The Terrorists of the Middle East
January 20th, 1991 @ 10:50 AM
THE TERRORISTS OF THE MIDDLE EAST
Dr. W. A. Criswell
1-20-91 10:50 a.m.
The Terrible Terrorists of the Middle East, it is the central message of a trilogy: last Sunday, Is This the Battle of Armageddon? Next Sunday, The Death Struggle Between Arab and Jew; and today, the religious background of this conflict and its terrible toll in human life.
Out of the Scripture that you read:
When He had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the [fourth] beast say, Come and see.
And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed in his train. And power was given to him over a fourth part of the earth, to kill with the sword, with hunger, with death.
Mohammed died in 632 AD in the desert city of Saudi Arabia named Medina. When he was twenty-five years of age, he married a rich widow forty years of age, and that gave him freedom and liberty to see visions, and to hear voices, and to make war. The Koran boasts of the fact that he could neither read nor write, a gift from heaven that he could see such visions and hear such revelations which his followers wrote down in their Bible called the Koran. Immediately upon his death, following his own example of constant warfare, they began to conquer that part of the world with the sword. Their statement of faith was simple, “There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet.” And the ravaging soldiers gave the people that they faced a simple choice, “You either convert, or you face slavery and death.”
In a comparatively short time, they had conquered all of North Africa, all of the Levant, Palestine, Syria, Asia Minor, Mesopotamia—finally Iran, and eventually to the islands of the Pacific, including the Philippines. It is the fastest growing religion in the world today. There are more than four hundred million Muslims. Even in America, we’re beginning to see their growing presence. Our great, famous boxer became a convert himself and changed his name to Mohammed Ali. They’re here in Dallas. They conquered Spain. They were on their way to conquering all of Europe, and in the battle of Tours in 732 AD, Charles Martel defeated them—Martel, the grandfather of Charlemagne.
But their influence is increasingly worldwide. I was in Istanbul—that great city, preparing to celebrate the five hundredth year of the fall of the Christian city Constantinople to the Ottoman Turk—as I walked through St. Sophia, the greatest Christian church in the earth and one of the marvels of architecture, I relived in my mind the fall of that Christian city. Surrounded by Mohammed II and the Ottoman Turks, they burst through a destroyed gate to the city. And the Christian emperor of the Roman Empire, Constantine Palaiologos, asked his Christian soldiers to slay him. They wouldn’t do it. Then he cast himself against the swords of the Turks who cut him to pieces, and thus died the last emperor of [the] ancient Roman Empire.
I have stood, as many of you have, at the Dome of the Rock and looked at the Mosque of Omar. He was the second of the caliphs—conquered all Arabia and built that original mosque. As I stand and look at it, and as I read the Apocalypse, the Revelation, I wonder. In the Revelation there is a temple of God there. And yet there’s a mosque there. When is it that that mosque will be destroyed and the temple of the Hebrew people be re-erected and re-established? I don’t see how it can be in any other way but a war. And in that vast conflict, that mosque is destroyed, and a temple of God is reared in its place.
The religious background of the people who fight and war in the following after Mohammed is an amazing revelation to me. The prophet had fourteen wives. He denied his followers any more than four. They can never have but four at a time. And in the Koran, a special dispensation was given to Mohammed for his fourteen. He even took the wife of his adopted son. He had no son of his own. “O prophet,” copying from the Koran, “Allah allows thee thy wives, also the slaves you possess as booty, and any believing woman who has given herself up to the prophet, if the prophet desires to wed her—a privilege for thee above the rest of the faithful.” And their Koran picture of heaven is a harem with, quoting, “a large-eyed maiden to minister to your every wish.”
In your time, Ayatollah Khomeini, the dictator of Iran, called a world conference to seek a solution to the turmoil in the Middle East. And in the palace that once belonged to the Shah, they prepared a beautiful, elaborate state dinner to which the delegates of the world conference were invited. When the time came for them to arrive, the Ayatollah Khomeini demanded that the women cover themselves in black veils. They refused, and the conference fell apart. That elaborate dinner was never eaten. The food was never touched. There was not a speech made. There was not a discussion held. The attitude of the prophet toward war: I quote from the Koran,
“Prescribed for you is war” [Koran 2:216].
“Fight those who believe not in Allah” [Koran 9:29].
“Verily, Allah loves those who fight in his cause” [Surat As-Saff 61:4].
“Fight strenuously against unbelievers” [Koran 25:52].
And again, “The persons Allah loves are those who fight in his cause” [Koran 61:4]. War is glorified. The sure way for a soldier to enter heaven is to die in combat. I remember in the years past a picture on the front page of our newspaper when the Turks were fighting the Christian Armenians. The picture is of a blind Turk. And he’s crying aloud for someone to bring him a Christian Armenian that he might cut his throat and thereby enter into the glory of heaven.
