When considered as a philosophy in light of Romans chapter one and Greek thinking, Islam gets it right. As a monotheistic religion Islam agrees with the view Romans chapter one describes as being clearly evident to all mankind. Abraham left the polytheistic religions of the ancient Chaldeans in Mesopotamia to follow the one true God. Moses led Israel out of Egypt and away from Egypt’s pluralistic religion that worshiped multiple deities in order that Israel might worship, obey and serve the one true God. Likewise, Islam arrives at the same conclusion that there is only one true God. This is unlike the ancient religions of the Assyrians, Greeks, etc., and very different from many other religions that have come down to our modern world such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism. Islamic belief can be summarized like this:
Islam’s theological failure was its rejection of the revelation of God given to the Jewish prophets, to Jesus Christ and to the Apostles of the Church. Instead, Islam accepts the revelation of Muhammad who took his followers to a deviant revelation not from God and an alteration of the revelation that had already been received and proven true and authentic. The false prophet Muhammad derailed the brilliant cosmological argument the Muslims would develop from Aristotle’s Greek philosophy before it even got started. Instead of accepting the Jewish and Christian revelation of the mystery of the Creator revealed to and recorded by the prophets and apostles, Muhammad rejected the eternal Son of God. Muhammad denied that deity had come in the flesh, and absolutely rejected God the Father and the Trinity. After the revelation of God in nature (Romans 1 and Acts 17), Paul referred to the mystery of God which is not revealed in nature but is instead revealed through the Church. Paul called this revelation “the pillar and foundation of the truth” and referred to it as “the mystery of godliness” in 1 Timothy 3:15-16:
If I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great:
“He appeared in a body
was vindicated by the Spirit,
Was seen by angels,
Was preached among the nations,
Was believed on in the world,
Was taken up in glory.”
With the death of Muhammad from a sudden illness in 632 the Muslim community was left without leadership. Muhammad had left no instructions, political plan, or government/constitution for his religious community for when he was gone. The Muslim religious community, which covered all of the Arabian Peninsula, pragmatically decreed the need and the rightful place for a successor to fill Muhammad’s leadership. The Arabic term for “succession” is “khilafa”, or “caliphate.” The caliph was the successor to the Prophet Muhammad’s position. The caliph would be the supreme leader. The first four caliphs ruled from 632-661 during what is known as the Golden Age, although dissention within the Muslim community grew.
634-644: The second caliph was ‘Umar who ruled for ten years and lead an unstoppable expansion of Islam outside the Arabian Peninsula be defeating the Byzantine Empire, the Sassanid Empire, and Egypt
644-656: The third caliph was ‘Uthman, who was actually one of Muhammad’s first companions. ‘Uthman used an alternative approach to leadership. Instead of focusing on continued expansion he focused on strengthening his family’s privileges and his family’s ability to start a dynasty succession. The military generals on the front lines disapproved. His city of Medina was besieged in 656 by Muslim rebels from Egypt. ‘Uthman was assassinated in the revolt.
656-661: The fourth caliph was Ali ibn Abi Talib, a cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad. Ali is believed to be the first young male to accept his Uncle Muhammad’s message when he became a Muslim at the age of twelve. In 656 Ali became the caliph with the support of the military. The Muslims from Syria accused Ali of instigating the Egyptian rebellion that had killed the previous caliph ‘Uthman, but the Muslims in Iraq remained loyal to Ali. The Syrian Muslims rebelled against Ali while the Iraqi Muslims continued to support him. The Syrian Muslims became known as the Sunni and Ali’s loyal Muslims in Iraq became known as the Shias. In a clash in the Euphrates valley in 657 the Iraqi Shias had the Syrian Sunnis defeated when the Syrian forces emerged with copies of the Qur’an lifted high in the air on the tips of their spears. Ali gave them peace, but in 661 he was assassinated. Ali is considered by the Shias to be the first Imam after Muhammad, but the Sunnis consider Ali to be the fourth and final rightly-guided caliph.
661: The Shias of Iraq accept Ali’s son Husayn as the fifth caliph, but the Sunnis of Syria put forth Mu’awiyah, the general of the army that had been defeated by Ali.
