Big events on earth are usually the consequence of events in the spiritual realms. One reason that history on earth seems to repeat is continuity of events and characters in the spiritual realms.
The empires that rise and fall on earth are usually controlled by principalities and powers in the spiritual realms. Evil spirits do not die of old age. When an empire fades, the evil power that controls it does not go and look for another empire, but remains attached to the place where the empire was based. Many of the evil spirits that worked with it would go over to the other side, but the principality and power will usually wait for an opportunity to reassert his power.
The Prince of Persia was the powerful evil spirit that controlled the Persian Empire when it was the most powerful empire in the world (Dan 10:13). When the armies of Persia were defeated by Alexander the Great, the Prince of Persia hung around for more than a thousand years waiting to get another chance to exercise power. He is now back in the driving seat in modern Iran.
The exception is the spirit that controlled Babylon. When Babylon was destroyed, its principality and power went and established itself in Rome. It left Rome when it collapsed and is now at work in the nation that will become the new Babylon, when the Babylon the Great described in Revelation emerges.
The ancient Middle East was dominated by four big empires each controlled by a spiritual prince. These were four empires were Babylon, Egypt, Persia and Assyria. The spiritual ruler of Babylon has moved on to better things, but the spiritual princes that controlled Egypt, Persia and Assyria are still there. Egypt and Persia are well understood, but Assyria has been forgotten.
The bible reveals that the Assyrian empire was controlled by a spiritual power.
So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria and the spirit of Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria, who took the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh into exile (1 Chron 5:36).The same spirit worked in both these kings. Pul was a general who seized the throne of Assyria following a revolt. The spirit that controlled him moved on to control his successors. The Spirit of Assyria is still around and ready for action.
Assyria (not the same as modern Syria) was one of the oldest empires in the Middle East. The empire was based on the city of Nineveh, which was founded by Nimrod, who was famous throughout the world as a mighty warrior (Gen 10:8-11). This makes the Spirit of Assyria a powerful and violent warring spirit. At the peak of its power, Assyria defeated and controlled both Babylon and Egypt.
When the northern kingdom of Israel rebelled against God, Isaiah warned that they would be judged by the Assyrian army.
The plunder of Samaria will be carried off by the king of Assyria (Is 8:4).The King of Assyria invaded Israel and took the people into exile. He brought people from Assyria to live in the land they had left behind (2 Kings 15:29; 17:5-24).
When Hezekiah was King of Judah, the city of Jerusalem was besieged by an Assyrian army led by King Sennacherib. Isaiah prophesied that God would keep the city safe, and his word was fulfilled.
That night the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning-there were all the dead bodies! So Sennacherib king of Assyria broke camp and withdrew. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there (2 Kings 19:35-36).Sennacherib was killed by two of his sons, but succeeded by a third. The same warring violent spirit controlled him.
All traces of Assyria and it empire are now well gone. All that remains of Nineveh is a province in the north of modern Iraq that is called Nineveh Province. The provincial capital is Mosul, which lies across the Tigris River from the ruins of ancient Nineveh. In modern times, the land of Assyria was controlled by the Ottoman Empire. It was chopped up into several nations at the end of the First World War. Although his situation on earth was disastrous, the Spirit of Assyria was not dead. He was biding his time in the spiritual realms and waiting for an opportunity to strike. His time now seems to have come.
The Islamic State that has emerged in Syria and Northern Iraq is controlled by Spirit of Assyria. The Islamic State had its origins in Iraq following the American invasion in 2003. A number of Sunni insurgency groups were formed to fight against the American troops and the Shia militia that were pushing Sunni Moslems out of Baghdad. Several of these groups consolidated into the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) which at its height it enjoyed a significant presence in the Iraqi governorates of Al Anbar, Nineveh and Kirkuk. In 2008, George Bush paid the Sunni tribal leaders to lead a backlash against the group and it went into a temporary decline.
