While spokespersons in the State Department and the Obama administration assert that ISIS recruits join the jihad for lack of economic opportunities, the obvious appears glaringly different. We are literally seeing hundreds of middle-class young adults from the West travel great distances for the glory of fighting and dying in the dessert as soldiers of Islam.
Disallowing this tribal connection with the revival of medieval Islam leaves the impression the deniers are living in some alternative universe and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is some interdimensional being.
When will the deniers snap out of it?
Not everyone is out of touch with reality. I enjoyed reading Graeme Wood’s enlightening article entitled: What ISIS Really Wants, in the March 2015 edition of The Atlantic. Wood indicates that ISIS derives its theology from learned interpretations of Islam—following a very extreme form of Islam known as Salafism, which in Arabic means “pious forefathers.” They believe that Islam was dead for over 1,000 years, yet was gloriously reborn in 2014 when the Caliphate was declared by al-Baghdadi.
Jesus has a unique role in the cataclysmic close of history according to ISIS theology. Graeme Wood’s article in very long, however, I wish to share several interesting tidbits about ISIS concerning their unique version of the coming Apocalypse:
- The Islamic State is committed to purifying the world by killing vast numbers of people. ISIS holds the position that many acts can remove a Muslim from Islam. These actions can include wearing Western clothes, selling alcohol or drugs, shaving one’s beard, voting in an election or being a Shiite. This means that as many as 200 million Shia Muslims could be marked for death as the jihadists await the fulfillment of the unfolding prophecies of the end of time.
- The Islamic State places great importance on the Syrian city of Dabiq. It is there, the Prophet reportedly said, that the armies of Rome will set up their camp. The armies of Islam will meet them, and Dabiq will be Rome’s Waterloo or its Antietam.
- Now that ISIS has Dabiq under its control, they feel the final battle is coming soon. They believe an anti-Messiah known in Muslim apocalyptic literature as Dajjal, will come from the Khorasan region of eastern Iran and kill a vast number of the caliphate’s fighters. Five-thousand remaining jihadists are cornered in Jerusalem.
- Just as Dajjal prepares to finish off these 5,000 true warriors of Islam, Jesus—the second-most-revered prophet in Islam returns to earth and spears Dajjal and leads the Muslim army to a glorious victory.
Since Iranian soldiers are now fighting on Iraqi soil (remember the prophecy that Dajjal will come from Iran), the ISIS fighters must be confident they are making holy history.
I was stopped in my tracks when I read their end-time belief that 5,000 Islamic fighters will eventually be cornered in Jerusalem. This means at some point the caliph al-Baghdadi could issue an order for thousands of armed-to-the-teeth jihadists go to Jerusalem in preparation for the final battle.
If Benjamin Netanyahu wins the upcoming election in Israel, I do not foresee him being very favorable of the arrival of any Islamic State army—do you?
As a Christian, I believe our eschatology carries more weight than the younger Muslim latter day version. But, how now shall we live?
Until Jesus comes back, we must face the evils before us in our sin-saturated world. Winston Churchill tried earnestly to warn his countrymen and the world of Hitler’s hidden agenda. For years, his clarion call fell on deaf ears. Churchill spoke of the “unteachability of mankind”—of leaders and citizens doing nothing to stop the evil in its infancy. Finally, when things get so bad … “self-preservation strikes its jarring gong.”
For me, every time I see a beheading, I hear the “jarring gong” of truth that medieval Islam has been revived and released like a genie from its bottle.
Sadly, I seem to hear the same “jarring gong” every time our president makes disclaimers like, “ISIL is not Islamic.”
It leaves me talking to myself and asking, “Am I living in the Twilight Zone?”
© Ron F. Hale, March 8, 2015