Crucified Again — Tingling Ears
16 August 2013
Last week I started a review of the book Crucified Again: Exposing Islam's New War on Christians by Raymond Ibrahim.

Today's article is the fourth in response to this book. If you missed the three previous articles, you should read them before continuing here. You might also want to read one of my first articles — God's Judgments — which develops ideas similar to the ones in this article.

One day long ago, Yahweh, the God of the Bible, told Jeremiah the prophet that He was about to do something "that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle." (Jeremiah 19:3) When Yahweh told the prophet Habakkuk about the same thing, He said:
Look at the nations and watch — and be utterly amazed! For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told. (Habakkuk 1:5)
What was this astounding, shocking and even scandalous event that would be beyond belief and even make people's ears tingle when they heard about it? It was this: God was going to bring devastating judgment upon His chosen people, the Jews, by allowing the ruthless, treacherous, wicked Babylonians to conquer and destroy their nation.

Why would God do such a thing to His own special chosen people? The short answer is because they were merely performing a religious routine, while their hearts were far from God. See Jewish Religious Degeneration on my Brian's Bits Web site for all the tragic details.

The aspect of this judgment that was so scandalous to the Jews was that God would use a pagan nation, which, at least in Jewish eyes, was much more evil and unrighteous than they were, to inflict His punishment upon them. How could Yahweh allow such horrible, ungodly people to conquer His own special people, who were as precious to Him as the pupil of His eye (see Deuteronomy 32:9-10 and Zechariah 2:8)? It was beyond comprehension and did not seem right or just! But apparently that's how God works sometimes.

Centuries later, when God gathered a new group of special, chosen people who were followers of His Son, Yeshua (Jesus, Isa), "The Way" (as this new faith was called before it got the name Christianity) spread rapidly and extensively throughout the Roman Empire. This was due in a large part to the way followers of Yeshua bore witness to their faith in the midst of persecution and martyrdom.

But after about 300 years of the refining fire of persecution unto death, a dreadful, catastrophic event took place. The Roman Emperor Constantine supposedly became a Christian, and soon thereafter the persecution of the Church ceased. (For more details, see my articles The Militant Church and Two Peas In a Pod.) In one fell stroke, Satan gained one of his most magnificent victories in the history of mankind. Three hundred years of persecution could not destroy the early Church — in fact, it only served to strengthen the Church and cause it to grow at an astonishing rate. So apparently Satan decided to switch tactics. If persecution and death could not destroy the Church, perhaps peace, comfort and prosperity could!

By the time another 300 years had gone by, the Church has been transformed almost beyond recognition. Instead of vibrant, strong followers of the crucified Yeshua, who did not love their lives even unto death, the Church had by and large been reduced to a non-Biblical Pagan Christianity. Lack of persecution had caused most of those who called themselves Christians to become mere performers of a religious routine, and far from God in their hearts.

Then, in the early seventh century, a demon, "masquerading as an angel of light" (see 2 Corinthians 11:13-15) and pretending to be the Biblical archangel Gabriel (see Luke 1) appeared to an obscure, middle-aged man named Mohammed, who was sitting in a cave in Arabia. On that fateful day, the course of human history was dramatically changed — Islam was born! (See Another Gospel, Another God for more details.)

During the following decades and centuries, Muslims conquered virtually all of the Christian world in the region of the Mediterranean and Middle East. Persecution was back with a vengeance, and it was even more intense than under the Romans! How could Father God allow such horrible, unchristlike barbarians to conquer His own special people? But He did allow it, and He must have had a reason.

