Wednesday, 31 August 2011


Judaism, Christianity and Islam are considered the world’s greatest Monotheistic religions. Judaism spawned Christianity and Islam, and yet a holy war rages between the three religions. There is a claim that the three religions worship the same God. Both Muslims and Christians claim to worship the God of the Jews. The Jews find this claim offensive, because Jews reject both Christianity and Islam. Islam and Christianity in turn reject each other. This then, is the cause of underlying tensions between Jews, Muslims and Christians. Both Christianity and Islam emerged in competition to Judaism. Christianity was responsible for spreading the Gospel. Judaism has never believed in sharing its religion with Gentiles, so it was left to Christianity to proselyte to the nations. Islam has also been aggressive in proselyting Islam. Things might have been different today if Jews had preached Judaism to the pagan nations.

Judaism and Gentiles
Jews were not interested in sharing their religion with Gentiles, because Jews believed that God was interested in Jews and not Gentiles. There are probably many reasons for this belief. One of the reasons may be based on the belief that Jews are the children of Adam (the sons of God) and Gentiles the children of Cain whose father is believed to be the Serpent. Jewish Rabbis preached a doctrine that Cain was the son of Satan through the Serpent who seduced Eve. The doctrine of Eve mating with the Serpent appeared in the Jewish Midrash texts in the 9th century and in the Kabalah. This doctrine also appeared in the Gospel of Philip which was rejected as heresy by Irenaeus an early church father. Later, some Christians would claim that they were the children of Adam and the Jews the Children of Cain. In the twentieth century Reverend William Branham resurrected the Serpent Seed doctrine and taught it extensively. He claimed that all humans including Jews and Gentiles, Black and White had attributes of the Serpent (the sinful nature) in them 1.     

Who do Jews Worship?
Jews worship Yahweh (Jehovah), the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Jews are uncompromisingly monotheistic (see Exodus 20: 1-6). Christians while claiming to be monotheistic; in reality worship a Triune God (the Trinity). Muslims worship Allah (the same term used to describe the former Arabian Pagan Moon God in pre-Islamic days) 12. Allah, they believe, is the God of Abraham, Ishmael and Muhammad. The Christian doctrine of elevating Jesus to the status of God is totally unacceptable to Jews and Muslims 4. Even if it is proved to Jews that Jesus is the Messiah - they cannot accept that he is God. To the Jew, Messiah will not be God. He will be a special servant of God with extraordinary leadership powers.

Jesus in Islam and Judaism
Muslims accept that Jesus is the coming Messiah. However, they do not believe that he is the Son of God or God. They believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, but they do not believe that Jesus was crucified 3 & 4. The Jews in turn do not believe that Jesus is the Son of God, nor do they accept him as Messiah. They believe that Jesus was an ordinary man, who pretended to be the Messiah and was put to death for blasphemy. In spite of Jewish scripture (Isaiah 7: 14) supporting the virgin birth, Jews do not believe in the virgin birth, arguing that this is scientifically impossible. Jews completely ignore the fact that Jesus fulfilled many of the Old Testament prophesies concerning the Messiah, portrayed as a “suffering servant” (see Isaiah 53:3; Isaiah 53:5; Isaiah 53: 7; Isaiah 50:6; Isaiah 53:12; Psalms 69:12; Zechariah 12:10; Isaiah 53:9; Deut. 18:15; Isaiah 61:1-2). On the other hand, Messianic Jews and Jews for Jesus believe that Jesus is the Messiah. They are of the opinion that ordinary Jews do not realise this, because they do not read the scriptures. Instead, they rely on what the Rabbis tell them. 2.         

Support for Israel
In the past, there has been serious tension between Jews and Christians. The Roman Catholic Church and mainstream Protestant Churches have been known to engage in what is called two thousand years of Church sponsored anti-Semitism. After the holocaust, the relationship between Jews and Christians has improved. Today, the two groups that faithfully support Israel in the USA are Jews and evangelical Christians. Evangelical Christians support Israel because they see Jews as God’s chosen people. They believe that Jews have a historical right to the land of Israel 12. They assist Israel because they believe that it is their Christian duty to do so. Evangelical Christians hold to the Old Testament scripture that declares: “He who blesses Israel will be blessed, and he who curses Israel will be cursed”. They also hold to Paul’s teaching in the New Testament. Paul admonished Christians not to despise Jews. He taught that Gentile Christians are spiritually indebted to the Jews. Because of this, Evangelical Christians feel that they have an obligation to assist Jews in material ways 12.  In contrast, mainstream Protestant groups and their organisations have a different attitude towards Israel. These Protestant organisations are opposed to Israel and are in sympathy with the Palestinian cause. Many Christian liberals from mainstream churches see Israel as oppressing and blocking the aspirations of Palestinians.  