In late 2009, when US troops began withdrawing from the countryside, ISI rebounded and directed its attacks against the Iraqi government. The following year, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was appointed the new leader of the ISI. He replenished the group's leadership by appointing former Ba'athist military and intelligence officers who had served during the Saddam Hussein regime. Many of these men had spent time imprisoned by American forces.
The war in Syria created a new opportunity. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi sent Syrian and Iraqi ISI members, who were experienced in guerrilla warfare, across the border into Syria. They recruited supporters and gradually gained control of much of the north-eastern part of the country. ISI became ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria).
In 2014, ISIS gained control of Fallujah, which had been conquered twice by American forces. ISIS forces began a major offensive in northern Iraq and quickly captured Samarra, Mosul and Tikrit. The Iraqi army that had been trained by the Americans collapsed and fled. ISIS now controls a large area of land in northern and eastern Syria and northern and western Iraq. It has gained control of money from the bank of Mosul and military weapons left by Iraqi army. It gained control of some oil fields and the Tikrit oil refinery, which will give it an ongoing supply of revenue and arms. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared himself to be the new caliphate of the Islamic State.
Evil spirits are not very clever, so they tend to do things in the same way. That is another reason why history often repeats. Therefore, the parallels between the Assyrian empire and the Islamic State are significant.
The Assyria Empire's first major conquest was Babylon. The Islamic State made its first gains in the same area.
The Islamic State is now based in the city of Mosul. Assyria was based in Nineveh, which was just across the Tigris River.
Assyria was controlled by a violent and warring spirit. So is the Islamic State.
The Islamic State controls significant chunks of Syria and Iraq. This same territory was the heart of the Assyrian empire.
The Assyrian armies filled people with fear (Is 8:12). The Islamic State is filling people all over the world with fear.
Isaiah 10 records a prophecy against Assyria. This was not Isaiah's prophecy against Sennacherib when he led the Assyrian army to besiege Jerusalem. That prophecy was different and is recorded in 2 Kings 19:20-34 and Is 37:21-35. Isaiah's prophecy in chapter 10 seems to be directed more generally against the Assyrian Spirit, wherever it works. I think it relates just as well to our time. Isaiah describes how the Assyrian Spirit operates. It sounds just like the Islamic State.
The Assyrian Spirit arises at a time when God's people are passing unjust laws that deprive the poor of their rights and rob oppressed people of justice
Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless. What will you do on the day of reckoning, when disaster comes from afar? (Is 10:1-2).God's justice requires that aliens in the land get the same justice as other citizens. His justice forbids the shifting of boundary markers. Those who pass unjust laws will get their day of reckoning, when disaster comes from afar. There will be no place to hide.
The Assyrian Spirit will seize loot and snatch plunder (Is 10:6). Wealth will be destroyed, as if it were mud being trampled in the streets.
Their intention was not to seize wealth. Their plan is to put an end to nations. Nations have no place in a caliphate. Their plans are to bring some existing nations to an end.
But this is not what he intends, this is not what he has in mind; his purpose is to destroy, to put an end to many nations (Is 10:7).Shia Islam has generally been a persecuted minority, so they have historically avoided political power. The development of the Islamic state by Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran was a significant innovation in Shia theology.
Sunni Moslems have a more positive view of political power, but there is no equivalent of the separation of "church and state". Sunni Islam is a state religion in which the supreme authority is a political/religious leader. This leaves no room for nationalism, and no place for a modern nation state. More radical Sunni Moslems see the Sunni nation states like Saudi Arabia as a blasphemous idol.
The Islamic State is destroying those century old boundaries. I removed the boundaries of nations (Is 10:13). At the end of the First World War, Britain and France divided up the remnant of the Ottoman Empire according to the Sykes-Picot plan. They believed that local winners of the war had the right to do this. They ignored geography and tribal groupings. Promises of independence that had been made to the local people who fought with them were broken. They divided the land to increase their economic power. Iraq was put together from three religiously mixed provinces, so Britain could keep control of the oilfields that had just been discovered. France cut Lebanon out of Syria to create a Christian enclave. Kuwait was peeled off to safeguard its oil for Britain. The artificial nations established by squabbling British and French bureaucrats will disappear, and new ones will emerge. Boundaries drawn on maps that had no connection to people or geography will be wiped away.
