In my post September 11th and God’s War On Terror I encouraged any and all who are willing to listen to recognize that western civilization is being threatened daily by the forces of darkness behind Jihad. I also made the recommendation that bears repeating that those who name the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, God, and King need to respond to the End of Days call to submit yourself to God and resist the devil… daily. To study the reality of the dire need, I again recommend the book- God’s War on Terror by Walid Shoebat.
Some years ago, I read a historical essay by Rick Joyner- one of my favorite writers, entitled Courage That Changed History. It carefully details the conflict between Christendom and Islam during the Middle Ages, which by the grace of the true and living God- allowed Divine Justice to prevail and Christianity to expand worldwide. We find ourselves at a crossroads where history which is cyclic is again repeating itself. Unless the true people of God wake up and seek the Lord in prayer and fasting, we may one day find that those who believe in the Holy Bible as the Living Word of God will be forced underground, persecuted, and beheaded for our faith in Christ… that is the objective of Islam- that is the mandate of those who follow Mohammed- and worship a god of war called Allah.
Rev. 6:9-11… When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”
And a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.
Rev. 20:4… And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
Islam is the only religious/governmental system that beheads those who refuse to bow to Allah. WAKE UP! Before it’s too late western civilization must realize that the empire that almost swallowed up the entire world in the Middle Ages, is still on the relentless pursuit of world dominion… one way or another.
It is a true statement: “Those who do not learn from history, are destined to repeat it.” To help avert greater future disaster due to ignorance, complacency, or procrastination- I give you the full text of Rick Joyner’s challenging and timely essay:
Courage That Changed History
The exploits of the Knights of St. John during the Middle Ages is one of the greatest accounts of courage, endurance, and focused devotion to a calling since Biblical times. Against seemingly impossible odds, these knights took their stand against the most powerful armies of Islam and prevailed. The Lord is today calling for “knights” with the same devotion, courage and focused vision to take their stand against the enemies of truth. What the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, Rhodes, and Malta accomplished in their physical battles must be achieved today in the spiritual realm. This is written so that we can take heart from the exploits of these valiant men.
Humility before Honor
Before the great, strategic battles of Rhodes and Malta, the nations of Europe scorned the Order of St. John as “archaic relics of the past”, denying them supplies and reinforcements. Still they refused to yield, determining rather to die than to yield a single acre to the enemies of Christ. Soon the great nations of Europe which had once scorned the knights stood in awe at their exploits, ultimately acknowledging that these few brave souls had saved them from Moslem conquest.
Though the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but spiritual, there are great and timely lessons in the amazing history of the Order of St. John. The battle they fought is still raging. The tide of spiritual darkness pressing upon the world today is even greater than the conflict between Christendom and Islam in the Middle Ages, and it will take no less courage, endurance and vision to turn it back than these valiant knights displayed.
The Story Begins
Their remarkable story began in Jerusalem in 1080 with the establishment of the first hospitals, which they founded to serve pilgrims to the Holy City. The military branch of the order was established shortly thereafter to protect the pilgrims from robbers. the military branch, which never numbered more than a few thousand men, went on to become one of the most important strategic forces ever to march or sail. Their epic battles at Rhodes and Malta changed the course of history possibly as much as any battles ever fought.
Shortly after the Crusades ended the Turkish Ottoman Empire arose to become the most powerful empire in the world. After conquering the Middle East, much of Africa and Eastern Europe it stood poised to devour the rest of Europe. The remaining Christian nations of Europe were so embroiled in political and religious wars with each other that they could not raise a common army to stand against the Turks. It appeared that there was nothing that could stop this tidal wave of Islam from completing its subjugation of the world for Allah. The little band of the Knights of St. John were not regarded as of any real military value, but they took their stand with a tenacity and courage that caused even their enemies to marvel and honor them. Their standard with the famous Maltese Cross was, for a time, the only standard to be saluted by every nation in the world.
