Before I get into this, I'd like to ask a favor of you. Please keep in mind that the following, The Uniter - Part 1, that I sent with my declaration of war (http://www.jehovahs-witness.net/jw/friends/216287/1/Declaring-War) was not written for the edification of the Society. I figure they are beyond the pale, and such a thing would be a waste of time.
I won't recount all that led up to it, as it is quite a story going back at least 50 years. Rather, I'll limit it to two things:
1. Back when I was 19 years old (I'm 71 now), I spent my lunch hours in reading the Bible so that I could say that I had read the whole thing. I did, but during that reading I stumbled across a scripture that left me stunned. It is Zechariah 13:7, "O sword, awake against my shepherd, . . . and let those of the flock be scattered;" I know that this has been applied to the way Jesus' disciples scattered from him in his final hours, but I didn't (then or now) feel that those words were limited to that day, if for no other reason that so much of the context did NOT apply to Jesus' day.
I immediately wondered why and how this would take place, and was picturing the governments wiping out the Society's headquarters, etc. I assumed from the words in previous verses that it was speaking primarily of the Last Days, and it seemed to me that Satan would throw his very worst at us at that time. Governmental action, bad as it could be, didn't seem severe enough, so I kept puzzling over what could be the worst way possible that such a thing could happen.
After some years I finally figured out what the worst trial could be (for me anyway). It would be if the shepherd class itself turned apostate. Therefore, while I hoped that never happened, I was aware of the possibility and on guard against it. This made the ensuing events much, much easier. Their constant bombardment of trying to impress us with their authority went in one ear and out the other, and such things like the 1975 doctrine were carefully checked out and discarded right from the get go. That brings me to the second thing.
2. As mentioned before, I have a large family that I dearly love, and almost all of them are still in. I could see the "handwriting on the wall" and as the husband and provider for that family, and knowing of the spiritual and emotional agony such a thing would cause them, I was preoccupied with how to provide help for them when the time came. I was already working on that when they disfellowshipped me. I count that as the biggest favor they could have ever given me, because I realize now that I couldn't have advanced any further spiritually while still in.
Back in http://www.jehovahs-witness.net/jw/friends/216357/1/Mass-defection-possible, leavingwt asked the question the Apostle Peter asked Jesus: "Whom do we go away to?" This is what nagged at me because I knew that I could not help my family unless I knew an answer, and I devoted an untold amount of time and effort into answering it. THIS, then is the motivation behind my writing The Uniter - Part 1, and a great deal more.
But while it was originally researched for the eventual use of my family, I see no reason why I couldn't submit it to you too. You will note right at the beginning that I state that this is merely offered, and I hope you will recognize that it is a free gift to be accepted (in whole or part) or rejected at will. Indeed, the biggest favor you could do me is to point out any errors in fact or logic that you can find.
What I really hope, though, is that those who want to leave but are afraid will find some encouragement and understanding from my efforts, and that leaving the Society DOES NOT necessarily mean that you have to leave Jehovah too. In my case, I now feel far closer to him than I ever did while in.
It's funny how it came to be in written form. Much of it was formulated in my mind and I wanted to put it down in writing very badly, but it seemed like such a monumental project that I was scared to start. It also seemed like I was walking on sacred ground. Could I do it? But then my friend in the Armed Services told me about what they were facing in the terrorist prison in Guantanamo, and it just started coming.
It's lengthy, for which I apologize, but this is one of the biggest subjects in the universe, and is not easily expressed.
The following report is presently in the hands of some of the top military minds in the United States. It was accepted well. It was originally formulated due to the difficulties and controversy raised by the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and the terrorist prisoners it holds.
However, it was really written with the common man and woman in mind, worldwide, and belongs to them. It contains thought that all human beings have a right to know and consider, but it is not submitted with the implication that one must accept it. It is merely offered, and each individual will need to judge for himself or herself as to its value.
It applies equally to Jews, Christians, and Muslims, and should be of great interest to all other peoples too, regardless of race, color, or any other distinction.
