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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