When Yahweh God was foretelling the judgment of the Jewish nation at the hands of the evil Babylonians, about 1,000 years before Islam came on the scene, He spoke about it in various proclamations through various prophets. I have taken one such passage in the book of Habakkuk, and I have made only one single change in the text: where there was the word "Babylonians," I have put the word "Muslims" instead. It is chilling and astonishing to see how closely this passage describes what it must have been like to encounter those early conquering Muslims:
Look at the nations and watch —
        and be utterly amazed.
For I am going to do something in your days
        that you would not believe, even if you were told.
I am raising up the Muslims,
        that ruthless and impetuous people,
who sweep across the whole earth
        to seize dwellings not their own.
They are a feared and dreaded people;
        they are a law to themselves and promote their own honor.
Their horses are swifter than leopards,
        fiercer than wolves at dusk.
Their cavalry gallops headlong;
        their horsemen come from afar.
They fly like an eagle swooping to devour;
        they all come intent on violence.
Their hordes advance like a desert wind
        and gather prisoners like sand.
They mock kings
        and scoff at rulers.
They laugh at all fortified cities;
        by building earthen ramps they capture them.
Then they sweep past like the wind and go on —
        guilty people, whose own strength is their god.  (Habakkus 1:5-11)
Seeing that God used the Babylonians to judge and correct His people, the Jews, because their hearts had turned away from Him, and they were ensnared in rancid religious routine, why would it be hard at all to imagine that God could and would use the Muslims to judge and correct His people, the Christians, because their hearts too had turned away from Him and they were ensnared in rancid religious routine? From the evidence I can see, I think it would be much easier to believe this than to not believe it! But for most of the worldwide Church, God's words through Habakkuk apply to them as well: Look at the nations and watch — and be utterly amazed! For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.

I believe it was true at the time of Mohammed and the early Muslims, it has been true for the past 1,400 years, and I think it is especially true in our day, when Muslims are so rapidly approaching their goal of taking over the whole world. During the Western colonialism of the 19th and 20th centuries — especially with the fall of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I — aggressive Islam was subdued and fairly dormant for a season. This lulled the Church into a false sense of peace and security.

But with the rise of Arab nationalism, particularly after World War II, the hardcore Muslim Brotherhood, the militant Al-Qaida, and perhaps most significantly, the establishment of the radical Iranian Islamic Republic, Muslims are once again at the center of the world stage, and the season of relative peace and security has been shattered — just as New York's twin towers were shattered on 9/11/2001.

Habakkuk had a very difficult time coming to terms with God's plan, just as the Jews of his day did, just as the Christians under early Islam did, and just as the Christians of today do. Perhaps Habakkuk's complaints echo the thoughts and feelings of all these groups, in another chilling and astonishing passage that is as relevant and applicable today as it was when it was written about 2,600 years ago. As previously, I have simply replaced the word "Babylonians" with "Muslims":
How long, O Yahweh, must I call for help?
        But You do not listen!
"Violence is everywhere!" I cry,
        but You do not come to save.
Must I forever see these evil deeds?
        Why must I watch all this misery?
Wherever I look,
        I see destruction and violence.
I am surrounded by people
        who love to argue and fight.
The law has become paralyzed,
        and there is no justice in the courts.
The wicked far outnumber the righteous,
        so that justice has become perverted.
O Yahweh my God, my Holy One, You who are eternal —
        surely You do not plan to wipe us out?
O Yahweh, our Rock, You have sent these Muslims to correct us,
        to punish us for our many sins.
But You are pure and cannot stand the sight of evil.
        Will You wink at their treachery?
Should You be silent while the wicked
        swallow up people more righteous than they?
Are we only fish to be caught and killed?
        Are we only sea creatures that have no leader?
Must we be strung up on their hooks
        and caught in their nets while they rejoice and celebrate?  (Habakkus 1:2-4,12-15)
Once Babylon had accomplished God's purposes in judging His Old Testament People, the terror and destruction it had caused came back on its own head, as history has shown. Once Islam has accomplished God's purposes in judging His New Testament People, the terror and destruction it has caused will come back on its own head, as you can read in the book of Revelation.

For followers of Yeshua the story will end well — all that opposes God will be subdued, and King Yeshua will rule the entire world from Jerusalem — and His followers with Him. Until then, the King has some words of encouragement for His people:
The time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or Me. I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them.... I know that you are filled with grief because I have said these things.... I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.  (John 16:2b-4a,6,33)

To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.... Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution.... Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor's crown. To the one who is victorious and does My will to the end, I will give authority over the nations — that one "will rule them with an iron scepter and will dash them to pieces like pottery" — just as I have received authority from My Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.  (Revelation 2:7b,10,26,27,29)
As I had explained in Crucified Again — Don't Be Surprised, Yeshua Himself — God in the flesh — as well as most of the writers of the New Testament, promised that followers of Yeshua would be persecuted, even to the point of death. And because Father God is all-seeing and all-powerful, nothing happens on this earth that He does not allow. In light of these truths, why does Mr. Ibrahim, and why does most of Christendom, make such a big deal about the persecution of Christians? We'll explore the answer to that question in the next article.