Will the Temple Need be Rebuilt before the Coming of Our Lord?

Underneath the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 (NASB) 3  Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.

How does the “man of lawlessness” “take his seat” in a temple that no longer stands?1  “Obviously, it must be rebuilt,” you say?  Gonna be awhile, then.  The “coming of our Lord Jesus” will not occur until the “man of lawlessness” is revealed and the “apostasy comes first.” As most of you know, I interpret the “man of lawlessness” to be the spirit of antichrist that was made manifest through Islam’s messenger, Muhammad. The apostasy, of course, is the falling away of believers in the end-times for various reasons. One need only do a head-count on most Sunday mornings  to see that the day of apostasy is fast upon us. So what about the man-of-lawlessness “taking his seat” in the holy place?

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Footnotes to post:
  1. It was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. []

Duke University Reverses Muslim Call to Prayer Decision

Which is worse? To have approved the Muslim call-to-prayer in the first place or to  reverse the decision after pressure?

In a week of media frenzy, Duke University officials made this initial statement on Monday 1/12/15:

“This opportunity [to allow the Muslim call-to-prayer] represents a larger commitment to religious pluralism that is at the heart of Duke’s mission,” added Christy Lohr Sapp, the chapel’s associate dean for religious life. “It connects the university to national trends in religious accommodation. Read more.

Duke Memorial Chapel

The decision by Duke University officials called for the Muslim call-to-prayer, or “adhan,” to be given from the Duke Memorial Chapel bell tower every Friday, much like the call-to-prayer ushers from the pinnacle of a minaret at a mosque five times a day.1 In an editorial from the Raleigh News and Observer, Duke University’s decision was described as a stand for religious diversity and pluralism:

Duke has taken a different approach, however. It supports religious groups in their particularities and practices. With separate centers for Christian, Jewish and Muslim life and with dedicated prayer rooms for Catholics, Hindus and Buddhists, Duke responds to religious diversity not by reducing all traditions to one common denominator but by attempting to let each religious group on campus express itself in its own unique way. Read more.

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Footnotes to post:
  1. “Adhan, literally in Arabic, “announcement” is and in the Shari’ah it means the announcement made in specific words at the time of salat. It was introduced in the first year of the Hijrah at Madinah. The cause of its introduction, in the opinion of the Imamis, was that Gabriel came down with the adhan in a message from God to the Prophet (S). The Sunnis say that ‘Abd Allah ibn Zayd saw a dream in which he was taught the adhan by someone. When he related his dream to the Prophet (S), he approved it. See http://www.al-islam.org/shiite-encyclopedia-ahlul-bayt-dilp-team/call-prayer-according-five-islamic-schools-law, accessed January 20, 2015. []

Lone wolf in Canada – Allah’s tribe distinguishes itself again

 Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks during a nationally televised address on CBC in this still image taken from video in Ottawa, October 22, 2014.

Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks during a nationally televised address on CBC in this still image taken from video in Ottawa, October 22, 2014.

There probably is nothing more satisfying to me than seeing the saving power of the Lord Christ in the life of a new convert to Jesus Christ. As a pastor “working in the trenches,” I am blessed to see this regularly. Just a few weeks ago, a husband and his wife stood before me as I led him in prayer to receive Christ. I remember hearing his voice breaking as he prayed, only to finish the prayer and observe tears streaming down his face. As I watched him lead his family from the church that day, the smile on his face could only be explained as the pure joy of the risen Lord. I think there is no greater evidence of the reality of the love of God in Christ than a changed heart and changed life, all the result of humbling oneself before a mighty God who transforms us from the inside out into a new creation. 2 Corinthians 5:17 NASB.

Ever been in a group and the conversation turned to religion? How about Islam and Christianity? I recently found myself in conversation with a friend and the question was asked whether Allah and God are the same?

How might one answer? I suggest we look at what happened in Canada:

Reuters) – Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper vowed to redouble the country’s fight against “terrorist organizations” abroad after a reported convert to Islam rampaged through parliament, shocking the usually tranquil capital city.

Shortly after a gunman shot dead a soldier at the National War Memorial in central Ottawa on Wednesday morning, a man armed with a shotgun burst into the Center Block of Parliament, pursued by police. He died after dozens of shots rang out a few yards away from where Harper was talking to his legislators.

The objective of these attacks was to instill fear and panic in our country,” Harper said. “Canadians will not be intimidated. We will be vigilant, but we will not run scared. We will be prudent but we will not panic.”

Harper pledged to speed up a plan already under way to bolster Canadian laws and police powers in the areas of “surveillance, detention and arrest.”

The killing of the Canadian soldier was the second this week with a possible link to Islamist militants. A convert to Islam on Monday ran over two Canadian soldiers with his car, killing one, near Montreal, before being shot dead by police.

Read more.

