CHALLENGED BY ISIS BRUTALITY: SYRIAN MUSLIMS FIND JESUS

Syrian Christians have shared how they converted from Islam to Christianity after witnessing the brutality of Islamic extremist groups like ISIS, who carried out barbaric acts in the name of Allah.

Members of the recently-established Church of the Brethren in Kobani  — the first local Christian place of worship for decades — shared with NBC News how Christianity appealed to them after living under Sharia law.

‘Christianity was the religion I was searching for’ said Farhad Jasim. Farhad, 23, who works as a mechanic, converted to Christianity late last year. He told NBC he was jailed by ISIS for six months in early 2016 after the militants discovered he didn’t know the basics of Islam. During his time in captivity, he was tortured and forced to read the Quran.

“After I witnessed their brutality with my own eyes, I started to be sceptical about my belief,” Jasim said.

After hearing about the Church of the Brethren, which opened in September and is part of a denomination that dates back to 18th-century Germany, Jasim decided to visit: “It didn’t take me long to discover that Christianity was the religion I was searching for,” he said.

Jasim told the outlet his family has rejected him because of his newfound faith and expressed hope that one day, his loved ones will not only forgive him but embrace Christianity, too.

“If ISIS represents Islam, I don’t want to be a Muslim anymore,” he said. “Their God is not my God.”

Firas, a 47-year-old farmer, told NBC he converted to Christianity after living under ISIS for two years. He recalled how militants would terrorise anyone who didn’t adhere to their particular brand of Islam.

“I saw men and young teenagers being whipped on the streets because they were caught smoking. I saw dead bodies of young men being thrown from high buildings for being gay,” Firas said. “This was their Islam.”

“If heaven is made for ISIS and their belief, I would choose hell for myself instead of being again with them in the same place, even if it’s paradise,” he added.

While ISIS was driven out of the city, located along the Syrian-Turkish border, over four years ago, converting to Christianity remains taboo  — and even dangerous — in the Muslim-majority region. Persecution watchdog Open Doors notes that even in more secure parts of Syria, Christians who have converted from Islam face pressure and discrimination from their communities. Kobani is home to about 300 Christians, according to estimates.

Omar, 38, who serves as church administrator, said that even before ISIS overtook the region, it was strictly forbidden to change religion from Islam to Christianity. But under ISIS, converting to Christianity “wasn’t even imaginable,” he said, adding: “ISIS would kill you immediately.”

“Most of the brothers here converted or come to church as a result of what ISIS did to them and to their families,” he said. “No one is forced to convert. Our weapon is prayer, the spreading of the spirit of love, brotherhood and tolerance.”

The story of Farhad reminds me of the Muslim taxi driver I met recently when I took a taxi from my home to Sydney, (Australia) airport.

When I got into the taxi, I noticed that the mandatory photo, driver’s name and taxi registration number was not on the front windscreen. A proverbial “red flag” went up and I felt led by the Lord to ask the driver his name. The way I said it was “my name is Ron, what is yours?” It was obvious from his response, he did not want to tell me. I persisted and he eventually blurted out. “it’s Mohammed and I am ashamed to be a Muslim.”

Woops! “Why is that Mohammed?” I said. He asked me if I had seen this picture. He could not get the image out of his mind and the thought that Allah would want these 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians beheaded because they would not renounce Jesus. I felt led to respond with, “You know what Mohammed, God calls us to love Him with all our heart, soul and mind and to love our neighbour as our self.” I then put my hand on his shoulder and said, “God calls me to love you Mohammed”. Well, I almost didn’t get to the airport. Mohamed cried out “That’s it! That’s it! and we almost mounted the footpath. It was like the light went on for Mohammed, this is the God I want to serve. When we got to the airport, Mohammed did not want me to go so I gave him my business card and told him to contact me when he was next in the area where I live.

How many other Muslims must be wrestling with the same issues about a god of death, definitely not a god of love.

