SIX OTHER CULTS
In the Old Testament, people were saved by looking forward through types and shadows to Christ’s death for sin and we are saved from our sins by looking back to Calvary. Animal sacrifices pointed to Christ’s sacrifice and Sabbaths were fulfilled in the rest we have in Jesus (Hebrews 4; Col. 2:16,17). Jesus saves from sin (Matthew 1:21).
Blood of animals covered sin in Old Testament times. A post-dated cheque does not erase a debt but covers it until a certain date when money is deposited in the bank. In like manner, animal blood covered sin until, figuratively speaking, money was in the bank at Calvary where Jesus paid it all. He paid a debt he did not owe since we owed a debt we could not pay.
Muhammad became convinced he was the chosen prophet to bring people out of moral corruption, the Hindu caste system and polytheism, a belief in many gods. He purged much of the Arab world of pagan gods with the sword and established monotheism, belief in one God. Only Allah remained after 359 of the 360 tribal gods at Mecca were discredited. They reject the trinity thinking it refers to three gods and call it the sin of shirk, assigning partners to God. Jesus, God in human flesh, took on the limitations of humanity and came to save us from our sins (John 1:1,14; 1 Cor. 15:1-4; Matthew 1:21).
After the World Trade Center disaster Muslim authorities said, “Madmen give a distorted interpretation of Jihad calling it a holy war but it means a struggle to do good or defend yourself with no reference to terrorist acts against innocent people.” The Koran does not say women should be veiled and forbids suicide (4:29).
“Fight for the sake of Allah those that fight against you, but do not attack them first. Allah does not love aggressors” (Sura 2). The oppressive Taliban originated in refugee camps of Pakistan and hijacked Islam with its radicalism. Moderates are trying to wage peace not war and reclaim Islam from these mass murderers. Islam has two main divisions:
Shiites represent 10% of the world’s 1.2 billion Muslims and their leaders have the title, Imam. Extremists believe they go to Paradise after dying in a “holy war.” Their leader is the grandson of Muhammad. Louis Farrakhan misrepresents Islam but praises Hitler and leads an anti-white, anti-Semitic sect in New York city and says Christianity is a white man’s religion. Zealots like Osama bin Laden are not mainstream Islam just as Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Freemasons, David Koresh or the Oklahoma City bomber are not Christians. Sunnite Muslims follow the founding prophet, Muhammad, and make up 90% of the world’s Muslims.
Ismailis is an activist branch of Shiism. They established an Ismaili state in Arabia in 899. Their name comes from their Prophet, Ismail (Ishmael), son of Abraham and Hagar (Genesis 16:16). Sufism, a Muslim sect, practices flagellation, body piercing, glass eating etc. to achieve out of body experiences.
A DIFFERENT WAY OF SALVATIONIslam traces its roots to Abraham’s son, Ishmael. Christianity also began with Abraham, the father of faith in Christ. Both believe the Genesis record of creation. Why do Muslims believe in salvation by works when Abraham believed it is “without works?” (Romans 4). We are not saved by good works but for good works. The love of God in our hearts crosses political, religious and ethnic lines and enables us to do good to all in our global village. Salvation is an inside job, a change of granite hearts.
“In the day of judgment, those with heavy balances of good works shall be happy but those with light balances shall lose their souls and remain in hell forever” (23:104-5 Koran).
All five pillars of Islam involve works:
1. Public confession of their creed: “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet.”
2. Prayers are said five times a day while facing the Grand Mosque in Mecca. A compass determines the right direction.
3. Giving alms: Most give one-fortieth of their income to the poor but Shiites require 20%.
4. Fasting during the lunar month of Ramadan, November, to celebrate Muhammad receiving the Koran revelation. Fasting helps them relate to the hungry and homeless.
5. The Hajj, pilgrimage to Mecca, is required of every Muslim at least once in a lifetime. Every step towards Mecca blots out sin. Two million each year go around the Kaaba seven times and try to touch the black stone or meteorite considered sent from heaven and placed there by prophets Ibrahim and Ismail (Abraham and Ishmael). Pilgrims stone “the devil” at this event to symbolize rejection of his temptations and forgiveness of sins. Each throws seven pebbles at stone pillars and shouts “Allah Akbar” - God is Great! Thousands are trampled to death by crowds at Mecca. They are sure of heaven if they die in a Jihad, a holy war. Because of this belief they claim to have an advantage over others in war since they prefer death to life. Allah is the Arabic word for God.