You have heard over the radio and over television, and you have read in the newspapers the announcement that the terrorists of Saddam Hussein are instructed to attack the enemies of Hussein, the nations of Western Europe, and particularly, and especially, America. And the terrible terrorist attacks of those evil men have been with us for these years past, and increasingly so in our present day.
When Ayatollah Khomeini seized Iran, the Americans were in the American embassy. And they were held there in violent hostage. And in one of the providences of God, some of our leaders were able to rescue them and bring them back home to America. We have been in Iran. When we were there, even though we were strangers, we were invited to eat dinner in the homes of those sweet, dear people. I can’t believe what a terrorist can do.
I have been in Lebanon several times. Not in the earth is there a more beautiful country than Lebanon, nor a more gracious city than Beirut. I wouldn’t dare go there now; the terrorists have turned it into damnation and hell.
I have been in Libya. The gracious people in Libya, so kind; Mu‘ammar al-Qaḏḏāfī —regarding ten million Christians living in Arab lands—said, “The Christians have followed a mistaken path, and they must change their ways to the extent that they are really and truly Muslims. They must convert to Islam or be annihilated.”
And in this world in which our Western civilization predominates, the terrorists are everywhere. In the airport at Athens, as a TWA plane took off, it burst asunder. In the municipal airport of Rome, machine guns turned the lobby into flowing human blood. And over Scotland, Pan American flight 103 burst into flames, into the flames that killed everyone on board. They seized one of the cruise ships of the Mediterranean. And there’s no part of any airport in America or in Western Europe or in our civilized world that does not cringe before the possibility of flaming death.
I read Ann Landers and Abby. I just like to know what these idiots called Homo sapiens, the human race, what they think and what they do. I do not know why, I’ve tried to think why, but on Monday, May 5, , I kept this from Ann Landers. After going through all of the exciting things, you know, of sex, and going to bed, and all the other things, I was astonished to find this:
Not Russia, not Russia, but the real threat is the ruthless, mindless, terrorism among the countries in the Middle East. How does one deal with people who believe it is a privilege and an honor to die in battle and that their reward for heroic suicide is eternal life? I wish I had the answer.
I don’t think anyone knows. How could anyone persuade himself that he was in the service of God if he destroys innocent people, blows up an airplane filled with mothers and children? I don’t know. We just live in that kind of a world. And we are engaged in a death struggle with that kind of a leader.
Then I remind myself: the lowly and humble and precious Lord Jesus came into this world. How was He received? And how did He die? In violence, nailed to a Roman cross, spit upon, despised, rejected [Matthew 27:28-50]. It’s this kind of a world. And that’s why He can be so precious to us. These mothers who bow before God in behalf of their sons and their daughters in this conflict, and all of us facing the sorrows of age and of death and of separation. How comforting to have a friend like Jesus, He who said:
Come unto Me, all ye who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.
TERRORISTS OF THE MIDDLE EAST
in 632 AD in Medina, Saudi Arabia
age 25 he married a rich widow who was 40 years old
Gave him freedom to see visions, hear voices and make war
Koran boasts he could neither read nor write; others wrote down his words
Statement of faith simple: “There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is his
II. The spread of his religion by the
gave people choice – convert or face slavery and death
Conquered all of North Africa, the Middle East, Asia Minor, Iran, to the
islands of the Pacific
Fastest growing religion in the world today
Spain, and were on their way to defeating all of Europe when stopped by Charles
Martel in 732 AD
Influence is increasingly worldwide
visit to Istanbul, 1950 – they were preparing 500th anniversary of
the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks
Dome of the Rock – the Mosque of Omar
Built in 637 AD by Omar, the second caliph, who conquered all Arabia
In the Revelation there is a temple there – when will that mosque be destroyed?
III. The religion of those who follow
Prophet had fourteen; he denied his followers any more than four
the wife of his adopted son
picture of heaven is a harem with “large-eyed maiden” to minister to your every
Ayatollah Khomeini, dictator of Iran, called world peace conference – demanded the
women cover themselves in black veils at the state dinner, and they refused,
and conference fell apart
The attitude of the prophet toward war
War is glorified
Sure way for soldier to enter heaven is to die in combat or kill the enemy
IV. The terrorists
– Ayatollah Khomeini and the American hostage crisis
We have eaten dinner in the homes of the people
Lebanon – beautiful country that today has been turned into damnation and hell
– people there so kind; I have visited there
Mu’ammar al Qaddafi says Christians living in Arab lands must convert or be
where Western civilization predominates, terrorists are everywhere
Quote from Ann Landers – “Not Russia, butâ€¦Middle Eastâ€¦”
V. Our Christian faith (Matthew 11:28-30,