How Is The Islamic Idea Of Jihad Different From Violence In The Old Testament?

Following the horrific terrorist attacks on 9/11, many Westerners began to take notice of Islam for the first time. Many were shocked to find out that Islam’s holy book (the Koran) provides specific injunctions to engage in acts of violence as part of the “holy war” (jihad) in the cause of their religion.
Soon many secular thinkers began to draw comparisons between Islamic terrorist attacks and the violence found in the Bible, particularly the Old Testament. But are these comparisons valid? Are the commands of God to the Israelites in the Old Testament the same as jihad as prescribed in the Koran? What is the difference between the violence found in the Bible and Islamic understanding of jihad?

What is jihad?
The word jihad means “striving” or “struggle.” Within Islam, there are several categories of jihad. The word can be used to describe various types of struggles such as “jihad of the pen” (which would involve persuasion or instruction in the promotion of Islam) or “jihad of the heart” (a battle against one’s own sin).However, the most well-known form of jihad is that which involves physical violence or warfare in the cause of Islam. While the Koran does contain passages that encourage Muslims to engage unbelievers with grace and persuasion (Sura 16:125), it also contains other verses that  command all Muslims to engage in offensive physical warfare against non-Muslims.

A commandment to kill unbelievers
In Sura 9 we read, “…fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem [of war]; but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practice regular charity, then open the way for them…” (Sura 9:5). Also in Sura 9, “Fight those who believe not in [Allah] nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by [Allah] and His Apostle, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, [even if they are] of the People of the Book [Christians and Jews], until they pay the jizya [tribute] with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued” (Sura 9:29).

The islamic justification for violence
In addition to the teachings of the Koran, Muslims also follow the Hadith, a supposedly inspired record of Muhammad’s words and actions. The Hadith explains how Muhammad instructed his commander when sent out on an expedition, “When you meet your enemies who are polytheists, invite them to three courses of action. If they respond to any one of these, you also accept it and withhold yourself from doing them any harm. Invite them to [accept] Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them….If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah’s help and fight them” (Sahih Muslim, Book 19, Number 4294).

Violence in the Old Testament (Bible)
But what about the violence commanded by God in the Old Testament? Is that any different? The most often-discussed episodes of violence in the Old Testament are Yahweh’s command for the Israelites to destroy the Canaanites and return to the land that He had promised to them.
When assessing these incidents, we must understand the context in which these events took place. The Canaanites were a brutal and wicked culture that frequently engaged in incredibly decadent behaviour.
As Christian author Norman Geisler put it, “This was a thoroughly evil culture, so much so that the Bible says it nauseated God. They were into brutality, cruelty, incest, bestiality, cultic prostitution, and even child sacrifice by fire. They were an aggressive culture that wanted to annihilate the Israelites.”

A refusal to repent from sin
By ordering the destruction of the Canaanites, God enacted a form of corporate capital punishment on a people that had been deserving of God’s judgement for some time. God had given the Canaanite people over 400 years to repent (Genesis 15:13–16). When they did not, the Lord used the Israelites as an instrument of judgement on an evil and deeply depraved society. The Canaanites were not ignorant, as news of God’s awesome power had reached them (Joshua 2:10–11; 9:9). Such awareness should have caused them to repent.

Many of the wars were defensive
The example of Rahab and her family is a sure proof that the Canaanites could have avoided their destruction if they had repented before God (Joshua 2). No person had to die. God’s desire is that the wicked turn from their sin rather than perish (Ezekiel 18:31–32; 33:11).
We must also remember that Yahweh did not sanction all of the wars recorded in the Old Testament, and that all of the wars that were specifically commissioned by Him beyond the time of Joshua were defensive in nature. A number of the battles that Israel fought on the way to and within Canaan were also defensive in nature (Exodus 17:8; Numbers 21:21–32; Deuteronomy 2:26–37;Joshua 10:4).
The more difficult question, however, has to do with Yahweh’s command to kill all of the Canaanites, including the women and children. In response to this, two points need to be kept in mind. First, while the Bible reads that such a command was given, it may well be the case that no women or children were actually killed.
All of the battles would probably have involved only soldiers where women and children would likely have fled. As Jeremiah 4 indicates, “At the noise of horseman and archer every city takes to flight; they enter thickets; they climb among rocks; all the cities are forsaken, and no man dwells in them” Jer 4:29.

