AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH - AUGUST 1, 2004
Third Address on Hebrews 11
FAITH: The Dynamic Link and the Delightful Association
Today, we regard further examples as in Part II, The Historical Chain of Links, of the above Sermon, commenced on July 4, 2004.
In rapid review and extension, let us note that CAIN, second reported son of Adam, who slaughtered Abel, did very much what Islamic terrorists with their bizarre and devilish beheadings, are now doing. Islam does not have a sacrificial system, but is based on works, just as Cain's offering was - the one which God refused to accept. We saw that Cain was very angry, instead of repenting when God said, "If you do well, will you not be accepted ? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it."
Cain's reaction was NOT to repent, NOT to seek instruction and repeat the offering in an acceptable way, acknowledging sin and the due judgment of death (as at first announced by God!), so bringing sacrifice as Abel did. How different history would have been if he had done this! How this teaches us, If you do wrong, do not let sin rule over you, but backtrack, repent and finding instruction, do it right. God is like a Father, and does not expect perfection in sinners, but DOES expect in His redeemed, zealous seeking to do His will! (cf. Matthew 7:21). This mirrors the Islamic rejection of the Old Testament system, in flat contradiction to its claim to the godliness of the Jewish prophets in a whirl of confusion which has let pools of blood flow turgidly throughout history. The Koran has no such provision.
It is the clamour of Cain in precise principle and practice that this version of Islam exhibits. It is the work of a false prophet, claiming basis in the very prophets he wholly contradicts! Blood by its life makes atonement (Leviticus 17:11 cf. SMR pp. 1080ff., More Marvels ... Ch. 4). This in the Old Testament as in the new is neither dispensible nor deniable. It is central, basic, constant, coming to culmination in the Messiah (Isaiah 53). No other basis is consonant, blendable or permissible. All else is entirely and utterly alien, an attack, assault and no company whatever. Islam has no place for this necessary step before any knowledge of God, and for any company with Him, basic to the very door to life, and its threshold and foundation alike 1.
As may be seen in our site in Divine Agenda Ch. 6, , violence and subjugation in faith regions is by no means lacking in the Koran. Yet force is NEVER faith!
At the other extreme, we saw that Abraham (Hebrews 11:17ff.), was willing, if need be, to sacrifice his ONLY begotten son, even though the promise for blessing to all the nations of the earth was through this son. His willingness teaches us that there is to be NOTHING between us and total fealty to God, although of course HE requires no violence in the interests of the faith (cf. John 18:36, Matthew 26:52ff.).
God instead said STOP! and Isaac was not harmed, a sheep caught in a thicket being the sacrifice instead. Obviously, as in Psalm 49:7,15, this means that God is going to provide the sacrifice Himself. It was neither necessary not good enough for Abraham to offer his son (far less anything beneath that level!), for God Himself would offer the One to bruise the serpent's head (Genesis 3:15), a fact shown more and more in detail in Zechariah and Isaiah 49-55, with Micah 5:3-5, Psalm 45. By FAITH however Abel offered that better sacrifice, and TO FAITH, God offered His own and only begotten Son, the Messiah. Faith always works with the God who knows, since it trusts Him! (cf. Proverbs 3:4-5).
Notice now in Hebrews 11:23ff., the robust language concerning faith in Moses’ way and day! Faith is not for fidgets, nor does it deal in fiascos, for our is the God of power, of creation and redemption, of the word which lasts to hundreds of generations without altering, cracking or being rebutted. It holds fast and its diction is done!
First, his parents were NOT AFRAID OF THE KING'S COMMAND. They did not kill their son, but hid him where he was rescued by a royal princess.
This is for you and me NOW! The UN is becoming, with the EU, a force for amorality and loss of liberty. As News Weekly reports (July 3, 2004), the UK Independence Party points out that the European law tends to be significantly less in favour of individual liberty than group liberty, much less tolerant of racial or religious minorities than is the case in Britain. This, with its Protestant heritage, has been amazingly clear on individual liberty, but it is in danger of being sunk in the collective market for secular society in the EU, which refuses any reference to God, and has rights without a divine source, making man king.
The EU, News Weekly advises, has member states already sharing cause with such 'liberties' (and corresponding individual losses) as euthanasia, human embryo experimentation, gay marriage, arrest without trial, abortion. It “lacks any basis in Christianity or religion,” it notes. Thus with secular bases for the EU (it merely refers generally to past inputs, and declares with its own mouth), devastating consequences may be envisaged as this brakeless and religiously amoral vehicle*2, imposes its will as it will. Even in Canada, it is already against the law even to cite scripture publicly against homosexuality! Britain’s glorious role for liberty and opportunity is thus being sunk ready for the “man of sin” of II Thessalonians 2.
