Tom: Thanks, Gary. You’re listening to Search the Scriptures Daily, a program in which we encourage everyone who desires to know God’s truth to look to God’s Word for all that is essential for salvation and living one’s life in a way that is pleasing to Him. We’re going through Dave Hunt’s book, A Cup Of Trembling: Jerusalem and Bible Prophecy, which is currently out of print but in the process of being updated. You are working on that, aren’t you, Dave?
Dave: Am I? (Both laughing) I’m working on a lot of books.
Tom: We’ll get that squared away. Well, hopefully, people listening to the program say, Hey, that book is kind of exciting.
Dave: I think we have an editor working on that and I am going to help him, work with him.
Tom: That’s right. Last week in this segment of the program we were discussing modern Zionism, and for those who missed that or are not familiar with the term, Zionism refers to a historic movement among the Jews to restore them to the homeland, and Zion also refers to Mount Zion, which, by the way Dave, I’ve been there. It’s not a mount—it’s just a little hill, but you know, it’s a good-sized hill, but it’s a hill, it’s not a mount, by our terms. I mean, we have Mt. Washington, Mt. Bachelor, Three Sisters—Faith, Hope and Charity.
Dave: And, Tom, as you know, those don’t even compare with the Sierra Nevada, where we came from in California—we’ve done a little walking, trekking up there—going over 14,000-foot passes…
Tom: Right, looking for oxygen. But again, Zion—that refers in general to Jerusalem.
Dave: And God has a lot to say about it.
Tom: Right. Dave, do you have anything you want to add about what we mentioned last week on Zionism?
Dave: Tom, at my age, I can’t remember what we mentioned last week on Zionism, so you just try to keep me from duplicating it, but I could say this. Zionism—they talk about modern Zionism, that’s what you are referring to—Theodore Herzl is called the founder of it, but actually the Jews have been trying to get back into their land for thousands of years. You could go back 2,500 years since the Babylonian captivity; you could go back to the Assyrian captivity carrying them away, from which we get the so-called ten lost tribes. They weren’t lost, and you can’t tell me they didn’t get back in there, and they did—and we have proof of that in the Bible.
But anyway, so Zionism is what the Jews are all about—it’s what Israel is about. These are God’s promises to give His people this land forever, and every time they get chased out, whether it’s by the Babylonians, by the Romans, by the Greeks, by the Muslims, whoever it is, they make their way back in. Not in huge numbers—so I guess modern Zionism would indicate that there has been, beginning towards the end of, well, I would say more the middle…towards the end of the—I think last century, but now we are in the 21st century—in the 19th century there was more of a concerted effort to get back in. They bought a lot of arid and even swampland from Arab absentee owners and paid a big price for it and turned it into orange groves and fruitful fields. It’s amazing what they have done. So that has been, over the last 100 years, a more of a concerted effort.
Tom: Now, Dave, with the concerted effort, as you know and many of our listeners know, a problem has been created. There are people who don’t want to see that happen for their own reasons. Israel, referred to by many, as the Holy Land, sacred to Islam, sacred to Christianity and its various groups, Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, and so on.
Dave: Let me interrupt there a second, Tom. It never was sacred to Islam. Jerusalem is not mentioned once in the Qur’an. When he first started claiming he was a prophet and receiving inspiration from Allah through Gabriel, Muhammad had his first—well, he had a handful of disciples pray pointing towards Jerusalem. But when the Jews and Christians refused to accept him as a prophet, then he became very angry. He started killing them and finally killed every Jew in Arabia, except for those who escaped, and turned…the prayer now was to be pointed toward Mecca.
But Jerusalem, only for that moment he tried to give some significance to it in order to entice Jews and Christians to become his followers. But other than that, never, never was it—there were periods…there were centuries, for example, during the entire 400 years that the Ottoman empire held control of Jerusalem, no heads of governments went to Jerusalem, no big religious leaders went there. There was just a brief period, 1690-92, when they constructed the Dome of the Rock, because—I guess we have already talked about this—because a rival Muslim faction had, by force, taken Mecca. They fight one another. They have fought one another. This is not peace—this is war! And so one Caliph built this Dome of the Rock, trying to attract people there. But when he managed to take Mecca again, then forget the Dome of the Rock. It’s only been very recently that they have tried to use this as a claim on Jerusalem.