We must understand the context
Moreover, Deuteronomy 7:2–5 uses the phrase “utterly destroy” immediately followed by “you shall not intermarry among them,” highlighting the fact that, at least in some instances, the Biblical authors may have employed the rhetorical exaggeration (e.g., “all that breathes,” “utterly destroy,” etc.) common to ancient Near East military accounts. This leaves open the possibility that these phrases may express some degree of hyperbolic language, and thus, that no non-combatants were actually killed. The text nowhere explicitly narrates any women or children actually being killed in these battles.
Second, even if we interpret the text to mean that children were killed, this may have been God’s way of ensuring that these children would be saved and immediately brought into His eternal Kingdom. The Scripture implies that all children who die before the age of moral accountability will enter Heaven (2 Samuel 12:23; Matthew 19:14). Had God allowed these children to grow up in such a vile and heinous culture, these children would likely have grown up into something like their parents and been condemned to hell after they died. God knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10), and we are simply not in a position to question the Lord as to what is best.

A great contrast between Christian teaching and Islam
In conclusion, we have seen that there is a radical difference between the violence in the Old Testament and Islamic jihad. First, the violence prescribed by God in the Old Testament was intended for a particular time and limited to a particular people group. There was no precedent set to continue this practice beyond what God had commanded.
In contrast, the Koran actually prescribes and condones military jihad in the promotion of Islam. At no time in the Bible do we see God commanding His people to kill unbelievers in the promotion of Biblical Faith.
Second, it is beyond dispute that, in its earliest years, Islam was promoted by the sword. It is exactly the opposite for early Christianity. Many of the early Christians were severely persecuted and martyred for their commitment to Christ. As one Christian philosopher put it, “Both Islam and Christianity were spread by the sword, but the swords were pointing in opposite directions!”

Those who live by the sword will surely die by the sword
Finally, for the Christian, the final and complete revelation of God is in Jesus Christ, who was remarkably non-violent in His approach. If a Christian engages in violence in the Name of Christ, he is doing so in direct disobedience of His Master. Jesus taught that all who live by the sword will die by it (Matthew 26:52). The teachings and example of Muhammad are very different.
A Muslim who desires to commit violence in the name of Islam can find ample justification for his action both in the Koran and in the words and actions of the prophet Muhammad. This is simply not the case for a Christian, who reads the entire Bible in context, and follows the teachings and example of Jesus Christ who teaches us to love our neighbours and even to love our enemies.   
GOT QUESTIONS seeks to glorify God by providing Biblical and applicable answers to spiritually related questions. For more info see: www. A recommended resource for more info on the above topic: ‘Answering Islam: The Cresecent in Light of the Cross’ by Norm Geisler

Franklin Graham: A Voice Of Truth

“[We are] infatuated with this false understanding of tolerance. To be truly tolerant is not to give every idea equal standing or to compromise the truth in the interest of keeping the peace.”
Franklin Graham has devoted his life to meeting the needs of people around the world and proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The eldest son of Billy and Ruth Bell Graham, he has served as President and CEO of Samaritan’s Purse since 1979 and as President and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) since 2001.
Under his leadership, Samaritan’s Purse has met the needs of poor, sick, and suffering people in more than 100 countries. As an evangelist, he has led crusades around the world, starting with his first event in 1989. To date, he has preached to more than 8.1 million people as far afield as Japan and South Africa.
He has met privately with five US Presidents as well as world leaders from Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America, and yet tries to live as simple a life as possible. Raised in a log home in the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina, Franklin now lives in the mountains of North Carolina with his wife Jane. The couple have four children and ten grandchildren.
He was born into a heritage rich in Christian ministry. By the time of Franklin’s birth, Billy Graham was already known around the world as a spiritual leader, but he wasn’t the only spiritual giant in the family. Franklin’s maternal grandfather, Lemuel Nelson Bell, was a medical missionary to China for more than 20 years, a respected moderator of his denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America, and a co-founder and executive editor of Christianity Today, an American Christian magazine.
At age 22, after a period of rebellion and travelling the world, Franklin committed his life to Jesus Christ while alone in a hotel room in Jerusalem. Soon after that, Dr. Bob Pierce, founder of Samaritan’s Purse (and World Vision), invited Franklin to join him on a six-week mission to Asia. It was during that time that Franklin felt a burden to work with hurting people in areas of the world affected by war, famine, disease, and natural disasters; in his word: “I’ve been called to the slums of the streets and the ditches of the world.”
While his overt purpose when working in disaster zones is that of humanitarian aid, when questioned by the secular media, Franklin is clear about his true intentions:  “I believe as we work, God will always give us opportunities to tell others about His Son… We are there to reach out to love them and to save them, and as a Christian, I do this in the Name of Jesus Christ.”

