Recently at the Soul Train Awards, Jamie Foxx referred to President Barak Obama as, “Our lord and savior, Barak Obama.” Granted, Foxx is a comedian and an actor, and he was basically responding to the atmosphere of the event as he said earlier, “It’s like church over here, it’s like church.” But, there is a growing body of evidence that many who follow our current president are taking things way too far – even if these things are mentioned in jest or overjoyed hyperbole. Let’s take a look at these things and see how maybe we should be a little concerned at where things are headed with our re-elected president.
It would be easy to write this off as just an actor/comedian gone goofy – but unfortunately this is getting to be a trend with the President. A book entitled, “The Gospel According to Apostle Barak” makes a case for likening President Obama to both Martin Luther King Jr. and Jesus Christ. Here is a quote from the book written by Florida A&M professor Barbara Thompson.
“I learned that Jesus walked the earth to create a more civilized society, Martin (Luther King) walked the earth to create a more justified society, but, Apostle Barack, the name he was called in my dreams, would walk the earth to create a more equalized society, for the middle class and working poor,” she wrote in an excerpt published by The Daily Caller. “Apostle Barack, the next young leader with a new cause, had been taken to the mountaintop and allowed to see over the other side.”
Let’s put aside the fact that Jesus did not come to create a more civilized society. He came to be the savior of the world – by dying for sin’s penalty and by shedding His blood to pay that price. Thompson’s statements lift our President to uncomfortable levels – at least in the mind of Biblical-thinking Christians. What is more disturbing is that Thompson purports to write such things under the direct revelation of God – as God has revealed these things to her in dreams.
Another depiction of our President that greatly concerns me is now on display as part of an art exhibit at Bunker Hill Community College in Boston, Massachusetts. The painting, done by Michael D’Antuono features President Obama with his arms outstretched as if being crucified. One might argue against this interpretation except that he is wearing a crown of thorns as well. The piece is called, “The Truth.” What is fascinating is that the showing of this piece was cancelled four years ago because of the controversy it caused. D’Antuono asserts that the piece is purely meant as a political statement – with no disrespect to people’s religion. What D’Antuono refuses to see is that it is very offensive to Christians – whether Democrat or Republican. I can only wonder why he did not represent the President as a figure of Muhammed? Maybe it is because the reaction to Islamic blasphemy is a little more pronounced than that of Christian blasphemy, which this picture is.
These next things may be seen as just overzealous followers or those seeking to make money where they can. Italian artists last month created figurines representing the president and first lady in Nativity scenes. These were highly criticized by those in the Catholic church. Also during the DNC convention vendors sold products that depicted President Obama as God – one specifically of a picture of our president looking over Scripture with the title, “prophecy fulfilled.”
Newsweek in its November 10, 2010 issue printed a picture on the front of the magazine of President Obama under the caption, “God of all things.” It showed the president in a position of the cosmic dance of the Hindu diety, Lord Shiva. I guess that means he crosses over multiple religions as God in all of them. Again I see such depictions as news people selling magazines – but I have to ask, was any other president ever depicted this many times as God? It is disturbing – because our president had to pose for this particular picture – so you know he had to know what the cover would say. This is where I get into my deepest concern for him in all this.
In Acts 12:22 we read of another leader who began to sound much more like a god than a man in what he said and did. That man was Herod and as he spoke the people cried out in protest, “The voice of a god and not a man!” The way that God dealt with this was to have an angel of the Lord strike Herod because he did not give glory to God. Herod died immediately – found to be eaten by worms. That is how God dealt with a leader who did not give glory to Him and decided he wanted to be god.
I am not saying by this that President Obama thinks he is God. He has not said anything like this – nor has he claimed to be God. But somewhat disconcerting to me is the fact that he has also yet to deny such things and inform his followers that he is neither God – nor the Messiah. Some may argue that a president does not have the time to negate every over-eggagerated reference to himself made by his supporters, and in theory I would have to agree. But when these things begin to reach a critical mass as I believe they are now doing – it would be comforting to Christians to hear such a straight forward denial. I don’t need such a denial because I’m confused on such matters. I am under no delusion, nor do I have a “thrill running up my leg” over these matters.
Let me put it another way. When Islam was being blasphemed by a ridiculous “YouTube” film our president and all his associates felt the need to vehemently deny and distance themselves from it – and what it portrayed. I have to publicly wonder why they see no such need to assuage the feelings of committed Christians who are deeply offended by these public comments referring to him as our Lord and Savior. I realize that we don’t riot and throw public fits – allegedly burning down embassies and killing ambassadors and former Navy Seals, but I was hoping that this was a plus for those of us committed Christians who see such behavior as reprehensible. It would just be comforting to know that our president sees portrayals of blasphemy against Jesus (especially when it personally involves his own image) as something equally reprehensible.
There is one other reason why I would like our president to do this – to publically distance himself from such blasphemous statements. It is because since the election I am trying to pray for him far more regularly. One of my prayers in the midst of this situation is that he will be wise and give glory to God. Speaking as honestly as I can, he needs to do this! God does not take blasphemy lightly, and His mercy on our president in the midst of this should not be taken as either weakness on God’s part – or acquiescence to what is going on currently. God is evidencing His amazing mercies toward our president – just as He does toward me when I sin. I only want to remind our president that there will be a day when both he and I will stand before God to give an account. In that day I can promise him that he will not regret taking the time to publically deny the blasphemies being voiced using his name and personage. When that day comes this will be the scene we both will see,
Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:11-15 (NASB)
There will be no doubt in either of our minds Who is God and Who is Messiah and the Christ in that moment. Currently I have no doubt Who is God and Who is Messiah right now. Mr. President . . . do you?
