Islam, Christianity & Prophecy, Pt. 1 - Sibling Rivalry

Islam, Christianity & Prophecy, Pt. 1 - Sibling Rivalry

Scripture: Genesis 28:14, Genesis 12:1-3
Date: 10/15/2016 
The first part in a three-part series dealing with the subject of Christianity, Islam, and Prophecy - "Sibling Rivalry"

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Pastor Doug Batchelor: When Abraham is called to sacrifice Isaac, God says, "Take your son, your only son." What about Ishmael? In Islam, they refused to accept that Abraham offered Isaac. They say, "Abraham offered Ishmael."

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Doug: Well today, we're beginning a new series on something I have prayed and thought about discussing for literally years, and I never have because I just wanted to make sure that the truths were gelled in my own mind before I had the confidence to share them with others. You know, I feel a great responsibility as your pastor. And the Bible talks about the Book of James, "Don't be anxious to be many masters, knowing you'll receive a more severe judgment or fiercer condemnation." And so, when you teach, you want to make sure you're teaching the truth, because you're accountable for that.

And I have been studying for a few years and reading what others have written about the subject of Islam. And with things happening in the world today, it's been prominent and in the news, and we are wondering, as Christians, does this factor somehow in prophesy. And so, I've chosen to speak on this subject, and the message today, dealing with "Islam, Christianity and Prophecy." It's going to be Part 1 in the series, and it called "Sibling Rivalry." Bible is full of stories of sibling rivalry, all the way back from Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau. You can read about Jesus and his brothers, and David and his brothers, and Joseph and his brothers. And you've got a lot of examples in the Bible, even among the girls; Rachel and Leah. You ever read about the arguments they had, fighting over the same husband.

But one of the great examples of what has become a sibling rivalry deals with the two oldest sons of Abraham, the oldest being Ishmael and the second being Isaac, and who was the rightful heir for that patriarchal blessing. And the contest that begins in the Book of Genesis, continues today in the world. We're going to be looking at that in just a moment.

Now first, I'd like to just, you know, state some of what is obvious. Right now, there are about 7.4 billion people. The nation of Islam or the people of Islam is, a great nation of people. They're about 7.4 billion people in the world today. Christianity is by far the biggest religion at present, with about 2.2 or 31% of all the people on earth. Islam is in second place with 1.7 adherence, that's 23%.

Now, we've got to be very careful, because well, they are 1.7 billion Muslims in the world today, few things need to be clear. Most Arabs are Muslims, but not most Muslims are Arabs. The majority of Muslims are not Arabs. Most Arabs are Muslims and the Muslim religion did spring from Saudi Arabia and Mohammed, and it is largely, it's got Arab routes that are connected with Ishmael. We'll get to that in just a minute. But the religion spread, and so today, most Muslims are not Arabs. The largest Muslim country, I've been there, Indonesia, they're not Arabs. And you go to Pakistan, and North India, North Africa, and you're going find there's a whole lot of Muslim people in the world that are not Arabs. And so we've got to be very careful, and we also have to be careful to understand that we do see that there is a lot of terrorism in the world, and a lot of it, a lot of the suicide bombings are connected with the religion Islam. Matter of fact, couple of studies that I read, and there's others you can find. 2013 Study by the Brookings Institute found that 77% of terror attack plots in the United States were motivated by Islam. A 2015 Study from the Institute for National Security Studies, and that's based in Israel, so to give you fair perspective, found that 99%--99.5% of all suicide attacks globally were motivated by Islam. They found that out 452 suicide attacks during 2015--of course, the data is not all in on 2016. This is just last year. Out of 452, 450 were perpetrated by Muslim extremists.

So people think about these things and you read it in the headlines, and it's, people become frightened. They say, "Oh, do I have to be afraid of the religion of Islam." Keep in mind, that out 1.7 billion, the vast majority are nice, peaceful people. But there is something that is definitely going on. You cannot deny that the terrorism is springing from a religious foundation. Those who are extremist, there's religious reasons for it. That's why we have not been able to achieve peace in the Middle East. And the recent Secretary of State basically threw his hands in the air and walked away, not only dealing with Syria and what's going in Israel, because the problems are so deeply rooted because they are religious issues, and as long as the Jews, and the Christians, and the Muslims base their faith on different books--whereas Jews and Christians have pretty much the same book. We have the New Testament but the Muslims put the Qur'an as a priority. They also claim some value in the Bible, but not the same way that we do. So there is--there are documents of constitution.