In an effort to improve the clarity, it is divided into four subheadings:
- The Current Critical Situation
- The Heavenly Context
- The Origins of the Jewish/Muslim Controversy
- The Factors that We Humans are Missing
That said, this is dedicated with deep respect to all who find themselves, through no fault of their own, one of those unique creatures known as a human being.
* * * * *
Fighting the Wrong Enemy
The Current Critical Situation
Most of the world's problems stem from the differences between the value systems that humanity traditionally follow. Let's consider three of the prime ones here: the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim faiths, all of which have thousands of years of tradition and a history of fighting and surviving everything that has been thrown at them. They are not going to change just because we want them to, or even if survival depends on it.
And that is the problem. It does. It's only a matter of time before all parties on all sides are equipped with nuclear weapons. All it will take is one fool in the mix and millions of innocent people will die. The thing guaranteeing that this will come to pass is our ability to communicate our lifestyles, values, and habits worldwide in seconds. Due to this, religious traditions of all kinds are under withering fire and the effects are profound. They will either have to fight or die. They won't change without a type of motivation that they haven't faced before, one that goes to the very roots of their faith. This change cannot be forced.
Therefore, we have two choices: either dig in to the problem itself - which means dealing with the doctrinal aspects of these religions with something other than scorn and ridicule - or stick our heads down between our legs and kiss our butts goodbye. That goes for all of us, on all sides. Avoiding it isn't an option and in fact, will merely make it come quicker.
Therefore, the following is one avenue that could be pursued towards that goal of getting all three religions to want to change.
It should be mentioned here that "The Uniter - Part 1" is only one in a series of reports. It is the "core" around which the others revolve and it deals with the root causes behind world conditions today. These other reports will be submitted in due time.
* * * * *
No human on any side has the sort of authority that all three of these religions will respect. In fact, let's take it one step further. No one on any side has the insight to understand what is happening. We are all like butterflies in a hurricane, caught in the midst of chaos, dying in the violence, but not having the slightest idea as to why or what is happening.
If that butterfly could fly into space 200 miles above the hurricane, it could see that there is indeed an order and logic behind it, but it is too small and weak to get that high.
Likewise, we need to stop looking at the world situation with the eyes of men, but approach it from a higher plane in order to get the larger picture. The Bible's Ephesians 6:12 suggests something that is especially interesting in this context: ". . . because we have a wrestling, not against blood and flesh . . . but against wicked spirit forces in the heavenly places."
So let's see if we can coax this little butterfly of ours to go higher, above the fray, and on out into outer space. Perhaps that vantage point will bring things into view that clarifies world conditions now. As these religions feel that there is no higher plane than that of the God of Abraham himself - whom all these religions respect - let's try putting ourselves in his shoes.
The Heavenly Context
For some time now an effort has been made to dig into The Question of Evil, which is one of the prime areas of human philosophy, and without which atheism, agnosticism, and communism couldn't exist. Some progress has been made. A partial outline exists, and it has power if for no other reason that it freaks out a lot of people who read it. Others are fascinated and want to know more.
However, its real power comes when it is used as a framework or backdrop for the history of the human race. Suddenly everything becomes clear and makes sense. It could be compared to the missing factor in a mathematical equation. No matter how long or hard one tries to solve that equation, all answers come up as nonsense, but adding the missing factor makes everything straighten out and become logical.
So let's attempt to demonstrate this by applying it to the Christian/Jewish/Muslim impasse. If we succeed, you should be able to see what is meant by our having a common enemy who deliberately keeps us at each other's throats and why, as well as how using it as a historical framework lends logic to mankind's history.
The Biblical book of Genesis is laughed at as being myth and legend and it's only fair that the questions the critics raise be examined. Two of the things ridiculed are the existence of an all-powerful God, and the existence of an opposer. Those are partially dealt with in The Outline. For brevity's sake let's quote only the part of it dealing with Satan's challenge to God. We can come back to these other matters at another time.
So --- let's begin by reviewing the Biblical record in Genesis in order to find out why Satan does what he does.
IV - What Kind of Plot Could Satan Have Concocted To Make Him Think He Could Succeed?