NOTE: Please pray for our president - that is what we are commanded to do in 1 Timothy 2:1-2!
The first amendment was originally written to prevent a “state” church in the United States. Unfortunately due to a wholesale ignorance of our Constitution as well as a campaign to misinform people about the 1st Amendment – we have come to understand that the 1st Amendment was to separate church and state. What is truly fascinating though is that the way our government is acting currently there is a state church being supported by millions and millions of our tax dollars. Actually it isn’t a church – it is a lack of separation of mosque and state. Let me explain.
The Obama administration has been spending millions of dollars trying to build good will with Muslims by rebuilding mosques and minarets. The State Department hides such actions under the guise of being a “cultural restoration” rather than an overt support of religion by the state. These projects have taken place in 27 different Muslim nations. The goal is to show that the United States is open to a multi-religious mindset. Yet, the use of these mosques has been anything but tolerant to the practice of Christianity in these places.
While the United States was giving money to rebuild an Egyptian mosque – the very worshippers of Islam gathered to burn to the ground the St. George Church in the village of Minarab. Even though the church sought to be peaceful by removing their cross and taking down a dome in the building, it did little to stop a crazed throng of thousands of Islamic worshippers from descending on the church to burn it down. As the building burned to the ground shouts of, “Kill all the Christians,” resounded at the site. Wonder if St. George’s Church will be rebuilt with U.S. funds?
A generous U.S. taxpayer donation was made to preserve the 900 year old mosque on the island of Zanzibar – off the coast of Tanzania. This gracious act was repaid as Islamic worshippers shouted, “Away with the church – we do not want infidels to spoil our community, especially our children!” This from a religious that our own State department calls, peaceful.
This is nothing though when you consider what has happened in northern Nigeria where the United States taxpayer has given generously to repair and restore a 15th century minaret there. Our act of kindness was repair with gross violence since 2009. Over 288 Christian churches have been burned to the ground and 2000 Christians have been killed since then. In 2012 a particularly gruesome event in this region took place as 50 members of a Christian church were burned alive in their pastor’s home.
Some would assert that this is just the fringe radical elements of Islam. But when they do this they ignore that recently Sheik Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia declared, “It is necessary to destroy all the churches of the region. And while his declaration was against churches on the Arabian Peninsula – this kind of terrorism and religious hatred is going on throughout Africa, the Mideast, and even in Asia. In the past two months Muslims in Kena have attacked 11 churches – and assaulted Christians meeting in open air meetings with grenades. This has resulted in the killing of at least three worshippers with 46 others wounded from the attacks.
It is beyond comprehension that we are spending money we don’t have to convince people that we are tolerant toward their religion – when they are making it plain that no such tolerance will be shown to us – especially the Christian religion. The North Sudanese government recently bulldozed three churches and confiscated several Catholic schools saying that such buildings were no longer welcome in a country were Islamic law (Shar’ia Law) was dominant. Even in Afghanistan, where we are fighting for the freedom of the Afghani people, the last public Christian church was demolished in October of 2011. How amazingly tolerant of them!
Even in countries where Christians have been forced to meet underground or in parking lots or sides of streets – they are still harassed. A mob of 600 Indonesian Muslims hurled bags of their own unine, as well as rotten eggs and ditchwater at 100 Christians whose only crime was that they were trying to attend a church service in an empty parking lot in Bekasi. One would think that such inhuman treatment and religious bigotry would be addressed by our State Department – yet they remain eerily silent. They don’t remain silent when Islam is supposedly insulted. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton went on the offensive by cutting a video and buying over $70,000 of air time in muslim countries to say that the Islamic faith, “respects the fundamental dignity of human beings.” Not quite sure she gets all the dignity that is being shown to Christians in these lands.
What is happening should chill us to the bone. Christians face the most strident opposition to ANY kind of hint that the state gives even a dime to a Christian organization. We have people in the liberal media almost stroke out while touting the false view of separation of church and state. Such a view or statement is not even in our constitution. Yet now we see millions of dollars being spent to restore and maintain Muslim places of worship. Evidently there is NOT a separation of church and state in our Constitution in their minds. There must just be a separation of Christianity and state, because there is wholesale support of Islam evident in at least 27 nations. While we bow to them to assure them we are tolerant of their religious practices – it seems to bother us far too little to protest the destruction of Christian churches and the violent killing of those who would worship there. Confused about all this? Me too!
Those who recently heard of the speech the president gave at the United Nations must have been impressed by the ability he has to speak out of both sides of his mouth at once. I am sure that he was seeking to bring peace and calm to a situation that is beginning to get out of control. Yet the utter hypocrisy of stating that we should not slander either the prophet of Islam or desecrate the “image of Jesus Christ,” is really beyond the pale. As we examine the gross hypocrisy of our president’s statement, we should read it first. Here is the statement he made in the United Nations speech on September 25th, 2012.
