Examine Yourself
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Examine Yourself

As many religeons claim to worship the one true God, we will strive to learn the truth that they offer while disregarding the errors of men.

When I was a young boy, I attended a Methodist church with my family. At the same time, I had friends who attended the local Baptist church. While I didn't understand all the doctrinal and theological differences, I knew these differences were significant enough that the two groups would not congregate together. It seemed strange to me, but both belief systems claimed to be right. I wondered even then if we shouldn't question ourselves and explore or consider the views of others. After all, we, ourselves, may be the ones in error.

As the years passed I realized that there are many hundreds of Christian denominations, and thousands of independent Christian churches in the United States alone. In addition, there are also the so called "borderline" groups such as the Mormons, Gnostics, and Jehovah's Witnesses. And then there are the non-Christian religeons of Islam and Judiasm which also worship the One True Almighty GOD. How are we tp sift through all the vast differences and arrive at the truth? By diligently seeking to know God. (Hebrews 11:6) We will not find truth by merely finding excuses to prove our own private doctrines which are many times only the fabrication of men, nor by finding excuses to disprove other peoples doctrines.

All of us, whether we admit it or not, look at the world and our religeon through "colored glasses." We are trained by our life experiences and our organizations and affiliations which we choose to involve ourselves in to think and act in certain ways. These "colored glasses" cause us to see distorted visions of reality. We misinterperet, misrepresent, and fail to understand simple scriptures. Thanks to our "glasses", we see things that are not there, don't see things that are there, and call the truth a lie because we can not see it for what it actually is.

I am reminded of a man who wrote a book several years ago. This book was the hottest selling item in the Christian world for a time even surpassing the Bible in sales. That man had figured out when Jesus would return. He narrowed it down to three days in September .... 1987. Obviously, his misinterperetations led him into error on a grand scale.

This man was not the only Christian to lapse into error. Jim Jones, David Koresh, and many others have gone down the same road. Of course, Christians are not the only ones to misinterperet their scriptures. The following are a few mistakes Muslims have made in their understanding of the Koran.

First. Modern Muslims say that Muhammad was the last prophet of God to mankind. That statement is wrong. The Koran does not say that. Modern Muslims misinterperet the passage which states that Muhammad is "the seal of the prophets." (Koran 33:40) To interperet this passage to mean that Muhammad was the last prophet is completely out of context with the entirety of the Koran. Elsewhere in the Koran, Muhammad is said to be a prophet in the same manner as Noah, Jonah, Moses, etc., but there is no hint of him being the last prophet. (Koran 3:144, 6:50, 7:188) Properly interpereted, the passage, "seal of the prophets," means that Muhammad bore the seal of prophethood in that he was the messenger of God to his people, in his time. Even some modern Muslim commentators have suggested that to the Muslims of Muhammad's time, this passage was not taken to mean that he was the last prophet.

Second. Modern Muslims say that Jesus did not die on the cross. This is a misinterperetation of a passage in the Koran which states, "the Jews did not kill Him, they only thought they did." (Koran 4:157) This same passage is sometimes translated as, "they did not kill Him, but he was made to appear as another to them." Dispite the obvious Gnostic implications of the latter version, {see the Revelation of the Mystery of the Cross} the former seems to be more prevelent. To interperet this passage to mean that Jesus did not die is an error. We must remember that Jesus said, "No man takes my life. I lay it down freely." So then, properly interpereted, the Jews did not kill Jesus because He layed His life down. However, the Jews did think that they killed Him. This can be the only possible interperetation in light of Jesus own statement and the fact that the Koran quotes Jesus as prophesying of His own death and resurrection. (Koran 3:55, 19:33)

Third. Muslims say that Jesus is not the Son of God. (Koran 19:35) This is more of a false perception than a false doctrine. In the Arab world of Muhammad's time, sons were a necessity. It was through sons that Arabs would prosper, attain wealth, and have security in their old age. Sons were so important that if a daughter were born, many of the pagan Arabs would take the newborn baby girl and bury her alive in the desert. So then, with this great importance on sons, when an Arab was told that God had a son, it was perceived as meaning that God must also need a son to to help Him attain wealth or care for Him in His old age. Of course, the Almighty needs no one. It is also interesting to note that the Gnostic writing entitled "The Apocryphon of John", which was in circulation during Muhammad's time, states emphatically that the Almighty God consorted with a female divinity and Jesus was the result of their procreation. The Koran is absolutely correct in denying this view. (Koran 72:3) So we can see that Jesus is not the genetic offspring of Allah. Christians are wrong if they think that Jesus is the genetic decendant of the Almighty.

