The point of this article is to highlight the plain truth that the sovereign God of the universe will not tolerate evil continually maintaining the upper hand. His patient, long-suffering attribute does not hold much room for the rule of evil, even though He tells us, in His long-suffering, that He is not willing for any to perish but that all would come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). Eventually, as He wraps up this age in defeat for His enemies, He will destroy that man of lawlessness with the breath of His mouth (2 Thessalonians 2:8 and Revelation 19:11-21).
We are seeing the various factions of Islamic terrorism converge into one of much greater cruelty and evil—Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hezbollah, Jihadists, Muslim extremists and now, ISIS or ISIL. All are pulled from the same bag, and show us, vividly, the contrast between evil and good that is expressed by Jesus in John 10:10:
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
Centuries ago the writer of Psalm 83, in making a plea that God would intervene against Israel’s enemies by confusing and confounding them, identified those enemies with language that is almost a repeat of what we hear from the Middle East today. The hatred for Israel is still a burning fire in their bosoms, only now it reaches to Christians and the western world. That Psalm 83 has a prophetic kinship with Psalm 2, in which the Lord responds to those in the future who would conspire against Him and those who belong to Him in this manner in Psalm 2:4-6:
“He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure: ‘Yet I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion.’”
It is a certainty, then, not “if” but “when,” God will deal with this ground-swell of evil and cruelty that is beyond most people’s imagination. It may be that God has answered those prayers many times over the centuries, already. Will He do it again in this current crisis? Will the people of faith call upon Him with prayer and fasting and surrender, as they did in those days?
This takes me back to the time when Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, was confronted by the descendants of the children of Lot (Moab and Ammon) and of Esau (Mount Seir), recorded in 2 Chronicles 20. From early in the history of the Jewish people, these people, along with the descendants of Ishmael (Abraham’s son from the slave woman, Hagar), were their continual adversaries.
When Jehoshaphat learned that a great multitude of their enemies were ganging up on Judah and Jerusalem, he was afraid, and “set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah; so Judah gathered together to ask help from the Lord; and from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord” (verses 3-4). The account continues with praises to God for His universal sovereignty and providential care in the past:
“Then Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord, before the new court, and said: ‘O Lord God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You? Are You not our God, who drove out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel, and gave it to the descendants of Abraham Your friend forever?
And they dwell in it, and have built You a sanctuary in it for Your name, saying, ‘If disaster comes upon us—sword, judgment, pestilence, or famine—we will stand before this temple and in Your presence (for Your name isin this temple), and cry out to You in our affliction, and You will hear and save.’
And now, here are the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir—whom You would not let Israel invade when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them and did not destroy them— here they are, rewarding us by coming to throw us out of Your possession which You have given us to inherit.
O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.”
Now all Judah, with their little ones, their wives, and their children, stood before the Lord.
Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly. And he said, “Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the Lord to you:
‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.’
“Tomorrow go down against them. They will surely come up by the Ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the brook before the Wilderness of Jeruel.
‘You will not need to fight in this battle.’
‘Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you.’
And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem bowed before the Lord, worshiping theLord” (2 Chronicles 20: 5-17, emphasis added).
God has not relented in His regard for Israel in all of the days since restoring the Jews to their land. Almost from the very day of its new birth as a nation, Israel has had to defend its right to exist. Yet, against overwhelming odds the nation has had continual victories. Their arsenal of weaponry as a nuclear power has not been revealed, but I am certain that it is tremendous, and when unleashed, it would astound the whole world. Jewish scientific advances in several categories have won Nobel prizes in remarkable numbers. I recently read a piece on this and found that Jewish Nobel prizes now number 127, while those for Islamic countries, only seven.
In Zechariah 14 is a description of the effect of a future weapon of warfare that would melt the very flesh from the bones of a person. That is the description of a neutron bomb’s effect, which is beyond imagination, even for this nuclear age. One can only hope that the forces of evil are not able to get their hands on it.
But will God need to use military forces as they exist today when these enemies of righteousness find their cup of evil filled to the brim and ready for judgment? Will it merely be a “rustling in the mulberry bushes” that sends fear rippling through their hearts, sending them on the run? Or, perhaps they will begin fighting each other, to their own deaths?
There is no prophetic announcement of a war in the imprecatory prayer of Psalm 83, or in Psalm 2, but the conspiracy of purpose based on hatred for Israel that is exposed there has fomented for all these centuries. Will this rage explode in the prophesied Gog-Magog war of Ezekiel 38-39 when Islam marches against Israel led by Russia?
“You will come up against My people Israel like a cloud, to cover the land. It will be in the latter days that I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me, when I am hallowed in you, O Gog, before their eyes” (Ezekiel 38:16).
“And I will bring him to judgment with pestilence and bloodshed; I will rain down on him, on his troops, and on the many peoples whoare with him, flooding rain, great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.
Thus I will magnify Myself and sanctify Myself, and I will be known in the eyes of many nations. Then they shall know that I amthe LORD” (Ezekiel 38:22-23).
We see in Isaiah 17:1 that Damascus will be completely destroyed and left in a pile of rubble. That city is among the oldest continually inhabited cities, never having been destroyed before, so this declaration is definitely in the future. If ISIS is dealt with militarily in this current swelling of absolute cruelty, then Damascus could be a target. There is the continual question of what is to be done about Iran’s deceptive advances toward nuclear capability for warfare and when will Israel or the West move against them. What was it that Jesus said about wars and rumors of wars?
There is an old folk tale about a scorpion and a frog that touches on the issue facing mankind at this point:
It seems the scorpion was held up at the bank of a swollen stream without a way to cross when the frog arrived there as well. The scorpion had an idea. “Why don’t you swim across and let me ride on your back?” The frog says, “Of course not. You’ll sting me and then we both will die out there.”
After much discussion and negotiating, with promises by the scorpion that he would not sting the frog because it was in the best interest of the scorpion to reach the other side, the frog relented, and they started across the water. But halfway across, the scorpion suddenly stung the frog!
The frog exclaimed, “Why did you do that? Now we both will die!” The scorpion replied, “I am a scorpion; I sting things, that’s what I do!”
You can substitute ISIS for scorpion, there, and make the case for all of the so-called peace agreements with terrorist organizations being an exercise in futility. Only the judgment of God will have any measure of finality to these threats and actions of hatred and cruelty. Only then can it be said that ISIS IS NOT!