By Cynthia Northrop
Special to Inside The Pew
In light of the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif., it is more critical than ever to be informed about the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Proverbs 19:2 says it this way, “Desire without knowledge is not good – how much more will hasty feet miss the way.” As news reports drift farther from reporting and closer to slanted commentary from myriad perspectives, it is helpful to include other sources to help understand and guide us as we pray.
If you want a brief, easy-to-understand primer on the Middle East then go pick up the book, The ISIS Crisis: What You Really Need to Know by Charles H. Dyer and Mark Tobey (Moody Publishers, $10.39). In a short and smart 136 page read you will gain perspective on the history, religion and politics of the Middle East players; the difference between the Sunni Muslims and Shiite Muslims, trace the history of the Ottoman and Assyrian empires and discover the genesis of Al-Qaeda and its metamorphosis to ISIS.
From that vantage point the authors seamlessly connect the dots through the economic and political motivations and clearly present the struggle for oil and water and the overall implications for end-time prophesy from a biblical perspective minus the fear-mongering hyperbole.
As American’s we tend to get caught up and consumed in the everyday rat-race of life; raising families, playing the chauffeur and fighting congested roads to get to work and school. Our technological society has gained us precious little time and the information age we live in has reduced our news to a limited perspective and controversial sound-bits.
It’s no wonder the complexities of the endless conflicts in the Middle East are beyond us save for the blip on the radar screen known at 9-11 when it came to American shores. As the authors link history and the underlying religious and political motivations they quote Saddam Hussein’s observation of the same, “Americans are foolish. They don’t understand anything in the world. They never travel. They don’t know anything outside the area.”
Thankfully, the authors have made it easy and convenient for us to get up to speed, examining how the outcome in dividing the spoils (of land) after World War I set the stage for the rise of the Mujahedeen from Afghanistan, the Taliban, Al-Qaeda in Iraq and ISIS, or as President Obama refers to ISIL which stands for the Islamic State and Iraq and Levant, which the authors explain, “The Levant is an early geographical term referring to the land between Egypt and Turkey, which today includes Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Israel.”
Erwin Lutzer, senior pastor of The Moody Church in Chicago, concludes his remarks in the forward of the ISIS Crisis by sharing a most compelling need to read the book, “The third and most compelling reason to read this book is that all of these events are discussed against the background of the Scriptures.” Although the authors do not believe that the antichrist will arise out of the Islamic religion, we are treated to a general framework of Middle East prophecy. No surprise to us, it is clear that in the end, Jesus win! ISIS represents a crisis for us, but not for the One who will be declared King of kings and Lord of lords.”
Cynthia Northrop, of Dallas, is owner of Northrop Communication, and author of Make a Difference: Navigating the Maze of Local Government.
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