In his role as head of BGEA, Franklin Graham has ushered his father’s 65-year-old ministry into the digital age. Through, social media and web streaming, God is using BGEA to reach places Billy Graham could never visit personally, including many parts of the Middle East.
Recently, BGEA reached its 6 millionth person for Christ through the Internet evangelism ministry ‘Search for Jesus,’ founded in 2011. The 6 millionth decision came from the country of Jordan at 7:04 p.m.
Even as God continues to use the Graham family to take the Gospel around the world, Franklin Graham is deeply troubled by the rise of godlessness and immorality in the United States. Last week, Franklin announced he’ll embark on a 50-state tour of the US in 2016, sharing the message of Jesus and calling Christians to boldly live out their faith.
“I’ve lived long enough to learn that…no political party or politician is the answer. The only hope for this country is Almighty God and His Son Jesus Christ.”
The Decision America Tour will take the Gospel from Alaska to Alabama, as Franklin Graham challenges Christians to pray for that nation and its leaders, run for office and vote for candidates who will uphold Biblical values. [The American elections take place in November 2016, and unfortunately it appears that Hillary Clinton is dominating the political race to the Oval Office – unless Christians pray, and the Republicans come up with a stellar media campaign to promote their candidates, namely Christian junior senator, Marco Rubio].
No stranger to the hostile secular media, or the critics of Christianity, Franklin came under criticism for comments he made about Islam in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks when he referred to Islam as “a very evil and wicked religion.” Further criticism came in 2003, when he preached at a Good Friday service at the Pentagon and made controversial remarks against Islam saying “True Islam cannot be practiced in this country [in regards to upholding Shariah Law].”
On August 19, 2010, when asked by CNN correspondent John King if he had doubts that President Barack Obama is a Christian, Graham stated, “I think the president’s problem is that he was born a Muslim, his father was a Muslim. The seed of Islam is passed through the father like the seed of Judaism is passed through the mother. He was born a Muslim, his father gave him an Islamic name.”  In subsequent interviews and speeches, though he has tried to be somewhat diplomatic in his reproach for Obama, Franklin has often been met with the ire of more liberal Christian leaders, who deem it inappropriate for Franklin to question Obama’s faith. Unwavering in his convictions though, Franklin has often verbalised what many evangelicals think about the current US President. Not withstanding merited concern over Obama’s blatantly unbiblical policies.
In 2012 as the debate over the legalisation of same-sex marriage in states around America heated up, Franklin took a public stand for truth. Resisting the political pressure of other religious leaders (to keep quiet), Franklin said this: “President Obama has, in my view, shaken his fist at the same God who created and defined marriage. It grieves me that our president would now affirm same-sex marriage, though I believe it grieves God even more.”
This damning statement saw Franklin become persona-non-grata in the White House and very definitely set him apart from his father’s more diplomatic political approach decades prior. But, Franklin is not too concerned…” I’ve never really been one to try to be politically correct. I just feel truth is truth, and sometimes I probably offend some people.”
Earlier this year, a huge firestorm erupted when several Christian churches around America, and specifically the National Cathedral in Washington, hosted “inter-faith” services with Muslims and allowed them to pray to Allah in the churches. Franklin was one of the few Christian leaders who spoke out strongly against these initiatives and because of his boldness and commitment to the truth, has been largely recognised by Bible-believing Christians to be the best spokesperson for true Church in the USA and elsewhere.
When a historically Christian institution, Duke University,  planned to have an amplified Muslim call to prayer played each Friday from the top of its campus clock tower, Franklin mobilised  his 1,3 million Facebook followers to sign a petition. The campaign which garnered more than 70 000 ‘Likes’ on Facebook, called on the university to cancel the call to prayer and lobbied alumni to boycott the school if they did not. Thankfully, it was successful and Duke scrapped its plans.
Recently voted the most influential leader of all Christians in America by a newsmax poll, it seems that Franklin Graham has stepped into a new, very critical role – that of a voice for the voiceless. As the persecution of Christians rips through the Middle East, North Africa and Asia, Franklin is taking the mic and urging the world’s leaders and media to intervene.
Even in America, where daily he sees the legal onslaught against Christians trying to live by their convictions, Franklin is boldly stepping forward to help. Not just as a mouthpiece for truth, but also an agent of practical assistance.
Through Samaritan’s Purse, Franklin has set up funding campaigns for people to support individuals like Aaron Klein, the bakery owner who refused to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple, and now has to pay $135,000 in damages for “emotional suffering”
There is no doubt that the Lord has clearly set Franklin Graham up in a position of incredible influence for such a time as this. As Christians are being beheaded in Libya, the blood of the martyrs cries out…who will stand? Who will speak? Who will go?
We thank God for leaders like Franklin Graham, and we pray for him to continue the path set before him in humility, wisdom and a courageous commitment to the truth.
“Whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies – in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To Him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:11. 
By Jackie Georgiou

