Folks, Muslims are not the enemy. Don't think of them as the enemy. Satan with his lies and his false teachings and doctrines, that's the enemy. We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but principalities and powers in heavenly places.
We're looking for what you can do to bring others to faith in which you ask about it. So when was the last time you've checked in with your spouse? And a little pro tip, Jenny and I, our marriage counselor, for what it's worth, she told us to never, ever, ever do the check-in during date night.
And this has been revolutionary for us. We used to just literally have a fight every single date night because that was our check-in. One of us would be dumb enough over appetizers to go, well, how, what's going on in your house? Which is usually code for, please tell me the five things I'm doing wrong this week. You know what I'm saying? I'm pushing the cauliflower away because I'm feeling hot and angry. And then we get in this big fight.
And she goes, oh, gosh, you're doing it wrong. Date night's joy. Date night's fun. Just keep it light.
Put a pin in stuff that's going to give you stress on the date night. But you've got to have the check-in too. Great marriages are made, not born. And this devotional journey will be the encouragement your marriage, not just any marriage, needs to flourish. So we cling. We cling to God. We cling to our spouse. We cling to the local church because we're vines. And we want our marriage to be like a fruitful vine in the heart of our house.
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That's connectwithskip.com slash offer. For some secular western leader or perhaps a religious leader like the pope, today I'm just going to suggest that we look in a different direction and we consider what is today the fastest growing religious system on planet earth, if for nothing more than to be aware of it, to be able to pray for it, and to share Christ with those people. Did you know that right now on the earth, you may not see a lot of it in this town, but there is an Islamic revival, a revival. It is the fastest growing religion, get this, since September 11th, 2001. Did you know that before 9-11, they estimate roughly 25,000 Americans per year converted to Islam. Since 9-11, it has quadrupled, 100,000 a year. Over 80% of the American converts to Islam were raised in Christian churches. Islam will bypass Christianity as the world's largest religion in about 20 years.
And when that starts to happen, there's going to be an emotional, psychological tipping point that happens on both ends of that spectrum. I guess with all of that significant data, it's just good to ask this question. What plan do 1.8 billion Muslims have in the plan of God for the end times?
Any at all? My hope is there will be mass conversions to Christ. But could there be something else? Now, I know. I know that even talking about this is not politically correct. Probably most of what I do is not politically correct. But I know it's fashionable to sort of lump all religions together and put bumper stickers in our car that say, coexist, and you know, okay. I know it's fashionable to say that Judaism and Christianity and Islam, because they're monotheistic, they believe in one God, they're basically all the same with just different names. It's fashionable to say that. It's even fashionable in Christian churches to say that Muslims are okay because they believe in Jesus.
And you're right. They do believe in Jesus. But the Jesus they believe in is not the Jesus that this book speaks about.
It's a very different Jesus. So there's things we know for sure. But then number two, the second question, what are we told that we'll see? You see, we're not the only ones that are predicting the future using our Bible. The Muslims have their idea of what the end times is going to be like.
What do Muslims believe about the future? Did you even know that Muslims had an eschatology? Some of you are giving me that look like, what is an eschatology? Eschatology simply means a theology, a belief system about the end of days, the end times.
All that I'm talking to you about in the last couple weeks has been eschatological. It's the theology from the Bible about the end of days. Muslims refer to Jews and Christians in a rather respectful term, they don't do this all the time, but we are called the people of the book. The people of the book means that we believe in the Bible. Now they believe that our Bible, Old and New Testament has been corrupted over time, does not reveal the will of God. Because it has been corrupted, God gave the final revelation to mankind and that is the Quran. So there are two sources for theology for all Muslims. Number one, the Quran, the word of Allah, the scripture of Allah. And number two, the Sunnah. The Sunnah are the words and the works of Muhammad the prophet. It includes the Hadith, simply whatever Muhammad said, whatever he did, whatever he condemned, whatever he condoned, all of that forms the tradition called the Sunnah and they use the Sunnah and the Quran to establish everything they believe in.
Much like Roman Catholic theology is based upon scripture and the tradition of the fathers, or Jewish theology is built upon the Old Testament and whatever is the tradition of the rabbis over time. So the Sunnah and the Quran form their view, their world view. According to Islam, there will be three great signs at the end of days and all three signs are three persons. First of all, they believe somebody is coming called the Mahdi. Now the Mahdi, if you've ever heard the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad address the United Nations, he's addressing all the nations that are there, he always mentions that the Mahdi is coming. In fact, always, every time he speaks, he says, glory to the Mahdi, glory to the 12th Imam, one and the same persons. The Mahdi means the guided one, he's also called the awaited savior, the lord of the age, interestingly, and the 12th Imam.
What is he going to do? By the way, all Shia and Sunni Muslims believe in him as coming. The Mahdi, they say, is coming to set up a new world order, to establish an Islamic caliphate around the world that is a civil, political, and spiritual world domination. He will lead a world revolution, he'll establish Islam as law around the earth. According to their sources, quote, Mahdi will offer the religion of Islam to the Jews and the Christians. If they accept it, they will be spared, otherwise they will be killed, close quote. He's going to do that through a series of battles, holy wars, jihad, using a massive army on earth, all carrying black flags.
