The Terrorist Who Met God
Zachariah Anani was born into a family of Muslim clergy in Beirut, Lebanon. He was expected to follow in the footsteps of his Great-grandfather, and Grandfather, who were Imams, (religious authorities) and so was sent, at age three, to Islamic school. At age 13 he joined one of the many militia groups that existed in the 70's, funded by the Palestine Liberation Organization. His family was delighted, because according to Islamic tradition, those who die on the battlefield against the infidel have a right to enter heaven, and their family is to be respected. He was trained to hate Jews, Christians, and Americans, and he was taught how to fight and kill, both with weapons and with bare hands.
In his organization, if a killing was witnessed by two or more militia members, a point was placed on his chart. Soon after enlisting he made his first kill, and by the time he was 17, there were 223 points on his chart. Anani describes two types of effects this environment had on young Muslims. Either they became insanely fanatical about Islam, or they became cold and dead on the inside. The latter was Anani's reaction. By the time he was 16 he had seen so much killing and violence, that life literally meant nothing to him and even his comrades feared him. Anani was promoted to troop leader, and then formed his own regiment. Once a devout Muslim joined, and began going door to door at 3 A.M. to wake everyone for morning prayers. Anani warned him, "I don't want to pray, don't come and wake me." The next morning he was back knocking at his door announcing prayer time. Anani pulled a pistol from under his pillow, shot him through the door, and went back to sleep. Anani himself, fully expected to be dead before he turned 20.
Alone and bored one day, he came across a missionary affiliated with Operation Mobilization, preaching on a street corner. Realizing he was a Christian, Anani quickly turned to walk away, only to be stopped in his tracks by the missionary's statement: "Jesus Christ will give you new life, hope, and salvation." Waiting until the missionary was finished, Anani approached him: "Do you really believe what you said?" he asked. After a brief discussion, the missionary pushed his card into Anani's hand and said, "Call whenever you want." Unable to sleep that night, he kept replaying the missionary's words in his mind. "Jesus Christ will give you new life, hope, and salvation. The next day he called the missionary, and met with him. He wept when he heard that Jesus Christ had died on the cross, paying for His, Anani's sins. He opened a Bible for the first time in his life and read Jesus' words: "Come unto me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." That afternoon Anani gave his life to Jesus Christ. Anani says "That started a change in my life."
Anani's first reaction was to share the joy of his new life in Jesus with his family. "I went and told my parents and everybody the next day. I didn't hide my faith." His family immediately responded. His father tore apart Anani's Bible and slapped him. His mother warned all the neighbors to keep their children away from him. As the word of his conversion spread, Muslim leaders in Beirut ordered him on trial for apostasy. He was interrogated by an Imam who asked him intelligent questions. Anani felt the inadequacy of his answers, but he knew that he knew he was a Christian now, that he belonged to Jesus. He was beaten unconscious and excommunicated. He was given three days to recant and come back to the mosque a Muslim, or anybody had the right to kill him. Three days later, Anani had still not abandoned Jesus Christ, so his own father hired three Kurdish assassins to kill him. In the ensuing years, there have been 18 attempts on his life. In one attempt Anani barely escaped several attackers on the streets of Beirut. "They knifed me, there was a big gash wound in my neck." he says. "By the time I was carried to the hospital I was clinically pronounced dead." As his vital signs faded, one doctor worked feverishly to revive him. Miraculously Anani survived the attack, as well as many others. "It seems the Lord doesn't want me to go up to him yet," he says. "When God has his hand on you, nothing can happen."
Gone is Anani's hatred and emptiness. It is replaced with love and joy for all people, including Jews. Since he left Lebanon in 1996, not only does Anani boldly share the love of Jesus Christ to everyone, but he also speaks publicly, exposing the lies of Islam concerning Israel, and Jews. The former Beirut militia fighter continues to marvel at the changes God brought forth in his life. "When I look back I'm sad about what I was forced to do as a kid," Anani says. "Now in Christ I'm a new creature and I'm covered by His blood."
For more information concerning Zachariah Anani, go to the website, 3 ex terrorists.com
What actually happened to Zachariah Anani? What was it actually that produced the dramatic change in his life? To born again Christians, Anani's transformation, while dramatic, is not at all unusual. There are literally millions around the world today who have experienced this transformation Jesus called being "born again." Our churches are replete with similar stories going all the way back to the time of Christ. But to really understand what happened to Zachariah Anani, we need to go back a lot further than that. We need to go back to the Prophets who promised the coming of the Savior. Moses said He would be a prophet like him, Who would come with God's message to man. (Deuteronomy 18:19) Isaiah said He would be born of a virgin. (Isaiah 7:14) Micah told us that He would be born in the town of Bethlehem. (Micah 5:2) Isaiah said He would heal the sick, the lame, the deaf, and the dumb. "Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, (deer) and the tongue of the dumb sing." (Isaiah 35:5-6) Isaiah said also, that in spite of these miracles, He would be rejected of His people and killed, but it would be in His death He would accomplish His mission to man. He being innocent, would die in the place of us sinners. He would literally bear the punishment coming to us, so we could be forgiven, and allowed into Heaven freely. , ". . . He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief: . . . Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace (with God) was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep are gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all. " (Isaiah 53) David said He would not stay dead. (Psalm 16:8-10) Isaiah said the news of this Savior would spread around the world with many finding forgiveness and Salvation through Him. (Isaiah 52:14-15, 53:11) Daniel told us that all this would happen shortly before Jerusalem would be destroyed. (Daniel 9:26) All these promises were fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
There is another set of promises however, that talked about the nature of the Salvation this Savior would offer to all mankind, and this describes exactly what happened to Zacheriah Anani. I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh. That they may walk in my statutes, and keep my ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God. . (Jeremiah 31:31 Ezekiel 11:19-21 Isaiah 49:3-7) God promised that in the times of this Savior, He would begin to do a new thing. His salvation would be complete, He would not only forgive the sins of those who trusted in the Savior, but He would take out their hard, cold, hearts that hated Him, or were disinterested in Him, and replace them with hearts that loved Him and followed Him. God promised that He would put a new spirit in those who trusted in the Savior. It is a point of fact that this describes exactly what has happened to millions of people around the world for two thousand years, who have trusted Jesus as their Savior from sin.
The fact that this new birth is real is only half the story. Jesus said it was necessary. The wind bloweth where it listeth (wants to) and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh and whither it goeth, so is every one that is born of the Spirit ." John 3:8 "Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3) Have you been born again? Have you experienced the forgiveness of sins Zachariah Anani and millions of others have? Have you experienced the salvation from sin he did? Do what Zachariah Anani did. Believe on Jesus Christ as your Savior. The Bible promises: "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thy heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." (Romans 10:9) Jesus Christ promised: "All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me, and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."
Think about it. Would God have gone to the trouble of providing a very real salvation from sin, if sin did not matter to Him? It does matter to Him very much. He warns, "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8
Pray a prayer from your heart like this: Dear Jesus, I am sorry for my sins. I realize that you paid for them in full when you died on the cross. I believe you rose from the dead. Please forgive my sins and save me. As of right now I trust you as my Savior from sin and hell. Thank you for your promise. Thank you for saving me. Amen.
If you prayed that prayer and meant it, would you let us know so we can pray for you and help you get started in your spiritual growth? It only takes a moment to become a Christian, but growing as a Christian takes a lifetime.