Monday, August 11, 2014

What in the World is Going On

I don't consider myself to be an expert in eschatology by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, anyone who says they know the details of how the end times will unfold is most assuredly wrong. God has preserved an element of mystery while also providing enough detail for His people to be prepared. And so I look at what is happening in our world with great interest. As I do, I have so say that it seems as if (at a minimum) the stage is being set for our Savior's return. Let me give you a few reasons why I believe this is true.
  1. All Eyes on Israel - Events in Israel continue to capture the headlines as the world increasingly criticizes the Jewish people in their defense against the terrorist attacks from Hamas. Multiple cease fires have been broken and each time Israel has been on the defensive from the barrage of rockets fired from Gaza behind their human shield of innocent women and children. And yet, the wave of antisemitism growing in our world is matched only by what was witnessed during the time Hitler's evil reign.  It is right to pay attention to Israel because God is not yet finished with the covenant promise He made to His people.  He will bless those who bless His people and He will curse those who curse them.  In the end, it is the church who may be Israel's only friend.  Keep your eyes on Israel.
  2. An Alliance of Evil - The growing alliance between Russian and Iran must not be ignored.  This is a partnership that is unprecedented in history and yet the Bible promises it will be a major factor in the end times.  The growing unrest in Ukraine and the atrocities of shooting down a commercial jet liner seem to hide behind the shadows.  Despite the economic sanctions imposed by the west, Russia has been strengthened by an historic $20 billion oil deal with Iran to by pass the Western sanctions.  Keep your eyes on this alliance.
  3. Hidden Atrocities - Also almost undetected is the bloody civil war in Syria that has left over 170,00 dead and millions of refugees fleeing for safety.  The Islamic extremist group, know as ISIS, is sweeping through much of Iraq killing scores of Christians and other religious minorities.  Their demands are simple, "Convert to Islam or Die!"  Their brutal rampage includes the beheading of children, crucifying Christians and massacres of genocidal proportion.  Keep your eyes on this growing evil.
  4. Transition of Power - In all this chaos, it has been to policy of the United States to keep their hands clean.  Our passive approach to these world events was only slightly (and reluctantly) modified when President Obama recently gave permission to allow the US military to protect the interest of the United States in the southern region of Kurdistan if they had to.  Our airstrikes seemed to have slowed the progression of the ISIS onslaught in the area but it's certainly not enough to remove the threat completely.  The United States is equipping the Kurdish army, known as Peshmerga, to fight this battle on their own.  This is of special interest from a biblical perspective because the ancestors of the Kurds are known in the Bible as the Medes.  The Medes have a key role in destroying Babylon in the end times so keep your eye on Kurdistan.
  5. The Silence of America - One of the most nagging questions when considering the end time is the role of one of the most influential countries in the world, the United States of America.  And yet, the Bible seems to be silent on the subject.  It's as if we don't exist.  And yet we are witnessing a time in history when America is increasingly losing respect and influence in foreign affairs.  Our own economic crisis only compounds this problem.  Perhaps we simply implode in an economic crisis that prevents us from making any meaningful impact in world events.  No one knows, but keep your eyes on America.
Regardless of your agreement or difference of opinion on these matters, I hope we can all conclude, at the very least, that these events should cause us to pray.  Brothers and sisters in Christ are being killed and persecuted and they should consistently occupy our minds and be the focus of our prayers.  In addition, whether the Lord is returning in 3 months or in 3000 years, we should always stand ready for His arrival.  The fields are white with harvest and until his return we are called to spread the good news of the Gospel as  Ambassadors for Christ and Ministers of reconciliation.  So be committed to your calling so that when Christ does return, He will find you faithful.  

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