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Sunday, August 19 2012
Israel In History and Prophecy: Rome and Islam
Two New Religions Claim Jerusalem
After the repeated destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans during the first century AD (see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Zealots and Israel In History and Prophecy: Aelia Capitolina), the people of Judah (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Jews) began a national and religious exile, not only from Jerusalem, but from all of Judea, and Israel (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Israel and Judah and Israel In History and Prophecy: The Lost Ten Tribes) that would last about nineteen centuries.
During that time, from the first century until the twentieth century (see A History Of Jerusalem: The British Mandate and A History Of Jerusalem: Zionism), two man-made religions (keeping in mind that what became "Judaism" was also a Christ-rejecting man-made religion; see Israel In History and Prophecy: Judaism), the Roman Empire's version (perversion) of Christianity, created by the Roman Emperor Constantine in the 4th century AD, and Islam, created by Mohammed, in the seventh century AD, competed for the sovereignty of the land of Israel (see Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy), although neither were actually founded there. While both became very powerful international religions, both with hundreds of millions of deceived people in nations all around the world as members, both claimed Jerusalem as a legitimacy for their religion, primarily because of their fabricated claim to Abraham - who was not a Muslim, a Roman Catholic, a Protestant, a Jew, or an Israelite (see A Biography Of Abraham: The Genealogy Of Abram and Israel In History and Prophecy: Roots and Branches).
The Roman Catholic / "Protestant" Roman Catholic (i.e. doctrinally, there is very little actual difference between Catholics and Protestants) claim to Abraham, as quoted from a typical "encyclopedia" article on the subject:
"Christians view Abraham as an important exemplar of faith, and a spiritual, as well as physical, ancestor of Jesus - a Jew considered the Son of God through whom God promised to bless all the families of the earth. For Christians, Abraham is a spiritual forebear as well as/rather than a direct ancestor depending on the individual's interpretation of Paul the Apostle, [Rom. 4:9-12] with the Abrahamic Covenant "reinterpreted so as to be defined by faith in Christ rather than biological descent" or both by faith as well as a direct ancestor; in any case, the emphasis is placed on faith being the only requirement for the Abrahamic Covenant to apply. In Christian belief, Abraham is a role model of faith, [Heb. 11:8-10] and his obedience to God by offering Isaac is seen as a foreshadowing of God's offering of his son Jesus. [Rom. 8:32].
The Muslim claim to Abraham, from the same "encyclopedia":
"For Muslims, Abraham is a prophet, the "messenger of God" who stands in the line from Noah to Muhammad, to whom Allah gave revelations, [Quran 4:163], who "raised the foundations of the House" (i.e. the Kaaba)[Quran 2:127] with his first son, Isma'il, a symbol of which is every mosque. Ibrahim (Abraham) is the first in a genealogy for Muhammad. Islam considers Abraham to be "one of the first Muslims" (Surah 3) - the first monotheist in a world where monotheism was lost, and the community of those faithful to God, thus being referred to as "Our Father Abraham", as well as Ibrahim al-Hanif or "Abraham the Monotheist". Islam holds that it was Ishmael, (Isma'il, Muhammad's ancestor) rather than Isaac, whom Ibrahim was instructed to sacrifice. In addition to this spiritual lineage, the northern Adnani Arab tribes trace their lineage to Isma'il, and thus to Abraham. Abraham is also recalled in certain details of Muslim Hajj (pilgrimage)." (A brief excerpt from the Wikipedia article "Abrahamic Religions" on June 23 2012).
Constantine: The Inventor Of The Church Of Rome
Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus Augustus, more commonly known as Constantine I or Constantine the Great, was the Emperor of Rome from 306 to 337 AD. While many Roman Catholics (Roman Catholic or "Protestant" - their core anti-Biblical doctrines are the same) have never even heard of Constantine, he was in fact the creator of the Church of Rome and most of its official doctrines. "The Church of Rome" is a very accurate title.
How and why did a pagan Roman Emperor claim to become "Christian"? On October 27/28 312, Constantine won the Battle of the Milvian Bridge (a bridge over the Tiber River in Rome) in which Constantine claimed to have seen a Latin "cross" in the sky, along with a message of "in this sign conquer." The problem with the claim (assuming that Constantine saw anything at all) is that Jesus Christ was not crucified on a Latin cross - the Messiah was crucified on a "T" (like an uppercase T) shaped cross (see Crossing The T). The alleged incident nevertheless was accepted and formed the supposed justification for the later wars known as the "Crusades" - "crusade" is from a Latin word meaning a Latin cross - a Roman cross that Christ was not crucified on (see the Fact Finder question below).
Although Constantine claimed "Christian" conversion for himself, he actually made very little change in the idolatrous sun-worship religion that he already practiced, including his mythical Sol Invictus, or "invincible sun god" of the Romans. In March 321, Constantine decreed that everyone was to observe the ancient "venerable day of the sun," or Sun Day, as the official "Christian" day of rest and ceasing of business activity for the Roman Empire - the basis of Roman Catholic and Protestant Sunday worship to this day (please carefully read Why Observe The True Sabbath? to understand the truth and reality from the Word of God).