Section 1: Qualities we should expect to find in such a plot.
A. As we would be dealing with superior intelligences, any such plot would be expected to have a considerable amount of sophistication.
B. For Satan to have any hope of his plot being successful, safeguards to prevent retaliation would need to be in place before a challenge is given, or better yet, they should be an integral part of the challenge. Otherwise the plot could be quashed immediately. Also, provisions would need to be included to maintain its success over the long term.
C. As about the only such challenge to God that is known to man is the one recorded in Genesis, let's see if any such provisions are in it.
Section 2: The actual challenge and what it did NOT include.
- The actual words as handed down to us in Genesis as spoken to Eve: "You positively will not die. For God knows that in the very day of your eating from it your eyes are bound to be opened and you are bound to be like God, knowing good and bad." (Genesis 3:4, 5)
- No challenge to the God of Abraham's power was included.
Section 3: What was implied but not said.
- That the God of Abraham was a liar.
- That he was selfish and stingy with his largess.
- That due to this imperfection, he was not what he said he was and therefore unworthy of their loyalty and worship.
- That they had a right to more than they were given.
- That they should not be satisfied with the God of Abraham's headship or laws.
- That there was a better way and that he (Satan) would be their benefactor and show it to them.
Section 4: Benefits Satan would hope to reap by using such a strategy:
- This would place the God of Abraham in a "Catch 22", for . . .
1. As Adam and Eve obviously erred, that would apparently indicate design flaws - which in turn would indicate that the God of Abraham is not perfect.
2. As this casts a shadow on his reputation - not his power - any exercise of that power would merely re-enforce Satan's contention, as it wouldn't answer the question.
3. This action would appear to cast Satan in the role of a truth teller who is simply stating the obvious.
4. His actions in deceiving Adam and Eve would be passed off as merely an exposing of the flaw.
- Resolving it would be apparently impossible, for. . .
1. It's only through these same humans (or their offspring) that any satisfactory answer could be given and the case resolved.
2. Due to their error, they would be estranged from the God of Abraham and would be susceptible to anything Satan inflicted upon them.
3. Now the only means possible to resolve it are under Satan's control. He would sabotage any solution, as it would expose his duplicity and mean his death as a traitor.
- He now has his own playground where he can do whatever he wants.
- According to John 14:30 and 1 John 5:19 (among others), this actually happened.
Section 5: Note that timing is critical here:
- For such a plot to succeed, ALL human beings had to be included. Otherwise those not deceived would be free from Satan's control and could still associate freely with the God of Abraham (or his manifestation, however it was done) - and they would then be able to provide an answer.
- It would be easy to do this at the beginning when there were only two people on the earth, Adam and Eve. Doing it later would be much more complicated.
Section 6: One way a perfect individual could formulate such a plot.
- He was a free moral agent.
- Note James 1:13 - 15. "When under trial, let no one say: 'I am being tried by God.' For with evil things God cannot be tried nor does he himself try anyone. But each one is tried by being drawn out and enticed by his own desire. Then the desire, when it has become fertile, gives birth to sin; in turn, sin, when it has been accomplished, brings forth death." Note that it's only when desire is acted upon that it becomes sin. Ergo: a perfect individual can have an improper desire, yet still maintain his perfection by refusing to act upon it.
- Many good people enjoy trying to solve the "impossible", such as finding a security weakness in the gold repository at Fort Knox, and the angel who eventually became Satan may very well have been examining the Creator's handiwork in much the same manner.
- If he found an apparent weakness, he would find it fascinating and look into it further, eventually convincing himself that it was genuine.
- The usual reactions in an individual if he does solve an "impossible problem":
1. A lowering of respect for the designer
2. A big boost in one's ego.
3. A lot of daydreaming about what it would be like to take advantage of the situation.
- Many would give in to temptation if they could be assured of complete success and freedom from punishment.
This is just one process by which a perfect angel could transform himself into Satan.
