What Islam Teaches About: Jesus’ Return, Armageddon, Jerusalem and the Jews – Program 1
|By: Dr. Ergun Caner, Dr. Emir Caner; ©1995|
|Is Muhammad the example that we should follow? What do Muslims think about Jesus?|
Muhammad or Jesus: Whom Should we Follow?
Every 24 hours, 68,000 people in the world become Muslims, and begin to follow the teachings of Muhammad and learn about Islam’s surprising view of end time events. Islam teaches that Jesus will someday return to Earth to prove to the world that He is a true Muslim, that He will fight in the last great war of Armageddon, the battle for Jerusalem, and bring about the final Islamic defeat of all Christians and Jews? These beliefs greatly affect all aspects of Muslim life today.
- Dr. Emir Caner: And so it is the ultimate jihad, it’s the ultimate picture of what will happen at the end of time, that Jesus defends Muhammad’s character. Jesus defends the Qur’an. Jesus defends everything it is to be Muslim. And Jesus defends that He is merely human, as chapter 5 of the Qur’an says, and is no more; and that those who say so, whether it’s Christians who say that He is the Son of God, or those who have corrupted it as Jews have done by eating swine or by corrupting the text, these people of the book are finally put in their place.
- Today on the John Ankerberg Show, my guests are two former Muslims who turned away from Allah and placed their faith in Jesus Christ.
- Emir: We worshiped a false god, which was given to us by a false prophet, which gave a false hope, through a false word, until one day we were introduced to a true and living God, who was triune, and the son sacrificed His life for our sins, and the Holy Spirit, He indwelt us.
- These men went on to get their Ph.D.’s and now Dr. Ergun Caner is President of Liberty Theological Seminary at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, and Dr. Emir Caner is Dean of the College at Southwestern on the campus of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. They are best-selling authors of Unveiling Islam and More Than a Prophet and are writing the first major commentary on every verse in the Qur’an from an evangelical Christian perspective.
- Dr. Ergun Caner: This is for the Muslim, this war that is taking place now, eschatological. This is a prophecy for them, but they believe as they fight they are fulfilling the final days when Islam will take over and the world will be Islamic. And when the world becomes Islamic, Allah comes for judgment.
Join us for this special edition of the John Ankerberg Show.
- Dr. John Ankerberg: Welcome to our program. We are talking to two former Muslims that have become Christians. It cost them a lot. They were disowned by their family and they had to strike out on their own. They went and got their education, got Ph.D.s; they are teaching in some of our great schools, our seminaries; they are bestselling authors; they have done it all.
- But we are going to talk about a very controversial subject today. And that is, in Islam, is Muhammad the prophet that we all should follow? Interesting, I was showing the guys, just while we were having lunch here, that Ankerberg got a letter to “Come and Know the Prophet” campaign that was launched right here in our own city. “Come and know about Muhammad.” And so this is part of the proselytizing process here in terms of America, where Islam is coming to every American home to talk about Islam, to talk about the prophet.
- So we want to talk about the prophet today, we want to find out about the prophet. And maybe we could start it with this. Everybody realizes that in Europe there were some cartoons that were published about the prophet Muhammad. And there was a reaction all across the world here to this. Why was there such a reaction, and what does this whole thing tell us? What does it tell you?
- Ergun: Well, in short answer, the reason that the cartoons caught so much attention wasn’t necessarily that they were so offensive. There have been much more offensive things to the Muslim mind that would have caught much more attention. But remember, in our world illiteracy is greater than literacy. There are more people who cannot read. And so the cartoon for them becomes sort of the picture of the profane, picture of the offensive. So that’s one reason it caught more attention. It was just because it was for the illiterate, they could see what this was, and they were told what this was.
- Secondly they were told by their imams that this was insulting the nature of Muhammad. And I am going to ask, Emir can speak to this much better, but it became something that was a frontline issue that we find ironic here in American culture.
- Emir: Well, you have hit the nerve center of all of Islam, which is impacted to the prophet Muhammad, who supersedes all other prophets. He’s the excellent example of chapter 33 of the Qur’an. He is the one to be followed. He is the pattern to be followed. He is a valiant warrior, a godly man, a man of revelation, a man of firm stance, a man who re-instituted the religion of old. He is the catch-all for what they want.
