Israel Prayer List (E-mail) (June 10, 2009)
We will not here attempt to analyze the portions of Mr. Obama's speech to the Islamic World last week which related directly to Israel; the opinions and views he expressed, although they aroused strong feelings, were not new or particularly unexpected. What was for us much more immediately disturbing was what he may have been opening in the heavenlies over himself and the country he leads with the paean offered on behalf of Islam itself.
We would not be critical of his "reaching out" to a nation or nations which are Muslim. But it seemed that he was reaching out, in the name of his nation, to and on behalf of the religion itself," I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition (emphasis ours).
Islam is an ideology, not a nation like the United States; it is a system of belief (one with an enormous spiritual power at its base). Although, in his speech Mr. Obama owned himself to be a Christian, at the heart of Christianity is Jesus' claim to be the Son of God, the Way, the Truth and the Life and the only way to the Father. This is something which Islam does not and will not accept. Those Americans who believe Jesus' claims to be true and the ideology of Islam are indeed exclusive. Thus, in comparing a nation and an ideology, the only way that it could really be a "truth that America and Islam are not exclusive" would be if America were itself to become an Islamic republic. The very word "Islam" means "submission" or "surrender" -and in this context it always is and must be to that religion's deity.
In a strange way, several of Mr. Obama's early remarks recalled those made in the U.S. three days previous, when he issued a proclamation declaring the month of June "LGBT (i.e. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) Pride Month." In that proclamation, he spoke of how "LGBT Americans have made, and continue to make, great and lasting contributions that continue to strengthen the fabric of American society. There are many well-respected LGBT leaders in all professional fields, including the arts and business communities." On June 4th, regarding Muslims, "Since our founding, American Muslims have enriched the United States. They have fought in our wars, served in government, stood for civil rights, started business, taught at our universities, excelled in our sports arenas, won Nobel prizes." After this, the contributions of Muslims become amazing indeed- "carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe's Renaissance and Enlightenment", developing "the order of algebra; our magnetic compass and tools of navigation; our mastery of pens and printing; our understanding of how disease spreads and how it can be healed." Although these achievements are attributed to individuals, in the first case to LGBT's and in the second to Muslims, the implication is not that they were attained in spite of the individuals' non-heterosexual lifestyles or their Islamic faith, but rather that the lifestyles and faith nourished the accomplishments.
Lastly-we would point out a remarkable relationship between what Mr. Obama said about Jerusalem (a place he was careful to mention only once in his speech) and a passage in the Haftarah (Reading from the Prophets) portion for the very week in which the speech was made. Here is Mr Obama's sentence, "Too much blood has been shed. All of us have a responsibility to work for the day when the mothers of Israelis and Palestinians can see their children grow up without fear; when the Holy Land of three great faiths is the place of peace that God intended it to be; when Jerusalem is a secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslims, and a place for all of the children of Abraham to mingle peacefully together as in the story of Isra, when Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed (peace be upon them) joined in prayer" (Emphases ours).
*The "story if Isra" is a bit of Islamic lore, inspired by the 17th Sura of the Koran, in which Mohammed is said to have been taken by the angel Gabriel on a horse (either physically or in a dream) to Al Aksa "the farthest mosque", and from there up into heaven to speak with earlier "prophets" such as Abraham, Moses and Jesus, and to be given instructions from Allah for those who would follow him.
*In the Koran, Jerusalem is never mentioned (nor was there a mosque there when it was written). It wasn't until decades after Mohammad's death that it was settled amongst his followers that Al Aksa was in fact Jerusalem.
*This chapter in the Koran ends with these words, "Praise be to Allah, who begets no son, and has no partner in (his) dominion: Nor (needs) he any to protect him from humiliation: yea magnify him for his greatness and glory" (Emphases ours). The "Jesus" mentioned in the Jerusalem which the President referred to is not the Yeshua/Jesus of the Bible-Who is the only begotten Son of God (Elohim), and who Psalm 2 proclaims will reign on the very mountain which Islam claims as being its Al Aksa.
It is interesting that Mr. Obama spoke of the "Holy Land" and of Jerusalem being a lasting home for Jews, Christians and Muslims. The very week of his address, the weekly portion from the Hebrew prophets also made mention of the Holy Land (in fact the only place in the Bible where this name is used)-but with a very different view in mind, "And YHVH (Yehovah, the LORD) will take possession of Judah as his inheritance in the Holy Land, and will again choose Jerusalem. HUSH! all flesh before YHVH, for He is aroused from His holy habitation!"
As our friend Avner Boskey recently wrote, "The God of the Bible says that YHVH is the only true God (Deut 6:4; Mark 12:29); that any god with a name other than YHVH is a demon (Exodus 3:15; Psalm 96:5; Deut 6:3); and that in Yeshua only is the Truth, the Way and the Life (John 14:6)". We believe that President Obama's speech was well-meant and very carefully constructed, doing its best to deal fairly and equitably with all sides of the main topics which he brought up. But without the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit (John 14:14, 26) to "teach all things", the best of intentions in these matters, guided by mere reason, will miss the truth. †
“Be not overcome
of evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21
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