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.
Thursday March 20th, Iranians rang in the Persian New Year. Nowruz, meaning “new day,” always begins on the first day of spring. It represents two ancient symbolic concepts: Ending and Rebirth, or, more specifically, the ending of evil and rebirth of good.
Awaiting arrival of Nowruz, Iranians prepare the haft sin, or the seven ‘S’s. The haft sin sofreh includes seven items starting with the letter S:
- sabzeh – sprouts, symbolizing rebirth
- samanu – a sweet pudding made from wheat germ symbolizing affluence
- senjed – the dried fruit of the oleaster tree, symbolizing love
- siib – apple, symbolizing beauty
- somaq – sumac, symbolizing sunrise
- serkeh – vinegar, symbolizing age and patience
- sombol – hyacinth, to denote the coming of spring
For the remaining thirteen days of the New Year celebration, Iranians gather together and celebrate. Relatives come and visit the older members of the family and in return, the elders pay their respect by visiting them back. On the last day, as is the tradition, Iranians picnic in the suburbs, dance, sing, and play outside until the night forces them back to their homes.
The clerical establishment ruling Iran have long tried to stop Iranians from celebrating their long tradition of Nowruz. Even under though the people of Iran are under constant oppression, they have not given in and continue to be proud of their Persian heritage and cling to the hope of a fresh start.
Lets us pray that with this New Year that love will conquer hate and that the people of Iran will meet the only Source of true hope, Jesus.
President Hassan Rouhani’s visit to the U.S., while historic, represents no real change in the Iranian government since the Supreme Leader and Islamic clergy rule and run the country.
In this short video, I discuss why President Rouhani is simply a different face on the same political system that has been in place in Iran since the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Regardless of who is elected president, the simple fact is the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, makes every high level policy decision and will never abdicate that power to anyone else until his replacement has been named, likely upon his own death.
Pray that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei will come to a saving knowledge of Jesus and truly lead a transformation of Iran unlike anything we have ever seen.