While the world's attention has been riveted on the unfolding events in Egypt, we also are intrigued by what is happening in other parts of the world.
We Americans are especially interested as we identify with thousands whose heart-felt cry is for freedoms that we take so much for granted.
However, I believe there is much more at stake than meets the eye.
While there seems to be chaos and upheaval resulting in uncertainty that spills over into the stock market, oil prices and governmental decisions, I see some very key issues to keep in mind.
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EYES ON ISRAEL
First, while the focus might be on peoples of these countries demonstrating for freedoms, there also is a common denominator: Israel. “The final move has begun,” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran, is quoted as saying. Agence France Presse reported, “in his fiery style, Ahmadinejad, showed his messianic beliefs on Friday, saying the world was witnessing a revolution managed by Imam Mahdi, the 12 Shiite imam .” We are aware of Ahmadinejad’s call for death to Israel and America which he claims is part of the “final move” that has begun, but such words come as no surprise.
Christians realize they are merely the fulfillment of prophecy that is unfolding before our very eyes.
Ezekiel 37 foretold of the regathering of Israel (begun in 1948) and of events yet to take place in Ezekiel 38, 39 involving the nations of the world mobilizing against Israel. Romans 11 reminds us that Israel remains a key part of God’s program today and in the future. To understand history and the future keep your eye on Israel.
Secondly, we dare not overlook the persecution of Christians around the world – some of which is happening in the countries where these demonstrations are taking place.
Lost in the news of human rights violations and demonstrations for freedom, is the fact that thousands of Christians are being persecuted for their faith – even being put to death.
The plight of our brothers and sisters in Christ is tenable as regimes and local authorities bring harsh persecution upon those who will not deny Christ.
This also is no surprise as Jesus said to his followers, “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you,” (John 15:18).
Hebrews 13:3 reminds us to “Remember the prisoners as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body”. We must not forget our brothers and sisters who are suffering for their faith.
Our world is filled with uncertainties and people losing hope.
Our God is sovereign and what we observe is the fulfillment of his eternal plan.
Our prayer is that people will find true hope through Jesus Christ and that believers will boldly live and declare the Truth that sets men free. “But thanks be to God who gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ,” (1 Co. 15:57).
Paul Pierce is pastor of Sleater-Kinney Road Baptist Church.
Perspective is coordinated by Interfaith Works in cooperation with The Olympian. The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by Interfaith Works or The Olympian.