Friday, May 25, 2007

“Utter Destruction”: a “Do-it-Yourself” Project


Through the Hebrew Scriptures, the “Lord of hosts” (Isa. 9:6) tells us that someday: “…I shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers; Lest I come and smite the land with utter destruction” (Mal. 3:24/4:6). The “fathers” of monotheism are the Hebrews; the “children” are the Christians and Muslims — along with all of “God’s children,” regardless of their beliefs.

The “fathers,” through the Hebrew Scriptures, were the first to speak of the promised Messiah, who will serve as the “…ruler in Israel…” and he shall be “…great unto the ends of the earth” (Mic. 5:3). Under the Messiah’s rule, the Israelites, who had become “a curse” among the nations, will then become “a name and a praise,” and there will be “...peace without end...The zeal of the Lord of hosts shall accomplish this” (Isa. 9:6/7).

In other words, Judaism identifies the Messiah by his deeds, which he will successfully execute through “the zeal of the Lord of hosts.” Obviously, when Jesus lived in Israel, he did not perform the prescribed deeds, since there is no “peace without end,” and the Jews are still cursed the world over. Therefore, regardless of the “children’s” beliefs, the “fathers” have stood firm in their denial of “the Messiah, Jesus,” as Muhammad identified Jesus (Women 4:171). In daily life, it has been that denial that has kept the Jews “a curse and a reproach” (Jer. 44:12)

For 2,000 years, “the children” have cursed and killed “the fathers” whenever they’ve felt “inspired” to cleanse their neighborhood, city, or nation of Jews. These days, however, all nations have become so accessible and modern weaponry so powerful, some Muslims have become convinced they can finally make “God’s religion reign supreme” (The Cow 2:193). To supplant Judaism and Christianity with the “ultimate truth” expressed through Islam, those Muslims believe they could righteously use the weapons of mass destruction that would annihilate “God’s enemies” (including “the great Satan,” as they speak of the United States).

It’s tempting for outsiders to think of those Muslims as only “a fringe group of fanatics,” over which the world will surely gain control before they do any “real damage.” But, in the populous Muslim community, the persons who believe it their sacred duty to “drive Israel into the sea” constitute a sizable “fringe group.” To be sure, all Muslim nations do not openly clamor for Israel’s demise. Still, the rest of the world has no reason to expect Muslims to war against Muslims, merely to prevent a biological or chemical attack against “the Zionists,” their most immediate and mutual enemy. That attack, alone, would launch a nuclear war.

If we truly seek to avoid that war, Jews, Christians, Muslims — and all of God’s children — urgently need to enlarge our understanding of the God revealed by all the Prophets, from Abraham through Muhammad. Only through our improved understanding can we begin to turn our hearts to each other — and distance ourselves from the “utter destruction” we now know how to create as a “do-it-yourself” project!

(Some of the above is excerpted from my book: “Of Promises and Previews.”)

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