- Ergun: These are the phrases for what the Qur’an uses for Muhammad.
- Ankerberg: Right.
- Emir: Right. Here is then a cartoon that has a bomb strapped on as a turban on Muhammad’s head. What angers the Muslim is not merely the bomb; but any caricature of Muhammad is forbidden in Islam.
- But there is a difference between being provocative and profane. Provocative is being offensive, but having a perceived truth or a real truth involved. Profane has no purpose, no truth involved. So profane is dipping the cross in urine: it has no truth in it whatsoever, it is merely offensive. Provocative are the cartoons of Muhammad, that though they offend many, it has a truth within it, a question of violence and militarism within Islam.
- And the second question that has to be asked. Can you imagine if the Danish government had given money for these cartoons to be published? But that is exactly what happened with the cross dipped in urine that was given here in the United States. If the Muslims would have known that, then it would have been all out war. The burning of the flags would have been far greater. Fatwas would have been issued. Yet here in the States when it happened, we were offended and we called out in apologetics and polemics, but we never called them to shut it down. We just demonstrated that all they have is a vitriolic lie in front of them.
- Ergun: In other words, we’ve never burned a building because somebody said something offensive. The Da Vinci Code comes out and questions the very life of our Lord and Savior. And they run ads. The irony for us is, when we are being interviewed by one of the all news networks, and I said something to the effect of, “Well, you are running ads for Da Vinci Code and such.” And they said, “Well, yes of course.” And I said, “Well, why aren’t you running the cartoon?” “Well, we don’t want to be offensive.” And I said, “I don’t understand, you are willing to be offensive to us, but not to the Muslim. So if I burned your building then perhaps you would be willing to listen. Is that ‘violence leads truth’ for you?”
- And they don’t understand this. They don’t understand that… picking on the Christian to them is almost like bi-play, a vocational thing. It’s ironic to us, because in a trans-modern society the only heresy is to believe in heresy, you know. And so now we have found ourselves in the position where the only group it is still culturally acceptable and allowable to mock are believers in Christ.
- Ankerberg: Yes, that’s coming over into even our Christian magazines. For example, Christianity Today published an article. Tell me about that.
- Emir: Well, I had read an article on the difference between the provocative and the profane and the caricatures of Muhammad which are published. And Christianity Today basically takes the Oprah-ization of the culture and run with it: that it is emotionally offensive. Never deals with the fact that there is any truth there, but says, “We refuse to publish it.” And then denounces me personally for saying that we have an absolute obligation to publish it. Daniel Pipes is exactly right, if we back down here we lose the centrality of our freedoms and freedom of press and of speech and of liberty, of religion that is there. Christianity Today is only worried about the emotional castigation of a Muslim, and they refuse to touch on the truth that is found there within.
- Ergun: It really is an issue that you deal with and have dealt with for three decades, but we are terrified of what our future might be. Imagine a doctor who comes into the room and tells you, “You have cancer.” The very first thing that the patient wants is not a hug, they want a cure. What our culture is now telling us is, “No, you need to give them the hug, you need to be empathetic, you need to be on a level where they can understand you, maybe have some tea served.”
- And so what we are doing is we are hugging people into hell. Everybody is in such a rush to get our people saved, which, bless God, thank you for doing it. But they neglect the fact that before a Muslim can get saved he has to realize he is lost first. Which means that we don’t come to Jesus Christ as the best option for the Muslim, or that we just change our way of thinking. We went from idolatry to knowing the only true and living God, Jesus Christ; the triune God, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. We didn’t go from thinking about God in one way to another way. If Jesus Christ really is Lord, everything else is idolatry. Christianity Today’s mistake is, it’s really bought into this neo-orthodox culture. They have less and less stood with truth and more and more diluted what they stand for.
- Ankerberg: Yes. Alright, you’ve got a Ph.D. in church history and so I am going to ask you, let’s get some of the great research that you’ve done. You guys are writing a commentary, from an evangelical perspective, on every verse in the Qur’an, correct?
- Ergun: Yes. 2.3 million words.
