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I have heard a number of Christian leaders say that the attack on September 11 on the World Trade Center and Pentagon seems too much like Revelation 18 to be a coincidence: "Babylon the great " is fallen, is much she hath glorified herself...and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her....And the kings of the earth...shall bewail her ...when they shall see the smoke of her burning...saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour is thy judgment come. And the merchants of the earth...made rich by her, shall stand afar off...weeping and wailing." Could September 11 be at least a partial fulfillment of these verses since so many prophecy teachers have equated America with Babylon? After all, this was the center of world trade; the New York Stock Exchange and United Nations are located there, etc."

We must be careful to base any opinion as thoroughly as we can upon the Word of God. Clearly, this recent event has nothing to do with Revelation 18. Chapters 17 and 18 both speak of Babylon revived and then destroyed. In Chapter 17 we are told that the woman riding the beast is mystery babylon. Is this America? Certainly not. She is not a country, but a city built on seven hills (17:9,18). Could that be New York? No. The angel gives John at least 14 descriptive characteristics which identify this woman beyond question. This is a city that existed in John's day, ruling over the kings of the earth, was drunk with the blood of the saints and would continue until destroyed. That this city was guilty of fornication with the kings of the earth could apply only if it was a spiritual entity which claimed fidelity to God-certainly not true of either New York or the United States. In both the book and the video, A Woman Rides the Beast, we have identified this woman beyond question as the Vatican in its ultimate role as head of the false world church, bride of Antichrist. Yes, billions of dollars were lost when the World Trade Center fell, but this was nothing compared to what lies ahead. Nor was "Babylon" destroyed. New York will recover, the stock market will recover, America will recover. That must be because the Rapture will take place, according to Christ, at a time of peace and prosperity with buying and selling, building and planting, marrying and partying, etc. (Mt 24:37-42; Lk 17:26-30)." What is the significance of the September 11 attack? It could be a step toward the false peace that must be in place prior to Armageddon and in the direction of both the one-world religion and government. In the discussion of terrorism by the UN General Assembly October 4, the ambassador to the UN from Tajikistan said that no imaginable tragedy or disaster could unite the world as the events of September 11 had done. A tremendous unity was expressed by all in their determination to track down all terrorists, and to place outside the pale of civilization, and treat as such, any country that harbors terrorists. Of course, many countries expressing such sentiments have promoted terrorism. Most international terrorists come from Saudi Arabia or Egypt, none thus far from Afghanistan-bin Laden is a Saudi, as are the guards who surround him. It will be interesting to follow developments. So far the world seems to have been shaken out of its dream to take action that could lead to a new era of "peace and safety" that will, of course, eventually be shattered but must prevail at the time of the Rapture." "

We are hearing that "Judaism, Islam and Christianity share the same values and have a common spiritual heritage," as the ambassador for the Northern Alliance opposing the Taliban declared. Of course, this is false, but being brainwashed with this lie could add impetus to the lie which Roman Catholic popes and Rome's official documents have been declaring for years: that Allah is the same God whom Christians and Jews also worship. Certainly huge strides are being made in the direction of the world religion over which Antichrist will preside, leading to his worship by all except those who refuse to take his mark. So to that extent these events have prophetic significance even though there are no prophecies which could be directly tied to them."


In your October newsletter you denied that Islam is a religion of peace and claimed that terrorism is not only condoned by it but a legitimate means by which it operates. Yet Islamic scholars on radio and TV say that Islam opposes suicide so that these terrorists could not have been Muslims at all; and that the Qur'an condemns taking innocent lives. In fact, the Qur'an clearly states that there is "no compulsion in religion" (Surah 2:256). That statement alone proves the falseness of the charges you have leveled against this peace-loving religion. Not only Muslim leaders, but American government and church leaders as well contradict you. I expect you to retract your October article and to apologize publicly to all Muslims." "

