the righteousness of their cause; to Thee do they now look up for that countenance and support, which Thou alone canst give. Take them, therefore, Heavenly Father, under Thy nurturing care; give them wisdom in Council and valor in the field; defeat the malicious designs of our cruel adversaries; convince them of the unrighteousness of their Cause and if they persist in their sanguinary [bloody] purposes, of own unerring justice, sounding in their hearts, constrain them to drop the weapons of war from their unnerved hands in the day of battle!

Be Thou present, O God of wisdom, and direct the councils of this honorable assembly; enable them to settle things on the best and surest foundation. That the scene of blood may be speedily closed; that order, harmony and peace may be effectually restored, and truth and justice, religion and piety, prevail and flourish amongst the people. Preserve the health of their bodies and vigor of their minds; shower down on them and the millions they here represent, such temporal blessings as Thou seest expedient for them in this world and crown them with everlasting glory in the world to come. All this we ask in the name and through the merits of Jesus Christ, Thy Son and our Savior. Amen. 

In spite of today’s revisionist history and political correctness, the Founding Fathers depended heavily upon God, His mercy, guidance and deliverance from their enemies.  They recognized their fallibility and God’s infallibility and He miraculously delivered them from their oppression (see We the People: Birth of a Nation” by the author).  God gave His people power and that power is in prayer and faithfulness to Him and Him only. 

From childhood we have watched as everything our ancestors worked for . . . was squandered on a delusion.  Let us now lie down in shame and cover ourselves with dishonor, for we and our ancestors have sinned against the Lord our God.  From our childhood to this day we have never obeyed him.

Jeremiah 3:24-25 (NLT)

Even Benjamin Franklin, who many claim was a deist (a person who believes in God, not through supernatural revelation, but through that revealed in creation), recognized the need for God’s direct input when the newly developing nation needed it most.  On June 18, 1787, in the midst of a contentious Constitutional Convention, when the Founding Fathers were finding it difficult to come to a consensus on various constitutional issues, the venerable and aged Ben Franklin rose and addressed the president of the Convention, George Washington and those gathered. 

I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that “except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it.” I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better, than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing governments by human wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest.

I therefore beg leave to move that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service. 

Franklin knew that it was only through God that the differences between those gathered could be resolved.  Three months later the United States Constitution, the most supreme governing document the world has ever known, was signed into law on September 17, 1787.

Benjamin Franklin, perhaps in some eyes, the least likely to do so, chose to stand in the gap for the fledgling nation and implore God’s help.  God is always looking for a willing partner to bring forth His will for a people.  He is not necessarily looking for the strongest in faith, but the most willing and obedient.  In 2 Chronicles 16:9, it says, “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. In this you have done foolishly; therefore from now on you shall have wars.”  God is always looking for a co-laborer to bring forth His plan and righteousness for a people who recognize their sinfulness and are willing to repent and follow Him.

America’s people who believe in God have one choice and one choice only when it comes to redeeming their lives, their family and their nation—they must turn from their wicked ways, repent and return to God.  Non-believers will scoff at this, convinced that they have the answers to America’s problems, but will only take the country further into the abyss.   “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).

America stands at the proverbial fork in the road, and once again she must choose whether to follow the heathen, Baal, or God.  But “a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom,” warned John Adams in a letter to his wife, Abigail, on July 17, 1775, “can never be restored.  Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.”

*************

The Prayer of One.   In 1857, a wave of financial panic swept over the United States—the first worldwide financial crisis brought on by a declining international economy.  As banks in America failed and railroads went bankrupt, they took thousands of business owners with them.  Unemployment shot up and thousands went hungry.  Desperate people turned to crime and society was collapsing.  One man in New York, Jeremiah Lanphier, heeded God’s call.

Lanphier was not a “hellfire and brimstone” preacher like the ones who led previous revivals in America.  He was an unassuming, quiet man who was called as a missionary to New York City by the Dutch Reformed Church.  The desire of the church was to increase its flagging membership.

Lanphier’s plan was simple: Post an invitation for others in the city to join him in prayer every Wednesday during the typical 12-1 lunch hour.  His hope was that those that were struggling—businessmen and workers—would come and spend a moment with God.  If they could not spend the whole hour, then perhaps they could spare 5 or 10 minutes.

Lanphier hatched his plan on September 23, 1857.  The first prayer meeting almost did not happen.  It was not until 12:30 that first day that the first person appeared to join him; then came five more.  Two weeks later, there were 40 men praying.   Lanphier decided to make the noontime prayer a daily occurrence.  Six months later an estimated 10,000 businessmen in New York were gathering for prayer over their lunch hour.  Within a two year period an estimated one million new converts to Christianity were added to the rolls of the churches across the country.

