“There is nothing in Islam that justifies this truly dreadful act.”
–British Prime Minister, David Cameron, on May 23, 2013, during a press conference following the brutal daylight slaying of British soldier, Lee Rigby, by two Muslims.
“Muslims kill more Muslims than anyone else.”
–Usama Hasan, Sr. Researcher at the Quilliam Foundation, during a CNN interview on May 24, 2013, regarding the murder of British soldier, Lee Rigby.
By now, many of you know about the man who opened fire on partygoers at a gay club in Orlando, Florida, Saturday night, killing 50 and wounding 53. He has since been identified as Omar Mateen of Port St. Lucie, Florida, a devout Muslim of Afghan parentage.
This will no doubt fuel the anti-gun rhetoric in the United States and many believe it will also serve as an impetus for more anti-gun legislation. Critics of Islam are calling for the government to quell the influx of immigrants to our shores, and supporters of Donald Trump are hoping that this will cause many to see that he was right in his stated belief that Muslims should be banned from entering the United States.
What is for sure is that Islam is once again on the radar. It had popped up on the radar last week upon the death of Muhammad Ali, as CNN, during its coverage of the influential boxer, was careful to mention that the Islamic holy week of Ramadan was beginning. But, all the contradictory media propaganda notwithstanding, anyone who was deceived into believing that Islam is a religion of peace was violently awakened to the unfortunate reality that Islam is anything but peaceful.
On the heels of this latest episode of Islamic violence, many Americans are asking themselves why Islam is such a violent religion, and why the adherents of a religion that purports to be peaceful, not only kill others, but also kill each other.
As an evangelist, I have often witnessed to Muslims, both in the United States and here in Germany, and I have occasionally asked Muslims why Islam is such a violent religion. Of those who will admit that Muslims do, in fact, kill non-Muslims, most will offer various reasons for this, usually having something to do with someone offending their religion, their prophet, or their holy book, the Qur’an. One Muslim gentleman even told me that the reason Muslims kill is owing to a misinterpretation of what their prophet, Muhammad said. Most, Muslims, however, will not admit that their holy book not only condones, but commands the killing of non-Muslims, or infidels. Of course, in that Muslims promote Islam as a religion of peace, any explanation they offer for why Muslims kill falls way short of the mark.
But, while Muslims may be able to explain–albeit insufficiently–why Muslims kill non-Muslims, there is one very perplexing phenomenon that no Muslim to date has been able to explain: why Muslims kill each other; because Muslims do kill each other–frequently. As a religion, Islam is distinguished in this regard. One statistic holds that (as of 2007) over 11,000,000 Muslims had been killed worldwide and that 90% of those deaths were the result of Muslims killing other Muslims. This is a startling statistic for a religion that claims to be a religion of peace.
The situation is so bad that even Muslims are asking the question, “Why do Muslims kill other Muslims?
For his part, vocal Muslim cleric and Islamic apologist, Dr. Zakir Naik, blamed “division within Islam,” the media, and anti-Islamic rhetoric for Muslims killing other Muslims. But this does absolutely nothing to truly explain why Muslims kill other Muslims.
Let me illustrate for you by way of example how perplexing this question is even for the most devout Muslim.
A few months ago, I was walking through the main thoroughfare of the Munich main train station, when I spotted two African men talking together. Knowing that the majority of Africans in Munich are from Muslim countries, I decided I would witness to these men, as I had gospel tracts in my pocket targeting Roman Catholics and Muslims. I approached the young men and, greeting them in English, asked them if they were Muslims. When they affirmed that they were, I pulled out the German version of the Chick tract, “Allah Had No Son,” and handed it to them. They didn’t seem to speak German well enough to understand the tract, so I told them to please hold onto it, until such time as their German was good enough to enable them to comprehend the tract and its message.
One of the men spoke enough English to hold a decent conversation, so I decided to give this man the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I first asked him where his religion taught he would go when he died. When he answered “Paradise,” I told him that his religion would not get him into Paradise, because Islam does not solve the problem of sin. I then asked him if it were not true that Islam teaches that Muslims should kill infidels (non-Muslims). He agreed that this was true, but added that he did not believe that this was the right thing to do. I then asked him if he were a good Muslim, and, when he replied that he was, I asked him why he disobeyed his prophet Muhammad, who wrote Islam’s holy book, the Qur’an, which commands Muslims to kill non-Muslims. He said that not all Muslims believe that the Qur’an is right about this teaching. I asked him if he obeyed the prophet Muhammad, and he answered that he did, adding that if anyone “touched” the prophet Muhammad or the Qur’an, he would kill them. He then went on to say that the men at Charlie Hebdo were wrong for what they did, and that had he been there, he would have killed them himself.