Tom: So, Dave, with these different religious views, whether legitimate or not, it creates and has created big time problems, particularly when, you know some you’d say, “Well, they are just sincere, they are trying to live out their religion,” but it’s taken a very militant approach to those who are interested in making sure that their interests are not ignored at the very least.
Dave: And, Tom, that’s amazing because that was the prophecy that God would make—He said He would make Jerusalem a cup of trembling, a burdensome stone—who could have imagined that? But look at it today and just exactly as you say, you’ve got a quarrel going on—you have a quarrel over the church of the holy sepulcher, and that’s quite a history of the Greek Orthodox and the Syrians and the Catholics and Protestants and so forth, and they are all quarreling. Sometimes they have fist fights and the Israeli police, believe it or not, have to come in there and separate them, claiming their share. You’ve been there…you know, each one has got a section of it, and that goes back to some ancient treaty that they arranged between themselves. But they can’t agree on it, and they quarrel—sometimes the main bathroom doesn’t get serviced, toilets are plugged up, or whatever, you know, because whoever is in charge doesn’t want—oh, Tom, it is a mess, okay? And who could have anticipated this? But the Bible did, in prophecy.
Tom: You know Dave, with the mess and with problems comes man’s solution. So we’ve got ecumenism—you talk about that in your book. Now, there we go! The world wants—some people pronounce ecumenism or ecumenism—meaning that we are all going to come together with various religious factions and we’re going to find a common point in which we can agree and sort of not talk about the other areas that we disagree. What about that? Everybody wants that, Dave.
Dave: Yeah, we all believe in God; what does it matter what you call him? This is the attitude, but God takes different attitude than that.
Tom: Yeah, but Dave, could that possibly, rationally, work out?
Dave: Well, it will for a time under Antichrist; then it will blow up in their faces. But if people have any convictions at all, if they do any thinking…
Tom: Well, that’s really what I am referring to. Is it reasonable? Is it rational?
Dave: How are you going to get a Hindu, who…they’ve got 330 million gods—now, every Hindu doesn’t have all 330 million, but most Hindus have several gods. Hanuman, the monkey god; or Ganesh, the half-elephant/half-man god, and some of them have several gods. I remember being in India during, I forget what it’s called now, Tom, the exact name for it, but when you worship your instruments that you use for work—taxi drivers worship their taxis, secretaries worship their typewriters, they have a special time for this.
So, how are you going to break that habit? How are you going to deliver these people from this idea that everything is God, pantheism, and say there is only one true God? Okay, well, we don’t have to, they say. But wait a minute! If you have some convictions that the Bible…God says, “I am God and there is none else. Is there a God beside me? No, I don’t know of any.”
Someone who really believes that is then going to kind of put that aside to enter an ecumenical partnership with someone who believes in millions of gods, that anything is god? Or Buddhists, who don’t believe in God, there is no God…So you say, Well, is it going to really work? I think only the Antichrist can enforce it. It might work for a time, but how does it work in a person’s conscience? In their heart? It doesn’t make sense, and yet people are willing to put aside their convictions, and “We’re all taking different roads to get to the same place,”—you know the old saying, and “What does it matter what you call Him?” It makes no sense, Tom, but anyway, I’m interrupting you, so carry on here.
Tom: No, that’s where we are going. I was thinking about Islam, which people say, “Well, that’s completely removed from Christianity.” But you have the Roman Catholic Church, since…particularly, since Vatican II, which took place in the early 1960s, which is the council in which the Church supposedly didn’t change anything but emphasized areas of its belief that were more conducive to friendliness with other religions, and particularly with Islam. So, many things were said with regard to Allah being the same as the God worshiped by Roman Catholics.
Dave: It’s right in Vatican II.
Tom: Yeah, but more than that, Dave, they say Islam has such a high view of Jesus and such a high view of His mother. So there we go, there are areas which we could work with. What do you think?
