Dr. W. A. Criswell
9-14-80 7:30 p.m.
It is a gladness, infinitely so, for us to welcome all of you who are listening on KCBI, the Sonshine radio station of our Bible Institute, and over KRLD, that carries the Cowboys game, but we are a lot better than they, I can tell you that, all of you who listen on KRLD, you listen to a triumph every time you tune in on us. We never are defeated, never, ever; not until the kingdom comes and we look at Jesus face to face.
These days the pastor, and you are listening to him now, of the First Baptist Church in Dallas – the pastor is preaching two tremendous series of sermons. The morning ones are on the great doctrines of the Bible, and it will continue over three years. And the first two messages were introductory, delivered last Sunday morning, and this Sunday morning. And then, next Sunday morning, we begin the first section of the fifteen sections on "The Great Doctrines of the Faith."
The first section concerns the Bible, bibliology; and the title of the sermon this coming Lord’s Day morning is Books and the Book. The Book:
There is just one Book, cried the dying sage,
read me the old, old story.
And the winged words that can never fade
Wafted his soul to glory.
There is just one Book. That is the sermon next Sunday morning.
And the next Sunday night, the series on Sunday night regards "The Problems of Human Life" – the world in which we live, have to live, can’t escape it. You can’t say, "Stop the world. I want to get off." We are in it, and we are involved in everything that happens. And the sermons on Sunday night are concerning some of those dramatic problems that are forced upon us.
Next Sunday night, the title of the message concerns Lot Living with Homosexuals, and we are sure drowned in them. They are multiplying and proliferating, until somebody said to me a day ago, "Did you know there are more homosexuals in San Francisco than there are straight people? Did you know that?" Well, I am overwhelmed. And here in Dallas, there are thousands and thousands of them. So, the sermon next Sunday night concerns Lot Living with Homosexuals.
Tonight, the sermon concerns a worldwide drama that is unfolding before our eyes, in which all of us are inexorably caught up. The title of the sermon is Ishmael: Islam and the Oil Slick. We are preaching tonight from the sixteenth and the seventeenth chapters of the Book of Genesis.
The story in the sixteenth chapter of Genesis begins with Sarai, Abraham’s wife, who was barren. And according to the custom of that day – a strange, strange custom to us – she gave her maid into the bosom of her husband in order that she might have a child by her [Genesis 16:1-3].
So Hagar, an Egyptian, the servant, the slave of Sarai, was placed in the arms of Abraham, her husband, and she became a mother. And when she was found with child, the slave girl looked with contempt upon Sarai, because Sarai was barren, which was a sign of the curse of God in that time. And being despised, and treated with contumely and contempt, why, Sarai says, "She cannot stay here." So, Hagar, heavy with child, fled from the face of Sarai and journeyed for her life out in the wilderness [Genesis 16:4-6].
Now, we are going to read verses 7 through 14; all of us, out loud together – Genesis 16:7-14. Now, out loud, together:
And the angel of the Lord found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur.
And He said, Hagar, Sarai’s maid, whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress, Sarai.
And the Angel of the Lord said unto her, Return unto thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands.
And the Angel of the Lord said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.
And the Angel of the Lord said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the Lord hath heard thy affliction.
And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.
And she called the name of the Lord that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after Him that seeth me?
Wherefore, the well was called, Beer Lahai Roi; behold it is between Kadesh and Bered.
Beer Lahai Roi; that is, "the well"; "beer," like "Beersheba." Beersheba is the seventh well; beer is the name for a well; Beer Lahai Roi means "the well of the living one," "the-God-who-sees-me" [Genesis 16:13].
So Hagar, bearing this child was found by a well in the wilderness. And the Angel says to her, the Angel of the Lord, a pre-theophanic appearance of the Lord God, Christ Jesus in the flesh. The Angel of the Lord, "Jehovah God" He is called, found her by a well of water [Genesis 16:7], and the Angel of the Lord God said: "I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it cannot be numbered for multitude. . . . [Genesis 16:10]. And the child that you shall bear is to be called Ishmael" that is, "God hears"; El, Ishmael, "God hears" [Genesis 16:11]. So she called the well, Beer Lahai Roi; "the well where the God- Who-Sees [Genesis 16:13], hears me."