661-680: Mu’awiyah makes Damascus the capital of the Muslim Empire and begin the Umayyad Dynasty that will last until 750. But, when Mu’awiyah dies in 680 the Shias of Iraq present Husayn, the son of Ali, as the true caliph. Since Ali had married Muhammad’s daughter Husayn would have been the grandson of Muhammad. The Sunni Umayyads from Syria neutralized the Shias from Iraq, but both military camps claimed to be the Messenger of Allah and produced quotes from the Prophet Muhammad to prove their legitimacy. Much of the Muslim apocalyptic literature and theory comes from these days of early conflict and the rise of the Shias and the Sunnis.
In 683 the complicated relations between the Iraqi Shias and the Syrian Sunnis became inflamed when Syrian troops plundered Medina for three days while the revolting Muslims from Medina retreated into Mecca. The Syrian troops besieged Mecca for two months, even using catapults to hurl stones and posts of burning naphtha onto the Kaaba in Mecca which is the large cube shaped building inside the Great Mosque in Mecca, the holiest place in Islam. It was at this time the ancient Black Stone was broken into three pieces.
The Sunni Umayyad troops retreated from Mecca where Ibn al-Zubayr was proclaimed caliph in the Great Mosque in Mecca which is called the “noble sanctuary” or “sacred enclosure” (al-haram al-sharif). Ibn al-Zubayr was not universally recognized by Islam since he was one of three living caliphs at that time.
In 692 the Sunnis of Syria had restored order among the Shias in Iraq and so they returned to Mecca for a seven month siege that drove away thousands of the false caliph’s supporters. Ibn al-Zubayr was killed in the fighting near Kaaba. These were the years when many of the hadiths were inspired and recorded. These became fuel for new and creative apocalyptic accounts used to detail future events.
During this time the Muslim Shias in Iraq refused to accept either the caliph of the Sunnis in Damascus or the imposter caliph from Mecca. The Shias instead supported the concept of the supremacy of the “Imam” as the leader. “Imam” literally means “the one who stands in front” or “the one who walks in front”. The Imam would be the “rightly guided” one sent by Allah to reestablish justice on earth. Practically speaking, if this “rightly guided” one had actually been identified in Iraq and presented to the Muslim world he would have been killed by the Umayyad Dynasty, but if he was left unidentified and unrevealed, he would not face the military forces of the ruling Sunni caliph. So, the Shia Imam became known as the concealed Imam or the Imam hidden away from humanity (although, realistically speaking, mainly hidden away from the rival Sunni forces) until the appropriate time for his appearance to the Muslim world.
At the right time, this concealed Imam, the Mahdi, would march from the east surrounded by black banners (or, flags) to direct the military destruction of the enemies of true Islam. Again, in the minds of the Iraqi Shias around 700 AD the enemies of true Islam were the Sunni Muslims of Syria, the Umayyad Dynasty. This is the origin of the two branches of Islam, and of the hidden Imam of the Shias, the coming Mahdi, who cannot be defeated because he cannot be found. Yet, the hope of his appearance one day has been the source of encouragement and hope for Shias for 1300 years.
Two verses from the supposedly recorded sayings of the Prophet Muhammad that Shias use for textual support are these popular Hadiths:
“Members of my family will suffer reverses, banishments, and persecutions until people
come from the east with black banners. They will ask for charity, but they will be given
nothing. Then they will fight and they will be victorious.”
“Three men, one of them the son of a caliph, will fight in front of your treasure house. None
of them will gain control of it. Black banners will then be raised from the east…When you see him, pledge him allegiance, even if you must wait in the snow, for it is him, the Mahdi.” (From Encyclopédie de l'Islam, 8 volumes)
In 747 Abu Muslim led an anti-Umayyad uprising in Khurasan (on the border of Persia and Afghanistan). He used apocalyptic symbols to motivate his troops by marching under black flags as the Mahdi would do.
In 749 the Umayyad Dynasty was overthrown.