Sum up: Satan issued a challenge that can only be answered properly in one manner. It has to come from us human beings. Anything else - such as the God of Abraham exercising his power - would reinforce Satan's original contention and give the appearance of an injustice being done. As Satan controls this world and our social and political environment, that has prevented us from formulating an answer as well as gathering the elements of one - or even realizing that there was a question to answer in the first place.
Therefore, as he controls the means to give that answer, he appears to be home free. He has apparently outsmarted God, for he now has all he wanted including his own kingdom - the earth - plus he has forestalled any retaliation.
(End of this section of the outline.)
How Satan's Slander of the God of Abraham Affects Us
Something is left out of the above. Not only are we humans isolated from the God of Abraham, but He is being constantly vilified in our eyes. If we again look at it from His standpoint, a fairly accurate comparison could be gained by recalling some of the news articles about a psychiatrist convincing a young woman that she is suffering from "repressed memory syndrome", telling her that her parents had used her in demonic rituals as a small child, and that she had blocked out the memories. Whether the claim is true or not, the effects will estrange the child from her parents and there is no way for them to prove their innocence.
To understand just how bad this is, ask yourself something: Say you are the parent and your daughter comes to you saying that she would forgive you for using her in such a horrible way, if you will just apologize for what you did. Would you apologize in order to regain her company, even though you are innocent?
No? Now you are beginning to understand why the God of Abraham wouldn't shrug it off either. His good name has been slandered in the eyes of the entire universe. This is how Satan rewarded the God of Abraham's trust in appointing him as the earth's caretaker and our "babysitter". He has been keeping us as his hostages in order to ensure the success of his plot.
And this raises a question. The almost universal assumption among us is that we are estranged from God due to his animosity towards us for being sinners. Just as the example above illustrates, there is a much more likely explanation. We have estranged ourselves (withdrawn in fear and revulsion) from our Creator due to the lies and slander we've been force fed down over the millennia, in much the same way as the daughter withdrew from her parents. (Please note in this context that our Creator did not withdraw from Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. They withdrew from Him. - See Genesis 3:8-10)
Today, instead of serving Him because we love him, we serve because we fear him - which is not the relationship any worthy parent would wish to have with their children - and the reason we remain in an estranged condition. Keep this point in mind as we continue.
Fixing the Problem
So again, let's look at it from the God of Abraham's standpoint. How would you go about fixing this situation without killing your children who are being held hostage? All you need is for those children to realize the truth and address this issue Satan raised. Nothing else on their part is needed for reconciliation.
But the kidnapper, Satan, can ill afford that. It would completely unravel his plot and open the door wide for justice. Therefore he HAS to do anything and everything to prevent it. Some of the ways he has used:
- Utilizing religious leaders who are too ignorant or blinded by their own ambitions and appetites to know what they are talking about, to spread and perpetuate false teachings that blacken our Creator's reputation in the eyes of human beings, thereby repelling them and maintaining their estrangement.
- Installing political leaders who strengthen the ill effects of the religious leaders and join in with them in shameful conduct that glorify themselves, and keeps the common citizens distracted.
- Creating wars and constant strife that keeps us too busy to even inquire into these things.
- Inflicting poverty and sickness upon us so that we have neither the time nor energy to think about our Creator. (The political and religious leaders help considerably towards this end.)
- Shortening our lives to such an extent that we don't have the time to learn the things we need to know in order to delve into these deeper questions before we die.
It sounds like a perfect plot, doesn't it? Put in human terms, it would be like we humans would need to educate a colony of termites to the point where they could understand the human world and clear our name of slander.
So, if we were in the God of Abraham's shoes, what would we do? Our very first step would needto be the educating of our captive children with accurate knowledge about what our personality and values really are. Only then could they begin to see how duped they had been and start thinking of formulating an answer.
But how, in view of the above? We can't force feed them that knowledge and still maintain our principles. Also, mere words will be inadequate, as Satan has proclaimed us as liars. They would need to observe our way of doing things over a period of time and see with their own eyes that we are not liars.
Abraham Opens the Door
It was into this situation that Abraham was born. By that time almost nothing was left of the knowledge of this God he eventually came to worship, except some ancient stories that were handed down from father to son about a paradise that was lost and a god that they couldn't approach due to their original ancestor's trespass. His qualities, strengths, desires as to how they should conduct their lives - all of that was lost or had never been communicated in the first place.
