A "multitude of the heavenly host praising God" announced the birth of Jesus with this declaration: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men" (Lk 2:13-14). God was offering peace on His terms to a world deserving His judgment. Nor could this holy God forgive man except through the full payment of the penalty for sin which His own justice required. And that could only be accomplished by the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. The Son of God, eternally one with the Father, became a man through the virgin birth and "made peace through the blood of His cross" (Col:1:20). He is the world's only hope!
Hundreds of promises by Hebrew prophets inspired of Jahweh had foretold the coming of the Messiah, His life, teaching and miracles, His rejection by His own people, His crucifixion, resurrection and ascension to the Father. The Babe born of a virgin in Bethlehem that night would prove His identity by fulfilling all. Foretold too, and now fast approaching, was His triumphant return to reign forever in Jerusalem on the throne of His father David (Isa:9:6-7; Lk 1:32-33).
No angels heralded the births and no prophecies foretold the lives and deaths of Buddha, Confucius, Muhammad or anyone else. Nor did these "messiahs" rise from the dead. Christ's grave is empty; theirs are occupied by the dust of their remains. And peace? Muhammad fought wars to force conversion of all Arabs to his new religion under threat of violent death. Islam's millions of converts were won with the sword. That same bloody sword keeps Muslims imprisoned today.
The town of Yathrib (later renamed Medina, "home of the Prophet"), in which Muhammad (A.D. 570-632) would be born (and where he was buried), had been founded by Jews. He killed every male Jew and sold the women and children into slavery. In Saudi Arabia, to this day, no Jew is allowed. Muhammad planned 65 campaigns of plunder and death against Arabs and personally led 27 of them, forcing all of Arabia to submit to Islam in the name of Allah.
Islam's prophet commanded, "He who relinquishes his faith, kill him!" That penalty is still the rule in Islam (though not always enforced). Executions are announced on Saudi radio and TV in advance and carried out before cheering crowds in Riyadh's "chop-chop" square. In October 1993, for example, a father and son were publicly beheaded for having believed in Jesus Christ. No non-Muslim place of worship may be built, and while it is technically legal to have a prayer meeting or Bible study in the privacy of one's home, participants could be jailed or deported. Such is the "freedom" and "peace" Muslims intend to force upon the entire world. Yet Muslim nations who, in the name of Allah, have supported terrorism now claim to be against it as America's coalition partners.
Only one of Christ's disciples, Peter, swung a sword. He ineptly cut off an ear. Christ rebuked him, healed the man's ear and declared that His kingdom is not of this world and that His servants don't fight in the cause of the gospel (Jn:18:36). Popes and crusaders, proving they were not Christ's servants and not of His kingdom, fought wars to establish a vast kingdom very much of this world, killing Jews, Muslims and true Christians in the process.
Upon Muhammad's death, Arabians abandoned Islam en masse. Abu Bak'r, Muhammad's successor, and his fierce jihad warriors, killed tens of thousands of Arabs, forcing them back into the "peace" of Islam. But Christ's disciples, shunning the sword, preached peace with God through faith in Christ and His sacrifice for sin—and died testifying to His miracles and resurrection as facts they had witnessed and could not deny. Clearly no one is fool enough to die for what he knows to be a lie.
Islam's "martyrs" kill themselves while spreading terror through murdering innocent women and children. Suicide bombers are heroes whose images look down on admiring throngs throughout the Muslim world. Incredibly, just hours before the attack on America on September 11, Al-Hayat-Al-Jadida, Arafat's PLO-controlled newspaper, wrote, "The suicide bombers of today are the noble successors of the Lebanese suicide bombers who taught the U.S. Marines a tough lesson....These suicide bombers are the salt of the earth...the most honorable people among us." And now Arafat supports the war against terrorism?