The Assyrian Spirit says that there will be local leaders, but no kings.
My princes are kings together (Is 10:8).This points to the caliphate, where kings and nations disappear and all Moslem people come under a single political/military leader.
The Assyrian Spirit conquers nations and smashes their idols (Is 10:10). When the Islamic State gained control of cities in Iraq, it destroyed Christian Churches and Shia shrines, because it considered them idols.
The Assyrian Spirit is described as a sharp razor (Is 8:20). It will cut quickly through opposition with terrible destruction.
All opposition will fall away before the Assyrian Spirit without offering resistance.
As one reaches into a nest, so my hand reached for the wealth of the nations; as people gather abandoned eggs, so I gathered all the countries; not one flapped a wing, or opened its mouth to chirp (Acts 10:14).This is what happened in Mosul. A few Islamic State soldiers reached into this nest, and the military commanders fled. Many Iraqi soldiers swapped over to the other side and joined the invaders.
The Spirit of Assyria uses an axe as a weapon.
Does the axe raise itself above the person who swings it, or the saw boast against the one who uses it (Is 10:15)?This is an interesting sign. The Islamic State has been beheading Western journalist to boast of its power and create fear.
This power will not be defeated by war. It will be weakened when God sends wasting disease against it.
Therefore, the Lord, the Lord Almighty, will send a wasting disease upon his sturdy warriors (Is 10:16).The Islamic State destroys economies. It does not create productive economic activity. When its plunder runs out it will collapse into poverty. Sickness and disease will spread. However, this event is well into the future.
Pestilence and disease will not end the Islamic State. The gospel of Jesus will become a fire that burns through the land.
The Lord, the Lord Almighty, will kindle a fire under his pomp, like a blazing flame. The Light of Israel will become a fire, their Holy One a flame; in a single day it will burn and consume his thorns and his briers (Is 10:16-17).The gospel of Jesus will spread through the Islamic State in the power of the Spirit. Christians will go through the land healing the sick and proclaiming the good news. Some of those who carry the gospel will come out of the land of Israel. The gospel will destroy the power of the Assyrian Spirit forever. His power (thorns and briars) will be destroyed forever.
President Obama thinks that he can degrade and ultimately destroy the power of the Islamic State, but he does not understand what he is up against.
He has forced a change of President in Iraq. He assumes that this will unite a state that is being torn apart by conflict between Sunni and Shia Moslems. The sword of the Red Horse will prevent that from happening.
He plans to arm moderate Syrians to fight against the Islamic State in Syria. Unfortunately, there are not enough moderate Syrians to make that happen. The Islamic State will gain control of the Sunni part of the population. President Assad's government may hold on in Damascus, but will become much weaker. Jeremiah describes at time when Damascus will be gripped by fear and her soldiers will be silenced.
"Damascus has become feeble, she has turned to flee and panic has gripped her; anguish and pain have seized her, pain like that of a woman in labor. Why has the city of renown not been abandoned, the town in which I delight? Surely, her young men will fall in the streets; all her soldiers will be silenced in that day," declares the Lord Almighty (Jer 49:24-26).
Young men have always looked for adventure overseas. A hundred years ago, from Australia and New Zealand were leaving home to help the British Empire invade Turkey. Modern telecommunications make the call for help easy to spread and travel is much easier now. Young men from Moslem nations all over the world will travel to Syria and Iraq to support the Islamic State.
In contrast, the United States is unwilling to put boots on the ground. US advisors with air strikes will be no match for Moslem sandals on the ground.
Air strikes do not win wars, they create enemies. I live in a city where the CBD was destroyed by an earthquakes. It is awful experience. Destroying buildings with bombs and missiles will not make the people of Syria and Iraq love America. The bombing of an oil refinery will not be seen as a blessing.