The Significant Impact A Father Has On Our Health

Latest medical research is tracing 87-95% of diseases back to “toxic mind-sets” upstream in our thought life, which come from a relationship breakdown on the following three levels:

A relationship breakdown with God – for example not being able to receive His love
A breakdown in relationship with yourself – for example a low self-esteem, guilt, shame, condemnation and self-hatred
A breakdown in relationship with others – for example hatred, bitterness, unforgiveness, anger, criticism, fault-finding, jealousy, envy and strife.

The key to healing is love
To recover from 95% of diseases, it is necessary to deal with the toxic-mindsets that cause them. Therefore the process of healing involves restoration in these three areas whereby you come back into a love relationship with God, yourself and others. When asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. And the second greatest commandment is like it – love your neighbour as you do yourself. Upon this depends all the Law and the prophets” Matt 22:36-40.
So Jesus said, “What it is all about is loving God, loving yourself and loving others.” This is true, even in the area of healing! The key to divine health in one word is “love”! Because when you have a wholesome love relationship with God, yourself and others, you won’t have any of the toxic mindsets that cause disease!
The role of the father
Just as you cannot pour water into a glass from an empty jug – you cannot give out love to others if you don’t have it in you! You cannot love others without ‘loving yourself’ in a balanced way where you have a healthy self-esteem that is firmly rooted in the knowledge of who you are in Christ. If you don’t love yourself, you are going to have a hard time getting along with anybody else. The problem with many marriages today is two people who don’t know how to love themselves, who are trying to love each other! You cannot love yourself without first receiving the love of God the Father.
An important role of the father is to reflect the Father heart of God to his family. The Lord designed it such that as children we gain an understanding of the concept of how to have a relationship with God the Father through the experience of a relationship with our earthly father. A very true saying is: “A son cannot find a father in God, until he first finds God in his father.” So because of this, our image of God the Father is affected by our image of our earthly father. This means that if our earthly father was for example absent, unloving, harsh or abusive, we will develop a distorted image of God the Father.
For many people – because the Lord has that same name “Father”, they think that He is like their earthly one…and so now God the Father is guilty by association. When Jesus taught us to pray, He began with: “Our Father..” and we get a block right there because we want nothing to do with “father”! Many struggle to identify with God as Father and thus are not able to receive His love.
Broken relationships cause disease
Not being able to receive God’s love creates a major health problem because it means that you won’t be able to love yourself and then you won’t be able to love others. Now that you have a breakdown in relationship with God, yourself and others, the stage is set for all the toxic mind-sets that cause disease! So just like in a game of chess, in one strategic move the devil got “check mate” – just by attacking your relationship with your father!
This one issue of a breakdown in relationship with God the father because of the damage done by our earthly father is big in disease – in fact it is the foundation of over seventy major incurable illnesses!
You are not alone!
If you have a breach in your relationship with God because of the failure of your earthly father to represent Him, you may think that you are the only one. I want you to know that you are not alone in the void, the fear, the rejection and the pain that runs so deep that has been there from your childhood. Pastors and doctors who teach this subject in conferences all over the world ask the audience this question, “How many of you growing up as children do not remember your earthly father saying to you these words, “I love you”? Would you raise your hands.” What we have almost always found is that over 90% of people raise their hands. In one audience, there were 26 different nations present and 95% of them raised their hands because they had never heard their earthly father say those words. This is in every church in the world.
Say those three special words
One Zimbabwean girl said to the pastor in a conference, “In all my entire life, even as a Christian, you are the first human being to look me in the eye and say those words, ‘I love you’. I’ve never heard those words in my entire life.”
There is a true story about a greeting card company who went into a prison. On Mother’s Day they decided to bring the men in prison cards to send out to their mothers. There was such a response from the men that they had to go back to the factory and get more cards just to keep up with the demand. Due to the success of this effort, on Father’s Day, they came back to the prison with cards for the inmates to send to their fathers. Not even one man came to get a Father’s Day card. Many of them had no idea who their fathers were. This is a tragedy that is in epidemic proportions in our society.

