In the late 80’s through the late 90’s, my two partners and I owned a chain of Comic Book Stores in the suburbs of Detroit, MI. Our second shop was in a walk down below street level space, with a used book shop on the street above it.
There was a mini-series on TV at the time called The Stand, which was based on a book by Stephen King. I saw the first installment, and it intrigued me. It was a sort of pseudo end of the world story with thinly veiled religious overtones. I was something of a snob in those days who would never stoop to reading an author as popular as King, how could someone so popular be any good? Yet, the TV show fascinated me enough to inspire what I considered at the time, a rare bit of literary slumming.
I went upstairs to procure a copy of The Stand from the used book shop above, only to find that I was not the only one with an idea to get acquainted with Mr. King’s novel. It seems that the TV show sparked a run on the book and they were out of it. I remember thinking, “Probably for the best.”
I thanked the bookseller for her time and turned to leave, I happened to glance down. And there, on an otherwise empty shelf, lay a little book sitting at an odd angle. The book was titled, The Late Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsey. I had seen the book before; my father had it when I was a boy. I picked it up and read the description on the back; it too was a book about the end of the world. It also had the virtue of being priced at 25 cents, so even if it sucked-Who cared? I bought it.
I took it back to my shop. The book was a scant 120 pages or so long, as it was an exceedingly slow day in the shop, I read it that afternoon. This book, to that point in my life, had made in those short 120 pages, the most logical argument for Christianity and the reality of just who Jesus Christ was that I had ever come across.
Know this Wael*, I was as anti-Jesus as you could get back then. No one railed against Christ, Christianity and the Holy Bible more vehemently than I. (I was also incidentally, a staunch liberal Democrat that thought Reagan was the embodiment of evil, who had finally won a presidential election in voting for Bill Clinton). With the exception of the Christian Black community in America, hating Jesus and voting democrat goes hand in hand for most liberals. And I was most liberals in those days.
The Late Great Planet Earth illustrated very well the fact that literally thousands of Old Testament prophecies have been fulfilled and are a part of a historical record that no seriously received historian disputes. Indeed, the Holy Bible has been the trusted companion of the most successful archeologists in the world, whether they were believers or not, because it has proven time and time again to be reliable when locating historical sites.
None of these prophecies are more stunning than the portraits they paint of the coming Messiah. There are hundreds of Old Testament prophecies that deal specifically with the Messiahs first advent, that were 100 percent fulfilled in the most minute detail in the person of Jesus Christ. Amongst these prophecies were things that could not possibly be faked by someone trying to look like the Messiah. You can’t control, the circumstances of your birth for example, nor can you control the actions of those you have no contact with after death. Yet, all that was foretold by several prophets of God down throughout history was fulfilled in Christ.
If you believe in the concept of sin, which only a blind fool would deny exists, as illustrated in an earlier post. Who but God can eliminate sin? Let us examine this idea as God Himself points out, let us look at Abraham:
And it came to pass after these things that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. 2 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. Genesis 22:1,2
And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together. And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me. And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.v 6-13
Abraham had faith; he knew that God had promised him that through Isaac he would be the father of a great nation. So, since God is not a man that He should lie, Abraham had faith that even if he slew his son, God would restore him. I hate to think what the fate of man would have been if Abraham had refused and failed the test.
Abraham tells his son that God would provide a lamb for a burnt offering, and He did. It was not the goat in the thicket; a goat is not a lamb. It was Abraham’s faith in that coming future Lamb that saved him. This was a fore shadowing of the perfect sacrifice offered by God on our behalf. As Abraham was willing, God did. Jesus Christ is the perfect Lamb!
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. John 3:14-19
Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form or comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bares the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. Isaiah 53
Who but those that are blinded by their own iniquity refuse to see that this can be no other than the Lord Jesus Christ? The Holy Ghost gave these Scriptures to me, for you. As I said there are hundreds of others, seek them out.
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Hebrews 11:6
Logically, if all the hundreds of prophecies that foretold the coming of Christ the first time were fulfilled, would not the prophecies foretelling His return likewise be true?
