Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
For hundreds of years reverent-minded Bible scholars have recognized that Revelation 9 presents the story of Islam. It is "the smoke out of the bottomless pit" (vss. 2, 3). It has darkened the bright sunshine of the pure gospel of Christ. But professed Christianity has also not let much more of the pure gospel sunlight get through. The Crusades were not a proud chapter in our history.
The coming of the Messiah to Israel and to the world was to be the world's best good news; the truth of the gospel of Christ was to lighten the earth with glory. The coming of Christianity was to "go forth conquering and to conquer," symbolized by the rider on the white horse of 6:2. The pure gospel of Christ was so clear, so powerful, that it would sweep through the world and demonstrate its character as what Paul says, "the power of God unto salvation to all who believe" (Rom. 1:16). The Messiah was to save the world, and devout Jews for many years had looked forward to this glorious climax of all human history.
But then the prophet Daniel was given a vision in which he saw an evil power arise that would pervert that pure gospel of Christ, and to his amazement and horror it would become a greater curse to the world than paganism had been. The story is in chapter 8. The great cosmic controversy between Christ and Satan was won by Christ on His cross, assuring us of its final triumph; Satan knows that he is already a conquered foe. But he is fighting with mad desperation in his hatred of Christ, trying to keep people in deception, and thus keep them from being reconciled to God.
The enemy's masterpiece has been to introduce into Christianity the key doctrines of paganism, which Muslims have from their beginning seized upon as their cause célèbre to justify them in rejecting the gospel truths of the cross of Christ and of His atonement.
Still, it's not too late to seek, like a Good Shepherd seeking His lost sheep, for honest souls among Muslims who will respond to the pure gospel (what Paul says is "the truth of the gospel," Gal. 2:5, 14). Foremost among anti-evangelism obstacles are the mistruths of double predestination, idolatry and image veneration, justification by works, and all confusion regarding what Christ accomplished for the world. The cross of Christ is the focal point of Satan's subtle enmity.
God's promise is that in these last days the pure "truth of the gospel" will emerge from the darkness of misapprehension of God--and accomplish what the apostles did after Pentecost.
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: May 7, 2007.
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