Monday, June 22, 2015

The Dream of a Worldwide Caliphate

One devout Muslim confided that the dream of every true Muslim is to have a worldwide Caliphate. However, this Muslim dream is a nightmare for all others. It means a degrading subjugation to the laws of Islam and death or imprisonment to those who won’t submit.

Achieving the Caliphate will require violence. Although Muslims would be glad to realize their dream through non-violent means, violence is a regarded as a necessary price, as a recent Al Jazeera poll found – 81% of Muslims polled approved of ISIS. This means that they largely approve of ISIS’ tactics - forced conversions, beheading, kidnappings, and sex slavery.

How is this possible? How is it that people who are pursuing a concept of righteousness could justify such horrors to achieve their worldwide Caliphate?

Before I was a Christian, I was “seeking.” I was given a Hebrew Bible and began with the Book of Joshua. Mesmerized, I read how my people, the Israelites, were defeating everyone by the hand of God. I was elevated, dignified, and thrilled by what I was reading. It felt like I was triumphing, that I was king and that I was finally bestowed with my due glory. However, this glory was short-lived. I finished the Book of Joshua and proceeded to the Book of Judges, expecting that my glory would only be intensified.

It wasn’t! Instead, the Jews rebelled against their God and suffered greatly – death, humiliation, and starvation. I was crushed and fled to the Hebrew Prophets, expecting that they would tell me what I wanted to hear – the greatness of my people. However, they charged them with the very opposite things:

  • Isaiah 1:2-4 I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against Me; The ox knows its owner and the donkey its master's crib; but Israel does not know, My people do not consider.…They have forsaken the LORD; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him.
  • Jeremiah 1:15-16 For behold, I am calling all the families of the kingdoms of the north," says the LORD; "They shall come and each one set his throne at the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem, against all its walls all around, and against all the cities of Judah. I will utter My judgments against them concerning all their wickedness, because they have forsaken Me, burned incense to other gods, and worshiped the works of their own hands.
  • Ezekiel 2:3-5 And He said to me: "Son of man, I am sending you to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against Me; they and their fathers have transgressed against Me to this very day. For they are impudent and stubborn children. I am sending you to them, and you shall say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD.' As for them, whether they hear or whether they refuse--for they are a rebellious house--yet they will know that a prophet has been among them.
Their condemnations of Israel seemed endless but not my patience. I had enough of the Bible. It failed to feed my ego. End of story!

I wish the Muslims had something in their Koran comparable with the Book of Judges or the Hebrew Prophets – something to tame their dream of world conquest and domination. Even more, I wish that they would meditate on the words of Jesus:

  • An argument started among them [Jesus’ Disciples] as to which of them might be the greatest. But Jesus, knowing what they were thinking in their heart, took a child and stood him by His side, and said to them, "Whoever receives this child in My name receives Me, and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me; for the one who is least among all of you, this is the one who is great." (Luke 9:46-48; NASB)
We all yearn for greatness, but I had a perverted understanding of what true greatness looked like. For me, greatness was a matter of power and conquest. However, for Jesus, it is a matter of humility – being least – and seeking the welfare of others.

Instead, the Koran reads:

  • “Make war on them until idolatry is no more and Allah’s religion [Islam] reigns supreme, (Surah 8:37)
  • “When the Sacred Months are over, kill those who ascribe partners [like Jesus] to God wheresoever ye find them; seize them, encompass them, and ambush them; then if they repent and observe prayer and pay the alms, let them go their way’.” (Surah 4:5)
  • “…kill the disbelievers wherever we find them” (Koran 2:191) and “murder them and treat them harshly” (Koran 9:123), and “Strike off the heads of the disbelievers” (Surah 8:12, cp. 8:60).
These are present obligations. To be a faithful Muslim is to be faithful to the revelation of the Prophet Muhammad. The Apostle Paul reminds us that we too are at war, but not the kind of war generally envisioned:

  • Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:11-12; NIV)
While we do resort to armor, our armor is spiritual and mental. Our enemies are primarily spiritual forces who have taken captive the people of the world through deceptive philosophies and religions. The Charleston SC shooter had been taken captive by a philosophy of racism and a white earthly kingdom. Muslims have been taken captive by their own dream of an earthly kingdom. May we provide the light:

  • And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:24-26)

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