Welcome back friends! As I spent time at the ICEJ Summer Conference last weekend, world events were spinning faster than I could keep up! However, since returning home, I have sifted through the news and have tried to view things through the lens of Scripture. I hope you view news the same way…otherwise it is scary and tends to make little sense.
However, many things make lots of sense when filtered through the Word of God! For example, last week, just after President Trump exhorted leaders of 50 Muslim-majority countries to drive out terrorists and extremists from their countries and their places of worship, a Muslim suicide-bomber blew up a concert in Manchester, England. Before the week was done, radical Islamists massacred a busload of Coptic Christians in Egypt.
Both are incredibly horrible events, yet one garnered much more publicity than the other. Why? Because news out of Europe is “big news.” (I’ll share more about Europe in the coming days.) News outlets, celebrities and high-society types jump onboard, tweeting and commenting on the attack of innocent people. I am not saying they should not be upset, or even that they should not be letting their voices be heard. My point is this: Christians are persecuted every single day simply because of their faith in Jesus Christ, yet the world seems to turn a blind eye.
Well, the Apostle John warns us of that!
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.”
~John 15:18-21 [Emphasis mine]
Yes, those who hate and persecute Jesus Christ will hate and persecute us too. Persecution of Christians is real…just ask Pastor Umar Mulinde. (BTW – Arabs have entered into Ramadan, the holiest…and bloodiest…month in Islam. Oxymoronic, I know. But such is the case with radical Islam.)
To Egypt’s credit, they sent Air Force jets to bomb the ISIS perpetrators in the Sinai. Was that a response to the groundwork laid by the Trump administration prior to his meeting with Arab leaders in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia? I don’t know. But let’s hope it is a sign that Arab nations will begin taking action against terrorist groups operating in and from their nations.
To carry this theme a bit further, why was President Trump so warmly received in Saudi Arabia by many Muslim-majority countries? After all, Trump has spoken very bluntly about limiting entry to America for those from nations supporting terrorism. In the Arab world, an attack (even verbally) on one nation often elicits a joint reaction from the rest. Yet, Trump was greeted with pomp and circumstance, and by all appearances, was welcomed warmly by the Arab nations represented in Riyadh.
I see a couple of possible reasons for that. First, could it be that they see a US President willing to stand strong with his allies and not sell out to evil regimes for the sake of notoriety? Secondly, Sunni Arab nations (who were represented at that meeting) are scared to death of a nuclear (Shi’ite) Iran. Back channel negotiations with moderate Sunni states has gone on for months (if not years) with Israel and the US. The Sunnis are warming to Israel and the US because they know the true enemy is not Israel, but rogue regimes such as Iran and Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
One need only to look at the list of nations in Ezekiel 38 to figure out this alignment through Scriptural lens! In that chapter, God’s Word clearly indicates that Russia and Iran will form a coalition, including Turkey and Libya (and perhaps some other minor players), that will attack Israel from the north. Notably missing from the list of attackers: Jordan (who has a peace treaty with Israel), Egypt (who has a peace treaty with Israel), Syria (who will likely be destroyed or at least powerless as a result of the Isaiah 17:1 prophecy), and Saudi Arabia!
Saudi Arabia does not attack! Sure, they are listed in the Ezekiel 38 prophecy (Sheba and Dedan, in verse 13), but notice that, rather than participate in the attack, they basically sit back and ask silly questions. (BTW – some say the US could be included in that group as well! It might be a stretch, but if the US is included in end time prophecy, it is here in Ezekiel 38…sitting back asking silly questions!)
You see, my friends, the Bible interprets current events for us! We simply must view what we see and hear on the news through the lens of Scripture.
There is more news that took place while I was away, and I’ll comment further in the next few days. But be assured: God’s Word will steer us straight. To understand the times, we just need to get into God’s Word and find out what it has to say!
See you back here tomorrow!