The past few days rocked the world. President Trump’s first foreign trip, a suicide bomber killing 23 people in Manchester, attacks on Egyptian Christians, NATO summit etc. I would like to share some thoughts on the events that happened this week from a Christian viewpoint. President Trump’s first stop was in Saudi Arabia. He received a warm welcome in Riyadh. The Saudis were pleased with Trump and his plans to obstruct Iranians. They signed military contracts worth hundreds of billions of dollars. The murderous Sunni-Shiite rivalry that started in 7th century is continuing in our time. President Obama sided with Shiite Iranians. President Trump sided with Sunni Saudi Arabians. American foreign policy now became just changing sides of this age old conflict.
Trump then traveled to Israel. He visited Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus; the Church of Holy Sepulchre, where Jesus died, buried and resurrected. He went to Western Wall, the holiest site for Judaism and placed a piece of paper with a prayer request in one of its crevices. Trump’s next stop was in Vatican City, the headquarters of Catholic Church.
If you notice the itinerary, Trump was visiting the holiest places of Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Trump only went to Riyadh, the political capital of Saudi Arabia. He was not able to go to Mecca and Medina, the holiest sites of Islam, because non-Muslims are not allowed into Mecca and Medina. Don’t even try it out of curiosity, because entering into Mecca and Medina as a non-Muslim is a crime punishable by death.
Anyone can walk into Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem or Church of the Holy Sepulchre and Western Wall in Jerusalem. Both Christianity and Judaism do not put restrictions on their holiest sites. Anyone can go there, worship and pray. Trump was not stopped when we wanted to walk over to the Western Wall. In fact, for millions of Israelis, it was a proud and emotional moment that a sitting United States President could honor their holiest site, could walk in respect towards the wall, the only remnant of their temple, which was destroyed by Romans two thousand years ago.
As Trump was visiting the Western Wall, Salman Abedi was packing his bag with explosives. He was a 22 year-old Libyan refugee living in Manchester, England. He wanted to take revenge on crusaders and infidels by blowing himself in the Manchester Arena where US singer Ariana Grande was going to perform for her Dangerous Woman Tour. Before he left his home, he made a small prayer to Allah, he was absolutely sure that Allah would offer him a direct entry into paradise for killing Christians and infidels. He also recited a few verses from Quran, which he memorised by heart. As Salman was leaving home, little girl Saffie Rose Roussos was sharing her joy with her mother, her excitement as she received tickets to the concert. She was only 8 years-old, and could not wait to see her idol Ariana.
Donald Trump settled in King David Hotel in Jerusalem. He was preparing his remarks for his next day visit to Bethlehem, where Jesus was born two thousand years ago.
Salman Abedi entered into the Manchester Arena. He took out his cell phone, called his mother and said, ‘forgive me’, then called his brother and said, ‘I will see you in paradise’.
After 15 minutes…..May 22, 2017, 22:30 British Summer Time…..Salman Abedi shouted Allahu akbar and detonated his explosive. There was a loud sound. Ariana Grande could not believe what was unfolding before her eyes: The Dangerous Woman met the Dangerous Man. People were running in all directions, shouting in fear.
Paul Reid was waiting outside the building; He came to pick up a friend; His body jolted when he heard the explosion. Soon he recovered and came to his senses, and ran up a staircase in the direction of the noise. Men, women, teenage boys, teenage girls were on the ground, their bodies disfigured with shrapnel bleeding them. They were shouting for help. Paul did not know who he should help, then his eyes fell on Saffie Rose Roussos. Her legs fractured and she was having trouble breathing. Paul went over to her, and asked her,
‘What is your name?’
‘How old are you’
Saffie was struggling to talk,
‘Where is my mum?’
Paul said, ‘We’re going to find her in a minute’
Saffie asked, ‘What’s happened?’
Paul replied, ‘I don’t know – but we’re going to get you some help’
Saffie lost her consciousness and died after a few minutes. She was one of the 23 victims died in the explosion.
The leaders of the United Kingdom issued their usual vacuous statements: ‘united we stand’, ‘let us be together’, ‘we are with the victims’ ‘get some flowers and candles’ blah blah blah. United Kingdom used to send its criminals to Australia to keep its peace. Now it is importing criminals from countries like Libya and it thinks everything will be fine.
The newspaper Independent wrote an article with the headline, ‘There’s only one way Britain should respond to attacks such as Manchester. That is by carrying on exactly as before’
I read a comment in the comments section: When is it enough, where is the line, when will it NOT BE RIGHT TO CARRY ON AS BEFORE, how can those children and others lost and their families carry on as before….