Islam has a theology of Jihad, which is a Holy War to conquer the world by force for Allah. War is glorified in Islam and death in Jihad guaranteed one his place in heaven, regardless of previous sins. the most esteemed men of this religion are those who prevailed in battle. then, as it is today, when the religious leaders proclaimed a conflict to be a Jihad, the doors of heaven were opened to anyone who gave their life for the cause. Multitudes saw Jihad as their opportunity to gain heaven in spite of their debauchery and actually hoped to die in battle. This made warriors of Islam some of the most deadly and feared that the world has ever seen.
Even in the Middle Ages, Christendom had a different theology about war and warriors. Peace was holy and both wars and warriors were considered necessary evils, but evils nonetheless. This put the Christian West at a distinct disadvantage in confronting Islam. Then the popes changed the rules and sponsored the crusades whereby religious adventurers could gain eternal glories for their participation. For almost two centuries, from 1096 to 1291, wave after wave of Christians swept across the Middle East in crusades to recapture the Holy Land from the Moslems. This conflict did not end with the crusades but laid the foundation for the conflict in the region that continues to the present time.
The Shame of Christendom
Though the Moslems were fearless warriors, they were generally honorable and even generous with their defeated enemies. They had shown a considerable degree of religious tolerance in the lands under their control and had permitted Christians to visit their shrines. The Eastern European Christians had been like wise tolerant of the Moslems, even allowing a Moslem quarter and Mosque in Constantinople (present day Istanbul), one of the great cities of Christendom at that time. Of course there were many atrocities on both sides, as there always has been when men take the field of battle, but a chivalry and code of honor generally prevailed in the conflict until the beginning of the twelfth century.
As the crusaders laid siege to Jerusalem in 1099, the Moslem governor showed consideration to his Christian subjects, even allowing them to leave the city to join the crusaders. On July 15, when the Christians finally breached the walls and conquered the city, their blood lust and and cruelty was so great that whenever the story was ever told even the battle hardened warriors were appalled. Moslem men, women, and children were slaughtered by the thousands, even those who had been promised clemency and stood under the banner of the Christians. The Jews of the city were likewise massacred; hundreds who had fled to the synagogue were killed as it was torched. The mosques, including the Dome of the Rock, were plundered. Whatever codes of chivalry or honor that had existed in the conflict up to that time went up with the smoke of the city.
The Ascension of the Order
Nearly twenty years before the conquest of Jerusalem, a Catholic monk named Brother Gerard had founded two hospices for pilgrims in Jerusalem, one for men and one for women. These became the very first hospitals. He dedicated them to St. John the Baptist. Godfrey of Bouillon, the first Christian governor after the conquest of Jerusalem, made a gift of land to the hospices. As the conflict with Islam continued, later rulers of the city made it a custom to give a tenth of their spoil to these hospices, which had, by then become hospitals. In 1113 the pope recognized the servants of these hospitals as an independent order giving them even more prestige and power.
As the conflict between Islam and Christendom escalated, the order was forced to establish a new branch of service to the pilgrims– a military arm devoted to their protection. Though they were to become forever famous for their military exploits, the Order of St. John never forgot their humble beginnings. They have established and maintained some of the world’s finest hospitals and remained faithful to what they considered their first duty– the defense and care of the sick, the poor and the oppressed. Even to this day the knights of the Order of St. John are referred to as “the Hospitallers” and are internationally renowned for their generosity and service.
The Second Shame of Christendom
Until the thirteenth century most of the conflict between Islam and Christendom had been carried out in the Middle East. The Byzantine Empire, headquartered in Constantinople, had provided a formidable shield against any Islamic adventures into Christian Europe. To the consternation of the pope and Christian kings throughout Europe, the Fourth Crusade to leave Western Europe turned on Constantinople, sacking and destroying it in 1204. Pope Innocent III condemned the crusaders outright. The attack on Constantinople by the crusaders proved to be one of the most despicable and foolish acts in history. Not only were Eastern and Western churches divided, but the shield that Constantinople had provided against Islam was destroyed.