- Ankerberg: Alright, and I can’t wait for that to come out. What I’m saying though is, what you are going to say about the prophet Muhammad is academic in the sense we are going to base it on the Qur’an itself and the Hadith, okay, the authoritative interpretation of Muhammad. I want you to go through some of the points in Muhammad’s life. Give me some of the things that show that he is not the exemplar that we should follow.
- Emir: And we point this out, by the way, because as Muslims we revered Muhammad. And once we realized this is a false prophet, our eyes were turned to Philippians 2: “Let this mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus,” [Phil. 2:5] and our loyalties changed. That’s what Christianity Today is missing in part of these arguments.
- Muhammad. Here’s a man, who at the age of forty has his first revelation. He goes home to his wife, Khadijah, he says, “I don’t know if it is demonic or divine.” Volume 1 of the Hadith even explains this. Now in the Old Testament the prophets may have laughed when God gave a prophecy, but they never doubted that the prophecy was true. Khadijah then says, “It is from God and not from the devil. Go have more.”
- And here’s a man then that has revelation after revelation, vision after vision. And indeed at one point he even admits when he makes a false verse of Chapter 53 of Qur’an and says, “Satan interjected in me.” So his whole idea of revelation has a faulty premise.
- Then you look at his personal life. And as a personal life there is nothing more controversial than his marriages. Here is a man who was monogamous for the first half of his life. But then when Khadijah dies and he is 50 years old, he goes into polygamy. The most controversial of which is a young girl, not lady, a young girl by the name of Aishah, who by her own words – Hadith, Vol. 7, No. 64, says, Aishah says, “I was six years old when he was engaged to me, and nine years old when this 53 year old man consummated the marriage with me.” Here is a man that puts into question his very character for sleeping with a little girl, who then Muslims will argue, “Well, she was a mature nine.” What physiological capabilities does she have to handle a 53 year old man in marriage? So his personal life is in question.
- Then, of course, his military life is in question. Over 80 military expeditions. These weren’t wars of defense, but when he goes to Badar and he goes to fight thereby in Mecca in 630 and so forth, these are conquests to unite the Arabian Peninsula around one religion. Conquest. Then his disciples take and after he dies and go to conquest, to take conquest of the entire world. This is the man that is the pattern in Islam.
- Ankerberg: Alright, we are going to take a break. We are going to come back and we want to hear more about the life of Muhammad. Stay tuned.
- Ankerberg: Alright, we’re back, we are talking with two former Muslims who have become Christians, gone on to get their Ph.D.s, they are bestselling authors, they are professors. And we are talking about a very controversial subject, and that is, “Is Muhammad the prophet someone that we should all follow?” And we are talking on the basis of what does the Qur’an and the Hadith, the official teachings of Islam, teach about this man? So this is an academic pursuit, okay? And on this, let’s talk about the influence of Muhammad.
- Ergun: Well, the influences on Muhammad, first, would help us see a little more about his character as he writes. One of the things that Muhammad taught was two levels to jihad. The level of jihad that is the most personal is what we would call issues of holiness: you fight the flesh. But the second level of jihad is corporate, it’s not personal, and it is the defense of the honor of Allah.
- From the Quraish tribe that Muhammad came, they had this job to guard these idols. Muhammad rejected all idolatry. Muhammad rejected icons. Muhammad rejected anything that would be an image. And he began to teach what we know as tawheed.
- Tawheed is the absolute one nature, separate nature, incomparable nature of Allah: that is that Allah is not just one, but that Allah is one totally unique and separate from His creation; judge. You have to understand this to understand what Muhammad teaches about the 99 names of Allah.
- Secondly, remember what Muhammad has been exposed to. According to the Hadith, his exposure to different types of Christian, Catholicism, Coptic, Orthodox. And you begin to see these parallels. For instance, in Catholicism a real heavy emphasis on the crucifix and the images and Muhammad rejects this. And yet he accepts things such as the rosary in Catholicism, it’s called mahaba in Islam; except instead of praying the rosary or the names of Mary, you count the 99 names. You also have Lent in Catholicism where you fast something. You have Ramadan in Islam.
