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March 2015 Prophetic Observer

For a printable version, click here.


The Muslim Civil War

by Dr. Bob Glaze

Iraq ISIS civil warOne of every five persons on earth is a Muslim of one denomination or another. The two main groups are Shia and Sunni, with the majority of Muslims being Sunni. Although all Muslims believe that Muhammad was the prophet of Allah, they are in constant conflict with one another over different belief systems. Among the 1.5 billion Muslims, this is tantamount to the largest civil war in the history of the world. Don’t get me wrong, this is good for Christians, especially American Christians. At this stage of the war, attention is now on the total annihilation of ISIS, a much-needed campaign to control Muslim terrorists. 

According to the U.S. State Department, there are currently 58 terrorist organizations listed on their website (www.state.gov). Except for a handful of those listed, they are all Muslim-led terrorist organizations. And, although these different factions rarely coordinate their efforts, they do have the same goals: to install sharia law worldwide and eliminate Christians and Jews by any means.

However, their sense of justice concerning methods of murder is inconsistent. While sharia allows the horrible act of beheading Muslims or non-Muslims, burning one of their own is not. It is considered a horrible act. The latest example of this was the torture and murder of a Jordanian pilot shot down on December 24, 2014, over Syria in a strike against ISIS. 

The Jordanian F-16 pilot, Lt. Muath Al-Kaseasbeh, crashed in Syria while participating in a U.S.-led coalition raid on ISIS. His captors burned him to death because Jordanian officials would not bargain by releasing an al-Qaeda woman prisoner on death row in Jordan. She had been convicted of involvement in a hotel bombing in Amman in 2005. When ISIS released a video of the horrific execution, Jordanians were outraged and swore retribution. Muslims had a differing view of the method of murder, not the murder itself.

“Radical Islamic activist Anjem Choudary proclaimed on Thursday [Feb. 5] that the barbaric execution of a Jordanian pilot could be ‘acceptable behavior’ under the rules of jihad.” His justification was that the prophet Muhammad would have wanted it because it was considered civilized to burn those in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the thousands killed in Gaza. He added that Islam does not adopt the Geneva Convention or the United Nations rules of engagement (WSJ Live).

“The head of Sunni Islam’s most respected seat of learning, Egypt’s Al-Azhar, said the militants deserve the Quranic punishment of death, crucifixion or the chopping off of their arms for being enemies of God and the Prophet Muhammad.” Referring to another revered Islamic state-linked theologian, Hussein Bin Mahmoud, WSJ reported: “While acknowledging the prophet’s saying that God alone punishes by fire, Bin Mahoud cited a Quranic verse that requires Muslims to punish their enemies in kind. Since U.S.-led airstrikes ‘burn’ Muslims, he argued, the ISIS group must burn those behind the raids.”

The question is, Are the countries threatened by the Islamic State the only ones that are condemning the burning? 

Other Muslim organizations such as the Saudi-based Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Gulf of Arab nations, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Turkey, and Bahrain have all condemned the burning as heinous and obscene. Even though all of these nations are vulnerable targets of the Islamic States, Turkey is the most important because the purpose of ISIS is to re-establish the caliphate of the Ottoman Empire. We know that Turkey will join with Russia and an Islamic coalition noted in Ezekiel 38–39 to invade Israel. Why Turkey joins this coalition, is not in view as yet. 

Local wars soon begin to spread and involve other nations outside their sphere of influence. Japan now has been provoked because of the beheading of a Japanese journalist, Kenji Goto. Japan cannot respond in kind because they have no offensive military. Since World War II, Japan has only a defensive military. Article 9 of the Japanese constitution states that arms for war potential will not be maintained. They must depend on the United States to defend them and provide protection and representation dealing with military response. 

This horrible act of beheading one of their own has given fuel to those who have been demanding a strike force to respond in kind. The U.S. has been reluctant to provide Japan with offensive weapons because it will rile China and North Korea. Like ripples in a pond, a heinous act in the Middle East is drawing the far reaches of the globe closer than ever to fuel the fire of a soon coming larger war. 

Dealing with any Muslim is flirting with disaster because their word to an infidel can be a lie blessed by Allah. Muhammad said that is okay to lie to a non-Muslim if it will aid Islam. For instance, Saudi Arabia has been investigated since 9/11 for their part in the possible financing of the terrorists that attacked the United States. Current and past American officials have pressed President Barack Hussein Obama to release secret files that they believe link Saudi Arabia to the attack on 9/11.

Concerning the Saudi government’s involvement in 9/11, “testimony by Zacharias Moussasqui, a former al-Qaeda member serving life in federal prison, has renewed the push by those who want a closer look into whether there was official Saudi involvement with al-Qaeda and the Sept. 11 hijackers. They say it should start with the release of [a 28-page document] relating to Saudi Arabia from a joint congressional inquiry into the attacks. . . . Moussaqui testified at this trial that key members of the Saudi royal family continued to fund al-Qaeda in the late 1990s, even after the organization had declared war on the House of Saud. He also described plotting with an employee of the Saudi Embassy in Washington to shoot down Air Force One” (www.thestar.com).

Are Muslim countries really at war with each other? Or is just smoke to cover the real fire—Islamic domination of the world? At some point, the entire Muslim world must answer the call of the Koran to spread sharia law. The fire that burned one Jordanian to death may well spread around the world. Even though Jordan has been an ally of both the United States and Israel, can we trust them when the call of Muhammad goes out to conquer the infidels?

After the announcement of the Jordanian pilot’s burning to death, King Abdullah of Jordan was quoted as saying, “There is going to be retribution like ISIS hasn’t seen.” Abdullah even quoted Clint Eastwood’s words in the movie Unforgiven: “Any man I see out there, I’m gonna kill him. Any s** ** * ***** takes a shot at me, I’m not only going to kill him, I’m going to kill his wife and all his friends and burn his d*** house down” (www.washingtonexaminer.com).

“Jordan vowed a ‘strong, earth-shaking and decisive’ response.’”. Would Jordan, as a friend, react the same way if an American pilot was burned to death?

When things get down and dirty, can we and Israel depend upon Jordan to remain loyal? Will the heinous death of one of their own keep them from joining a caliphate when called upon? The roots of the Hashemites begin with Ishmael, Abraham’s son with Sara’s handmaiden, Hagar. Ishmael believed he was cheated out of his birthright, which was given to Isaac. This happened after God’s covenant with Abraham. King Abdullah gives us the answer.

“The roots of the Hashemite Family reach back to the Prophet Abraham and his son Ishmael. In the 5th century a.d., an Arab leader named Qusai Bin Kilab, of the tribe of Quraysh, descendants of Ishmael, assumed power in the city of Mecca. Even before the Islamic era, Mecca was a center of international trade and the spiritual capital of the region. Qusai was the first of many Hashemites to rule the holy city. . . . The Hashemite name is derived from Hashem, a grandson of Qusai and the great-grandfather of the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him). . . . The Hashemites of Jordan are thus direct descendants of the prophet through his daughter, Fatima, and her husband, Ali. . . . The first king and founder of the state of Jordan was born in 1882 in Mecca” (www.kingabdullah.jo).

The history of the connection with Mecca historically, geographically, and spiritually, cannot simply be dismissed. Will Jordan continue to be at war with other Muslim factions or is this simply a demonic ruse? Even though Jordan seems to be at war with individuals from his Arab family, and continues to be a thorn in their side, it will continue to be an Arab family. Now we look at what the Lord had to say to Hagar concerning Ishmael

“And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the Lord hath heard thy affliction. And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren” (Genesis 16:11–12).


 

“God Is Still on the Throne, and Prayer Changes Things”

by Dr. Larry Spargimino

Praying hands on a bibleThe words above have been sounded forth on radios since April of 1933, and have been the opening of Southwest Radio Church’s daily broadcasts. Southwest Radio Ministries is a Bible-based, Christian ministry calling people to faith in Jesus Christ and encouraging the saved to greater commitment to Christ in view of the unfolding prophetic signs of the times.

 It’s encouraging to know that God is STILL on the throne.” He hasn’t been pushed off by Islam, ISIS, liberalism, the new world order crowd, apostasy, or the new atheism. And because this throne is a throne of grace, we can make a bold approach. Hebrews 4:16 opens with the words: “Let us therefore come boldly. . . .”The word “boldly” means “speaking freely,” “speaking confidently, and speaking openly.” At this throne, we can “obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” 

But what about the words “. . . and prayer changes things”? Some might think they have a sound of irreverence, as though we can overpower God and force an answer out of Him. Maybe it’s just a bit of poetic license that we don’t need to take too seriously.

To be sure, it does not mean to change God’s mind. Yet Scripture tells us that prayer “availeth much” (James 5:16–18). Moses interceded on the behalf of Israel with a bold prayer that reminded God of what Israel’s enemies would say if God followed through on His declaration of destruction for rebellious Israel (Exod. 32:7–14). God answered Hezekiah’s prayer and extended his life (Isa. 38:1–5). Peter was freed from prison through the prayers of God’s people (Acts 12:1–16). When we are facing horrific danger, our knees often knock, but someone said, “When your knees are knocking, kneel on them.” 

How, Then, Should We Live?

First Thessalonians 4 tells us of the Rapture: “For the Lord himself shall descend from heavenwith a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be CAUGHT UP TOGETHER WITH THEM IN THE CLOUDS, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (vv. 16–18). If you believe the Bible, you have to believe the Rapture. What they might not believe is the scheduling of the catching up relative to other end-time events. The Rapture—“caught up” (harpazo)—is used in several other places (Acts 8:39; 2 Cor. 12:2, 4; Rev. 12:5). It means “seized by force and carried away.”

How, then, should we live? Verse 18 tells us: “Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”“Comfort” is based on the word parakaleo, and can mean “encourage.” The Holy Spirit is the blessed Paraclete, the Comforter (John 15:26), the One who encourages us. It’s the same word that appears in Hebrews 10:25: “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting [parakaleo] one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”Some understand this to mean “in view of the return of Christ, let us gather together and discourage one another.” In common parlance, “Sorry, that ain’t what it says!”

How could we not be encouraged? What could be more positive than the Rapture? The power of the Rapture is so great that even the dead are raised. And if the Lord comes right now, we don’t have to wait—we go RIGHT NOW! So, a question must be addressed: Why should every blood-bought, Spirit-filled, Christ-loving, Bible-believing Christian be living a positive life?

First: Because We Have a Transcendent Cause. In the new book A Warrior’s Soul by General Boykin and Stu Weber, a pastor in Oregon and a former Green Beret, they talk about the Christian’s “transcendent cause.” They define it as “a mission that lifts us beyond ourselves, a passion that stirs us to self-sacrifice and causes us to contribute to something much larger than ourselves. To put it in simple terms, every man among us wants his life to count for something important” (p. 74).

Every Christian has a transcendent cause. We believe in something larger, and more significant, than ourselves. It is bigger and more significant than money, pleasure, and the erroneous philosophy of atheists and sceptics that says “let’s eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” But are we living according to our profession? Do we believe what we are supposed to believe? Are we people of prayer, and do we allow  God’s call to live a life of faith and obedience control and direct our steps?

The Bible tells us that “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore, take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand”(Eph. 6:12–13). We are still fighting, but we are fighting from the empty cross. The outcome has already been decided. When was it decided? At the cross. “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it”(Col. 2:15)

Secondly: We Have a Mighty Rescue. Jesus Christ is Lord and Saviour (Soter). The study of salvation is called “soteriology.” The English word “salvation” is a translation of soteria. In Acts 27:31 Paul warned those who were about to jump ship, “Except ye abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved” (from soteria). In this context, the apostle was not saying: “Except ye abide in the ship ye cannot be saved from your sins and go to heaven.” What he was saying was: “Except ye abide in the ship ye cannot be rescued, or delivered.”

Salvation is God’s work of rescue from the effects of Satan, sin, and self. “Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father”(Gal. 1:4). Christians who persevere in faith are not now, nor will we ever be, in the kingdom of darkness. Speaking in the past tense, the apostle writes that God has “delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son”(Col. 1:13).

One Christian asked another Christian, “How are you?” And the brother said, “Oh, pretty good under the circumstances.” And the first Christian said: “What are you doing under the circumstances?” Good question. Christians have already been rescued.

Thirdly: We Have a Delegated Authority. One of the deep mysteries of God is how God can be limited by what we do, or don’t do. If anyone tells you they have it all figured out, don’t believe them. What we DO need to believe is that it is a fact. God can be limited by man. “Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and LIMITED the Holy One of Israel”(Ps. 78:41). Though God is Almighty in the fullest sense of the Word, in His infinite wisdom and grace, he delegated to man the ability to limit Himself. How do we limit God? When we refuse to believe Him and accept the riches of his grace: “Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it. But my people would not hearken to my voice”(Ps. 81:10–11). Mark 6:5–6 is a classic: Jesus “could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief.”With Scriptures like these, we should well ask: “I wonder if my defeats and frustrations are due to MY lack of faith in laying claim to the promises of God?”

God calls His people to prayer today, and He will do so in the future. In Ezekiel 36 we see that God had already promised Israel many things (vss. 23–30), yet the prophet says: “Thus saith the Lord God; I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them.”God is waiting to hear Israel’s prayers to ask for what He had already promised. Similarly, while the Apostle Paul knew that God would save the Jewish people in the end times (Rom. 11:25–26) he nevertheless wrote: “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they might be saved”(Rom. 10:31) 

The Crescent or the Cross

Religious unity is generally met with scorn and hostility. Cries of “ecumenism” and “one-world religion” are heard. The Bible speaks of the Tribulation period during which the Beast will reign over a one-world government pillared on a one-world economy, and fueled by a one-world religion (Rev. 13:14–18). Yet, Scripture also speaks about Jesus ruling and reigning over the entire world. We cannot ignore the far-reaching provisions of the Abrahamic covenant (Gen. 12:3) and the revelation of Israel’s God calling all people to come to Him (Isa. 45:22–23). The apostle envisions a time when all the people of the world (the gentiles) will worship with God’s covenant people (the Jewish people), as set forth in Romans 15:8–12.

F. Michael Maloof (WND, 1/28/15) reports that Egyptian president Abdel al-Fattah el-Sisi delivered a fiery speech to Islamic clerics at prestigious Al-Azar University and faulted many of Islam’s leaders and their jihadist followers with the bad reputation Islam is enjoying worldwide. Sisi has restored the practice of previous military regimes in Egypt of showing greater religious tolerance. On January 6, 2015, Sisi spoke to a Coptic congregation: “I just want to tell you that—Allah willing, Allah willing—we shall build our nation together, accommodate each other, make room for each other, and we shall like each other—love each other, love each other in earnest.”

Adnan Oktar, a controversial but highly influential Muslim intellectual and author, met with three representatives from the re-established Jewish Sanhedrin, a group of 71 orthodox rabbis and scholars from Israel. Some have asked, Is this what Jesus meant when He said, “My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer” (Mark 11:17)? Perhaps more than anything else we need courage, once defined by John Wayne as “being scared to death but saddling up anyway.”