Religious Extremists

Wednesday, October 02, 2013, 2:07 a.m. – the Lord Jesus woke me with the song “On Jordan’s Stormy Banks I Stand” playing in my mind. Speak, Lord, your words to my heart.

I read Ezekiel 33 and Acts 28. I found that they shared a similar message. They both spoke of people hearing the word of the Lord with their physical ears, but not really taking the word seriously, and applying it to their hearts, and doing what it says. They could see with physical sight and could hear with physical ears, but they lacked spiritual perception, insight, discernment and understanding, as well as they lacked obedience to what they did understand and know. They could not see with spiritual eyesight because they had closed their eyes to what the Spirit of God was revealing to them. They had made their hearts dull (desensitized), too, perhaps through feeding their eyes, ears, minds and hearts with the things of this world – sinful pleasure; over-indulgence in entertainment; human philosophies and humanistic teachings; and the lies and deceptions of our leaders and sinful world.

Harmony of Religions

While the Lord Jesus had me up so early in the morning, he reminded me of a speech that Barack Obama gave in Cairo in June of 2009 [1]. Obama stated his purpose in going to Cairo as to “seek a new beginning between the US and Muslims around the world.” His speech was an interesting blend of uniting people of different religions and nationalities so that they could live together physically in harmony together in one location, and that of trying to unite people of various faiths philosophically and faith-wise so that they could live in harmony and peace with one another, believing one another to all be worshiping the same god. He seemed to go back and forth between the two, as though intending to blend them together as one thought and belief. I will focus on the latter of the two.

What I took away from Obama’s speech in Cairo was that he was saying that the true dividing factor between the people of Islam and the people of the US was that of those he termed as “religious extremists.” And, then he went on to describe these “religious extremists” in various ways, some of which I believe was subtle. He suggested that we could not permit the relationship between the US and the Muslim world to be defined by “our differences,” for if we did that, “we will empower those who sow hatred rather than peace,” he said. He also spoke against those who “promote conflict rather than cooperation,” and that this “cycle of suspicion and discord must end.”

He suggested that our presence in Afghanistan and in Iraq had to do with a coalition of 46 countries coming against these “religious extremists,” all in the name of protecting the people of America and safeguarding our lives. He said, “None of us should tolerate these extremists.” As well, he stated that the “Holy Land” was of 3 great faiths – Islam, Christianity and Judaism – and was “the place of peace that God intended it to be.” And, then he quoted from the story of Islam’s Jesus, suggesting that Moses, Jesus and Mohammed “joined in prayer” to the same god. And, he stated that “Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance,” “This tolerance is essential for religion to thrive,” and, “In fact, faith should bring us together.” I hope you are following where this is headed.

He called out those who would “stoke the flames of division,” and who would “stand in the way of progress.” He said, “If we choose to be bound by the past, we will never move forward.” And, he said to the young people of every faith, in every country that they should, more than anyone, “have the ability to reimagine the world, to remake this world.” He advised against focusing on what “pushes us apart,” and encouraged us to make the effort “to find common ground… and to respect the dignity of all human beings.” He ended his speech by saying that “The people of the world can live together in peace. We know that is God’s vision. Now that must be our work here on Earth.”

Sounds good, right? Peace, harmony, love, mutual respect, etc. seemed to be his message until you read between the lines and pray for spiritual discernment. This man calls himself a Christian – a believer in Jesus Christ - and yet he spoke of Christianity, Judaism and Islam as though they were all underneath the same god, and he even suggested that Jesus prayed with Mohammed. As well, he suggested that it was God’s plan for all three of these religions to unite as one; in harmony and unity with one another; in peaceful cooperation. No true follower of Jesus Christ would say (suggest) such things as this.