661-750 Umayyad Caliphate (Damascus, Syria)
But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, an seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practice regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. (Qur’an 9:5)
While there are many opinions within global Islam regarding the definition of jihad, it would be naïve and deadly to deny the record of history (One of the more sobering analyses and recollections of the threat of Islam’s inherent militancy is found in Serge Trifkovic, The Sword of the Prophet: Islam, History, Theology, and Impact on the World, Boston, MA: Regina Orthodox Press, 2002). On the one hand, many Muslims express a moderate view in which the aggressive nature of Islamic teaching and practice has been curbed by such realities as the western value of civic tolerance and pluralism. On the other hand, the Islamic worldview retains the essential hope that all humanity will one day bow to Allah freely or by force. While it may be that only a fraction of Muslims are expressive militants, a much larger number manifest emotional, vocal, and monetary support of jihad. The negative reaction expressed by some Muslims when witnessing the collapse of the World Trade Center towers is unable to erase doctrinally engrained and historically buttressed Islamic hope that arises from the fall of the infidel. (S, Understanding the Times, Summit Press, Manitou Springs, CO, 2006; pages 400-401)
As history shows, whenever an Islamic apocalyptic revolution succeeds, the emerging messiah figure survives the social upheaval to found a new dynasty. In most cases those who identified and instigated the apocalyptic movement soon become disillusioned with their new messiah, Mahdi, or great Imam, which results in their being harshly repressed by their “messiah” for their ungrateful discontent. Thus, the newly institutionalized “reign of Messiah” spirals into political strife which is resolved with brutality and the repression of an unsatisfied base of supporters. This reignites the flames for a revision of the apocalyptic dream that simmers and burns until at some point in the future (sometimes years, sometimes centuries) this same process is repeated with revolution and a new Mahdi arises out of the sea of Islam.
The Qur’an (Koran) is a book of statements collected into 114 chapters (called suras) and divided into 6,235 verses which are considered to be revelation that Allah (god) made to Mohammad in a 22-23 year period between 609-632 while he was having seizures in Mecca and Medina. According to Muslim history these revelations were written down by scribes shortly before Mohammad died. (Mohammad was illiterate according to Muslim tradition, though many skeptics wonder how he could have been a businessman and merchant if he could not do math which used the Arabic alphabet for its number system. For example, in English A=1, B=2, C=3, etc. This, they say, is merely part of the miracle of the Qur’an.)
The Qur’an states that there are five things every Muslim must believe:
It is not righteousness that you turn your faces to the East and the West; but righteous is he who believeth in Allah and the Last Day and the angels and the Scripture and the prophets. (Sura 2:177)
Zoroastrianism, Christianity and Islam, all believe that world history is indeed oriented towards an end, creating or recreating a new holy and complete world. All believe this world is temporary, incomplete, and imperfect but as it pursues its historical course it will achieve its completion and perfection, devoid of evil and conflict at the end of time…Islamic sources made it conspicuous that Christian data has been incorporated into the Islamic episodes of the end of time. Most of this data is diluted with fairy tales like the incident of the Jassasa…Some of the Islamic narratives are based on ambiguous characters that will play a vital part in the historical events before the coming of the Hour (the resurrection and the Day of Judgment…Even the role Jesus Christ would assume in this world event is perverted to fit the Islamic concept of Isa (the Qur’anic name for Jesus) as a mere prophet who will return to proclaim to the entire world that Islam is the true religion of God. Thus, before the end of the world, only the faith of Islam will prevail and no other religion will survive. (B, page 14)
That they (Jews) said (in boast), ‘We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah.;- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not:- Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise; - And there is none of the People of the Book (Christians) but must believe in him before his death; and on the Day of Judgment he will be a witness against them (Christians).
Allah will say: ‘O Jesus the son of Mary! Didst thou say unto men, worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of Allah?’ He will say: ‘Glory to Thee! never could I say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, thou wouldst indeed have known it. Thou knowest what is in my heart, Thou I know not what is in Thine. For Thou knowest in full all that is hidden. Never said I to them aught except what Thou didst command me to say, to wit, “worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord”; and I was a witness over them whilst I dwelt amongst them; when Thou didst take me up Thou wast the Watcher over them, and Thou art a witness to all things.’
before) and the common Arabs’ creeds and superstitions of ignorance in which they persisted, and their stubbornness has been exposed in a firm and effective way, so that every member of the society, who was reasonable in some degree, should be made to consider the evils in which the community was involved and its tyrannical treatment of the person [Muhammad] who was trying to redeem it.”
If Christians go back to Jesus, he was but a man and a servant of God: he came to still the jarring sects, not to create a new one: he preached the one True God, his Lord. So give up disputing, and join in devotion to God. That is the Way to the Garden of Bliss, but the opposite leads to the fire. Beware! The Truth has come, and God knows how you receive it. He is Lord of power and mercy. The Truth must prevail; resist it not. (The Holy Qur’an text, translation and commentary by Abdullah Yusuf Ali, page 1336)
This is one of the Muslim signs visible in the previous photo taken in Nazareth. The quote is from Qur’an 3:64 is posted as a warning to Christians worshipping at the Church of Annunciation: “Say: O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) come to a word that is just between us and you, that we worship none but God alone, and that we associate no partners with Him, and that none of us shall take others as Lords besides God. But if they (Jews and Christians) turn a way, then say: Bear witness that we are Muslims.”