Answer: I appreciate your concern, but I must disagree and will explain why. I spent some time recently with a Palestinian who told me that all I said was true. He had been trained from childhood to hate Israel and to desire her total annihilation, so much so that even now that he has become a Christian he finds it very difficult to purge all of this past hatred from his heart. I have heard this from more than one similar source. He told me that this hatred was an integral part of Islam, at least as he learned it in East Jerusalem. I have two friends right here in Central Oregon, one from Pakistan and the other from Algeria, both of whom after becoming Christians had to go underground and only with some effort escaped from those countries with their lives. The fact that Muhammad and the Qur'an call for the death penalty for any Muslim who turns from Islam to another religion seems to deny the verse you cite about there being no compulsion in religion. What is the truth? We certainly know that Islam was forced upon tens of millions with the sword and that Islam maintains itself today in many countries by threatening with death all who would think for themselves and choose what faith to embrace, based upon the evidence. So how could the Qur'an deny "compulsion"?
In fact, Muhammad received contradictory "revelations," depending upon the circumstances. (The Qur'an contradicts itself many times and on important issues, as we document in A Cup of Trembling: Jerusalem in Bible Prophecy, which is now back in print and available.) The verse you cite was "inspired" when the "prophet's" new religion was just being launched and Islam was too weak to compel anyone to follow it. But later he received other "revelations" about using not only force but killing in order to bring the whole world into submission to Islam. The sword was the "evangelistic tool" for Islam's fierce evangelists. Islamic scholars offer two differing explanations for this particular contradiction. Some declare that this verse (and others like it) was "abrogated" by later revelations such as "Whoso desires another religion than Islam, it shall not be accepted of him..." (Surah 3:85); "Slay the idolaters wherever you find them" (9:5); "O Prophet, struggle with the unbelievers and hypocrites and be thou harsh with them" (9:73), etc. Others admit, as I have indicated, that "no compulsion" was a temporary revelation due to conditions, and that it can apply even today in those places, times and circumstances where Islam is not strong enough to use force. Thus in the United States, Islam presents a face of peace, but when it is strong enough it will turn to war. The terrorists are the advance troops. As for the claim that those who hijacked and crashed the passenger planes could not have been Muslims because Islam condemns suicide, common sense should have immediately unmasked that piece of misinformation to every viewer and listener. To sacrifice one's own life in the process of striking at Allah's enemies was nothing new. This kind of "suicide" has long been an honorable Islamic practice. In the war between the followers of Islam's two major sects (Iraq's Sunnis and Iran's Shi'ites) young schoolboys were sent to walk ahead of troops to clear minefields. In one incident alone, about 5,000 children were torn to bits so the army could move across the cleared path.1 The Ayatollah Khomeini assured these innocent children that if they were killed in the battlefield they would go directly to Paradise.2 It is this teaching of Islam which provides the unusual courage to sacrifice one's life in the destruction of infidels. Hundreds of suicide bombers, all of them devout Muslims and none who were not, have died in Israel and elsewhere during the past ten years. All were promised Paradise for killing themselves to murder "infidels" (i.e., those who will not repeat the formula, "There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet"), and all have been celebrated as heroes. Their families are extremely proud of them and are often handsomely rewarded financially. Never has a word of protest been raised in all of these years by the leading Islamic scholars in Afghanistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia or other Muslim countries. Yes, suicide is forbidden as self-murder. But to sacrifice one's life in the process of killing infidels gains a Muslim the highest reward.

Compared with your condemnation of a peace-loving religion whose followers have done so much good in the world, I prefer Robert Schuller's loving approach. He has preached in several mosques and has had a Muslim imam in his pulpit and on his worldwide program, "The Hour of Power." He acknowledges that Muslims worship the same God and have a common faith with Christians. Shouldn't we try to find common ground and work for unity rather than to tear others down as you have so often done? And isn't it rather hypocritical for you to throw stones at Muslims for having fought wars in defense of Islam and Allah when the Israelites took over Canaan with the sword and the Crusaders killed Muslims and Jews?

Islam's fierce warriors did not merely fight "in defense of Islam and Allah." They carried Islam with the sword outside Arabia by conquering Iran, Iraq, Syria, et. al., all the way to the border of China, and in the other direction across North Africa, took Spain and were turned back in France as they tried to take over all of Europe. This series of aggressive, expansionist invasions with force of arms was an act of defense? If you believe that, then we have nothing to discuss.
Israel did not try to convert with the sword anyone to faith in Jahweh. "Faith" forced upon anyone is not faith. Nor were they commissioned by God to take over the world. They were given a "promised land" of limited area with defined borders (Gn 15:18-21) and this was only because the wickedness of its inhabitants was so great that God in His righteousness had to wipe them out, as He had done to all mankind with the flood.
The Crusaders were not Christians but Roman Catholics who fought to take for Rome the land God gave to the Jews. They did so believing the unbiblical promise of Pope Urban II, who organized the first Crusade-similar to the promise of Paradise for jihad's martyrs-that if they died in that venture they would go straight to heaven. This was the only real assurance of eternal life they could have as Catholics. The Crusades were carried out in direct disobedience to the Bible, to Christ's commands and to His example and that of the Apostles. But Muslims employ violence to spread Islam in obedience to the Qur'an, to Muhammad and to Allah and following Muhammad's example. The Crusades were the very antithesis of Christianity, whereas jihad is the very heart of true Islam and its long established method for making "converts"-a huge difference!
I am still praying, as I have for years, that the true nature of Islam will be exposed to the world. Islamic nations are now declaring vehemently that Islam is a peaceful religion which does not condone terrorism and stands for freedom. Perhaps that will embarrass Islamic countries such as Saudi Arabia to open its borders, to allow some freedom, to relax its cruel hold on its citizens-at least to the extent that the gospel may enter and those people who have been held in the iron grip of Islam will be allowed to come to a decision concerning faith and God which is not imposed upon them under the threat of death.

1 National & International Religion Report, December 26, 1994, 2 David Reed, "The Unholy War Between Iran and Iraq," Readers Digest, August 1984, 39.

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-Last revised-Thursday, October 03, 2002