Secondly, Moses 'refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter', putting moral and godly duties above cultural or family desire. See 11:25! All the treasures of Egypt could not compete with the riches of Christ who as Lord (Isaiah 43:10-11, 53:6) was leading him. By faith he acted, obeyed, took the passover confessing sin and redemption, passed over the Red Sea, fearless in the face of near popular revolt! He "endured as seeing Him who is invisible." Are we to ignore the divine requirements of group prayer, sacrificial participation and alert living in the word of God, for Christ! Look at Hebrews 4:1-2! It is always all or nothing: when you know the Lord, all is only just enough!
III JERICHO (Hebrews 11:30-31).
After Moses, Joshua, under the LORD, took the lead. Jericho stood before their occupation of the land. Then they were helped by a harlot, Rahab, who turning to the Lord, did amazing things.
When Christ indicated that many harlots, converted, would enter the kingdom before some religious authorities (cf. Matthew 21:31-32, Luke 13:1-3), have you considered the fact that RAHAB, who WAS just that, did find a place in Israel, and that with great heroism! (Joshua 2, 6:17, Mat. 1:5). Jericho fell as the Lord fulfilled the plan given to Joshua, just as Nineveh, Babylon and Tyre fell just as predicted, Nineveh becoming lost in the desert, never to be rebuilt as prophetically prescribed (Nahum 2:13), the stones of Tyre being cast into the sea (Ezek. 26:12), Babylon becoming deserted!
Faith led to this fall, and it is an invitation to us all, for the "wise man scales the city of the mighty, and brings down the trusted stronghold" (Proverbs 21:2). It is not enough to be passive; faith sees further than that. The kingdom must be advanced by faith, darkness enlightened by faith, people rescued by faith, in the word, dynamic and presence of the Lord, incarnate as Christ, resurrected in power, object of faith, soon to return.
As the Encyclopedia Britannica puts it:
Sacrifice has little place in orthodox Islām. Faint shadows of sacrifice as it was practiced by the pre-Islāmic Arabs have influenced Muslims, so that they consider every slaughter of an animal an act of religion. They also celebrate feasts in fulfillment of a vow or in thanksgiving for good fortune, but there is no sacrificial ritual connected with these festive meals. On the last day of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, animals are sacrificed; nevertheless, it is not the sacrificial rite that is important to the Muslims, but rather their visit to the sacred city.
There is no mention of sacrifice, even, in the pillars of Islam, nor does one find any systematic, effectual, prescriptively highlighted sacrificial work. It is in the Koran passed over as a kind of religious thing that historically exists, not a designated part of any crucial path to spiritual peace or place. It is simply an acknowledgement of religious things, with only slight reference of a general and passing kind in the Koran, forming no part of any plan for arrival with God, far less a necessary or crucial thing. These other things, very different and given anything but casual or passing mention, are paraded with éclat, their requirement vigorous and vital!
In Leviticus, for example Leviticus 16:14-29, sacrifice is forever, just as in Isaiah, it is infinite in its cost, ultimate in its provision and divine in its enactment, its finale in Christ (Isaiah 50-55, 9:7ff), thereby giving Psalm 32's word, that blessed is that man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and as to that, the covering is in blood. Grace thereby becomes sufficient, the entire basis of salvation, God Himself making the sacrifice that liberates, redeeming to free (Isaiah 53:11, 61:1ff., 55:1-6).
Hence the Koran's reference to the Jewish prophets with acceptance, as if to give it some semblance of cohesion, is wholly false. It has no such basis, but is wholly other, alien, contrary and contradictory in this central them, and all that it involves, with it.
For those of you who like research, the following is provided.
From SMR Ch. 10 comes the following which gives detail on the collision of claim and fact. This is ALL important, since the Cross and redemption is central for all the Bible, from first to last (cf. Revelation 5, Galatians 6:14 with Leviticus). Hence in red is the most relevant part of the following citation.
THE WEAVING OF THE WAYS FOR THE ANTICHRIST. See Extension 4, pp. 1072-1074 infra. What however of Muhammad's early - but continuing - input into this antichrist pattern ? a matter of assertion plus force to overcome ... unbelief in some mock-up, dysfunctional substitute for Christ. In the Koran, Surah 48:29, we find (it. added): ''Muhammad is God's apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers'' - and how far? ''Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Deal firmly with them. Know that God is with the righteous'' (Surah 9:123, cf. 2:191); and indeed, (Surah 9:27-31): ''Fight against such of those to whom the Scriptures were given as believe neither in God nor the Last Day ... until they pay tribute out of the hand and are utterly subdued.'' Yes, he decries (in 8:36-41): ''Tell unbelievers ... [to] reflect upon the fate of their forefathers. Make war on them until idolatry cease ...'' Reflect ? Fate ? ... city assault, tribute money, and then servitude - with the provision for death upon its removal. The 'fate' is the alternative to 'faith' is the alternative to force. (Cf. *17 infra.)
