The four chaplains day, Feb. 3, 2014.

Feb. 3 is “Four Chaplains Day” in America by unanimous act of Congress in 1988, under President Reagan. I had never heard of it until pointed out by Rees Lloyd, but their story is truly inspiring, and ought to be taught in school, printed in newspapers, and retold in radio and TV.

On Monday, Feb. 3, at 1 p.m., ceremonies will be held dedicating a permanent plaque at Mt. Soledad National Veterans soledadMemorial honoring the selfless heroism in World War II of the Four Chaplains – Rev. George Fox (Methodist), Rabbi Alexander Goode, Father John P. Washington (Roman Catholic) and Rev. Clark V. Poling (Dutch Reformed).

Times have changed. This is the same Mt. Soledad which cross has been deemed offensive by a Federal Judge in Dec. 2013

The judge said it’s “unconstitutional.”
Todd Starnes at FOX News reported:

A cross atop Mount Soledad in California is an unconstitutional religious display on government land and must come down, a federal judge in San Diego ruled late Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Larry Burns ordered the cross, which honors veterans, must be removed within 90 days — a decision that could result in the case being sent back to the U.S. Supreme Court. Burns immediately stayed his order pending an expected appeal.

The original lawsuit was filed in 2006 by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the Jewish Veterans of the United States of American and several other Southern California residents.

“We support the government paying tribute to those who served bravely in our country’s armed forces,” the ACLU’s Daniel Mach, said in a statement to the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper. “But we should honor all of our heroes under one flag, not just one particular religious symbol.”

Bruce Bailey, president of the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association, expressed disappointment in the ruling.

“It is unfortunate that the Ninth Circuit left the judge no choice but to order the tearing down of the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial Cross,” Bailey told Fox News. “However, we are grateful for the judge’s stay that gives us an opportunity to fight this all the way to the Supreme Court.”

Now back to the story of the four chaplains:

It was on Feb. 3, 1943, that the troop ship Dorchester, with 900 soldiers and the Four Chaplains aboard, was torpedoed in the dead of night on its way to Greenland. The explosion ripped through the Dorchester from below the water line. Many troops drowned below decks as the Dorchester flooded and swiftly began to sink in the frigid sea.

The Four Chaplains acted to calm and aid the troops, in part by distributing life jackets to those who became separated from their own in the chaos and darkness created by the torpedo blast. When there were no more life jackets, each of the Four Chaplains, knowing that it meant certain death, took off his life jacket and put it on a soldier without one. They continued to help troops into lifeboats, until no room was left.

Then, as surviving soldiers who witnessed it later testified, the Four Chaplains went to their deaths together, their arms linked, praying for the troops and singing hymns, until the Dorchester sank and they disappeared beneath the sea, selflessly sacrificing their lives “so others may live.”  in so doing “they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” (Revelation 12:11, KJV)300px-Escanaba-Dorchester_rescue

It was and is an awe-inspiring, magnificent act of quiet heroism, of selfless service and sacrifice for others, of faith and love lived, an example to be celebrated, commemorated and emulated, and never to be forgotten. (The Four Chaplains story in more detail is available in this previous column of Rees Lloyd.)

Congress awarded the Purple Heart and the Distinguished Service Cross to the Four Chaplains in 1944. The Medal of Honor was proposed but was not awarded due to the requirement that it can only be awarded to combatants. In its stead, Congress later created a Four Chaplains Medal and an unprecedented Congressional Medal of Valor in 1961. The American Legion continues to advocate that an exception be made and the Medal of Honor be awarded to the Four Chaplains.

A measure of how the Four Chaplains are honored and revered by veterans of today is expressed in statements issued by two of America’s greatest living military heroes, to be delivered on their behalf at the ceremonies dedicating a plaque to the Four Chaplains at Mt. Soledad on Feb. 3.

