By Theodore Shoebat
ISIS attacked the city of Hasakah but were suddenly driven back, by Assyrian Christian warriors who, with both faith and guns, fought them off. After about a week of fighting the Christians managed to compel ISIS to retreat, just as Christ compelled the devil to flee from Him. Shoebat.com conducted an exclusive interview with Jeff Gardner, Director of Operations for Restore Nineveh Now , an organization supporting and helping the militia, to talk to us about the battle and also the deep Christian spirituality of these Christian warriors:
The name of the militia is called The Gozarto Protection Force (GPF). They have already lost a substantial amount of men while fighting ISIS, and we must help them and their families. Restore Nineveh Now assists and helps the wives and children of the warriors, and as Christians are obligated to “visit orphans and widows in their trouble” (James 1:27). Please visit their site and make a donation that will help these fighters and their families:
Look to these warriors of Syria, and how each of them is an image of Christ, by being imitators of Christ in His warfare against the devil. St. Ambrose wrote: “By the death of martyrs religion has been defended, faith increased, the Church strengthened” (ibid, 45), and surely is this most holy truth found in the zeal of these fighters. Sancharib Moshe, an Assyrian Christian fighter, was martyred when fighting these devils. He was killed by a hidden explosive set up by the successors of Cain, and his body was elevated to that of a saintly combatant.
Another martyr, Youiel Zaya, was killed from a wound he received while fighting the antichrist Muslims. He went to the hospital and there he bore his cross and ascended to the Crucified One.
George Marokel and Issa Garwrie both received the crown of glorious martyrdom while fighting in the battlefield against the Islamists.
Look to the hands of Christ! Gaze at the wounds from the nails that so inflicted Him, and you will see the wounds of the battle hardened warrior. Look to the imitators of Christ, and you will see martyrs; look to the imitators of Christ, and you will see warriors, you will see soldiers. Look to the warrior who carries his cross, and you will see Christ. This is Syria, the land where the fame of Christ went throughout; it is the land where Christ healed those which were possessed with devils (Matthew 5:24), and it is now here where the successors of Christ drive out the advancers of the diabolical.
That Cross that pierces the ground and conquers the earth; that leads us to the glory and majesty of the Holy Spirit; that ascends us to the Father; that brings us to the Center of Humanity and of the Cosmos, that is, Jesus Christ. These are the warriors of Syria, who by faith receive the afflictions of Christ; by faith vanquish the invaders; by faith conquer the sword with sacrificial love; by faith receive martyrdom and exhibit the light of heavenly wisdom, the essence and ultimate meaning of which, is sacrifice. Without sacrifice, there is no love; without suffering, there is no true longing for the One Who suffered for us; without bitterness, there is no sweetness; without death, there is no life, for true life can never be experienced until we have first died to our fears, our passions, our desires, our selves. St. Maximus the Confessor wrote, “it is only when we have been taught by suffering that we who love non-being can regain the capacity to love what is.” (Ambiguum 7, iv)
St. Cyril of Jerusalem tells us that from the sign of the Cross the devils “flee away trembling’’; for it is the Cross that does not not help us escape pain, but transcends the fear of pain, and makes the bitter waters of anguish sweet like nectar. When the water was bitter for Israel, God showed Moses a tree, they pushed the tree into the water, and the waters were made sweet. (Exodus 15:25) So then, the Sacred Wood upon which Christ — Who is Very God and the whole of Humanity — was crucified, shows humanity that with it bitterness of agony becomes sweet. Gregory of Nyssa, commentating on this story of Moses, wrote that through the wood of the Cross, “the virtuous life, being sweetened by the hope of things to come, becomes sweeter and more pleasant than all the sweetness that tickles the senses with pleasure.” (Gregory of Nyssa, Life of Moses, 2.132)
The life of the saint is bittersweet, with him crying out with David, “He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me: for there were many with me.” (Psalm 55:18) There is a battle, but in the end there is peace through Jesus Christ, for from the Crucified Warrior is victory established and true life overflows from the sweet rivers of the Crucifixion’s transcendence. “Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9)
Thus, these warriors of Syria, who compel the devils to flee — as Christ liberated those in Syria possessed by the demons and drove the devil out of the desert — drive the acolytes of the demons out, and bring peace to the land, and for this can they be called sons of God. “These are the men by whose toils and perils,” wrote Augustine on the Christian warrior, “with the help of God’s protection and support, an invincible force is subjugated, peace is won for the state as well as for the provinces, restored to order.” (Letter 228)
In the Christian Faith, when one strives to have union with Christ, there is not only a connection made between the Divine and the person’s soul, but with the person’s body as well. The body is mystically absorbed into a participation of the Good, and thus it is used to partake in God, that is, to partake in love and be utilized for an instrument of God’s justice. In the words of St. Gregory of Maximus,
The soul becomes godlike through divinization [theosis], and because God cares for what is lower, that is the body, and has given the command to love one’s neighbor, the soul prudently makes use of the body. By practicing the virtues the body gains familiarity with God and becomes a fellow servant with the soul. (St. Maximus, On the Cosmic Mystery of Christ, Ambiguum 7,iii, 1088B)
These saints in Syria, how they surpass the lax and corrupt passions of man, when they leap above the walls of death and defy fear, conquering trepidation and mocking the intimidation of the enemy, they make the sign of the Cross — the sign of death — upon themselves, and enter life. For the purest life is one of selflessness. “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10) True life is seeing the world without fear, without taking thought for the morrow (Matthew 6:34); to have life is to have awareness of God, to see the world through the eyes of Love, for “There is no fear in love” (1 John 4:18).
