Reuters reports (June 29, 2014) that the “The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” (ISIS) has changed the playing field. Its leader, Abu Bakr al-Bagdadi, has proclaimed himself the “caliph” of an “Islamic State.” He has changed the name of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant to the “Islamic State.” His declaration is an invitation to [tippy title=”Sunni Muslims”]Sunni Muslims are the largest sect of Islam, comprising 80-85% of all Muslims. [/tippy] all over the world to declare allegiance to the Islamic State. If they declare allegiance, they will join the Islamic State in its jihad not only across Iraq and Syria, but over the world. [tippy title=”Shia Muslims”] Shia Muslims are the minority sect of Islam, comprising 10-15% all Muslims. Shias comprise approximately 95% of Muslims in Iran, 60% of Muslims in Iraq, and 15% of Muslims in Syria. President Bashar al-Assad of Syria is Alawite Shia, a branch of Shiism. [/tippy] in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Iran will likely be their first targets. Remember, the Soviets are aligned with Iran and Syria, both Shia led.
The Reuters article gives the background for the declaration of the [tippy title=”Islamic state”] Islamic state is a term that refers to the uniting of all Muslims under the leadership of a “caliph” or “sultan” who is not only a spiritual leader but also a political and military leader. The Islamic state is also referred to as a “caliphate.” Its governance is based upon the Qur’an and Haddith, Islam’s sacred texts, and the type of governance is referred to as Sharia law. [/tippy]:
After Iraq gains, Qaeda offshoot claims Islamic “caliphate”
Islam has not had a caliph, a leader of an Islamic state since 1924 when the Ottoman caliphate was dissolved by action of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the President of Turkey. It has not a caliph since that time as well. What might we expect in the days to follow?
Decisions will be made by Sunni Muslim groups all over the Middle East and Asia as to whether they will proclaim loyalty to the Islamic State and come under the authority of Abu Bakr al-Bagdadi? A major group in the Asian corridor is [tippy title=”Al-Qaeda”]Al-Qaeda is also a Sunni Salafi-jihadist group. A Salafi-jihadist group considers violence as the only means whereby Sharia law can be imposed over the world. [/tippy]; and its central core leadership is located in Pakistan and led by Al-Zawahiri, considered by most Sunni jihadist groups to be Osama bin Laden #2. ISIS, located in Iraq, had formerly proclaimed allegiance to al-Qaeda core leadership in Pakistan. It had sent one of its lieutenants, Abu Mohammad al-Jawlani, to lead the rebel opposition to President Bashir al-Assad in Syria. The Sunni Salafi-jihadist group he leads is known as “al-Nusrah“; but as al-Nusrah succeeded in Syria, it chose to report to al-Qaeda in Pakistan rather than ISIS. Al-Qaeda in Pakistan agreed to the realignment of reporting of al-Nusrah. When it did, ISIS revoked its loyalty to al-Qaeda and declared its independence from al-Qaeda. Today’s declaration of the Islamic state is the next step in that independence. ISIS is no more. In its place is the Islamic state. Time will tell whether the Sunnis of the world will seek unification under al-Bagdadi or reject his leadership. If Sunnis do come under al-Bagdadi, we are likely seeing the forming of geopolitical sides in a war that will eventually take us to WW 3, and the Tribulation of the last days.
Jesus come quickly. I am a mid-trib proponent. I pray that you pre-tribbers have it right.
Though it is temping to start quoting bible passages and linking verses to contemporary events, we should wait and see how things develop. From your book’s analysis of Daniel, we should expect the antichrist to be distinctly Shiite, so a Sunni-led caliphate would not be expected to be the revived Muslim empire..But it could become a Shiite led caliphate later.
The character of the beast being a divided kingdom of warring factions (but still a single kingdom of Islamic rule) should be a clue for us to expect much infighting between Sunnis and Shiites before a single caliphate is established, which may take some time. In the meantime, it will be Christians in these Muslim majority regions who will continue to suffer theft (jizya tax), rape, murder and other forms of oppression from both Sunnis and Shiite factions.