The gunman in Canada is reported to be a recent convert to Islam. Regardless of whether that proves to be true, the point remains: Why would a Muslim use violence to glorify his god? And what does that say about his god if the use of violence is seen as a means to identify with or bring glory to that god?

To answer the question, I offer the difference between a new Muslim convert and a new Christian convert. A convert to Islam takes up arms because Muhammad, the perfect role model and messenger of Islam, revealed the word of Allah in Qur’an 9:5, 47:4 and many other Quranic passages, to the end that “smiting the necks” of the unbelievers becomes not only a belief, but a duty of virtue that one pursues. In some cases, converts to Islam who had never before contemplated murder as an option now see it not only as an option but a virtue rewarded in the afterlife. In these cases, the convert may become the “lone wolf,” unpredictable and threatening to society. In a recent Congressional Research Report (#7-5700, R41416 (January 23, 2013) by Jerome P. Bjelopera), there have been 63 “homegrown” violent jihadist plots in the United States since 9/11/2001.  Since 2009, there has been an “apparent expansion of terrorist activity in the Untied States (through December 2012),” resulting in arrests for 42 “homegrown,” jihadist-inspired terrorist plots, all of which were conducted by American citizens or legal permanent residents of the United States. (See CRS R41416, p. 1).

American Adam Gadahn Al Qaeda Senior Operative

American Adam Gadahn
Al Qaeda Senior Operative

We might liken what happened in Canada to the “homegrown lone-wolf” terrorist described in CRS R41416 above cited. The effectiveness of provoking fear in the minds of innocent civilians is a major purpose of Salafi-Islamists such as Al Qaeda or the Islamic State, even if the provocation is a single shooter with a shotgun as appears to be the case in Canada. The CRS report above cited states, “For example, the media wing of Al Qaeda, As Sahab, released an English language video in March, 2010, entitled, “A Call to Arms,” featuring American-born spokesperson Adam Gadahn. In the video, Gadahn extols Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan as a “trailblazer” who did not attract law enforcement attention by training abroad or relying on conspirators.  Gadahn encourages would-be terrorists to select realistically hittable targets that are familiar to them and have some broadly symbolic—especially economic resonance (see full video here. video analysis here).

This is precisely what happened in Canada. The lone wolf attacked a high profile location – Parliament – so as to generate the highest level of public reaction.

In another video, Gadahn (June 2011 English language video) even more clearly emphasized lone wolf operations. In the video he suggests that the ease of weapon purchases in the United States allows for the ease of conducting jihadi operations at the center of one’s locality (see video here):

Let’s take America as an example. America is absolutely awash with easily obtainable firearms. You can go down to a gun show at the local convention center and come away with a fully automatic assault rifle, without a background check, and most likely without having to show an identification card. So what are you waiting for?

The CRS report above (p. 12) distinguishes between “radicalization” and “violent extremism.” In America and other Western countries (Canada, for example), it is not illegal to adopt, express, or disseminate ideas, even hateful and extremist ones. Hence, the radicalization of Muslims is not illegal in free societies. But when radicalized individuals mobilize their views (that is, they move from a radicalized viewpoint to membership in a terrorist group, or to planning, materially supporting, or executing terrorist activity) then the nation’s public safety and security interests are activated. Thus radicalized views become “violent extremism” as violent action takes place.

Recently, Americans reacted with horror when recent convert to Islam, Alton Nolen, beheaded one of his coworkers and stabbed another before being shot. Reports are that Nolen attempted to convert his coworkers to Islam but to no avail. When he was fired, he reacted by using violence against those working with him. One aritcle reports:

“He comes out, tries to assimilate with a local mosque, is spurred on by videos and Internet postings by groups like ISIS, and then the incident at his workplace — a perceived wrong against him — becomes the catalyst that trips the trigger in his mind to move from jihadi thoughts to violent action,” Dunleavy added.

I suppose the problem for law enforcement is how to predict when radicalization will become violent extremism? And whether the motivation is simply an act of obedience to Allah and his Muhammad or retribution for a wrong suffered?

Do you know of any new converts to Christianity who have “radicalized” to the point of using violence as an act of obedience to Christ? Any who have become “violent extremists” to advance Christianity? In my Google searches, I find none. In fact, the only evidence I find of Christians being involved in violence has been when they are former Muslims who have converted to Christianity and have become victims as Muslim apostates subject to the death penalty. I know what some are thinking. What about the Crusades? Are you serious? The Crusades were launched for the same reason that Obama launched air strikes on Iraq and Syria. To save human life. Muslims in the Middle East were annihilating Christianity and the Crusades were launched as a reaction to the Muslim sword. (It is quite OK with me if you post to the heavens on that point. I will stand with the martyrs of Revelation 6:10 awaiting the vengeance of the Lord. If you want to stand on the side of Islam don’t tell the Lord you weren’t told!)