To have life is to be an imitation of Christ, in Whom is no fear, no dread, no thought for the morrow, only love, and in love lies perfect strength and selfless courage. This is why the Cross is the center image of the Christian Faith, for in it, Heaven and Earth come together, humanity becomes one with God, and all passions are surpassed to the original state of man, in which the mind is in perpetual contemplation in God, and the intellect and the heart work in harmony with the Spirit, and peace conquers the chaotic ways of capricious mankind.
St. Ambrose wrote:
By the death of One the world was redeemed. For Christ, had He willed, need not have died, but He neither thought that death should be shunned as though there were any cowardice in it, nor could He have saved us better than by dying. And so His death is the life of all. (On the Belief in the Resurrection, 46)
These men, their bodies are not theirs, but Christ’s, being moved by the hand of God and defending that which is right and virtuous. Each fighter is a temple of God, and as Christ whipped out the harlots who were corrupting His Father’s House, these emulators of Christ protect the temples of God that are being persecuted by the children of the devil. “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
These men glorify God in their bodies, by offering up their bodies for the cause of righteousness, peace and justice, and they glorify Him in spirit, but immersing themselves in love, for “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
This is the divine love; this the greatest love, this is the transcendent image of God manifesting itself in the mystical union between the selfless fighter and his King Christ. For in the imitation of Christ, there is sacrifice, a participation in the Good, a partaking in the nature of the Holy One — there is the presence of God. These Assyrian fighters, they drink the Chalice and take of the Lord’s Table when they participate in the Eucharist.
In this divine meal do they witness the sacrifice of Christ before their eyes, “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.” (1 Corinthians 11:26) They see the Lord’s death in the Eucharist, they see the fullness of life, for when one sees the Eucharist, one sees Love, and consumes Love. There are two photos of the militants both participating and protecting an Easter Mass:
They protect the Sacred Meal, and participate in the Lord’s Supper; in this do they emulate Christ. For in their participation, they live as Christ lived, being in the Last Supper and crucifying themselves with Christ in the war against evil. In protecting, they are as Christ Who defends His Church through His people. Christ commanded St. Peter, strengthen your brethren. (Luke 22:32) And so Christ strengthens His Church through His warriors.
And in seeing love they emulate love; in participating in the Eucrarist they partake in the Last Supper, and entering the battlefield they walk the path of dolor — the Via Dolorosa —; His crown becomes their crown; His wounds become their wounds; His stripes become their stripes; His spilt blood becomes their spilt blood; His life becomes their lives, His death becomes their deaths, His Resurrection their salvation. In the fullest of love the light of Heaven beams through the crimson stained martyrs and they are brought up to the third heaven, being made one with He Who first loved us. (1 John 4:19)
In the Little Flowers of St. Francis it speaks of a monk named Bernard who “by the keenness of his mind, soared up to the light of divine wisdom” (1.1), and surely have these Assyrian troops reached this wisdom. “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil;” (Proverbs 8:13) and the fear of God “is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding.” (Job 28:28) To hate evil, then, is wisdom. And do these men not hate evil when they pick up their guns and fight the bringers of evil? Have they not reached that heavenly wisdom that conveys to the heart the glory of sacrifice?
Hashabah and his brethren, seventeen hundred strong, were “men of valour” “in all the business of the Lord, and in the service of the king.” (1 Chronicles 26:30) They were priestly warriors; Jehoiada, the leader of the Aaronites, and with him three thousand seven hundred, (1 Chronicles 12:27) were also priestly warriors, men who dedicated themselves to the monastic life — like John the Baptist, Elijah and the warrior monks of the Crusades — and these also ascended to the heavenly wisdom, hating evil and putting their lives to the risk of death to conquer and destroy it. These Assyrian fighters are no different. They go to the priests and partake in the Lord’s Body, and emulating the Body of Christ, they die unto themselves and fight, even to the death, for peace.