- Christians in Iraq and Syria have been persecuted and have been leaving as refugees.
- Under ISIS, the killing and persecution of Christians will dramatically increase. It has already started and there will be a mass exodus of Christians.
- The brutality of ISIS will cause millions of Muslims to have an objective look at Islam. Many of them will come to reject Islam and become open to the message of the Gospel. This is what happened in Iran. Millions of Syrian refugees have seen the brutality of Islamist “freedom fighters” of ISIS. Many of them are coming to Christ in refugee camps in Turkey.
3. Who is ISIS?
- ISIS stands for Islamic State in Iraq and (greater) Syria.
- They are the coalition of Sunni forces in Iraq and Syria.
- Their immediate goal is to topple two Shiite governments in Iraq and Syria.
- Their intermediate goal is to have a unified Sunni state that covers the whole region including Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine and Israel.
- Their long-term goal is to bring back a worldwide rule of Caliphates. They believe that they are mandated by the Quran to do so and use as much violence as needed to accomplish that goal.
- They are much stronger than Al-Qaeda in numbers, unity, and finances. They have performed mass executions, even including women and children. They are so violent and brutal that Al-Qaeda looks conservative and moderate comparatively.
- When in power, they will be the number one source of terrorism in the world.
This week, we received a distressed call from one of our Church 7 members who lives in Iran. Her 32-year-old son, Amir, has been in prison for the past two years after being caught with a truckload of Bibles. On Wednesday, an execution date was set for Tuesday, August 12 for his crimes against Islam and the government.
Understandably, she is very upset. Her only request is for prayers of deliverance for her son.
We are asking you to do two things:
- Pray for Amir and his family. Pray for deliverance from this death sentence for Amir and for his frightened and grieving family. Pray for his jailers, his judge and his fellow inmates to encounter the love of Christ and receive Him as their personal Savior. Pray for the countless other brothers and sisters, like Amir, who are suffering persecution for their faith in Christ in Iran and around the world right now.
- Call others to pray
- Share this story and prayer request with your friends and social media networks.
This is a time when we can take action and beseech the Lord together on behalf of a brother in desperate need. It is the only request this family has made and is by far the most significant and powerful thing we can do to help them.
2. What is the difference between Shiites and Sunnis?
- Their differences go back to 632 AD when Mohammad died.
- The issue that divided them centered around whom must rule the Islamic Empire after the death of Mohammad.
- Sunnis believe that the Caliphs should rule, which is historically what happened.
- Shiites believe that the family bloodline of Mohammad should rule and the Caliphs were evil people who unrightfully took over the power after Mohammad.
- There are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world. 85% are Sunnis and 15% are Shiites. Shiites are the majority only in Iran and Iraq.
Major events are happening in Iraq. They can have biblical significance regarding the prophecies for that region. Many Americans have asked me how the current events in Iraq are impacting Iran. Over the next several days, I will answer 5 questions, which I hope will help you better understand the situation.
- What is happening in Iraq?
- A Sunni group called ISIS is trying to take over Iraq by force. They already have control of many cities in the north and east of Iraq.
- It is possible that Iraq as a country will cease to exist soon and divide into 3 countries: Shiite (south), Kurds (far north), Sunnis (north and west).
- Saddam was a Sunni and suppressed the Shiites, who are the majority in Iraq. The new government under Jalal Talabani is ruled by Shiites. It has fired top officials that were Sunnis and in general, have marginalized the minority Sunnis in Iraq. So Sunnis in Iraq have joined forces with Sunnis in Syria to topple the Shiite Iraqi government.
As I have mentioned in previous posts, the purpose of Iran Alive Ministries is to plant churches through the vehicle of satellite TV. With an estimated audience of 3-6 million viewers at any given time, our network has been the bane of the Iranian government for years.
Just today, one of our close friends heard from family inside Tehran that the government is again confiscating satellite dishes. While illegal to own in Iran, the BBC estimates that 80% of Iranians have access to satellite TV. In fact, if you look at photos of most Iranian cities, you will notice the pervasive presence of satellite dishes on nearly every rooftop and balcony. I have mused that the satellite dish is the true “National Flower” of Iran.
Typically, within 24-48 hours of these types of raids, the dishes are sold back the original owners on the black market. Many people own two dishes for this very reason…one to use and one to keep as a backup.
Satellite TV provides millions of Iranians with their only connection to the outside world and a direct connection to the Gospel. Join us in praying that the Lord will use this latest crackdown as a opportunity to further strengthen the resolve of the Iranian people to seek the truth and find it in the only One who truly embodies Truth.
In a recent video posted on YouTube that has gone viral, two universal truths concerning the state of Iran is beautifully illustrated simultaneously:
- The youth of Iran is vibrant, energetic, playful and longing for ways to express themselves…just like youth around the world.
- The government of Iran is bent on squashing any form of individualism and expression of free thought, regardless of how innocent it may be.
All told, six young people were arrested for making a playful video to the popular song, “Happy.” Five have since been released, with the director of the video continuing to be imprisoned for his crimes.
Please join me in praying for the youth of Iran. Pray that the Lord will use them to transform Iran into a Christian nation in this generation. Pray that they will not lose heart, not lose hope and not lose their zeal for life in the midst of their dire circumstances.