Christians in Muslim Countries
There are many Christians in Muslim countries. It has been reported that there are 1.2 million Arab Christians in Syria. Iraq has 636,000 Christians. Fifty percent of Lebanon’s population are believed to be Christians. Jordan has 400, 000 Christians. Palestine has 173 000 Christians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Israel has 122 000 Arab Christians living in Israel. Egypt has the most number of Christians, estimated to be between six million and eight million. There are reports that Christians are experiencing serious persecution and discrimination in Muslim countries. 2.           

Jewish Christians
The early Christians were all Jews. Jesus was a Jew. Paul the writer of much of the New Testament was a Jew. Presently, the Christian Church is in Gentile hands, and is being portrayed as a Gentile religion. However, we still have Jews that are Christians. There are Jews who have converted to Christianity and have taken on the label of “Jewish Christians”. There are Jews for Jesus, Hebrew Christian Jews, Messianic Jews, and Jews who are members of different mainstream churches 2.    

Do Jews, Christians and Muslims worship the same God?
Christians generally believe in the Trinity (three Persons in one God). Jews and Muslims reject the Trinity. In turn, Jews reject both Islam and Christianity. They do not believe that Christians and Muslims worship the same God as the Jews. Islam and Christianity in turn reject each other. The difference in beliefs between Judaism, Islam and Christianity makes it difficult to find common-ground. This can lead many to believe that the three religious movements worship different Gods. According to Jews and Muslims, Christianity is a polytheistic religion that is very much in denial about its fundamental nature. It is interesting to note that Muslims do not claim to worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Instead they claim to worship the God of Abraham, Ishmael and Muhammad. When you add Ishmael and Muhammad into the mix, leaving out Isaac and Jacob, this can lead you into believing that Jews and Muslims worship two different and separate Gods.  

The Islam/Christian Debate
A serious point of contention between Christians and Muslims is the ongoing Islam/Christian debate. Christian Missionaries have been targeting Muslims and Jews and this has irritated Muslim and Jewish clerics. Large numbers of Muslims in Africa are reported to be converting to Christianity. Muslims believe that they have the complete truth in Islam and that Christians and Jews have only a part of this truth. Muslims therefore feel that they have a duty to put Christians on the right path. And one of the ways of doing this is to challenge Christians to open debates 3 & 4.

The Middle East Conflict
Jews, Muslims and Christians have a special interest in the Palestinian/Israeli conflict in the Middle East. The Muslim sympathy is with the Palestinians, while Jewish and evangelical Christian sympathies lie with Israel. 12. Mainstream protestant Christians, however, do not support Israel. Their sympathies lie with the Palestinian cause. There is a perception that there are elements of Jews and Arabs that do not want peace in the Middle East. They are prepared to fight for all or nothing. There is also a perception that oil-rich Arab nations do not want to help the Palestinians. They want the conflict to remain because it places Israel in a bad light. As far as many Muslims are concerned, Israel does not have a right to exist. There have been accusations of war crimes in the Middle East. Judge Goldstone, a respected South African judge of Jewish descent, recently submitted a report suggesting that war crimes have been committed by both the Israeli forces and Hamas a military wing of the Palestinians. This has been strongly refuted by the Jewish community here and abroad, and certain U.S. Jewish lawyers have allegedly instituted civil proceeding against Goldstone, according to newspaper reports. Goldstone conducted his investigations on behalf of the United Nations.      

Religious Intolerance
There has always been hostility and intolerance between Muslims, Jews and Christians. There is a perception that fundamentalist Muslims hate Jews, and dislike Christians. They allegedly hate Jews because of the conflict in the Middle East and they hate America, because America supports Israel. It is claimed that Christians living in Muslim countries, such as Egypt, Sudan, Indonesia and Pakistan are being persecuted by fundamentalist and radical Muslims. Houses and churches have been burnt down, and many Christians killed or forced to flee from their homes. In Nigeria, there are running battles between Muslims and Christians. While Muslims are often seen as the persecutors, they are also victims. Between 1992 and 1995 the Bosnian Serb army murdered 8000 Bosnian Muslims, as part of an ethnic cleansing program that included the mass expulsion of 25 thousand Muslims, unlawful detentions, torture, assault, robbery, and rape. Young Muslim girls were allegedly gang raped by Serbian soldiers, according to newspaper reports.        