The religions are different and they can't change that. You just don't see it going away unless they change their book. It's entrenched. And the battles that you're going to see going on in the world today, go way back. So to understand this, and when you consider that the two primary religions in the world are Christianity, and Islam is more than 50%, and they are growing faster than Buddhism and Hinduism, which are the other prominent religions. There are only about 16 million Jews in the world, compared to the other religions, they're very small, but they're an amazing people, in that, they have a great deal of influence on the finances of the world and media. I'm just stating the fact that I'm a Jew. And it's a small country, got a lot of technology, a lot of brain power, a lot of influence. But when you think about the numbers, Judaism is a very small number compared to the billions you find in Christianity and Islam.

So to think last day prophecy is not going to factor in these religions, I think is reckless. So we're going to go into that. But before we do, you got to go back in order to understand it, because the ancient stories have a bearing on future events. We're going to way back. We're going to go to the Book of Genesis. And I'll think you'll find in study--go to Genesis 12, and we're going to be reading verse 1 to 3. Now, after the tower of Babel fell, God then calls someone by the name of Abraham. "And God says to Abraham, 'Get out of your country, from your family, from your father's house, to a land that I will show you. I will make a great nation.'" Don't miss the phrase, great nation. It's coming up again. "I'll make a great nation of you and I will bless you and make your name great, and you will be a blessing. And I'll bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you. And in you, all the families of the earth will be blessed." This is a Messianic promise. This a promise that Abraham would be the family, the tribe, through which the Messianic line, the line of Jesus would come through Abraham, but there was a problem.

So you got to now to Genesis chapter 16. And if you read in Genesis 16, verse 1, "Now Sarah, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. And she had an Egyptian maidservant whose name was Hagar." Sarah has this idea. She says to Abraham, "Well, I can't have children, but I don't want you to be childless. Since Hagar is my maidservant, I'll have her work as a surrogate, you know. She can bear children for me." "So he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress became despised in her eyes."

Now, I've underlined that. Right here, you see, now keep in mind, Hagar is going to be the mother of Ishmael, who ends up being the first Arab, father of the Arabs; Sarah, the mother of Isaac. Can you imagine now, Sarah, who she's the wealthy one, she's the real wife, Hagar is a surrogate, she's bearing children for Sarah, but she's here own baby. Sarah can't have any and Hagar has conceived, she beginning to have here tummy show, and there's Hagar strutting around, rubbing her belly, and she's looking at Sarah and saying, "Too bad you can't have any children, and God must have cursed you." And when Sarah dealt harshly with her--so now the animosity is not just coming from Hagar towards Sarah, it's coming from Sarah towards Hagar.

You see, it's going both ways. "And when Sarah dealt harshly with her, she runs." I don't know if that means she beat her or what happened. She fled from her presence and Hagar takes off and she heads for the hills. "Now the angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water on the way to Shur. And the angel of the Lord said to her, 'Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hand.'" Well, that must have been tough. And the Angel of the Lord said, 'I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, so that they will not be counted for multitude.'" You might make a note of that, 'cause that's what God had promised about Isaac. "And the Angel of the Lord said to her, 'Behold, you are with child, and you shall bear a son, and you will call his name Ishmael, because--the word El in the Bible means God. Ishmael means God hears. I've heard your cry.

She's, you know, you can't blame Hagar. If I was a servant in Egypt, I got handed over by the Pharaoh to this guy named Abraham, speaks a different language, I have struggled with the language, then she hands me over to Abraham and says, "You're supposed to have a baby for me." And so here I have a baby and I'm thinking, "Maybe I'll get a promotion. I won't, you know, I won't just be a slave. I'll be at least a concubine. And Sarah gets all upset and beats me, and what have I done?" You know, you can understand. Hagar's not feeling good about it, and Sarah's thinking, "Now, what I done that I can't have a child?" "You're with child, you'll bear a son. Call his name Ishmael, because the Lord has heard your affliction." Notice, verse 12, "He will be a wild man. His hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him. And he will dwell in the presence of all his brethren." That sounds like a conflict. There would be some animosity between Ishmael and other people. And he'd dwell in the midst of his brethren, but they would have a hard time assimilating with other people.

Doug: Don't go anywhere, friends. In just a moment, we'll return for the rest of today's presentation. You know, the Bible clearly speaks of a sinister, religious political power that will arise in the last days to unite the people of the world against the followers of Christ. How close are we to this or is this beast power already out there working in the shadows? Well, we have a free gift for you, that'll answer these prophecy questions and many more. It's titled, "Coming One World Church." This book will present proof that many last day prophecies are now being fulfilled in current events. Learn how to identify and avoid falling prey to the final deceptions of this evil of this evil power. To get your free copy of "Coming, One Word Church," call the number on your screen and ask for Offer Number 138 or just visit the website. And after you read this resource, make sure and share it with a friend.