On the black flag is one word, punishment. Interestingly, the armies of Iran today carry black flags, because they pray for, that they will be included in that massive army of black flags when the Mahdi comes. He will lead the army of black flags to conquer Jerusalem, he will kill Jews in the process, he will establish his headquarters, his rule, from the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, they call it Haram al-Sharif. He will make a peace agreement after that with the Jews and the West, whom interestingly they refer to as the Romans. And what is probably most noteworthy and most amazing is the timeframe they say the Mahdi will rule.
Take a guess. Seven years. The Mahdi will rule seven years. They even say he's going to come riding a white horse, and get this, they even say in their writings, as it is predicted in the book of the prophets, Revelation chapter 6 verse 1. He will come conquering and to conquer the rider on the white horse.
Now they say that our scriptures are corrupted, but evidently there's a few that aren't, and that's in their view some that aren't. So put it all together, here's the summary. They say he's a messianic figure, an unparalleled leader, he'll take control of the world, he'll destroy all who resist him, he'll invade many nations, he'll enact a seven year peace treaty with the Jews, he'll conquer Israel and massacre Jews, he'll establish Islamic world headquarters at Jerusalem on the Temple Mount, he'll ride a white horse, he'll rule seven years, he'll be loved by all people on the earth.
Sound familiar? That's what the Bible describes as the anti-Christ. That's sign number one in Islamic eschatology. Their second sign is the coming of Christ. Yes, they believe Jesus Christ is coming again. You go, oh goody, see?
Yeah, but just wait. Muslims do not believe that Jesus is anything but a man, and that he never died. He certainly didn't die on a cross and atone for sins, nobody they say can do that. So he didn't die. You know what that means? If he didn't die, he didn't what?
Rise. If he didn't die and he didn't rise, there is no atonement for sins like Christians claim. So what they say is Jesus almost died, but God whisked him to heaven where he is now at the side of Allah waiting to come back. And at some point in the future, Allah will send Jesus back to the earth. Why would Allah want to send Jesus back to the earth?
He's got a lot of prophets to choose from. They say so that Jesus can correct all of the Christians who have misunderstood who he was. That he is not the son of God. He is not God in the flesh.
He did not die on the cross. And he's going to correct Christians and direct them to worship in Islam. They say he's going to come back as a radicalized Muslim. He's going to descend from heaven to a minaret just east of Damascus. As the Mahdi is gathered with his army of black flags, as they gather for prayer, he will come and Mahdi will see him and ask Jesus to lead in the prayer.
Jesus will say no. He will stand behind the Mahdi showing that he's inferior to the Mahdi and asking the Mahdi to pray. They say that Jesus will be the greatest witness on the day of judgment against non-Muslims and he will kill the Dajjal. The Dajjal is the Muslim version of antichrist. Then Jesus will get married, raise a family, die, and be buried next to Mohammed. The third person they believe is coming after Mahdi and Isa, Jesus, is Dajjal, this antichrist.
Third major sign. His full title is Al Masih Ad Dajjal, which means the Messiah, the deceiver. It's written in numerous hadiths in Islamic literature. Get this, he's going to come as a false miracle worker. He's going to claim to be Jesus and even claim to be God. They say he will attempt to destroy Mahdi and Jesus, but the Islamic Jesus, Isa, will conquer and kill the Dajjal.
Now, are you putting all this together? The Bible's antichrist is Islam's savior. The Bible's false prophet is Islam's Jesus Christ. And the Bible's returning Jesus Christ is their antichrist.
It is an exact threefold reversal and substitute counterfeit. Here's the real truth, baby Ruth. According to this text of scripture, as well as what Jesus Christ said and Paul and John all together, at the end of days, the antichrist will come, followed by the false prophet. Jesus Christ will come and put an end to their kingdom and set up his kingdom forever and ever and ever and ever and ever. No end.
Now, if you can't get excited about that, I cannot relate to you. Look at verse 13 of Daniel 7. I was watching in the night visions and behold one like the Son of Man coming with the clouds of heaven. And he came to the ancient of days and they brought him near before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom that all peoples, nations and languages should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away in his kingdom, the one which will not be destroyed.
Now, this idea that I've been talking about does pose some issues that people have. One of them is, yeah, but what about the revived Roman Empire? That doesn't sound like the Roman Empire because we're thinking about Rome in terms of Western Europe, right? Well, if you know your history, you know that the Roman Empire survived a long time, the longest of all of the previous empires mentioned in Daniel. Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome. Before chapter 7 was chapter 2, Nebuchadnezzar had a dream.
Daniel interpreted it as the same succession of kingdoms. The longest part of that statue that Nebuchadnezzar saw were the two legs that were on it, of iron. That's the kingdom of Rome.
So you've got two legs. It's split into two. We know from history, 395 AD, the Roman Empire split into west and east. Constantine decided to move the seat of government from Rome to Constantinople, which is today Istanbul. It continued for another thousand years even after the western part of the Roman Empire virtually dissolved. Did you know that over 60% of the Roman Empire at the time of the New Testament is today under Muslim control?