By 1858 the prayer movement became known as the Layman’s Prayer Revival and spread throughout the country.  Prayer meetings were being held day and night, in big cities and small towns.  They were led by businessmen, not ministers.  Before this prayer revival, thousands had become disillusioned with the church and Christianity, but now, through prayer, thousands were coming to the churches throughout America.  Lives were being transformed, crime was on the decline and the needy were being ministered to by those that had the financial means.

The Bible, of course, is full of men and women who stood in the gap and interceded on behalf of others.  Abraham, Moses, Gideon, David, Jonah, Esther and Deborah are just a few examples in the Old Testament.  In the New Testament there was Stephen who pleaded with God not to hold those who were stoning him accountable (Acts 7:60).  There was the Apostle Paul and the other disciples of Jesus, ordinary men, who were constantly interceding for others.  Then there is Jesus, the greatest intercessor of all, who is at the Father’s right hand, interceding before God on behalf of His followers (1 John 2:1).

Abraham’s Sacrifice: Isaac or Ishmael?

January 9, 2012

We can gain some insight into this generations-old conflict by picking up the story in Genesis 16 where Abraham and his wife Sarah were first known as Abram and Sarai. Abram was eighty-six years old and Sarai had never bore him any children, yet God had promised him that he would have a male descendant who would bring forth descendants as numerous as the stars of Heaven.

And Abram said [to God], “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”

Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look up at the heavens and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” (Genesis 15:3-5, NIV)

Frustrated and impatient with the lack of God’s immediate fulfillment of His promise, Abram decided (with Sarai’s encouragement) to take matters into his own hands. He took unto himself Hagar, Sarai’s maidservant, and she bore him a son.

And the Angel of the Lord said to her [Hagar]: “Behold, you are with child, and you shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael [viz., God shall hear], because the Lord has heard your affliction. He shall be a wild man; his hand shall be against every man, and every man’s hand against him. And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.” (Genesis 16:11-12, NKJV)

Several things should be noted at this point. First, Abram (meaning, “high father”) chose to disbelieve God’s promised covenant with him and establish his own covenant by the flesh. Second, his partner in this fleshly covenant was the pagan Egyptian Hagar (meaning one who takes flight). Third, it was God, not Abram, who chose the name of Ishmael for this son to be born outside of God’s chosen covenant with His people. Fourth, it was God who said at Ishmael’s conception, that he would “be a wild man” and that “his hand shall be against every man, and every man’s hand against him.” At the same time, “He shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.”

It is important to note that the Hebrew word used for “wild” in the above verse means for one to be like a “wild ass,” with no boundaries. The Hebrew word used for “hand” means the “open hand of power.” And who were Ishmael’s brethren? He had a Hebrew father, Abram, and a pagan Arabic mother, Hagar. His brethren at the time of his birth were both Jews and Arabs.

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, he was still without a true heir by Sarai’s womb. God then spoke to Abram and made this covenant with him:

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. (Genesis 17:4-8, NKJV)

Fourteen years after the birth of Ishmael, God fulfilled His intended covenant with Abram (now Abraham) with the birth of Isaac (“laughter”) to Sarah (“princess”) who was no longer called Sarai (“dominant”).

Abraham asked God if “Ishmael might live before you.” But God told Abraham:

No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him. 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 17:18-20, NKJV)

God never intended to establish His covenant with Ishmael, because Ishmael was not the child of the promise but of the flesh. God could not establish His covenant with him; He could only bless him. While God blessed Ishmael with fruitfulness, He never made a covenant with him. God’s covenant was with Abraham and him only. And, unlike Islam & Christianity Abraham and Isaac, God never promised Ishmael and his seed that He would be their God.

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 twelve 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. (See 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 promised that Ishmael and his descendants would be wild men whose hand would be “… against every man.”

Some Bible translations of Genesis 25:18 state that the descendants of Ishmael after the death of Abraham, “lived in hostility toward” or “in defiance of” all their brethren (New International Version, New Living Translation, and New 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.

Muhammad and the Muslims have found a simple solution to this dilemma of a negative biblical image. Muhammad asserted that Allah revealed to 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.

Instead of God calling Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac on a makeshift altar on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem (the current site of the Dome of the Rock), it was Allah who called Abraham to sacrifice Ishmael on Mount Mina outside Mecca.

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 he 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)

This 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). 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 the Genesis account, Isaac had no prior knowledge of his role in the sacrifice:

Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”

“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.

“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”

Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” (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)

Excerpted from: Islam & Christianity: A Revealing Contrast (2009) by James F. Gauss.

For more on Islam, read Islam & Christianity: A Revealing Contrast, available on Amazon.com and other online booksellers.