“The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam. Yet to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see when the image of Jesus Christ is desecrated, churches are destroyed, or the Holocaust is denied.” (emphasis mine)
If President Obama is serious about this statement – and I mean by serious that he will stand up for Christianity as well as Islam – I await his forthcoming denunciation of Andres Serrano’s “Piss Christ” that is going back on display in the very city in which he gave these remarks. I wonder when our President will be coming out with strong statements about the return of this federally funded desecration of Jesus Christ? I also wonder when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be joining him to condemn in the strongest words possible this outrage. I look forward to their joint commercial, at the cost of at least $70,000, so that all of the Christians in the United States can hear their strong rebukes, apologies, and calls for this artwork to be removed from the public view? You see, that IS what happened when the recent anti-Muslim film, “The Innocence of Muslims” caused problems in the Muslim world. Geez, I wonder if the Joint Chiefs of Staff has personally called Serrano yet urging him to withdraw his picture from the Art Gallery in Manhattan?
All this was done by our current administration to protest the offense to Muslims worldwide for the presence of “The Innocence of Muslims” on YouTube. Yet in 1989 when it came out, what we found when Cerrano decided to plunge the image of Jesus Christ on the cross into a jar of his own urine – was strong defenses by Democrat officials. They would not allow censorship – or even calls for it to be seriously considered. But that was before hope and change. Certainly NOW that there was someone who knew that people should not desecrate the image of Jesus Christ, we’d finally have a rebuke from our administration? But . . . there were no commercials made – no calls – no outrage – no disgust – just deafening silence. But now we have a President who gets it – right! He described such things as hateful actions! Therefore, according to our president, this was an act of hate paid for with your tax dollars! So, based on this speech, we should be hearing his denunciation of it as hate any moment now.
What is truly strange is that we find him oddly silent. He feels that the future cannot belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam. He also backs up those words with serious actions. We know from what he has DONE that he is serious about protecting Islam as a religion. But when it comes to Christianity once again we find him strangely mute. But now . . . now that our president is on record about the “hate we see when the image of Christ is desecrated,” things are going to be different. We can hold our breath, knowing that strong denunciations – commercials – apologies – will be coming from him, Secretary of State Clinton, and many others. How dare they! NOW we’ll hear President Obama and his administration really give it to them!
My advice to you would be to avoid holding your breath waiting for ANY action or statement to come as a result of this speech . . . unless you are a Muslim. Christians don’t riot and burn things - and kill Ambassadors when they are offended. (Actually the death of our Ambassador to Libya wasn’t due to the film – that was a terrorist attack – or at least a Libyan act of workplace violence.) We don’t act this way as Christians because we are told to rejoice when we are persecuted. We are told to love those who do such things to us. So, if you are a Christian, don’t hold your breath awaiting the strong denunciations that are forthcoming concerning the desecration of Jesus Christ that are currently on display in New York City – unless you want to actually meet Jesus in person. My guess is that you’ll die for lack of oxygen waiting for that kind of consistency on religious matters from this current administration.
The Republican National Convention is being affected by a hurricane. They are having to delay the start of the convention - and there is a possibility that additional changes may happen as the hurricane develops.
What is truly strange - and I think beyond coincidence is that the day that Hurricane Issac formed as a tropical depression, that was the day that the Republican platform committee voted to put the "two-state" position concerning Israel's land for peace through the formal approval process at the convention. This all happened on Tuesday, August 21st. God has said that He would bless those who bless Israel - and that He would curse those who curse her.
The two-state land for peace lie that had permeated the entire peace process in the Middle East has long been promoted as a viable solution. The problem is that as Israel has ceded more and more land - less and less peace has been the result. Now the Republican party has decided that this will be their official position toward Israel - one that is anything but friendly to a long-time ally. The radical Islamic groups that fill the Middle East see this as nothing more than protracted weakness - and an opportunity to continue to drive a wedge between the United States and Israel. This is because Israel cannot abide by an agreement that only requires movement and compromise from one side alone.
God is not pleased with this - and to be honest - Hurricane Issac is only a harbinger of more things to come. This decision has far more to do with Islamic accomodation than it does any kind of biblical or political wisdom. We will NOT be blessed in the end for such decisions - and yet as Christ's coming draws nearer - we know that all nations will abandon Israel. It is just sad to watch our nation turn to be one of them in our generation.
That peaceful Muslim Brotherhood is at it again – this time they are crucifying their opponents in public – including Egyptian Coptic Christians. The supposed Arab Spring is turning more into a deep winter over the past several weeks. As the Muslim Brotherhood has gained power and instituted Sharia law – there are some pretty shocking things happening in the wake of this “peaceful” law as it takes root.
Newly elected president Mohammed Morsi’s supporters have taken to crucifying their opponents publically in front of the presidential palace. Middle Eastern media confirmed that during a recent rampage by Muslim Brotherhood supporters, several were crucified, being hung naked on trees before the home of their new president. While this was going on numerous others were abused on the ground. Reports are coming in saying that extra brutality is being reserved for Christians not just because of rage – but as one official put it, “Because it is demanded by the Quran.”
Center for Security Policy Senior Fellow Clare Lopez quoted from chapter and verse in the Quran to explain these actions. It was explained that this is not an aberration for Islam – it is demanded. “Crucifixion is a hadd punishment, stipulated in the Quran, Sura 5:33, and therefore an obligatory part of Shariah,” Lopez said. “It’s been a traditional punishment within Islam since the beginning. The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood do not consider such activity an option – it is considered obligatory to obey Shariah Law. And Lopez added that is was for shock value to be sure.