Further, in 325, Constantine presided over the First Council of Nicaea that established all of the fundamental doctrines of the Church of Rome today - and of the "Protestant" churches that centuries later rejected the Church of Rome's leadership, but kept all of the Church of Rome's core doctrines (e.g. Constantine's "Nicene Creed," named after Constantine's Council of Nicaea, is accepted as much by Protestants as Roman Catholics). There was no "Pope" in Constantine's time - the Emperor was the head of the "church" that he created (the Emperor Constantine, not any mere city bishop, claimed the title of Pontifex Maximus, which means the highest priest); Constantine's local bishop, in Rome, was only one of nearly 2,000 such bishops throughout the Roman Empire. It was only after Constantine empowered his local bishop, to be a mere spokesman for the Emperor, that the "Papacy" was born. When the political empire of Rome fell, the Papacy continued on, merely by means of the power that it had been given by Constantine - a reality that has been lost to most people ever since (listen to our Sermon Constantine's Papacy).
When the Roman Empire became officially "Christian" (its own hijacked version of it that is; see Antichristians and Is Your Religion Your Religion?), Jerusalem took on religious importance to the Emperors (whereas before it was little more than a far-flung military outpost of the Roman Empire). Not long after the First Council of Nicaea, Constantine ordered the building of a "church" in what some claimed was the tomb of Jesus Christ - which became the famous "Church of the Holy Sepulchre." Over the centuries, that ancient "church," and the other Roman "holy places," created by Constantine were the focus of the "crusades" - the struggle between the Church of Rome and the religion of Islam that a little later had grown into a major religion, with its own claims upon Jerusalem.
Muhammad: The Inventor Of Islam
Muhammad (various other spellings in English e.g. Mohammad or Mohammed) was born in the Arabian city of Mecca (which is today in Saudi Arabia, a present-day political, not geographic or historic term, named after the ruling royal family there, that came into existence only in the 20th century; see Paul's Geography Lesson).
At the time of Muhammad's birth in 570 AD, the Holy Scriptures / the Holy Bible had already existed for thousands of years, as first put into writing by Moses according to the Command of the LORD. The Israelites, and the people of Judah within the Israelite tribes, long-existed before the birth of Muhammad. As we've covered in this series, long before Muhammad was even born, Jerusalem had been declared by God as the property of the people of Judah, for the sake of the Messianic line through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Muhammad was an orphan who was raised by an uncle. He lived a relatively ordinary life, working at various jobs, including a shepherd and a merchant. According to Islamic belief, at the age of forty, in the month of Ramadan, Muhammad began receiving "revelations from God." A few years later, he began preaching, and then later declared himself to be a prophet. At the beginning, his preaching was not accepted by the people of Mecca and he was forced to leave in 622. By 632 however, Muhammad had amassed the support of about 10,000 followers from across Arabia, who marched on Mecca and captured the city. Muhammad died a few months later.
Muhammad's religious beliefs of "Islam" (in Arabic meaning submission to God) grew into a very large new religion (the Israelites had, in the time of Muhammad already existed for thousands of years, and the coming of Jesus Christ had occurred nearly six centuries before the birth of Muhammad), based primarily on the writings in the Quran (also spelled in English as Koran). "Islam" thereafter became the primary competitor against the Church of Rome - the "Crusades" were a series of wars of Roman Catholicism against Islam for control of Jerusalem.
The Dome Of The Rock
The Dome of the Rock is a Muslim shrine that was constructed on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem from 689 to 691 AD. It stands where the Temples of the LORD once did (the first built by King Solomon, the second at the time of the return by Ezra and Nehemiah and the Herodian Temple) on the site that was purchased by King David (see A History Of Jerusalem: The City Of David and A History Of Jerusalem: The Temple Of The LORD). The Dome of the Rock has, for centuries, replaced the Temple as the prominent object of the Jerusalem skyline.
As was the case with the Church of Rome's "holy sites" in Jerusalem, during the Crusades the Dome of the Rock occasionally fell into opposing hands e.g. the Augustinians used the Dome for a church, while using the Al-Aqsa Mosque as a stable. When Saladin captured Jerusalem in 1187, he removed the cross from atop the Dome and reconsecrated it as a Muslim holy place. And on and on it went.
When Israel won control of the Temple Mount and the Dome of the Rock that sat upon it during the Six-Day War in 1967 (the wars fought by Israel / Judah since 1948 will be covered in a subsequent study in this series), some of the Jewish troops hoisted the Israeli flag atop the Dome - a highly emotional and symbolic event for the people of Judah who had been forced to watch foreigners, Church of Rome and Muslim, use Jerusalem for their religions for centuries, while the people of Judah themselves were often prevented from even entering the city. The flag was ordered removed by the Israeli leaders at the time in order to not inflame the war any further. The Temple Mount has remained in Muslim hands ever since.
The Foundation Rock
Why is the Muslim "Dome of the Rock" called that? Why do Jews also regard what's under the Dome of the Rock as being important to their religion?