This is a second Muslim sign seen in the photo showing the Church of Annunciation in Nazareth, Israel warning the Christian worshippers that "whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it [other religion] will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers. (Holy Qur’an)”
Qur’an 81:1-19:When the sun (with its spacious light) is folded up; When the stars fall, losing their lustre; When the mountains vanish (like a mirage); When the she-camels, ten months with young, are left untended; When the wild beasts are herded together (in the human habitations); When the oceans boil over with a swell; When the souls are sorted out, (being joined, like with like); When the female (infant), buried alive, is questioned - For what crime she was killed; When the scrolls are laid open; When the world on High is unveiled; When the Blazing Fire is kindled to fierce heat; And when the Garden is brought near; (Then) shall each soul know what it has put forward. So verily I call to witness the planets - that recede, Go straight, or hide; And the Night as it dissipates; And the Dawn as it breathes away the darkness;- Verily this is the word of a most honourable Messenger.
These are the signs that will take place in a continuous series over time.
But, many are normal events that characterize any society that is experiencing cultural change. Typically these cultures become more materialistic, more individualistic and more irreligious. Muhammad’s “righteous society” was the model of the Islamic community.
According to the understanding of Islamic ethics Islamic societies have suffered the manifestation of these minor signs since the rise of the Umayyad Dynasty. This materialistic, individualistic, irreligious slide of the Islamic community continued its descent downward in urban areas throughout the Abbasid Dynasty.
Some of these Minor Signs are extraordinary and simply make no sense as far as being historically apocalyptic. All great societies move through these same phases as they decline. We saw the same thing happen in Greek, Roman, Persian and Egyptian cultures. The Hour will not come until these things happen, but most of these Minor Signs are normal events that plague any declining society in the course of its history.
The Messenger of Allah said: The black banners will come from the East and their hearts will be as firm as iron. Whoever hears of them should join them and give allegiance, even if it means crawling across snow. (Abu Nu’aym and As-Suyuti, related by Thawban, as quoted in Izzat and ‘Arif, Al Mahdi and the End of Time, 44)
He will reappear on the appointed day, and then he will fight against the forces of evil, lead a world revolution, and set up a new world order based on justice, righteousness, and virtue…ultimately be righteous will take the world administration in their hands and Islam will be victorious over all the religions. (G, on page 24, quoting “Al-Sadr and Mutahhari, The Awaited Savior, prologue, 4-5; see also 23-40)
There will be four peace agreements between you and the Romans [Christians]. The fourth agreement will be mediated through a person who will be from the progeny of Hadrat Haroon [Honorable Aaron] and will be upheld for seven years. (Rasulullah [Muhammad])
In all of Sunni Muslim apocalyptic, this is one of the most important cycles, and is very well developed. Here we have an End-times duel between two diametrically opposite beings, who are, despite this fact, connected in some undefined manner: the true messiah (Jesus) and the false messiah (the Dajjal). The word dajjal means a deceiver and comes from the Syriac daggala. (E, page 93)
There will be a deep fog over Jerusalem (probably symbolic of the great evil of the Dajjal), then, as morning breaks, the fog will lift and Jesus will suddenly appear among the Muslims to pray the morning prayers. He then goes out to kill the Dajjal. Interestingly enough, the phrases involving the Dajjal’s end are very similar to those appearing in Christian apocalyptic about the same event, though there they are related to the two witnesses…After the Dajjal is killed, there is a general massacre of his Jewish followers. (E, page 104)
There are are three other Islamic traditions or accounts of this future event that are written in other hadiths. One is similar to the one above, but occurs at Jabal al-Dukhan (Smoky Mountain) where the Muslims are ready to fight to their death in a darkness so intense that a man cannot see his own hand. Then Jesus descends from heaven, leads the Muslims in prayer and then marches out to secure the victory.
A second account of Jesus’ return to fight the Dajjal locates Jesus’ descent from Allah to be at the minaret in Umayyad Mosque (built over the site of a Christian basilica, a Byzantine mega-church, in 634 AD which had been dedicated to John the Baptist) in the city of Damascus. This minaret is known as the Jesus Minaret.
