“I know where you live — where Satan has his throne.
Yet you remain true to My Name. You did not renounce your faith in Me …
even where Satan lives.”
Dear Ministry Partner,
Satan has always hated the Church of Jesus Christ. That’s because Jesus loves the Church and calls her His Bride (Isa. 62:5; Eph. 5:25; Rev. 19:7; 21:9; 22:17). So, whatever Jesus loves – the devil hates.
We can see this spiritual hatred and political antithesis demonstrated in God’s words of comfort to the church of Pergamum who was living in the very shadow of “ … where Satan has his throne.” The evil one especially loves to establish “… his throne" in places where it will be a threatening presence to the church. The history of Christian persecution shows how dangerous and deadly it can be to bow before "God’s throne" in the very shadow of “Satan’s throne!”
Today, you and I are seeing this freshly demonstrated in the Islamic State of Iraq & Syria, abbreviated as ISIS. These Islamic jihadists are fueled by the words of their prophet Mohamed through very specific verses in the Koran (see my book on Islam). These Muslim savages are systematically carrying out barbaric atrocities against Christians that rival anything in recorded history! They are indeed “crimes against humanity” of the highest order including crucifixions … beheadings … burnings … kidnappings ... rapes – all in the name of Allah.
All of this is being diabolically orchestrated from the self-proclaimed Islamic Calif, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the latest human demagogue to sit on Satan’s throne in the territory they have conquered in Iraq and Syria. The diabolical darkness of this group of Islamic Radicals is seen in their black uniforms and black flag – each a reflection that they are a demonic hoard from the “kingdom of darkness” (Col. 1:13)!
Down through history, the devil has used pharaohs, kings, tyrants, Caesars, Marxists, Maoists – and now Muslims – to try and destroy His Church. Through the Radical ISLAMIC Jihadist, ISIS/ISIL, Satan is again out to destroy the Church – this time one of the most ancient Christian churches in the Middle East dating back to the First Century. It is the Iraqi Church – today known as the “Chaldean” or “Assyrian” Catholic Church.
THE BIRTHPLACE OF HUMANITY
As any serious Bible student knows, this particular area in the Middle East has great spiritual, historic and geographic significance. According to the Bible, this ancient area known as Mesopotamia is both the “Cradle of Creation” and the “Cradle of Christianity." We read in Genesis that it was in the area of the headwaters of the four rivers: Pishon, Gihon, Tigris and Euphrates, where the Garden of Eden was located (2:10-14). It was there that God created Adam and Eve to rule over the cosmos as His stewards (Gen. 1:24). Any wonder then that this is where Satan would establish his throne?! This is a very specific “in your face” to God!
The Bible also teaches us that Abraham, the patriarch of the 3 great monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, was called by God out of “ ... Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan,” or Palestine/Israel (Gen. 11:31). This is the area chosen by God as His “Holy Land.”
THE HOLY LAND
In accordance with His sovereign will, God gave this land to His people, the Jews. Previously it had been a very “unholy land” under the occupation of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites – some of the most pagan and idolatrous people ever recorded in history (Gen. 15:18-21). And the depth of their depravity was their practice of “child sacrifice,” which is referred to as “...passing through the fire” or a “ ... sacrifice to demons” (Lev. 18:21; Deut. 12:31; II Kings 17:17-18; 21:2-6; Ps. 106:37-38; Ezek. 16:20-21; Jer. 7:30-34, etc). It was especially for this sin, that God called an “abomination,” that He judged these people and the “ … land vomited them out” (Lev. 18:28). As Americans, we are fearfully close to the same divine judgment because of our equal sin of abortion!
THE BIRTH OF THE CHURCH
It was in this geographical region that the Triune God first “pitched His tent” with man through the Tabernacle and later the Temple. It was in this Holy Land that this same God was incarnate through Jesus Christ. It was there that Jesus prophesied: “I will build My church.” It was on the Holy Mount of Jerusalem that He was crucified, buried, resurrected and ascended. (Is it any wonder why the Muslims hate the cross?!) It was in Jerusalem that He birthed the church on the Day of Pentecost – which has great significance for this current situation with ISIS.
