Taking Sides vs Taking Over
Lissa and I are at a conference just outside of Nashville and the guest speaker tonight was Mosab Jousef, son of Hamas co-founder Hassan Yousef. Mosab, or Joseph as he was called tonight, became disenchanted with the use of terror as a means of removing Israel, and in the process, began to question Islam as well, a process that led to his conversion to Christianity about 3 years ago.
Joseph opened up with a very provocative statement, one which cast the two sides in the struggle into a very different light than that usually presented to the American public.
"There are two sides in this struggle; the Palestinian side and the Israeli side. Jesus is not coming back to take a side; he's coming back to take over!"
For a Biblical Christian, this is unquestionably true, but it is an odd feeling to see the conflict from that perspective because all of the sudden, we're not seeing the struggle as Israel struggling to survive against the evil Arab,and waiting for the Messiah to wipe out the bad guys. Instead, we're seeing the Messiah coming back to lay down the Law for both sides, and that's really cool because if you think about it,that's exactly what he did the first time around.
He didn't kick the Romans out of Jerusalem; he gave everyone, Jew and Roman, a path to salvation, which was a much greater gift.
As I listened to Joseph speak, he taught me something very important about the terrorists and suicide bombers, something at once reassuring, and deeply chilling.
"The terrorists are people," he said. "They are good people who have good lives. They love their families, their country,and their god. The problem is their ideology, which teaches them that the most holy thing they can do is to kill infidels for their god."
That's a hard concept for us to grasp because it means that we have to accept that these people doing monstrous things are not monsters or animal, but people like us, with hopes and dreams and families. While this seems incomprehensible to us, it is also a hopeful thing, because monsters must be slayed; people can be changed. The chilling part is what I alluded to earlier.
The Arab Israeli conflict is not about land or money or geopolitical power any more than the American Civil War was about slavery. In both cases, the conflict was ideological at heart. Joseph explained that the goal of Islam was the complete eradication of Israel. He also abolished the notion of the moderate Muslim. As he put it, the Global Caliphate is in the Koran, therefore every good Muslim must be working to bring that about. Even the so-called moderates, who might never touch a gun or an explosive, were part of the struggle, by providing funding or political cover for the jihadists. A territorial struggle ends when one side gains control of the territory. An ideological struggle is a war to the knife; the fight goes on until one side is destroyed.
I've heard words like this before, but always from analysts and columnists,or people who've studied the Middle East, and I've always taken them with a grain of salt. But now I've heard them from a man who literally grew up in the center of it all, going to the mosque with the leaders of Hamas, and that makes it much more difficult to dismiss. Joseph said flat out that the chance for peace in the Middle East died when the conflict was Islamized by Hamas. A true peace will only come when the Prince of Peace returns to take over.
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