The struggle against ISIS is the latest in what seems like a never-ending war on terror that has cost trillions of dollars and thousands of lives. How should followers of Christ respond to this new threat?
In the face of mounting uncertainty in the Middle East, Christians can rise above the fray and shine as bright lights against the threat of ISIS, say Dr. Charles Dyer and Pastor Mark Tobey, authors of The ISIS Crisis: What You Really Need to Know (Moody Publishers).
That threat is real, the authors emphasize. Drawing from history, current events and biblical prophecy, they help readers make sense of the multifaceted and often confusing history of conflicts in the Middle East and trace the roots of this terrorist group.
However, they caution, ISIS thrives on its ability to create immense levels of fear and confusion. Such responses can lead to prejudice, paranoia or even paralysis. None of these responses are fitting for representatives of The Prince of Peace.
“Too many Christians respond in the same way to situations like ISIS, the Ebola outbreak, an economy in a tailspin, or any other trial that feels completely out of control,” they add. “When the ground begins to move under our feet, fear tempts us to cut and run.”
The alternative? Trust in the sovereign control of God and in His perfect justice: “God is the only perfect, righteous Judge of all the earth. He knows everyone’s motives and actions, and He will ultimately give each person what he or she deserves. This includes ultimate justice for members of ISIS. The wicked, the ruthless, and those who love violence will face a certain and dreadful judgment.”
Ultimately, Dyer and Tobey say, our hope will not be found in military might or super-sophisticated counterintelligence, but in the eternal Word of God. And in His Word, God has revealed a strategy for how Christians can face the real enemy at work in the world.
“ISIS isn’t the real enemy,” they emphasize. “But driven by the real enemy’s power, this group has the darkest and most evil intentions. Furthermore, ISIS represents a collection of lost individuals who have been deluded into believing a lie. Satan’s power of delusion, coupled with humanity’s own corrupt nature, makes everyone capable of committing the worst atrocities imaginable.”
And what does God’s Word reveal about how ISIS fits in the prophetic timeline? “The best answer seems to be that it doesn’t,” the authors explain. “ISIS might not survive, but later a far more powerful, and deadly, coalition will eclipse it. The prophet Ezekiel describes a time when that coalition will launch an attack against Israel. Another army will someday surge across the Middle East. They won’t be carrying the black flags of ISIS, but their intent will be just as evil and destructive.”
World events suggest this time may be approaching, they conclude: “When world events mirror the events described in the Bible, the beginning of the end could be near.”
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SUGGESTED INTERVIEW TOPICS
The Rapid Rise of ISIS
Where did ISIS come from, and why did its sudden rise take everyone by surprise? Do they have the ability to attack Europe and America? And can they be stopped?
Islam and the Antichrist
Could the Antichrist ever come from an Islamic group like ISIS? Bible scholars Dr. Charles Dyer and Pastor Mark Tobey offer three reasons why this is highly unlikely.
After ISIS … What’s Next?
While everyone is focusing on ISIS, the Bible reveals that another danger looms just over the horizon. And this threat will play a role in God’s end-time drama.
SUGGESTED QUESTIONS FOR THE AUTHORS
- Why is it important for followers of Christ to understand what’s happening in the Middle East and the history of that region?
- Is it possible to be hopeful rather than fearful when studying end-times doctrine?
- You do not believe that the Antichrist will arise out of the Islamic religion. Why?
- Does the rise of ISIS have any biblical significance?
- You say that our response to ISIS, and any other outward threat, needs to come from God, not from ourselves. What do you mean?
- You also say that God has given His followers a battle plan to defeat the forces of darkness and evil. What is that plan?
- You believe another army will someday surge across the Middle East. What does the Bible reveal about this?
- Do current world events mirror the events described in the Bible, indicating that the beginning of the end could be near?
- Sometimes, peace seems like an elusive dream. How do we avoid living in fear?
- Is there anything ordinary Christians can do to prevent groups like ISIS from making inroads?
SOURCE: Moody Publishers