The crusades and crusaders then continued to fall into such debauchery that even their victories horrified the public and lead to further disintegration and disunity. This opened the door even wider for Islam, and the fortunes of the Christians began to reverse on the battlefields with Islam. With the plundering of Constantinople by the Crusaders and the division of the Eastern and Western churches, the Christian churches of Europe fell into constant quarrels within their own camp. At the same time Islam was unifying under brilliant and able leaders. Each passing year saw Christendom grow weaker and Islam grow stronger. After centuries of being plundered by the crusaders, Islam began to plunder Christian Europe. Soon the Moslems were planning a complete conquest of Christendom.
The Order of St. John had become wealthy and powerful from the booty of the Crusades and by their constant raiding of the Moslem shipping and caravans. They were not exempt from all the corruption and politics of the day, but as Christendom was increasingly distracted by the conflicts within, the Knights of St. John stayed remarkably focused on the enemy without– the Turks and the increasing threat of Islam.
A New Home for the Knights
Forced out of Jerusalem, the knights of St. John held the last fortress in Palestine, where the entire garrison chose to die before surrendering. Only the wounded who had been carried to nearby ships lived to tell of the courage the knights had displayed before being overwhelmed by the superior numbers arrayed against them. After the loss of Palestine, the Order then found a home on Rhodes, one of the most beautiful islands in the Aegean Sea. It was also one of the most strategic, right in the middle of Moslem shipping lanes.
Rhodean seamen had been famous for centuries as some of the most capable and they instructed the Order in nautical excellence. The knights learned well and quickly became some of the most capable mariners in the world. Rhodes was situated precariously almost within sight of the heart of the Ottoman Empire, but the knights saw it as convenience. They quickly made themselves odious to the Ottomans with the boldness of their raids. for the next one hundred and fifty years the Order was so efficient in its sea war that the Turks and Moslems were discouraged from even trying to become a great sea power.
The knights also continually worked to improve the fortifications at Rhodes. As Christian Europe became increasingly embroiled in its own disputes, the pope’s call to arms against Islam fell on deaf ears, while one of the most distinguished leaders in Turkish history, Mehmet, was unifying Islam. A brilliant man who was fluent in a half-dozen languages and possessed extensive knowledge of literature and science, Mehmet quickly raised the cultural and military excellence of his people to a level which surpassed the great nations of Europe.
The First Battle of Rhodes
Mehmet was also a conqueror at heart who fashioned himself after Alexander the Great. He marched on Constantinople and subdued it, after which Europe lay before his army like an open treasure chest. But before he could take the rest of Europe, he had to do something about the annoying knights at Rhodes who continued to plunder his shipping and supply lines. In 1480 Mehmet sent his most able generals with an army of 70,000 men to subdue the 600 knights and 1,500 to 2,000 militia at Rhodes. It seemed like a considerable waste to send such a large army to subdue such a small garrison, but the knights had proved so capable in previous conflicts that Mehmet wanted to take no chances. Christian Europe, with apparent good reason, saw no hope for the knights against such odds and would send no reinforcements or even supplies. It appeared to all that the siege of Rhodes would be brief and decisive.
After landing his army, Mehmet’s siege cannons began to batter the walls the Order had spent over a century building. Numerous other cannons hurled projectiles over the walls into the city. The Grand Master of the Order was a Frenchman named D’Aubusson. He was a remarkable leader of men who had with great foresight prepared his knights for the siege he knew would one day come. He had even built shelters for the townspeople so that they could escape the bombardment. Knowing that they could expect little or no help from Europe, D’Aubusson had nevertheless determined that they would not abandon a single acre to Islam as long as they could draw a bow or wield a sword.
