UI – Part 311 – Prophets and Swords (3)
This follows last week’s blog – Prophets and Swords (2) – the introduction to this series was The Sword of Muhammad.
The Sword and the OT
The Old Testament recognizes the lethal nature of the sword. It was an implement of many battles wielded by Kings and Conquerors and their armies. But it is used therein figuratively, as cleaving the people of Jerusalem from other areas, separating them. The people would be cut off from God as they were wicked and rebellious. Sinners would realize the wrath of the Lord, how capable he was at punishment, and change their ways. It was to show their error in judgment would not give them a life with God. A preview of what was to come. Thus they would not want to be forgotten or set apart from God. The Biblical sword to others is the staff of the Lord striking the earth to make a statement. It is metaphoric.
Jeremiah[i] suggested those who were not faithful to God visit areas of the gentiles, the pagans, to have them observe how they often respected their created idols and never changed gods, even though they were false gods. Those in Judah changed their gods. This apostasy did not bring upon the people wrath from their own, but allowed, due to their weakness, foreign invaders. Swords were not used by the people of Israel or Judah, the faithful, to enact punishment on those who were not faithful. It was God who would punish (not man). As if it was not enough to have many idols and be disgraced, the people of Judah charged God, as if in court, for harassing them, persecuting them for their wicked ways.[ii] God wanted to correct the evil path the people pursued, always keeping his door open to their return, but they continued and by their own hand would murder prophets who forecast their self-immolation, their demise. It was a warning that they would fall upon their own swords (a metaphor).
The Sword Against Infidels – Islam
In the major Islamic metropolises and areas that are predominately Muslim, man acts for Allah. When there is discord, disagreement with Allah, or the Messenger, to include doubt or questioning the Quran, as determined by one of their own, severe chastisement is called for. This would include inflicting punishment against non-believers, the Kafirs, and the sword (or knife), even today, is the weapon of choice. The Ghazi (Arab warrior) used a Janbiya[iii] (knife), worn at their side and always ready, to inflict punishment on those they called infidel. In mass murdering rampages the AK-47 or a rifle pointed at the back of the head of a kneeling victim is employed today. If there is collateral damage, the killing of those considered innocents; justification is proffered saying, ‘they are in paradise, having achieved a place with Allah.’ Such vile actions, to include beheadings, are learned; they are instilled by the example provided by the self-appointed prophet, Muhammad. They are supported by their Scripture, the Quran, as in verse (Sura) 8:12, “…instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers: smite[iv] ye above their necks (behead) and smite all their finger-tips off.” Respect for life, even that of those who believe is of little value. In battle ‘defense’ is seldom used to protect their people, they are left to their own devices, but ‘offense’ is a clear and dangerous objective.
Sword and the NT
The New Testament never uses the sword, nor any modern weapon, as an instrument of God wielded by man to carry out God’s plan. Spiritual warfare and spiritual power are the church’s responsibility, even that of lay leaders. Is physical force (‘taking up the sword’) to be used? The answer: ‘No!’
The Sword, the Mosque and the Church
The avoidance of the use of physical force is not heard from the lectern of a Mosque. Fatwa’s are not pleasant requests. They are requirements proclaimed by Imam’s. The Ayatollah Khomeini’s call for the death of Salmon Rushdie in 1989 is still in effect.
Churches do not incite, fund or carry out acts of retribution against their own or others, but that is what Muhammad did, and what many Mosques and leaders of the religion/ideology of Islam request. They imply terrorist acts be committed, or simply say nothing in defense of such overt acts of death and destruction. Terrorist acts are designed to instill fear for a purpose, that of expressing ‘superiority’ and a desire for world domination in the name of Allah. Sura 48:28 states, “He (Allah) sent his Messenger (Muhammad) with guidance and the Religion of Truth (Islam) that he may make it superior to every other religion, exalting it over theirs.” Note the term ‘exalting’ – which means expressing how great and better they are than non-believers. Is it a fable, are they superior, or are they better? Consider their views towards equality and human rights, especially the rights of infidels.
Grace and Peace
Next week the final part of this series – Prophets and Swords (4)
[i] Jeremiah 2:9-13
[ii] Jeremiah 2:29-30
[iii] or ‘Jambiya
[iv] Cut deeply