ISIS, the Islamic State that has been terrorizing and killing thousands of Christians and Yazidis, beheading American and British reporters, taking women and children as sex slaves – has also begun to destroy historic religious shrines. ISIS militants recently bombed and destroyed the tomb of Jonah and the mosque that housed it, obliterating for all time an important Holy place of worship – not only for Christians, but Jews and Muslims as well. For those not familiar with the story, the Book of Jonah tells the story of the prophet Jonah balking at first when God tells him to go to Nineveh to preach. Instead, Jonah sails in another direction, where he encounters a great storm and winds up being swallowed by a great fish. He spends three days in the belly of the fish before emerging alive to follow God’s instruction to go to Nineveh. Some scripture scholars say it was a foreshadowing of how Jesus would spend three days in the tomb before being resurrected. The destruction of Jonah’s tomb saddens me in particular because my next book to be published is the modern-day Bible story titled “The Runaway Prophet” based on Jonah. I’ve never (yet) had the opportunity to visit any Old Testament or New Testament holy sites in the Middle East. I only hope I haven’t waited too late – and pray that ISIS is stopped. That’s all we can do back home here in the US besides donate to humanitarian efforts and write our Congressmen to take action. To save these holy and historic places of worship – and most importantly, to save the lives of innocent victims.
September 22, 2014 · 11:20 am