I received the post on my Facebook account from a friend. I could not believe who the author was. I read her article entitled “Who is ISIS” and I found myself thinking about how much time this particular article must have taken her to write. The topic was “outside her box.” Almost all adult believers recognize her name, but not in the area she was writing. Yet there she was, and so I read. Her article follows:
For many of us, ISIS came screaming into our consciousness only after they captured Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq. Suddenly we were confronted with a terrorist group that acted like an army. Their atrocities were demonic, beyond comprehension. As their brutal persecution of minorities and Christians caught my attention, I wondered who are these people and where did they come from? So, I wanted to share with you a brief overview of ISIS and why it matters.
When this terrorist group expanded across eastern Syria and into western Iraq they started referring to themselves as ISIS or “The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.” But when they swept across Iraq without much resistance, their vision of an Islamic kingdom grew larger and they began to refer to themselves as ISIL or “The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.” The Levant is another term for the geographical area of Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. By using the term they were indicating to the world that they had had expanded their vision to include all of these countries.
The significance of Kay Arthur, one of the most gifted speakers, writers, and people of influence in Christian circles, writing about ISIS is astounding to me (since first posting the article, I have learned that it was not written by Kay Arthur but by Dave Lawson, on the staff of Precept Ministries). Not that she is female; that has nothing to do with it. If Charles Stanley wrote the article, I would feel much the same way. Its simply not her “playing field,” and for that reason, I was shocked by what I was reading. I was also encouraged. When a “Kay Arthur” begins to write what many of us have been writing for years, it is a blessing. Because it tells me the world is finally listening. See Islam the Cloak of Antichrist
I think of another reason for my encouragement. This one Biblical. Look at the passage below and see if you agree that something new is happening in the world as it relates to Islam.
2 Thessalonians 2:3-10 (NASB) Let no one in any way deceive you, for it [the day of the Lord] will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, … 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. 8 Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; 9that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.
Notice verses 3 and 8. Both of these verses include the phrase, “the man of lawlessness will be revealed.” Also, notice verse 7 which states, “he who restrains [lawlessness] will [continue to] do so until he is taken out of the way.”
Let us interpret verse 7’s “restrainer” as the Holy Spirit. That is, the Holy Spirit, who has been “restraining” the “mystery of lawlessness,” will continue to do so until some future point in time. Then, the Holy Spirit will be “taken out-of-the-way,” and the “man of lawlessness” will be revealed by his lawlessness.
I propose that what 2 Thess 2:1-10 is referring to is what has been happening ever since Jesus Christ ascended to heaven. The sin of man, i.e., “lawlessness,” is like a virus in the heart of man. In a general sense that virus is making humanity spiritually ill; and the illness is getting worse by the day. Yet, there is something else the passage is referring to because it talks about the “mystery” of lawlessness. The mystery must refer to something other than man’s sin. I propose that the “mystery” is the spirit of antichrist active in the world through the actions of humankind (1 John 2:18). That is why Paul states that the “mystery of lawlessness ” is “already at work” (v 7). The spirit of antichrist began his work when Christ rose from the grave, in fact, precisely at the time Scripture refers to as the “last days” (Acts 2:17). The spirit of antichrist has the role of directing humanity away from Jesus Christ, the only Begotten Son of God. When humanity is directed away from the Light of the world, the world becomes a darker place and dark places are havens for lawlessness. In darkness, spiritual disease hastens to become a virus, the cure for which is only the blood of the Lamb.
Another fact cannot be missed in 2 Thessalonians 2. The prophecy states that when the one “who restrains is taken out of the way, then the man of lawlessness will be revealed.” Verses 7-8. I propose that the spirit of antichrist is working in Islam, and he is fueling the evil that we have recently seen in Iraq at the hands of ISIS. The evil that we are seeing is also revealing the source of the evil – that is, satan and his demonics. Islam is simply the hand through which satan is working, and thereby, accomplishing lawlessness. The Scripture tells us, “You will know the tree by its fruit.” Matthew 7:15-16. The true nature of Islam is being seen because the evil is not about one man, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the caliph of the Islamic State. The Islamic State is one strand of Islam known as “Salafist.” Salafi Islam is a strand of Sunni Islam, but in its purest form. That is, it is based upon the original words, deeds, behaviors of Muhammad and his earliest followers as reported in the Qur’an and Hadith, Islam’s sacred texts. Salafi Islam is the strain of Islam that the Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia are from, the sect of Islam from which most of the 9/11 attackers were schooled in and were adherents of. Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda sect is a form of Salafi Islam as is the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. ISIS is a Sunni “Salafi-jihadist” sect of Islam. It believes that Islam can only be spread throughout the world by the use of violence.((Sunni Salafi-jihadist Muslims are Sunni “Islamists.” An Islamist emphasizes the implementation of Sharia (Islamic law based on the Qur’an and Hadith) and the replacement of all non-Muslim societies, particularly Western, political, social, or cultural influences, with Sharia law. A Sunni Salafi-jihadist is identified by two additional criteria: First, the group emphasizes the importance of returning to a “pure” Islam, referred to in Islam as “Salaf,” and practiced by the “pious ancestors.” Second, the group believes that violent jihad (as opposed to “civilization jihad” which is a non-violent jihad) is the only way that Sharia law will be successfully implemented in society; and, it is a personal religious duty of all Muslims to participate so that this occurs. See “A Persistent Threat, The Evolution of al Qa’ida and Other Salafi Jihadists” by Seth G. Jones, RAND Corp report.)) To those who are adherents of Salafi-jihadist Islam, what ISIS is doing is what we might call “war with rules,” except the rules are defined by the Qur’an and hadith, not by International law.
When Kay Arthur penned her post on ISIS she was doing more than educating us on who ISIS is. She was fulfilling prophecy. She was taking part in the “revealing of the man of lawlessness,” the spirit of antichrist, satan’s demonics, who are active in Islam. Islam is simply the hand through which satan is working; and, the more evil that we see, the more open and naked the “man of lawlessness” will become.
Jesus come quickly.