Now, in the seventeenth chapter of the Book of Genesis:
When Abraham was ninety years old and nine, the same Lord appeared to him, and said to him . . . I make My covenant –
verse 2 –
between Me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly [Genesis 17:1-2].
I will make thee exceeding fruitful, I will make nations of thee, kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish My covenant between Me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee and to thy seed forever.
This is My covenant, which ye shall keep, between Me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.
And as for Sarai, He says she is going to bear a son, in her old age [Genesis 17:15-16] – Sarai is now 90 years old [Genesis 17:17]. Now, verse 18: "And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before Thee!" [Genesis 17:18]. Now, he did not mean by that "Ishmael," that "Would God, Ishmael might live before Thee" – he didn’t mean by that, Abraham didn’t mean by that ",that I pray that Ishmael will not die, that he will not continue to exist." There is no meaning like that in it at all. Abraham prayed saying, "O God, that Ishmael might be that one through whom the great covenant blessing of God," that we know as the messianic blessing – "that it might be Ishmael who would be the chosen family of God, through whom the great promise of redemption and salvation is to come," which we know in Christ Jesus our Lord, the Son of David, the son of Abraham, the Savior of the world. "O God," he prays, "that Ishmael might be that one." And the Lord said to Abraham, "No, it will not be Ishmael. It will be the one that is born of promise in Sarai, 90 years of age." Then the Lord added, "But as for Ishmael," verse 20:
I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. . .So Abraham took Ishmael his son. . .and circumcised him in the flesh of his foreskin that same day. And Abraham was ninety years old and nine . . . when he circumcised Ishmael his son who was then thirteen years of age.
So, Ishmael is in the covenant of Abraham – that in his seed there should be an exceeding, fruitful blessing [Genesis 17:20].
The promise of redemption is in Isaac [Genesis 17:21], but Ishmael shares in that great blessing of God’s covenant with Abraham, that in his seed there should be born kings and nations, and his generation should be so numerous they could not be counted.
Now having seen that, let us look at how God is faithful to that promise. "I will bless Ishmael exceedingly and make him fruitful and make him a great people" [Genesis 17:20]. Look how the Lord remembers His blessing, "And the Angel of the Lord found her by a well of water in the desert, in the wilderness," [Genesis 21:19], in Saudi Arabia, He found her by a well of water.
He found her by a well of oil. The One who invented oil knows where He hid it, and why it is there. And God placed that, the most remarkable reservoir of energy and wealth and economic power, beyond anything the earth ever dreamed of, God placed it there in the hands of the seed of Ishmael, to whom He said, "Blessing, I will bless exceedingly" [Genesis 17:20].
And in the development and the fulfillment of that promise, without firing a shot, without flying a plane, without rolling a tank, without dropping a bomb, the children of Ishmael have found themselves in possession of the greatest wealth and treasures the world has ever known – and a treasure that is vital to the very existence of the industrialized nations of the world, whether they’re in the East, like Japan, or in the West, like Europe and America. God did that – the blessing of Ishmael!
Now, at the heart of this universe is conflict and war. There was war in heaven. Satan and his angels fought against Michael and his angels [Revelation 12:7]. There is not any of this that Satan doesn’t read. He knows the Bible better than we do. In all three temptations of our Lord, Satan quoted the Bible [Matthew 4:3, 6, 8-9].
He knows it, and he read every syllable of this – the blessing that was coming to Ishmael [Genesis 17:20]. And Satan intervened and interdicted and interposed, and he did it in a terrible and a tragic way – one that you would never have thought for. We would never have imagined it. It would not have been in any of our strategic designs, what Satan did to circumvent and to make this curse, this blessing into an awesome and terrible worldwide curse.
This is what Satan did. In 570 AD, there was born in Mecca, in Saudi Arabia, a child named Mohammed, and when he was 25 years of age, being a camel driver, he married the rich widow, Khadijah, who owned those camel caravans. And when he was about 40 years of age, he began to fall into trances and to see visions and to hear voices that he said Gabriel was bringing to him from Allah.
