Dallas Iraqi pastor: Beheadings & horrific burnings 'preview of tribulation'

by Joni B. Hannigan, Editorial Staff |
An Iraqi Shi'ite fighter walks with his weapon as they prepare to launch an attack on Islamic State militants on the outskirts of the city of Tikrit Feb. 18, 2015 | REUTERS/Stringer

DALLAS (Christian Examiner) -- The burning alive in a cage of a Jordanian pilot; the beheading of 21 Coptic Christians on a beach in Libyia; the torching of 40 police officers and tribesmen just outside an air base in Iraq; the death of a humanitarian worker in captivity in Syria; and the abduction of at least 35 Egyptian farm workers in Lybia – all within about a 10 day period -- has caused a Dallas pastor to wonder if this is a "preview of the tribulation" a sort of "pre-rapture" period described in the Book of Revelations.

"The picture right now is what is going to happen more and more," Jalil Dawood told Christian Examiner. "I do not believe this will die. We are most likely going to see a coming of the Lord and tribulation."

Jalil, pastor of Arabic Church of Dallas, teaches a class in Kurdistan, Iraq in 2011 during his first visit to his home country since he left it in the 1980s in order to avoid the Iraq/Iran war. Today he believes the end times are near. | Photo by Joni B. Hannigan

Dawood is an Iraqi born pastor whose grandparents, Chaldeans, escaped mass extinction in the 1930s in Turkey. They fled to Zakho, Iraq, where his parents were born. He was born in Baghdad and in 1982 fled Iraq during the war with Iran. He came to the United States to begin a new life and has been pastor of the Arabic Church of Dallas since 2007. His church reaches peoples from all nations and in recent years began a humanitarian and evangelistic organization, World Refugees Care.

Dawood says ISIS will continue to exhibit unconscionable acts of violence because "this is based on the idea that if somebody is not of your faith, they are an infidel, and you can go after them.

"The killing to them is justified," said Dawood, and added, "Anybody who is standing in their way, as long as you are not with them, you will be considered to be subject to death -- if you are Christian, Yazidi, Sunni, and even Shia, they will not take prisoners; they will kill them."

Dawood said the reason ISIS has so many adherents is that the loosely organized, but intensely loyal and passionate terror organization has used "religion" to recruit -- for lack of any other drawing force.

"People formed an army on their own. They made this new army -- and mixed religion in with it to justify it, otherwise no one else would join it," Dawood said. Pointing to a lack of understanding on the part of American leaders who disbanded Saddam Hussein's Republican Guard -- an elite Army -- he said those who previously led are now "disgruntled ex-military people in power."

"They are going back and trying to fight the people who kicked them out -- and when you add faith to it -- it gains more power," Dawood said.

All the more reason, Dawood says the Church worldwide need to wake up.

"You want to see people saved! You want to see loved ones saved and if the Lord is coming and they are not saved, it is going to be horrendous for those people who are not," he said.

In addition to giving to mission agencies and talking about supporting workers in the field, Dawood says the church needs to "stay ready and continue preaching the Gospel and reach out as much as possible to the communities around us and love our neighbor and love the Lord with all our heart and mind."

"It is drawing nearer to the end and we don't want to see anybody lost," Dawood said.

And power -- the kind that comes with praying for the lost -- motivates Dawood.

"We don't want religious war. We want to win people to the Lord. We want to gain them to the Lord," Dawood said. "The church needs to reach out."


ISIS ups savagery, burning alive 40

Iraqi family determined not to abandon 'cradle of Christianity'

Iraqi leader says American church callous to Iraqi Christians, underestimates enemy soon at our door

Iraqi Christian child asks God to 'forgive' ISIS