Obama is fighting the wrong kind of war. Military officials showed video of a missile destroying a "command and control center". This plays well to a western audience, but I doubt that the Islamic State has a "command and control center". The problem gets worse, because the the military planners will quickly run out of targets. To keep showing off their destructive power, they move on to destroying government and economic infrastructure, which produces civilian casualties. Bombing strengthens the hands of the Islamic State.
Jordan is an important American ally in the Levant. The Islamic State now has access to the western boundary of Jordan. It could easily gain control of this country, which is ruled by a royal family that is an outsider. The Hashemite family were installed in Jordan by Britain and France after World War 1. The Emir of Mecca had previously ruled the Hejaz (western Arabia) and supported the allies in the war, but he was betrayed in favour of the House of Saud. He was given Jordan as a consolation prize.
Ever since World War 2, the United States has refused to support a state for the Kurdish people who live in the area where the borders of Iraq, Iran and Turkey meet. Now the United States is arming the Kurds to fight against the Islamic State. Their independence is another nail in the coffin of a multi-ethnic Iraqi State.
The struggle against the Islamic State is strengthening the influence of Iran over the remnant of Iraq. It will become an even more Shia state.
War against the Islamic State will create instability in Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
Reshaping the Middle East
The shape of the Middle East is changing. The nationalism that has dominated history for the last few centuries is losing its power. National states are beginning to fragment and fail.
Nationalism is a relatively modern notion. For most of history people belonged to a local community. They surrendered their freedom to a local leader in return for protection. By the end of the 17th century, these small local political units were no longer viable. With the beginning of the industrial revolution, much larger markets were needed to support economic growth. Modern warfare needed a much large economic base to pay and equip a large permanent army. A few hundred soldiers loyal to a local leader were not enough.
Better communication and travel allowed people to expand their range of contacts to a much larger group. All over Europe and North America, the nation state emerged. The principalities and provinces of Germany were united in a single nation. The same thing happened in Italy.
World War 1 and World War 2 were fights to the death between powerful nation states. The wars were fought with all the resources of the nation. Co-opting the wealth and people of the nation allow war on a massive scale.
The season for nation states is already passing. Globalisation has opened a worldwide market that makes national borders redundant. Many of the functions of the state are shifting to larger regional unions. Scotland does not need to be part of Britain, when it can belong to the EU and NATO. Events in Scotland are sign of the times. This bid for independence failed, but the next will succeed, but that is not the end of it. We will see small groups breaking away from nation states all over the world.
Nationalism has never been as strong in the Moslem world. The lack of a distinction between church and state makes Islam a much more political religion than Christianity. The spiritual leader of Islam was always a political leader too. The nation states established at the end of World War 1 were a creation of the European powers. They were imposed by the European colonialists to protect their economic and religious interests. The north eastern border of Jordan were shaped for a British oil pipeline from Mosul to Haifa It extends way up towards Iraq like a land bridge between Syria. Local culture and history were ignored by the European powers.
The artificial nation states created by France and Britain after World War 1 are falling apart. They will be replaced by new powerful players reflecting the dominant principalities and powers.
Iran will continue to be powerful force, as the leader of Shia Moslems. It will continue to be controlled by the Prince of Persia.
The Islamic State will become the leader of Sunni Moslems. The centre of power will shift from Saudi Arabia to the Islamic State. The Islamic State will be controlled by the Assyrian Spirit.
Egypt with 80 million people will continue to be an important player. Isaiah describes the principality and power controlling Egypt as a fly, in contrast to the Assyrian bee (Is 8:18). Whereas the Assyrian spirit stings like a bee, the spiritual power controlling Egypt is attracted to death and disease. Egypt will be a strong influence, but less important as a military power.
Insurgency to State
In Syria/Iraq, an insurgency has morphed into a state. If we focus on the violence portrayed on television, we will miss an important strategic change that has taken place.
A more traditional insurgency focusses on undermining the ruling powers. They attack easy targets, wherever they find them, in a way that will gain maximum publicity. The aim is to weaken the will of their ruler and create fear among the population. They protect themselves by remaining underground.