And he presented himself as a prophet from heaven, from Allah. In Mecca, where he was despised and looked upon with contempt, he was cast out and persecuted, and so fled away in 622 AD. And that is called the "Hegira," or as they pronounce it, "Hejira." And that is the first day of the Mohammedan calendar.
In 622 AD, under persecution and bitter contempt, this man, Mohammed, was cast out, and he fled away for his life. He fled 250 miles north to a town named Medina. And there, in Medina, presenting himself as an emissary of heaven, as a prophet of Allah, he gathered followers around him.
And they preyed upon the camel caravans that were making their way to Mecca, and he was able to continue that life of violent, predatory intervention of those camel caravans because of two things: number one, he promised the men loot and plunder. And second, he promised them a harem in heaven. So he began there in that violent way of depredation and violence.
And then, while he was there and aside, Khadijah died, and he took to himself nine wives, one of which was the wife of his own son. And he did that by "revelation from God." Then, as he continued gathering those men around him and violently plundering the camel caravans that crossed Saudi Arabia, he began to enunciation a doctrine of conquest by war, and from the Koran, I have copied these sentences:
Fight strenuously against the unbelievers. . . .
Fight those who believe not in Allah. . . .
Verily, Allah loves those who fight in his cause. . . .
The sword is the key to heaven. . . .
A drop of blood shed in the cause of Allah. . . .
A night spent in arms is of more avail than two months of fasting. . .
Whosoever falls in battle, his sins are forgiven. . . .
Allah loveth not the transgressors; kill them wheresoever you find them. . .
Take not a Jew or a Christian for your friend or protector. . . .
It hath not been granted unto any prophet that he should possess captives; until he hath made a great slaughter of the infidels in the earth. .
Make war on unbelievers until Allah’s religion reigns supreme.
[Selections from the Koran].
So, it started out under Mohammed, in violence and in war, in spoil and in plunder. Now, Mohammed died in 632 AD, when he was 64 years of age, and caliphs thereafter carried on the religion – the sanctioning of this violence, they carried it on, after Mohammed died.
The first one was Abu Bak’r. And one of the astonishments that you read in history – and this is the energy of Satan – within a hundred years after the death of Mohammed, in 632 AD, these Mohammedans, these Muslims, had built an Islamic empire far greater, vaster, than the Roman Empire at its zenith. From the shores of western Africa, through all of North Africa, through all of the Middle East, through all of Turkey, through Syria and Iraq, through Iran, through Karachi, through Bangladesh, through Malaysia, and Indonesia and through the southern Philippines, the entire vast sweep of the earth is presided over by this fanatical darkness. Nor have they ever lost a nation that they conquered, nor has any people ever reverted to their former faith, except one notable exception, and that is Spain.
All Europe would have fallen to the Saracens, the Islams, the Muslims, the Mohammedans, had it not been for the victory of Charles Martel at Tours, in 732 AD – 100 miles south of Paris. And the sword of the Mohammedan brought the extinction, the absolute destruction, the removal from the earth of the Christian faith in that vast sweep of the earth now controlled by the Muslim. One-fourth of all the Christians of the world were in North Africa. That is the home, the Christian home of Clement, of Origen, of Tertullian, of Augustine. That is the Christian home of the great Athanasius. All of those churches and the entire Christian population was decimated and destroyed.
As some of you, I have been and stood in the midst of that marvelous Church of Saint John in Damascus. There is no cross over it; there is a scimitar – it’s a mosque! I have been to Antioch, where the great missionary propagation of the Christian faith began – a solid Muslim city. I have visited the sites of the seven churches of Asia. I have been in Turkey several times. The entire Christian faith was destroyed in Asia Minor – five million Christian Armenians slaughtered, and one million Christian Greeks put to the sword.
I have stood in Saint Sophia, built by Justinian in 500 AD, the church of a Byzantium Empire and the eastern Caesars. The greatest edifice in the earth; without steel, without any of the modern ways of trusses, that thing falls up and up and up and the dome is bigger than a baseball diamond; the church – the Christian church of Saint Sophia.
