Ishmael

Ishmael, a character in my book is about to read my story.  That’s not his real name, but it suits him.  He is a Moslem.  Before reading it, I was at pains to explain who “the King,” the main character in my book is.

“We worship the same God,” he replied, wanting peace between us.

Are God and Allah same

Really?  I heard the same thing from my new age publishing consultant.  She believed the market would be fine with my story as “any deity could play the King.”

“You mean, Jesus could be the same as Allah?” I asked the publishing consultant, to clarify.

“Well, yes – as the Bible and the Quran contain many of the same elements” she replied.

It is true that Islam’s warlike prophet Mohammed did include parts of the Bible in the Quran.  The Gospels had been around at least 500 years before Islam.

But both books can’t be right.  I made it quite clear before publishing the book that I would not change the name of the King or dilute his persona or character – not for anybody.  He is who he is.

wpid-who-do-you-say-i-am-question

“Who do you say I am?”  Jesus asked. 

“What is truth?” Pilate asked. 

These are the questions we all have to decide.  I only hope my book “The Kingdom, Here Be Dragons, Here Be Dreams” presents the King as he is in the Bible; the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God. 1 Timothy 1:17

For Ishmael’s sake, I did try to read the Quran years ago.  I got through a good part of it before stopping at the part which advocated killing Jews and infidels.  There are over a hundred verses in the Quran dealing with Jihad or holy war.  That’s why we’re having so many problems with terrorism, which would be better named “Muslim fundamentalism.”

At his arrest, Jesus, the King in my story, told Peter “Put away your sword, for those who live by the sword will die by the sword.”  Matthew 26:52.

Jesus fought with a different sword – the word out of his mouth.

After praying for wisdom, I tried a different tack with Ishmael.  I looked at who Jesus, Isa is in the Quran.  Much to my surprise, in the Quran Jesus is called “Spirit of God” and “Word of God.”  And he is mentioned more in the Quran than Mohammed, their prophet.

But it’s like the truth is veiled from Ishmael.  His religion is designed to keep them away from Christ.  Knowing that only the true God can remove the veil.  I presented Jesus, Isa to him as the “Spirit of God.”  I can remember Ishmael referring to Jesus as such.

The Bible explains that with the Lord, there is freedom; “But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”  2 Corinthians 3:16-18

This poem is for Ishmael.  Although we are related through Abraham, peace cannot come through compromise.  To agree that God and Allah are the same is to break the first commandment, which says;  “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.  “You shall have no other gods before me.”  Exodus 20:1-3

Ishmael, my brother,
 How long shall we fight each other?

My brother from times bygone,
 My brother - Hagar's son,
 My brother the wandering one.

One angel was sent to us both,
 One angel watched over our growth -
 There in the wilderness, death threatened through thirst,
 I a sacrifice on the alter, Sarah's first.

Ishmael, my brother, hear my plea:
 It was the angel who tied you to me. . . .

Time is running out, put hatred to sleep.
 Shoulder to Shoulder, lets water our sheep.

Here is a Moslem who was asked “who is Jesus?”  It’s 3.31 mins.

God is fussy about His name.

Islam has 99 names for God and they don’t match up.

How Muhammad Broke the 10 Commandments – #1 I am the Lord thy God
Jesus is “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’  Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”  Acts 4:11-12

The covenant

Abraham's promiseWhen God made Abraham gaze into the night sky, He had stars in his eyes. “He took him (Abraham) outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”  Genesis 15

God made a land covenant with Abraham that starry night, promising Abraham a son.  Abraham and Sarah decided to give God a little ‘help’ with that promise, as Sarah was too old to have a child.  Abraham had a son named “Ishmael” through Hagar, Sarah’s handmaiden.

Ishmael means ‘God hears’.  Abraham asked for his first born; Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!”

 Then God said: “No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year.” Genesis 17:17-21

When Sarah laughed, the Lord asked “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” Genesis 18:14.  Isaac means ‘laughter’.

Ishmael became the father of the Arabs, and Isaac the father of the Jews.  There is emnity between them to this day.  Ishmael’s descendants founded the religion of Islam, and they believe they are the rightful owners of the land of Israel.

I believe that God has not forgotten about Israel.  It states it quite clearly in Romans 11;
1 “Did God reject his people? By no means!
2 God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew.
11 Again I ask: Did they stumble as to fall beyond recovery?  Not at all!

The Church does not supplant Israel or take her promises.  Romans 11:28 makes it clear that Israel has a separate covenant with God, which still stands.  I love the Jewish people.  How could I not?  Jesus was a Jew.  The church was born in Jerusalem.  In Romans 11:17 it says that Israel is the olive tree, and the ingrafted branch of the Church is nourished from the root of that olive tree.God's Kingdom

 In the New Testament the Apostle Paul explains how Sarah, the mother of Isaac, and Hagar the mother of Ishmael represent two covenants; 

There is the covenant of the law.  God gave us the 10 commandments at Mount Sinai.  Its been a law that none of us can keep. The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

The new covenant is provided by Jesus who could keep the law.  He has been the only man born without sin, and He fulfilled the law to save us.

“For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman.  His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a divine promise.

These things are being taken figuratively: The women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar.  Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children.  But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother.”  Galalations 4.

Even though Abraham is the father of the Arabs and Jews, and spiritual father of the Christians – we don’t all get along.  How can two walk together unless they are agreed?  I was friends with an Arab man, a Moslem from Iraq.  He wanted more than a friendship, but that I could not give him.  I belong to a different covenant, and I will not bow to Allah.  I encouraged him to return to his wife who had left him (by the way, it had nothing to do with me).  We have remained friends.  In the Kingdom story, his name is Ishmael.  I wondered why had I attracted Ishmael?  Why had my life been a desert?

God wanted me to trust Him.  He told me I was the one who chose the desert, and that is why Ishmael appeared.  I was trusting in myself, rather than God’s promises.

Ishmael always appears first.  Like Abraham, we are told to get rid of the son by the slavewoman, because he doesn’t share in the inheritance God has under the new covenant.

 “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.”  Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.”  Galations 4:30.

This does not mean that God has forgotten the children of Ishmael.  Jesus has been appearing to many Moslems in dreams.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-jhtxqpAQQE

They can and do come to Jesus, and when they make Him Lord they also come under the new covenant.  I believe God had that in mind when He saved Hagar and Ishmael from the desert.  The sons of Ishmael have this in common with the sons of Isaac;   they both have difficulty understanding the new covenant, which began in Jerusalem on the night of Passover;LastSupper2 resized

At the last supper, Jesus took the cup saying  “Drink from it, all of you.  This is my blood of the covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. 

I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”  Matthew 26:28-29

The new covenant is available for all who believe and accept Jesus.  Will you believe and drink from the cup the King has provided?  Think about it this Easter.