The new strategy is a reversion plan to old-fashioned warfare with the aim of conquering land to establish a state. The leaders of Al Qaeda in Iraq developed this new strategy, when the George Bush bribed the Sunni tribal leaders to squeeze them out of Iraq during the so-called Anbar Awakening. Whereas previous leaders had focussed on attacking America and its allies, they set a long-term objective of becoming a significant state in the area. Their new strategy has five steps.
Step 1 Embrace ChaosThe first step in the new strategy was to move into a chaotic situation were the ruling powers were weak and where the influence of the big powers was minimal. The leaders of the ISIS moved into Syria in 2011, after being squeezed out of Iraq. They needed to regroup and rebuild. Syria was chaotic, so they went unnoticed. They were able to tap into sponsorship from the Gulf States, which was plentiful.
Step 2 Establish EnclavesISIS fought against the other rebel groups to gain territory. Because the situation was so chaotic, no one from outside realised what they were doing. They began a war of conquest that the outside world did not notice, or understand. ISIS gained control of small towns and villages. During 2011 and 2012, they were funded from outside. They obtained sufficient seed funds to take and establish their first enclaves.
Step 3 Control ResourcesISIS expanded out from the enclaves they controlled to conquer strategic areas in terms of material resources: oil and water. They used these resources to become self-sufficient by the end of 2012.
Mosul was conquered in 2014, because it provides control of water and oil.
Step 4 Build InfrastructureWherever they go, the Islamic State builds government, economic and social infrastructure, which is a welcome improvement over the chaos that prevailed previously. The Islamic State has set up Sharia courts to provide law and order. They collect taxes, do social work and control prices. They have entered joint ventures with local people to capture smuggling revenues and resource revenues. They organise distribution of water and electricity and the production of agricultural products. They have become a self-sufficient state.
The difference between Aleppo and Raqqa is illustrative. Aleppo was the most prosperous city in Syria, but it has now been totally destroyed. The city is controlled by war lords, criminal groups, rogue military commanders and jihadists.
Raqqa is different. It has becomes the capital of the emerging state. The Islamic State worked through the tribal leaders in the area. They restored infrastructure, supplied electricity, delivered water and built a new souk. Life is peaceful, because there is law and order (except for Christians, Shia and Alawites).
The Islamic state has implemented Sharia law. This scares people in the West, because it seems harsh, but in Syria and Iraq, Sharia law is an improvement over the existing justice system. State justice is administered to favour the rich and powerful. Judges and rulers exploited the poorer classes, so ordinary people had no hope of justice, without paying exorbitant bribes. Now ordinary people can go to a Sharia court and get a decision from people who respect their religion. Many are able to get justice for the first time. This is one reason why the Islamic State has attracted young people all over the world.
According to a Reuters report,
Isis set up services and institutions, stating it intended to use the area as a base in its quest to eradicate national boundaries and establish an Islamic "state". The group "has restored and restructured all the institutions that are related to services", including a consumer-protection office and the civil judiciary. Isis's pragmatism, residents and activists say, has been vital to its success in holding on to captured land. To run Raqqa's telecoms, Baghdadi has appointed a Tunisian with a Ph.D in the subject.
Baghdadi has also separated military operations from civilian administration, and has appointed civilian deputies called "walis" - an official similar to a minister - to manage institutions. Administrative regions are divided into waliyehs, or provinces, which, as with the case of the recently established al-Furat province, can span national boundaries. Employees receive a salary from a department called the Muslim Financial House, which is something like a finance ministry and a bank.
Poor families were given money. A widow may receive the equivalent of 60 pound for herself and for each child she has. Prices are kept low. Traders who manipulate prices are punished, and shut down if they are caught again. The group has also imposed Islamic taxes on wealthy traders and families.
Step 5 Absorb the OppressedOnce they they had secured their economic resources, the Islamic State has pushed out and gained control of territory in areas that were controlled by governments who are hated. The towns and cities of North Western Iraq fell quickly, because the people distrusted the Shia-dominated government. They quickly gained control of the Sunni areas of Syria.