To become a Muslim one need only repeat the shahada (creed), "There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet." Millions have done so under threat of death. How can Muslims imagine that sincere "faith" is produced under such intimidation? Common decency and common sense recoil. Like Herod, who sought to kill the baby Jesus, so Muslims today are killing those who believe in Him. Here, reported by International Christian Concern (ICC), are a few recent accounts from one small part of Indonesia:
The day the Jihad warriors attacked, we ran toward the jungles. My father quickly tired....the attackers...took his own machete and cut him to pieces...it was my Muslim neighbor who did this...!
The Islamist group Laskar Jihad...proclaimed over loudspeakers its goal to exterminate all Christians [and] have posted this on their website.
To avoid being slaughtered we agreed to be circumcised to become Muslims. We still held Christ in our hearts....
Because of the help the Jihad received from the military...more than 400 people were slain and another 120 drowned while trying to escape in a boat.1
Just as the Allies turned a blind eye and deaf ear to the Nazi holocaust until it was too late, so we have forsaken today's victims of the holocaust which Muslims have perpetrated for nearly 1400 years ever since Muhammad. Had we acted in defense of the victims in Indonesia, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and elsewhere, we might have preempted the September 11 attacks. Will our response continue to be selfishly selective, or will we diligently pursue Islamic terrorism until we have stopped it everywhere?
Peace through Islam? The Muslim world has more unrest, uprisings, riots and assassinations than all the rest of the world together. Muslims betray and kill not only non-Muslims but fellow believers in bloody coups and brutal civil wars (the current fighting in Algeria has taken thousands of lives).
In Nigeria and the Philippines, as in Indonesia, mobs screaming "Allahu Akbar!" (Allah is great!) attack Christians, killing and maiming thousands while burning down hundreds of churches and homes. This is happening today. In the Sudan the Muslims from the north have brutalized and slaughtered millions of non-Muslims in the south and sold thousands into slavery. There is an active slave trade today in many Muslim countries.
Not only the terrorists who attacked America on September 11 but the vast majority of terrorists around the world are Muslims. Lest anyone suspect that fact to be more than coincidence, there is a rush to insist that Islam is "peace." Shakespeare would reply, "Me thinkest thou protesteth too loudly." Nor can the whitewashers offer one example of when, where or how Islam has ever brought peace into this world. There are none—but there are hundreds of examples of wars and violence caused by this "peaceful" religion.
Israel is blamed for the violence in the Middle East. Yet the Arab world was full of hatred and violence long before modern Israel came to birth. Former UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali admitted that in three decades "more than 30 conflicts between Arab states have erupted." 2 In the first 25 years following Israel's independence, there were "30 successful revolutions in the Arab world and at least 50 unsuccessful ones [and] 22 heads of state and prime ministers were murdered." 3 None of this violence among Muslims could be blamed upon the "existence of Israel."
Islam firmly rejects Christ, the One whom God gave to the world to bring peace. The Qur'an calls Jesus Isa, probably from Muhammad hearing Jews contemptuously refer to Him as Esau. Islam's central teachings in the Qur'an and hadith (tradition of equal authority to the Qur'an) directly oppose Christ and His salvation.
Islamic scholars all agree that Isa is not the Son of God and was not crucified for our sins. There is general consent that Allah put a likeness of Isa upon one of His disciples, probably Judas, who died in Isa's place. Taken alive to heaven (in one version), Isa is covered with feathers and flies with angels around Allah's throne until the time he returns to marry, have children and die a natural death!
Islam makes it clear that Isa is not divine and certainly not the Son of Allah (that Allah could have a son is denied sixteen times in the Qur'an). Though in the Qur'an he was born of a virgin, did miracles including raising the dead (Surah 3:45-49), was sinless and even the word of God, Isa is clearly not the Jesus Christ of the Bible. And yet some Christians imagine they can win Muslims to Christ by presenting Islam's Isa.
Bethlehem is where David, Israel's greatest king of the past, was born, as was the Messiah who will reign on David's throne forever. Bethlehem has nothing to do with the Muslims or Arabs, yet they lay claim to it just as they do to all of the land that was promised to Israel and in which the Jews have lived for the last 3,000 years. And today the PLO, pursuing Islam's false claims, has taken over Bethlehem and turned it from peace to such violence that most tour groups no longer visit the place of Christ's birth. The Israeli army has had to bring tanks into Bethlehem.