Pamela Gellar, who wrote Atlas Shrugs, who is analyst of Middle Eastern policy and culture warned Christians in Egypt that to flee from what is coming. She said, ““The Christians are in serious trouble, because the Quran in Sura 9:29 commands Muslims to wage war against them and subjugate them, and they’re also identified with the hated West and the U.S.”
Geller also turned to Sura 5:33 and said the following, “These are Islamic hardliners who do everything by the Quran. The Quran says, ‘Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land.”
This also does not bode well for Israel as President Morsi has abandoned any kind of thought of moderation – and as Egyptian forces continue to be completely ineffective in defensing the regions between Egypt and Israel. Israel has boosted their defenses in the south to protect against incursions by terrorists and in a show to Egypt that they intend on protecting their borders.
When all this began we were lulled to sleep by a media and an administration that promised a peaceful Arab Spring that would fundamentally transform the region. We watched as our government did nothing to keep the Muslim Brotherhood from gaining ascendency in Egypt – indeed they fell over themselves to cover for this radical Muslim group as they took over, not only in Egypt – but also in Libya and now even possibly in Syria. Either our press and officials were ridiculously ignorant, or worse, complicit with handing over a large portion of the Middle East to a sworn enemy of our ally Israel. It should be no wonder that relations are strained between Israel and Washington. We’ve proven that we are not true friends to our long-time ally. What is truly shocking is the complete lack of comment by the Obama administration at the outrageous conduct of the Brotherhood by crucifying their enemies in this manner. Considering what we already know about the way Christians will be persecuted in the last days, we may need to buckle down and get ready for what will be coming as our Lord’s return draws near.
Just recently I've finished reading through the prophets in the Old Testament. I do this at least once a year as I read through the Bible. This year, however, their voice is reverberating in my mind and heart as I look at our nation and what God is currently doing. Let me share with you what I saw this year - and how it relates to our nation, our coming election, and the difficulties and disasters which I believe are in our future. Please also let me share why God, in His sovereign providence, is allowing them.
First, I need to comment on the state of the church leading up to this coming election. As the saints of God we are to get our marching orders from heaven. Those directives come to us through the Scriptures. I fear that too many in the conservative wing of the evangelical think that their marching orders are coming from the RNC or the Tea Party. There is an errant notion that by electing Governor Romney as president and a Republican majority in the House and Senate - our problems will be on the way to being solved in this nation. Even though I believe in voting in elections and seeking for political action toward things like abortion, homosexual marriage, racism, and matters of justice and righteousness - I do not see the United States government (even if it is the hands of conservatives) doing a whole lot to advance righteousness in America. They may use such things as election issues - but I've been burned to many times over 32 years of voting by their actual ruling looking little like their stump speeches. Also, I seem to notice in Matthew 28:18-19 that Jesus did not call us to go and make Republicans of all the nations. We are called to God's will in conduct, purpose, principle, and action. That won't fly in any political arena in present day politics. And I am not willing to cede the work of the gospel to those who are offended that the Bible presents truths that show that Muslims, Mormans, Hindus, Buddhists, and anyone else who does not repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ are lost and destined for God's judgment. Such things are not up for a vote.
As I've read the prophets this year I've been somewhat overwhelmed with the reality that God commands us to repent and return to Him. If we do not repent - if we continue to serve other gods - gods acceptable to our culture and acceptable to our flesh - God will begin bringing difficulties upon His people. The prophets thunder with God's unrelenting call to Himself. They do not apologize that God is sovereign. They do not apologize for His moral standards. They do not apologize that God authoritatively calls men to worship and serve Him only. And they certainly do not want to make adjustments so that the Baal worshippers, the Asherah-adherants, and the worshppers of other false gods can feel more comfortable and be a part of a "big-tent." The prophets say things very offensive to a multi-cultural world - not so much to the culture - but to anything driven by a culture's embrace of false deities. But God is not focused on the "lost" in the prophets. He is focused on His people - those who should know better. He is focused on calling His people to much needed repentance.
What happens in a society when its Christians refuse to return and to repent? According to the prophets, God begins to remove first His blessing and later His protection from them and from their nation. If you've ever read the prophets you know that over time this can get very rough. God will allow earthquakes, disasters, and military conquest to overtake His people. Israel and Judah experienced horrific consequences for their love of foreign gods and the lifestyles that came with them. Baal and Asherah embraced a lifestyle of sexual immorality. Marriage was denigrated as first men committed heterosexual immoralities - and eventually moved on to homosexuality as well. Those who think the 1960's ushered in free love, know little about how far Israel and Judah fell in their pursuit of these false deities. The worship of Molech led many to sacrifice their babies in a firey death. Those who see such a thing as disgusting should remember the modern day Molech - Planned Parenthood - who promote the sacrifice of babies for the sake of supposed greater sexual freedom. Actually what they are getting is greater sexual bondage in the guise of immorality without consequences. Then there is the immorality that disguises itself as free trade, or socialism, or communism, or any other "ism" that takes precedent over Scriptural principles of business or government. You see, our culture is not all that different from the days of the prophets. We have just named things with a more sophisticated name - hiding the hideousness of what they truly are. We've also got better at lying about the true nature of things while ignoring Scripture - and occasionally insulting God and the way that He needs to improve His own image by becoming far more "hip" and "culturally-sensitive."