Carrying on exactly as before: This is what our elite media telling us to do.
If you are lucky enough to survive a suicide bomber, don’t worry, carry on as before.
Donald Trump heard the news in his room in King David Hotel, Jerusalem. He said,
“I extend my deepest condolences to those so terribly injured in this terrorist attack and to the many killed and the families, so many families, of the victims. We stand in absolute solidarity with the people of the United Kingdom,”
“So many young beautiful innocent people living and enjoying their lives murdered by evil losers in life. I won’t call them monsters because they would like that term. They would think that’s a great name. I will call them from now on losers because that’s what they are.”
“They’re losers, and we’ll have more of them, but they’re losers, just remember that,”
Who are they? We are struggling to answer that question. We gave them many names: Evil losers, extremists, bigots, bad guys, mentally disturbed, crazy doods, violent persons, monsters etc. But who are they? To answer that question, we must understand the concept of Caliphate.
Since the beginning of Islam, Muslims were ruled by a caliph. A caliph is a chief Muslim ruler, a successor to Muhammad, who established the religion of Islam. Caliphate is the rule or reign of a caliph. The first Caliphate is called Rashidun Caliphate. It was the Caliphate by early Muslim caliphs, Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, and Ali, it lasted from 632 AD to 661 AD,
then came, Umayyad Caliphate which lasted from 661 AD to 750 AD and then came, Abbasid Caliphate which lasted from 750 AD 1258 AD;
then came Mamluk Sultanate which lasted from 1261 AD to 1517 AD, then came Ottoman Caliphate lasted from 1517 AD to 1924 AD. If you notice this chronology, Caliphate lasted for much of Islam’s history, from Muhammad’s lifetime to 20th century, till 1924. Caliphs are not just rulers of Islam. They are also military leaders. They divided the world into two Houses, Dar al-Islam (House of Islam) and Dar al-harb (house of War).
All those lands in which a Muslim government rules and sharia prevails are in the House of Islam. The remaining world which are not under Muslim rule is called House of War. House of Islam must wage war on the House of War. House of Islam must grow in size, House of War must decrease in size, ultimately the whole world must be in the House of Islam, where everyone under sharia. That is why, Caliphs had engaged in perpetual jihad in every direction from Mecca. They took over Middle East, their armies went into Africa, Europe, and Asia. Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, people of all other religions lost their territories to the House of Islam.
This central idea of Islam, Caliphate and Two Houses must be understood in order to respond to the challenge of ISIS because ISIS wants to reestablish Caliphate that ended in 1924. To be fair, ISIS is not alone in that quest. Recep Erdogan, President of Turkey wants to resurrect the Ottoman Empire and rule as the Caliph for the global Muslim community.
Many people dismiss Islamic terrorism with descriptions like, ‘there are bad people in all religions’, ‘terrorists hijacked a peaceful religion’, ‘we bomb them, they bomb us, violence breeds violence’. True, there are violent people in all religions. But if you fail to understand the doctrines of caliphate and two houses, which are exclusive to Islam, you will be misled by such hasty generalizations. There are people like Jeremy Corbyn, who blame British foreign policy for the terrorism. They also fail to see the reality.
The United States dropped two atom bombs on Japan. Why aren’t we seeing Japanese Buddhist terrorists blowing up places in America in revenge?
Agent Orange was used indiscriminately costing thousands of Buddhist lives in Vietnam during Vietnam War? Why aren’t we seeing Buddhist terrorists attacking America with anthrax in revenge?
Average Indians list their grievances against Britain from Colonial times. But, why aren’t British Hindus attacking people in Britain?
The answer is simple. Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Shintoism do not have a concept of jihad. Unlike Islam, they do not have a doctrine of Two Houses.
But, Islamic terrorists know what they are up to. After Manchester attack, ISIS declared,
“With Allah’s grace and support, a soldier of the Khilafah managed to place explosive devices in the midst of the gatherings of the Crusaders in the British city of Manchester, in revenge for Allah’s religion, in an endeavor to terrorize the mushrikin [those who worship others besides Allah], and in response to their transgressions against the lands of the Muslims. The explosive devices were detonated in the shameless concert arena, resulting in 30 Crusaders being killed and 70 others being wounded. And what comes next will be more severe on the worshipers of the Cross and their allies, by Allah’s permission. And all praiseis [sic] due to Allah, Lord of the creation”
Salman Abedi…..our leaders called him ‘extremist’, ISIS called him a soldier of Caliphate.
