“It’s great to be here again, Dr. Kaplan,” said Sarah. “I’m really excited about our topic today.”
“It’s great to see you too Sarah, as well as all the rest of you. How are you Josh, Matt, and Hassan?” said Ben.
Josh spoke for all four students. “We’re looking forward to gaining an understanding today about why so many Arab nations are hateful toward Israel and the Jews.”
“And for that matter, I’d like to know why they hate Christians too,” said Matt.
“But Dr. Kaplan, it is not just Arab nations that are involved. My family is from Iran and we are not Arabs. We are Muslims however,” said Hassan.
“Absolutely Hassan. Islam started in Arabia, the home of Muhammad, but it spread widely and there are many Islamic nations that are not Arab nations.
“We do indeed have some difficult things to discuss today,” said Ben. “But first, I want us all to remember that the most important thing we can ever do is lead people who do not know the Lord Jesus to saving faith in Him. Anything else we talk about here pales in significance compared to that. Do you understand that Josh, Matt, and Sarah?”
“We certainly do, Dr. Kaplan,” responded all three.
“But what about me, Dr. Kaplan? Don’t I get to believe in Yeshua too?” said Hassan.
“Most definitely Hassan! But are you ready to accept Him?” asked Ben.
“Believe it or not, I think I’m getting close! I’ve been thinking about Yeshua constantly since our last meeting. In fact, I want you to ask me again if I am ready to accept Him after we finish today’s discussion, OK?” said Hassan.
“I promise you that I will not forget to ask you!” said Ben.
“OK. Let’s start our discussion by defining some terms. Islam is the religion practiced by Muslims. The holy book of Islam is the Qu’ran. The Quran is to Islam what the Bible, comprised of Old and New Testaments, is to Christianity, and what the Tanach, the Old Testament, is to Judaism. Like the Bible, the Qu’ran teaches that there is one God. Islam is a monotheistic religion,” said Ben.
“So the three great religions, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity all have one God. How do we know which religion is the right one? Or could they all be right?” asked Hassan.
“Yes, Dr. Kaplan, why couldn’t they all be right?” asked Sarah.
“Great questions!” said Ben. “I believe there are clear answers. Let me try to explain. Jews and Christians both believe the Old Testament, so there is no disagreement there, although Christians and Jews do not interpret all of the Old Testament in the same way. But those Jews who do not accept Jesus as their Messiah, the vast majority of Jews, do not believe the New Testament. What about Islam? Islam teaches that the Bible, but not the Bible we have today, is the inspired word of God. Islam teaches that all Bibles today are the product of corrupted translations from the original languages and are wrong. Although we might discuss this issue in the future, I need to tell you emphatically now that this is completely wrong and there is an enormous amount of evidence to back up what I am saying.
“Practicing Muslims certainly do believe the Qu’ran so we need to examine the Qu’ran. The Qu’ran definitely disagrees with the Bible so one of those two books is wrong. That’s why all “three great religions” cannot be right.
“Let’s look at some passages from the Bible and from the Qu’ran today and compare them. We’ll look at passages that talk about salvation, about how God forgives our sins.
“We’ll look at the Bible first,” said Ben.
Leviticus 17:11 (ESV) For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.
“In this Old Testament verse, God is telling us about the need for a substitutionary sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins. This is the reason that animals were slaughtered daily by the Jews in ancient times. The blood of the sacrifice provided atonement for sins. This forgiveness of sins was not permanent however. Each new sin committed required a new blood sacrifice. But an important principle was established by God. A blood sacrifice, the death of a living being, was required for forgiveness of sins.
Romans 5:8-10 (ESV) but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.
“These New Testament verses also speak of a blood sacrifice, a much better one. The Son of God, Yeshua the Messiah, was sacrificed one time, on the cross. His death and shed blood provide permanent forgiveness of sins for all who accept Him as Lord and Savior because His sacrifice is perfect. But there is something in addition to forgiveness of sins that is provided. Just as the Son died on the cross, He was resurrected to life. We who believe this are included in what happened to Jesus on the cross. We are baptized into His death. Water baptism is a picture of this true spiritual baptism. We see this explained in Romans, chapter 6.
Romans 6:3-5 (ESV) Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.
“We died in Christ when we believed and we were born again to newness of life. We are now slaves to righteousness rather than slaves to sin. The Jewish Messiah, the God-Man, did this for us at great cost, at an incalculable cost.