Yet, another account of Jesus’ return to fight the Dajjal and slaughter the Jews is also located in Syria at a place near the Sea of Galilee. The Dajjal will come down the Yarmuk Valley while the Muslims are gathered on the other side of the Jordan River. A third of the Muslims are killed, a third of the Muslims flee, but a third continue fighting until Jesus descends during the Morning Prayer.
As we continue to compare Islamic eschatology with Christian eschatology the parallels are clear. The parallels are antithesis, but they do run amazingly consistent as opposites of each other.
“One can fairly say, for example, that the identification of the Jews’ expected messiah with the Antichrist (Dajjal) is so firmly rooted in Muslim apocalyptic that it even appears in certain conservative works, as well as appearing in all radical ones. This identification enables them to see the Arab-Israeli conflict in its entirety as an apocalyptic event and one in which the Arabs are destined to be victorious, despite the present gloomy situation.” (C, page 232; David Cook, Contemporary Muslim Apocalyptic Literature, p. 232)
The paranoid anti-Semite has placed himself in a closed circle from which neither logic, facts, nor reality, can extricate him. He is literally in a prison of his own creation. . . The use of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a predominant feature of the contemporary Arabic-language Muslim apocalyptic scenario. It is the lens through which the apocalyptic writers view the world and interpret everyday events occurring in the political, religious, economic, and cultural arenas. One can see how and why they have focused on the concept of freedom as being the enemy, because for them it is the true enemy, denying them their power over their audience. (C. page 33-34; David Cook, Contemporary Muslim Apocalyptic Literature, page 33-34)
In fact, in terms of numerical growth, Islam today is outpacing Christianity. That’s not only because of mere population growth it is also because there are large numbers of Christians being killed in Muslim lands today. (N, page 139)
We should worry less about proving our side scientifically and turn our attention to what’s coming on the horizon – a so-called “new spiritual dimension.” The pendulum is swinging from denying the existence of God to embracing some kind of spirituality. This poses great danger for those who’ve failed to grow in their knowledge of the Bible. Without a full understanding of God’s truth, people won’t be able to face this new enemy. This enemy that won’t just deny the existence of God, but will be a spiritual, demonic force claiming to be the one true God. (125)
I have no doubt in my mind, Muslims sooner or later will be the moral leadership of America. It depends on me and you, either we do it now or we do it after a hundred years, but this country will become a Muslim country. (N, page 152)
We will use the freedoms of the Constitution to destroy the Constitution! (N, page 175)
Our work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within. (N, page 175)
The Islamist and hardliners who wish to bring Shariah Law to the West are not representative of the majority of Muslims. But, what many Americans do not realize is that even if the extremists are vastly outnumbered, it is they who wield the political and religious authority in Islam, as Paul Marshall and Nina Shea explain in their book “Silenced”: ‘In the contemporary struggle of ideas within Islam, those who are empowered by such restrictions are the extremists, who use law and intimidation to determine which ideas are accessible and acceptable in their society. In contrast, Muslim religious and political reformers, who protest the extremists’ agenda and work to lift their societies out of stunting, ideological conformity, are the first to be silenced.’ (N, page 176)The point here is that even if there are Muslims who are tolerant of outside ideas and seek to reform Islam, they are not the ones setting the agenda. It is the extremists who use force, intimidation, infiltration, violence, and many other tactics to silence those who are viewed as either criticizing or questioning the religious authority of Muhammad, the Qur’an, or Allah. Of course, historically, those who disarm and attempt to bring change are always overwhelmed by those who use the sword to bring change. How can it be any different in this Reality?
