Lamentations 3:37—Who is there who speaks and it happens, unless the Lord has ordained it?
Dr. Sebastian Gorka gave a fascinating presentation to a gathering of Army Reserve command teams in Alexandria, Virginia. His speech was entitled, “Understanding the Rise of ISIS and the Role of Religion in the Commander’s Area of Responsibility (AOR).” In the last 200 years, 460 wars were fought with 80% of them classified as unconventional. Dr. Gorka shared this fact to establish that we are badly mistaken if we think that conventional armies arrayed to do battle are the norm. Then he went on to explain why ISIS is so dangerous.
On June 29, 2015 Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, after almost a century of absence, formally reestablished the theocratic empire of Islam in a sermon from the pulpit of the Grand Mosque in Mosul. In the last year, his terror group, ISIS, which today we should call by its new name of the Islamic State, has grown to become the most dangerous insurgency of the modern era.
A caliphate is a form of Islamic government led by a leader considered as the political and religious successor to the prophet Muhammad. With Baghdadi as caliph, frightening events are taking place. When Christians are executed, they have their throats slit in keeping with the Koran’s instructions. Any Muslim who attacks ISIS followers is considered apostate and again in keeping with the Koran is burned alive. In the city of Mosul, every Christian home is marked with a graffiti-like red circle and inner markings that eerily harken back to WWII when Jews were forced in Germany to wear yellow stars. Where once there were approximately 1.4 million Christians in Iraq today less than 200,000 reside there.
ISIS is a unique threat for four reasons:
1. It is the richest movement of its kind in modern history netting over a billion dollars through its fundraising and illicit activities.
2. It is the first transnational insurgency. ISIS controls territory in both Iraq and Syria, with the intent of displacing both the Assad government and the government in Baghdad. Yet its greater goal is to destroy all un-Islamic regimes. Even Nigeria’s Boko Haram joined ISIS and changed its name to The West Africa Province of the Islamic State.
3. Its rapid ability to recruit jihadists is unprecedented. Nearly 20,000 fighters have left their homes around the globe to join this movement. Dr. Gorka noted, “We cannot kill our way out of this war.” For every terrorist the military takes out, twenty more are recruited and thrown into the fray.
4. Its global, social media-based propaganda seems impervious to destruction.
Abu Bakr preaches that before the end of the world there will be a great final holy war, or Jihad, in the land of Al Shaam, the Arabic word for Greater Syria and the Levant. This leader of the new Caliphate has “the eschatology of a faith followed by over 1 billion Muslims on his side.”
So what should we conclude? Clearly, our government must stop downplaying the threat of ISIS and recognize the gravitas of the threat by taking appropriate countermeasures. Second, for those Christians who believe we are living in the end times, we ought to know that our enemy shares this perspective. And while the threat to Israel and every other non-Muslim nation expands, so should our faith that God is in control and our prayer “Come Lord Jesus!”
©2015 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)