The truth is, WE are Israel and Judah in the times of the prophets! WE have our modern day worship of Baal, Asherah, and Molech - along with calls for accepting the gods of Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and a host of cults embraced even by political candidates of our day (oops, did I say that out loud - nope, just wrote it). But the church is different, some may assert! But my question to you is to take a long look at her and answer the question, "Is it?" Do you see a movement of repentance and return in the church today? Do you see scores of people in broken repentance and prayer meetings where they are crying out for revival? Do you see the church expanding its evangelsitic outreach the point of being persecuted by groups whose numbers are being decimated by the number of people being saved? Do you see complaints by wicked businesses Who sell porn and other ungodly products that the church and her efforts in evangelism is hurting their bottom line? God calls us in 2 Chronicles 7:14 to "humble ourselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways. Read of the revivals that took place in the 1700-1800's. Read of what took place on a far wider scale in our country. Imagine what they would look like in our day - a revival driven by repentance, brokenness, and prayer. A revival with the aisles filled with repentant church members - and others being radically saved from sin.
What then am I trying to say through all this? After reading the prophets . . . honestly - I'm concerned - no - I'm scared. We are about to be ushered into MORE discipline as a nation - and that discipline is meant to wake-up God's people to repentance, prayer, and brokenness. I don't want to say this - but sense the need to do so for the sake of the saints who read this. We are about to experience events that will make 9-11 look like a picnic in the park. God tried to wake us up by allowing that disaster to come upon us. We didn't wake up though. Therefore - more is coming. Far worse is coming. Do I know what that will be? No, because I am not a prophet. But I can tell you that things like a devastating earthquake come to mind. Military disasters that involve the destruction of entire armies have happened to God's people. Drought and famine are also options for God. He has soereignly allowed the destruction of entire cities - whch is terrifying in our day of bombs that can do that in a matter of moments. With our current arrogance toward money - a complete financial collapse unlike anything we've ever seen is very possible. All these things and a dozen others are possible - even probable considering our currrent lack of response to God's call to pray and seek His face. I read recently where the Mississippi river is at historic lows. If the drought we are in continues, it is possible to see the Mississippi so low that no boat traffic is allowed. That will cut off over 300 million dollars of commerce a day. That is a monthly total of 9 billion dollars of our economy stifled. The prognosticators said that would throw our natin into depression within 2 months. Kind of sobering isn't it?
I can hear the comment, "Why are you writing stuff like this, pastor John?" Do you get some kind of sick thrill scaring people to death? NO! A thousand times NO! That is not my intent. My intent is to help wake up Christians to what is looming in our future. Do you really think God is going to continue to bless our nation as it is currently going? Do you really think that the church is not going to be affected by what happens in our nation? Do you really think that by maintaining a positive confession in the midst of such spiritual squallor that we will be delivered? God is going to continue allowing greater and greater disasters and troubles to come upon us until we repent, drop to our knees, and begin to cry out in desperate prayer for revival in the church and spiritual awakening in our land! This is not going to magically get better - neither is it going to be averted by electing a Morman as president and a group of Tea Party conservatives to the Congress - who have NO INTENT on addressing the moral and spiritual rot of the church and our country. We are currently as blind as Israel and Judah during the times of the prophets. The same situations and the same false prophets of health, wealth, prosperity, and "nothing bad is going to happen to us" exist today. The political leaders (kings in those days) who made a difference made it by leading the nation to repentance and a whole-hearted return to God. Such a leader who would start doing this in our day - would most likely be impeached for such actions.
For those watching the news lately, Syria has been at the forefront of the international headlines. This is because the recent spread of Arab uprisings against their current dictators has come to that nation. The current administration of President Assad is under attack by militants in that nation and has led to several very tense moments.
Early on this seemed to be just another uprising that would be crushed by an Arab dictator. But soon things began to spin out of control for President Assad. His government and the military used brutal tactics early in this conflict and raised the ire of many in the international community. Several massacres took place and soon nations which hoped this would go away had to begin speaking out on the matter. As the pressure mounted - so did the brutality and force of the Assad regime. This only led to further problems internationally. The United Nations did its usual song and dance routine - speaking out against the brutality - but utterly failing to do anything substantial about it. Security Council motions were blocked by both the Chinese and the Russian governments as they used their veto power on the Council to hold off on any real action.
Things got worse this past week when rebels struck in Damascus and killed the Security force Chief for the Assad military. This was only the beginning of bad news as later in the week various outpost areas were overrun by rebel forces. This was looking more and more like a full scale civil war. The most troubling news came just days ago when the Assad regime said that they would not use their chemical and biological weapons - unless threatened by an outside power. Many believe this was more than a veiled threat against any nation that would interfere in this internal civil war. The saber-rattling has continued with even the Obama administration in the United States issuing strong warnings to Assad and his military against any use of chemical weapons.