But Abraham was curious about this ancient god and wanted to learn more. He was also repelled by the things he saw going on around him and made his an active search. Just as a human father would wish to respond to the earnest efforts of an estranged daughter, so the Creator responded to Abraham's desire, and a relationship grew to the point that Abraham came to love this new found personality.
So it was in this manner that contact was again made, and it was on the terms that a good father would wish - love, appreciation, and respect. But, far more was needed. He also needed to communicate his strength and instructions on how to live in a way that would be beneficial to all, as well as be pleasing to Him. That would take far more than oral instruction. A vehicle was needed to demonstrate these things in a way that would be remembered down through the generations. What he would need is a nation who proclaimed themselves to be his and that he could deal with openly. This was arranged, for it is through his dealings with the Nation of Israel that we came to know about His values and laws.
Note we use the phrase "proclaimed themselves". No one appreciates others forcing their company upon them, not even their parents. Good parents recognize that, and the God of Abraham is no exception. In the history of the Nation of Israel, there were many times that the majority of the population didn't appreciate his company and turned elsewhere. Therefore, the God of Abraham would take them at their word and back off, and they suffered because of it. Only when they asked him back would he return.
In this way He lived up to his own code, and it was in this spirit that he educated the people of his nation as to his qualities and purposes.
Educating the Nation
The Israelites were in a hopeless situation as slaves in Egypt and were begging Him for help. Furthermore the surrounding nations were laughing at this "puny God of Abraham", this god that "couldn't even save his own people" as they proclaimed in their taunts.
With this backdrop then, examine these words that Moses was instructed to say to Pharaoh: "For by now I could have thrust my hand out that I might strike you and your people with pestilence and that you might be effaced from the earth. But, in fact, for this cause I have kept you in existence, for the sake of showing you my power and in order to have my name declared in all the earth." (Exodus 9:15, 16) Those words emphasize that his desire was for his nation (not to mention the whole world) to know about him.
Did the Ten Plagues succeed in that goal? You bet! After that, the Egyptians were afraid NOT to worship the God of Abraham and assigned him the name "Amen". After a period of centuries his worship was gradually combined with the worship of the sun god Ra, and it became Amen-Ra. Look up the god "Amen" in the Egyptian pantheon of gods and you can see the huge effect this had. (The Egyptian Book of the Dead by E. A. Wallis Budge - Dover 1967, pages cxxvi - cxxxii. Also "Amun" in the Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amun)
Next, after crossing the Red Sea and journeying into the wilderness to Mt. Sinai, the law covenant was given to them, headed up by the Ten Commandments. This laid the foundation for that education. Now the Israelites had to see for themselves that it was truth. They did, for every time they deviated from it, they suffered ill effects.
So it was that now they had a body of law reflecting the God of Abraham's personality and policies. That was good, but still incomplete. They still had to learn that it wasn't blind obedience to cut and dried rules that was desired, like a robot responding to the programming that runs it. He had given them hearts and minds to be used in administering these rules, using the love, mercy, and consideration that is manifested in his own personality and that should be reflected in his creations. It was a major portion of Jesus Christ's mission to impart this further refinement.
Another major portion was demonstrating what the God of Abraham's will - and therefore His personality is. The Sermon on the Mount presents the core of it and the way people have responded to it down over the ages clearly illustrates how they long for His ways. Why do His laws need to be tempered with love, mercy, and understanding? Because we can't reflect His qualities without including the heart. Even as the adage says, "You cannot legislate morality." It has to come from the heart and be entirely voluntary, for otherwise it is useless.
And Satan Is Still Fighting It
So now the necessary information is available. We humans would need to assimilate and process it. However, all through this process Satan would be doing everything he could to throw a monkey wrench in the works. Every obstacle imaginable was thrown in the way including all the things mentioned above and more.
