Sun, Nov 18, 2001

LABOR PAINS PART 1 MATTHEW 24:4-8

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Ministry of Pastor Joe Guglielmo teachings through the Bible, verse by verse for a better understanding of Gods Word.
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LABOR PAINS
PART 1
MATTHEW 24:4-8
 

Please turn in your Bibles to Matthew chapter 24 as we look at the beginning of sorrows, the beginning of birth pains. But before we get to our text this morning, let me share with you this true story. It goes like this:

The Killing Fields is quite a movie. It is a true story of a New York Times reporter who was working in Cambodia during a time of awful bloodshed. His closest assistant was a Cambodian who was later captured by the Marxist regime, the Khmer Rouge, a totalitarian group known for its torturous cruelty. What the Cambodian assistant endured while trying to find freedom is beyond belief.

The plot of the story revolves around the assistant’s escape from the bondage of that terrible regime. It isn’t a movie for the squeamish. There are things he sees and endures that defy the imagination. He is brutally beaten, imprisoned, and mistreated. Starving, he survived by sucking the blood from a beast in the field. He lives in the worst possible conditions. Finally, he plans his escape. He runs from one tragic scene to another. On one occasion, while fleeing, he sinks into a bog only to discover it is a watery hell hole full of rotting flesh and human bones and skulls that foam to the top as he scrambles to climb out. Fleeing from one horror to another, he is surprised as he stumbles into a clearing.

Having endured the rigors of the jungle while being chased by his captors, he finally steps out into a clearing and looks down. To his utter amazement, he sees the Cambodian border. Down below him is a small refugee camp. His eyes catch the sight of a hospital and a flag and on that flag, a cross. There, at long last, hope is awakened! At that point the music builds to a climax. Light returns to his weary face, which says in a dozen different ways, "I’m free. I’m free!" The joys and delights of his long-awaited freedom are his once again. Ultimately, he makes it to America and enjoys a tearful reunion with his friend - all because he is free. Free at last!

- Stuart Brisco, Spiritual Stamina

Up until September 11, 2001 we have lived in a country where freedom reigns. But now, with the terrorist attacks that killed some 6,000 people in this great nation, many of our freedoms are being taken away. And amidst all the confusion, the terror that people are feeling, many are wondering if this is just the beginning of the end?

With that said, let’s look at our text this morning beginning in verse 4 of Matthew chapter 24 and see what the Lord has for us.

MATTHEW 24:4-8

Jesus is answering a question His disciples had, "...What will be the sign of Your coming, and the end of the age?" Matthew 24:3. And His response is that we need to be careful, that we are not deceived, but that we know the truth. The word "deceive" carries with it the idea of wandering aimlessly like planets do, or so they thought. In other words, Jesus is warning us not to be lost in space by those false Christ’s that will come on the scene, the false prophets.

Not only that but there will be wars, rumors of wars, world wars, famines, diseases and earthquakes. And Jesus concludes by saying "All these are the beginning of sorrows."Matthew 24:8. In other words, these are the beginning of birth pains, of labor pains, and these pains will only increase in intensity and frequency as the kingdom age is going to be born.

Now many today see us living in the days Jesus spoke of here in Matthew chapter 24, but I don’t believe that is accurate. You see, the beginning of sorrows speaks of the first 3½ years of the 7 year tribulation period, with the last 3½ years being the great tribulation. Thus, what we are seeing today is what we might call false labor pains or Braxton Hicks contractions. They are preparing the way for the true labor to start, but it is only a preparatory phase.

One of the biggest threats today in regards to peace, freedom, is the religion of Islam. Now that may shock some of you, it may upset some of you, but I would encourage you to listen to what I have to say, the facts that are out there in regards to this religion.

You see, Islam is one of the fastest growing religions in the world. One example I can give to you is England, where there are more Muslims than evangelical Christians. Not only that, but oil rich Muslims from the Middle East are buying up and turning Anglican churches into mosques so quickly, that some feel England will be the first Muslim European country! Thus, we need to understand what this religion is all about, for the light of England is being darkened. A nation that once sent missionaries all over the world, is now in darkness! And what is happening in England can happen here if we are not careful!

The problem is that many today have a misconception of what Islam is all about, even many who call themselves Christians think we worship the same God. In Vatican II listen to what the Catholic church has to say about this faith, keeping in mind that they see Protestants as going to Hell because they are not part of the Catholic church. They said:

"But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Moslems; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the One, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day."