When I was in Istanbul in 1950, they were preparing to celebrate the five hundredth anniversary of the fall of Christian Constantinople, and the destruction of the Christian faith, and the reconsecration of Saint Sophia into a Muslim mosque. The emperor Constantine Palaeolagus, the last of the Caesars, knelt to worship in Saint Sophia and went out to die, defending the city against the Muslim Turks. And was slain there, buried under the heap of his fellow solders.
And in Istanbul at that time, they were preparing to celebrate the five hundredth anniversary of the fall of Constantinople and the obliteration of the Christian faith. I cannot describe to you the feeling I had as I walked around those people and in that city, and they were exalting and preparing vastly for that five hundredth anniversary. And it was an exaltation, and a rejoicing, and a commemoration of the destruction of the Christian faith.
Today, in our day, we are seeing a resurgence of the Muslim faith. Islam is stirring in the earth. Backed by oil, by economic power beyond anything the world has ever seen, Islam – the Muslim, the Mohammedan – is on the march as he hasn’t been since the days of the death of Mohammed and the caliphs. You see it everywhere. I don’t read a Sunday paper, so I don’t know about today’s paper – this is from yesterday’s paper: "The Turk Coup Targeted Rise of the Muslims." And the second headline article, "The Coup Disturbs our Western Airlines." And these two articles concern the Muslims of Turkey.
When Mrs. C and I were in Tehran, there were three of those Iranian young men who took a notion to be very gracious and kind to us, and they, coming out of affluent families, why, they took us to the airport – these three young men, and bade us goodbye. They took us to dinner there, while we were waiting for the plane. And when our plane was called, and when we were seated there at the dinner table, one of the young men unwrapped a beautifully wrapped package. And he had in his hand this copy translated into English of the Koran.
I would not have particularly thought about it, as he gave it to me as a remembrance of him, Mohammed Yousefian, inscribing it to me. But, what I could not forget was, before he placed in it my hand, he kissed it – all over this page, and all over that page, and then opened it and kissed it there, and there, and there and there – and kissed it again, and again – and finally, tenderly and reverently placed it in my hands like that.
Islam is moving, it is surging and we see it everywhere! The Christian government of Chad in Africa has just been destroyed by the Muslims. Financed by Khadafi of Libya, Idi Amin tried to convert all of Uganda into a Muslim state. He slew one-half million Christians in Uganda.
The march of the Muslim is worldwide. There are twenty-five million of them in Europe, and they are beginning to build beautiful mosques in every city in Europe. They have just completed a seven and one-half million [dollar] mosque in Regent’s Park, the prestigious section of the city of London. We have two million of them in the United States; about one million of them black Muslims. They are on the move.
And the Muslim religion is one of absolute submission, dominated by the traditions of Mohammed, and by the Koran. It is a religion that consumes the entire life, political, social, economic, domestic, cultural, every area of life is dominated by Mohammedanism. We were buying a rug in Beirut some time ago. And in the midst of that transaction, the man at the free port in Beirut, in Lebanon, stopped, went outside of his store, spread out his rug, bowed and is praying toward Mecca.
I was in Dubai the last summer – not this summer, last summer – I was in Dubai. And while I was in the airport in Dubai, the horn of Saudi Arabia, of those Arab Emirates – while I was in Dubai, there in the middle of the airport, in the middle of the station in the airport – what am I trying to call that place? The what? The terminal; in the middle of a terminal, busy as it could be with those people coming and going, in the middle of the terminal, late at night, there were three young Muslim men, three of them. And they placed a newspaper for their prayer rug, they placed it there in the middle of the terminal, and oblivious to all of us who were around them, coming and going and whatever, they were praying with that newspaper turned toward Mecca – going through the recitation of their prayers.