Retired Maj. Gen. Patrick H. Brady, Medal of Honor (Vietnam), considered America’s most decorated living veteran, who has described the generally unknown or ignored humanitarian acts of American troops while in war in Vietnam in his book, “Dead Men Flying: America’s Battlefield Angels” (WND Books), issued this tribute to the Four Chaplains:

“As one who has been honored by many great men up to and including the president of the United States, no honor has been more satisfying than my Humanitarian Award from the chapel of the Four Chaplains. Their legacy of courage and sacrifice is vital for our nation’s survival. Our youth need to know that courage is the key to success in life and that God will give us all we ask for. You can’t use it up – and their faith is the foundation of their courage. Sacrifice is love in action, the source of happiness and our eternal inheritance from the Four Chaplains.”

Retired Adm. Jeremiah A. Denton, seven years and seven months a prisoner of war in Vietnam, later U.S. senator (Alabama) and author of the classic book on the tortures inflicted on American POWs by their communist captors, “When Hell Was In Session” (WND Books), issued this statement on the Four Chaplains:

“The Four Chaplains proved their faith with ultimate sacrifice – not in a flash of combatant action – but with peaceful discernment, humble devotion and extraordinary valor. They lived this life knowing God’s real presence and eternal promise. Blessed with men of this caliber, our nation must do the same.”

These tributes of Gen. Brady and Adm. Denton will be included as other veterans and patriots honor the Four Chaplains at Mt. Soledad, beneath the cross there honoring veterans – which the intolerant secular extremists of the ACLU, which has become the Taliban of American liberal secularism, have been suing to destroy in an abusive and fanatical litigation attack now in its 24th year.

For more information about the Four Chaplains Day ceremonies, which are open to the public, and all are invited to attend and honor the Four Chaplains at Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial, Feb. 3, at 1 p.m., read more at http://www.wnd.com/2014/01/four-chaplains-day-dont-expect-the-aclu/#RAEdTVojRzpclswv.99

The last words of Moses, Jesus and Muhammad and what they mean to us.

The last words of Moses, Jesus and Muhammad and what they mean to us.

President Obama held a speech in Cairo in 2009 where he among other things mentioned the story of Isra.   Obama said:” Too many tears have been shed. Too much blood has been shed. All of us have a responsibility to work for the day when the mothers of Israelis and Palestinians can see their children grow up without fear; when the Holy Land of the three great faiths is the place of peace that God intended it to be; when Jerusalem is a secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslims, and a place for all of the children of Abraham to mingle peacefully together as in the story of Isra — (applause) — as in the story of Isra, when Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad, peace be upon them, joined in prayer. (Applause.)”

It sounds good, and there is now a movement started to promote “Chrislam”, where we ignore our differences, concentrate on what unites us and thus promote peace and goodwill.  There are a few problems with this approach. Jews, Christians and Muslims agree on many things pertaining to living and interpersonal relationships. The disagreements are about the essential parts of the respective faiths.

To get a glimpse of the differences   let us go through the last days of Moses, Jesus and Muhammad and see what a message they delivered to us.

Moses had delivered his people out of Egypt and was now, at the ripe old age of 120 years ready to enter the promised land. But because of Moses disobedience, God (YHWH) had told him that he was not allowed to enter into the promised land. He was however permitted to see it. So Moses recited his song and the blessings  on the tribes of Israel (Found in chapters 32 and 33 of Deuteronomy) ending with:

Deuteronomy 33:28-29 (King James Version) 28Israel then shall dwell in safety alone: the fountain of Jacob shall be upon a land of corn and wine; also his heavens shall drop down dew. 29Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the LORD, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency! and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places.

After that Moses went up Mount Nebo and saw the promised land Deuteronomy 34:4 (King James Version) 4And the LORD said unto him, This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither.

After that Moses died and to this day no one knows the place he was buried. The Bible goes on to record: Deuteronomy 34:10-12 (King James Version) And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, In all the signs and the wonders, which the LORD sent him to do in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to all his land, And in all that mighty hand, and in all the great terror which Moses shewed in the sight of all Israel.

This indicates there never was another prophet like Moses. But Moses promised another prophet was to come after him. This is found in Deuteronomy 18:14-18 (New International Version, ©2010) 14 The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the LORD your God has not permitted you to do so. 15 The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him. 16 For this is what you asked of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, “Let us not hear the voice of the LORD our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die.” 17 The LORD said to me: “What they say is good. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him.

