There are literally thousands of Assyrian Christian men who have volunteered to join a militia protecting the Christians in Iraq, and may God bless them in such a holy cause. David William Lazar, California-based chairman of the American Mesopotamian Organization, has stated:
There are thousands of young Assyrian Christian men that have volunteered to join the protection units we’re planning on establishing in the coming weeks and months… Situations like this need political consensus before anything takes place on the ground. While there are hundreds of individuals that are armed with small weapons at this time, the bulk of the force is yet to be organized. Most of our areas in the Nineveh Plain are still under ISIS control and it doesn’t look like the Kurdish militias will be able to remove them without help from the International community.
There is also one great Christian militia called the Syriac Military Council, and its forces consist of Chaldean and Assyrian Christians.
Moreover, there are even some Europeans who have discussed the possibility of having a “fifth crusade” or “a new lepanto,” referring to the Battle of Lepanto of 1571 in which the Christian forces of the Catholic Holy League defeated the Ottoman Turks in what is the greatest naval battle in Christendom’s history.
Forty Christians, all well armed, who are members of the Assyrian Patriotic Party, have gotten so fed up with the persecutions that they have decided to hit hard the forces of ISIS. This militia calls itself Dukha, which means sacrifice, for truly, by fighting for the Faith, are these holy warriors partaking in the sufferings of Christ, warring against the spirits of darkness and contending with the sinister slaves of the devil, as Christ fought Satan on the Cross.
The churches of the Middle East have for decades taught pacifism, taking a misconstruing of the biblical concept of peace and applying it against Christian militancy. But now things are changing. As Henry Sarkis, one of the Christian militants fighting ISIS, has said:
We keep talking about Jesus and peace, and now we’ve reached the point where it’s not enough… The age of waiting for the Peshmerga to take back territory while we sit is over. We took the decision that, with our limited abilities, we will try to participate… We’re being killed in our homes, so why not defend ourselves? Then even if we die, we die with dignity… We didn’t want to reach this point – we just want to live in our areas
This notion of peace as pacifism, I believe, is refuted by Augustine when he wrote:
For peace is not sought in order that war might be undertaken, but a war is undertaken so that peace might be acquired. (Epistle 189)
Farid Yacoub, another Christian militant, made it clear that many Christian men are joining the ranks of the crusade, saying:
We have lots who are volunteering, who want to fight, but we don’t have the means to arm them
Truly these are men who “wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12)
They do not fight for plunder, nor for the sake of killing flesh and shedding blood, but for the preservation of true religion in the land of the East. Surely, this is a holy war, a spiritual war.
Nehemiah, the prophet, was in a spiritual conflict when he assembled a holy militia to protect those who were building the temple against the vehemence of the heathen, with arms and with spirit, so are these militants protecting the spiritual domain of the Church in the Near East by fighting against mortals who wish to advance the kingdom of Satan.
They are those who say that spiritual battle does not consist of any physical combat, but by affirming such an idea, they turn to the opinion of Gnosticism, which spiritualizes everything. Such is heresy.
Spiritual battle can be fought through physical means, and thus is this illustrated by the Christian militants who contend with the Muslim devils.
Christ fought in the greatest spiritual war of all time, and it was done through physical phenomena: it was fought through nails, through a lance, through a scourge, through a crown of thorns, through a cross.
In Christian holy war, both the physical and the spiritual realms collide, with saintly warriors bearing the armor of God, and being under the protection of God and His angels, fighting against those who terrorize for diabolical purposes, and the demons who accompany them.
God fought for Israel, not just against the heathen nations, but against their gods. The physical wars Israel partook in against the pagans were temporal battles, occurring in the midst of spiritual battles, between God, the saints and the angels in Heaven, and Satan and his demons. For as the Scriptures proclaim:
And what one nation in the earth is like thy people, even like Israel, whom God went to redeem for a people to himself, and to make him a name, and to do for you great things and terrible, for thy land, before thy people, which thou redeemedst to thee from Egypt, from the nations and their gods? (2 Samuel 7:23)
The Lord goes out before His armies to strike the Philistines, and in the battle, it is David who assails the enemy, striking with the physical sword the heathens in one moment, and in the same moment, striking the demons with the spiritual sword. As we read in the book of the prophet, Samuel:
And the Philistines came up yet again, and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim. And when David inquired of the LORD, he said, Thou shalt not go up; but fetch a compass behind them, and come upon them over against the mulberry trees. And let it be, when thou hearest the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees, that then thou shalt bestir thyself: for then shall the LORD go out before thee, to smite the host of the Philistines. And David did so, as the LORD had commanded him; and smote the Philistines from Geba until thou come to Gazer. (2 Samuel 5:22-25)
When God struck, so did David strike. For the holy warrior “is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.” (Romans 13:4)
They follow the footsteps of the holy warriors before them, who “waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.” (Hebrews 11:34) These Christian men in Syria and Iraq, they too wax valiant in fight, and are striving to drive out the aliens, that is the heathens of ISIS, from their lands.