The September 11 terrorist attack exposed a shocking hypocrisy. Suddenly millions of people (who for years had no time for God) began talking and singing about Him—of course, any god would do—and attending or tuning in to prayer services. There was little recognition that God has moral standards, is grieved with our behavior and wants something more from us than just crying out for Him to "bless America" on our terms. Few seem concerned that America pollutes its youth and the world with R-rated movies, immoral videos and TV programs, slaughters millions of unborn babies (some murdered with only a few inches of the head barely held inside the birth canal) and mocks God with homosexual parades flaunting in His face the grossest perversion. Clearly, in these areas there is some truth in Muslim complaints against our immorality. It seems to have been taken for granted that, as soon as disaster struck, God would answer our prayers at our convenience. Such impertinence should be an embarrassment before the whole world and send a collective shudder through all Americans.
We are deeply grieved for the victims and survivors who have suffered such great loss. We love our country and are loyal to it. That is why we are concerned that America, which has long forgotten God, repeatedly broken His laws and flaunted its immorality in His face, imagines that without true repentance it can so easily merit His blessing. Should we not ask who this God is to whom we cry in deep distress, and what He expects of us if we are to receive His help?
Recent memorial services have featured representatives of many different gods. Imams praying in Arabic praise "Allah, the only true god" (we have shown that he is not the God of the Bible), joined by Buddhists for whom there is no God, Hindus for whom there are millions of gods (take your pick), and "Christians" who have forsaken God and His Word. The assumption is that God doesn't care how He is addressed or what caricature of Him forms the basis of one's "faith." But the biblical God does not answer to any but His own name and is not pleased to be identified with false deities which represent demons: "the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God" (1 Cor:10:20).
Christ said, "If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink" (Jn:7:37). The Ethiopian who asked to be baptized was told the only condition: "If thou believest [in Christ] with all thine heart..." (Acts:8:37). God does not force anyone to believe in and serve Him. (Faith and love are not aroused by fear.) God pleaded with His people Israel to repent, wept when they didn't, and urged, "Come now, and let us reason together" (Isa:1:18).
But there is no reasoning in Islam, only a blind submission under threat of death which breeds the fanaticism of raging mobs out of control wreaking mayhem almost daily in Muslim areas around the world. Who can forget the mobs in Pakistan chanting their support of Osama bin Laden, or the school children in Gaza chanting death to Israel? Peace necessarily involves freedom. Not one Muslim country offers the freedoms we hold dear in America ( of the press, of vote, of religion, etc.) because Islam cannot survive where men are free to choose. Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East.
Paul said, "we persuade men" (2 Cor:5:11), not with a sword, but with irrefutable evidence. Paul "confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ" (Acts:9:22). Apollos "mightily convinced the Jews...publickly, shewing [proving] by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ" (Acts:18:28). Lacking such proof, Islam resorts to violence.
The joyful liberation of Afghanistan has demonstrated that multitudes who were forced to submit did so only out of fear. Hearts and minds had never changed.
By employing intimidation and threats, Muslims prove that Islam cannot persuade with love and truth and dare not engage in serious discussion. That fact is the best reason for them to abandon terror and force. That the death penalty is required to keep Muslims in the fold proves Islam's inability to win hearts and minds. Muslims need to recognize that Islam presents itself as a big bully without any valid claim upon the hearts, minds and souls of its followers or would-be converts.
Let us pray that in the wake of the September 11 attacks the world will recognize the obvious dishonesty of Islamic countries suddenly claiming they are against terrorism, whereas, the day before, they supported and praised it. Let us pray that millions of Muslims will have their minds and hearts opened to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Let us pray, too, that Islamic countries will at last allow their citizens—so long held in the bondage of fear—freedom of conscience and of faith, and that many will receive Christ. And let us do our part to bring this to pass. TBC