And all this force ? with due provision for occasional defeat, yet it is found written (Surah 8:59): ''Let not the unbelievers think that they will ever get away. They have not the power to do so'' ... Indeed, the prayer was to be: ''Lord forgive us ... our excesses; make us firm of foot and give us victory over the unbelievers" ... and the theme, ''If God helps you, none can overcome you'' (Surah 3:148 and 3:160; cf. Surah 48:22 - "If the unbelievers join battle with you, they shall be put to flight"). In fact, since Moslems almost took Europe, they lost at Tours in 732 A.D.; and again when the sprawling Ottoman Empire fell, with World War I; while in the Middle East from 1917 and from 1948 in particular and repeatedly, Moslem military losses have been sustained, spectacular and even proverbial (*18). This is despite enormous numerical advantage (the EXACT opposite of Surah 8:65 - ''If there are twenty steadfast men among you, they shall vanquish two hundred''). There have not been vicissitudes but repetitive overthrows, dominating almost comically the whole period of the Jew's return (as God predicted, Zechariah 12:6 ff. - cf. pp. 779-822, 851-857 supra.)
The force of evidence overthrows indeed the force of mere utterance. Proclaiming himself ''no more than an apostle'' (Surah 3:140-147), such that ''other apostles have come before me'' (Surah 3:183), Muhammad refers to Abraham and others, to the Jewish Torah (law) - Surah 2:135), and the ''earlier scriptures'' of ''Abraham and Moses'' (Surah 87:179), bowing to history by acknowledging, ''the prophets who surrendered themselves judged the Jews ... according to God's Book which had been committed to their keeping and to which they themselves were witnesses'' (Surah 5:44).
Witness! Dismiss evidence and what does 'history' become but the unholy butt of romance? While Muhammad says his book ''confirms the Scriptures which came before it'' (5:48), in fact the Messiah is as we have shown with dense-packed scriptures (cf. pp. 768-777 et al. supra), the eternal King irreplaceable, unsucceedable, whose word is final and, if rejected, fatal; and one need only cite words such as Isaiah 9:6-7, 42:1-4, 49:6, 53:11-12, 54:5,10, 55:3-11, Deuteronomy 18:15-18, Daniel 7:13-14, Psalm 72. Not merely is there no successor, this is so because the Son (Psalm 2:5-7) is God (Psalm 45, Isaiah 48:16, Micah 5:1-3), as shown earlier in great detail from many scriptures of which only the Jews were in fact - to use Muhammad's term - 'witnesses'. Successors, declares Christ, are false Christs (Matthew 24:24).
To fortify the contradiction: Muhammad wrote material wholly alien to that of the 'apostles' - such on his own admission - who 'went before' him, on the method of salvation, on redemption, on the place of grace and on the work of the Messiah (not really killed, says he - Surah 4:157, despite Daniel 9:25-26, Isaiah 53, Psalm 22, Leviticus 16). To aggravate the impossible, Muhammad has the prior 'apostles' sent by ONE GOD! (Surah 3:40 and 3:21). Should one God send prophets opposed to the very core of Muhammad's words ? Why He gave His 'servants the prophets' among the Jews, such wholly, consistently and persistently clangorous contradiction of Muhammad, the prophet does not manage to attest!
The whole superabundantly attested, textually ancient, intense, immense, detailed racial systematics and salvation dynamics of the interlocking Old and New Testaments (cf. pp. 735-836 supra) are airily dismissed for the infinitely divergent dogmas (cf. Surahs 4,5,9,24 and 48) of the anti-verified Koran. To thunder the point home, God, having disciplined the Jews as Chapter 9 has shown His word predicted He would do, has given them the power He also predicted, abolishing the pretences of the Koran to its very face (cf. pp. 814, 830-834, 989 supra). Of a certainty, the Jews had less than no reason to add the scriptures on the Messiah, whom they murdered, but rather honestly retained them in fear. (See also *4 infra.)
The Koran is not merely unverified, but anti-verified and this with a divine mirth as God's predictive word ploughs through the field of history with the majestic insouciance of a tank in an agricultural field (cf. Psalm 2:8-12, Jeremiah 23:29; and Psalm 111:7-8, Isaiah 59:21 and p. 564 supra). See also pp. 1176-1186C infra for treatment of Joshua as an instrument of theocratic MORAL judgment, not contrary to the love or liberty God gives. Christ categorically did not subject physically, do violence at all to remedy unbelief. Truly He upbraided morally, cleansed, lamented (Matthew 23:37, Luke 19:42) and wassubjected. Faith and force have divorce.
In view of the coming collusion of religions, the collision in fact present is crucial to realise, like the difference between drinking from all waters, and from a pure well.
*2 See News 19.