This region conquered by the Islamic State is predominantly Sunni Moslem. They have been mistreated by the Alawite government of President Assad for thirty years. In Iraq, they have been mistreated by the Shia dominated government. Their lives have been disputed by the ongoing violence of war. A Sunni state that brings law and order and ends most of the anarchy and pillaging is very welcome.
The conquered peoples may not like the harsher aspects of the Islamic State, but they fear the return of Shia and Alawite militia even more. If we do not understand this, we will not understand why the Islamic State has been so successful. By the beginning of 2014, they had expanded out and established a state covering a broad area of land. In the future, we can expect the Islamic State to expand into Saudi Arabia, which is controlled by immoral and corrupt House of Saud. Misunderstood Strategy Western powers focus on the beheadings of hostages, so they assume they are fighting against terrorism. Labelling the Islamic State as terrorists is a good way to whip up support for a war against them, but it is not a good basis for strategy.
The West is still fighting a modern war against an insurgency, which isn't one. Its impact has been limited. Bombs do not work because the Islamic State is integrated with the population. Anti-terrorist or anti-insurgency strategies will fail. The Islamic State is fighting an old-fashioned war, and it is working for them.
The Islamic State strategy has been effective, because it was planned ahead. The same has been true of their fighting. In the past jihadist groups attacked targets that would create greatest publicity and the most fear.. The Islamic State has a different strategy that they are applying consistently. They planned a traditional war to build a new state, and their battle tactics reflect that. That is why they have been successful.
The war on Kobani is an example. Western media are concerned the Kurdish inhabitants. The reason that the Islamic State have attacked Kobani is that it is the port of entry into Raqqa, their capital city. They need to control the Kobani to protect access to their core Sunni area and prevent an attack on their capital.
The Islamic State uses technology very effectively. The Smartphone is there most important weapon. The Islamic state has used social media to promote their strategy.
Their social media strategy appeals to young people all over the world. The message is not, "Come and die in a suicide attack, so you can enjoy paradise with 72 virgins". The message is different. "Come and fight with us to support this new state. This a just state, not corrupted like the existed dictators and kings of the Middle East. This is the true state of our religion".
Young people are being invited by their peers to come and make a contribution to something new and better. They are offering a political utopia. For the first time since the collapse of the Ottoman caliphate, a true political utopia is being presented to young people. This message is very appealing to young people all over the world, who are struggling with the economic devastation in the wake of the GFC.
God's Strategy BorrowedThe Islamic State has a clever strategy. It made me wonder how they discover it? The principalities and powers that control it are not that clever, so they usually repeat the same old strategy. Where did they get this new strategy that is so effective. The answer is that they are copying God's plan. He used the same strategy when establishing Israel in the Promised land.
Step 1 Embrace ChaosGod placed the Children of Israel in a place that was shattered and broken. Immorality and depravity had hollowed out the Canaanite culture. They were controlled by more than fifty disunited kings (Jos 12:24). They were easy to defeat.
Step 2 Establish EnclavesThe tribes of Israel were established in the new land. Being slaves in Egypt without their own government, strengthened family and tribal connections. They were probably formed into tens, fifties and hundred by their slave drivers. These groupings became the basis of the new society.
Step 3 Control ResourcesGod had taken his people into a land where resources were plentiful. This allowed the people to be self-sufficient.
Step 4 Build Infrastructure
God planned to establish a new society by bringing order in the chaos through his people living under his law administrated by local judges. Because life was so chaotic, it was easy to build something better.
Step 5 Absorb the OppressedOnce the children of Israel was established in the Promised Land, the next step was expanding out into the surrounding nations. This would happen as the surrounding nations who were oppressed powerful kings and emperors saw the blessing that comes from living under God's law. The law would have expanded by coping and blessing.
God AgainGod will use this strategy again, when times get tough. His people will need to understand that how it works. The difference is that we proclaim the gospel in the power of the Spirit, whereas ISIS has to use military power and violence, because they do not have the Holy Spirit.