It seems to me that the first steps a believer takes are those most revealing of the god in whom they believe. They are like baby-steps that reveal the nature and extent of one’s connection to the “parent” that feeds them. When lone-wolf converts to Islam (or matured jihadis) commit violent extremist actions they reveal the god in whom they serve. Allah is not the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as revealed in Jesus Christ. Allah is another god, a god of darkness. He is satan’s representative masquerading as God and the lone wolf of Islam reveals him for who he truly is. 2 Corinthians 11:14, Revelation 13:3-4.

Jesus come quickly.

Jack

 

 

 

 

Countering Violent Extremism – It Begins with the Truth

kenya.2The Baltimore Sun, January 21, 2014, editorial commentary by CAIR Representative  of Maryland, Zainab Chaudry:

Earlier this month, 28-year-old Todd Wheeler Jr. of Glen Burnie [Maryland] was arrested on charges of making explosives. Had they detonated, the radius of the blast could have caused extensive damage, deaths and injuries. Also this month, Ellicott City [Maryland] resident Mohammad Hassan Khalid was scheduled to be sentenced for conspiring to aid terrorists. Mr. Khalid was a bright teenager with a full scholarship to Johns Hopkins University at the time of his arrest two years ago. … . There is no easy answer for what compels people like them to venture out on the dark path that leads to destruction, loss of life and prison. But the more important question is: “How can they be stopped?” This requires frank dialogue, and not only examination of factors that promote terrorism, but also our individual and collective roles in preemptive intervention.  (Read rest of commentary here)

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President Abbas “Claims” Jesus in Christmas Eve Speech

West_Bank_&_Gaza_Map_2007_(Settlements)Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in his Christmas Eve address from Bethlehem extended greetings to the world on the occasion of the birthday of Christ 2000 years ago.  Abbas stated:

“Palestine, the Holy Land, extends its warmest seasonal greetings to the peoples of the world on the holy occasion of the birth of Jesus Christ, peace be upon him. In Bethlehem, more than 2000 years ago, Jesus Christ was born; a Palestinian messenger who would become a guiding light for millions around the world. As we Palestinians strive for our freedom two millennia later, we do our best to follow his example. We work with hope, seeking justice, in order to achieve a lasting peace. Read more.

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The Evils of Christmas According to the Qur’an

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The Evil of Christmas Poster

It is the favorite time of the year for most Christians. The celebration of the birth of Christ will be replete with Christmas pageants, children’s concerts, candlelight services, and Midnight Masses, all seeking to commemorate the birth so long ago of the one and only Begotten One, Messiah Jesus, the Son of God. Yet, if history repeats itself, it will be a time that sees a rise in “terror” attacks against Christians by Islamist Muslims.  It seems that Christmas tends to bring out the worst in the religion of peace. To illustrate, a recent Muslim propaganda campaign entitled “the evils of Christmas,” was launched by an Islamist organization in the UK that has been banned for its “hate” statements. The DailyMail reports as follows:

Fanatics from a banned Islamic hate group have launched a nationwide poster campaign denouncing Christmas as evil. Organisers plan to put up thousands of placards around the UK claiming the season of goodwill is responsible for rape, teenage pregnancies, abortion, promiscuity, crime and pedophilia. They hope the campaign will help ‘destroy Christmas’ in this country and lead to Britons converting to Islam instead. Read more

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The Hajj and Eid al-Adha – Islam’s search for a lamb continues

As I write these words, Muslims have just completed the Hajj, their annual pilgrimage to Mecca. The Hajj occurs during the twelfth and final month of the Muslim lunar calendar, the month, Dhu al-Hijjah. Over 2 million pilgrims from all over the world (down from last year’s 3.1 mill due to the threat of the MERS virus ) congregate at Mecca to worship at the Kaaba, Islam’s black-cubed structure located in the center of the Grand Mosque, Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The annual gathering this year was on the 13th- 18th days of Dhu al-Hijjah (October, this year). The pilgrims encircled the Kaaba seven times, counter-clockwise (called “circumambulation”), in imitation of angels encircling the heavenly throne of Allah.  On the seventh time, the pilgrims caress or kiss the Black Stone, a meteor-like object, located in the eastern corner of the Kaaba (Muslims believe the ancient stone was brought to Abraham by the Angel Gabriel while constructing the Kaaba with Ishmael).1 Upon contact with the Black Stone, pilgrims believe it somehow absorbs their sins.  According to tradition, the stone was originally white but turned black after absorbing the sins of the many pilgrims who have touched it.2 The ritual is completed with a salute to the stone demonstrating renewal of covenant with Allah.

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Footnotes to post:
  1. “Kaaba.” In The Islamic World: Past and Present., edited by John L. Esposito. Oxford Islamic Studies Online, http://www.oxfordislamicstudies.com/article/opr/t243/e179. []
  2. Ibid. []