We have two candidates: Jesus and Muhammad.

What about Jesus? Was Jesus a prophet?

The first reaction is: Of course, he was a prophet. Look at all he did and predicted. But that totally misses the point. Was He a prophet? Or was he more than a prophet?

In the Old Testament of the Bible there is an old book called Job. We do not know much about him except he was before Moses and has a reputation of being “patient as Job”, refusing to turn from God when a series of misfortunes happened to him. He was looking forward to a redeemer: Job 19:25-26 (King James Version) For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:

Was Jesus that redeemer? What does “redemption” mean? Christian belief is that the reason Jesus came to earth was to redeem mankind back to God. Because of sin man is incapable to do it himself, so God had to do it. For this reason Jesus came as God incarnate to die on a cross for our sins. According to  the prophesies given by Isaiah about 800 B.C. in chapter 53 Jesus rejection and crucifixion was described. The earliest preserved copy of Isaiah dates back to second century B.C. so the prophecy is secure. These are Jesus last words on the cross. They confirm it was Jesus that died on the cross and not someone else.

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34). The word of divine forgiveness.

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46.) Jesus became sin for us.

He said to his mother, “Woman, behold your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” (John 19:26-27). The word of love.

I thirst!” (John 19:28) The word of humanness.

“Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43) The word of promise.

“It is finished!” (John 19:30). The word of redemption.

“Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit.” (Luke 23:46). The word of death.

Many people stop there, as if these were Jesus’ last words. But death was not the end of Jesus. On the third day Jesus rose again and gave instructions to his faithful for forty days.

His last recorded words were:    “It is not for you to know times or seasons (of his return) that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” After that Jesus was taken up to heaven.

The third person in the trio was Muhammad. He had received messages from the angel Gabriel, very complimentary  about the Jewish people, the people of the Book, but while in Mecca he was not accepted as a Prophet so he moved on to Medina where he was accepted by some followers.

They asked the Jews whether he was the Prophet Moses spoke of, but the Jews said, No, not at all, he is an impostor and not “The Prophet”.

That changed things and the angel Gabriel told him to change the direction of their prayers from Jerusalem to Mecca, since they are in opposite direction of each other if you are in Medina. This forced people to disclose their true adherence.

From that moment on Gabriel changed his instructions to Muhammad and the feud was on. Muhammad and his team started to attack Jewish villages and force them into subservience. After a raid on a Jewish village a young Jewish girl poisoned Mohammad’s food. He never saw it coming, nor did Gabriel warn him so he ate it. He never recovered from it and died two years later.

Muhammad’s last recorded words before he died was: Hadith, Volume 2, Book 23, Number 414: Narrated ‘Urwa: Aisha said, “The Prophet in his fatal illness said, ‘Allah cursed the Jews and the Christians because they took the graves of their Prophets as places for praying.”‘ Aisha added, “Had it not been for that the grave of the Prophet (p.b.u.h) would have been made prominent but I am afraid it might be taken (as a) place for praying.

Volume 8, Book 75, Number 359: Narrated ‘Aisha: When Allah’s Apostle was healthy, he used to say, “No prophet dies till he is shown his place in Paradise, and then he is given the option (to live or die).” So when death approached him (during his illness), and while his head was on my thigh, he became unconscious for a while, and when he recovered, he fixed his eyes on the ceiling and said, “O Allah! (Let me join) the Highest Companions (see Qur’an 4:69),” I said, “So, he does not choose us.” Then I realized that it was the application of the statement he used to relate to us when he was healthy. So that was his last utterance (before he died), i.e. “O Allah! (Let me join) the Highest Companions.” (Surah 4:69 Sahih International And whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger – those will be with the ones upon whom Allah has bestowed favor of the prophets, the steadfast affirmers of truth, the martyrs and the righteous. And excellent are those as companions.

So Mohammad chose to curse Christians and Jews and join with his fellow martyrs.

You can judge for yourself which message to believe, which message is peaceful, and which message is the true message from God.

I have decided to follow Jesus. He is the risen Savior.