I really appreciate the time you invest in answering all of our many questions. There has been much going on in relation to the Islamic State or ISIS. They have been doing terrible things to many innocent people and there are some who believe that this group is connected with bible prophecy. What do you think?
This is a valid question that I’m sure many are asking themselves during these calamitous times. The best answer I can give you is we don’t know. I know that will seem like a dodge, and I apologize for that. However, let’s take a moment to look at prophecy from the past.
Looking back to the Savior’s life, we can see that the Jews had been given many prophecies to help them recognize His coming. Some recognized those signs immediately, some took more time, and others never recognized the signs and never accepted Christ as the Messiah they had been waiting for.
Surely we would do better right? Or at least we would like to think so. Let’s look at our “prophecy score card”. The prophet Joel foretold that before the second coming of Christ the moon would turn to blood. That’s an easy one, right? Everyone, well at least all Christians, will be aware of that prophecy and recognize it when it is fulfilled, right? And yet we didn’t.
In 2001, Pres. Hinckley mentioned that the prophecy of Joel had been fulfilled. He said:
The era in which we live is the fulness of times spoken of in the scriptures, when God has brought together all of the elements of previous dispensations. From the day that He and His Beloved Son manifested themselves to the boy Joseph, there has been a tremendous cascade of enlightenment poured out upon the world. The hearts of men have turned to their fathers in fulfillment of the words of Malachi. The vision of Joel has been fulfilled wherein he declared:
“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
“And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
“And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
“The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come.
“And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call” (Joel 2:28–32).
And yet, even now almost 15 yrs later, I find members who are surprised when I tell them that prophecy has been fulfilled.
The lesson I take from this is that prophecy will not always come to pass in ways that are obvious to us, even when we are trying to be watchful. And second, for me, this reiterates the blessing of having a modern-day prophet and the need to listen to ALL his words–even those that come on Saturday morning of General Conference when perhaps we’d rather be sleeping or playing.
Regarding the current events with ISIS, I think we should be prayerful for the victims, even for the members of ISIS (the Savior did tell us to pray for our enemies), for the soldiers and political leaders as they try to resolve these horrors. We should watch and listen carefully to guidance from our modern day prophet, President Thomas S. Monson.