For instance, he would still be screeching the same accusations he has all along. If the people prospered due to their following of the Creator's instructions, Satan would say, as he did in Job's case, "Is it for nothing that Job has feared God? Have not you yourself put up a hedge about him and about his house and about everything that he has all around? The work of his hands you have blessed, and his livestock itself has spread abroad in the earth. But, for a change, thrust out your hand please, and touch everything he has and see whether he will not curse you to your very face." (Job 1:9-11)
Then again, if the people were unfaithful and suffered because of it, Satan could say, "Well of course they are suffering. You in your vindictiveness are making sure of that." He has to do this, for it is critical to Satan's continued existence to maintain this doubt.
So it was that we, like Job, were given into Satan's hand for him to prove his point. We now call that period The Dark Ages, a time when misery, hopelessness, and despair reigned supreme. It was now that it became crystal clear that Satan had a tiger by the tail. He had not fully reckoned with human instinct.
Let's use one man as an illustration. Genghis Khan was not a member of the God of Abraham's nation. In fact, he had never heard of that God. Therefore, Satan's arguments above could not be used when considering the motives this man had, for he had no relationship with the God of Abraham.
He and his people were kept ignorant, fragmented, and totally helpless in the arrangement that Satan had engineered to keep his cover. According to Satan's argument, he should like it like that. That was not the case.
Genghis Khan hated it so much that he conquered most of Asia and much of Europe in order to change it. He made it a point to gather knowledge from all the sources he could find and disseminated it everywhere. The code of laws that he formulated is astonishingly similar to the Ten Commandments - in spite of the fact that he had never heard of them. He didn't care about race, nationality, language, color, or religion, as long as they were willing to abide by his code of laws. And, strangely enough, this was apparently not done for ego, for he commissioned no monuments or statues and left explicit instructions that he be buried in a secret place that no one could find.
It was said that a women dressed in all her finery could walk the 5,000 miles west to east that his empire covered and never worry about being harmed. That is how much he hated the system Satan had set up.
His life illustrates the point in this way: Every time Satan arranges things where human beings are restricted in their ability to think, reason, and determine their own destiny, their instinct for freedom kicks in, making his job all the harder. So he's between a rock and a hard place. He has to suppress them to prevent them from becoming aware of how badly they have been duped. On the other hand, it is that very oppression that triggers the thing he fears most - human beings gaining more knowledge.
Furthermore, how does he spin this situation with Genghis Kahn from the obvious conclusion that human beings, regardless of whether they know the God of Abraham or not - love His ways? What argument does he use to prevent the rest of Creation from concluding that the God of Abraham was right all along - and that he, Satan, is dead wrong, the author of all the chaos on earth, and a traitor worthy of death?
This brings us down to today, where we live in a world where knowledge has exploded and flows like water. What defense does he have left? Sure he still has his old standbys as were mentioned above - but they are swiftly losing their effectiveness. Instead, all we have to do is look around to realize just how desperate he is, for all he has left is distraction. Everything on earth today is designed to distract us from any consideration of our Creator, from Satan's old standbys of war and sickness, to our excessive fascination with sports, to the world of entertainment and its myriad attractions, to the bathing of society in sexual fantasy, to video games and the Internet - and much, much more. (No, not all of these are evil. They simply do a marvelous job of distracting us by focusing our attention on activities that are immaterial in the long run, and that prevent our thinking about the deeper things of life.)
No wonder he's panicking and trying to destroy everything. Like Sadaam Hussein when he set all those oil wells on fire, if he can't rule, he'll destroy the world. As a bare minimum, he has to reduce civilization back to the "stone age" where he can again control everything we do.
And there you have a thumbnail sketch of the history of the human race as it could appear from a heavenly standpoint.
The Origins of the Jewish/Muslim Controversy
In this context then, let's back up and take a closer look at the Jewish/Muslim impasse. To do that, we have to go back to Abraham, because that's where it started.
Abraham had two sons. As his wife Sarah was barren, she had Abraham impregnate Hagar, her handmaiden (slave girl) so that she might have a child by proxy. His name was Ishmael. Later on Sarah herself became pregnant in spite of her advanced age and gave birth to Isaac.