- So it was interesting to see how Muhammad would adopt certain things, reject other things. Everything became a work. Everything became an influence of, you have to be better, be stronger, be nicer, be purer. If you understand that, you understand that all the teaching can be summarized in Islam as scales. Because to Muhammad it made perfect sense, total sense to the flesh, that you do more good than bad: everything is resolved.
- Emir: In the world of Islam and academic world you can see the influence as well. You see Jesus in chapter 3 of the Qur’an and chapter 5 of the Qur’an. And in these passages He performs miracles. And in one miracle He takes some clay and molds it into a bird which flies away. Which is obvious to anybody who has been part of Christianity, not because it’s in the true gospels, but because it was in the false gospels after Jesus had died and all the false prophets had come along. And he adopted that as authentic and removed the true gospels as that which was false. And here is Muhammad that is reintroducing in the seventh century that which was rejected by Christians in the second and third centuries, and that which much of our pop culture, not just The Da Vinci Code, but CBS when they ran the Jesus Film and so forth, they too accept it. And so it Islam will become more popular because of it.
- Ergun: It’s the use of The Gospel of Barnabas. Five centuries after any apostle has been on the planet this pseudo gospel teaches that Jesus emphatically states He’s not God. And this development, this cultic development of teaching, becomes very popular for Muhammad. It actually gives him sort of credence.
- He takes parts of the Pentateuch he likes, changes the parts he doesn’t like. He uses the prophets that we use, such as Noah and Lot and Abraham, but he then adds himself to that list as the final prophet.
- I would say beware of a man who’s the hero of every illustration. Beware of a pastor who is the hero of every story. Think about it this way: in Christianity we have the humiliation factor. If, in fact, the apostles founded Christianity – which, of course, we believe Jesus did – but if the apostles did, as the secularist teaches or as the Muslim teaches, why would they become the idiot of every story? Don’t you think that Peter would be telling Mark, “Don’t write that down. Please don’t say I denied Him.” Why would they put their embarrassment in there? Muhammad never did. Muhammad doesn’t even admit to his errors, or admit to his failings. When he says, “I was tricked and deceived by the devil,” that by the way is the reason Salman Rushdie got into so much trouble.
- Ankerberg: Yeah, compare Jesus with Muhammad.
- Emir: Well, it’s interesting because Muhammad thinks he supersedes it, yet the apostles understood Hebrews 1:1. The author says Jesus is the culmination of all revelation. Jude says, “It’s once and for all delivered to the saints.” [Jude 1:3] And after the Book of Revelation, what else do you have to add as the end of time comes to a culmination?
- But here is the comparison of Jesus and Muhammad. Perhaps the best comparison is Muhammad shed other people’s blood, Jesus shed His own. Beyond that the comparisons, here’s Christ who says He brings peace not a sword, but then He recognizes that sword is His own death and His own burial and His own resurrection. Where Muhammad says convert or die or at least live underneath my laws, he is a physical conqueror. Where the Jews were looking for a physical conqueror they saw Jesus who conqueror far more than anything of a peninsula. The comparison is of one who is truly sinless, the Lord Jesus Christ, and one who has mistakes, and complexity, and expediency all woven within the character of a frail and fallen human being of Muhammad.
- Ankerberg: What about the scriptures that he gave? In other words, you can’t have two things that are contradictory, namely the Holy Bible and the Qur’an as both being true revelations. So what are the forces against each other?
- Ergun: There are some major contradictions here. For the Christian who is studying the Qur’an, you immediately try to almost Christianize it by, you say, “well, the first book has to be first and the last book, you know, Genesis and Revelation.” There is nothing that could be further from the truth. The Qur’an doesn’t follow that pattern. There’s basically two sections of the Qur’an. There are the Qur’anic chapters, called Surahs, that are written before they are in the majority, before they came back conquering from Medina, 622 AD. And in those you actually see Muhammad asking for a seat at the table, so to speak. There is no compulsion in religion, can we not all get together and be part.
- After, however, 622, the last 10 years of Muhammad’s life, from 622 to 632, the surahs that are written are written from a position of power. He is, in fact, in charge. And those surahs even by the admission by the Muslims, those surahs call for conquest by conversion, conquest by silence, or conquest by the sword.
