5. Will the US and Iran partner in Iraq to stop ISIS?
- Both have similar interests: to help the current Shiite Government of Iraq maintain control and stop the Sunni ISIS from taking over Iraq.
- They may partner in some ways to help stop ISIS but will never acknowledge it publicly.
- Iran has a major influence in Iraq where the majority of the population is Shiites and the government is led by Shiites.
- Iran’s goal has been to get the US out of Iraq and be the sole influencer of the Shiite Iraqi regime. They are happy that the US has pulled out of Iraq and do not want to see the US’s influence and presence increase. Therefore, they may work with the US for the short time but will want the US out of Iraq as soon as ISIS is stopped.
- 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.
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.
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.
No matter the trials or suffering that you – or your Christian brothers and sisters in Iran – may be going through today, know that new birth has given you a living hope. Hallelujah!
May you and your family be blessed this Easter. And I thank you for your prayers and partnership in sharing this Good News with so many others in Iran God bless you!