Worshipers of the Cross…..our leaders do not like to call us Christians, but ISIS recognizes us as worshipers of the Cross.
‘in an endeavor to terrorize the mushrikin’……..
How can you explain that? To terrorize the mushrikin? Those who worship others besides Allah. Quran explains well.
“Indeed, Allah has purchased from the believers their lives and their properties, for that they will have Paradise. They fight in the cause of Allah, so they kill and are killed.” (Qur’an 9:111)
“Strike terror into the hearts of the enemies of Allah” (Qur’an 8:60).
True, ISIS does not represent all Muslims. I have many peaceful Muslim friends. They are peaceful because they do not take above Quranic verses literally. ISIS represents the orthodox Islam what has been preaching jihad on the House of War since 7th century. In other words, ISIS is not what deviated from Orthodox Islam. It is the peaceful Muslims who deviated from it. We have Muslims in India who also go to Hindu temples, who celebrate Christmas and who engage in premarital sex. Sharia condemns such Muslims.
Yes, many Muslims do not follow above verses from Quran literally. But, those who do take those verses seriously act upon those verses and terrorize the unbelievers. Even a ‘few bad apples’ is enough to terrorize us. As Mark Steyn observed, “But the arithmetic is not difficult: Poland and Hungary and Slovakia do not have Islamic terrorism because they have very little Islam. France and Germany and Belgium admit more and more Islam, and thus more and more terrorism.”
Donald Trump sat for his dinner with Saudi King. Trump started to eat using his left hand. Saudi King told Trump to eat with his right hand. Why do you care what hand your guest use to eat? Because Muhammad used to eat with his right hand, we must eat with our right hand. That is called Sunna, doing everything as Muhammad did. Christians also ask themselves, ‘What Would Jesus Do?’. But they limit the example of Jesus to moral matters, not to eating and dressing habits.
Jesus founded Christianity; Muhammad founded Islam. We don’t have to worry what hand Jesus used while eating his food. Because that is not important to us. We believe that Jesus came to this world as the incarnation of Creator God, He lived a holy life, then went to the cross to die for our sins. We find our salvation in the finished work of Jesus on the cross. Jesus buried and rose again from the dead on the third day. We find our hope in his resurrection. That is Christianity 101.
Islam rejects the divinity of Jesus, it rejects his death, it rejects his resurrection. Jesus did not die for any of our sins. We are accountable to Allah for our sins. We try to follow Quran, Hadith and example of Muhammad to achieve salvation.
Human nature is we want to save ourselves. Rejecting the cross is not surprising. Even the disciples of Christ did not want Jesus to die on the cross. They wanted to establish a kingdom without cross. Richard Niebuhr once said, ‘A God without wrath brought men without sin into a Kingdom without judgment through the ministration of a Christ without a cross’.
A Christ without a Cross: That is what Islam offers. Quran talks so much about Jesus, so much about his miracles, and then denies him his cross.
Grace versus Sharia: Christianity offers salvation through grace. Islam offers salvation through sharia. That is the fundamental difference between Christianity and Islam. C.S.Lewis said, ‘there are only two religions in the world: Salvation by grace and Salvation by works’. Islam belongs to second category.
This doctrine of salvation has serious consequences for the world. Apostle Paul wrote the Epistle to Galatians urging them to understand grace completely. Failure to under grace would have serious consequences for the practice of Christian faith. There were people in Galatia rejecting the grace of Christ and returning to the Law. Apostle Paul cried out that that was a serious, serious error, because once we return to the law, we would base our salvation on works, not on the grace of Christ. Once we base our salvation by works, we follow the example of men. Pharisees accused Jesus and his disciples in various matters regarding the law. A pharisee would love to see people getting punished for not obeying the law of God. Islamic terrorists are the pharisees of our time, they think they putting unbelievers on a fast lane to stand trial before Allah for breaking his laws. When people brought an adulterous woman into his presence, Jesus said, ‘He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her’. In contrast, Islamic Sharia prescribes how many stones you can use to kill the persons caught in adultery, how many lashes you can put on the back of a person involved in fornication.
Muhammad asked people to move from Jesus to Moses. From grace to the Law. From salvation by grace to salvation by works. Grace gives options, the Law does not.
This legalism from Quran does not limit itself to religious matters. It creeps into every facet of life. The Caliph does not just prescribe how many times you should pray, he will also tell you how to run the government. Sharia law is about everything in life, no exceptions. It denies separation of church and state.