It was now that she became concerned about Ishmael supplanting her own son as heir and insisted that Abraham send Hagar and Ishmael away. This he was reluctant to do. Surprisingly (to us) Abraham was instructed to do what Sarah wanted. This seems very cruel in our human eyes.
But let's look at it again from a higher plane. Some very far reaching plans were in store for these two sons and while the individuals involved did not understand why things were happening as they were, matters were being arranged for those promises to come true. It was prophesied that both sons were to become mighty nations and that was probably the main thing that registered in their minds. However, there was another, rather enigmatic part of the promise that was applied to Isaac. "And by means of your seed all nations of the earth will certainly bless themselves. . ." (Genesis 22:18) What could that mean?
If we look back on it now from our standpoint today, the Christians point to the fact that Jesus was a Jew and provided the Ransom Sacrifice for us all, and this must be what was being referred to.
The Jews could point to their history of gathering the knowledge of medicine, the arts, and other human endeavors through the Diaspora, and using it for the benefit of the peoples in whose lands they were living.
Both are true. However, there is another that is greater than those, one that even the Muslims recognize. Namely, it is through the Covenant arranged with Isaac's offspring that the whole world came to know of the God of Abraham and his qualities. Moreover, if it was not for this covenant paving the way, Jesus could not have done his work.
So why pick Isaac over Ishmael?
- This was promised to Abraham before Ishmael was born. He wouldn't even have come into the picture except that Sarah became impatient and made other arrangements for an heir.
- Plus, Sarah was his full, legitimate wife whose virtue had been carefully preserved by heavenly intervention (Gen. 12:11-20) for this very reason. She was not a substitute or proxy wife, and the God of Abraham would want this succession to be accomplished in a manner that couldn't be questioned.
- A third consideration could be that the God of Abraham wanted to demonstrate that he could do anything, including making it possible for Sarah to get pregnant at such an advanced age. That would reassure Abraham that he could have faith in the promises he had been given.
Still, it would have been traumatic for Hagar and Ishmael. That is why the promise was repeated to Hagar when she was in despair in the wilderness, to reassure and strengthen her, and was then given the assistance they needed to survive. (Genesis 21:14-19)
And were those promises kept? I doubt that anyone would wish to argue that they weren't. The Sons of Isaac (the Jews) have been at the center of world events for eons, and the Sons of Ishmael (the Arabs) are certainly mighty nations.
However, that event, the picking of one son over the other, has been the core around which an enmity was built and has lasted 4,000 years. It didn't help matters any that Ishmael was the oldest and would normally be considered the rightful heir. Looking at it from a strictly human standpoint, their anger would be understandable.
As the centuries passed, they not only remembered this apparent injustice, but they were forced to look on from the outside as the Sons of Isaac received the covenant and were proclaimed the God of Abraham's nation. To be excluded must have been galling.
To their credit, though, they had to have been paying careful attention to the instructions the Israelites were receiving, as well as yearning to be included as part of that "approved" people. Otherwise why would they even today be counting Moses and Jesus as well as other Israelite prophets as their prophets too?
Given this scenario, who can blame them for wanting to pick up the slack when it appeared that the Jews had failed, their temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, and they were scattered all over the earth? Here was their chance to prove that they were worthy of God's favor too. Can you blame them?
Then the Christians came along and thanks to Satan's constant interference and deception, they ended up adding one more layer of hatred, confusion, and death. He did this in order to keep mankind from realizing what needed to be done.
But yet again, let's back up and look at this same situation from the God of Abraham's viewpoint. This view from a higher plane opens up other possibilities.
The Factors that We Humans are Missing
Some are mentioned above, the biggest being that the purpose of this whole exercise was to provide mankind with the necessary knowledge to do as the God of Abraham asks. "Be wise, my son, and make my heart rejoice, that I may make a reply to him that is taunting me." (Proverbs 27:11)
Secondly, if we assume as the world does, that the Nation of Israel was appointed as the God of Abraham's chosen nation so that the rest of us could see how righteous people were supposed to live, then yes. It was a miserable failure. The Israelites fell into every trap imaginable.
