Saturday, May 28, 2011

Isa has a special book

The last few weeks the news and blogosphere have been abuzz with discussions of the rapture and end times.  While that's often a poor substitute for discussions of deeper spiritual issues, sometimes it can provide a valuable look into the Kingdom of God.

During a visit to his home, I was having a conversation with a Muslim friend about end times.  He's a Shia' Muslim, and their views are different from the mainstream.  Sunni Muslims, who represent the great majority of Islam, have a very vague picture of what the judgment will look like.  The Shia' have a much more complex and detailed theology of judgement.  My friend was describing to me a Shia' belief that each nation will be judged according to a book held by the prophet sent to that nation.  He believes that Muhammad will have a book to judge the Muslims, and that Isa will be there also with a book to judge the Christians.

"So," I asked, "How does it work with Muhammad's book?"

"Well," my friend explained, "My good deeds and bad deeds are written in the book.  Muhammad will read my deeds from the book."

I will add at this point that the Shia believe that there is an angel on each shoulder writing down the good and bad deeds, even the smallest deed is recorded.

"What happens then?" I asked.

"Well, my deeds and placed on a scale and weighed.  If the good deeds outweigh the bad deeds, then..." He flourished his hand toward heaven.

I saw the obvious problem.  "How do you know if your good deeds will outweigh the bad ones?"

He shrugged and smiled.  "I will have to find out then."

I saw the dead, both unimportant and important, standing in front of the throne, and books were open. Another book was opened-the Book of Life. The dead were judged according to their works, as recorded in the books.  The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and Death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and all were judged according to their works.  Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. (This is the second death-the lake of fire.)  Anyone whose name was not found written in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:12-15)

"We also believe that books will be read at the judgement," I offered.  "The Injeel says that people will be judged according to their deeds found in the books."

"That's like our story," he observed.

"Well," I said, "There's more to the story.  One book is special, it's called the Book of Life.  Isa has written the names of his followers in this book.  If your name is in the book, you are not judged.  You go with Isa."

He asked "Are your deeds written in his book?" My friend looked very interested.

"No, just my name," I replied.  "If your name is in the book, you're good, because Isa put your name there.  The people whose names are not in Isa's book are judged and sent to a lake of fire."

I'm sure that I'll pass the judgment because my name is written in Isa's Book of Life.  Please pray for our Muslim friends that they will have their names written there, too.

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