(Central Israel) — Tomorrow, I plan to write about some extraordinarily good news in the Middle East. Today, however, as we end 2015, I have to be honest about the bad news: Darkness is falling across the Middle East and North Africa, the forces of freedom are retreating, Muslims and Christians are being slaughtered, Jews are being targeted for destruction, and 2016 could be worse.
In January of 2015, the Islamic State vowed to turn the U.S. into a “Muslim province” and capture and kill President Obama.
“Know, Oh Obama, that we will reach America,” an ISIS terrorist said in a video released online. “We will cut off your head in the White House.”
Now, one year later — after deadly attacks in Paris, San Bernardino, Turkey, Beirut, Baghdad, and all across Syria and Iraq — the leaders of the Islamic State are signaling that they are planning catastrophic new attacks in 2016. In chilling yet familiar language that feels ripped from the pages of my latest thriller, The First Hostage, they explain that their goal are to:
•conquer Jerusalem, Mecca and Medina
•annihilate all Jewish, Christian and Muslim “infidels”
•establish a global Islamic kingdom or “caliphate”
•and hasten the End of Days and the coming of the Islamic messiah known as the Mahdi.
“With the help of Allah, we are getting closer to you every day,” ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi warned the State of Israel in a newly released 24-minute audio recording. “The Israelis will soon see us in Palestine. This is no longer a war of the Crusaders against us. The entire world is fighting us right now.”
In the same recording, al-Baghdadi vowed to overthrow the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and called on Saudi citizens loyal to ISIS to “overthrow” their “apostate tyrants.”
The ISIS chief further called on jihadists loyal to the caliphate to “erupt volcanoes of jihad everywhere” and vowed that “the march of the Mujahidin will continue until they reach Rome,” a reference to an Islamic prophecy that the Mahdi will destroy Christendom and conquer the entire world in the Final Days.
As readers of this column and my books know, I’ve been working hard in 2015 to make the general public, Evangelical leaders, and Congressional leaders and presidential candidates aware of the serious threat posed by Apocalyptic Islam. It’s been slow-going, but as we launch the book tour for The First Hostage, I promise to keep at it. Please pray that the publication of the book will open many new doors in the media and with world leaders to discuss these critical issues.
While the mainstream media in the West has been slow to pick up on the significance of the eschatology driving ISIS, I am encouraged that both the New York Times and now the U.K. Express have published articles this month about the Islamic End Times theology driving the leaders of ISIS and their vision of drawing Western armies (“the forces of Rome”) into an apocalyptic battle in the northern Syrian town known as Dabiq. I’ve also been encouraged by the publication of an excellent, well-sourced and scholarly non-fiction book called The ISIS Apocalypse: The History, Strategy and Doomsday Vision of The Islamic State, by Dr. William McCants of the Brookings Institution, in October.
A handful of other Mideast analysts are highlighting ISIS eschatology, as well. Dr. Theodore Karasik, an expert on the Islamic State quoted extensively in the article in the U.K. Express, said that “next year will see a huge increase in both the number and scale of major terror attacks” and warned, “ISIS’s media operation is taunting its enemy to come to fight their Final Battle.”
“But first,” he said,” ISIS “wants to show its global reach with zeal…from cells, to lone wolves, to bedroom jihadists — to target landmarks and crowds in dozens of countries across the world.”
I suspect he may be right.
The top Anglican leader in the United Kingdom is now warning that ISIS is planning an “apocalypse” that could lead to the “elimination” of Christianity in the Middle East. Please be praying for God to give courage, boldness and protection to our Christian brothers and sisters throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Please also pray that the Lord will give wisdom to the leaders of The Joshua Fund and other ministries seeking to strengthen and encourage the Church in the epicenter.
Meanwhile, Israel’s top generals say they are readying IDF forces for coming clashes with the Islamic State and other jihadist groups, whose forces are approaching the Golan Heights, driven in part by Russian air strikes that are pushing them southward. Please pray for Israeli leaders to have wisdom to know how to guard itself against ISIS, while not getting our eye off the threats posed by Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas and other enemy forces. Please also thank the Lord that Israel is and remains a remarkable oasis of freedom and security for Jews, Christians and Muslims in such a roiling sea of violence in this region.
That’s enough for now. I hope you find The First Hostage helpful in understanding better what we’re up against — please be sure to post your comments and reviews on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, other bookseller websites, as well as on your own social media and on our Epicenter Team Facebook page.
In the meantime, I encourage you to read the following helpful articles:
•“ISIS PLOTTING ‘TO SLAUGHTER THOUSANDS’ IN 2016 IN BID TO SPARK HUGE FINAL BATTLE WITH WEST” (U.K. Express)
•“U.S. STRATEGY SEEKS TO AVOID ISIS PROPHECY” (New York Times)
•“ISIS LEADER’S LATEST THREATS REVEAL PLANS FOR 2016” (Al-Arabiya)
Thanks, and may God bless you and give you His courage and His hope as we head into a very challenging 2016.