I’ve been following the progress of the Al Qaeda splinter group ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) for two weeks now. Their progress in gobbling territory has been impressively swift. Without doubt, the Iraqi army (and the US) were caught off guard. Also without doubt, the firepower ISIS possesses and the fervent intent and knowledge with which they use it has resulted in being able to out-maneuver the Iraqi army at most points.
ISIS plans to take Baghdad, they plan to take as much territory as they can, and institute an Islamic State. A caliphate. As a matter of fact, they released a map of their intent. I’ve searched as to the origin of the map and have 75% confidence that it is real. (Only 75% because I haven’t been able to corroborate it through a recognized news media. Despite their name, Weasel Zippers does a good job at presenting alternative news).
I thought the commentary at the source made sense:
It reminds me of old pictures of the Nazi creep from World War II. Hitler said what he planned to do, just nobody really listened or believed he actually meant it. Seizing what they have so far has given them billions in assets and a functioning oilfield that can sustain a state.
The map includes northern Africa and Egypt, places the bible says will form an alliance to attack Israel in the last of the last days.(Ezekiel 38-39). It also includes all of the areas surrounding Israel, places where the bible says Psalm 83 will take place. And it also includes places east of Iran, which is east of the Euphrates. The Euphrates River (also called The Great River in scripture) historically been seen as the easternmost border of the Middle East and after that, Asia. Notably, the Euphrates is the easternmost portion of the land God promised to give Israel. Beyond the Great River, it is typically considered the ‘East’ and from whence the Kings of the East will march at the end of the Tribulation. (Revelation 16:12).
The ISIS map looks like it could be an area of one of the ten kingdoms the bible says the world will be split into. I’m not saying it will be, just that this is one of the ways it might happen. At the very least, ISIS continues to have success in their jihadist military aims.
Washington Post reports today,
ISIS fighters control much of Iraq’s western border after seizing three more towns
Al-Qaeda-inspired rebels captured three more towns in the western Iraqi province of Anbar on Sunday, expanding their onslaught against crumbling Iraqi security forces deeper into the heart of the Middle East. The latest conquests give the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) unchecked control of hundreds of miles of territory spanning the Iraqi-Syrian border, erasing the line drawn between the two countries by colonial powers.
I wrote on Friday that borders are going to be erased and/or re-drawn. I wrote that this is a common thing that has regularly occurred throughout history, and always happens when there’s war. I also said that for the ten kingdoms to come about as prophesied in the Tribulation, much re-drawing is going to take place. It seems like it has already.
The militants of the Al-Qaeda splinter group ISIS, also known as ISIL, managed to capture three new towns and two border crossings on Sunday, according to eyewitnesses, officials, and security sources.Army troops withdrew from Rawah, Anah and Rutba this morning and ISIS moved quickly to completely control these towns,” an unnamed military intelligence official told Reuters after the three had fallen. The militants captured the three towns in Iraq’s western province of Anbar, Reuters reported. Later in the day, militants seized two border crossings – one with Jordan and one with Syria, Iraqi officials told AP.
Of course the unstable situation has caused concern in the region. Our Secretary of State Kerry has arrived in Baghdad to work with leaders there.
As radical Sunni militants snatch city after city in their march toward Baghdad, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Iraq on Monday during the country’s tensest time since the U.S. withdrawal of troops in 2011.
And Kuwait has made a move:
DUBAI: Kuwait has withdrawn its ambassador from Iraq due to the security situation there, a Kuwaiti official told Reuters Monday. “We told our ambassador and diplomatic team (to leave) more than a week ago … This is because of the security situation in Iraq. When we feel the situation has become stable and normal again they will go back,” said Khaled Al-Jarallah, Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry Undersecretary.
And Jordan has made a move. They sent extra security to the border as I related in the news piece last Sunday, June 15, “Jordan braces for ISIS“. Since then however, ISIS has taken over the province next to Jordan, Anbar; and took a checkpoint just over the border with Iraq. So today the King of Jordan reassures his people
“Although the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has controlled Rutba which is located 60km (37mi) northeast to the border with Jordan, this does not pose a threat to the Kingdom, officials and experts said on Sunday. Army troops [of Iraq] withdrew from Rawa, Ana and Rutba on Sunday morning and ISIL moved quickly to completely control these towns, Reuters reported Sunday. A top government source told The Jordan Times that “our border with Iraq is under full control”, saying that the latest developments are not threatening to national security. The two countries have a 180km (111mi) shared border.
Can ISIS accomplish what they seemingly want to do? Well, they have accomplished quite a bit in the last two weeks. They pulled off a 450M bank heist, and they have obtained an oil field. They have the personnel, money, and arms to do accomplish much. They also have the zealous will. As to a zealous will, see this next item. It is a screen shot of a tweet from an ISIS supporter I follow on Twitter:
I did not care to watch the video. The outcome is made plain enough by the words in the tweet. The words, however made me cry. With this uprising in the Middle East (yet another uprising), people who have lived their entire lives in despair being apart from our Holy God, give their lives to a cause that one nanosecond after death they discover was all worthless. Their entire lives have been worthless, and they will know that their entire eternal future will be in flames.
There is no Allah to receive the unsaved Muslim into heaven. There is only the echo of laughter from an evil satan to accompany the suicide bomber on his journey to hell. Evil laughter … and flames.
In 2009 as the uprising in Tehran occurred, a bystander to a protest was shot. This Islamic Philosophy student’s death was the most widely watched live death in human history, and it became a rallying point for the protest. Her name was Neda Soltan, and her last words were, “I’m burning, I’m burning!”
As we watch the scenes in the Middle East unfold, and study scripture as to the Lord’s plan for history, we always remember the exercise is not merely academic. Each time an uprising occurs, people die. Each time people die, they go to one of two places. Muslims who appeal to Allah go to hell, discovering there is no Allah, and they are in torment forever from their earthly mistake.
Others who die, if they have appealed to God for forgiveness of their sins, will go to heaven. Heaven is a glorious place, full of beauty and majesty and perfection. The greatest thing about heaven is that it will be the place Jesus is, and we will see Him face to face. We will worship Him among brethren who are perfect as we are perfect, and our worship will be perfect. What a day that will be, when Jesus receives His bride and all the exaltation that is due Him!
Please continue to pray for the Muslims who are staking their eternity on a false god who does not exist. And pray for the few true Christians still dwelling in the area, persecution in that section of the world has always been brutal. Pray that they die a death pleasing to the Lord, honoring Him in courage through their last breath. Unlike Neda’s last words, or unlike the terrible shock the suicide bomber experienced, a Christian dying under persecution sees and experiences only glory ahead–
“Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”(Revelation 2:10)
Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” (Acts 7:54-60)