Just the pictures chilled the soul. A lone Jordanian pilot took his last steps on earth to a cage fit for an animal but made for a man.
He walked before a lineup of ISIS fighters. He was alone but there was nowhere to run. He was a doomed man.
ISIS lit a trail of fuel outside the cage that burned its way inside to 26-year-old Mouath al-Kasaesbeh. He became an ISIS victim after his F-16 crashed in their territory last December. His clothes soaked with gasoline, he became a human torch for the latest and most diabolical of ISIS's executions.
Edgar Allen Poe, the master of macabre could not improve on this ghastly scene. One more ISIS execution, this one the most hellish yet.
In Old Testament "eye-for-an-eye" justice, his home country Jordan began to execute jihadists on their death row. Jordan's King Abdullah cut short his Washington, D.C., visit and joined his countrymen and women, grieving over this latest heinous atrocity.
CBN News heard of other atrocities when we reported from the front lines in Kurdistan after ISIS rampaged through the region. Here are two accounts from the book, Destination Jerusalem, by this reporter.
We sat down. Jonathan set up the camera and we began our interviews. We talked first with an elderly woman whose teeth were missing. Later, in the course of our conversation, we found out why.
"ISIS bombed our churches and took our houses," she said. Anguish etched on her face, she told us, "We don't have anything here. No money. No ID. No travel documents."
They had no travel documents because ISIS had taken them. At the checkpoint leaving Mosul, the jihadists had confiscated nearly everything of value or sentimental meaning, including wedding rings. They took this woman's bag filled with her medicines and her dentures. She pleaded with them three times to give it back, but ISIS refused.
During their dispute, these brutes nearly abducted her daughter. One sentry eventually took the bag of medicines, including the woman's dentures, and stamped them in the ground.
"Here, you have nothing!" they said. These men seemed driven to do anything to humiliate the "infidels."
An older man, sitting across the room, added his memory of the encounter: "They gave us all four choices," he said.
First, they could pay the jizya tax. The reason behind this tax comes from the Qur'an. In 9:29, it says: "Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day…nor acknowledge the religion of truth (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued."
Second, they could also convert by saying the Shahada, the Muslim profession of faith, before two other Muslims.
Third, they could leave their homes but without their possessions.
Finally, if they rejected paying the jizya tax, failed to convert, or refused to leave, they had a fourth and final choice: they could die by the sword.
Facing these four grisly choices…most chose to leave.
Now mortified, shocked and grieved, these refugees of war had left behind the homes they had lived in for years, sometimes for generations, and began an uncertain, uncharted new life. Innocent casualties, they fell victim when ISIS swallowed up swaths of Iraq and shrouded the land with a pervading darkness.
To some, ISIS appeared like a horde on the march from the mythical, demonic Mordor of The Lord of the Rings. In just one day, tens of thousands of Christians fled towns like Tel Kef, Bartilla, or Qaraqosh, called by some Iraq's Christian capital. Others fled ISIS's earlier assault on Mosul, ancient Nineveh.
From whatever area, most had come to Erbil with nothing more than the clothes on their back, their memories seared by what they had just seen and heard.
The older man added, "They're using the sword to cut off hands and beheading others." He went on, "I don't think this is the behavior of human beings, but wild animals do that."
A middle-aged woman chimed in: "They [ISIS] say, 'If anyone don't become like Muslim, we kill them, each one, from baby to woman to old man.'"
But perhaps none worse than what Canon Andrew White shared about four young girls who stood their ground and took a stand for Jesus:
He related how four teenagers-modern heroines of the faith-chose death over denial.
"ISIS turned up, and they said to the children, 'You say the words that you will follow Mohammad.' And the children - all under 15, four of them-they said, 'No, we love Yeshua, we have always loved Yeshua. We have always followed Yeshua. Yeshua has always been with us.' They (ISIS) said, 'Say the words!' They said, 'No, we can't.' They chopped off all their heads."
With an anguished look etched on his face, White asked, "How do you respond to that? You just cry." Through his aching shepherd's heart, he lamented, "They're my children. That's what we have been going through. That's what we are going through."
Christians, Yazidis, and this young Jordanian have all been victims of this satanic group. Will his execution be a "game changer?" Some believe this latest wicked act will coalesce an already growing coalition of Sunni Arab states of Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and some Gulf States to defeat ISIS.
We will see. In the meantime, the Middle East remains in the balance.