The Message

Ok, so what was the message here? I believe it is a warning to believers in Jesus Christ who hold to the truths of scripture to “cooperate,” rather than to “divide.” In other words, Obama is describing a one world religion that tolerates and accepts all religions as leading to the same place. Those of us, who hold to the true gospel and who believe that only through faith in Jesus Christ can any of us achieve eternal life with God (the One and Only true God) in glory (heaven), are being called out here as intolerant, sowing hatred and discord, dividing rather than uniting, standing in the way of progress, bound by the past, separatists; and that we are the ones who should not be tolerated and should be targeted for extinction. If you don’t see this, then please prayerfully go back and read his speech again. He has woven a subtle message all throughout his speech that says we must all come together as one, and those who stand on what divides people of all faiths, rather than what unites them together as one, these are the “religious extremists” who should die.

I believe with all my heart that the Lord Jesus has been showing me for some time that Obama’s government and their coalition of 46 countries have been leading the way in the murdering of innocents; of Christ’s servants and witnesses throughout the world who are standing strong in their faith and who are refusing to bow (to cooperate with the one world religion and government). And, I believe with all my heart that my Lord Jesus has been showing me that this is soon to come to America, too.

Obama made one other reference of significance in his speech that called out to me. In his speech, he spent a great deal of time stroking the Muslim people for all their accomplishments throughout history. And, then he quoted from the Treaty of Tripoli of 1796. This quote was only in part, though, for this is the whole quote:

“Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims],—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Muslim] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”

So, if you were under the notion that this nation’s government was founded upon Christianity, then this should dispel that notion. Clearly stated here, only 20 years after the “Declaration of Independence,” was a statement, made law, which says that our government of these United States was not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion. But, it doesn’t end there. It goes on to state that our government has no enmity against the laws and religion of Muslims. So, we are not a Christian nation. That is evident by so many things. But we are also not hostile against Islamic law or religion. And, Obama brought this treaty to mind in the context of praising the Muslim people for all their many contributions to this “unchristian” nation. And, all this comes from a man who says he is a Christian.

To the Shepherds

The sad reality of all of this, though, is that this type of philosophy and teaching being espoused here by our country’s president is also being taught in some form or another in today’s institutional church, which does not, for the most part, tolerate those who stand on the truth of the gospel of salvation, but which does tolerate the teachings and practices of this sinful world. It teaches harmony and unity, as well, but not harmony and unity with Jesus Christ and with his gospel, but with the goals and objectives of human leaders.

The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord God: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep. The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them. So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts. My sheep were scattered; they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them. ~ Ez. 34:1-6 ESV

I believe this is a picture of much of today’s institutional church leadership, and the result has been that the people under their care are wandering spiritually for lack of a shepherd. Yet, I also believe that God will bring judgment on our leaders (governmental and church), and when this happens, the church will be physically scattered, for this will also be a judgment against the institutional church which has yoked itself together with this unchristian and ungodly and pagan government, and which has made it her head in place of Jesus Christ. So, Jesus will judge our nation and his idolatrous and adulterous church within this nation, and she will suffer much in the way of persecution and in physical and emotional distress. Yet, the purpose for our Lord to do such a thing is to bring his church back underneath his headship and to bring his people back into pure and unadulterated fellowship with their One and Only God.

On Jordan’s Stormy Banks I Stand
Samuel Stennett / Rigdon M. McIntosh

On Jordan's stormy banks I stand,
And cast a wishful eye
To Canaan's fair and happy land,
Where my possessions lie.

O'er all those wide extended plains
Shines one eternal day;
There God the Son forever reigns,
And scatters night away.

No chilling winds or poisonous breath
Can reach that healthful shore;
Sickness and sorrow, pain and death,
Are felt and feared no more.

When I shall reach that happy place,
I'll be forever blest,
For I shall see my Father's face,
And in his bosom rest.

I am bound for the promised land,
I am bound for the promised land;
Oh, who will come and go with me?
I am bound for the promised land.

Ms Sue: I like the hymn!

As regards religious extremists, it's not necessarily only among the folk who hold widely different religious views from oneself that extremists are to be found, but also in theory among people who are supposed share one's own views: these can damage the testimony.