Governments will unwisely choose sides, creating a “good Muslim/bad Muslim” kind of dichotomy (which will be false, since all of the beast is evil).
Pertaining to your closing comment, I would be interested in the demographics of pre-tribbers worldwide. I’m fairly certain that genuine believers in the Muslim majority Middle East and Africa who are suffering theft, rape and murder for their faith are not pre-trib.
Mike – good thoughts. Yes, my perspective is that the Antichrist will rise from Shiism, primarily based on my interpretation of Daniel 2:43 (NASB) “And in that you saw the iron mixed with common clay, they will combine with one another in the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, even as iron does not combine with pottery.” I interpret the phrase “combine with one another in the seed of men” to refer to Shias who “combine” (join together) by the bloodline of Ali, the sole surviving male blood relative (cousin) of Muhammad at his death in 632AD. Shias rejected the first three caliphs of Islam (Sunnis) because they were not related by bloodline. This rejection of the “Rashidun” is a fulfillment of Daniel 7:8 (NASB) “While I was contemplating the horns, behold, another horn, a little one, came up among them, and three of the first horns were pulled out by the roots before it; and behold, this horn possessed eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth uttering great boasts.” Only Shias fulfill these two important requirements, Sunnis do not. This would mean that if the Sunni Salafi led caliphate is successful against Shias in Iraq and Syria, Iran will react to protect its Shia brothers. As you also know, I see Iran nuking Saudi Arabia, another Sunni country and one alleged to be funding former ISIS in Iraq. It is in this event that Iran becomes the lead player in the end-of-days.
Jack I just thought of something…If this “caliphate” ends up being recognized by all Muslims worldwide, it will be the first time since 1924 that Muslims from all over the world would be under the authority (and direction) of a single person. When before the theft from, murder and destruction of Christians happened in mostly Muslim majority countries, now orders for jihad can out to all who obey the caliph. When before so-called “moderate” Muslims could be quiet supporters of jihad, now they have to be participants if they have given loyalty to the caliph. If they refuse his order, they can be killed by their fellow Muslims who are loyally obedient to the caliph.
(Rev 6:8) I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him. Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth.
Rev 6:8 is describing a single person having authority over 1/4 of the world to kill. Islam is about 1/4 of the populated world. The self-proclaimed caliph ‘Baghdadi’, who is a jihadist, would presumably have authority to direct them to kill others. This has disturbing implications.
You may remember that all it took was a 15 minute YouTube video (Innocence of Muslims….a mockery, but factually correct) to set off thousands of Muslims into a murderous rage. Just think if all genuine, jihad believing Muslims were “triggered”? We already know they will use cleaver, axes, knives, crock pots and anything else they can do damage with. And what nation has relatively easy and ready access to guns? The USA.
The potential for a worldwide massacre of Christians and Jews is in my estimation, very realistic. Even if among the 1.5 to 1.7 billion Muslims in the world, only 1/2 of 1% are killers, that’s still 75 million home grown jihadist serial murderers worldwide. If every home grown serial murdering jihadist had 5 kills each in a 24 hour period, that would be a 375 million person massacre, a massacre of as yet unheard of….and apocalyptic proportions.
If the global estimates of ½ of 1% seem far-fetched, consider that of the Muslims population in the USA (appx 2.6 million), if we carry over the same very conservative 1/2 of 1% being jihadist killers that would be only 130,000 active, murdering jihadists…15,000 of them well armed servicemen in the US military. If all of the 130,000 were “triggered” during a 24 hour killing spree averaging 5 kills each, that would be 650,000 people, primarily Christians who could be murdered in the USA alone…and that’s just the first day.
It doesn’t look like this supposed “caliph” is winning over the Muslim populous. But it could be that some other caliph in the future.