I didn’t know, but I was going to find out. My eternal soul depended on knowing. I knew what the Qur’an said about the “Book”, but, as I began to research Jesus Christ in the Qur’an, in the Holy Bible and in secular histories as well. It became all too apparent that the extra Biblical criticisms the more I dug, became less and less cogent. The critical material was not evidentially based but rather driven by the conviction of simply not wanting to believe, (This is the case I believe with Islamic scholars) or just plain ignorance of demonstrable historical fact.
I was married and a new father responsible for a family. A father whether Muslim or Christian is responsible for leading his family in truth. I had been to Mosques throughout my life, Now I went to church.
“faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17
The sermons I heard in church told of a different God than the one I heard of and knew from the Qur’an and the Mosques. These sermons spoke of a God who not only said that He was merciful, he demonstrated it. A God of a truly forgiving nature, a just God who was unchanging, a God that did not give confusing abrogating revelations. A Holy God, that did not allow in heaven, what he does not allow on earth for his believers. A God who asked me to give myself to Him so that He could love me forever and see to my needs. A God who is so perfect in his love that he admonished me to pray for my enemies so that they too could know him and cease to be my enemy. The pastor preached of a God who does not just tell me I am filthy, but provided the means to make me clean. A god who loved me long before I loved Him. A God worthy of my worship and devotion. A God that wants you to know Him as well Wael!
After hearing of this God, it was an easy decision. After I believed and prayed the prayer of salvation it was as if scales fell from my eyes and I was seeing the world for the very first time. When you become a born again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit takes residence inside of you, you really begin to feel true Godly love. You can see it in those who share your belief when they look at you and pray with you.
The prayer experience is different too. It is not a ritual with the same prayers repeated over and over, how do you cultivate a relationship like that? The God of the Holy Bible says:
But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. Matthew 6:7, 8
The God of the Holy Bible knows us through our hearts and it is through prayer that the relationship grows stronger and stronger. We are told in scripture to pray without ceasing. How well could you get to know a friend if all he did was say the same thing to you every time you saw him.
The God of the Holy Bible tells us:
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. Seeing then that we have a great high priest that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God; let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:12-16
We need no ritual ablutions, or carpets, or postures, or compass directions, or words. He wants us to pray from our hearts and to worship Him from our hearts.
But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. John 4:23, 24
It is a testament to the workings of God in our lives, that he used a pseudo depiction of the end of the world to lead me to the real story of the end of the world. Which then lead me to the One who could save me from that end. I have still never read The Stand or any other of Kings books.
Why did I leave Islam? I left Islam, because Allah does not offer through Islam an answer, for the covering of my sins, outside of my own power, of which I have none, apart from God. Sin which cast Adam out of the garden and put man at odds with God. Muhammad said Allah may save me, The Lord Jesus Christ says that He has saved me!
Digital Publius / eCato
Name: Hassan Nurullah
City: Detroit, Michigan
Country: United States
*This is a conversation with a Muslim named Wael on a website called the Black Church Page, in his last post; Wael asked me to tell him how I came to be a Christian after having been born and raised a Muslim? Many of the people who read my blog Digital Publius, have asked me the same question. I have always threatened to write it out. I realized that in my witness to Wael, I had done just that in a sort of Cliffs Notes like fashion. I figured why not post it on DP as well.
Lets begin with Wael’s last question:
“Why? aren’t we still getting information from those who died? from their knwoeldge that they left behind?
Can you share with me how did you come to Christianity? Thanks
Yes, just as one could say that Shakespeare yet lives through his writing, metaphorically the writers of the Holy Bible and the words of Muhammad live through their works. But, the difference is, that in fact Jesus Christ is literally alive. Not only is he alive, He is the Living Word of God:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. John 1:1-4
Yet, the thing that the Muslim and the Jew have in common is that they reject the light of Christ.
And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. v 5-14
Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of all that was promised by God in the Old Testament and the law.
But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the mediator of the New Testament that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. Hebrews 9:11-15
As to how I became a believer in the perfect will of God for mankind-Eternal life for those who accept the free gift of grace given to us through the life, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a story you may find interesting. Testimony begins at top…..