Thursday, February 19, 2015

God loves the Muslim terrorists of ISIS

I've written before of how many parallels there are between the ancient Ninevites and their brutality, and today's ISIS members and their terrorism. From the same region as Nineveh, Assyria now comes ISIS, which one of their own leaders called/calls himself "Prince of Nineveh." We know that the ancient Assyrians did not worship God but were pagan.

The ancient Ninevites were so held in terror and fear, and so firmly did the hapless cities which lay in their path know this, that oftentimes all the Assyrians had to do is march to a city and announce to the besieged residents a list all the other cities they had conquered, and capitulation would ensue almost immediately. (2 Chronicles 32:18)

As for their gleeful, maniacal brutality, the ancient Assyrians used to push meathooks into the jaws of captured prisoners of war and march them back to Nineveh. Others, they threw off ramparts as a warning, or skinned them alive and hung the skins over the walls to graphically illustrate the penalty for opposing them. Ancient Ninevites were brutal, bringing new meaning to the word.

ISIS is the same. From the exact region of ancient Nineveh, we see a re-emergence of that same demonic spirit. One of gleeful brutality, of worship of satanic gods, of horror and shock. We see swords flashing, heads rolling, blood-stained beaches, children fleeing, houses burning. We see exultation amid the black hooded ISIS men, and we pray for the people in their path, just as sister cities Lachish (which was conquered by the Assyrians, 2 Kings 18; 2 Chronicles 32, Micah 1:13) and Jerusalem (which wasn't, 2 Chronicles 32:1-33, 2 Kings 19:35) endured.

Judean captives being led away into slavery by the Assyrians
after the siege of Lachish in 701 B.C.
But God loved the Ninevites.

Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2“Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” (Jonah 1:1-2)

We know from the biblical account that Jonah did not do this. He fled in the other direction. Why, we're never quite told. Perhaps Jonah was afraid. After all, no one likes having a meathook put in their jaw and being led across the desert sands as a captive. Perhaps Jonah had had family that was killed at Lachish or some other place. Perhaps Jonah was simply afraid. We do know that Jonah resented God's version of justice. Salvation and repentance were not for the Ninevites, thought Jonah. "Why should they get it?" (Jonah 4:1)

The ancient Assyrian royal city of Kalhu, The archaeological site of Nimrud
was known in antiquity as Kalhu (biblical Calah). It is located just to the east
of the Tigris river, in what is nowadays northern Iraq, some 30 km (roughly 20 miles)
south of the the modern city of Mosul. Although Nimrud is now a peaceful archaeological
site in the countryside, in ancient times Kalhu was a huge and bustling city. It served
as the capital of the mighty Assyrian empire for nearly 200 years, from the early 9th to
the late 8th century BC, but was also inhabited for many centuries before and after.

Soon, Jonah needed to repent for his disobedience and hope in the LORD's mercy be extended to himself. And it was. God delivered Jonah from the great fish and then said a second time to go preach judgment, repentance and salvation to the Ninevites.

Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.” So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. (Jonah 3:1-3a)

The evil, brutal people heard the LORD in Jonah.

And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them. (Jonah 3:5)

Starting with the King.

And he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh, “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.” When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it. (Jonah 3:7-10)

God loves the ISIS terrorists, the folks of modern day Nineveh (Mosul) and all pagan peoples. We know this because back in the day God did the best thing possible for them: He sent Jonah to preach judgment and righteousness to them so that they may know the LORD. Today He sends missionaries for the same reason.

And the Lord said, “You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?” (Jonah 4:10-11)
The main lesson of the book. If Jonah so pities a plant which cost him no toil to rear, and which is so short lived and valueless, much more must Jehovah pity those hundreds of thousands of immortal men and women in great Nineveh whom He has made with such a display of creative power, especially when many of them repent, and seeing that, if all in it were destroyed, “more than six score thousand” of unoffending children, besides “much cattle,” would be involved in the common destruction: Compare the same argument drawn from God’s justice and mercy in Gen 18:23–33.
Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible
but the persons in Nineveh whom God had compassion on were all the work of his own hands, whose being he was the author of, whose lives he was the preserver of, whom he planted and made to grow; he made them, and his they were, and therefore he had much more reason to have compassion on them, for he cannot despise the work of his own hands (Job 10:3). ... That though God may suffer his people to fall into sin, yet he will not suffer them to lie still in it, but will take a course effectually to show them their error, and to bring them to themselves and to their right mind again...That God will justify himself in the methods of his grace towards repenting returning sinners as well as in the course his justice takes with those that persist in their rebellion
Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible.

We can be a part of the effort to urge mercy rather than judgment. God loves and pities His wayward people, even the brutal ones.

there is one Lord over all, that is rich in mercy to all that call upon him, and in every nation, in Nineveh as well as in Israel, he that fears God and works righteousness is accepted of him; he that repents, and turns from his evil way, shall find mercy with him
Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible.


8 comments :

  1. Just like he loved these people too.
    Joshua 11:14 And all the spoil of these cities, and the cattle, the children of Israel took for a prey unto themselves; but every man they smote with the edge of the sword, until they had destroyed them, neither left they any to breathe.

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    1. I was just about to make a prediction, that *somebody* would read your recent posts and exclaim, "so God doesn't love Copts and Orthodox 'Christians' but He loves ISIS?"

      But the wicked will do wickedly, and none shall understand; but the wise shall understand. Daniel 12:10

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  2. Jeff, it would be helpful to my and any reader's thinking to know a bit more of what is on your mind when you make such abrupt comments.