Also, the Pope recently said, "From this place, I invite both Christians and Muslims to raise an intense prayer to the One, Almighty God whose children we all are, that the supreme good of peace may reign in the world."

But you will see that Allah is not the same God we worship, he is not Jehovah, and to put them in the same context is nothing more than blasphemy. Now some of you might be wondering why we are getting into this? The reason is simple. I believe, as you study Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39, it is these Muslim nations that come down with Russia to destroy Israel prior to the start of the 7 year tribulation period. So this rise in Islam, these terrorists attacks are nothing more than false labor pains or those Braxton Hicks contractions, preparing the way for the beginning of sorrows. Thus, I think it is important to know what Islam is all about, for that faith has surely taken away many of our freedoms.

And think about this for a minute. Most of the western world is dependant upon Islamic nations for a major portion of its petroleum needs. So who do you think we will support if Israel is in a battle with those nations? Not Israel? With that said, let’s look at this religion and see what it is all about.

Mohammed, the founder of Islam, was born in Mecca of Arabia in 570 AD and he was from the tribe of Quraish. He was a illiterate camel driver until the age of 25 when he met and worked for a rich widow, Khadija, whom he would later marry. It wasn’t until the age of 40 that Mohammed started getting these revelations from god. And since he was illiterate he could not write any of these things down, but they were passed on by word of mouth until they were finally written down.

Supposedly Mohammed would go into this cave, 3 miles north of Mecca, where he would get these revelations from the angel Gabriel. When he received these revelations he would convulse on the ground, foam at the mouth, and some have come to the conclusion that he was an epileptic. I disagree. From what I understand about epilepsy, you don’t remember the things that are happening when you are in this state. I believe, from the information, he was demon possessed. Again, some of you may be shocked by that statement, but look at the doctrine of demons that he received. And we will be looking at some of them.

How can that be? His mother, Aminah claimed she was visited by nature spirits or Devas, what we would call today, "nature worship," a form of shamanism which is associated with the occult. You see, a door was opened, and as I said, I believe Mohammed was demon possessed!

In fact, Mohammed himself was so concerned that these revelations were not of God that he was going to throw himself off a cliff and kill himself. But before he did a spirit spoke to him and said, "You are the apostle of god. Do yourself no harm. You are being raised up by god for a great work." And today we see the results of that great work, the terrorism that is going on in the name of Allah!

Three main points that Mohammed made: he said there is no god but Allah. That man is Allah’s slave and you must serve him. And there is coming a day of judgment when Allah will reward those who deserve it and will condemn those that don’t.

Now the people of Mecca did not think too highly of Mohammed. You see, they worshiped some 360 gods, one for each day of the year, which was based on a 360 day lunar calendar, a lunar month, and Mohammed got rid of 359 of them, leaving al-Ilahi, the moon god and the god of Mohammed’s Quraish tribe. Later the name was changed to Allah. So in 622 AD Mohammed fled to Medina some 280 miles north of Mecca for safety.

There in Medina Islam was born! Mohammed tried to bring this religion, being monotheistic, to the Jews and Christians, but they rejected it. Thus, he brought this religion to his people, telling them to pray towards Mecca, but not being strong enough yet to overthrow the people of Mecca, he waited until he was. And he gained strength and resources by looting and stealing from caravans. He led 66 battles killing tens of thousands of people. He beheaded 1,000 Jews.

And as his numbers grew, he was finally able to overtake Mecca and he ultimately brought all of Arabia under his control. Mohammed died in 632 AD, but the effects of what he started remain today. Interestingly enough, upon Mohammed’s death, most Arabians abandoned Islam, imaging that they were free at last. But swiftly, tens of thousands of Arabs were slaughtered in the Wars of Apostasy, which forced Arabia back under Allah. It was then that Islam was spread everywhere by the sword, and that continues on today!

Now just to clear up some words, so we are all understanding what they mean, Islam is the name of the religion which was born out of the revelations that Mohammed received and it means "submission." It means submission to Allah! Muslim is the name given to one who adheres to the religion of Islam. And the word Muslim means "one who submits." Thus, if you are a Muslim you are submitting to the will of Allah, and if you are not a Muslim you are not submitting to the will of Allah, and that is a problem as we are going to see.

