Muslims and Jews - What's the Difference?

It's amazing to me how often I assume that because I am familiar with something, everyone is familiar with it.  For example, several weeks ago I was talking with a woman at church.  Not far into the conversation she made a statement that surprised and concerned me.  I forget exactly how she said it, but she was obviously under the impression that Jews and Muslims were the same critter.  I gave her a 60-second briefing then we shared a good laugh.  But that conversation got me thinking.  How many sincere, Bible-believing Christians are in the dark about this very topic?  In light of the events of September 11, 2001, and growing worldwide anti-Semitism, I thought I'd better take a minute to explain things here as well.

Simply put, a Jew is a physical descendant of Abraham through Isaac, Jacob (later renamed Israel) and one of the twelve tribes of Israel.  They are the people through whom God chose to work His plan of redemption for all mankind.  God has made an everlasting covenant with them and will prove Himself to the world through them.

A Muslim is a follower of the Koran and the religion called Islam.  While they claim Abraham as an ancestor, not every descendant of Ishmael is a Muslim, nor is every Muslim a descendant of Ishmael.  It is interesting to note, however, that when the God of the Bible called Abraham out of his father's house, the religion was that of the moon god and it is in that religion Islam has its true roots.

Also, the god of the Koran and the God of the Bible have extremely different natures.  One would be hard-pressed to equate Allah with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  Yes, to the casual observer the Old Testament seems to be a book of war and bloodshed, but when the facts are brought to light, God's purposes shine through (this will be explored in a future issue).  And yes, through the centuries great atrocities have been committed in the name of God and Christ.  But we must not look at man's error and pin it on God.  Christ, in fulfilling the Law and the Prophets, came to reconcile all men to God, not by force, but through love, mercy and the ultimate sacrifice.

So, in a nutshell, though the devil would have the world believe that Islam shares its roots with Judaism and Christianity, the truth is that Islam's teachings are diametrically opposed to those of Judaism and Christianity.  In fact, the Koran is openly hostile to Jews and Christians.  In light of this the one thing that we need to do is pray.  Pray for the truth to be known by all and that not one person would be kept from the salvation that was bought for us by the blood of the Messiah Yeshua.