But how does this current mess in the middle east affect the next prophetic fulfillment? That is because of a passage of Scripture in the book of Isaiah. There we read this prophecy in chapter 17 of Isaiah's prophecy. "The oracle concerning Damascus. "Behold, Damascus is about to be removed from being a city And will become a fallen ruin." (Isaiah 17:1 , NASB) It may be news to you (as ancient Syrian history is to most of us) that there has never been a time when Damascus was removed from being a city and was instead a fallen ruin. As a result of this we know that there has yet to be a fulfillment of this prophecy.
We come now to the current situation in Syria. Many believe that this event in Damascus will happen before the seven year tribulation period. This would make a path for the armies of the north (of which we read in Ezekiel 37-38 - The Gog/Magog Invasion) to march into Israel without the problem of a nation's sovereignty being affected. Some also are concerned that Israel will be the nation to strike and destroy this city. If this happens, it will be huge because Syria is an active ally of Russia and China - and their anger would be raised if a strike of some kind from Israel destroyed this city.
We might want to keep an eye on this situation in the news. It may be a precursor or even like a starter's pistol for the events of the last days to heat up in this region. Things could move very quickly if Syrian weapons of mass destruction are used in this conflict. May we continue to be alert and awake - praying for God to move in the hearts of His people - and also praying that He would use us in these last days to make peace the one way that cannot be thwarted. That is that we make peace through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Just yesterday we looked at Iran and their most recent terrorist plot. We wondered out loud, “What was Iran thinking,” and looked at some of the ramifications of their actions – even looking into the longer term future at what could happen as a result. Today, we are going to look at this again, yet from the angle of Iran’s worldview. This is important for us to do because unless we grasp the worldview that Iran is working from, we will tend to misjudge not just their previous actions – but we will also be caught off guard again and again as to their future ones. Unfortunately for us in the United States the current leadership, as well as the vast majority of thinkers from both sides of the aisle in Washington, are unwilling to wake up to just what this worldview is. Their unwillingness to do this has led, and will continue to lead us in directions that will leave us totally unprepared for what is coming in the days and months ahead.
What was Iran thinking when they attempted to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States? To those in Iran’s leadership, they were following a logical course of action spurred on by their worldview. Some might want to restate this as their “religious” worldview but this does not recognize that they do not dichotomize their lives into the religious and the secular like we do in the West. Their worldview is Muslim from every possible vantage point. What is driving them is the logical conclusions of Islam and the teachings of the Koran as interpreted by their religious leaders. This is what drives them religiously, politically, legally, and socially. This is exactly what led them to every action they’ve taken from their political repression of opposition movements to their pursuit of nuclear weapons to their incendiary statements about wiping Israel off the map.
Iran’s spiritual leadership as well as their current political leadership believe in the classic version of Islamic eschatology (end-times doctrine). That doctrine centers around two basic things. The first is the return of the 12th Imam who is called the “Mahdi.” He is an apocalyptic figure who, according to their teachings, will come up out of a well in Iran – and will lead the Islamic world to reinstate the Caliphate. The Caliphate is the term used for a one-world government/religious system based on Islam and worldwide Shar’ia law. The Mahdi will be the supreme leader of this movement – Islam will be its religious basis – and Koranic Shar’ia law will be its political vehicle for ruling the world. Our governmental leaders desperately need to grasp this worldview and how it motivates the actions and attitudes of the current Iranian leadership.
The Mahdi will come in the midst of worldwide chaos and disruption. Some might state that this is not a whole lot different than the view of the Bible. The Bible does state that in the last days there will be wars and rumors of wars. The major difference in worldview between these two though is that for the Biblical Christian – we are merely watching these things happen. For the “Twelfth-er” Muslim, they sek to do all they can to encourage these disruptions and problems. They want war, political problems, and worldwide chaos. This is what will help bring the Mahdi back – it will aid in his return to set up the worldwide Islamic Caliphate.
Here is where we come to what the Iranians were thinking when they did what they did recently. They were thinking that by causing disruption and even war – they will bring back the Mahdi. This is why we need to wake up and realize what we are facing. Too often our press and our political leaders tell us that Islam is a peaceful religion – that we can peacefully coexist with them in love and harmony. But the fact is, that at least with Iran’s brand of Islam (and I would argue all sects eventually), they do not want peaceful coexistence and harmony. They want Islamic domination and worldwide Shar’ia law. They want the world to be ruled by the Mahdi – and for all nations to be under the Islamic Caliphate.
What we are doing now in seeking a diplomatic solution is futile. It is a repeat of the negotiations that England and France sought to have with Hitler. There is no negotiating with those who seek worldwide domination and rule. Chamberlain would have been better off to have met with Hitler’s Germany and let them know that if they continued to aggressively seek European domination – they would face stiff opposition and eventually war. Hitler did not listen to appeasement. He saw it as weakness – and sought to exploit it to his advantage. The Iranians see our penchant for “sanctions” and our constant appeal to the U.N. for their wonderful intervention (please read this as sarcasm – actually more like rampant sarcasm) as weakness. They exploit our useless efforts to rein them in – and see it as a gift of more time to plant additional operatives whose goal is the destruction of the “great Satan.” One would think that the reality of that name alone would wake us up. But our response is to retract in Freudian political horror – and blame ourselves for their actions, attitudes, and worldview.