Muslims abstain from alcohol and gambling and are limited to four wives. “Men have authority over women because Allah made one superior to the other” (4:34 Koran). In Christianity male and female, Jew and gentile are equal (Gal. 3:28).
Muslims say the Bible and Koran disagree because Bible texts were changed by early translators. The message in the Koran from Gabriel says, “The Messiah, Jesus the Son of Mary, was no more than God’s apostle...God forbid that he [God] should have a son” (4:171). In contrast the same angel, Gabriel, told Mary she would give birth to “the Son of God, Jesus” (Luke 1:26-35). Did Gabriel contradicted himself with mixed messages? Muslims have a false angel with a false message.
“ Some trouble you and pervert the gospel of Christ. If we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel let him be accursed” (Gal.1:6-9). Isaiah called Jesus, “o Immanuel, the God with us” and “Mighty God” (7:14;9:6; Matt. 1:23). Were these texts changed to make Jesus God when he was just a human?
Dead Sea Scrolls found in a Qumran cave in 1947 included a scroll of Isaiah 1,000 years older than present Hebrew manuscripts that show the present Bible is unchanged. The Koran says, “Jesus was not crucified but was represented by one in his likeness” [Judas] (4:157-58). However, ancient Isaiah scrolls confirm, “He was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities” (53:3-6). Denial of Jesus’ death also denies his resurrection. The Koran mentions the Messiah to come but he is just a human leader not the Jesus of Christianity.
The gospel tells us Christ died in our place for our sins and rose again (1 Cor. 15:1-4). If he was not crucified in our place to pay our death penalty for our sins and overcome death by his resurrection there is no forgiveness and our religion is in vain.
There are many so-called holy-books but only the Bible is inspired by God and is history, His-story, written in advance. Isaiah, Daniel and others told of Jesus coming, his birth in Bethlehem, his death, and resurrection thousands of years ahead of time. Archaeologists excavated entire cities and found thousands of artifacts that confirm the Bible. Christianity is not blind faith but is based on evidence. I watched a pilgrimage to Mecca on television and noticed a number of goats that symbolize an historic event dating back to Abraham when one died in place of another. Muslims have overlooked this principle and are left with a symbol but no substance or fulfillment. They say, “God is merciful and forgives sin without a blood sacrifice.”
In Genesis 22, God told Abraham to sacrifice his son on Mount Moriah but God provided a ram for sacrifice instead of Isaac. Muslims changed the story saying Abraham’s other son, Ismail (Ishmael), was intended for sacrifice but a ram took his place. Pilgrims at Mecca sacrifice animals to commemorate God’s acceptance of a ram in place of Allah’s prophet Ismail. Here we see, one giving its life to save another is found in both Islam and Christianity. The innocent died in place of the guilty. “Without shedding of blood there is no remission of sins” (Heb. 9:22).
We have this common ground with Islam but like Mormons they have overlooked this essential issue. Muslim extremists are glad when sons die in a holy war but God sent his son, Jesus, to die at Calvary in our place for our sins (John 3:16). Christians pray, “Our Father in Heaven...” but Muslims do not use the word “father” as it brings God too close as theirs is afar off with no hope of a relationship with him.
We have all failed to keep the Five Pillars or the Golden Rule so we need forgiveness from God. We are not saved by what we do but by what Jesus did for us at Calvary. He paid a debt he did not owe for we owed a debt we could not pay. “God spoke in times past by prophets but in these last days has spoken by his Son” (Hebrews 1:1,2). Jesus is more than a prophet; he is our creator. Salvation is not earned by good works but received as a free gift paid for at Calvary (Ephesians 2:8-10).
Pray: Jesus, I have missed the mark and come short of God’s standard. I accept you Jesus as my God and Saviour. Forgive my sins as I receive the gift of salvation without works, Amen.
