DALLAS (Christian Examiner) – Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Dallas, said he does not dispute Muslim claims that an angel delivered Islam to Muhammad, no more than he disputes Mormon claims that Joseph Smith saw an angel.
In a Sunday sermon May 10, Jeffress, citing the Apostle Paul's words in 2 Corinthians 11:14, told his congregation that the angel both men saw was masquerading "as an angel of light."
"It was Satan himself who delivered those delusions to those people to lead people by the millions away from God," Jeffress said. "Islam is a false religion that will lead you to hell. It is based on a false book that is based on a fraud. It was founded by a false prophet who was leading people away instead of to the one true God."
The comment was the kind of pointed preaching many have come to expect from the no-holds-barred pastor, who has been openly critical of the gay rights movement, the abortion industry, President Obama and other politicians.
Jeffress said many politicians, including President Obama and former President George W. Bush, have claimed that the Islamic State (ISIS) and other terror groups are "not Islamic." But Jeffress said both men were "dead wrong in their assertion."
He said the Quran the terror groups hold so dearly is full of "fabricated" stories and contains 35 commands to kill Jews, Christians and all who resist the expansion of Islam
"These terrorists are Islamic terrorists, doing what they're doing in the name of their faith," Jeffress said. "You cannot find one single verse in the New Testament that calls for violence against non-believers. Jesus said to love your enemies. Muhammad said to butcher your enemies."
Jeffress said modern terrorists, who identify themselves as Islamic, are following the example of Muhammad, who slaughtered Jews when they refused to join him and his followers, and, who shed blood across the Middle East in expanding the reach of Islam. That is real Islam, Jeffress told the congregation.
While the Dallas pastor acknowledged that it would be unfair to characterize all Muslims as violent, he said he wanted to demonstrate the scope of the problem facing the world as the end of time draws near. Jeffress said if only five percent of Muslims worldwide believe in the use of violence to spread Islam, the world is facing an army of 75 million.
The sects and terror groups that make up that army, which includes Shiite Iran, have a shared goal of destroying the Jews, Christians and the political framework of modern democracy.
"That is why it is absolute lunacy for our president and Congress to negotiate a deal on nuclear weapons with Iran when they are intent on destroying Israel, us, and exterminating our nations from the face of the earth," Jeffress said.
Jeffress said some will attempt to deflect criticism of Islam by saying those who claim to be Christians have killed to accomplish their objectives.
"That is true and we have to acknowledge that," Jeffress said, "but what they are doing is in opposition to their faith. We also have to look at this in terms of proportion."
Jeffress said there were more people killed in one day on Sept. 11, 2001, than in the entire 400 year history of the Spanish Inquisition. Jeffress also said since the 1980s there have been eight people killed by abortion clinic bombings carried out by people claiming to be Christians.
"Eight people. That's a good half-hour's work for a Muslim terrorist," he said.
Jeffress said radical Islam and the rise of Iran fits into his interpretation of the end times in three ways. First, he said, Ezekiel 38-39 speak of an Islamic invasion of Israel. Jeffress said this is a stated goal of Iran, though the forces who invade Israel will find that God will deliver the Jews by his own hand.
Second, Jeffress said Revelation 9:16 describes a "great army" that comes from the East for the battle of Armageddon. Those nations, he said, are Islamic nations, including Persia (modern day Iran), that are all currently in place.
Jeffress said the third reference to radical Islam in biblical prophecy was the description of beheaded saints in Revelation 20:4. Beheadings for the sake of Christ at the hands of ISIS and other Islamic terror groups, Jeffress said, will increase in frequency to the point they are "common."
D Magazine reported May 6 that a tweet from the church advertising Jeffress' new sermon series, "Countdown to the Apocalypse," had already drawn the "ire" of many in the community who feel the series is "fear-mongering" and "alarmist." But Jeffress' said he was beginning the series because he wanted Christians to be aware of the signs that lead up to the "single-most important event in human history – the visible, bodily return of the Lord Jesus Christ."
That is why, he said, the sermon series was being broadcast to the Middle East. It is important to be honest with those who follow Islam, he said.
"The most loving thing we can do for Muslims is to introduce them to God's way to eternal life through Jesus Christ," Jeffress said.