- Now comparing the stories, there are so many differences. Jesus is created from dust in the Qur’an. Jesus, of course, the God-Man in the Gospels. You have men and monkeys in almost an evolutionary position in the Qur’an. Whereas, the Bible teaches that the world was created in six days in Scripture. So what happens, whenever you borrow parts of the Scripture you are never going to be consistent.
- Ankerberg: Take us to the dark side of Islam. Secular scholars realize it. I was talking to you about the fact that I looked on the Internet the other night, I saw beheadings, and I saw arms being cut off and hands and legs and stuff like this, okay? You see people blowing themselves up, okay? Does this go back to Muhammad, and is this part of the dark side that actually is in Islam today? Does it come from Muhammad and where does he get it?
- Emir: Well, the Hadith itself, Volume 1, speaks of beheading. It’s already demonstrated. Chapter 5 verse 33 of the Qur’an speaks about those who are guilty of treason whether within the state of Islam or within the religion of Islam that there are four methods of punishment: that you can be exiled, which is the least of all of them; but your hands could be cut off, your feet from the other side of your hands; or you can be executed, and that speaks of beheading; or finally you could be crucified. So we’ve see Episcopalian priests being crucified in the Sudan. We see the hands cut off all across Iran and other places. That is, it is demonstrably true, not only in the seventh century but in the 21st century, that the more you follow the literal words of Muhammad, the more you become literally violent. Whereas, the more you follow the Scripture, the more peaceful you become, and you realize that, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” [Matt. 5:9]
- Ergun: Now here’s that profound point. The Muslim would immediately jump up and say, “There are Christians who kill in the name of Jesus. You bomb clinics.” And we always respond and say, “You are absolutely right.” I mean, I am not going to defend those people. There are guys behind compounds somewhere hiding, killing people in the name of Jesus. Absolutely.
- When they do so however, they do so in contradiction to Jesus’ words who told us that we must love our enemies. When a Muslim kills in the name of Allah, he does so in allegiance to the teaching of the Qur’an, and in alliance with the life of Muhammad. It’s why there are 19 new streets in Riyadh named in honor of each one of the bombers. It’s why high schools have received the names of these 19 bombers. It’s why the number one name in the Arabic world for boys is Osama.
- Emir: And the violence, perhaps, is no more exacerbated within Christianity than, of course, the Crusades, and the hero of Saladin within Islam. But we make the point, number one, our faith doesn’t go back 1000 years to a Crusade, it goes back 2000 years to a cross.
- And secondly, in Ergun’s and my book, The Christian Jihad, we point out why we went to war. We went to war as Christians because we took on Islamic theology. Two hundred fifty years before the Crusades, popes started promising forgiveness of sin and eternal security if they would go to war. Well, where is that in Scriptures? Nowhere to be found. But it is within the Qur’an, in chapter 3; it is within the Hadith, in Volume 1, that you are promised eternal security, forgiveness of sin. That is, Christians took on Islamic theology and the Crusades were a demonstration that if we can’t beat them we will join them in their theology.
- Ankerberg: Sum this up today in terms of Muhammad. Next week we are going to go toward the fact of God, okay? Is Allah the same as the God of the Bible? Is that the Father of Jesus? Are they the same? And we are saying absolutely not, and we are going to tell them why. But in terms of Muhammad, what should folks walk away with today?
- Emir: I think they should walk away with the understanding that Muhammad was like the rest of us. He was expedient, he was complex, and he was fallen. He is not someone to be emulated; he is not an excellent example, as chapter 33 of the Qur’an says. What we need to walk away with is to understand we can never follow a human being. We chose to follow Jesus Christ, not because He was human, [but] because He was the God-Man. That is, He as a man died in our place, as God forgave our sins as Mark 2 deals with. That is the only person deserving of our allegiance, is God Himself who through His Son Jesus Christ deserves our full and total allegiance. And Muhammad is not deserving of it.
- Ankerberg: Alright, next week like I said, we are going to talk about who God is, okay? We are going to talk about the Trinity, okay? We are going to talk about the Holy Spirit. We are going to talk about salvation, alright? We are going to compare terms, and I hope you will join us then.