PROPHESIED GOG OF MAGOG WAR IN EZEKIEL 38 & 39

The Bible is amazing, unlike any other book it is has proved it is God breathed by fulfilled prophecy. At least 300 prophecies of Jesus first coming were shown to be true, Isaiah 53 is a standout. Do you know there are far more prophecies about Jesus second coming than there were about His first coming? Moreover, if you have been following my blog, you realise we are closing in fast on the “last days” before Jesus returns.

Israel re-established as a nation in 1948 (70 years ago now) was a very significant sign, mentioned by Jesus in the Olivet Discourse. Apostasy in the church is another significant sign. False prophets is another. The current Pope and the Catholic church believe that there are other ways to God than Jesus. This is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit and a sure “end times” sign. Also, whoever would have believed much of the church would accept gay marriage and homosexual and transgender pastors?

In my last post, I presented evidence for Iran being the ram in Daniel 8 and mentioned the likelihood of Turkey (Magog and a revived Ottoman Empire) being the goat that takes out the ram.

What is unfolding now in the Middle East has been foretold. In this video by Joel Richardson, he speaks of Iran’s invasion of the Middle East outlined in Daniel 8. but he focuses mainly on events in Ezekiel 38 and 39 which talks of the later Gog of Magog war.

Joel does a great job of showing that Gog is one of the names of the Antichrist and Magog is his country, Turkey. Gog is the leader of a Muslim coalition. The primary peoples and tribes (regions) are listed: Meshech, Put, Gomer, Tubal, Persia, Togarmah (all of these are in Turkey) plus other nations, all of them Muslim.

Turkey (Sunni) is using Isis against Assad and Kurds.  Iran (Shiite) is using Assad , Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza in its efforts to control the region. Russia is siding with Iran. USA is trying to oppose Assad so Russia and USA are in conflict.

 

IRAQ’S CHRISTIANS DON’T LOSE HOPE

For the first time since ISIS drove all the Christians from Iraq’s Nineveh Plain in 2014, the Christian town of Qaraqosh celebrates Palm Sunday after many of its families have returned. During this week leading up to Easter, Open Doors team on the ground visits Qaraqosh to meet with Christians there.

 

Today, the world can see and hear the powerful truth—Christians have returned to the Nineveh Plain. Thousands of Iraqi Christians walked through the streets of the ancient town, waving palm and olive branches; praying, singing and remembering the triumphant entry of Jesus Christ. Their chorus: “King of kings and Lord of Lords. Glory! Hallelujah!”

We spoke with a 25-year-old teacher named Andraws. His message to Christians around the world was clear: “Please do not lose hope. Two and a half years we were displaced and we almost lost hope to ever return here. But today, we are here again, because of Jesus; because we had hope in Him,” he said.

Standing amidst the thousands of Christians, Andraws adds: “As you can see: the Christians have returned to Qaraqosh!”

Andraws and his family joined the march that ended with an open air service on the square of Qaraqosh’ St. John’s Church. The roof of the church served as a pulpit for the Church leaders, proclaiming the gospel, reading the Bible and leading the crowd gathered in the square into worship and singing Hosanna.

Andraws, an English teacher in Qaraqosh’s recently reopened school, says: “Today is the start of the week of Easter. And we are very excited about it. I’m glad that we can celebrate Palm Sunday again in our city. Thank God for that. Because three years ago, something like that would never happened, when we were displaced.”

Faith strengthened because of ISIS 

The young teacher tells us how his faith changed after ISIS forced him and his family out of their town, leaving almost everything they owned behind because they refused to renounce their faith in Christ. “During the first days we were displaced, I felt like there was no God or Jesus; because of the things that happened to us. But after that, I realised that Jesus does exist and we have to believe in Him.” “And because of Him, we are here today.”

Do Christians in your city celebrate Palm Sunday like these Iraqi Christians?

Report from Open Doors March 25, 2018 by Brian O. in Middle East

 

 

 

 

TRUE FACE OF ISLAM

Rita Chaima radiates with joy. When you see her face, you can tell she’s filled with deep happiness and contentment.  But that’s the opposite of the way she used to feel. Chaima was raised a Muslim, and from an early age she struggled with suicidal depression.  She tells her powerful story in a new documentary called “In His Footsteps” by a ministry called The Last Reformation.