To become a Muslim you must accept and declare the creed of Islam, commonly known as the two professions of faith. The first is "There is no other god but Allah." And the other is "Mohammed is the messenger of Allah." Then you must believe in the six articles of faith: God or Allah, the Angles, the Scriptures or the Koran, the Prophets like Mohammed, the Day of Judgment, and Fatalism or a belief that events are determined by fate. You can see how this goes against Christianity, they do not worship the same God we worship!

Now as you listen to the news, read articles, listen to religious people, they try to tell you that Islam is a religion of peace and those terrorists are not following what the Koran teaches. I totally disagree. I do believe that many Muslims are peace loving people, but in regards to their religion, they are in a backsliden condition, they are not obeying the Koran, while these terrorists are living what they believe.

Again, some of you may be shocked by that statement, maybe even angry at me for saying that. Please hear me out, because I will show you what I am saying is true as we look at the 5 deceptions of Islam. Those deceptions are as follows: ISLAM IS A RELIGION OF LOVE, ISLAM IS A RELIGION OF PEACE, ALLAH IS ANOTHER NAME FOR GOD, MUSLIMS BELIEVE IN JESUS CHRIST JUST AS CHRISTIANS DO, and THE KORAN IS A HOLY BOOK WHOSE WORDS COME FROM OR ARE INSPIRED BY ALLAH! I think as we conclude this, you will be shocked at how we are being deceived by these lies and it should make us aware of Jesus’ warning, "Take heed that no one deceives you." Matthew 24:4.

THE 5 DECEPTIONS OF ISLAM

1. ISLAM IS A RELIGION OF LOVE

As I have already said, Islam means submission, submission to Allah. And as you study the Koran you will find the word love only 27 times, and in every case it is in regards to Allah loving this or loving that. That is as far as it goes.

The word "love" alone in the Bible is used over 300 times! And listen carefully to who we are to love. In Deuteronomy 6:5 we are told, "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength." And in the New Testament, Jesus said, "...‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’" Matthew 22:37. So we are to love God with our entire being!

Secondly, in regards to love, we are told "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect." Matthew 5:44-48. God not only wants us to love our friends, our brethren, but our enemies. We are to reach out to them, care for them, love them, pray for them. That is what God desires of us in regards to love.

But in the Koran, Surah 5:51, Allah says "Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends. They are friends with one another. Whoever of you seeks their friendship shall become one of their number. God does not guide the wrongdoers." In chapter VIII of "The Spoils" verse 13, we read "I shall cast terror into the hearts of the infidels. Strike off their heads, strike off the very tips of their fingers!" And Allah is a god of love? And think about this, if Islam is a religion of love then why do nations that uphold this faith have such oppression and poverty and violence? It truly is not a religion of love, for the moon god is a god of war and not at all like the God we serve, who truly is a God of love, there is no darkness in Him at all!

2. ISLAM IS A RELIGION OF PEACE

Again, we have heard the claims over and over again, that Islam is a religion of peace, but that is not the case. Islam is a religion of war, which will do anything to see that the world becomes Islamic, it is a religion who wins by the sword!

You see, Islam teaches that there are two different camps into which people are divided into. All who embrace Islam are the House of Peace, or in Arabic, "Dar es Salaam" and all those who reject Islam, the infidels, are grouped together into the House of War or "Dar el-Harb." And this war, this battle, will continue until the entire world becomes Muslim, of the House of Peace!

You may be thinking I am going overboard on this, but listen carefully to what has taken place because it will give you insight to what they will continue to do. In the Southern Sudan, where Wes Bentley and his organization Far Reaching Ministries is working, has had over 2 million blacks killed with another 6 to 8 million slated for their destruction because they are not Muslim! Back in 1977, on the Island of East Timor, 200,000 Catholics were murdered as this island was swallowed up by Indonesia. One million Greek civilians were killed in the 1920's by Muslim Turks. In the last 50 years Iraqi Muslims have killed 3½ million Assyrian Christians. And the list goes on-and-on. This is not a religion of peace, but of war, as their moon god, Allah, represents!

You may be wondering why they are doing this? The answer is simple. Because they are trying to create a Islamic utopia, where this world will be followers of Islam. The Dictionary defines "utopia" as "a place of ideal perfection esp. in laws, government, and social conditions." Now, on a smaller scale, is that what we see in these Islamic countries? Not at all, in fact, what we see in these Islamic countries is oppression, death, the people are impoverished, dictators controlling the people. They are trying to live back in the 6th century even though we are now in the 21st century!

