I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.
The interviewer asked a simple question: “Can we expect more beheadings in the United States?” The answer from Robert Spencer was immediate and direct: “Nothing is more certain than that.” Mr. Spencer knows what he is talking about. He is the director of Jihad Watch, an organization devoted to exposing the role that Islamic jihad theology and ideology play in modern global conflicts. He understands the connection between radical Islam and terrorism.
Who are these people? What do they believe? What is their goal? And what is their connection to the return of Jesus Christ? That is what we will talk about this week. We are looking at the signs Jesus said would precede His return. And although no man knows the day or the hour of His return, we can know the signs that will precede His coming so that we can be alert and prepared.
The first sign is the rise of radical Islam. Many people deny any relationship between terror and Islam, but all we have to do is listen to what these beheaders say about their motivation. These terror groups go by different names–ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), ISIL (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant), or IS (the Islamic State). All those names are connected to Islam. Make no mistake: these terrorists are doing ghastly acts in the name of their Muslim faith. When they commit these acts of terror, they are doing exactly what their book of faith, the Quran, commands them to do. For example, Sura 9:5 says, “So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush.” There are several “sword verses” like this in the Quran that call for violence against Jews and Christians, called “the people of the book.”
In contrast, you cannot find a single verse in the New Testament that calls for violence against unbelievers. Jesus said love your enemies. Muhammad said butcher your enemies. That is the difference between Islam and Christianity. Radical Islam has one goal, and that is to destroy Christians, Jews, the West, and everyone who sympathizes with them.
I admit it is unfair to say all Muslims are violent. I think the most conservative estimate is that only 5 percent of Muslims embrace the ideology of radical Islam. Yet there are 1.5 billion Muslims in the world. If only 5 percent embrace radical Islam, then 75 million Muslims in the world believe in the use of force to achieve their goal. This rise in radical Islam should cause us to pay attention. It is a sign for us to be alert and to be prepared for our Lord’s return.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Rise of Radical Islam” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2015.
Robert Spencer, quoted in Ray Pritchard, “How to Be Blessed by God,” Keep Believing Ministries, January 26, 2005, http://www.keepbelieving.com/sermon/how-to-be-blessed-by-god/. Quotation from the Quran taken from the Mohammad Habib Shakir translation (public domain) at http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/16955/pg16955.html.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.