Doug: Well, let's back to today's presentation, and learn some more amazing facts from the Word of God.

Abraham then has a vision where God appears to him and he says, "I'm going to give you a son. And Abraham's going, "Well, you did give me a son. His name is Ishmael." And God is saying, "No, I'm going to give you a son by your wife. I never told you to take another wife. I told you was going to make you a father of a multitude and you lost faith, and thought you were going to help me out. And you accomplished by works, what was supposed to happen by faith. You accomplished by carnal means what was supposed to happen by spiritual, miraculous means." He says, "I'm going to give you a son through Sarah."

And so God blesses Sarah, she gets pregnant, has a baby. "And Sarah saw the son of Hagar, the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, scoffing, and Sarah said to Abraham," boy, they just had a blowup. "Cast out," you know what that word, cast out means? Divorce. "Cast out this bondwoman and her son, for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, namely with Isaac. And the matter was very displeasing to Abraham, in his sight because of his son." Ishmael's his son, and the father loves his son. Remember when Abraham prayed, "Lord, what about Ishmael?" He cared about him. And God then speaks to Abraham. Says, "Do not let it be displeasing in your sight because of the lad, because of your bondwoman. Whatever Sarah says to you, listen to her voice, for in Isaac, your seed shall be called."

So do you see right away what the difference is? The promised seed, the Messiah, was going to come not through Ishmael, but through Isaac. And we're going to go to the New Testament and look at that. "Yet I will also make a nation of the son of the bondwoman, Ishmael, because he is your seed." He sent away, "He rose up early in the next morning. He took bread and a skin of water, he put it on her shoulders. He gave her the boy to Hagar, and sent her away." He gave her some finances, but instead of going to a town, she's all broken hearted. She goes out into the wilderness. "She departed and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba."

And God heard the voice of the lad, and that means, not only, he's 13 years old, he's intelligent. She's not only crying and praying; he is praying, Ishmael, and crying. 'Cause it's not--God didn't just hear her voice, he heard the voice of the lad. "And the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said to her, 'What ails you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad and hold him with your hand. I will make him a great nation.' Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. And she went and filled the skin of water, and gave the lad drink."

So God was with the lad and she never went back to Egypt. He was in the wilderness, and he became an archer. He became a skilled hunter. "And he dwelt in the Wilderness of Paran, and his mother took a wife for him from the land of Egypt." So Ishmael ends up being the father of the Arabs, which of course, is where you get Islam, and Isaac becomes the father of the Jews, and subsequently, the Christians, through which Christ came.

Look at some of these parallels, Genesis 21:17, "God heard the voice of the lad, heard him cry. I will make him a great nation." It also says, regarding Isaac, "I am the God of your father. Do not fear to go down to Egypt. I will make of you a great nation," actually said that to Jacob. So you got two great nations have come out of Abraham, springing from 12 sons. The number 12 in the Bible represent church. It's a religion, religious leadership. Twelve apostles. Jesus used that number. He could have picked 11, 14. So you got a religion that comes from Ishmael, and you got a religion that comes from Isaac. Says your offspring would be innumerable. "I'll multiply your descendants," Genesis 16:9-10.

You can see the dark green colors on the map represent the concentrations of the world where 99%, up to a hundred percent are Islamic, and these are the countries that all flowed out from Saudi Arabia, that kind of engulfed some of these great empires. We read also in Genesis 26, to Isaac he said, "I will make your descendants multiply like the stars of heaven. I will give your descendants all these lands."

But what he says to Isaac, he does not say to Ishmael. Here's the difference. To Abraham he says, "In your seed, all the nations of the world would be blessed." To Isaac he says here in Genesis 26:4, "And in your seed all the nations of the earth would be blessed." The blessing would come, the truth, because if you don't have truth, you don't have a blessing. The truth, the Messiah who is the truth, are you with me, the truth that the Jews were the guardians of the Word. Paul says, "God committed to the children of Israel, the oracles of truth." Doesn't mean they always kept it, but they had it. Genesis 28:14, then God repeats the promise to Jacob, "Also to your descendants, they'll be like the dust of the earth; and you'll spread abroad, and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed."

So He only says this to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and that's interesting. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, all three had wives that had trouble getting pregnant. You know about Sarah, we just read that. The Bible says, Rebecca was barren, and Isaac prayed and God opened her womb and she had twins. And the Bible says Rachel had problems having a child. And Jacob prayed, and eventually she had Joseph, and later Benjamin. Died giving birth to Benjamin. They all had problems having children. The other thing is because their children were born as a result of prayer and intercession and promises. Spiritual births. You got that?