Grace allowed Separation of Church and State
In his book Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville made an interesting observation. “As a member of the Roman Catholic Church, I was more particularly brought into contact with several of its priests, with whom I became intimately acquainted. To each of these men I expressed my astonishment and explained my doubts: I found that they differed upon matters of detail alone, and that they all attributed the peaceful dominion of religion in their country mainly to the separation of church and state”.
Note those words: A peaceful dominion of religion in their country mainly due to the separation of church and state: European history was full of religious wars because Catholicism did not believe in the separation of church and state. Pope did not limit himself to the matters of religion, he also wanted to play the emperor. That is the same problem with Islam. It dictates both religion and the state. That worldview inevitably leads to suppression of religious freedom and violence. Orthodox Islam feels slighted when Christians worship Jesus in its neighborhood. Yesterday, ISIS killed a bus load of Coptic Christians in Egypt. Christians around the world are the main victims of Islamic extremism.
When Donald Trump visited the Vatican, Pope Francis gave him an encyclical about climate change. For this Pope, climate change became a bigger problem than persecution of Christians around the world. He must be writing encyclicals about persecution of Christians. Pope Francis exemplifies how most people are disconnected from reality in our communities. People are more concerned about climate change than Christian persecution, loss of religious freedom and loss of privacy.
Sharia supremacism also kills freedom of speech. At the United Nations, standing before the whole world, President Obama once declared, ‘the future shall not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam’. This was the person who took the oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States that protects the freedom of speech. Most of our elites agreed with Obama. Imagine how will they respond if Donald Trump goes to the United Nations and declares, ‘the future shall not belong to those who slander the Savior of Christianity’. All hell breaks out. They can say anything deplorable about our blessed Lord, that’s all freedom of speech. But that is not allowed regarding Muhammad.
Atheists like Richard Dawkins brag about the death of Christianity in the West. But they do not realize, once Christianity is gone, Islam will come and take away all their liberty. It’s not coincidence that in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, there are no organizations like Freedom from Religion, ACLU, Atheists United etc. Sharia has no room for atheists or ex-Muslims.
Average Joe in the West is not seeing the reality unfolding all around him. Islamic jihad, both soft and hard, is spreading around him. He thinks ‘religion is superstition’, smokes marijuana, pierces his ears, wears some tattoos, listens to music, drinks a few beers, he would rather be a pet parent than raising human babies…that’s all life for him. He is disoriented from reality. This lifestyle ultimately leads to severe demographic decline, and acceptance of dhimmi status.
A Temple before the Walls
‘What’s happened?’ little girl Saffie Roussos asked us that question before she died in a pool of blood in Manchester Arena. I think we have a moral obligation to answer that question.
What’s happened? We are disoriented. We have the word, orientation.
What is orientation?
If don’t know know what time it is now, you are not oriented to time.
If you don’t know where you are, you are not oriented to place.
Orientation is the first thing a physician evaluates to determine your mental status. Now
let me tell you an interesting fact. In the Medieval times, when they made maps, they drew those maps in relation to Jerusalem. ‘To orient’ means towards Jerusalem. If you don’t know what is your place in relation to Jerusalem, you are disoriented. The West in our time is oriented towards Las Vegas, not Jerusalem. That is the tragedy of our time.
In 586 BC, Judah was taken into Captivity by Babylonians. Jews were taken to Babylon in three different groups in 605 BC, 597 BC and 586 BC. After the Captivity of seventy years in Babylon, Jews returned to Judea in three different groups, 538 BC, 458 BC and 445 BC.
The first group returned to Jerusalem from Babylon under Zerubbabel. His task was to rebuild the Temple. The third group returned to Jerusalem under Nehemiah. His task was to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. God sent Zerubbabel before Nehemiah. Building the Temple precedes Building the Walls. Worship comes before security.
We want to build walls, but we don’t want to build temples. Jesus said in John 4:24, ‘God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth’
When we stop worshiping God in spirit and truth, we descend into a moral chaos and confusion.
In the place of spirit and truth, we embrace materialism and falsehood.
We cry out against all the materialism around us and all the political correctness around us. But what brought us here? We stopped worshiping God in truth and in spirit.
God is the source of our liberty, it is not the government. Francis Fukuyama wrote in his book, ‘The End of History and the Last Man’, ‘Hegel speaks of Christianity as the “absolute religion” not out of any kind of narrow-minded ethnocentrism, but because of the objective historical relationship that existed between Christian doctrine and the emergence of liberal democratic societies in Western Europe…..’