They are like “the Hasidim, mighty men of Israel who willingly offered themselves for the Law, every one of them. …And they mustered a host, and smote sinners in their anger, and lawless men in their wrath; and the rest of the Gentiles to save themselves.” (I Maccabees 2:42-45, ellipses mine)
These holy men who have chosen to take up arms against the Muslims, are like the great Mattathias, who took no heed to the demands of the pagans to sacrifice to idols, but instead kindled the fire of his faith, and “killed the king’s officer who had come to enforce the sacrificing, pulled down the altar, and thus showed his zeal for the Law” (I Maccabees 2:24-26)
The same shall it be with the Christian militant: men who take up their cross, fighting alongside the ranks of holy angels and the armies of Heaven, bombarding the bastions of hell so that truth may perpetuate over the darkness.
The holy warriors follow in the footsteps of the most sacred saint, Moses, who, when seeing his fellow Hebrew abused by the heathen Egyptian, struck him dead, as St. Stephen tells us, “seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian” (Acts 7:24).
In all these sacred acts of valor, God fought for His troops; He fought for His armies through their mighty hands, hence Moses says, “the LORD thy God hath delivered them into thine hands” (Deuteronomy 21:10), and David proclaimed in holy song, “He teacheth my hands to war; so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms.” (2 Samuel 22:35)
When the Christian fights against evil-doers, he is not a murderer, but in the words of St. Bernard, “if he kills an evil doer, he is not a man-killer, but, if I may put it, an evil-killer.” (In Praise of a New Knighthood, ch. 3) He in fact emulates God, striving against evil and taking up the cross, being amongst the “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4).
That the holy warrior emulates God was, I believe, inferred by Pope Innocent III, when he commenced a most glorious crusade against the heretics, declaring to the warriors of Christendom,
“May you henceforth similarly carry it out: so strike, that you heal; slay, that you may give life, by the example of him who said, I will kill and I will give life; I will strike and I will heal.” [Deuteronomy 32:39)” (Innocent III, Convening the Fourth Council of the Lateran)
When the Christian fighter kills a terrorist, he preserves life by preventing the massacres of the innocent, just as Moses had done when he slew the Egyptian, and thus does he emulated the nature of God, ceaselessly combating the wicked, bearing upon his soul the eternal words, “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil” (Proverbs 8:13).
With the story of the Christian militias in Syria and Iraq, I am reminded of a wonderful event of ancient Christendom, in which more than a hundred thousand German pagans, under the savage Gothic ruler Radagaisus, approached Christian Rome to sack it. Not one Roman solider lost their lives in the fray, and the entire army of pagans submitted to the Christian sword, while Radagaisus and his sons were put to death. (Augustine, City of God, 5.23) St. Paulinus of Nola, one of the great fathers of the Church, wrote a poem on the providential battle:
The enemy and their unholy king alike are slaughtered, and the victory of the boy Augustus has restored peace; though of tender years, his courage in battle emerged triumphant through God’s strength, and he has shattered human resource through Christ’s victory over an impious tyrant. (Poem 21)
The Muslims will in the future attempt to invade Rome, just as these Goths tried, and they will lose, just as these Goths lost.
Let our prayers be as incense to God, asking Him to fight for these Christian fighters, so that they may drive out the aliens and restore peace. Let them be as harvesters, coming home with an immense yield, and if they are to endure the temporal defeat, let Heaven be filled with Holy Icons made in the image of the Almighty.
Let the New Crusade begin, let it take place with holy quarrels, with sacred hands shedding heathen blood, and let it end with the earth finally at rest.
Theodore Shoebat is the Communications Director for Rescue Christians, an organization that is on the ground in Muslim lands, rescuing Christians from persecution. He is the author of two book, For God or For Tyranny and In Satan’s Footsteps: The Source and Interconnections of all Evil , he also has a DVD series called “Christian Militancy,” which is on Christian warfare and our fight against evil and tyranny.
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