A call to the fathers
As a medical doctor who understands the significant impact that a father has on the health of his family, I urge the men in the Body of Christ to ensure that your homes are an oasis of peace and a safe haven for your wife and children. Your home should be your first church. Women were designed to follow a loving spiritual leader who demonstrates the Father heart of God to his family (Eph 5:25; 1 Peter 5:7). Until the men decide to be a mirror image of Heaven, as a father and a husband, we are stuck in every generation with over seventy major incurable diseases.
Some of the husbands and fathers need to get onto their knees before their wives and children and repent for having opened the door for the enemy to oppress their wives and children. If you would just do that, you would get rid of many of the diseases in your family and you would be spending less of your hard earned money on doctors. When a father repents to his children and when a husband repents to his wife, it is no exaggeration that the destiny of mankind is about to be changed. When the men finally decide to represent God the father to their children and represent the Lord Jesus as husband to their wives, a revival in healing is about to begin!
If you need healing in this area – contact Eagles’ Wings at for a powerful time of personal ministry!  
Dr. Michelle Strydom founded Eagles’ Wings Ministries. Enquiries for her materials (Books and DVDs), please contact Charmaine: 082 920 7826 / cj& This includes: ‘Healing Begins with Sanctification of the Heart 4th Edition’ and ‘No Disease is Incurable (22hr) DVD set’.

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10 Hardships In Marriage And How To Overcome Them

Every marriage faces hardship. It’s a given. This list covers most of the common troubles, but your situation is unique. The key point here is to face the difficulty – whatever kind of struggle it is – together with your wife.
Do you remember your marriage vows?
“For better, for worse…”
“In sickness and in health…”
“For richer, for poorer…”
These promises presuppose tough times. We went into our marriage with our eyes open, so there’s really no excuse for not bringing everything we have to the table when things – once in a while – get dicey.
Here are ten marital hardships and how to overcome them:

1 Financial struggle
The stress associated with money problems can be overwhelming. But in the end, it’s only money. And money has no power over your commitment to your relationship.

Commit to a plan,

Live simply

Never keep financial secrets from your wife.

2 Challenging children
Even the best behaved children in the world present challenges, and the number one casualty is always the relationship between mom and dad. Remember this: The marriage comes first. Not the kids, the marriage. Nurture your relationship with your wife and you will be better equipped to deal with whatever the kids dish out. For single dads, it’s increasingly important to stay connected with your child’s mother as hard as that might be.

3 Immaturity
Great relationships are supposed to mature over time. If you still relate to one another the same way you did when you first married, then it’s past time for the marriage to grow up. Get involved in a couples group at your faith community. Love one another “out loud.” Invest in the marriage as if your life depends on it – because it does.

4 Unfaithfulness
Marriages run into this hardship often. We may not sleep with other women, but we’re all guilty of being unfaithful when it comes to time, attention, priorities, the way we use our resources, and so much more. One way to deal with this is to recommit yourself to your wife. Woo her all over again. Make it clear where your priorities steer your time and attention.

5 Moving
It’s a fact. Most Americans change careers several times. That often means moving across the state or across the world. Moving is a huge stress. Regardless if it’s because of your job or if it’s hers, make the decision to be 100% supportive and flat out refuse to whine. Do what it takes to get invested in the new community quickly. Find a church. Get involved. Live forward.

6 Sickness
We forget how much we rely on one another until someone breaks down physically. If you’re the one still standing, do everything in your power to be a servant to your spouse. Sure it’s tough to do everything, but your attempt with an obvious willing spirit is going to make all the

7 Depression
Everyone goes through “the blues” at times in their lives. Here again, it’s about having the heart of a servant, about going the extra mile, and about putting the needs of your spouse ahead of your own. Look to God for your source of happiness. Be a conduit of that joy to your spouse. And seek medical attention if necessary.

8 Disinterest
Sometimes it happens the first year. Sometimes it takes a decade or so. Regardless of where we are on the time spectrum, disinterest or boredom can easily set in. Not feeling special about the relationship is a hardship for everyone, but it doesn’t have to be. Our job is to be intentional about the relationship. She didn’t fall for you in the first place without any effort on your part – so why stop now?

When was the last time you took her out on a date?
Have you told her lately how stunning she looks?
What about a day off devoted to her?

9  Career
We have already talked about moving, but career issues can cause hardship without a change of location. Keep her in the loop. Ask her opinion about what you’re up to. Do everything in your power to protect family time and to promote a work culture that respects family values.

10 Empty Nest
We invest a lot in the kids. If we’re not careful, our relationship with our spouse gets neglected. Guard against that day by investing in your wife now. Rather than mourn the children after they leave, try celebrating the freedom you now have to invest more time and interest in your marriage. Again, it’s all about being intentional. 
ALLPRODAD are a group of people passionately committed to bringing intentional focus to fathers around the world. For more info: