Robert Jeffress - The Rise of Radical Islam, Part 1
Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress, and welcome again to Pathway to Victory. For decades militant Muslims have been making worldwide headlines, with their shocking violence. And while terrorist groups like ISIS, represent a very small fraction, of the 1.5 billion Muslims in the world. The actions of this minority are creating ripples across the globe. Today, I want to show you that radical Islam, is not a recent phenomenon. In fact, its roots can actually be traced, back thousands of years ago, to biblical times. My message is titled, "The Rise of Radical Islam," on today's edition, of Pathway to Victory.
The radio host, asked a very simple question. "Can we expect more beheadings in the United States"? The answer from Robert Spencer was equally direct. "Nothing is more certain than that," he said. Mr. Spencer knows what he's talking about. He's the president of Jihad Watch, an organization devoted to watching the action of Islamic terrorists around the world. He understands the connection, between radical Islam and terrorism. It's been bad enough over the last year, to see the grizzly videos on the internet of ISIS, beheading innocent people. But then came this headline last fall, Oklahoma woman beheaded by Islam evangelism coworker. "What we're seeing around the world", Mr. Spencer is saying, "We're going to start seeing more frequently in our own country as well".
Who are these people, that are committing these ghastly acts? What do they believe, what is their goal? And most importantly, what is their connection, to the return of Jesus Christ? That's what we're going to talk about in today's message. In our series "Countdown to the Apocalypse," we're looking at the signs Jesus said would precede his visible literal return, to planet earth? And although Jesus made it very clear in Matthew 24, that no man knows the day or the hour of his return. We can know and should know the signs, that will lead to his return, so that we can be alert and prepared for his return. And Jesus said, these signs will be like the labor pains, the birth pains, that a woman experiences. They will increase in both frequency and intensity, before the end comes.
And in this series "Countdown to the Apocalypse," we're looking at three, of those signs that will precede, the Lord's return. And the first of those signs we're going to talk about today, and that is the rise of radical Islam. Now, is it fair to connect terrorism, that we're seeing around the world, with the so-called peaceful religion of Islam? Many leaders in the west say that's an unfair connection. They are dead wrong, in their assertion. All we have to do, is listen to what these beheaders, say themselves, about their motivation, for doing what they're doing. These terror groups go by different names, they're called ISIS. The Islamic State, in Iraq and Syria. They go by ISIL, the Islamic State, in Iraq and the Levant. Or is, the Islamic State. But all of those names are connected to the religion of Islam.
Make no mistake about it. These terrorists are Islamic terrorists, who are doing what they are doing, in the name of their Muslim faith. When they commit these acts of terror, they are doing exactly what their book of faith, the Qur'an commands them to do. They are not acting in opposition to their faith. They are obeying the basic tenet of their faith that is found in the Qur'an. For example, they point to one of the sword verses, Sarah 9:5, read what it says. "Then when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters," that you, "slay the idolaters wherever you find them and take them captive and besiege them and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor due, then lead them, and their way free, lo, Allah is forgiving and merciful".
This is not just an aberration, this is not just some one verse taken out of context. There are 35 verses like this in the Qur'an, in the latter part of the Qur'an, which is binding today. That cause for violence against, what the Qur'an calls, the people of the Book, that is Jews and Christians is like. Isn't it interesting that Islam sees Christian and Jews together. They're all one they're called the people of the Book. Now, may I point out here a difference between this and what the New Testament teaches? The New Testament is our guiding principle for how we live and behave. You cannot find one, single verse, in the New Testament, that calls for violence against unbelievers. Jesus said, "Love your enemies". Mohammed said, "Butcher your enemies". That is the difference between Islam and Christianity. There is not one verse in the New Testament, that calls for this. ISIS burns down churches in the name of Allah. They kidnap in the name of Allah. They behead in the name of Allah. There is a connection between Islam and terrorism.
Now, again, I've been asked all the time, on these radio and television programs, "But pastor, there are extreme Christians too, who they do horrible things and the name of their faith". That is true, and we have to acknowledge that. But first of all, as I said when they do these things, they are acting in opposition, to what the New Testament says. You can't sort one legitimate verse in the New Testament, that calls for violence against unbelievers. So you have to look at that, but you also have to look at these extreme actions of Christians, in proportion to what these Islamic terrorists are doing.
For example, I have people ask me all the time. "Well, what about these extremist Christians who bomb abortion clinics? Isn't that the same thing"? Do you know how many people have died, in abortion clinic bombings? How many total have died, in the last 30 or 40 years? A total of eight, eight people have died in the killing of abortion clinic bombings. Well that's not even a good half hours work, for a Muslim terrorist. You look at the inquisition, people say, "What about the inquisition"? All these innocent people die. That was a dark period in the churches life. And it was, the inquisition went for 450 years. You know how many people died in the inquisition? Over 450 years, 2.200 people died. That's about five people a year were killed, in the inquisition. More people were killed on September 11th, 2001, a single day by Muslim terrorists, that were killed, in all of the inquisition put together.