“Let’s now look at two verses from the Qu’ran, from surah 2,” said Ben.
“159 Those who conceal the evidence of the truth and the guidance We have revealed, after We have made them clear to people in the Scripture, will be rejected by God and so do others.
160 But from those who repent and mend their ways and make known the truth, I will certainly accept their repentance: I am the Ever Relenting, the Most Merciful.1
“Verse 159 explains that those who go against the teaching of the Qu’ran, who sin, will be rejected by God. But verse 160 explains that Allah will forgive those who sin if they repent and change their ways because Allah is most merciful. No mention is made, here or elsewhere in the Qu’ran, of the need for a substitutionary blood sacrifice for God to forgive sins,” concluded Ben.
“Dr. Kaplan, why does God require a substitutionary sacrifice in order to forgive sins?” said Hassan.
“Let me explain, Hassan. God is perfect and His Law is perfect. So when a person breaks God’s Law, He requires the punishment that His Law demands. That punishment is death. Only by this punishment, capital punishment, can perfect justice be rendered. God can have nothing less than perfect justice because He is God and God is perfect. But God is also love. He loves us so much that He provided a substitute to die in our place. God sent His own Son, Jesus the Messiah, who is equal to God, to bear the penalty for the sins of all of us so that instead of death we can have eternal life,” said Ben.
“And Allah just forgives sins because he is merciful, without requiring a blood sacrifice?” said Sarah. “Isn’t that OK?”
“I’m afraid not Sarah. In order to forgive the transgression, the penalty required by God’s Law must be paid. A blood sacrifice, a death, is required. A life for a life. Do you see the divine symmetry here?” said Ben.
“I think I do,” said Sarah.
“Why doesn’t Allah require what the God of the Bible requires?” asked Matt.
“Matt, do you remember that at our last meeting Hassan showed us that Allah, the god of the Qu’ran, contradicts himself? Well, just as the one true God cannot contradict Himself, the one true God cannot forgive sin without demanding perfect justice and perfect justice means the sinner must die,” said Ben. “The only way around that is to accept Yeshua, Jesus, as your substitute. Either He pays the price for you by His death or you pay the price by your own death.”
Hassan spoke up. “How could Allah be God and be less than perfect?”
“He can’t be, Hassan. Allah is not God and the Qu’ran is not a divinely inspired book. I’m afraid that the religion of Islam, the god Allah, and the holy book called the Qu’ran, are all satanically inspired and they are all false. There is no other way I can say it, Hassan. I can only speak the truth,” said Ben.
“So why do Muslims hate Jews?” asked Sarah.
“Sarah, not all Muslims hate Jews. There are millions who do not hate Jews. But Islam and its holy book, the Qu’ran, teach hatred of Christians and Jews and worse,” said Ben.
“Couldn’t those Muslims that don’t hate Jews and Christians modernize the religion of Islam, rewrite the Qu’ran, and remain Muslims?” asked Sarah.
“I’m afraid not Sarah, not if they want to know the true God. He has ordained only one way of coming to Him and that is through His Son, Yeshua the Messiah,” said Ben.
John 14:6 (ESV) Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
“But why are so many Muslims deceived? It is so sad. I have a number of Muslim friends and I love them. I don’t want them to die separated from the true God,” said Josh.
“Do you remember from previous meetings that there is an adversary of our souls? His name is Satan. He has other names too. One of them is the thief. Look at what Jesus said about him,” said Ben.
John 10:9-11 (ESV) I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
Hassan burst out. “There is such a contrast between Jesus and Allah! This cannot possibly be fiction! Dr. Kaplan, I believe! You don’t have to ask me again if I want to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior! I want to accept Him and I want to accept Him now!”
“Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for dying for me. Thank you for paying the price for my sins. Thank you that I now have eternal life instead of eternal death. Please come into my heart now and be with me forever and also please save baba and maman, and my sisters and my brothers. Thank you Lord!”
“Wow! I am so blessed!” said Sarah. “You are now my brother in Christ! How wonderful! I so look forward to all of us having fellowship together.”
“Absolutely!” said Josh.
Ben spoke. “Having you all here today has been a tremendous encouragent to me! We must get the word of truth and love out to Muslim people anyway we can. I know that it’s not easy. I’m so glad that you brought Hassan to this group!”
“See you all next week,” said Ben.