By Hal Lindsay
Evil has a new face in our world.
It’s the same old father of evil — Satan — working through the same old instrument of evil — Islam — but now it has a new manifestation: ISIS.
ISIS is the radically hardline Islamist terrorist army that is sweeping across parts of Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq, devouring or destroying everything in its path.
Known by various names, but most recently as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), it is now calling itself simply “The Islamic State.” Its deranged but charismatic leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (his nom de guerre), has declared the territory ISIS has captured to be the beginning of a new worldwide caliphate.
Of course, al-Baghdadi (whom TIME magazine calls “the world’s most dangerous man”) will be the new Caliph or leader of the world’s Muslims. How convenient that he has discovered that he is descended from Mohammed.
From its beginning as part of the U.S. and E.U.-financed opposition to Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad, ISIS has grown into an army of more than 10,000. Some analysts estimate as many as 20,000 have joined its ranks and more are enlisting every day. Among them, at least 100 Americans and more than 1,000 Europeans.
The ISIS terrorists are brutal beyond belief. So barbaric, in fact, that even al-Qaeda has publicly disowned them. They suppress, pillage, rape, destroy, and kill for the fun of it. It’s reported that on a single day in late July, the ISIS barbarians brutally executed more than 1,500 captured Iraqi soldiers.
One thing that makes ISIS so dangerous — and so frightening to those who oppose it — is that its members do not fear death. They welcome it. That’s because they are so deluded that they believe that “achieving” death while murdering the infidel and apostate will gain them entry into a paradise with limitless sexual pleasure.
Another of Satan’s masterpieces of deception.
Not only do they subjugate, persecute, and murder Christians and other religious minorities by crucifixion and beheading wherever they find them (including women and children), they do the same to other Muslims who do not live as they believe or convert to their way of life. In areas they control, women are commandeered as sex slaves to service the ISIS fighters.
ISIS is nothing short of a plague. And like a plague, left unchecked it may rapidly grow to consume everything around it — and everyone.
The situation has become so alarming, especially as it threatens Christians in the Middle East and all other religious minorities, that even Pope Francis has called on the United Nations and the West to quickly employ whatever military force is needed to defeat ISIS. That alone speaks volumes.
Folks, even those of us who have studied this region and these players for decades and who view these events with clear eyes and a sense of reality are stunned by the insidious complexity of everything that’s happening there now. Our community-organizer-and-fundraiser-in-chief doesn’t seem to have a clue. He and John Kerry still think ISIS can be placated by the installation of a new, “more inclusive” government in Baghdad.
I’ve got news for Mr. Obama and Mr. Kerry, “inclusiveness” doesn’t matter to ISIS and al-Baghdadi. They don’t want a place at the table in Iraq’s government. They’re intent on building a caliphate of which Iraq will be merely a subject.
And even though the administration may argue that a new, more inclusive and unified government in Baghdad will somehow find its lost courage and unite to defeat ISIS, that’s whistling past the graveyard. To the West, this is not a holy war. It’s all about politics and appeasement. But to ISIS and the Sunni jihadis who are flocking to join, holy war is exactly what it is.
Frankly, though, it’s just this kind of unfathomable naivete (or delusion) that will make possible the catastrophic events of the last days prophetic scenario.
But what makes this so much more dangerous — or pesky if you happen to be on vacation this week — is that ISIS now controls Iraq’s main oil refinery and seeks to gain control of all of Iraq’s oil production and delivery capabilities. If that happens, the world will transform in a day. You see, ISIS intends to use Iraq’s and the Middle East’s oil supplies to cripple America and the West.
But this isn’t even the worst part. If Iraq falls, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are next door. If Hezbollah has to leave Syria, where it is guaranteeing Assad’s survival, to shore up its home front in Lebanon, then Syria may go quickly. If Syria falls, Jordan will be easy pickings. And that puts ISIS and all the wealth, war materiel, and weapons it has captured at Israel’s doorstep.
Now, I’m not saying that will definitely happen. And I’m hoping that the West’s leaders will wise up and make a stand, but every day that passes guarantees that it will be that much harder to defeat this Satanic force. It’s like a West Texas tornado, the more it sucks up into its vortex, the more ferocious and lethal it becomes.
These dramatic events make obvious three things that we who believe and follow Christ need to do. First, pray desperately for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are facing Satan’s full force in those parts of the world where Islam oppresses and darkness reigns.
Second, realize that these painful and frightening developments are part of the turmoil that Jesus warned would occur at the end of this Age of Grace. Make sure you, your family, and your friends, neighbors, and co-workers are ready to stand in these troublesome days and leave when Jesus calls us to heaven.
Finally, don’t give in to despair. Remember what Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.” (John 14:1). Then, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Even in these troubled times, you can know the inexplicable and indispensable peace that only true faith in God and His promises can provide.