Persecution of Jews and Christians
Muslim persecution of Christians and Jews is not new. Jews and Christians in Arabia were persecuted since the time of Muhammad and the rise of Islam 5 & 11. It is alleged that the persecution of Jews and Christians in Muslim countries has intensified since 1948 (since Israel became a nation) and continues to this day. 12. According to one writer 7, the twentieth century’s first holocaust was not in Nazi Germany but in Turkish Armenia, where the government of the Ottoman (Muslim) Empire ordered a campaign of genocide against Armenian Christians. It is alleged that more than a million and a half Christians were tortured and murdered. This occurred thirty years before the Jewish holocaust, and has been forgotten by the world because it was over-shadowed by the Jewish holocaust which was greater in magnitude. 7.    

Christian Persecution of Christians
There has also been persecution of Christian by Christians. The Roman Catholic Church a semi-Christian organisation stands accused of murdering an untold number of Protestant Christians accused of heresy during the Dark Ages 8. The Roman Catholic Church is not a true Christian Church. When Christianity was imposed upon Roman citizens, they fused Christianity with existing Roman pagan religions. This makes the Roman Catholic Church a semi-Christian religion 8 & 9.     

Bible Prophesies
There are Bible prophesies concerning the Middle East conflict. It is believed that the Middle East conflict will escalate into a major third world war (Ezekiel 38-39). It is believed that the nations of the world will be drawn into this conflict. This war is referred to as Armageddon and occurs during the Tribulation and is described as a “time of great trouble” by Jesus in Matthew 24. It is believed that this war will take the form of nuclear and chemical warfare and will destroy the earth’s infrastructure and most of the world’s population. At the end of it all, a small segment of people of all nations (Jews and Gentiles) will survive to repopulate and rebuild the earth. This is when all three religions believe that Messiah will come to establish a righteous rule on earth. These events are described in the Book of Revelation and in the Book of Daniel.    

There are fundamentalists in all religions. Muslims have a common brotherhood. There are more than one billion Muslims in the world today. Only a small portion is believed to be radical and fundamentalist. But the alarming fact is that the numbers of radicals are growing each day. 12. Among the Jews there are liberals, moderates, orthodox and ultra-orthodox, fanatical and even atheist Jews. There are Christians who are moderates and fundamentalists and fall into three main groupings, Trinitarians, Oneness, and Monotheistic Christians.

Religious Schools
It is alleged that radical fundamentalists who are prone to becoming terrorists are being produced in religious schools. It is alleged that Muslim children are indoctrinated from a very early age. At Madrassa (religious schools) children are taught Arabic and to read the Koran; and as they grow older, they are allegedly bombarded with anti-Christian, anti-American and anti-Jewish propaganda, especially by foreign Islamic teachers. This allegation was made by a Muslim writer in a national newspaper and has since been refuted by Muslim clerics.

Family Feud
It has been suggested by one writer 12, that the conflict between Arabs and Jews started some 4000 years ago as a family feud, between the sons of Abraham, Ishmael (father of the Arab nations) and Isaac (father of the Jewish nation). This centuries old conflict was reignited in 1948 when Israel became a State. The conflict currently is centred mainly on the occupation of Palestine, the rights of displaced Palestinians, and the right of Israel to exist as a nation 12.  

Occupied Territories
During the Israeli war, in May 1967, Egypt, Syria and Jordan engaged in a war with Israel. Israel won this war in six days, and in the process captured East Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, the West Bank and Sinai itself. Subsequently, Israel returned the Sinai to Egyptian control but held on to the “other prizes”. And it is these occupied territories that are a major part of the problems in the Middle East today 12.  

Descendents of Abraham
The Jews and Arabs believe that they are the descendents of Abraham. Jews are the descendents of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob. Arabs are the descendents of Abraham through Ishmael, Esau, Kethura (Abraham’s concubine) and Lot (Abraham’s brother’s son). There are also other tribes that entered into the mix. Initially, it is claimed, that both nations lived side by side in what was called Israel/Judah and the Arab Peninsula (Genesis chapters 16 to 21). After the dispersion of the Jews, the Arabs moved and settled in Israel/Judah. The economy and farming was still controlled by the remaining Jews. Arabs moved into Jerusalem and surrounding areas for the purposes of employment or to be a part of the economy. It is claimed that Arabs who moved into the area would later become known as Palestinians. The area was later renamed Palestine by the Romans.

