Yeshua's Heaven, Mohammed's heaven -- Which Way Is The Way?

by Lonnie Lane 

 

Despite the previously politically-correct idea that Islam and Judeo-Christianity have the same God, most of us know that just isn’t so. Yahweh and Allah are not the same God. O yes, the writings of the Bible and the Qur’an both deal with the issues of salvation, pleasing God, obedience and keeping the commandments, concerns with heaven and hell and how to obtain one and avoid the other, what God considers faithfulness, and what the future will bring. But they have very different approaches to those subjects. Almost as if one is like a photo negative of the other, as if it were in the reverse and black where the light should be. One makes it clear what the final picture will be while the other remains in the dark.

Yahweh and Allah are not the same God.

The ultimate issue, of course, for everyone regardless of one’s religion, is of eternal destiny. The Qur’an says that Allah created some people for heaven and some for hell and no one will know until “the last day,” that is, Judgment Day, for which he was created. What a terrible insecurity to live with. What does that do to one’s psyche and sense of worth? Being aware of this stirs up two things within me. The first “stirring” is an enormous gratefulness that I actually know God! The more I learn about Islam the more I realize how great a salvation we have in Yeshua. The other day while preparing for guests, I was playing a CD of Hebrew music while cooking. The words of the song in English are: “…His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace….” (Isaiah 9:6). Suddenly I doubled over, my face in my hands, weeping deeply – because I KNOW THAT ONE! How many Jews have said or sung those words of Isaiah’s for how many centuries …waiting? Yet God by His mercy has allowed even me to know Him. As the Psalmist said, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it” (Psalm 139:6). It’s far too wonderful to fully grasp, isn’t it? O the wonder of knowing Him, and of having the security of being His forever!

One of the guests I was cooking for is, in fact, a former Muslim, a Pakistani, who has now become a believer in Yeshua. He was coming to share with my congregation his experiences in Islam and how we can “Share Yeshua with Muslims with love,” which was the title to his messages. Apart from Yeshua, he would never have been in my home, let alone be my friend and eat at my table. Only in Yeshua could the chasm between us, me as a Jew and a Christian and him as an Arab and a Muslim, disappear entirely. Something else to be grateful for.

The second thing that has stirred my heart is deep compassion for the Muslim people who are without the security I know, despite how much work they put into pleasing their God. I’ve come to know a number of Muslims, though admittedly almost all of them have become believers in Yeshua. Their stories are those of people who wanted with all their hearts to hear from Allah, to have him speak to them, to let them know that he was there for them. Perhaps you’ve heard of how thousands of Muslims the world over are having supernatural dreams, visions and visitations of Yeshua – He just suddenly enters their reality and reveals Himself to them! (Makes you jealous for your own visitation from Him, doesn’t it?) The moment He shows up, they know Who He is and their whole lives change. Allah means God in Arabic, but not until and unless they come to know Yeshua do they encounter the “knowable” God. Well, come to think of it, neither does anyone, Muslim or not. Yeshua is the only way to God. “Yeshua said…, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6).

Knowing of how Yeshua has come to these people does something to one’s theology. At least it has to mine. It tells me that God knows the hearts who are longing for Him. He knows the conflicts within of those who want to be obedient to God as they understand Him to be, yet find themselves unfulfilled and even in deep emotional conflict over what they have been taught is God but which is not based in truth. I’ve often wondered about Paul, that is rabbi Saul (Sha’ul in Hebrew). It has always seemed to me that he had a zeal, a passion, a determination to see a purified Israel, so that God would see his earnestness in wanting to serve God in righteousness and to be an instrument to help restore Israel to sovereignty before God once again. He knew Israel had lost their sovereignty because of the worship of other gods in the past and now they were allowing Hellenism to permeate their society.  He longed for a pure faith in God to be restored to Israel so that God’s favor would rest upon Israel once again and He would deliver them from the domination of the Romans. This was the reason he sought to rid Israel of what he viewed as yet another heresy in the believers – whom he saw as worshipping a man as if he were God! He’d seen enough of false messiah’s already.

But I believe God saw Paul’s heart for purity, in the way he lived his life as a righteousness-seeking Jew as he understood righteousness, and even in his persecution of the supposed heretical believers. He was a man who had “zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge” (Romans 10:2), which is why he later could write and use this very phrase to warn others. But Yeshua came to Paul “in Person” and turned his life God-ward, just as He is doing today with so many Muslims – and Orthodox Jews as well. Just as God used Paul’s zealousness for God, God will use the Muslims’ zealousness for God as well once they come to know Him.

Just as God used Paul's zealousness for God, God will use the Muslims' zealousness for God as well once they come to know Him.

Muslims do believe in Yeshua; they believe Him to have been a great prophet, though one of many prophets, and a pre-cursor to Mohammed who prophesied Mohammed’s coming. The Qur’an takes the following verses to mean Yeshua prophesied the coming of Mohammed, not the Holy Spirit: "Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you…. When He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come….” (John 16:7, 12-14). Mohammed or Ahmed means “the one who praises” or “the praised one” in Arabic which is supposed to be equal to the Greek word paracletos which means “an advocate” or a “comforter.” One Arabic definition of the word is “a kind friend.” From our perspective, however, the numerous contradictions that can be found within the Qur’an itself and in conflict with Scripture would seem to disqualify Mohammed as the “spirit of truth." We know it is the Holy Spirit about Whom Yeshua was speaking who came at the next Feast of the Lord, Shavuot or Pentecost, and not some non-Jewish man outside of Israel some 600 years later.  

The Qur’an denies that Yeshua was crucified, claiming it is a distortion of the truth along with other Biblical claims. Mohammed believed the Christians and the Jews got together to purposely distort the Bible – as if the Jews and the Christians could or would ever cooperate to do such a thing. The reason, it is said, that Yeshua couldn’t have been crucified is because surely Allah would not allow his prophets to suffer. Yet, some of Islam’s prophets did suffer and even Mohammed suffered (he was poisoned on purpose in a lamb stew after he brought destruction to the cook’s town for not believing in him) which brought him much pain and suffering though it took him several years to die. Generally Muslims believe Yeshua didn’t die because Allah took him to heaven to start paradise, and that He will return – as a Muslim, and tell the world they have been wrong in seeing Him as the Son of God and to forget this resurrection business and be good Muslims, and follow Mohammed’s teachings just as Yeshua Himself will do as a good Muslim. He will live some forty years or so and will marry and have children (something he didn’t get to do the first time ‘round), and then die and be buried in a grave that is waiting for him even now beside Mohammed in Medina. (Yet another empty grave, it appears.)

I have come to know an Iraqi Muslim. He and his family have been here in America for about a year. When I asked him why they came, he said, “To get away from the war.” He went on to tell me that not one family that he knew of was without having lost someone in the wars. He also told me that he didn’t think Iraq and Iran will ever stop fighting. “Why when they are both Muslim countries,” I asked? “Yes,” he answered, “but they cannot agree on certain ideologies. They are different peoples who don’t even speak the same language which is a great barrier, despite them both being Muslims.” (Iraqis are Arabs who speak Arabic, while Iranians are Persians who speak Farsi.)

He and his family wanted out of the violence and hatred. So here is a Muslim family that wants no part of the Jihad that is espoused by radical Islam. Imagine how conflicting it must be for them. Their supposed holy book, the Qur’an, says that ultimately all who will not submit to Islam will need to be killed. Yeshua, on the other hand, tells us to love and pray for our enemies. Not all of Mohammed’s teachings are of violence. The first ten years or so of Mohammed’s teachings were peaceable and focused on promoting the worship and following of one God in a world of idolatry. But when the Jews and then the Christians rejected him as a prophet (what Jew would have accepted a non-Jewish prophet as coming from God? The Christians rejected him for the same reason), he took offense and began to employ violence to impose his religious views on everyone – or die. The Bible says, “If anyone kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed” (Rev. 13:10) – basically a reap what you sow statement. For those who adhere to the more radical teachings of Islam, those whose eventual intent would be violence toward the “unbelievers” (the infidels who do not believe as they do), they seem also to be violent even toward one another. They may think they’re following their religion or ideology, but when an evil spirit of murder is loosed among men, it doesn’t care if they murder others or each other. It just motivates rage and murder. Ergo, the war between Iraq and Iran.

But what about the Muslims who in their heart of hearts are not inclined toward violence against anyone? In more radical circles, nominal or moderate Muslims are also considered as infidels to be done away with if they will not come into the more orthodox beliefs and practices of Islamic jihad. So they must live under this pressure. Add to this that they cannot go to Allah for comfort or assurance. He’s not there for that. He’s inaccessible. He’s “up there” while they are “down here.” Man’s primary duty is to serve him in more of a slave relationship than anything else. All this is why there is stirred within me a heart of compassion for those living under the weight of all this. 

We are only counted as righteous by faith in Yeshua which is the only way mankind can please God.

In Islam, in the end, on “the last day,” each person will stand in judgment before God based on their deeds. More good deeds, even an ounce more, will enable one to enter heaven if the scales tip in the good deeds direction, whereas the opposite is also true – one ounce more of bad deeds will send one to hell forever. The balance is critical so a Muslim is likely to be preoccupied with trying to be good enough. In reality, a Christian might also be laboring under the weight of  “works righteousness,” if they are depending more on what they do or don’t do to earn God’s favor rather than trusting in the finished work of Yeshua on the cross. We are only counted as righteous by faith in Yeshua which is the only way mankind can please God. Yeshua defined the only “work” that is acceptable to God that will earn us a place in heaven: “Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent." (John 6:29), meaning Himself, of course.

When Muslims come to know the Lord Yeshua, they seem to take all that commitment and energy of trying to please God and turn it to loving the Lord. The true Christian way of life in God is to put our trust entirely in Yeshua and live in that rest. No striving, no trying to be good. Just loving Jesus and trusting Him to keep us righteous and right with Him, even to the end. Our part is to trust and obey as we follow Him, not a series of doctrines – Him! Yeshua! He keeps us! One of my favorite verses is a praise to God that says, “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy” (Jude 1:24). Blameless. With great joy. Ponder that verse for a while and rejoice with me.  

The expectation in Islam is that, in the end, Mohammed will act as mediator for individuals before God so that perhaps he can plead with God for them to be admitted to heaven on the day of judgment, on “the last day.” However, Mohammed himself said at the end of his life that he did not know what God would do with him, whether he would go to heaven or hell. Mohammed said. ‘By Allah, though I am the apostle of Allah, yet I do not know what Allah will do to me’" (Haddith Vol. 5:266). He knew he had sins; he never claimed not to have sins. So how could a sinful man stand as mediator before holy God? How could anyone unclean speak for other unclean persons to intercede for them before God? One wonders. Only One who is holy can act a mediator before Holy God for the souls of men. So that would seem to invalidate Mohammed as being the mediator, wouldn’t it? On the other hand, Yeshua in His sinlessness is and continues to be the mediator between mankind and God: “He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).

There is one Islamic doctrine that assures someone access to heaven, that is for a jihadi, one who kills for Allah, specifically killing a Jew or a Christian. To him is granted immediate entrance to heaven:  “Mohammed said, "The person who participates in (Holy battles) in Allah's cause and nothing compels him to do so except belief in Allah and His Apostle, will be recompensed by Allah either with a reward, or booty (if he survives) or will be admitted to paradise (if he is killed)" (Haddith Vol. 1:35). This also includes a free entrance fee for his family. This is why you will see families rejoicing when their son has just blown himself up as a martyr while he caused the death of other non-Muslims. The entirely carnal rewards in heaven, curiously, are those very things that Islam considers unclean and forbidden while on earth. There is no being in the presence of Allah and seeing Him, or of holiness or glory or heavenly worship – just basically the self-gratification of carnal lusts including sex and alcohol. How far from the dignity, glory and holy joy in the presence of Almighty God, with the multitudes of souls made perfect and the heavenly angels singing rapturous and exalted praises to God as we gaze upon His beauty and glory that the Bible speaks of that exists in heaven.

It has been said that the difference between the God of Christianity and Allah is that Allah requires that his people’s sons die for him while the God of Christianity gave His own Son to die for us all. I know personally at least one Muslim who came to the Lord upon seeing this clearly. For those of you reading this, most likely I do not have to recount how God Himself crossed the barrier between Deity and mankind by becoming a Man Himself. Alternatively, Muslims live with the sense of their unworthiness before Allah, and the fact that they consider themselves as slaves to him, not as his children as it is thought that Allah has no need of anyone so why would he need sons. There is no motivation in Allah of love as a reason for a relationship with people. How altogether contrary to the theology of the Bible is Islam. The cost of Yeshua’s life was the provision of God, to bring us close to Himself. God: “But now in Messiah Yeshua, you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Messiah”(Ephesians 2:13). We are that valuable to Him that He came as a man and lived and died for us – paying the ultimate price any man can pay, his life.   

Lord, we pray for those Muslims around the world and on our own soil, that you would lead them into Your arms and a saving revelation of Who You are. We ask that You would forgive them, O Lord. Turn their lives so into You that they find it easy to “go and sin no more.” Save them, fill them with Your Holy Spirit and with righteousness, and open their eyes to Your truth in the Bible. We thank you for them, in Yeshua’s name. Amen.

 

 Reprint of this article is permitted as long as you use the following; Use by permission by Messianic Vision, www.sidroth.org, 2010. 

 
  

 

Lonnie Lane

For Lonnie's other articles, check out our Exclusive Articles and Resources, especially the section on One New Man.

Lonnie Lane comes from a family of four generations of Jewish believers, being the first one saved in 1975. Lonnie has been in church leadership for many years, and has planted two “one new man” house fellowships, one in Philadelphia suburbs and the other in Jacksonville, Florida, where she now lives near 6 of her 8 grandchildren. Lonnie is the author of “Because They Never Asked” and numerous articles on this website. She has been the Producer of Messianic Vision's radio and TV shows and the International Prayer Co-Coordinator for Messianic Vision's intercessors. Click Here to order Lonnie's book, "Because They Never Asked."

Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible Copyright ©1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, Calif.  All rights reserved. Used by permission.

 

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