First a little background. Abraham lived about 4,000 years ago. God promised Abraham “And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing;” (A) However Abraham was impatient and fathered a son Ishmael with his wife’s maid Hagar. Later his wife Sarah bore his son Isaac. The Bible traces the genealogy of Jesus back to Abraham through Isaac. (B) However, the Koran traces the genealogy of prophet Muhammad back to Abraham through Ishmael. Therefore, the three great religions Christian, Islam and Jews all believe their genealogy starts with Abraham.
Mohammad died in 632 and soon Radical Islam began an attempt to expand. Within 100 years they moved into Egypt and across the top of Africa into Iberia (Spain) and north almost to Paris. Their expansion was stopped at the Battle of Tours in 732 AD.
The first Catholic Crusade in 1096-99 AD resulted in Jerusalem being recaptured. Four large Crusader states were established; Jerusalem, Edessa, Antioch, and Tripoli. There were additional Crusades but eventually in 1290 Islam was able to recapture all the Crusader States.
In 1299 Osman founded the Ottoman Empire which was to endure until 1921. Ottoman led by Suleiman I captured Constantinople in 1453 and for the first time since 732 Islam seemed poised to expand into Europe. However, they were stopped at the battle of Vienna in 1683. That began a long but slow decline that ended with the Ottoman’s siding with Germany in World War I. In 1921 Winston Churchill led a group that divided up what remained of the Ottoman Empire controled by Great Britain. The result of WW I and this groups decisions included Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Iran and Turkey.
ISIS is currently trying to recreate some or all of the Ottoman Empire. Al-Qaeda and other radical Islam groups are in competition with ISIS. Apparently a lot of this is being supported by Iran.
With this background how are Christians to respond?
Nehemiah the governor of Judea said “7 Now when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the Ashdodites heard that the repair of the walls of Jerusalem went on, and that the breaches began to be closed, they were very angry. 8 All of them conspired together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause a disturbance in it. 9 But we prayed to our God, and because of them we set up a guard against them day and night.” (C)
Jesus said “43You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?”
How do I balance Jesus’ words with Nehemiah actions?
We need to be obedient to the words of Jesus above “to love our enemies”, the great commission “go make disciples of the nations”(E) and great commandment “Love God and others” (F). We should have a strong missionary program in countries that are closed to the gospel in the world.
Some of our enemies will have to be defeated by governments under “Just War Principles”. As we look at ISIS, Al-Qaeda and other radical Islamist groups it will be good to keep in mind history. Link below is a “Short Detailed History” from 632 to 2014 of Islam attempts to control the world. As you review this history you may come to the conclusion that this could go on a long time.
“Just War Principles” Just War Principals
“Short Detailed History with 3 maps” Radical Islam History attempt to expand 632 AD to present
Henry Luke January 29, 2015
Notes: A-Genesis 12:2; B-Matthew 1:2, Luke 3:34; C- Nehemiah 4:7-9 D- Matthew 5:43-47; E- Matthew 28:18-20 & Acts 1:8; F- Mark 12:30-31;