You have to put this into context. These people are acting in concert with their faith in Islam. In case you need more proof that this is connected to Islam, consider the words of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS. He is the leader of ISIS. He's in his forties, he claims to be a descendant of Muhammad. He earned a PhD from the Islamic University of Baghdad. And thank God, two months ago, he got hit by one of our drone strikes. And right now he's suffering a spinal injury, and we're going to pray that God takes him to his reward, very, very soon.
But I want you to listen to what al-Baghdadi says, about the connection between Islam, and his call to violence. This was a speech he gave on July 4th it is killing in its forthright, embrace a violent jihad. He said, "The Muslims today have a loud, thundering statement, and possess heavy boots. They have a statement that will cause the world to hear, and understand the meaning of terrorism, and boots that will trample the idol of nationalism. destroy the idol of democracy, and uncover its deviant nature". Radical Islam has one goal, and that is to destroy Christians, Jews, the west, and everyone who sympathizes with them.
I understand, and I'll be the first to admit, it wouldn't be unfair to say, all Muslims are violent. It wouldn't be unfair to say the majority of Muslims are violent. I think the most conservative estimate, is that only 5% of Muslims today, embrace the ideology of radical Islam. But think about it. There are 1.5 billion Muslims in the world. If only 5% embrace radical Islam, that is 75 million Muslims in the world, who believe in the use of force to achieve their goal, that should alarm everyone.
Well, what is the origin of all of this? What is the origin of Islam? What is its goal, and how does it fit in Bible prophecy? Well in the few minutes that remain, we're going to look at God's word, to answered those three questions. First of all, I want you to turn in your Bibles, to Genesis 12, as we talk about the origin of Islam. Contrary to what you may have been taught. Islam did not originate 1400 years ago with Mohamed. Its beginnings was actually 4.000 years ago, with a man named Abraham. And we find the story in Genesis 12. "Abraham was a wealthy man, who lived in a city called ur, ur of the Chaldees". It was located in what today is southern Iraq very close to the Persian gulf.
Ur of the Chaldees would have been what New York, or London or Hong Kong is today, it was a very metropolitan city. But God appeared to Abraham, and he said this, look at verse one of Genesis 12. "Now the Lord said to Abraham, 'go forth from your country, and from your relatives, and from your father's house to the land, which I will show you. And I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you and I will make your name great. And so you shall be a blessing". Verse three, "And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you, I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth, will be blessed". These verses form the most important promise in all of the Bible. It's the key to understanding history, from the rest of Genesis, until the second coming of Christ in revelation. It's called the Abrahamic covenant. It was an unconditional promise, God made to Abraham.
And there are three elements in this promise, first of all, God promised to Abraham and his descendants, a land. He says in verse 1, "Go forth from your country to a land, which I will show you". The land is not heaven, the land is a piece of real estate that we call Israel today. And in fact, in Genesis 15, God outlines the borders of the land, that would belong to Abraham's descendants forever. The land that God said belonged to Israel, is far larger than what they occupied today. In fact, they've never occupied yet. All of the land, God has promised them, but one day they will. Because God said, "This belongs to Abraham and his descendants".
Secondly, God promised to seed. He says, in verse two, "I will make you a great nation and I will bless you". He said, "You're going to be the father of the people who are innumerable just as the stars in the sky, or the grain on the seashore, so shall your descendants be".
And then thirdly, God promised a blessing. Verse three, "He said, Abraham, through you, all the families, the earth will be blessed". What was he talking about there? God elaborates further, and he's talking about, the fact that one of Abraham's descendants, would be the Savior of a world. The Messiah who would give his life, as an atonement for sin. That is the Abrahamic covenant. And as we saw in Genesis 15 months ago, it was an unconditional covenant. It didn't depend upon Abraham's obedience, or disobedience or that of any of his descendants. It was an unconditional promise, that God made to Abraham and his believing descendants.
Now the big question is, to whom of Abraham's descendants, did this blessing go? What was the line, of Abraham's descendants, through which this blessing would be passed? Who were descendants, that would be the recipients, of this blessing, that's the key question. Now Abraham was 75 years old when God made this promise. And this command to leave all the Chaldees. Most people at 75 are thinking about cashing, their IRAS, and sitting under an umbrella somewhere, and taking it easy. Abraham was just getting started at age 75. And God said, "I want you to pick up everything, and I want you to go to this land". Well, 10 years later, at age 85, he finally ends up in the land with his wife Sarah. The only problem is, there are no descendants. Not only after 10 years is Abraham, not the father of a great nation, he's not the father of anyone. And Abraham looks at himself in the mirror and says, "I'm not getting any younger. And this woman on married too, isn't getting any younger. And if we're going to have a great nation maybe we need to help God out".