Dave: High view of Jesus? Jesus is the 27th prophet; Muhammad was the 28th. Muhammad regarded Jesus as the greatest, except for himself! Even though the Qur’an admits that Muhammad sinned. I don’t know how many times, Tom, I haven’t counted them in the Qur’an, Allah warns and exhorts Muhammad to confess his sins. But the Qur’an also acknowledges, and the Hadith acknowledges, Jesus lived without sin, okay?
But the Qur’an teaches Jesus is not God—He’s not the Son of God. Allah has no son. He didn’t die for our sins on the cross—He didn’t even die—someone else died in His place; He was taken alive to heaven, He has to come back as an ordinary man, get married, and have children, and live for a while and die—and this is a high view of Jesus? And yet some people say exactly what you just said. You’re only quoting them.
Tom: Right. Well, Dave, if that doesn’t work, although they are trying to work that out somehow, some way—as you said, you just have to remove any kind of critical thinking from it; you have to stay on the surface of what seems right, what feels right, but certainly is irrational.
Dave: Well, Tom, they’re trying to work it out right now through dialogue. I’m sorry, Tom, we might as well just speak plainly—dialogue is absurd! You don’t dialogue about mathematics, you don’t dialogue about science—it’s either true or false. And if you believe that Jesus is God and He died for our sins on the Cross, and someone else absolutely denies that, and their most sacred writings deny it and cannot be changed—their great prophet, whom they follow denied it—now, what is the point of dialoguing? You can’t change anything. We’re going to dialogue about irreducible, uncompromisable, you know, unequivocal statements that cannot be changed? We’re going to dialogue about it? That’s a delusion, but the Catholic Church has been dialoguing with the Muslims for what? Twenty-some years. The pope has kissed the Qur’an—this book that denies the deity of Jesus Christ, denies everything for which the Catholic Church supposedly stands—but he kisses the Qur’an! Now we are going to dialogue about this! It’s absurd. It’s a waste of time! It’s blasphemy, Tom.
Tom: The other thing about dialoguing, people say, “Well, come on, you have to have an exchange of ideas.” But dialogue in an ecumenical setting has to do with dialoguing to consensus. In other words, you have to change some of your views, which you said, Dave, views that cannot be changed.
Dave: Well, if we are talking about inspiration—of course, you know the liberals have been willing to throw that out long ago. If the Bible is God’s Word, if God has really spoken—and we have been through this many times on this program—if God has not spoken, if there is not one true God, He doesn’t have definite ideas, He’s not a silly-putty god—you just mold Him to any form that mankind finds appealing—if there isn’t one true God who is the Creator of this universe, who established the laws of physics and chemistry and so forth, and He has moral laws, and He is very jealous, He says, of His name and who He is—well, then how are you going to change that? You can’t dialogue about it. And then the Muslims—we’re talking about Muslims now, but there are other groups as well—they believe that Muhammad was inspired by Allah through Gabriel, the angel Gabriel. You can’t change that.
Allah, apparently, I mean, I wouldn’t think if he’s God, he doesn’t change his ideas. The God of the Bible very clearly says that, I the Lord change not. And the scripture says, “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever.” Now then what is there to dialogue about? There is nothing to dialogue about. Am I going to change God by dialoguing? No, it’s absurd.
Tom: So, Dave, if that doesn’t work, what about this business of consensus? In other words, Israel has to conform to what the world wants, to what these different religious powers—and they really are powers, in terms of their influence, in terms of what they can do—so, consensus here. Let’s just go with the majority, and if the majority is positive and upbeat and forward thinking and wants what everybody wants—peace—what could be wrong with that?
Dave: Robert Schuller talks about positive Islam. Well, I’d like to know about that. Muhammad certainly didn’t know about it. Well, Tom, consensus—how are we going to get a consensus between someone who says God exists and someone who says there is no God? How are we going to get a consensus? How will we get a consensus between a true Christian—and the Catholics at least say that Jesus is the Son of God? Well, so the Qur’an says Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary miraculously, but it denies that He is the Son of God. So, where are we going to have a consensus? You can’t get a consensus between two people where one man says two plus two is four and the other one says two plus two is seven, except on Thursdays, when it is nine. Okay, so let’s take four little balls, let’s take two oranges here, and two oranges there, then let’s count them. But that doesn’t really prove it, because this guy—you can’t change his mind, okay? Then when are we going to come to a consensus? Well, let’s compromise and say, two plus two is three. Okay, now, what do you say—but that’s mathematics! You can prove that.