Jewish Dispersion and their return
There were three dispersions of the Jews, the Assyrian dispersion, the Babylonian dispersion and the Roman dispersion. During all three dispersions, large number of Jews fled to Arabia, and to other parts of the world 11. This does not mean that all the Jews had left Israel/Palestine. Many remained to farm the lands. It is claimed that before 1948, there was a larger Jewish population in Jerusalem than the Arabs. When Israel became a state in 1948, many of the descendents of the Jews who left during the dispersions, returned to their homeland as refugees. After the holocaust Jews no longer felt safe anywhere in the world, and this motivated many of them to return to their homeland.

Christians and Jews
Initially it was accepted that Christianity was a sect of Judaism, until Christianity became a Gentile religion 9. Jesus and his apostles were Jews. Christians and Jews share the Old Testament scriptures. Jews do not share the New Testament with Christians. They do not accept Jesus as the Messiah. Scripture for the Jews ends with the Torah (five books of Moses) and the Prophets. Modern day evangelical Christians feel a close affinity to the Jews. They see them as God’s chosen people. They feel indebted to the Jews because of Jesus and the role played by early Jewish Christians. This was not always the case. There is evidence to indicate that Jews were persecuted by the early Roman Christian Church and many were killed during the inquisition 8 & 9. In the first Christian Crusade into Jerusalem it is claimed that thirty thousand Jews and Muslims were slaughtered by Christian Crusaders. 13. Hitler’s Nazi Germany responsible for murdering six million Jews was Catholic. In the middle-ages, Protestant Christianity was also known to be hostile towards the Jews. The leading German reformist Martin Luther had some disparaging things to say about the Jews, to the extent that Hitler may have been influenced by Luther’s writings and attitude towards the Jews 9.

The Promised Land
Both Arabs and Jews lay claim to the “promised land” (Israel/Palestine). Both claim that the land was promised by God to their father Abraham. Israel claims to be a nation about 1300 BCE, two thousand years before the rise of Islam. In 1272 BCE, the Jews claim to have had dominion over the land for a thousand years with a continuous presence for the past 3,300 years. The Bible teaches that Isaac was the promised son whom Abraham wanted to sacrifice before he was stopped by an angel. Muslims believe otherwise. A thousand years later, Muhammad received a different revelation. Allah showed him that Ishmael was the promised son, and that Abraham took Ishmael (not Isaac) up the mountain to sacrifice him when he was stopped by an Angel. The Bible teaches that Abraham gave the Promised Land to Isaac and sent his other sons to the East. Muslims believe otherwise. They believe that Abraham took Ishmael, Isaac and his other sons to Mecca where he raised them together. There are many contradictions between the Bible and the Koran, giving rise to religious conflicts between Judaism, Christianity and Islam.    

Muhammad’s Hatred for the Jews
While the feud between Arabs and Jews may have started with Isaac and Ishmael (as suggested by one writer), the hatred for Jews allegedly started with Muhammad 12. Muhammad’s hatred for Jews was weaved into the Koran. Hatred for Jews is encouraged and sanctioned in the Koran. There are many verses in the Koran that speaks negatively about Jews. Muhammad allegedly hated Jews because they refused to accept him as a prophet. Jews made fun of him and regarded him as a madman 5. This must have irritated Muhammad immensely. Muhammad declared war on the Jews in Arabia. His army attacked Jewish tribes, killed the Jewish men, and sold Jewish women and children into slavery.

Footnotes and Sources
  1. See Internet sources Doctrine of the Serpent Seed.
  2. See Internet sources on Messianic Jews and Christian Jews.
  3. See Internet sources on the Islam/Christian Debate
4.    Ahmed Deedat, 1994. The Choice Christianity or Islam Durban: IPCI
  1. Rodinson, Maxime. 1971. Muhammad. London: Penguin
  2. Anderson, Norman. 1990. Islam in the Modern World. England: Apollos. 
  3. Dawson, John. 1994. Healing America’s Wounds. USA: Regal
  4. Chadwick, H.J. 2001. Foxes Book of Martyrs. Gainsville, USA: Bridge-Logos
  5. Dowley, Briggs, Linder and Wright. 1977. The History of Christianity. SA. Struik.
  6. See internet source on the Doctrine of the Trinity, the Oneness and Unitarian Movements 
  7.  Guilliume, M. 1982. Islam. London: Penguin.
  8. Lindsey, Hal. 2002. The Everlasting Hatred: The Roots of Jihad. USA: Oracle House.  
  9. Armstrong, Karen. The Bible. New York: Grove Press.  

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