Today we look at men who claimed to be the Messiah and led many Jews astray. Then Derek delves into the origin of Mohammed and the religion of Islam. He explains some of its teachings, warning of the dangers it presents, revealing Islam’s denial that Jesus is the Son of God.
There was a spiritual force at work that swept through that crowd and changed them. And they became almost insane with anger, jealousy and rage without any cause whatever. And I personally believe that is when the spirit of antichrist first impacted humanity. And it has in a sense sought to dominate the Jewish people from then until now.
Now Jesus warned them—(if you turn to John chapter 5, and verse 43). They were at this point disputing His claim to be the Messiah, the Son of God:
“And Jesus said, I have come in my Father’s name and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive.”
Now that has been proved abundantly true. In other words, “I am the true Messiah but you will not receive Me. If a false Messiah will come in his name, you will receive him.” And the Jewish encyclopedia records approximately 40 false messiahs who have come since then and have been received by Jewish people. To name just one or two or three of them, the most famous probably is Bar Kokba who led a revolt against Rome in 138 A.D., I believe. Then there was Moses of Crete, I think about the fifth century, who persuaded people that they should wade out into the sea from Crete and they’d meet the Messiah and thousands went into the sea and were drowned. And then in the year 1666, which was supposed to be the miraculous year, Sabbatai Zevi claimed to be the Messiah and was enthusiastically received by multitudes.
One of the false teachings of Judaism, it’s not taught by all of Judaism, but there is a teaching in Judaism, is that the one who gives us back our temple is the Messiah. You know, I am sure, that the temple area, the sacred site of all Jewish people, is still occupied by a Moslem mosque and the Jews are not even permitted to go there although they actually control politically the whole area. And I personally believe that if a political personality would arise who could somehow intervene in the Middle East and obtain for the Jewish people the right to build their temple there, they would enthusiastically hail him as Messiah. And he would appeal to the whole community of Jewish people worldwide. And I would suggest that that might not be very far away.
Now let us look at another main manifestation of the spirit of antichrist. This is one of extreme importance for us as Christians to be well-informed about at this time; and that is, Islam, which is the name for the religion of Mohammed. Islam means perfection, completeness, fulfillment.
Mohammed arose in the 7th century of this era in the Arabian peninsula, claimed to be a prophet, claimed to receive in a cave from an archangel the revelation of the religion which then became Islam. And he claimed that his religion, Islam, was the true fulfillment of the Old and the New Testament. He claimed that the Christians and the Gospels had perverted the real truth, but he through Islam was restoring it. That is the basic claim of Mohammed. And he first believed that because he rejected idolatry and because he rejected the claims of Christianity, the Jewish people would follow him. But he was disappointed. And when they did not follow him he turned against them and became a persecutor of them.
Not let’s consider the teachings of Islam. Personally, this is my own opinion, at the present moment, I think Islam is the most sinister, powerful force opposing the truth of God at work in the world. It is a tragedy that so many Christians in the West have totally misunderstood and underestimated Islam. If it once gains power, it will first and foremost suppress the Jews and second suppress the Christians. In Moslem countries throughout the centuries Christians and Jews have been given the title dimmy which means second class people. It rather suits Islam to have some of them around but to keep them in such a low and debased condition that the superiority of Islam is manifest to everybody.
Ruth and I were in Pakistan in 1985 preaching the Gospel there. One of the first things that happened to us was that we were taken to visit the Christian community in Karachi. And I still remember the awful sense of physical sickness when I saw the squalor, the poverty, the debased condition.
They had open sewers running in the streets. They just went to the toilet out in the open. And this was the picture of Christianity presented to the people of Pakistan. It suited them, you understand. They did not want to eliminate them totally, they just wanted to demonstrate the total superiority of Moslems over Christians. For instance, Moslems will never clean latrines. So all cleaners of latrines in Pakistan are Christians. That is basically the Pakistani vision of Christianity. This is just one of countless examples of how the Jews and the Christians have been a totally suppressed, inferior minority in Islamic countries. The oath of a Christian is not accepted in Islamic courts. The evidence of a Christian against a Moslem is not accepted.
It is true that Islam has not been guilty of anything so terrible as the holocaust but it has a long record of thirteen centuries of suppression and contempt for Christianity. It is hard for you who are not familiar to realize with what total contempt they view Christians. You see, the things that we through Christian inheritance and tradition regard as excellent, like mercy and forgiveness, to Moslems they are just weakness. You see, at the present time the situation in the Middle East: Western politicians, even if they are not Christians, have got a Christian viewpoint. They have a background, they talk about mercy, peace, forgiveness. To the Moslems that is nonsense. In the Moslem thinking revenge is a sacred duty. I just want to bring out the totally different spirit that there is, because it is not always obvious.
Now, as I pointed out, Islam again has the marks, most of them. It started in association with the Old and New Testament. It claimed to be the outworking of that revelation of God. But it denies certain basic fundamentals of the Christian faith. It denies the atoning death of Jesus on the cross. Mohammed thought that Jesus did not die. An angel came and spirited Him away from the cross before He died. Because there is no death, there is no atonement and because there is no atonement, there is no forgiveness. And no Moslem has the assurance of sins forgiven at any time.
Second, and this they deny with fanatical intensity, that Jesus is the Son of God. You can talk to the Moslems about Jesus as a prophet and they will give you careful attention. In fact, the Koran acknowledges Jesus as a prophet, even as a Savior, even as a Messiah. But when you say He is the Son of God, you bring out the most intense, bitter opposition. In the famous mosque that is called the Dome on the Rock that is built on the site of what was the Temple of Solomon at one time, in the Arabic inscriptions around it, twice it says God has no need of a son. Until you’ve encountered this, you have no idea of the intensity of the opposition to this.
And then, as I have said, it denies the Father/Son relationship within the Godhead.