17 And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. [12th chapter of the Apocalypse, or Revelation, given to Jesus Christ by God to show his servants the future, as observed and transcribed by John the Evangelist.]
An email received yesterday brought an item for Investigative Project on Terrorism by Raymond Ibrahim entitled, Islam’s Collective Punishment Against Christians. He opens this disturbing piece,
As many of Israel’s critics portray it as collectively punishing the Palestinians, overlooked and unsaid is the greater frequency with which Muslims collectively punish the religious minorities living under their authority, often in atrocious ways.
Consider Egypt alone. The most recent attacks on Egypt’s Copts, culminating in the unprecedented besiegement of the St. Mark Cathedral, the holiest site of Coptic Orthodoxy, is the latest large-scale collective punishment of the nation’s indigenous Christian minority. Indeed, almost all of the major attacks on Copts are carried out in the context of “collective punishment”, based on the idea that, if just one Christian upsets Muslims, all Christians—and their churches and their women and heir children—become fair game.
Raymond proceeds to itemise this month’s latest attack upon a family in a long line of grossly intolerant, religious punishments in that ancient but spiritually and financially bankrupt nation. He had recently written that’s tantamount to an Islamic Declaration of War on Christianity! In this latest alert to Western civilisation, he concludes (emphasis mine),
…while other societies…may collectively punish their enemies, Islam is the only ‘religion’ that actually mandates it — that unjustly punishes large numbers of innocent people for the purported crimes of the individual, as the aforementioned clerics from one end of the Arab world to the other maintain. This alone should raise questions about the very nature of Islam.
And this is all without any reference to last week’s terrorist attacks in Massachusetts and thwarted plot to derail a train in Toronto area, as reported yesterday. Renowned Robert Spencer notes, these ‘would-be mass murderers are “religious men”!’ (See Jihad Watch for his well-informed examination of the issues; as well as my previous.)
The ordinary, rational person has only to compare the character, lives and full teachings of the founders of Christianity and Islam, as well as of their disciples in the subsequent period to their religion’s birth, to realise the opposing nature of both faiths.
How to Test These Faiths
In my humble opinion, keys may be found in disciple John’s first letter to believers. This opens with John’s description of how he knows the truth about his teacher and saviour of his people, Jesus Christ, and of his awesome, divine origin from before the creation of the world (my emphases).:
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— 2 the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4 And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.
John goes on to tell about how to discern who are living truthfully in obedience to God or are liars – even imputing God to be a liar! John also warns about antichrist spirits, or ‘instead-anointed’, that introduce opposing beliefs with the aim of deceiving believers:
18 Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the[c] Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.
20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.[d] 21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth.
22 Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. 23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also. [1 John 2 NKJV]
John’s fourth chapter opens with practical instruction on discerning and testing for such spirits, and is still valid today, and practised in deliverance ministry:
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess that[a] Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.
4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5 They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. 6 We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. [1 John 4 NKJV]
I could cover a great deal more concerning spirits that masquerade as angels as light, even those named ‘Jesus’. However, the foregoing living words in-breathed from God’s Holy Spirit in John’s letters, Gospel and Revelatory accounts will suffice for our careful, meditative reading as well as help us love and minister to our Muslim brethren in their current recognition of Jesus as a prophet of God.
UK Government’s Position
A recent post on God and Politics in the UK covers a Parliamentary discussion on the increased persecution of Christians around the world. This succinct posting reports:
Importantly, the (Foreign Office) Minister emphasised that “The Government’s position is to condemn laws against so-called apostasy and any government policies anywhere in the world that punish people for changing their religion or belief voluntarily and freely.”
My thanks go to Gillan Scott and his source at Open Doors for this timely, informative article with links to full transcript and video of the debate.