Charlie Hebdo, as most of you know, is a satirical magazine based in Paris, France. In January 2015, Islamic terrorists murdered four employees of the magazine, including the editor, supposedly for satirizing their prophet Muhammad. Religion is a personal and highly charged subject, especially for Muslims. One should not mock another’s religion, even if it is protected speech in some countries. That said, the taking of a human life for any reason, according to the Bible, is a sin, which makes it wrong. So, while I don’t agree with what Charlie Hebdo did, I also don’t agree with how these men chose to express their discontent. As the saying goes, “two wrongs don’t make a right.”
“Allah must be a bloody god,” I said, “if he commands the murder of anyone.” At that, the man quickly changed the subject by saying that he had never seen a Muslim become a Christian, though he had seen Christians become Muslims. I told him that the only reason he had not seen any Muslims become Christians was because he lived in a Muslim-dominated country, and Muslim-dominated countries are notorious for persecuting and killing Muslims who convert to Christianity. I told him that I know of Muslims who have become Christians.
Returning to the subject, I asked the man if he were being obedient to Islam’s holy book by not killing non-believers. It was then that he said that he, too, would kill non-believers. This, I felt was the truth of the matter. I then asked him why, if Islam is a religion of peace, it commands Muslims to kill others, and permits Muslims to kill other Muslims. “How does one know,” I asked, “who is right and who is wrong, when both sides are shouting, ‘Allah U Akhbar!’ (Allah is great!)?” “Yes, that is a problem,” he said, not attempting to explain this phenomenon.
Again attempting to change the subject, he repeated that he had never seen a Muslim become a Christian, though he had seen Christians become Muslims. I then told him that the Bible explains why Muslims kill other Muslims. “The Bible prophecies about Islam,” I told him, “and even prophesies that Muslims would not only be known for killing others, but for killing one another also”
Suddenly, he yelled to one of his companions, who was now heading for the train, and abruptly left. “God bless you,” I said, again urging him to read the tract I had given him. I then headed for my own train.
While this man at least tried to justify the killing of non-Muslims, he did not even attempt to explain why Muslims kill other Muslims. The reason is simple: If a good Muslim obeys the Qur’an and follows the teachings of their prophet, Muhammad, who did not command Muslims to kill their brethren, then why do Muslims still kill other Muslims?
I have asked Muslims why, if Islam is a religion of peace, their holy book not only allows, but encourages Muslims to kill non-Muslims. And I have been given many different answers: someone has insulted their religion, offended their prophet, or mistreated or disrespected their holy book. One even attributed this violence to some Muslims having misinterpreted what Muhammad wrote. But, like the Muslim at the train station, not one Muslim whom I have asked has been able to explain why Muslims kill other Muslims.
I once watched a YouTube video of one battle of the civil war in Egypt apparently taken by a rebel fighter, that well illustrated this perplexing phenomenon. Each time a soldier fired his weapon, he shouted “Allah U Akhbar!” and opposition soldiers could be heard shouting the same thing as they returned fire. In the “Comments” section, Shias and Sunnis took turns offending one another, using some of the most appalling and hate-filled speech I have ever heard.
How can this be? How can two individuals share the same religious heritage, believe in the same god, hold to the same religious tenants, profess to love and obey their religion’s prophet, and obey their holy book, yet hate each other with such an intense hatred? What is for sure is that the god of the Qur’an is not the God of the Bible; for the Bible states that God is not the author of confusion, and this inexplicable hatred between Muslims is extremely confusing—confusing, that is, to those who do not know the Bible.
Did you know that the Bible prophesies about Islam? It’s true. And not only does the Bible prophesy about Islam; it also prophesies that Muslims would wage war against others, and that Muslims would kill other Muslims. Turn with me to the Book of the Revelation chapter 6. Many of you will be familiar with this chapter, which speaks about what are commonly called the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Our concern is with the second horse, which is red.
“And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword” (Revelation 6:4).
There are varying opinions as to what this rider and the red horse symbolize. Jack Chick, in volume 16 of his Crusader series of comic tracts, writes that the rider of the red horse symbolizes Communism, while the red horse symbolizes war.
