Thursday, March 4, 2010

A Story Worth Repeating

Many have probably already seen this story, but if not, I'm glad to link it and highlight some of the best parts. One of the big news items coming from the Middle East this week, has been the story of author Hassan Yousef, the son of a Hamas leader who was changed from "being a Radical Muslim leader of the Hamas terrorist organization to a born again follower of Jesus Christ".

It is sometimes easy to forget, as we follow prophecy related news, that its really all about Christ Jesus, as the central component of prophecy. The main reason most of us watch prophecy, is for one simple reason: It tells us that we will be in the presence of Christ Jesus soon. Period. If being with Jesus wasn't the bottom line, I would have little interest in prophecy and most of the prophecy watchers I know feel the same. Prophecy comes alive to us because it is telling us that we will be in the presence of Jesus soon. That is what makes prophecy watching SO exciting.

Joel Rosenberg has been following this story and has two interviews posted on his site, below is the second interview
(Part I, and Hassan Yousef's conversion to Christ here):


Below are some segments of the interview between Joel Rosenberg and Mosab Hassan Yousef:

JOEL: How has your life changed since becoming a born again Christian? Specifically, how have your attitudes towards Israel changed since your dramatic conversion?

MOSAB: My conscience is not the same. This doesn’t mean that I became a perfect person but at least when I do a mistake I know how to fix it and avoid it in the future. Today, I am free from sin because I am the son of the King. When I first understood how religion is imperfect in general — and in Islam in particular — and allowed myself to accept Christ as my personal Savior and get out of the box of religion, not only did Israel look different to me, I started to see everything differently.

I remember one day walking in Jerusalem right after I studied the Scripture that says give to those who ask you. [Jesus said in Matthew 5:42, "Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you."] There was a homeless Jew in the Jewish side of Jerusalem, and I answered the call of the Lord to share with him some of the change in my pocket. Then I sat down and cried because I had the chance to understand the unconditional love God has for everybody. It was shocking to me that I never felt sorry for a homeless Jew. Then gradually — through God’s grace and mercy, through the years — all humans became equal to me. My people see the sun every day but they never ask themselves why the sun shines on both east and west Jerusalem. The easiest thing to me was to hate my enemy but the real challenge was to love them. Later on I realized my enemy was not man anymore — not Israeli, not Palestinian — but sin and darkness within us.

JOEL: What can followers of Jesus do in real and practical ways to love the Palestinian people and reach them with the gospel of Jesus Christ?

MOSAB: This is an excellent question, thank you. Christians have a huge duty to love his neighbor and his enemy. Every Christian needs to carry this heavy cross. Loving Muslims and Palestinians is our responsibility. And our duty as Christians to show God’s love toward Muslims is more important than governments, the United Nations and the international community. All of those don’t have a clue how to deal with the Islamic problem. We know as Christians that the conflict is spiritual and ideological. You can’t kill an idea. You have to replace it. Governments can send troops to change a regime or kill terrorists, but they don’t have the type of weapons that we have — love and hope and grace.

Today, I need from my Christian brothers and sisters to understand the sensitivity of our mission of hope, love and forgiveness. Without these values humans will self-destruct everything beautiful. Be proud of our God and take Him to the Muslims. How come Christians are ashamed of such a loving, forgiving God? Our God is sending a great message of hope through my experience with Him. He is telling the Israelis, my people and everyone who is involved in the Middle East conflict that unconditional love and unconditional forgiveness through the example of Jesus Christ in our lives is the only hope for peace in the Middle East and the entire world — peace with God, peace within, and peace with others.

Love is not an idea, it is a reality. Our Lord showed us His love through the shedding of His innocent blood. His love is a reality we live in everyday of our lives. We can’t be perfect, but if we show the world the minimum of our Lord’s love we will be able to change the entire world in few years. Get out of your churches! Remove the dust of religion and human traditions and go out to the world. Show humanity who we are in Christ and who our God is. Humanity is hurt and its wounds are bleeding. Let’s heal it with the cure of love, the love of Jesus!

JOEL: Are you worried for your safety as you release this book? And how can we be praying for you and your family as your book releases?

MOSAB: The One who saved my life in the past is able to save it in the present and in the future as well. Physical death is not the worst thing that can happen to a man. Spiritual death is much more dangerous. This is not the time to give up. Our goal is to liberate people and our weapon is love. They can hate us but we will still love them. They can torture us but we will pray for them and they will accuse us but we continue to forgive them as we were forgiven!


Joel Rosenberg concludes the interview with the following observations:

As proof of how much God has changed him, Mosab risked his life to save the lives of Jewish Israelis as spy for Israel’s “Shin Bet” secret service agency. He also risked his life to save his own people in the West Bank and Gaza. Now he is not only willing but eager to share the good news of Jesus Christ’s love and forgiveness and transforming power to everyone he can, despite the fact that his family has publicly and painfully disowned him and that terrorists may want to hunt him down and kill him.

The more I learn about Mosab’s story, the more I find myself thinking about the words of the Apostle Paul. As Saul of Tarsus, he was a religious terrorist. But he had a supernatural encounter with Jesus Christ and was transformed into a man of great love, wisdom and influence for the Lord as a result. In Ephesians 2:8-15, the Apostle Paul — inspired by the Holy Spirit — wrote:

“For by grace [unmerited favor] you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh…remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace.”



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