There's something about Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. These promised children are spiritual births. There's a lesson for us there. The other thing is where did they get their wives? They kept bringing their wives out of Mesopotamia to the Promised Land. Abraham said, "Don't take a wife for Isaac from the local girls. She was must be a believer in the true God." He said to Eliezer, his servant, "Go get a wife from my people, and bring her to the Promised Land." It's important because Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, have all got their wives out of Mesopotamia and brought them to the Promised Land, and then God says, "Babylon has fallen. Come out of her, my people." God calls his church out of Babylon, spiritual Mesopotamia to the Promised Land, the new Jerusalem. See what I'm saying?

And children of Israel were carried away captive to Babylon, and they came out of Babylon in the days of Cyrus, and came back to the Promised Land. That's the whole story of Ezra and Nehemiah. So this is carrying through history. It's going to happen in last day prophecy as well. Now, I want you to notice, there's a number of parallels between Isaac and Ishmael. Isaac comes into the world as a result of faith. Ishmael comes into the world by natural means as a result of works. God had promised, a promised, miraculous child to Abraham and Sarah. They couldn't wait. They said, "We're going to help out. We're going to do it by works." It represents the carnal son, whereas you've got Isaac is the spiritual son.

The interesting thing is Isaac then has two boys, and Esau is the carnal sin. He's willing to sell his birthright for a pot of beans. But Jacob is the one through whom the truth comes. He is the spiritual son. He wants the blessing. He tells Esau, he says, "You can take all of dad's possessions. You can get the inheritance." Matter of fact, when Jacob came back into the Promised Land, he gave things to Esau. And he said, "You keep it." Says, "I want the spiritual blessing," and he got that, didn't he? The father put his hands him and he blessed him.

And so, there's a big debate, because I don't know if you're aware of this, only Isaac is called the only son. When Abraham is called to sacrifice Isaac, God says, "Take your son, your only son." What about Ishmael? Is "God so loved the world, he gave his only begotten Son." You know, it's because Isaac was a type when he went up on the mountain as a sacrifice. He was type of Christ. Just like Moses was never supposed to strike the rock twice, he messed up the symbol. Abraham was not supposed to have a child of the flesh. He was just supposed to have the child of the promise.

Something else that's interesting is in Islam, they refuse to accept that Abraham offered Isaac. They say Abraham offered Ishmael. Now, see, you can't believe both Qur'an and the Bible, because there's major conflicts in the teachings there. You read the Book of James, 2:21, "Was not Abraham, our father, justified by works when he offered Isaac." You have to reject the Old and the New Testament to believe the Qur'an. It says it was Isaac. It was not Ishmael. That was the son. Look at some of the differences. One is a hunter; the other is a farmer and a shepherd. Isaac planted and God gave him a hundred-fold. God names Isaac and Ishmael. They both were named by God, but the name of one comes from the father and the name of the other comes through the mother. Ishmael dies surrounded by family. Jacob and Isaac died surrounded by family. Isaac goes east to get his wife; Ishmael goes West to Egypt to get his wife. They're opposites. Isaac's wife is chosen by the father; Ishmael's wife is chosen by the mother.

You know, maybe, I'll close by taking you to Galatians 4. Listen to what Paul says. We're jumping to the New Testament. Paul says what happened to Ishmael and Isaac is an allegory that applies to us today. Paul says, "Tell me the truth, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law? For it is written that Abraham," and of course, Genesis was called part of the law. "Abraham had two sons: one by a bondwoman, the other by the freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman, Ishmael, was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman, Isaac, through promise, which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants," one true, one false, "one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar."

Is anyone saved under the bondage of Hagar? Well, I'm telling you what Paul says it's bondage. "For this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia." Where? Arabia. Where does Mohammed have his vision? Where is Islam born? Saudi Arabia. "And corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written, 'Rejoice, O barren, you who do not bear. Break forth and shout for you who are not in labor. For the desolate has many more children, than she who has a husband.' Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise. But, as he who was born according to the flesh, Ishmael, then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless, what does the Scripture say? 'Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.'"

What does this mean? Well, in our day and age, I think as we near the end of time, you're going to an increasing polarization in the world between these two great ideas, these two great families. Now, if you're a Christian, your faith springs from Isaac and Jacob. If you're an Arab, your faith is springing. It has its roots in Ishmael and Mohammed. And you can see in the world today, these are the two principal religions that are being very aggressive about sharing their faith, and I believe things are going to reach critical mass in the end of time, and it's going to result in the final events, but I don't want to get ahead of myself now, because wait, there's more.

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