What is the Spirit of Ishmael?
In 1 Chronicles 12:32 we are told two things about the sons of Issachar. First they knew the time in which they lived and second, they knew what to do. In this day we need to understand clearly the time in which we live and we must know what to do.
Ishmael is described in Genesis 16:12 as being a wild donkey among men, “his hand shall be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell over against all his brethren.” Islam is often called a “world religion” because it has spread across the globe to include now about 1.7 billion adherents. But really Islam is Arabism, a form of tribalism we are familiar with in Africa, which means it is very much about the spread of the Arabic language and 7th century Arab culture. In Christianity, when scripture is translated it remains scripture even if we may refer to the original languages for teaching or clarification. But for Islam, the original Qur’an is believed to be in heaven in Arabic and is considered to be an integral part of Allah himself. Thus a translated version of the Qur’an is not truly scripture for Islam and every Muslim should study in Arabic, pray in Arabic, and direct their prayers toward Mecca in Saudi Arabia. The direction of prayer for Islam is toward the Ka’bah which according to Islam was made by Abraham and his son Ishmael. Thus Islam was founded and formed among the descendent of the 12 sons of Ishmael that formed the Arab tribes. The spirit of Ishmael is the spirit of Islam and Genesis 16:12 describes that spirit well.
Ephesians 6:12 tells us that we are wrestling against spiritual powers, principalities, and world-rulers of this darkness. If we do not understand the spiritual dynamic of the time in which we live, we cannot know what to do. The ruling spirit of Islam is the spirit of Ishmael which is the spirit of division, contention, and fighting. As the Islamic tide increases in a nation the level of division and contention increases. Political contention increases, religious contention increases, and even among Christians divisions and fighting become more pronounced. This is important for the Enemy of the church because when Christians fight one another their witness is compromised, their effectiveness reduced, and their efforts are divided.
The last 50 years have seen a tremendous rise in Islamism around the world. But the church has not seriously responded to this challenge. Thus the spirit of Ishmael has invited other spiritual powers to join in this spiritual battle. And so the spirit of fear has joined causing the world to have to contend with terrorism. Through terror, the spirit of Ishmael, and thus Islam, has intimidated the world. Governments are fearful they may lose their supply of oil and thus their economies would fail. If their economies fail current governmental leaders and parties will certainly not be reelected. Societies are intimidated by the threat of terrorism and its possible increase and so demands of Muslims are approved.
But the spirit of fear was not adequately addressed by the Christian community any more than the spirit of Ishmael was. One reason is that the concept of spiritual warfare was debunked by many and simply ignored by others. So what has been the result? The spirit of death has come. ISIS and similar groups such as Boka Haram and Al Shabab bring the spirit of death. They are proud to show beheaded corpses on the internet, of men, women and even children. They delight to show pictures and video of hundreds and in some cases thousands of dead bodies they have killed and laid in mass graves in the name of Allah. They joy and exult in death because they are controlled by the spirit of death. Their black flag and black clothing clearly represents the spirit that controls them.
This is the nature of the time in which we live, but what should be the Christian response? First we must understand that our battle is not against Muslims as human beings but against the spiritual forces of the wickedness of this age that have taken control of the worldwide Islamic movement. To win this battle we must focus on two things: 1) coming not in a spirit of hate and contention but in the Spirit of love; and 2) healing the divisions of the church. We must come in the opposite spirit to that of Ishmael, terrorism and death; and we must close the gaping wounds in the body of Christ. We have become doctrinally correct and spiritually wrong.
Join us in prayer for the 1.7 billion Muslims of the world. Many Muslims do not honestly know the foundational teachings and documents of their own religion and are simply being manipulated by Islamicists who do not have a religious but rather a political agenda. We must win the spiritual battle of our time; we must come in the Spirit of Love and Unity; and the body of Christ must be healed of its wounds. The Spirit of Christ is nothing like the spirit of Ishmael, the Spirit of Christ is the Spirit of love, peace and joy. This is the Spirit in which we are called to live, to pray, and to minister.
Outreach to Muslims Is not optional, it is the responsibility of our generation and it is what we must do. Join with us today in your prayers and your giving. Let us together face the hour in which we live with faith, unity, and confidence in God.