Rita Chaima 2

“I just saw a cruel world and I didn’t want to be a part of it,” she recalls.  Chaima says she tried to kill herself three times. “I was doing drugs, I was smoking, I was smoking anything… I just wanted to destroy myself.”  At one point she became so angry that she made up her mind to join ISIS in Syria. “I hated people who weren’t Muslim. I wanted to kill them,” she says. The videos by ISIS-inspired her. “I loved to see them bleeding. I was seeing videos of decapitation and loved it.

But then something else happened. Her mom got a bunch of free books for her, and there was a Bible among them. That’s when Chaima met Jesus.

“I started to read the Bible to prove to Christians that they were wrong,” she says. “But I was wrong! And the grace of Jesus Christ started to touch me.”

“I was reading things like ‘pray for your enemies,’ ‘love them,’ and I was someone who wanted to kill them. Intellectually, I didn’t want to accept Jesus, but Jesus started to do a work in my heart,” she says. She couldn’t resist the love of Jesus anymore, so she decided to follow Him.

When she told her family what she had done, they rejected her. She says they stopped talking to her, and for months she was alone in her room. “It was like a prison.”

She says in the past, depression would have overtaken her. But not this time. She started to read the Bible a lot. “Jesus was there with me. He was encouraging me. The Holy Spirit was really there. I felt it, I knew it.”

Her Muslim family has now totally abandoned her, but her story doesn’t end there.

When it was time for Chaima to be baptized, something supernatural happened.

“I don’t even remember what I did. I had to see the video of my baptism. I was completely crazy, the demon was crazy, it wasn’t me. I kicked Jon. He baptised me. I kicked him.” But as she flailed and screamed, Jon continued to minister over her, telling the demon to go until peace finally came over her body. She was finally set free and baptised in the Holy Spirit.

“After the baptism I felt like the heavy weight completely disappeared. And I was so excited to go and make disciples,” she said.

“I started to want to talk about Jesus to everyone, even to the people who led me to terrorism. I wanted to go and see them, tell them that they are wrong, and that love is waiting for them.”

And that’s just what she now does, traveling with gospel minister Peter Ahlman and other Christians, she shares her testimony wherever she goes.

You can watch her testimony below through an excerpt from the “In His Footsteps” documentary by The Last Reformation.

LAST DAYS PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS INTENSIFIES

 

48 Christians Massacred in Nigeria; Terrorists Break Through Doors, Burn Houses, Destroy Churches

Forty-eight Christians were massacred in nine days of violent attacks in Nigeria, with some of the survivors describing the terror they felt at the hands of Islamic Fulani herdsmen who broke through their doors and destroyed houses and churches.

“Every one of us ran to save his life,” church elder Dauda Samuel Kadiya of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) in Zanwrua, told Morning Star News. “I was shot at, but the bullet only bruised my hand. You can see the wound yourself.”

The herdsmen slaughtered a total of 48 Christians in several attacks carried out in Plateau state between Oct. 8 and Oct. 17, survivors said, with believers fleeing villages and abandoning worship buildings.

“Some of the church buildings were destroyed by the attackers,” Kadiya added.

International Christian Concern (ICC), which reports on the persecution of believers around the world, pointed out that although such raids are not new for the area, the “ferocity and number of attacks in this short period have caused major problems for the beleaguered citizens.”

 

The Fulani raids in Plateau State have sparked outrage from Christian leaders, who have accused the army of failing to defend villagers on a number of occasions.

“The soldiers had told the women and children to go and hide in the primary (elementary) school class at night while the men in the village constituted a vigilante group and join[ed] the soldiers in patrolling the area. Sadly, the militia descended and the soldiers fled, leaving the defenseless villagers to be massacred by the terrorists,” the Rev. Andrew Okebe, the Zonal Coordinator of Christian Association of Nigeria, Miango District, said after one of the major attacks earlier this month.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari himself has lamented the growing number of casualties.