What should we do? How should we act in this situation? Politically, we need to elect those to office who are not beholden to the view that Islam is a peaceful, cooperative worldview with our own. Some would blame president Obama for the current state of affairs, but to do so would be to ignore at least 6 years of appeasement under the Bush administration. We have a “State Department” problem. Those who are responsible for our foreign policy think that we can win over the Islamic world by gradually abandoning our evil western ways – oh, and also by also gradually abandoning our support for our faithful ally Israel. They are fools for thinking this. This is not a PR problem – it is a worldview problem. Therefore, IF we are to reverse the trends that currently make us weak and vulnerable to future attacks, we are going to have to accurately define and deal with Islamic designs for the world. That will involve a much more aggressive stance toward Iran – and any other Islamic state that threatens our nation – and our way of life. This is the political solution to our problem. Now, having stated this, I have the unpleasant task of informing you that most likely this will not happen until the next couple of attacks have taken place. The other unfortunate truth is that most likely the next major attack will make the Twin Towers attack look like child’s play. In light of this I remind myself that the kingdom of God is not of this world. Therefore as a patriot, I hate this development – but as a Christian, I realize that my faith is not based on what governmental system rules the country in which I live.
There is a far greater responsibility that I have in light of all these things. That responsibility is as a Christian. My responsibility is to live for the glory of God by continuing to do the will of God. That means that regardless of the threat to my country, I am to love my enemies and pray for them. I am not to fear or hate Muslims, but love them and seek for every opportunity to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with them. Therefore as the world continues to move toward the confrontation of the Islamic worldview and the view of the Western world – I am to preach Jesus no matter what the cost. In the end, my concern is not ultimately what the Iranians are thinking as they act politically. My concern is to affect their thinking and worldview by preaching that there is salvation in no other name except Jesus Christ. My ultimate task does not change with the winds of political fortune. The authority from which my task has been commanded will never be overthrown by the schemes and political actions of mankind. God was seated upon His throne before mankind ever existed – and He will continue to be seated on his throne long after the last political schemes of mankind have ended. Remember this and know that whatever Iran was thinking, it will not ultimately affect God’s will and purpose from being accomplished. All things will be summed up in Jesus Christ. Every knee WILL bow and every tongue WILL confess that JESUS IS LORD TO THE GLORY OF GOD THE FATHER! May these two facts give you hope and confidence to live for Jesus in the midst of our chaotic world.
The north-African region has been a hotbed of controversy for the past year. We’ve watched as first Egypt, and now Libya have gone through popular uprisings of the people to overthrow their current dictators in favor of . . . well that is yet to be decided hasn’t it. Our president boasts that these events of the “Arab Spring” as he calls it, will result in greater freedom and peace for the entire region. Yet as time moves on – it seems that his predictions – as well as his actions are going to bring anything but peace in this region.
Egypt was supposed to become a wonderful democracy after the political overthrow of Hosni Mubarak, their former dictator. Please understand that I am not a Mubarak fan – he was a brutal dictator. But as we’ve learned over the years often in matters of foreign affairs, the devil we know is often better than the devil we do not know. Such seems to be the case with Egypt. What seems to be rising out of the ashes of the Mubarak regime is a fragile alliance between the military and the Muslim Brotherhood. This second group has proven to be a radical Islamic group who desire Islamic law to rule Egypt. They also are a group who does not favor peace with Israel. All this took a new turn as a series of events recently have caused Israeli Egyptian relations to reach their lowest point in almost 30 years.
The Sinai Peninsula has been the site of a series of attacks by Gaza-based militants which resulted in the deaths of eight Israelis. When Israel retaliated against these terrorists, three Egyptians with their defense forces were killed. This resulted in demonstrations in the streets in Egypt – and even an unprecedented call for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador there. One demonstrator climbed up and ripped down the Israeli flag from their embassy in Egypt. Currently negotiators and envoys from several nations are seeking to defuse the situation. There has also been a rare Israeli government apology for the deaths of the Egyptians.
What this situation is revealing is that the former government of Hosni Mubarak, which desired more peaceful relations with Israel, is being replaced with a far more anti-Israeli government that reflects the position of the Muslim Brotherhood. Times are changing in the Islamic world. This is also true in Libya as well. The Obama administration has entered into military actions with that state in the hope that their dictator, Khadaffi, may be overthrown. But once again, what is in the wake of this overthrow is a government that will be far more agreeable to the demands of the Muslim street. As with the situation in Egypt, the Muslim street’s views are better represented by the Muslim Brotherhood than by more moderate Muslims (if there are any when it comes to Israel).
What does all this mean to us who believe that the Last Days of the Bible are going to come to pass just as God has promised? It means that there are ominous developments that point to a group of nations eerily similar to that of Ezekiel 38:1-6 are arising in this region – all of which are becoming more and more anti-Israel in their political views. Egypt is listed in this group, along with Libya as well. Added to this group is the ancient location of Ethiopia. The geography of this place better fits the nation of Northern Sudan which is another radical Islamic state. When you add Turkey to this group – things start getting a little wild, since Turkey has elected a far more radical Islamic government, which has become far less friendly with Israel over the past 2-3 years. The other nations mentioned in Ezekiel 38 include the “- stan” nations of the Russian Steppe region – Khazakstan, Tagikistan, etc. These are joined with Iran, whose hatred for Israel is unmatched by any other nation on earth presently. The final piece of this puzzle is Russia, which now has strengthened its ties with these nations who will one day come together to attack Israel from the north.