The Bible does state that Jesus is the Son of God. The Koran does state that God has no son. Contradiction? Not at all. Let me explain. My oldest son is my wife's child from a previous marriage. I have raised him since he was only twenty months old. In genetics he "is not" my son. In relationship he "is" my son as much as our younger son is. So he is my son and not my son at the same time. Both are true. This is the same with the Bible and the Koran in reference to Jesus. In the Bible, we see Jesus described as God's Son, relationship. In the Koran, sonship is denied, genetics.

You ask, "How do you know that?" Simple. Koran 72:3 states that god has not taken a wife that He might have a son, genetics. The Bible does say "begotten Son," but He was born to a virgin with no earthly father, and the original Greek of John 3:16 does not use the word "begotten." But this does not imply that Jesus was God's genetic heavenly offspring. Jesus said that His mother and brothers were those who do the will of the Father, relationship. (Matt. 12:46-50)

Let's look briefly at what the Koran does say about Jesus. He was a man and a spirit sent from God. He was born to a virgin. He is God's Word. He is the Messiah. And His followers will be above others in the Day of Judgement. (Koran 4:171, 3:55)

Now then, as we can clearly see, diligence in our study of the Scriptures is extremely important. As we study the scriptures and consider the beliefs of other faiths, we must not be preoccupied with looking for error in others, but rather we should look for truth in other faiths while examining ourselves for error.

I encourage you to avoid books or articles written about others by those of your own "camp." All too often, when someone writes a book about another faith, denomination, or organization, it is in an attempt to debunk them. Much of this type of foul practice is comprised of conjecture, speculation, exaggeration, and even fabrication. "The horses mouth" is a much more reliable source of information and should be our primary source. Even then we should look more to the foundational literature on which other beliefs are based. As we have seen, anyone could potientially misinterperet the truth. But through the grace of God and our diligent search, we can come to a fuller knowledge of the truth of the Almighty God.

And now a word of warning. Some of the writings you will explore contain error, heresy, and deception. So one might ask, "Why should we read works of heresy, etc.?" Partly because we need to know our enemy in order to be able to recognize his schemes. But our main reason to study heresies is to learn the truth that the heresy was based on. For most heresies begin with truth and are then misinterpereted or exaggerated to a ridiculous extreme. So when studying these writings, we should practice what one noted minister has said and "Be as smart as the ole cow. Chew the hay and spit out the sticks."

It is absolutely essential that we remain rooted and grounded in an established standard of truth while pursuing other studies. For me, that standard can be nothing other than the Bible. I, personally, will not do any significant study outside the Bible without going back to study of the Bible between those other studies. For example, I would recommend beginning study with the Bible, and then the Koran, and then the Bible, and then the Gnostic writings, and then the Bible, and then the N.T. Apocryphal Acts, and then the Bible. This firm foundation of established truth found in the Bible must be maintained.

So why study anything outside the Bible? While the Bible certainly is God's word, and is in itself enough for a person to study, it does not contain all of God's words and therefore leaves certain aspects of Him unrevealed. In much the same way that white bread and bologna are enough to sustain life for our physical bodies, the Bible is enough to sustain our spiritual life. But who could be satisfied with only white bread and bologna? By no means should we allow our physical stomach to be more important to us than our spiritual stomach. Do not misunderstand, I am not trying to belittle the Bible. I am merely attempting to point out the vastness of the wonderous riches of the Divine, Supreme, Almighty God of the Universe.

"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16,17)

"There are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written." (John 21:25)

"And if all the trees in the earth were pens, and the sea, with seven more seas to help it, (were ink), the words of Allah could not be exhausted. Lo! Allah is Mighty, Wise." (Koran 31:27)

This article is written in the Name of Jesus Christ.

It has been posted for your use by,

Reverend Bill McLean.