In early June, after days of bombardment, the first wave of assault troops attacked the Tower of St. Nicholas, an outlying fortification of the city. The Moslems were shocked by the stiff resistance they met and were repulsed with many casualties. The Turks then began another general bombardment that would hurl over a thousand cannon balls a day at the city continuously for several weeks. The walls began to collapse while the Turks snaked closer and closer with their trenches. At night fires burned everywhere from the grenades and incendiaries. Those who were present at Rhodes declared that a scene out of hell itself could be no worse. Still the knights refused to yield.
On June 18, the Turks launched a second human wave assault led by the fearsome Janissaries, renowned as the greatest fighters in the world. Each Janissary had been chosen from age seven because of his physical potential and trained his entire life for combat. They had been forbidden to marry or engage in any kind of family affections in order to focus all of their emotions and energy on battle. They began their assault under the cover of darkness expecting to find the knights sleeping, but they were at their posts waiting. Swords, arrows and gunfire filled the night. As the sun rose it revealed multitudes of Janissarie bodies filling the moats around the tower of St. Nicholas, and the knights still standing on the battered walls.
The disbelieving Turkish generals had never experienced such a military setback. They turned to subterfuge to pry the knights from their fortress city. they planted agents in the city by having them pretend to be defectors to the Christians (many of the Sultan’s troops were captives from Christian nations). These spies were soon able to create serious tactical problems for the knights, who were now being pressed from within and without. Each day presented a new crisis that threatened their very existence. The fortifications were crumbling everywhere, even at the most strategic points. Still they held on. Then the Turks began amassing for a final great assault that both sides fully expected to be the end.
The great assault began on July 27. The knights and the remaining militia took their positions on the broken walls. The Sultan sent his Bashi-Bazouk troops first. These were mercenaries who were considered expendable, and they were expended as wave after wave were cut down by the defenders. Their bodies soon filled the ditches and streams making human bridges that led up to the walls, which had in fact been the strategy of the Turkish generals. Then the tired and wounded defenders watched as great waves of the fearsome Janissaries arose and advanced, even more resolute now because of their previous humiliation.
The Turks quickly overwhelmed the strategic Tower of St. Nicholas, which had taken the brunt of the main assault for nearly two months. The knights still contested every acre of ground, which the Turks paid dearly for as it seemed every square foot of ground was covered with their slain. D’Aubusson, with an arrow in his thigh, lead a dozen knights and three standard bearers up a ladder and onto the wall. There D’Aubusson received four more wounds, before a Janissary “of gigantic structure” hurled a spear right through his breastplate, puncturing his lung. He was dragged out of the fray just as the enemy made a breach in the defenses and began to pour into the city by the thousands. It appeared that the end of the Knights of St. John had finally come.
In hand to hand combat, over burning rubble, through choking smoke and fire, in possibly the worst hell that men could create for themselves on the earth, the Turks continued to throw themselves against the remaining knights. But the tenacity of the knights and their ability to inflict casualties astonished the Turks and soon even began to dismay the Janissaries. Then, above the smoke and turmoil of this terrible inferno, on a remaining parapet, D’Aubusson’s standards suddenly appeared, held by three bearers in shining armor who appeared almost as gods from the hell below. The affect on the Moslems was electrifying. A wave of fear swept through the army. The remaining Bashi began to flee in such a terror that it soon overwhelmed the Janissaries. The entire Moslem army then began to melt away in confusion, retreating at the very moment when total victory was easily within their grasp.
As the Moslems fled, Rhodian sharpshooters on the walls poured a deadly fire into them. The remaining knights amazingly found enough strength to counterattack, chasing the Sultan’s troops all the way to their base camp. Within ten days the shattered army that had been the pride of the Ottomans had fled the island. To the astonishment of the entire world, the Order of St. John had not only survived– they had prevailed. All of Europe celebrated. All of Islam was enraged.
For deeper insight into how GOD the Father sees His children; to better understand the elementary principles of Christ (Hebrews 6:1-3); the ‘mysteries’ of Christ’s Kingdom; and our individual and corporate calling, commission, and empowerment- please review my first published book and the Table of Contents on the Amazon website linked here via Book Title: “Thy Kingdom Come- Here and Now!”