Our president thinks that what has happened in Egypt and Libya is a good thing. He hopes for new governments in these two states (and Syria is not too far behind them either) where their former dictator is replaced with pro-western democracies that will bring a new era of peace to the Middle East. That is not happening currently, but instead these nations are being more and more radicalized. This means that we are facing a serious crisis in the region. One that will most likely lead to a war that will engulf the entire region. This is not a “good thing” – but rather a “God thing.” God is setting up this region along previously prophesied lines – for an event He has told us WILL come prior to the start of the 7 year Great Tribulation period. As we watch these nations further radicalized in their views toward Israel, we can know that whether things are as imminent as we think or not – the alignment of nations is very similar to that of the Biblical narrative. Is this just the luck of the draw – or the unseen hand of God getting things ready for the return of Christ? It should be no shock to those of you who know me that I strongly believe it is the latter of these two things. Stay ready saints – and keep yourself in the love of God and the preparation of your heart for His imminent return. But then again – this should not be done because of the nightly news – but because of the command of Scripture.
I’m on vacation presently – but as I’ve taken the time to keep up with the news I’ve had a sense of destiny in the things that I am reading. Let me explain by making reference to the book of Revelation and the things we see happen in that amazing prophecy of last things.
In the book of Revelation we see some astounding things happening in the world prior to the return of Jesus Christ. Among them is a world leader who arises promising peace, but delivers something far different. We see war on a scale possibly unknown to mankind. We see horrific events involving famine and plague that seem almost out of the realm of possibility. We see a world system of finance that no longer involves a currency or currencies of the nations of the world. All these things seem so far fetched that many have written off Revelation as either a book that is to be interpreted non-literally – or as the rantings of a crazed prophet or worse.
Yet, as I read the news I cannot help but watch the stage being set for the return of Jesus Christ. We are watching our own nation on the edge of a financial Armageddon – not because of the debt ceiling debacle in Congress, but because we have $14.2 trillion in debt and actually think that more borrowing is not a bad thing for us. Because of our position in the world as the largest consumer nation, if we fall the world is coming with us. There is such an inter-connectedness in economies in our world today that a failure in the United States will bring down the world with it. But the debt crisis is not just in the United States alone. European countries who have embraced the lies of socialism are coming to their own day of reckoning as their ability to handle a debt explosion are coming upon them. Not only is the U.S. economy going to implode, but Europe’s as well – and they may get there first.
Consider the implications of all this. Two of the world’s largest economies are going to implode. With that we will see a collapse of the U. S. farming community as well – because without financial backing, the system we’ve maintained for our farming will fall apart as well. That will bring a lack of food the likes of which the world has not seen in modern times. With it will also come the looming specter of famine as one of the largest producers of food in the world suddenly will be struggling with feeding themselves as economics prevents the growing of food.
This coming economic Armageddon will also affect the nation that has done more to promote world health than any other on the planet. That work will come to a grinding halt as the companies that have pioneered much of the innovation and advance of medicine also implode. Medicines that have been readily available will soon find shortages popping up all over the world.
With this kind of financial meltdown will also come the inevitable showdowns between nations who are now facing dire choices as the shortages grow. Historically this has led to war between nations – because contrary to biblical truth – wars are primarily not engaged in because of political differences. James tells us that the reason for wars is because we want and we cannot have – so we argue and fight on a local level – but on a geo-political scale such arguments become wars.
Now add to this the growing problem of an Islamic radicalism that is wanting world domination and you have a recipe for a worldwide conflagration that is coming soon to a planet near you. Some will read this and commence hand-wringing as they try to figure out how to stop it. But the fact is that you will not be able to stop these kind of events when Christ’s return is imminent. When I look at the things that are happening now – I see two things. First I see that when a world sows to the wind, they will reap the whirlwind. Our world has been in rebellion against God since Adam’s fall in the garden. This rebellion seems to be reaching a critical mass in our day. The godlessness in our world only knows one other context historically and biblically – and that is the days prior to Noah and the first destruction of the earth by water. Just as the pre-flood world had to face the consequences for their sin and rebellion, so does ours – and that host of consequences seems to be knocking at our door. The second thing I see is possibly an engineering of all this as God is sovereignly working in our world. Please understand I do not see God as the author of such sin and wickedness. He is not responsible for the sin and rebellion – yet He is still sovereignly working through it toward the ultimate end of His eternal purposes. That eternal purpose has as its goal the summing up of all things in Christ Jesus – the ultimate punishment of the wicked – the ultimate reward of the righteous – and then the penultimate reign of His Son for all eternity.
So where does that leave us – you know, the ones who are still on this planet as these things hurtle toward their horrific conclusion? It leaves us where we have always been – redeemed ones of Jesus Christ who have a task before us. That task is to continue making disciples of all the nations – preaching the gospel to the ends of the earth – and preparing our own hearts for the return of our glorious Lord and Savior. The days and years will continue to be piled upon the past – until He comes and our salvation is completed as we are glorified in heaven. But no matter whether this end comes in days or years – or decades – or centuries – our task is the same as our brethren right after the ascension of Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Preach Jesus – live Jesus – lead others to Jesus – disciple them for Jesus – and love Jesus until the end . . . whether it is an end as we die on this earth – or one where we greet Him in the clouds in a glorious reunion as He comes again!