BrutalityTo Western eyes, the Islamic state seems to be very brutal in the way that they deal with opposition and minorities. It is not an excuse, but we need to understand the circumstance in which these young people have grown up.
Iraq has been subjected to war, punishing sanctions, war and terrorism since the first gulf war in 1991, nearly a quarter of century. The war in Syria has not gone on as long, but it has been even more intense.
Young people growing up surrounded by violence and death are going to be more brutal than those growing up in peaceful situations. Seeing fiends and filmily being killed will have a traumatising and brutalising effect on young people.
The United States military forces have had problems with PTSD, despite solders returning to a peaceful a peaceful situation when their tour of duty is over. The impacts must be worse for those who cannot escape the violence and death.
Fear of Islam
Many Christians are worried about Islam and the Middle East. They see it as a single entity fighting the west. For a start, the largest Moslem country in the world is Indonesia. The reality is that Islam in the Middle East will dominated by these three principalities and powers described above. They will always be in conflict with each other, so they will not be able to unite together for a common purpose.
Christians in America seem to be really afraid of the Islamic State. I am not sure why, because it is not capable of inflicting serious harm on the United Sates. Many Christians are demanding that President extend American power to control and destroy the Islamic State. Fear of the world, and trust in political and military power to provide security are the attitudes that will allow the beast of revelation to rise to power.
Christians who trust in God should not fear the world. They should not look to political leaders for salvation. They already have a glorious saviour and wonderful comforter.
Desert by the Sea
Before his prophecy about Arabia, Isaiah gave a prophecy against the Desert by the Sea. Experts says this refers to an area beside the Euphrates River, which is so swampy that it looks like a sea. This is the area that the Islamic State has been attacking. Isaiah describes an attacker that comes from a land of terror.
Like whirlwinds sweeping through the southland, an invader comes from the desert, from a land of terror. A dire vision has been shown to me: The traitor betrays, the looter takes loot (Is 21:1-2)It creates extracts loot and creates terror. Isaiah says that it this will cause Media and Elam to attack (they are modern day Iran).
Elam, attack! Media, lay siege! I will bring to an end all the groaning she caused (Is 21:2). Iran will respond to the Islamic State attacks on Iraq by tightening its grip on the Shia regions. The overall effect is terror and fear. At this my body is racked with pain, pangs seize me, like those of a woman in labor; I am staggered by what I hear, I am bewildered by what I see. My heart falters, fear makes me tremble; the twilight I longed for has become a horror to me (Is 21:4).Fear and terror spreads everywhere.
Israel and the Islamic State
Israel should be careful about forming an alliance with the Islamic State. It seems likely that Israel has provided weapons and intelligence to ISIS in attempt to undermine President Assad of Syria. That could back fire. Josiah was one of the best kings of Judah formed an alliance with the king of Assyria when he was attacked by Pharaoh of Egypt. Josiah was killed in a battle at Meggido.
While Josiah was king, Pharaoh Necho king of Egypt went up to the Euphrates River to help the king of Assyria. King Josiah marched out to meet him in battle, but Necho faced him and killed him at Megiddo (2 Kings 23:29).This is probably a warning sign.
Isaiah warns that the Assyrian Spirit will be the club of God's wrath against a godless nation, which has angered God.
Woe to the Assyrian, the rod of my anger, in whose hand is the club of my wrath! I send him against a godless nation, I dispatch him against a people who anger me (Is 10:5-6).This word is also a prophecy against the Assyrian Spirit. It will eventually be destroyed.
When the Lord has finished all his work against Mount Zion and Jerusalem, he will say, "I will punish the king of Assyria for the willful pride of his heart and the haughty look in his eyes" (Is 10:12).The Spirit of Assyria will be destroyed, but not until God has finished his judgments against Israel and its rulers. This puts it well into the future after the Fullness of the Jews (Is 10:20,21). It will be followed by a season of great blessing on earth (Is 11:1-12).
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