Reuters reported that Christians and other Nigerian civilians continue being terrorised not only by the Fulani but also by the Boko Haram terror group, whose eight-year insurgency has made it very difficult for hundreds of thousands of uprooted people to return home.

ISIS Slaughters 128 in Syrian Christian Town: ‘They Attacked us Like Animals, They Came to Kill Us’

Shocking details are emerging of a surprise ‘revenge’ attack by ISIS militants on what was once a predominantly Syrian Christian town.

“They attacked us like animals, they came to kill us,” a resident of Qaryatayn said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

On Sunday, Syrian government troops recaptured Qaryatayn from ISIS militants. But before retreating from the town, the terror group went on a killing spree slaughtering countless people.

“They killed children {and} women,” recounted one survivor. “They broke the arms of the women {and} burned them.”

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says at least 128 people were murdered in the rampage.

 

PERSECUTION, WARS & RUMOURS OF WARS IN THE END TIMES

Somalia Suffers Worst Terrorist Attack in its History: 276 Have been Killed.

At least 276 people have died in a deadly bomb attack on Saturday in what is being called Somalia’s worst terrorist attack in the country’s history.

Somalia Suffers Worst Terrorist Attack in its History:  276 Have been Killed

BBC News reports that the massive bombing occurred in a busy part of Mogadishu, the country’s capital. No group has yet taken responsibility for the attack, although the al-Shabaab terrorist group is known for targeting the region.

Only 111 of the dead have been identified by family members. One hundred sixty-five others will be given a national mass funeral and buried by the government.

Heartbreaking stories have been emerging from Somalia in the wake of the bombing. One victim, Maryam Abdullahi, had been in medical school and was due to graduate the day after the bombing took place.

Maryam’s father had flown to Mogadishu to celebrate her graduation, but instead ended up mourning her death.

“The family is so shocked, especially our father who travelled all the way from London to attend her graduation, but instead he attended her burial,” said Maryam’s sister, Anfa’a.

Witnesses and survivors of the attack say it was unlike anything they’ve ever seen. Local resident Muhidin Ali said it was “the biggest blast I have ever witnessed, it destroyed the whole area.”

“What happened yesterday was incredible, I have never seen such a thing before, and countless people lost their lives. Corpses were burned beyond recognition,” added Mohamed Yusuf Hassan, the director of the Madina Hospital in Mogadishu.

Are Coptic Christians Celebrating the Martyrdom of Their People Too Much?

Are Coptic Christians Celebrating the Martyrdom of Their People Too Much?

The 2,000-year-old Coptic Church of Egypt has a long tradition of hallowing those who died affirming their faith in the face of violence.

But the group that calls itself the Islamic State has launched waves of attacks on the Coptic community in recent years – claiming at least 70 lives and wounding scores of others – an unrelenting assault that has opened a debate in the community about martyrdom.

The issue has been most recently punctuated by the deadly knifing of a Coptic priest in a poor Cairo neighbourhood Thursday (Oct. 12). A suspect was arrested but his motive is still unknown.

Recently, another Coptic priest — the well-known Rev. Boules George from the well-heeled Cairo suburb of Heliopolis — took to the television airwaves to “thank” the Islamic State terrorists who launched the Palm Sunday church bombings that claimed 45 lives, saying they provided “a rocket” that delivered victims straight to heaven.

“Thank you very, very, very much,” George told the viewers of his program on Egypt’s Coptic TV channel just hours after the terror attacks. “You have given us the death of Christ himself, and this is the greatest honor that of any of us can attain.”

The Islamic State intensified its insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula and targeted Copts, Coptic churches, police and military facilities in Egypt after the 2013 ousting of ex-President Mohammed Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Glorifying a particularly bloody December attack on a Cairo church, the militants in February released a video declaring that Christians in Egypt were their new “favorite prey” and pledging to wage a “jihad” similar to that in Iraq and Syria, where tens of thousands of Christians have become refugees after fleeing the militants.