embrace of Islam and Islamic causes is not only anathema to secularists, but can also lead to dangerous foreign entanglements and reaction…Cultural differences lie at the heart of the conflicts and struggles that underlie the ‘clash of civilizations’ thesis. Religion is, of course, only one aspect of civilization, but the religious inheritance is probably the most significant and salient characteristic of a civilization. Hence western civilization is underpinned by the Judeo-Christian tradition, even as the major western powers are determinedly secular and liberal in their political culture. In a similar vein, China is the inheritor of the Confucian legacy, even though it is currently governed by a nominally atheistic communist state…No Muslim state has proclaimed that its adherence to Islamic norms or conduct and behavior has been the essential factor in its success in worldly matters. Thus, where Muslim countries have excelled (in relative terms), say in Malaysia, the cause is partly attributed to ‘Asian’, rather than to Islamic, values. Similarly, the success of Turkey in transforming its economy is attributed to the modernization of its corporate culture along modern capitalist lines rather than to a particularly Islamic quality of its economy or society. Dubai, the glittering emirate which sees itself as the embodiment of the wired and globalized city, compares itself, if it ever does so any more, to Singapore and Hong Kong, and not to some Islamic paradigm of success. (F, pages 144-145)
Photo by Larry and Linda Clauson
The earliest church in Istanbul was built during the reign of Emperor Constantinus as a basilica. It was the cathedral church of the city. It was first called Megala Ekklisia (“Mega Church”) but beginning in the 400’s this mega church became known instead as Hagia Sophia - “the Church of Divine Wisdom” or “the Church of Holy Wisdom”. The original church was burnt during a rebellion on June 20, 404, but was rebuilt by Emperor Theodosius II and reopened on October 10, 415. This church was destroyed by fire again in 532 during the Nika uprising. When the Emperor Justinian ordered the Hagia Sophia to be rebuilt he desired it to be done with great stature and magnificence. Eight columns of red porphyry were brought from the great Temple of Diana in Ephesus. Additional marble was obtained from other ruined classical sites, with the even more coming from some of the Byzantine Empire’s finest marble quarries.
Justinian’s work began in 532 and was completed in five years, eleven months and ten days by 1000 masons and 10,000 apprentices. Emperor Justinian dedicated the new improved “megachurch” on December 27, 537. Hagia Sophia was restored in 562 and the dome was raised twenty feet, six inches. In the 800’s bronze doors were installed. Emperor Basuleios II added Mosaics in 990. When the Christians of the Latin Church (i.e., the Roman Catholic Church in the West) invaded Istanbul (Byzantium), the capital of the Eastern Christian Empire, during the Crusade of 1204, Hagia-Sophia was again raided and stripped of its finest ornaments, including the bronze doors which were mistakenly perceived as gold by the Crusaders (L, page 36-37).
Photo by Larry and Linda Clauson
In 1453 the Muslims were led by Sultan Mehmed II of the Ottoman Empire to conquer Constantinople. After the conquest of the capital of the Christian Byzantine Empire, the mega church Hagia-Sophia was converted into a mosque. During the time of the Ottoman Empire, four Muslim prayer minarets were added, one on each corner of the complex. The Christian church bells, altar and other ritual objects were removed. The beautiful mosaics depicting Jesus, Mary, Christian saints, and angels were either removed or plastered over. The mega church Hagia Sophia remained a mosque for almost 480 years when it was closed in 1931 for four years while the Hagia Sophia Mosque was renovated.
On February 1, 1935 Hagia Sophia was reopened as a public museum. Many of the Christian mosaics had been uncovered and restored, along with many other objects. The building itself covers an area of 100 x 70 meters, or 1.7 acres (Ref, L).
The evidence of history reveals the fate of the Christian mega-churches and community centers of the past - and so potentially indicates the future fate as well. The cultural direction we witness daily in our Western world makes the momentum of our Western culture clear. Today’s Western churches and their community centers will soon be mosques and Islamic centers. We cannot outrun history. Neither can we misquote enough Bible verses or mis-teach Christian doctrine often enough to squeeze ourselves out of reality. Your church’s building program has just financed the construction of your community’s first Islamic Center. Call it whatever you want today. Its conversion is just a matter of time.
It is not therefore strange, That ever since the Religion of Mahomet appeared in the World, the Espousers of it, particularly those who under the Turkish Emperor, have been as Wolves and Tygers to all other Nations, rending and tearing all that fell into their merciless Paws, and grinding them with their Iron Teeth. That numberless Cities are rased from the Foundation, and only their Name remaining. That many Countries which were once as the Garden of God, are now a desolate Wilderness; and that so many once numerous and powerful Nations are vanishe’d away from the Earth! Such was, and is at this Day the Rage, the Fury, the Revenge, of these Destroyers of Humankind! (Wesley, John, “The Doctrine of Original Sin: According to Scripture, Reason, and Experience, published 1757, page 47. Available online)
These authors seldom belong to the religious hierarchy; indeed, their overriding purpose is to turn a vengeful reading of history, and especially of its end, against the clergy itself. (D, page xi)
The end of the world is a serious matter – especially for those who are busy preparing for it. (D, page xi)