At the Feast of Pentecost in Jerusalem, we read that there were “... God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven.” Then a partial list of nations – primarily those surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, were listed where these God-fearing Jews and “converts to Judaism” were from: “Parthians (Iran), Medes, Elamites (Babylon), residents of Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, parts of Libya, visitors from Rome, Cretans and Arabs...” (Acts 2:5-11). I have highlighted the primary countries in blue that are a part of what we refer to as the “Arab World” today. So, from the very birthday of the church, both Jews and Arabs have played a significant role – although it was predominantly Jewish until the ministry of Saul/Paul to the Gentile World.
I share this brief bit of Biblical history to put this current Middle East crisis into a wider context. Both the "racial Jews" and "spiritual Jews” (Jews, Arabs & Gentiles) were a vital part of the early First Century Church. Many of the Jewish and Arab Christians from the current Islamic State of Iraq & Syria, or ISIS – not to mention those from Egypt where the 21 Coptic Christians were from who were beheaded – have their spiritual roots in these ancient Christian churches in the region of Mesopotamia. And we know from the Book of Acts that Saul was headed to Damascus, Syria, to persecute the strong Christian church there (Acts 9).
As an aside, it is also very interesting to read that God directed Saul-now-become-Paul into Arabia for 3 years to spiritually mentor and mature him in his new faith in Christ as God’s Messiah. After that, he returned to Damascus and Jerusalem. The radical Jewish Pharisee who was on a “Jewish Jihad” against Christ and Christianity became the great “Apostle to Gentiles.” And the Bible School God sent him to for 3 years was not in Jerusalem – but in Arabia – the very cradle of historic Islam and the stage of the ISIS crisis today! How mysterious indeed are the ways of the Lord!
Both the New Testament and secular history teach us that there were millions of Jews and Christians living side-by-side in these regions until the prophet Mohamed conquered them in the 7th Century (He conquered Iraq in A.D. 633). After this Islamic conquest, the Jews were systematically persecuted by the Muslims down to such a tiny minority that only a literal handful of Jews remain in these areas today. After this "Jewish Holocaust” took place in the Middle East, the Christian persecution slowly intensified. It has now reached its bloody crescendo under ISIS through their current bloody “Christian Genocide.” Since Mohamed first brandished his sword, his call to “convert or die” has not changed for Jews or Christians – or for any other religious belief, down through the centuries.
MURDEROUS MUSLIM MARCH
During their murderous march through these ancient lands of Christianity and the Yezidis (*), crosses were smashed … churches were destroyed … graves were desecrated … Christians were tortured, crucified, beheaded, burned … their women were raped … their children were kidnapped for jihaddism indoctrination … their daughters were sold into sex slavery … their property was plundered and pillaged, and those who escaped lost everything and had to flee for their lives to neighboring Jordan. As ISIS jihadists took over the cities, they used former Christian churches they did not destroy as places of torture and prison for Christians as well as places to store their weapons and ammunition.
While this barbaric invasion is new to our world, it is not to theirs. In AD 1258, the Mongol army under the grandson of Genghis Khan, invaded, and conquered. In similar manner the Mongols savagely killed people, burned and looted homes, destroyed churches and Bibles, raped women and slaughtered children. But in comparison, these Iraqi Christians say that this invasion and occupation by ISIS is far worse.
Ellen Vaughn of the Wilberforce Initiative visited the area and interviewed many of the Iraqi Christians now living in refugee camps. She asked one Christian if this persecution and savagery had caused him to lose his faith in God. His response was typical of others who said: “These sufferings have increased our faith in God. We have confidence that God is with us and will do what is good for us.” Once again Christ is demonstrating that “ … the gates of hades” will not prevail against His church (Matt. 16:18). It is as eternal as He is!
And all of this carnage against Christians is being carried out in obedience to Mohamed and in the name of Allah! President Obama still cannot bring himself to call it what it is – Islamic terrorism!
