Justin Welby
Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury Cathedral says that Isis is today's Herod who ordered massacre of the innocentsGetty Images

As midnight mass vigils across the world ushered in Christmas, Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury Cathedral in Kent gave one of the gravest sermons on the holy day. The cleric compared the Islamic State (Isis) terrorist group to the Biblical King Herod who ordered the massacre of the innocents in an attempt to kill the Christ child.

"Having heard about the birth of Jesus, Herod responds in devastating destruction. He tries to annihilate the apocalypse of God," the priest said in his sermon for Christmas morning during Holy communion service at the cathedral. "To all who have been or are being dehumanised by the tyranny and cruelty of a Herod or an ISIS, a Herod of today, God's judgement comes as good news, because it promises justice."

Justin Welby said that the IS (Daesh) was staging a false apocalypse in an area where the Bible's apocalypse actually happened. The terrorist group is trying to prove that it is actually the end of the world as they kill innocents, he said.

"Today, across the Middle East, close to the area in which the angels announced God's apocalypse, Isis and others claim that this is the time of an apocalypse, an unveiling created of their own terrible ideas, one which is igniting a trail of fear, violence, hatred and determined oppression."

"Confident that these are the last days, using force and indescribable cruelty, they seem to welcome all opposition, certain that the warfare unleashed confirm that these are indeed the end times."

The archbishop said that the false apocalypse heralded by the terror group will eliminate Christianity from where it originated. "They hate difference, whether it is Muslims who think differently, Yazidis or Christians, and because of them the Christians face elimination in the very region in which Christian faith began," he said.