Guess Where I Am!
David’s 1st Blog from a Strange Country
I’m writing this blog from an unnamed country. A very unusual country. See if you can guess where I am.
When I arrived at the international airport and stood before an immigration officer, I requested that she not stamp my passport. The immigration officer understood and granted my wish. There is no other country in the world that I’ve ever visited that I’ve made such a request going through immigration.
The reason I requested she not stamp my passport is because there are a number of other countries to which I travel to that would not permit me to enter if they knew I’d visited this country. They hate this country’s government that much.
This nation has very few Christians, particularly the kind of Christians who believe in being born again. In fact, out of a population of 8.5 million, there are probably no more than 15,000 evangelical Christians here. That is less than 2/10th’s of 1%. Those Christians often face varying degrees of persecution for their faith. They live in the midst of millions of people who all know something about the the books of Moses and the Prophets, and who know that their Holy Book promises a Messiah. Most of them, however, have knowingly rejected Jesus as that Messiah and the Son of God. Yet Jesus was born, lived, performed all His miracles, died and was resurrected in the land in which they live. (And now I’m sure you know where I am.)
As I’m writing these words, I’m staying in the town where Jesus spent most of His earthly life. But here’s another strange fact: Last night as the crescent moon slowly set in the southwest sky, an Arabic call to prayer blasted from the minarets of scores of Muslim mosques (a sound that Jesus never heard once in his life). 70% of the population here in Nazareth is Muslim.
What is Heaven’s Family doing here? My answer may surprise you. But it first requires some background information.
The world’s three major religions all trace their heritage back 3,000 years to the biblical patriarch Abraham. Thus Judaism, Christianity and Islam, which a little more than half of the world’s people identify with, are referred to as the “Abrahamic religions.”
The historical record of the genesis of the world’s three major religions indicate a successive order, with Judaism being the first, Christianity being birthed from it, and Islam, in one sense, being birthed from both Judaism and Christianity. The Koran mentions a number of biblical stories and characters, including Abraham (mentioned in 69 verses of the Koran), Moses (mentioned in 136 verses) and Jesus (mentioned in 93 verses).
All three religions make claims of divine revelation, and because God isn’t an idiot, those claims can be tested by checking if the latter revelations harmonize with the earlier revelations. Of course, much of the revelation found in the Koran does not harmonize with what is found in the Old and New Testaments, so Muslims make the claim that both were corrupted over time, and that the Koran is the only reliable source of divine revelation.
So according to Islam, God was apparently unable to preserve basic facts found in His Word, such as the alleged fact that Jesus never died and that He was not the Son of God, and so God corrected everything through a prophet who, unlike Moses and Jesus, performed no miracles that might be signs of divine endorsement. Moreover, that prophet took at least 15 wives and 4 concubines, the youngest of whom was 6 years old when he married her and 9 years old when he, at age 54, consummated his marriage with her. (Mohamed had a special privilege by the way; the Koran only allows Muslim men a maximum of 4 wives.) More significant, that prophet’s ministry was a total contradiction of the second greatest commandment, a legacy that continues among his modern fundamental disciples who are dedicated, like him, to slaughtering Jews and Christians.
So personally, I don’t buy into Mohamed’s revelations.
The modern nation of Israel contains a hodgepodge of various forms of all three major religions, sharing a complex and tenuous existence. Naturally, the most important need here is the most important need anywhere…the need for the truth to be proclaimed and demonstrated, as the only escape from darkness is to come to the light.
And so Heaven’s Family’s work here naturally revolves around the spreading that light. I’ll tell you about that more specifically in my next blog!