Koran means, "recitation, recite," and the aim of all the Muslims is to memorize as many of the six thousand verses in the Koran as they can. And their worship is to bow toward Mecca and to recite those verses. As I looked at them and I stood there until the plane was called, just watching them, just – those three men there, looking at them. As I looked at them, I thought, I have never seen a Christian in the world – I have never seen one in the world, that was as bold in his faith as that; I never have. Well, we are timid or ashamed or hesitant or reluctant or whatever it is. We won’t even talk to anybody about Jesus. We would not even ask them whether they know the Lord or not. But, those Muslims, they are open, and that is a part of their faith and their religion. They are bold in what they do for Allah and Mohammed, his prophet.
They are divided into two tremendous groups, one vastly larger than the other. There about eight hundred million Mohammedans in the world, next to the Christian faith, by far the most numerous. There are about eight hundred million of them. Now the great majority of them are Sunni, but there is a minority of them that are Shiite.
And the Shiites are those that dominate Iran. There are about ninety million of them. Iran is about the only nation that is dominated by the Shiites. Now the difference between the Sunnis and the Shiites mostly is this: the Sunnis, the great majority of them, are those who believe that the followers of Mohammed are the Caliphs, and they follow them on down through the years, and the years, and the years. But, the Shiites believe that the true successors to Mohammed are the ayatollahs. And the ayatollahs are those who according to their faith are the successors of Ali, the son-in-law of Mohammed. And they believe that the true succession of the prophet lies in Ali, Mohammed’s son-in-law. And they call that succession "Ayatollah." This man is an ayatollah – he is the successor of Mohammed.
Now, there are many ayatollahs. They claim to be the successors of Mohammed. The most famous one to us is Khomeini, in Iran. Now, the reason they are so fearful is this: a pope has to answer to his College of Cardinals; but an Ayatollah is answerable to nobody. He receives the message directly from God. And the message that he receives from God is enforced on the people. It is that plain. When Ayatollah Khomeini says, "This is what Allah speaks," then the whole Shiite faith, ninety million of them, bow down and receive as from Khomeini the word from Allah. It is fearful, it is awesome.
May I point out to you, and I must close immediately – may I point out to you there are some reasons why the Islamic world looks upon the Western Christian world with abhorrence. I name them to you: Western Christianity is identified with godlessness – with atheism. That is what they see. Number two; Western Christianity is identified with liquor and drunkenness. It is on the penalty of death that a Muslim would have a bottle of whiskey. Number three; Western Christianity is identified with pornography, the X-rated movie and the adult bookstore. And fourth, Western Christianity is identified in the mind of the Muslim with moral decadence. He may have certain rules about how many wives he can have, but on the pain of execution does he violate the moral law of Allah.
And when I look at that, and when I read it – and I haven’t time to expiate on it, I bow my head in shame before the Islamic world. We are secular, and getting more so. We are giving ourselves to humanistic atheism, and doing it more so. Our whole educational system is becoming increasingly humanistic, which is a nice way for saying atheistic. We are a drunken people, as I said last Sunday night, more than eighty percent of Americans drink, and one out of every nine becomes alcoholic – a problem. To the Islamic world, we are a people of drunkards.
I cannot describe to you the endlessness of pornography. There is not a television that you look at for a little while now but that you do not see the moral disintegration of the fiber of our American people. The language they use, the innuendos, the suggestiveness, and finally, the open scenes of adultery and fornication and vileness – terror without end. That is what the Islamic world sees – and of course, the breakup of our family life.
Now I have to close. What will God do as He looks down upon our modern world? All I can do is to point out the Word of the Lord. I am not the judge. The destiny of our people and of our nation lies in the imponderables of Almighty God. And I can just point out to you the Book.
God used Israel to exterminate the Canaanites. God said, "Their iniquity is full" [Genesis 15:16]. And He destroyed them from the face of the earth. When Isaiah asked about Assyria destroying Israel, God replied in the tenth chapter of the prophetic book: "Assyria is the rod of Mine anger, and the staff of Mine indignation" [Isaiah 10:5]. And when Habakkuk asked about the destruction of Judah and Jerusalem at the hand of the bitter and ruthless and hasty Babylonian, God said to Habakkuk, "I have ordained them for judgment . . . and established them for correction" [Habakkuk 1:12].