Comprising an estimated 10 percent of Egypt’s 90 million people, the Coptic Church is the largest Christian denomination in the Middle East and North Africa.

“We are Egyptian citizens as well as Christians,” said Al-Janoubie. “We need to stop viewing this harassment toward us with pride and saying terrorism gives us a chance to play the same role our ancestors did like in those Sunday school stories about the torture of martyrs.”

Coptic leader Pope Tawadros II, however, has publicly supported the idea that the church derives strength from these deaths of the faithful.

“The blood of our martyrs, the tearful prayers of our monks, and the sweat of all those who serve the church is the source of our spiritual power,” said Tawadros in a Sept. 13 message to the faithful.

Some in the hierarchy of the Coptic Church say martyrdom is widely misunderstood.

“It is true that we love martyrdom, but we also love life,” said Bishop Raphael, the No. 2 man in the Coptic curia. “We do not hate life on earth, because our Lord created us to live in it, not to die.”

This summer, Raphael implemented an Egyptian Interior Ministry directive to suspend church events in difficult-to-secure locations in order to minimize exposure to new attacks. “The fact that we receive death with a spiritual philosophy does not mean that our blood is cheap,” said the bishop.

Still, Raphael is calling for erecting a new church dedicated to the 28 martyrs of a jihadist attack in May that occurred on a desert road between the Egyptian city of Minya and the monastery of Samuel the Confessor — a sixth-century saint tortured at the hands of a rival Byzantine Christian sect.

It’s hard to argue against martyrdom for the 28 people who died in the attack, some community members say. Survivors said their assailants ordered them to fast because it was the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, killed their husbands and brothers, and ordered them to convert to Islam.

“After spraying us with gunfire and taking our jewelry, they ordered the women and children who were still alive to recite a testimony to convert to Islam,” said Hanan Adel, a 28-year-old survivor.

As can be expected, these horror stories don’t inspire all Copts to embrace martyrdom.

 

Is God using ISIS (Assyria) in these last days?

Jonathan Cahn makes the case in this video. Just as God used the kings of Babylon and Assyria to chasten His nation Israel. He is using Assyria again today. He is in control. He is bringing about the events prophesied in His book (HOLY BIBLE) which tells His story from the beginning to the fiery end of this cosmos. The good news is the new heaven and new earth which John foresees in Revelation  21 – A New Heaven and Earth are Created.

What is ahead for Christians in 2015?

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Does the Bible give us any clues from prophecy? Of course it does, and like never before, Biblical scholars are studying the prophecy sections in both the Old and New Testaments. What has stimulated this frenzy is of course what is happening in the Middle East and North Africa as Christians are facing unprecedented persecution.

The rise of ISIS and the atrocities (beheading) against Christians in a number of middle eastern countries draws us to the end times prophecy in Matthew 24:7-9  “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will famines and pestilences and earthquakes in different places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then they will deliver you (Christians) up to be afflicted and will kill you. And you will be hated of all nations for My name’s sake.” ISIS gives Christians three choices: 1. Convert to Islam, 2. Remain a Christian and pay an exorbitant tax, 3. Remain a Christian and be beheaded. Option 2 is not a long term option.

It is also significant that Damascus and its demise is central focus of many old testament end time prophecies: Isaiah 17:1, Ezekiel 38 & 39, Amos 1:3-5. Some commentators refer to Syria’s involvement in the 1948, 1967 and 1973 wars as the three sins mentioned in Amos with a fourth still to come in the End Times. Jeremiah 49:23-27 also discusses Damascus downfall with similar language to Amos. Isn’t it interesting the West particularly America is trying to decide what role they should take in Syria as it continues into increasing chaos.

It was thought the overthrow of Morosi’s government in Egypt would help Christians but this has not happened. An outburst of violence against Christians by Morosi supporters in 2013 was not halted by the new government not wanting to offend the Islamists. Seventy four churches were burned or desecrated and a grand total of one person was arrested though ten’s of thousands of Islamists were involved.