German philosopher Hegel told that our liberal democratic societies are the products of Christian worldview. When I visited Philadelphia, I visited Liberty Bell. On Liberty Bell we find the words, ‘Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants thereof’ Those words came directly from the Bible. The Founding Fathers of America did not see any contradiction between running a government and inscribing Bible verses on the icons like Liberty Bell. They did not have ACLU and Freedom from Religion heckling them about ‘separation of church and state’. They wrote the Constitution and they knew what they were doing. There is a separation between Church and State, not Faith and Politics. Our faith determines our political worldviews.
Donald Trump went to Israel at a critical time in world history. During the election campaign, he repeatedly said that he would move US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Now he is wavering on that. When you get some time, read Zechariah chapter two. There you see Messiah measuring the city of Jerusalem. When Jesus returns in his Second Coming, He will give it to the Jewish people, and he will rule from Jerusalem as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
During the Millennium, every embassy will have to move to Jerusalem. God gave Harry Truman the opportunity to make United States the first nation in the world to officially recognize Israel, now God gave another opportunity to Donald Trump to make the United States the first nation to move its embassy to Jerusalem. I hope he will make a good use of this opportunity. It is important that Christians pray for Jerusalem and its peace, because both Jesus and Apostle Paul prayed for Israel (Luke 23:34; Romans 10:1). We read in Psalm 122:6, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; they shall prosper who love thee”
Not a Village…..It takes a Temple
Two days ago Hillary Clinton gave commencement speech at Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts. She said, ‘it takes a village’. In this worldview, redistribution of wealth to everyone in the the village will solve every problem from poverty, income gap, violence, racism, and terrorism. This worldview is shared by many elites in the West. It is fundamentally Marxism in disguise. Marxism failed all over the world. Ask people of Venezuela running around for a piece of bread. Countries like China and Vietnam, which started as communist regimes now turning to capitalism. But the elite in the West still believe in big government marxism. This approach created nations with big government, expensive welfare schemes and massive debt. People used to pray for their needs, now they just look to the government. Big Government leads to Small Church. Not many people go to church in our communities these days because they have government to depend upon. But this worldview puts a society on a suicidal path. It injects secularism into all facets of life. It rejects Christianity as a vestige from the past. It embraces multiculturalism. It believes truth does not matter when it does not serve the secular agenda. It ultimately creates a loss of identity. If you go to India, most people derive their identity from Hinduism, if you go to Pakistan or any other Muslim nation, most people derive their identity from Islam. But the West rejected its Christian identity. Ironically, ISIS still calls the West, ‘worshippers of the cross’. So, ‘It takes a village’ approach to human life ultimately leads us to loss of identity.
God prescribed ‘It takes a temple’ approach. Through authentic worship of God, we derive a worldview that protects our families, communities and nations. Worship precedes security. The Temple must be built in Jerusalem before its walls. Zerubbabel must come before Nehemiah. Alexis de Tocqueville said that America’s real strength comes from its churches. Sadly, we are neglecting our churches. We want to build walls without a temple. That approach leads us to bankruptcy. Manchester terrorist Salman Abedi used to attend Didsbury Mosque. It is a converted church. As we pursue, ‘it take’s a village’ worldview, the jihadists are buying our churches and converting them into mosques. Our communities stopped worshiping the true God of the Bible. The temples we had built before, now becoming mosques.
Salman memorised the whole quran. Kids in our church don’t know the difference between Joan of Arc and Noah’s Ark. With our biblical ignorance, how can we stand up to people who come here memorizing Quran from cover to cover? When we worship God in the right way, in truth and spirit, we inherit a worldview that provides with a set of solutions for even our social problems.
Conclusion: So, what’s happened? The little girl asked that question. What happened was we have abandoned God of the Bible and turning to secularism. And we are reaping the consequences of that worldview.
Prophet Zechariah after Babylonian Invasion preached the forgiveness of God to Israelites. His first message is repentance. But if we confess our sins, God wants to forgive us at the feet of the cross. In 2 Chronicles 7:14, God said,
“If my people, which are called by name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land”
We have a gracious God who wants to forgive our sins, who wants to heal our nation, who wants to be worshiped when we turn to him in truth and in spirit.
May our society come to the God of the Bible.
Paul Kattupalli MD
By Katie Chan – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=59306964
End of History, by Francis Fukuyama
Democracy in America, Volume 1
By Alexis de Tocqueville, Francis Bowen