Therefore, we have two choices: either the God of Abraham is himself a failure because his plan failed - or he was using a deeper strategy. The scenario above, that of using his dealings with the Nation of Israel as a vehicle to give all of mankind the necessary knowledge of His will and ways, would fill the bill in all respects. They could now see a clear contrast between that and Satan's ways. In this he succeeded big time, in spite of the endless obstructions Satan threw in to confound the process, from centuries of banning the Bible, to the teaching of false doctrines, to using everything possible to keep the common people ignorant, and more.
People of all nations are now aware that there is a better way, that the "fruitage of the spirit" i. e., "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, and self-control" (Galatians 5:22, 23) is desirable, and they instinctively work towards that end whether they know the God of Abraham or not.
If this is the case, perhaps the Muslims should rethink their jealousy and hatred towards their brothers, the Jews. Even the Muslims themselves would probably admit that they are every bit as bull-headed, and every bit as likely to run to error. This means that if Ishmael had been chosen instead of Isaac, then they - the Muslims - would have been the ones that were scattered over the face of the earth and endlessly held up to the world as the people who failed God.
Are they sure they want that?
And - if that is the case, we all owe the Jews a debt of mercy and understanding. To continue persecuting them is a mighty poor way to pay it.
That brings us to a couple of horrifying realizations:
Satan has used us, the Jews, Muslims, and Christians, like three puppets on strings in order to maintain the illusion that he is correct in his contention that the God of Abraham had made an error and is not to be trusted. He has done this by means of the same sort of deception that he used with Adam and Eve, in making things appear to be what they are not. He knows full well that if he allows peace to exist between us, we will soon get our heads together and realize the truth of how badly we have been deceived, then take action to correct it. That would mean his death.
The second horrifying realization is that thanks to this deception, we have ALL become guilty of the sin of Cain. We have been killing our brothers.
It appears that now at this critical point in history, the God of Abraham wants us all to join hands in giving that answer that will "make my heart rejoice, that I may make a reply to him that is taunting me."
It also appears that this time He wants all of his children to have a part in it, and that the Sons of Ishmael should have one of the leading roles in giving that answer.
Let's not go into the science/religious controversy right now except for saying that they appear to be equally biased against each other and towards their own philosophy. Their prides are involved, they've both persecuted each other, and neither would admit the other is right even if their lives depended on it - exactly as the religions are towards each other. Unfortunately, their lives do depend on it. Therefore, any solution would need to satisfy all four parties.
It needs to be emphasized though, that BOTH religion and science have let us down. In religion's case, it has been used to maintain mankind's ignorance instead of edifying him. The nuts and bolts of how that was done is mentioned in "The Natural Lifecycle of a Religion" at http://howlinmad.net, and a good example of that would be their blind following of dogma. Any new truth of any kind is adamantly if not viciously resisted.
Science has failed us because they have eliminated God from all of their equations and prostituted themselves to whatever power that demanded it. As a result, they are the ones who have given mankind the ability to wipe out the human race using atomic, chemical, and biological warfare, as well as destroy our environment - in spite of the fact that they've endlessly portrayed themselves as mankind's savior. This elimination of God is accomplished only by violating their own principles, as they are trying to do something that even they say is impossible - to prove a negative.
Again, why have they done that? Because they have been blinded by the misconduct of the religious clergy down over the ages, conduct that has been so disgraceful that thinking men are driven away in abhorrence. They fail to differentiate between the God of Abraham and the scumbags who claim to be his representatives. (Please note Jesus' words at Matthew 7:21-23 in this regard.)
An irony here is that if the scientists are indeed on a quest for truth, then according to the Bible, they are seeking God because "he is truth". Of course, the concept that scientists are seeking God would be laughed at by both sides because their prides wouldn't allow it, just as their prides color everything they touch while being consumed with seeking their own advantage.
The bottom line? EVERYTHING needs to be re-examined because ALL sides have been seeking their own glory first, and that colors ALL of their findings.
A re-examination of the world situation using the additional factor above is called for.