Those are the fragments of the Roman Empire. Something else that's just interesting to note. Look at verse 25.
This is always puzzled scholars. He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, he shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law. In all Islamic apocalyptic literature, the Mahdi will come and use Jesus to institute Sharia law. Do you know what Sharia law is? It's Islamic religious law. Ladies, there's a burka in your future. Establish worldwide Islamic law, changing the law from the laws of the land that's always the ambition to Sharia law. Not only that, but every observant Muslim must change the times in which he or she lives. There's an Islamic calendar that follows the migration of Muhammad from Mecca to Medina, and it's based around that. And every observant Muslim is told that he must observe those times and those laws.
Well, there's a third question. What do we hope for some? I realize that this kind of a talk, this kind of a study can unnerve people and bring fear. I do not want to bring fear, I want to grow your faith that God indeed has a plan and that you're a part of it. And to balance out everything I've said so far, Muslims are coming to Jesus Christ en masse around the world.
Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. First of all, you said it's the fastest growing religion in the world, and in 20 years it's going to be the largest. You're right. But mostly because of birth rate, not conversions. So, hey, there's a dare for you, right? Young Christian couples, pump out those babies. God loves children.
We're kind of lagging behind the baby thing. That's an interesting dare. But truly, truly, across the Middle East, South America, Asia, Africa, many, many Muslims are coming to faith in Christ, many of them by dreams and visions.
I've read many books on this and heard many stories. A Muslim sheikh has claimed that in Africa alone, over six million Muslims have converted to Christ. Six million.
That would break down to 667 per hour, 16,000 per day. Folks, Muslims are not the enemy. Don't think of them as the enemy. They're the enemy with his lies and his false teachings and doctrines.
That's the enemy. We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but principalities and powers in heavenly places. And I love Revelation where John sees the vision, and keep this in your mind as you leave today, the vision of what John saw. He saw that people from every nation, tongue, and tribe were gathered around the throne of God, worshipping God in that heavenly scene.
I'm praying that many of them will be Muslims who have seen the light of the gospel. Now, let me end with this. I'll give you four quick takeaway things that you can do. This is what you and I need to do. Number one, be prayerful. Be prayerful. Now, I know you think, well, yeah, you're a pastor, and that's sort of the thing you always start with, right? Pray. Now, I mean this seriously. Prayer is the most significant power that God has enabled us to have on this earth.
Now, try tapping into that. Be prayerful in the midst of this. Number two, be watchful. You and I need to look at our world and current events through the lens of scripture. We can't just go on anymore and just like, okay, well, then I'll go to college, then I'll have a family, then I'll have a job, then I kind of do this, then I kind of... I'll have a boat and I'll retire.
You won't have a boat around here. We have to think differently. We have to be watchful. Be prayerful. Be watchful. Number three, be tactical. Be tactical. You know, we Christians could be a little more strategic in our thinking.
This is what I mean. Right now, not 20 years from now, right now, 20 to 25 percent of the entire world is Muslim. What that means to you and me is one person out of every four or five people is a Muslim.
In a few years, it's just going to be one out of four. And yet, 25 percent are Muslim. Only two percent of Western missionary strategies include sending people or mission or resources to Muslim nations. And if indeed 100,000 Americans every year are converting to Islam, that means we need to be doing evangelism in spades all the time. We can't just say, well, just whatever happens. Listen, don't go to churches that don't evangelize.
Don't do that. We have to ratchet up the giving the gospel out. Fourth and finally, to kind of tone it all down now, be respectful. That Muslim man or woman that you encounter at college or at work or in the community is made in the image and likeness of God. God loved the world, including that person who doesn't see or think like you do. They have a soul, and many of them sincerely, authentically want to worship and please God. That's just all they know. So be respectful to them.
Open your hearts to them in dialogue. Well, we began with that weird thing, the stolen baby Jesus syndrome. I still can't get my head around that.
It's an actual syndrome. It's going to happen every year. They're stealing Jesus, not just from city displays. I read an article about one man who had his personal baby Jesus in front of his house and his little plastic activity set stolen. Ten watt light bulb and all, stolen from his house.
Well, it got out in the community. The newspapers even came over and he said in the paper, do you know where my Jesus is? Please return him to me, close quote. The world, by and large, doesn't have a real clue as to the real Jesus. He's been stolen by secularists. He's been stolen by other religions. He's been even stolen by so-called Christian churches and made into something he is not. He is Lord. He is God.
He is coming back. He's going to rule and reign over this planet, and I want to be a part of that. And I want to bring as many people to that as I possibly can.
Don't you? To do that, we need to let the real Jesus be seen and really let him shine. That's our task. What a glorious task it is on Team Jesus.
That's Skip Heitzig with a message from the series, I Dare You. Find the full message as well as books, booklets, and full teaching series at connectwithskip.com. Now, here's Skip to share how you can keep these messages coming your way to connect you and many others around the world with God's Word.
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Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-02 04:53:08 / 2023-02-02 05:02:22 / 9