ISIS' Apocalyptic Mistake
Religious ideology that fuels such fanaticism is driven by a deep belief that their actions are ushering in something far greater than a political state. ISIS sees itself as the vanguard of the Caliphate that will lead the way for the coming of the al-Mahid (guided one) and Isa (Jesus), culminating in the destruction of the enemies of Islam and the reign of Isa.
One of the decisive battles will take place in Dabiq, in northern Syria. That is why ISIS has used this city as their headquarters, named their online magazine after it and has used the town as a rallying cry. A 1,300-year-old hadith says that "an infidel horde flying 80 banners meets a Muslim army at the Syrian town of Dabiq in an apocalyptic battle. The Muslims are decimated but ultimately prevail, usher in the end of days." The battle will continue until it crushes Rome and destroys all who do not submit. Isa will reign for forty years, and then will be buried next to Mohamed in Medina."
Isa, or Jesus, is revered in Islam, and he plays an important role in its apocalyptic literature. It reminds me of Isaiah 9:2, "The people walking in darkness have seen a great light." Yet, their response to him echos John 1:10, "He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him."
There will come an apocalyptic event that will make ISIS' efforts pale in comparison. When Jesus returns it won't be as a momentary ruler, but will be with grandeur, power, and justice. "I saw heaven standing open and there before me was white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war" (Revelation 19:11).
Time is culminating in an apocalyptic event, just not the one that Islam is hoping for. We should rejoice in the coming of our King, but we should weep for those who's hearts are still darkened. We rejoice in the triumph over evil, but pray for the reconciliation of those trapped in the chains of sin. Jesus came to bring healing, so in the midst of chaos, pain, and suffering we offer hope, security, and salvation. Don't get sucked into arguments that have no redeeming value, but keep your eyes on Jesus and share his redeeming love.
Jesus said, "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come (Matthew 24:14)." Our actions will usher in the coming of Jesus. Are we as radical about our methodology as ISIS? Are we willing to lay our lives down while sharing the love of God in Christ? Are we feeding the poor, looking after the down trodden, seeking justice, and preaching the gospel? The question jumps out at us in Luke 18:8, "However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?" There will be faith on earth, but faith in whom? Stay the course. I'm just saying...