And think about it. If their idea of Islamic utopia is Afghanistan, I don’t think I am going to buy my Time Share Condo there, how about you? How many of you are planning your family summer vacation in Afghanistan? I think I can safely say, none of you! Why? If this is to be a picture of Islamic utopia, many should be flocking there. The reality is, it is just the opposite!

And we hear so often on the news today, that once Israel is gone, there will be peace in the Middle East, they are the trouble makers. You see, they are saying that the Jews are the problem. I don’t believe so, in fact I know that is not the case. Not that the Jews are perfect, but they are truly not the problem. You see, in the last 6 years in Algeria over 100,000 Muslims have been slaughtered by their own people, other Muslims! The war between Iraq and Iran saw the death of over 1 million people, Muslims killing Muslims!

Not only that, but over 1,000 Palestinians were brutally executed by fellow Palestinians, Muslims, for alleged "cooperation" with Israeli authorities during the Intifada (uprising) between 1987 and 1994. Many hundreds of them were found with "their hands and feet cut off on alternate sides" as well as other parts of their bodies. Why? Because the Koran commands it, Allah commands it. You see, the flag flying over Islam is not peace, it is a crescent moon representing the moon god, which is a god of war, Islam in not a religion of peace!

Several years ago there was a PBS documentary called Jihad in America that was produced by Steven Emerson. He was able to get his cameras into small cell groups where Muslims are eagerly being recruited for Jihad against the United States. This is going on in America folks and their ideas should shock us, especially when you hear that there are over 2,000 terrorists that have come into this country and we don’t know where they are! And if things didn’t shock you before September 11, 2001, I am sure they got your attention now!

In their speeches, that have been documented, they talk about bringing America to its knees through terrorism. And, as we have seen, it is not just talk, they are beginning to act out what they have said. In fact, listen to how cold-blooded they are as these statements were made by Fayiz Azzam in Brooklyn, New York back in 1989. He said, "Blood must flow, there must be widows, orphans, hands and limbs must be severed and limbs and blood must be spread everywhere in order that Allah’s religion stand on its feet!" That is not empty talk as we have seen with this September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon!

You see, the House of Peace, Dar es Salaam is rising up against the House of War or Dar el-Harb, and if you are not a Muslim, you are of the House of War, you are a infidel, and you must be put to death or convert to Islam, you must become a Muslim!

Now we are not going to be able to finish this study this morning, so next time we will look at the other 3 of the 5 deceptions of Islam: that ALLAH IS ANOTHER NAME FOR GOD, MUSLIMS BELIEVE IN JESUS CHRIST AS CHRISTIANS DO, and THE KORAN IS A HOLY BOOK WHOSE WORDS COME FROM OR ARE INSPIRED BY ALLAH. Then in part 3 of our study we will look at how this applies to today, for I believe it is the false labor pains that will lead to a war in the Middle east, as Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39 tell us, and that will lead this world on into the tribulation period. Specifically, we will be looking at Israel and the PLO.

Now as I close this morning I don’t want you to leave here hating Muslims, many are good people who want to do good, but a small group, a powerful group that continues to grow, are not and they are following the Koran to the tee, they are applying to their lives what the Koran teaches. But as Christians, we are to love people into the kingdom of God, not threaten them with death if they don’t receive Jesus.

Also, we are not to be fearful of these days we are living in, but to rest in the Lord, allowing His peace to fill our lives. Remember the story we started out with this morning of the Killing Fields, and how one man tried to escape, and as he looked into this clearing, he saw a hospital flag with a cross on it and in that he had hope and he had freedom!

The cross of Calvary does the same for us today, may we not forget that. It is as Jesus said in John 14:27, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." God wants to give us His peace in a world that is in trouble, for in our peace, people will be drawn to Jesus. You see, in that peace people will reconciled to God and then that peace that surpasses all understanding they can receive. In relation to Islam, it is as Deuteronomy 32:31 says, "For their rock is not like our Rock..." May we not forget that. Our God is not the god of Islam, as we have seen and will see next time. Our God is a God of peace and love and the redeemer of sinful man! That is what we need to bring to people, not the sword of Allah!

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