All I know is this: if there is not a repentance and a getting right and a turning to God on the part of America, I think, according to the Word, God is going to use the Islamic world, the Mohammedan world, and the atheistic communist world, to chasten America. And I cringe before the day. God in heaven! The next war will not be fought over there, over there. The next war will be fought up here. It will rain livid death and fire from the sky.
Now what does God mean when He says, "I purpose for the seed of Abraham a blessing?" [Genesis 17:1-7, 20-25]. That means Islam, the Arab, the children of Ishmael. That means the Jew, the children of Isaac. That means us, the Gentiles who by faith have become children of Abraham in Christ. God purposes for the whole world a blessing.
In the nineteenth chapter of the Book of Isaiah, I read in those last several verses the friendship between Egypt and Israel, already beginning to come to pass [Isaiah 19:23-25]. And I read in the eleventh chapter of the Book of the Apocalypse – I read the sounding of the seventh trumpet:
And when the seventh trumpet shall sound, the angel cries saying –
And listen to what he says:
The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ: and He shall reign for ever and ever. Amen.
Our hope lies in our Lord, and He will not fail. I don’t know the chastening through which our people ultimately shall pass. I just believe that God will fulfill every promise that He made both to Ishmael and to Isaac – and also to us, who have found a place in the family of God, in the grace and mercy of our blessed Lord Jesus [Ephesians 2:7-9]. Now, may we stand together?
Our Savior, You never lost a battle. In Your hands lie the destiny of the nations of all the earth. It was Your Word that said, "All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth" [Matthew 28:18]. And on that basis of that commitment that God has given to Thee, all peoples we are to evangelize, to preach in hope, to lift up the banner of the cross, to call men to faith and to repentance in Thee [Matthew 28:19-20].
So Lord, bless this message tonight. Not to end in despair, for God lives; we also are found by a well of living water, God having purposed some better thing for us [Hebrews 11:40]. And Master, as You have fulfilled and are fulfilling the promises to Ishmael [Genesis 17:20]; and as You will fulfill the promises to the children of Isaac [Genesis 17:19]; our Lord, do not fail, you could not fail to fulfill Your promises to us, that we who have sought refuge and life in Jesus He will gather to Himself [Hebrews 6:17-20]. Forgive our sins. Write our names, too, into the family of God. Stand by us in the hour of our need. Open the door into heaven. And our Lord, humbly we pray that tonight, God will bless the appeal to the saving of the lost, to the adding to God’s church, to the strengthening and the encouraging of our faith in the blessed Savior.
And while we wait this moment in silence before our living Lord, and while our people pray, praying for you, in the balcony round, a family, a couple, or just one somebody you; in the press of people on this lower floor, you. "God has spoken to me and I am bringing my family, all of us are coming tonight," or, "I am bringing my wife, the two of us are coming tonight." Or, "I am bringing my friend," or just you, "God has called me, and I am answering tonight with my life." Down one of these stairways, into one of these aisles, "Here I am, pastor, I have chosen God, and here I am." And our Lord, grant the prayer of appeal, in Thy saving name, amen.
ISHMAEL: ISLAM AND THE OIL SLICK
Dr. W. A. Criswell
1. Son of Hagar the bondswoman
2. God promised Hagar he would multiply her seed exceedingly
3. Today the descendents of Ishmael own most of the world’s oil
1. Muhammad founded Islam in 622 fleeing from Mecca to Medina
2. Created the myth that he was a prophet of Allah
3. Spread of Islam is through violence per the Koran
4. Muhammad successors spread Islam throughout much of the world
5. Christian faith nearly destroyed throughout the world by Islam – North Africa, Asia, much of Europe
6. Resurgence taking place today
7. Muslims are very faithful to their religion
8. Made up of Sunni and Shiite
III. Sunni vs Shiite
1. 800,000,000 total Muslims, 90 million Shiites
2. Sunni – successors are caliphs
3. Shiite – successors are ayatollahs
4. Ayatollahs worshipped like they were Muhammad
IV. Islam looks down on Christianity
1. Associates all Christians with faithless Christians and atheists
2. Christianity identified with liquor, pornography, moral decadence
V. A faithless America will be judged by Islam
VI. Our hope, the world’s hope lies with faith in Christ