    If you are saying that God was unloving to the Northern Palestinians because He instructed Joshua to slay them...you know that the wages of sin is death. As Matthew Henry said in the above quote:

    "God will justify himself in the methods of his grace towards repenting returning sinners as well as in the course his justice takes with those that persist in their rebellion"

    God is loving and merciful but He always deals with sin. He is Holy God. Do you have an issue with His plan, His methods, or His deeds?

    If that was not what you were saying, then again, if you are less terse and more forthcoming, then we would understand better and would not make misinterpretations of your comments. There wasn't a lot to go on in the above. I could have deleted, but I wanted to know more about what you were trying to say.

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    1. While giving what you said to those who will read this blog the balance of understanding that God the Father loves those who have aligned themselves with ISIS are no less deserving of redemption than those who are born into any other human family. Is a true statement people get very differing ideas about what Gods love is.
      The very expression of God's love is His beloved Son Jesus. Sent to be the sacrifice and payment for any who will call upon him.
      As humans we still view things as humans it is difficult to get away from that just as it was for Peter in the dialog that we see in
      Matthew 16:21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

      22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.

      23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

      We still want to reconcile and view things as being pleasant.
      Even as redeemed in Christ we all still have the capacity to sin and dis-please the Lord.
      We do that by engaging extra biblical tradition at times.

      This past summer the Lord gave me an idea and understanding about what we look like to him.

      We keep dairy goats. In the spring they kid and deliver the cutest little furry things you have ever seen. Within minutes most are able to stand and nurse. Some occasionally need a little help. In about two weeks they are very able to get around and have insatiable appetites.
      As they grow they start to get more milk than their digestion can handle. The can get scours or diarrhea.
      As i looked at these little baby goats they we still very cute but the residue of diarrhea would get all over them as they are always moving and rubbing over each other.
      They would still want to jump on you and play oblivious to the repulsive nature of what was on them.
      We still loved our goats. We wanted to pet and cuddle them but they are disgusting.
      That is what our sin makes any of us look like to the Father.
      The Father hates sin. He sent His own Son as a remedy. We are going to be very surprised at some of who has called upon His name.
      I am very confident that God the Father can use the evil deeds of some (ISIS) to bring some to Christ (even some involved in ISIS). But by the rejection of Christ who also is the Word, many will be faced with this.

      Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

      16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

      17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

      18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

      19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

      20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

      21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

      22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

      23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

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    2. Thank you for taking the time to clarify for me and the readers, Jeff. I knew you would make sense. I always appreciate that you use scripture too.

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  3. http://therightscoop.com/brother-of-christians-murdered-by-isis-finds-solace-in-their-last-words-of-faith

    What a wonderful video on how God is moving in the middle east and forgivness that comes from those suffering from Isis.

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  4. It says the men died declaring their faith in Jesus Christ. And that IS wonderful and an inspiration. However, the video did not make clear WHICH Jesus they declared. If he is the Jesus of the Coptics, which says that man takes part in his own salvation by good works, then he is no Jesus at all, but an idol.

    Just because someone declares Jesus does not necessarily mean they are born again and headed for heaven. The Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, and Catholics also have a different Gospel and a different Jesus.

    In those cases, and in the case of the men, if they were Coptic, they might not be in heaven, if they had adhered to and believed in and professes another Jesus that their church & faith teaches.

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  5. The following is John MacArthur’s take on the subject at hand. I believe he is SPOT ON! I have long questioned whether or not God Loves EVERYONE. Keep in mind that having personally listened to MacArthur near daily for YEARS, having read many of his books, that he is ONLY answering a question and with a brief response. He likely could do a major sermon series on this topic.

    Rick Buffington
    Metro Atlanta


    Question:

    There are some who teach that God loves only His elect and hates the non-elect. Please comment.

    John:
    The fact that some sinners are not elected to salvation is no proof that God's attitude toward them is utterly devoid of sincere love. We know from Scripture that God is compassionate, kind, generous, and good even to the most stubborn sinners. Who can deny that these mercies flow out of God's boundless love? Yet it is evident that they are showered even on unrepentant sinners.

    I want to acknowledge, however, that explaining God's love toward the reprobate is not as simple as most modern evangelicals want to make it. Clearly there is a sense in which the psalmist's expression, "I hate the assembly of evildoers" (Ps. 26:5) is a reflection of the mind of God. "Do I not hate those who hate Thee, O Lord? And do I not loathe those who rise up against Thee? I hate them with the utmost hatred; they have become my enemies" (Ps. 139:21-22). Such hatred as the psalmist expressed is a virtue, and we have every reason to conclude that it is a hatred God Himself shares. After all, He did say, "I have hated Esau" (Mal. 1:3; Rom. 9:13). The context reveals God was speaking of a whole race of wicked people. So there is a true and real sense in which Scripture teaches that God hates the wicked.

    So an important distinction must be made. God loves believers with a particular love. It is a family love, the ultimate love of an eternal Father for His children. It is the consummate love of a Bridegroom for His bride. It is an eternal love that guarantees their salvation from sin and its ghastly penalty. That special love is reserved for believers alone.
    However, limiting this saving, everlasting love to His chosen ones does not render God's compassion, mercy, goodness, and love for the rest of mankind insincere or meaningless. When God invites sinners to repent and receive forgiveness (Isa. 1:18; Matt. 11:28-30), His pleading is from a sincere heart of genuine love. "'As I live!' declares the Lord God, 'I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?'" (Ezek. 33:11). Clearly God does love even those who spurn His tender mercy, but it is a different quality of love, and different in degree from His love for His own.

    The following Question and Answer was taken from John MacArthur's book, The God Who Loves, pp. 14, 16.  ©2001 by John MacArthur. All Rights Reserved.
    Original URL: http://www.gty.org/resources/questions/QA184/Does-God-love-the-elect-and-hate-the-nonelect

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