A thought: Missionaries are not made by crossing the sea but by seeing the cross.
In reincarnation, “the endless tyranny of rebirth,” one allegedly returns in millions of lives cleaning up his act a little in each cycle, until he gets it right. He is then delivered from the karmic wheel of justice and reaches Nirvana, a state of non-being. Jesus got it right the first time for us on the cross but we must accept the free gift of salvation, not of works, by asking him to forgive our sins. Read the New Age article for info on reincarnation.
They teach that each religion contains a degree of truth and all should unite under the Bahai banner. Islam rejects it since it has a different prophet than Muhammad. Christianity is totally exclusive rejecting all others. Jesus said, “I am the way, truth and life; nobody comes to the Father [who is in heaven] except by me” (John 14:6). Jesus is the only way to heaven not one of nine equally good ways. There is no unity and peace without Jesus, the Prince of Peace.
Like Islam, salvation is by works: Pray daily; fast 19 days a year; observe holy days; make at least one pilgrimage to their world headquarters in Haifa, Israel; abstain from alcohol and drugs. Their founder is buried in Israel but did not rise from the dead like Jesus. When the blind lead the blind they all fall into the ditch. In these last days God speaks only by Jesus Christ not by prophets (Hebrews 1:1,2). Eight of the nine are false prophets. Hinduism, Buddhism, Karma and reincarnation are covered in the New Age article.
In British Israel they try to make a connection from the throne of David to the Royal throne in England etc. God told David one of his descendants would sit on his throne. This promise was fulfilled when Jesus arose from the dead and sat at the right hand of God (Acts 2:29-36). In God’s economy there is no Jew, gentile, male, female, bond or free but are all one in Christ (Gal. 3:28). Christianity is not concerned about race but about relationship with God through Christ.
Click on the NEW AGE article since that is repackaged Hinduism, Buddhism and Christian Science. All world religions and belief systems come under two categories:
(1) Christianity has Christ as Saviour from sin. (2) All others try in vain to save themselves from their sins by some do-it-yourself system of works: keeping ceremonial, moral and dietary laws or the golden rule. False religion is man reaching up to God by his own flawed goodness. Christianity is God reaching down to us in the person of Jesus. The gospel is a down-to-earth message of Jesus coming down to earth from heaven to die on the cross for our sins.
Buddhists have no god but follow an eight fold path to Nirvana: Right belief, right feelings, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right memory and right meditation.
Hinduism has three paths: The way of knowledge, the way of works and the way of devotion.
Gravity, for example, is a force that is In All. Whether you are falling off a ladder or on the moon it permeates everything. The greatest New Age god is Brahman, the supreme Hindu god. It is not a person but a neuter principle, a universal energy or cosmic force like gravity. To discover our Christhood and become one with the cosmic energy we must line up powers of darkness, Brahman energy forces, in and around us. Crystals concentrate this energy for healing and divination which means predicting the future.
A false way of salvation, works & reincarnation:
Jesus dealt with sin at Calvary by dying as our substitute to pay our death penalty for our sins but in reincarnation one tries in vain to pay for his own sins by self effort. Reincarnation does away with morality. It is acceptable to steal because he stole from you in a previous life. You return in millions of different lives doing good works and cleaning up your act a little in each life until you get it right. Jesus got it right for us the first time on the cross. Millions are psychologically defeated by failures in imaginary past lives. We are not saved by our good works and sacrifices but by Christ’s sacrifice at Calvary. Jesus paid a debt he did not owe since we owed a debt we could not pay.
Good and bad deeds result in good and bad karma. More bad than good deeds results in a karmic debt, like a Visa debt, to pay off. Karma refers to the law of sowing and reaping. You sow wild oats in this life and reap in another but karmic scales can tip in your favour through manipulation of auras and more good works. Evil works bring bad karma and rebirth in lower life forms. This pantheistic pagan concept brings humans down to the level of rocks and reptiles. This philosophy teaches to not interfere with a person in his suffering for he must burn up bad karma. Accept the free gift of salvation by praying: Jesus, I am a sinner and unable to save myself from my sins. I accept you as my Saviour and forsake all false gods. Forgive my sins, Amen.
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