(*) Yezidis are an ancient group in Iraq who call themselves “worshipers of god.” They are an admixture of Judaism, Christianity, Islam and some say Zoroastrianism)
It is because of the spiritual, Biblical and historic significance of this area known as the "Middle East," that some of the most bloody “holy wars” in history have been fought in this region. And according to the Bible, the final great battle of history – the “Battle of Armageddon” – will be fought there (Rev. 16:17-21). It is interesting and instructive that these fanatical followers of ISIS have their own twisted and perverted satanic apocalyptic vision that they are seeking to fulfill to help bring in their global Caliphate of Islamic rule under Sharia Law!
HELPING CHRISTIAN REFUGEES
As you know from my last email report, we are involved in a relief effort for our Christian brothers and sisters from Iraq. We are doing what we can in partnership with our ND Alumnus, Ambassador Lewis Lucke, to assist these "Christian Refugees.” In all probability, they will never be allowed to return to their homeland. They will either end up living in Jordan as refugees for the rest of their lives, or be repatriated to America or Canada – which could take years! Either way, they need our prayers and help as brothers and sisters in Christ.
Their Christian tradition with all of its religious vestments, liturgy, rituals, and iconic veneration of saints may not be what you are used to or comfortable with through your local church or denominational background. But these people still proudly and boldly name the Name of Christ and worship Him as the incarnation of the Triune Godhead – as man’s only means of salvation. So as Paul said: “While we have the opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith” (Gal. 6:10).
For every gift of $25, we will send you one of the “lapel pins” you can use as a way of identifying with these persecuted Christian Refugees. You will receive two pins for $50, 3 for $75, and 4 for $100, and so on. We hope you will share them with other family members, church friends, business associates to help raise the awareness of this “Christian Genocide” in the name of Islam.
While this symbol may look like a “smiling face,” it is anything but! It is really the “face of death, destruction & dispersion" for Christians! Just to remind you of the meaning of this symbol, it the Arabic letter "N" ("Noon"), meaning “Nasrani” or "Nazarene” – which is the word used for “Christian” in the Koran (Jesus was called the “Nazarene” in the Bible; Matt. 2:23; Mk. 14:67; 16:6; Acts 24:5, etc). That is why ISIS painted it on the walls of the Christians' houses for confiscation, pillage, and destruction – and even on children's hands so they could later be identified for slaughter. Since these ancient believers would not convert to Islam, they fled to Jordan where they have been reduced to refugees.
(Photos courtesy of Reuters, RNS, Catholic Services, UN, and other free public domain sources).
When you get your “lapel pin” in the mail, please wear it as a visual means of identification with these persecuted Christian Refugees. It can also be a timely conversation piece that will give you opportunity to share about their plight and our efforts to help them.
Just as Christians put on the “yellow arm bands” with the Star of David that the Nazis made Jews wear to mark them for the gas chambers, this is a way for us to identify with these Christian brothers and sisters marked for death by the Islamic Terrorists. It will be a visual reminder to pray for them regularly.
A quick update and final note: As you probably know from the news, a recent snow storm has hit Jordan which has only made things far worse for the hundreds of thousands of people living in these temporary make-shift refugee tents or houses. So we need to do all we can as quickly as we can to help ...
Thank you in advance for your gift of love and compassion for them,
JL and Patt
P. S. Finally, thank you to those of you who have already responded to this urgent need, and who are praying for these precious brothers and sisters. I also want to once more make available to you my book, "A Christian Perspective on Islam". Another timely tool for your spiritual arsenal, this book is a wake-up call to anyone who has believed the politically correct rhetoric that says "Islam is a peaceful religion that has just been hijacked by a few religious radicals." It is also a "crash course" in Biblical theology to show that Muslims and Christians do not believe in the same God. Please click on the picture of the book cover to be redirected to our website for complete ordering information.
Also, in the next few days I will send you an encouraging update on Sangge in Nepal. Thank you again for your prayers and support for this dear brother in Christ.