“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” – John 10:1-5 (NIV)
The argument put forward today was twofold, first, that the God of Abrahm is the same God the Jews and Muslims worship as well as the Christians. Also today, Michael Moore stood in front of the Trump Tower proclaiming “We are ALL Muslim.”
The author would like to refute those two related statements and establish what is seen as our role in these times, and to help define the times we are in.
Firstly, in the scripture above, Jesus plainly says that he is the gate for those to be saved. The Jewish faith does not recognize the sovereignty of Christ, but Christ himself was Jewish and the book of Revelation describes the eventual conversion of the Jews.
The Christian faith is the logical conclusion of the Hebrew faith. Jesus is the “… author and perfector of our faith…”(Hebrews 12:2 - NIV). The Christian Bible ties the two testaments together, the Old Testament laying the groundwork and prophecy by which Jesus gained his authority. In the New Testament, Jesus himself and others, refer back to the Hebrew Scriptures. The New Testament cannot be truly understood and respected without also understanding and respecting the Old Testament.
The Abrahmic covenant was not made with the Christians or the Muslims, it was made with Hebrews as well documented in the books of Moses. Israel is a chosen people, set apart to be holy to God. This author cannot set aside the 5000+ years of history the Jewish people have, and the consistency in their faith and understanding of their faith. This is unique in this world.
All of this sets the stage for Jesus, who said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6 – NIV) If Jesus is the author and perfector of our faith, and with the previous statement, he is the gateway to the Father. It follows that the Jewish people will eventually turn to Jesus. “Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, and in this way all Israel will be saved.” (Romans 11:25-26 – NIV) But this logical and scriptural path ties the Jewish faith and the Christian faith together. At the end of times, all will stand before Christ, and will answer for their lives.
So what then of the Muslim faith. The Old Testament nor the New Testament speak of Islam. But the Koran speaks of the Jewish faith. It says that Muslims are to kill Jews. It says they are to allow Christians to live if they pay the Jizya tax. It speaks of conversion by the sword. Christ is known for love, and the Ten Commandments tell us not to murder. Islam and the Bible have problems if they all worship the same God.
In Matthew 12:33, Jesus tells us, “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.” So while Christianity has had it’s problems, it has been a cultural and societal moderating force for good. This country, the United States of America was founded on the basic principles that come from the Judeo Christian heritage. So we could say that Christianity bears good fruit. So then, what fruit does Islam bear? This author sees instability, hatred, violence that seems to perpetuate upon itself. When the twin towers of the World Trade Center fell and Palestinians and Iranians were partying in the streets, we should have known there are two different forces at work in the world; one for good, one for chaos. In 1 Timothy 4:4 we see, “For everything God created is good...”
This is the crux, if everything God created is good, then how can we say that Islam and Judaism and Christianity are from the same God? It doesn’t wash. The practices of Islam, that we see are hideous and hateful. While many Christians are no better, the underlying social fabric is one of good.
Islam may have been founded by taking content from Judaism and Christianity but they do not now, nor have they ever worshipped the same God. To say so, to hint so is very dangerous. In Revelation 17:1-8 the bible speaks of the Harlot which many scholars say represents the coming one world (FALSE!) religion. This supposition that the three faiths worship the same God starts to bring life to that prophecy.
The author believes that we are in the last days, and this generation may get to find out if truly the rapture will happen, and if so, when. The fracturing of the faithful is also foretold.
So what are the truly faithful to do?
The evangelist Shawn Bolz said that cannot change that which you do not love. Therefore, if you want to change the ways of the other Christians, attacking them is the wrong way to go about it. The bible says we are to point out the flaws in the brothers around us, but in private, giving them a chance to change going after fellow believers in a public forum does not fulfill the stance, desire, or will of Jesus, but furthers the fractionalization that Satan wants.
We are to love one another, even the Muslim, even the atheist. But we do not have to love the actions. “And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.” (2 Timothy 2:24 – NIV) We are to be the salt and the light, and we cannot do that if we have the mantle of quarrels around us. “Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you – guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us” (2 Timothy 1:14 – NIV) This is for our families, our friends, our hearts. God entrusts us with things that we are to steward, we are to do it wisely, and with the help of the Holy Spirit.