As the name for the Dome implies, there is rock sheltered by the Dome of the Rock. That flat "Foundation Stone," as it is called, is shown in the photograph. The rock has been there far longer than the Dome that was built over it.
With its location where the Temples once stood, Jews generally believe that it was the location of the Most Holy Place, where the Ark of the Covenant was kept. As a tradition, Jews face the Foundation Stone (not the Muslim Dome that covers it) while praying.
That Mount Moriah location was also were Abraham nearly sacrificed Isaac - a historical account that was recorded in the Holy Bible before Muhammad was even born, but which was changed by Muslims for their man-made religion centuries later i.e. Muslims incorrectly claim that it was Ishmael, not Isaac, that Abraham brought there.
"22:2 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of." (Genesis 22:2 KJV)
Nevertheless, the Dome of the Rock is regarded as one of the holiest sites of Islam, including with their belief that Muhammad ascended to heaven from there - a tradition that once again disagrees with the actual Word of God that says no one has ever ascended to heaven, except Jesus Christ.
"3:13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven." (John 3:13 KJV; see also What Was The Lesson Of John 3:16?)
The centuries of religious confusion and conflict will continue in Jerusalem until the return of Jesus Christ, the genuine and living "Foundation Stone" (see The Rock Of The Church) Who will rule all of humanity, in Peace and Truth, from that very location of Zion (see Moriah: Separating The Wheat From The Chaff).
"21:42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the LORD doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? 21:43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. 21:44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder." (Matthew 21:4244 KJV)
This Day In History, August 19
14: Augustus, the first Roman Emperor and adopted son of Julius Caesar (see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars), died. He was the Emperor at the time of Christ's birth ("2:1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed" Luke 2:1 KJV). He was succeeded by Tiberius, who was the Caesar at the time of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ (see also Whatever Happened To Those Romans?).
1099: The armies of the First Crusade defeated the Saracens at the Battle of Ascalon, one month after they had captured Jerusalem (see Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy and A History Of Jerusalem: Constantine and Muhammad; also A Biography Of Abraham: Abrahamic Religions).
1477: Maximilian I, son of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III, married Mary of Burgundy and acquired the Burgundian possessions in the Netherlands and France (see The Holy Roman Empire).
1504: The Battle of Knockdoe in Ireland; the Hiberno-Norman de Burghs (Burkes) against the Anglo-Norman Fitzgeralds.
1561: Mary Queen of Scots arrived in Scotland to assume the throne after spending 13 years in France.
1587 Sigismund III, son of John of Sweden, was elected King of Poland.
1612: Three women from the Lancashire village of Samlesbury, known as the "Samlesbury witches," were put on trial for witchcraft. It became one of the most famous witch trials in English history.
1666: During the Second Anglo-Dutch War, Rear Admiral Robert Holmes led a raid on the Dutch island of Terschelling, destroying 150 merchant ships. The foray later became known as "Holmes's Bonfire."
1692: During the Salem, Massachusetts witch trials, a woman and four men, including a clergyman, were executed after being convicted of witchcraft.
1768: The Saint Isaac's Cathedral was founded in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
1861: The first ascent of Weisshorn, one of the highest summits in the Alps.
1880: French acrobat Blondin walked a tightrope across Niagara Falls with his manager on his back.
1919: Afghanistan was granted full independence from the United Kingdom.
1934: Adolf Hitler became "der Fuehrer" of Germany after nearly 90% of voters gave him their support (see also Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).
1942: The Dieppe Raid. During the Second World War, 4,963 Canadian and 1,075 British commandos, 50 U.S. Army Rangers, and 20 inter-Allied commandos launched a coastal attack on the heavily fortified German-held Dieppe. Of the 6,108 troops involved, only about 2,500 returned. The rest were killed or captured. Although the mission was a disaster, the lessons learned from it contributed to the success of the D-Day Normandy invasion that followed 2 years later.
1953: During the "Cold War" between Western fascism and Eastern communism, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and Britain's MI6 ("Military Intelligence, Section 6") helped to overthrow the Soviet-allied government of Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran and installed the dictator Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
1953: Israel's parliament conferred Israeli citizenship posthumously on all Jews killed by the Nazis during the years of the Holocaust (1933-45) in Europe.
1954: The U.S. Congress approved a bill outlawing the Communist Party.
1960: U.S. U-2 (a high-altitude spy plane) pilot Francis Gary Powers, who had been shot down by the Russians, was sentenced by a Moscow court to 10 years for espionage. He was later set free in exchange for a Russian spy who had been captured in New York.
1989: Polish President Wojciech Jaruzelski nominated Solidarity activist Tadeusz Mazowiecki to be the first non-communist Prime Minister of Poland in 42 years.
1991: The government of Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev was temporarily overthrown by a military coup.
2003: A Hamas terrorist suicide attack on a bus in Jerusalem killed 23 Israelis, 7 of them children.
2009: Terrorist bombings in Baghdad, Iraq, killed 101 people and injured 565 others.