Isaac or Ishmael
By Isam Bajaly
Koran calls Ishmael a messenger and a prophet.
Jews, Christians and Moslems follow the steps of Abraham as a father of faith.
Abraham was the first human being who was so much in love of God that he was
called “the friend of God” (James 2:23). He had such faith and trust in God that
he became the first person with whom God make an everlasting covenant; as it is
written, “I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after
thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee”
Sarah also received the blessing and the promise along with her husband; as it is written, “And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her [Isaac]: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her” (Genesis 17:16).
Because Sarah was old and had no children, “Abraham said to God, shall a child be born unto him that is a hundred years old? And shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael [the son of the slave Hagar] might live before thee! And God said, "Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shall call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him” (Genesis 17:18,19)
Jews and Christians believe according to the scriptures that the promise was given to Isaac who became the father of the Israelites, father of Moses who received the Torah, father of king David who ruled in righteousness upon God’s people and who also received the promise that from his descendents would come the king who would rule the world for ever and ever (Psalm 89:29) As it is written concerning Jesus Christ, “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David, and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:32).
The Koran believes that Ishmael received the promise and the blessings, yet the Bible believes that Isaac was the one who received it. Some people would say, “Well, it doesn't matter who received it as long the person is the child of Abraham and believes in God.” But according to the Bible this is very important, and one of the foundational beliefs of the Bible is:
For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid [Ishmael], the other by a freewoman [Isaac]. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh [Ishmael]; but he of the freewoman was by promise [Isaac]. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which genders to bondage, which is Hagar [Ishmael-Mohammed], for this Hagar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answers to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all [Isaac-Christ]… Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise [Bible-Christianity]. But as then he that was born after the flesh [Koran-Islam] persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. (Galatians 4:22-29)
Christians and Moslems do not simply have two different fathers (Isaac and Ishmael) and two different books (Bible-Koran), but they have two completely different spirits: one brings freedom, the other brings bondage; one leads to life, the other leads to death.
In the Bible we see that God wants us to make the choice (freedom). “I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19). But according to the Koran, Allah chooses the way for us (bondage). “This day I have perfected your religion for you and completed my favour unto you, and have chosen for you as your religion Islam” (Sure 5:3).
Christianity has spread because Christ died to His own desires and in the end gave His life for us. Islam, on the other hand, has spread because Mohammed lived for his own desires and killed everyone who tried to stand in his way. We can see this very clearly in our generation, where countries are opening the door for the gospel of Jesus Christ. With the establishment of democracies, nations have the freedom to choose life or death, Bible or Koran, because God set before us life and death, blessing and curse (Deuteronomy 30:19). And we have to make our own choice, even if it is the wrong choice; this is freedom. But in every nation where the law of Islam rules or even when most of the nation's people are Moslems, we see that there is no democracy, no human rights, no freedom to choose their own religion, because they say God has “perfected their religion for them, and ha[s] chosen for them their religion Islam” (Sure 5:3). A choice was made for them before they were born; this is slavery.
Christianity has spread because the true followers of Jesus Christ have left their nations, families and friends, and have given their life just to tell someone about the love of God which has been revealed through Jesus Christ, following the principles of their master by denying their own desires and own lives.
Islam has spread because the true followers of Mohammed have taken possession of other nations, families and properties by taking lives, “fight[ing] those who believe not in Allah and… not forbid[ding] what God and His Messenger have forbidden, such men as practice not the religion of truth, being of those who have been given the Book ¥ until they pay the tribute out of hand and have been humbled” (Repentance, 9:25), following their master's principles which he received from Allah “O Prophet (Muhammad) Urge the believers to fight” (Sure 8:65) .
One day we all of us will stand before the seat of judgment. As it is written in, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). I understand that it is difficult for those who are living under the slavery of Islam to reject the faith of their fathers in choosing Christ, but it is better to die for choosing the truth than blinding my eyes even though I can see, but I still believe that those who are living in the western society will receive a greater judgment for having had the freedom to live for the truth and choosing their own desires instead. Jesus said, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26).
It is better for me to live according to this law, “For whether I live, I live unto the Lord; and whether I die, I die unto the Lord: whether I live therefore, or die, I belong to the Lord” (Romans 14:8); “for to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).
I am sad when I think about the political situation of my Holy Land were the sons of Isaac and Ismael according to the flesh are still in total disagreement, but that’s the way it was and it will remain the same. This is the curse of Ishmael as it is written “He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone's hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers. (Genesis 16:12).
Koran “I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers, smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them” (Sure 8:12)
Bible “Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman” (Galatians 4:30)
Dear reader, I hope I have made my words clear in this article, that you have to make the choice for yourselves. Even though I am an Arab, the son of Ishmael according to the flesh, I am thankful for Christ who by his death has given me a new nature and new spirit. He gave this gift to every man; as it is written, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus, and if ye be Christ, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 4:28,29).
By receiving Christ as your own personal Saviour you will be set free from sins, sickness, demons and death. God our father had mercy upon Isaac but “Spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all” (Romans 8:32) “that through (His) death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage (Hebrew 2:14).
We all have to make our own choice to believe the Bible or the Koran, to choose between freedom or slavery, to receive Jesus as Lord and Saviour, or Mohammed as a prophet.