The author also believes that we should build the Kingdom, to get the “full measure of the gentiles” into the Kingdom. But with the evil that pervades this world, we must do so like Nehemiah, with one hand on a spear, and another building the wall or the kingdom.
Each of us has different callings upon us. We have tasks set forth for us to accomplish for His glory. As believers we owe it to Jesus to serve him. We may not know the calling of one person versus another, but to ridicule, mock or shame them is wrong.
So brothers, I beseech you, to pray, repent, purify yourselves for the battles ahead, and let’s not battle for Satan, but against him.
Richard Eller Cohen: He was a heavy machine gunner in a section attached to Company I in the vicinity of Krinkelter Wald, Belgium, 17 December 1944, when that company was attacked by a numerically superior force of German infantry and tanks. The first 6 waves of hostile infantrymen were repulsed with heavy casualties, but a seventh drive with tanks killed or wounded all but 3 of his section, leaving Pvt. Cowan to man his gun, supported by only 15 to 20 riflemen of Company I. He maintained his position, holding off the Germans until the rest of the shattered force had set up a new line along a firebreak. Then, unaided, he moved his machinegun and ammunition to the second position. At the approach of a Royal Tiger tank, he held his fire until about 80 enemy infantrymen supporting the tank appeared at a distance of about 150 yards. His first burst killed or wounded about half of these infantrymen. His position was rocked by an 88mm. shell when the tank opened fire, but he continued to man his gun, pouring deadly fire into the Germans when they again advanced. He was barely missed by another shell. Fire from three machineguns and innumerable small arms struck all about him; an enemy rocket shook him badly, but did not drive him from his gun. Infiltration by the enemy had by this time made the position untenable, and the order was given to withdraw. Pvt. Cowan was the last man to leave, voluntarily covering the withdrawal of his remaining comrades. His heroic actions were entirely responsible for allowing the remaining men to retire successfully from the scene of their last-ditch stand.
I spent about an hour reading these Congressional Medal of Honor citations. The men who did these actions stood in fear of their lives but with complete disregard to the danger around them held their position, or undertook impossible feats, or saved innumerable colleagues.
Could you do something like that? I, for one am betting you can. You see we are in a struggle, a great struggle against mighty enemies. We are proxies in the battle between ultimate good and ultimate evil. We are soldiers, some voluntary, some drafted, some impressed in either the heavenly or the demonic armies. Satan comes at us with lies, distraction, shame, guilt, entitlement and fear. We don’t have to fully give in, but just believe one of his lies. To be drawn into doing his deeds. Alternatively, to be in the Heavenly army, you must study, work and learn. You have to make a conscious choice to be a part of Christ’s army, and to reaffirm that choice day by day, hour by hour, and minute by minute.
“I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.” – 2 John 7-9
We have to persevere through trials and tribulations. We have to endure through scorn and shame, even if the one delivering the scorn may profess to be of the faith as well. These are perilous times, when evil is called good, and good called evil. It will not always be a red man with a pointy tail who calls you into disgrace, but it could be a friend, a neighbor, a trusted colleague. That is why we must pray for wisdom and discernment and keep in touch with Christ as much as possible.
“That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.” – 2 Timothy 1:2
We have our gifts, our families, our churches, our word, our oath. We have our God and the word of God to guard and to keep holy. We must steward what was given to us, faithfully, and through the trials in order to see our reward on the other side. We must test directives and directions given to us through fervent prayer. We ask for confirmation from the Holy Spirit for what is right and what is holy. Man is fallible, the Holy Spirit is not.
We have a tough road ahead of us. We can surrender now, or we can dedicate ourselves to the Kingdom of God and continue on to our own reward, our own Medal of Honor, as we pass into the next world and hear that our name is written in the Book of Life.
Lord, give us strength. Give us courage. Give us eyes to see and ears to hear. Give us wisdom and discernment and the tools and weapons to overcome the schemes of the enemy. May we continue to be mighty soldiers for the Kingdom, tirelessly working in our appointed roles to bring glory and honor to You. Lord, we know the times and can tell that we are in the midst of struggle. Help us know what to do in order to do your will. Give us guidance in every aspect of our lives. Help us become more like you and less like ourselves every day. In Jesus’ mighty name, Amen.