Former Jesuit priest, Alberto Rivera, in a sermon dedicated to this subject, focused on the red horse, believing that the color red symbolized government, as many governments, including the Nazi and Communist governments, have used the color red. And false prophet, Tim LaHaye, in Revelation Revealed, a commentary on the Book of the Revelation, also believes the red horse to be a symbol for war.
Though all of these interpretations contain some truth, they all effectively miss the mark, not only because they place too much emphasis on the horse, but because they either completely overlook or misinterpret the symbolism of the rider. A correct interpretation, which can only come from the Holy Spirit, would reveal the mystery that is Islam. It would behoove us, therefore, to listen to what the Spirit has to say about this. We will use the perfect, inerrant Word of the Living God, the King James Version, to unravel this mystery.
Now, I believe that much of the misunderstanding regarding the rider of the red horse is due to the New International Version’s (NIV) faulty translation of the passage. The NIV renders Revelation 6:4 thus:
“When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword.”
Because the NIV interprets the passage differently than the King James, much of the prophetic meaning of the passage has been lost, leaving the passage subject to misinterpretation. The result is that three crucial details have been missed that are crucial to an understanding of the identity of the rider of the red horse.
First, while the KJV says the rider of the red horse is given the power “that they should kill one another,” the NIV says he is given the power “to make men slay each other.” This misinterpretation has caused most to believe that the rider of the red horse has been given the power to cause the inhabitants of the earth to kill one another. This has led to the incorrect belief that the rider of the red horse simply means war.
Second, the faulty interpretation that the inhabitants of the earth are the “men [who will] slay each other has led to a second faulty interpretation: that the rider of the red horse represents some system that will cause the inhabitants of the earth to kill one another. Jack Chick, as we have seen, believes the rider is a symbol for Communism. Communist regimes have killed hundreds of millions of their own citizens in the countries where they have come to power. But Communist regimes are not known for causing those citizens themselves to kill one another.
Third, the faulty interpretation that the rider of the red horse represents some system that will cause men to kill each other, has led to the faulty interpretation that the red horse represents war. But this, I believe is complicating the overt symbolism of the color red. The color red symbolizes blood. The red horse, therefore, symbolizes bloodshed.
Fourth, The NIV says that the rider of the red horse is given a “large” sword, while the King James says that he is given a great sword. While this may not seem very important, it is actually a very important detail. It may even be the most important detail in the passage. Bear this in mind.
Before we reveal the prophetic significance of Revelation 6:4, let us take one more look at this passage as rendered in the King James Bible:
“And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword” (Revelation 6:4).
First, we are told that the rider of the red horse is given power “to take peace from the earth.” Many interpret this passage to mean war, but, while war is the best known way to take away peace, it is not the most common way. Peace is more than just the absence of war. Peace is the absence of strife. Peace is the absence of contention. Peace is the absence of vengeance. And peace is the absence of hatred. War may be the most effective way to take away peace, but it is not the only way. The incident in the Orlando gay bar brings this home.
Second, we are told that the rider of the red horse is given power that “they” should kill one another, but we are not told who “they” are. Again, because the NIV says that the rider is given the power “to make men slay each other,” theologians have incorrectly interpreted this to mean that it is the inhabitants of the earth that would kill each other. The King James, however, says that the rider is given power that “they” should kill one another. Bear in mind that we are not told in the passage who “they” are, and, since no one else is mentioned in the passage, we can only conclude that “they” refers to the rider. Therefore, in that the rider is a symbol—that much is clear—then we know that the rider symbolizes a group of people—a nation, who will take peace from the earth. This is an important detail.
Because every society to some degree has been guilty of killing its own people, then this must mean that this people is especially distinguished by this behavior. Bear this in mind.
Third, the symbolism of the sword is highly significant for several reasons:
1. The rider receives it from God, meaning whatever the sword represents was given of God.
2. That the sword is given to a people means it is not merely a symbol for war, but a symbol for this people. It is an emblem, so to speak. We may therefore call these people the “people of the sword.”
3. Because the sword is symbolic of a people, then the Apostle John’s description of the sword as “great” (as opposed to the NIV’s use of the word “large”) is also symbolic.
To summarize Revelation 6:4, the rider of the red horse is symbolic of a warlike people, who are known not only for waging war against and killing others, but also waging war against and killing each another. The sword has historically been a symbol for this people, and they are great (both in number and in power and influence) and their greatness was given to them by God. I submit that there is only one people on the face of the earth who fit this description marvelously: The Muslims.