That's always a mistake. God doesn't always have the same timetable for fulfilling his promises that we do. And so Abraham and Sarah concocted this plan, whereby, Abraham would have sexual relations, with Hagar. The handmaid of Sarah, and she conceived Abraham's child. And that was really a bad idea. Because as soon as Hagar became pregnant, there was tension between Hagar and Sarah, as you can imagine. And finally Hagar couldn't take it any longer, the mistreatment of Sarah, and she left, pregnant, and into the desert, she went. And it was while she was in the desert, that God appeared to Hagar with two promises.
And we find those promises in Genesis 16:10, this is so interesting. God didn't hate Hagar, he loved Hagar. He loved Hagar's descendants. And he says to her in verse 10, "Moreover the angel of the Lord said to her, 'i will greatly multiply your descendants, so that they will be too many to count". Just like he said to Abraham, "You're going to be the father of a great nation, with numerous descendants". He said to Hagar, "Yours child is going to be the father of a great nation as well". And then he says something else in verses 11 and 12. "The angel of the Lord said to her further, 'behold you are with child, and you will bear a son, and you shall call his name Ishmael'". Meaning the Lord hears, "Because the Lord has given heed to your affliction".
And then in verse 12, God makes this prophecy, about the son Ishmael and Ishmael's descendants. Look at what he says. "He will be a wild donkey of a man". What, a jackass, that sounds kind of insulting, doesn't it? Your child is going to be a jackass. That's insulting in our way of thinking, not in that way of thinking. It simply means to be fiercely independent. Your son and his descendants will be fiercely independent. "His hand, will be against everyone. And everyone's hand, will be against him". That is he's going to be in conflict. He and his descendants with all around him. Not only his other brothers, but other nations as well. Everyone's hand will be against him, and he will live to the east, of all of his brothers.
Who were his brothers, they would be the other descendants of Abraham that would come. Where would they be living? Well, were Abraham was living in Canaan. What is Israel today, the descendants of Ishmael would live to the east of Israel. That's what God says here. This is the promise to Ishmael. Well, we fast forward. Abraham was 86 when Ishmael was born, chapter 21 the Bible says, "When Abraham was 99, God appeared to him again". 13 years passed, between the time Ishmael was born, and the time God heard from Abraham again. Ain't that interesting, 13 years of silence. Do you ever feel like God is silent. Do you ever feel like, "Well, he's forgotten all about me. He's forgotten about his promise, because I haven't heard from him".
Again God's timetable is different than our timetable. Sometimes God seems distant and silent, because he's over here working out something else we're completely unaware of. He says, "I'll get back to you, I'm not limited by time like you are". That's what he did with Abraham. 13 years later, he comes to Abraham and he says, "Abraham, remember that promise I made, that I was going to make you a great nation. That I was going to give you and Sarah a child"? And Abraham blurts out, "Long live Ishmael". That's what he says in verse 18 of Genesis 17, "May Ishmael live before you, God you've answered your prayer, Ishmael's is the one isn't he"? God said, "No," look at Genesis 17:19, "God said no, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name, Isaac. And I will establish my covenant with him, for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him". God said very clearly, not Ishmael, I'm going to bless Ishmael. But the promise I made to you, when you were 75, it is going through you, and Isaac and his descendants.
What does that have to do with anything? Listen to what the Nelson study Bible says. "Ishmael's descendants are the Arab people who populate most of the Middle East today. Very few peoples of the Old Testament have survived until the day, but two people survived. Israel, the Jewish people, and the Arabs descended from Ishmael, and that is true. Every Jew today, claims to be a descendant of Abraham and of Isaac. And every Arab today, every Muslim today, believes that he is a descendant as well of Abraham, but instead of Ishmael. Ishmael is the spiritual father of the Arab people and of the Muslim faith. There is not a Muslim today, who doesn't claim in some way, to be linked to Ishmael. And that brings us to our current situation, the struggle today. The Arab people, the Muslims, cannot accept the fact, that the promise the eternal covenant, that God made to Abraham went through Isaac and not through Ishmael. And thus that land that God promised Abraham, and his descendants, rightfully belongs to the descendants of Isaac, not to the descendants of Ishmael. That was the decree of Almighty God".
So what do the Muslims do? You know what they do? They simply twist the scripture. They rewrite the scripture. They come up with this fanciful story, that Abraham and Hagar took Ishmael, and they fled to mecca. And there Ishmael became the forerunner of Mohammad and all Muslims. They take the story of God passing the blessing through Abraham and Isaac, and say, "No, no, no, no, the Jews just wrote that in there. It was really Abraham and Ishmael".
They take the story of Genesis 22. When Abraham, took Isaac up on mount Moriah, to offer him as a sacrifice. And they say, "Oh, no, that wasn't Isaac, that was Ishmael, who was offered on that Moriah" they completely fabricate a story, in order to make their point. But let me say it again, God did promise to bless Ishmael and his descendants. You find that blessing in Genesis 17, verse 20. And as for Ishmael, I have heard you, "Behold I will bless him, and make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall be the father of 12 princes, and I will make him a great nation".