Wait a minute! If the Bible is not every bit as provable, every bit as true, and if we cannot know for certain that it is true, then again, what is the point? Why do you even deal with the Bible? Can’t we know whether God is, and who He is, and what man’s problem with God is, and what separates man from God? Has He not spoken? Now if He hasn’t, we’ve got nothing.
And see, Tom, I think the problem is that in all of this that we have been talking about—whether it’s ecumenism, whether it’s compromise or consensus, whatever you want to call it—being politically correct, religiously correct, there is something that people are forgetting. What does God have to say about this? Has He spoken? Does He have any ideas? Are His ideas definite? Then why don’t we find out what God has said, and, you know, I’ve been talking about this for a long time. I wish we could have an international debate and let the Muslims give us their evidence why the Qur’an is God’s Word, why Muhammad is the true prophet, Allah is the true God, and we will give our evidence why the Bible is God’s Word, and Yahweh is the true God, Jesus Christ is the Savior of sinners—and then let people come to their own conclusions. But let’s not try to have some kind of a dialogue that’s going to come to a consensus.
Tom: Well, I think it’s a great idea, Dave, but I don’t think it will fly, because most people want what we have been talking about. They want to massage these things around; they want to agree to disagree.
Dave: I’ve heard that. “Let’s agree to disagree—peacefully,” but they don’t really admit that they disagree, Tom.
Tom: But people don’t mind living in a…call it a fog, about this stuff as long as they can avoid—they are trying to avoid the conflict. Many people, other people jump in.
Dave: But when we get down to this book and the subject we are talking about, A Cup Of Trembling, Jerusalem as a burdensome stone—that is because God has some definite ideas! Men have their own ideas. The Jews and the Israelis—they don’t even believe what God has said. If they did they would never have compromised, they would never have offered any land for peace. Furthermore, they don’t even believe what the Muslims have said openly over and over and over, that their only purpose is to kill them, kill the Jews. Muhammad said that’s what they must do.
Tom: Dave, let me throw an example in here. About ten years ago, we went to Israel, remember?
Dave: Has it been that long, Tom?
Tom: Actually, it could be a little bit longer, but what I remember is visiting a Kibbutz. Now for those who don’t know what a Kibbutz is, it’s like a communal farm, and the whole idea is to grow crops, and they were doing a wonderful job, but the Kibbutz as I remember it was right at the foot of the Golan Heights and we had the Kibbutz leader—now talk about atheist, I couldn’t figure out whether the guy was an atheist or a New Ager, because he had a mixture of both. You know, they were growing all kind of organic things for, you know, nutritious, I guess, but…
Dave: To change your consciousness. But he said he did not believe in God, and he claimed that 90 percent of the Kibbutzim did not believe in God.
Tom: Right, yet he is telling us the story about, I think it was the Yom Kippur War, when you could see these tanks rolling down the Golan right in front of them. Now, you asked him a question about what was the problem here. These Syrians coming down, about to take over the land. Why would he think this was their land, on what basis? If he doesn’t believe in God, what would be his basis for it?
Dave: Yeah, I asked him that. I said, “You don’t believe in God?”
“You don’t believe that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob gave you this land because you’re His people?”
“Well, then, what better claim do you have to it than the Arabs or the Syrians or whoever?” He didn’t have an answer for that, as I recall.
Tom: No, he didn’t.
Dave: There isn’t an answer.
Tom: He went on to another subject. But that’s what’s critical here. As you said, did God promise this land? Is this the promised land?
Dave: Well, we’ve said it before, we’ll say it again, and I like to wave my Bible at an audience, Tom, and say, “This is Israel’s title deed to that land. It was given to them about 4,000 years ago by God!” And He promised this, He gave it to them, He said He will fulfill that promise, and He warns: You had better look out what you try to do with Israel” And I think President Bush, the United Nations, the European Union, the Muslims, and the Israelis themselves, need to remember that and find out what God’s plans are for this land, and then let’s all fit into what He has decided.
Tom: Again, God’s words, Genesis:12:3: “And I will bless them that bless thee and curse him that curses thee, and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”