The British author and journalist (Daily Telegraph & Prospect) concluded in his outstanding column on the fate of Christians in the Middle East with “The story is not of expansion followed by persecution but of persecution leading to elimination”.

It seems fanciful to see a world where Islam is ruling the nations unless of course the Bible’s prophesy of a one-world leader is true and that leader happens to be the 12th Imam (al Mahdi, the “Rightly Guided One”) that the Muslim world believes in and his appearance is imminent.  A recent survey amongst Muslims revealed 42% of them believe this Islamic superman will appear in their lifetime. When you read what Muslims believe al-Mahdi will achieve, you would think you are reading the Bible’s description of the Ant Christ. Dozens of books have been written about Mahdi by both Sunni and Shiite scholars and both believe he will come to prepare the world for Allah’s judgment. Jerusalem will even be the centre of Imam, al-Mahdi’s Islamic rule according to a hadith from Muhammad. If you want to read more about the similarities between the Bible’s Antichrist and al-Mahdi get the book by Ralph Stice, Arab Spring, Christian Winter: Islam Unleashed on the Church and the World (2014). Ralph says to keep your eye on Turkey (old Ottoman Empire). Joel Richardson’s DVD “The Return is Near” is another valuable resource.

I believe Jonathan Cahn in his best selling book and DVD “The Harbinger” has identified correctly the judgment God is meting out on America starting with 9/11. There is no sign of repentance and turning back to God in this nation. In fact, the opposite is true so more judgment is ahead. Jonathan expects September 13th, 2015 to be a significant day for more economic judgment as it marks the next Shemitah. The last Shemitah 9/29/2008 signaled the collapse of Wall Street – drop of 777 points (7%).

Of interest, I met Jonathan unexpectedly in a hotel in Jerusalem last month. It was no coincidence. I was there for the “Gathering” put on by Watchmen for the Nations. Three and half thousand Christians were meeting in Jerusalem to praise God and pray with and support the Jewish and Arab Christians in Israel. Jonathan had no knowledge of this event or of the group putting it on. I was God’s messenger to connect Jonathan with this group. What really astounded Jonathan was that more than half of the Christians at the Gathering were Chinese. It demonstrated what he knew to be true that just as the economic power has swung from the west to the east, Holy Spirit power has also swung from the west to the east.

Chinese Christians are carrying out God’s call to send evangelists on the three Silk Roads back to Jerusalem. They go as Jesus sent His disciples to spread the Gospel, no two pairs of shoes. It is happening. The book “Back to Jerusalem – Call to Complete the Great Commission” by Three Chinese Church Leaders is a must read to know what God is doing in these last days.

Russia is back in the news. If oil prices remain this low for much longer, the former Soviet Union will face recession. Last week the ruble fell 36% against the dollar. A desperate interest rate increase has reversed the trend for a time but it is known the oil price is below the production cost for the debt ridden state -owned Rosneft. Clearly Putin’s geopolitical ambitions were financed on $100 + oil, but with $60 oil, Russia is fighting to keep itself afloat. Desperate circumstances often bring desperate action.

Debt ridden European Union countries are in crisis. This quote by George Diez in Spiegel Online International says it all. “It is in the nature of this crisis that the longer it continues, the more confusing it gets. It becomes more difficult to follow its twists and turns and to see who is responsible for what. And the whole time, alternatives are disappearing before our very eyes.”

The Ebola epidemic in West Africa poses a catastrophic threat to the region, and could spread further reports The Economist.

As I write famine warnings are being sounded for South Sudan and Somalia.

The world is being shaken as never before and yet God is in control of world events. Jonathan Cahn’s “The Harbinger” reveals the truth that God is in control of world events. The stock market fell 777 points ( 7%) exactly 7 years to the day after 9/11.

The Bible is God’s HISTORY and it reveals how events are going to play out in the not too distant future. Put your trust in our loving heavenly Father and what He has provided for you through His son Jesus.