Did Rick Warren Pray to Allah in the Name of a Muslim Prophet?

An e-mail received this evening from Brother Gil Neves, a contender of the faith and Truth.

–ooo–

Rick Warren—who is one of President Barack Obama’s bridges to the evangelical church—managed to pray an inaugural prayer that made nearly everyone happy, with the exception, that is, of the one true God to whom the prayer was supposed to be addressed. While Warren began by quoting the Hebrew Schema, and addressing the biblical God of all creation, who warned, “You shall have no other gods before Me….for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God…” (Exodus 20:3, 5b), Warren went on to invoke the Muslim deity Allah. If that was not bad enough, Warren quoted both the Bible and the Koran, and he prayed in the names of Jesus Christ as well as the Muslim prophet Isa! I felt this perilous travesty needed to be addressed, especially since Time Magazine has dubbed Rick Warren “America’s New People’s Pastor,” and he is influencing millions of people through his books and public persona.

Tragically, Warren’s incorporation of the Islamic deity in the name of a Muslim prophet went over the heads of the vast majority of Christians who heard his inaugural prayer. While Warren’s prayer may have pleased President Barack Obama, who gained countless votes by riding on Warren’s back into the evangelical church, God warned us in His Word that religious syncretism would characterize the great apostasy of the last days (Revelation 17)!

While I suspected that Warren’s prayer would be as inclusive as possible, even I was surprised when Warren actually quoted the Koran and used the oft-repeated Koranic formulation for Allah i.e., “The compassionate and merciful one.” In fact, of the 114 chapters in the Koran, 113 of them begin by describing Allah as “The compassionate and merciful one.”

Near the end of Warren’s prayer, he prayed, “I humbly ask this in the name of the one who changed my life, Yeshua, Isa, Jesus….” Of course, Isa would have been understood by Muslims, who had already heard him praying to Allah, to be the Islamic prophet mentioned throughout the Koran. Warren’s prayer to Allah, in the name of Isa, is absolutely indefensible:

“The priests said not, where is the LORD? And they that handle the law knew me not: the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit.” –Jeremiah 2:8

Not only is “The compassionate and merciful one” a distinct and precise Koranic formulation reserved for Allah alone, but “Isa” is used in the Koran in reference to an alleged Palestinian prophet who, according to the Koran, is not the Son of God and did not die on the cross for the sins of the world. He is not only antithetical to the biblical, historical Yeshua revealed over a thousand years earlier through the Old Testament prophets but, according to millions of Muslims, he will return to renounce Christianity, destroy all crosses, support the mass murder of Jews and forcibly convert the world to Islam. It is believed that Isa will not only destroy Jews and all crosses, but that he will support the coming Muslim Messiah—the 12th Imam or Mahdi—who many Christians believe will be the Antichrist.

Islamic scholar Ahmad Deedat, states that the name Isa (pronounced Ee-saw) is a cognate of the patriarch Esau (Ahmad Deedat, “Christ in Islam, Islamic Propagation Centre International” p. 7-8). This is blasphemous in that God reveals in His word, the Bible, that Esau was a fornicator and “sold his birthright” for a pot of stew (Hebrews 12:15-17). Lest anyone be deceived into believing that Isa is simply another name for the biblical Jesus, it should be understood that Isa is in no way an Arabic transliteration of the Hebrew Yeshua, nor is it another name for the Son of God! In fact, Muslims do not believe that Isa is the Son of God or that he died for the sins of the world.

Arab Christians do not follow the Islamic prophet Isa, nor do they follow the teachings of the Koran. During my last trip to Israel we visited a missionary from our fellowship that was working with Arab believers who reach the Arab community with the Good News of Jesus. During that trip I had the privilege of spending precious time at the home of these Arab Christians who are on fire for Jesus. All of these Arab believers referred to Jesus as Yesua, which derives from the Arabic for Jesus, Yasu! I also spent a considerable amount of time with our Arabic Christian bus driver, who taught me the Arabic Christian praise to Jesus Christ, “Yesua Habibi.” Yesua Habibi is a beautiful Arabic expression, which means, “Jesus, my beloved” or “Jesus, the love of my life!”

The name for Jesus among knowledgeable Arab Christians is not “Isa,” but “Yesua,” which is very close (as you may have observed) to the Hebrew name for Jesus, Yeshua! The name “Yeshua” literally means, “God is salvation.” This is the crux of the matter and underscores the infinite difference between Yesua and Isa! Any Arab Christian who refers to Jesus as Isa is either unaware of its Islamic origin in reference to the false Christ of Islam (Matthew 24:4-5; 2 Corinthians 11:4) or is beholden to pagan Islamic tradition and influence that should be rejected outright.

If you are aware of the differences between the biblical, historical Jesus, and the Muslim prophet Isa, then you may understand why Muslim Arabs refer to Isa instead of the Arabic Yesua, and why knowledgeable Arabic Christians refer to the biblical Jesus as Yesua and not Isa. When God revealed to Joseph that the prophesied Messiah had come into the world, He specified that His name should be called Yeshua, meaning, “Yahweh is salvation.” This was because Jesus was the fulfilment of the promise that Immanuel, “God with us,” had been incarnated in human flesh. God revealed that He was to be named Yeshua because His name was pregnant with prophetic significance and meaning:

“But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’—which means, “God with us.” –Matthew 1:20-23

The name Jesus, that is commonly used by English speakers, is the Latin form of the Greek Iesous, which in turn is the transliteration of the Hebrew Yeshua, which means “Yahweh is salvation.” One of Jesus’ many titles by which he is called today in fulfilment of biblical prophecy is “Immanuel,” but the personal name given to Him at His birth, Yeshua, not only reveals that God is with us, but a dimension of His purpose in coming into the world: that He came into the world to save His people from
their sins, i.e., “Yahweh is salvation.” Thus Peter could exclaim:

“[F]or there is no other name under heaven given to men by whom we must be saved.” –Acts 4:12b

Tragically, Muslims have been taught to reject Yeshua—Yahweh is salvation—and as a result Islam rejects the testimony of God and rejects that Jesus is Yahweh (“God with us”) and that He is salvation (died for our sins); hence the rejection of the historical biblical Jesus and His divine name, Yeshua. In rejecting Jesus for Isa, Muslims reject the original testimony of God in favour of Isa, even as Isa or Esau rejected his birthright for a bowl of stew. Indeed, Muhammad went out of his way to repeatedly deny both the Sonship and the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. In so doing Muhammad engaged in a serious case of historical revisionism, 600 years after Christ, and claimed that Isa, a Palestinian prophet, not the Son of God, was born of Mary. Also in so doing he was able to give the Koran a much-needed historical attachment, nebulous though it was, and at the same time appeal to nominal Christians who he believed would more easily convert to Islam.

The Koran was not only written over 600 years after the fact of incarnation of the Son of God, but was written to make it appear to be another revelation of the one true God who inspired the Bible. The Koran, in affect was (and is) used to blind hundreds of millions of people to the central message of the Bible: that eternal life comes through faith in the Son of God, who died for our sins; was buried and rose triumphantly over the grave (John 3:16; 20:30-31; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4)

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