“[They shall] take peace from the earth…”
The Muslims are a warlike people who have conquered most of the world by waging war in the name of Islam. In the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, the Muslims have been waging an unconventional war of jihad (Islamic holy war) against their enemies, mostly Jews and Christians, using terrorism.
We should also remember that war is not the only way to take peace from the earth. Muslims have been known to stab and behead people in public, throw acid in the faces of Muslims and non-Muslims alike (such as in the case of Umar Mulinde, a Ugandan pastor and former Muslim who was attacked in 2011 after a church service).
“They should kill one another…”
Shias and Sunnis, the two major branches of Islam, have been warring against each other for more than a thousand years. Various minority Islamic sects have also been persecuted and killed by both majority branches.
Sharia (Islamic law) is another way that Muslims kill one another. In the countries where sharia dominates, Muslims have been imprisoned, tortured, and put to death for a variety of things considered crimes under sharia law, such as converting to Christianity, adultery, homosexuality, criticizing Islam, and other things. Sharia law even condones the murder of a woman for refusing to marry the man her parents have arranged for her. It is called an “honor killing.”
“[They were] given a great sword.”
A large curved sword, called a scimitar, has traditionally been the symbol of Islam.
The scimitar appears in Arab and Muslim art and folklore:
Boulanger’s “Tale of 1001 Nights” (note the red fez worn by the boy in the foreground).
Many Islamic nations and organizations have used a scimitar as their emblem.
Flag of Saudi Arabia
Flag of Pakistani Army
Peace flag of Fath Ali
Lion and sun emblem of Persian Empire (Iran)
Flag of Persian Army Corps general
Modern jihadist flag
Seal of Muslim Brotherhood
During the Second World War, there was a Muslim Division of the Nazi SS called the 13th Waffen SS Gebirgsjaeger or “mountain fighters,” which was composed primarily of Muslim Croats. They were also called the handschar (German for scimitar), because of their unit insignia, which featured a scimitar.
13th Waffen SS insignia
Below are the 13 SS Waffen Division’s patches. Note the scimitar on the collar patch at the upper left. The Gebirgsjaegers wore the patch in place of the SS runes worn by the German SS soldiers.
13th Waffen SS Brigade patches
The red and white shields were worn on the sleeves. The color red corresponds to the color of the horse and is no coincidence.
“He was given a GREAT sword.” [Emphasis mine.]
Again, the use of the word, “great” is not arbitrary; it is symbolic. The symbolism of God giving this people a “great” sword not only means that God made them great, but that God called them great (think “given” name). If God called this people great, then the Bible should record this.
And it does. In the entire Bible, there are only two nations that God specifically said He would make “great,” and those nations sprung from two sons of Abraham: Isaac and Ishmael.
Speaking of Isaac, God told Abraham:
“I will make of thee a great nation” (Genesis 12:2).
“My covenant will I establish with Isaac…” (Genesis 17:21).
Speaking of Ishmael, twice God said He would make him great:
“As for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly (make him great in number); twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation (great in power and influence) (Genesis 17:20)
“Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation” (Genesis 21:18)
The children of Isaac, as we know, are the Jews, and the children of Ishmael are the Arab nations—the Muslims. Of these two nations, the Muslims marvelously fulfill the criteria of Revelation 6:4. There is another very important factor to consider: Muslims are not of any particular race or culture. In fact, Muslims are distinguished by their religion, and that religion is Islam.
The rider of the red horse, therefore, is Islam.
As for the symbolism of the red horse, the color red is one of five colors long associated with Islam: red, black, white, yellow, and green. The fez hat, an Islamic headdress, is red.
The fez is believed to be named for a city in Morocco where at one time, it was exclusively made. It’s red color is significant: In 980 A.D., the Moslems, under Mohammed, attacked the city of Fez and massacred over 50,000 Christians there. As the streets ran red, Mohammed’s soldiers reportedly dipped their fezzes, formerly white, in the blood of the slaughtered Christians and wore them as a testament to their god, Allah.
Given Islam’s bloody history, I submit that the red horse is symbolic of this history.
The hat of a Shriner (a degree of Freemasonry based on Islam) is a fez emblazoned with a scimitar. Coincidence?
Fez of a Shriner
The uniform of the 13th Waffen Division included a red fez.
13 Waffen SS soldiers wearing fezzes
Now, the next time you ask yourself why Islam is so violent and why Muslims kill not only non-Muslims but other Muslims as well, don’t be perplexed. It is prophetic.
Be encouraged and look up, for your redemption draweth nigh.
The Still Man