Updated: July 31, 2016 at the bottom.
When I first got into bible study almost three years ago a man named Dante Fortson had the basic answers to my initial questions. Prophecy, Nephilim, etc. These things got me curious about serious Bible study. In my experience, church was a place where the preacher gave a speech about feel good self help, never really preaching the gospel, prophecy, or anything of substance. Not that I noticed much as a kid, but there were questions I had when I was young, the answers weren’t readily available from the sources one might think they would be.
These curiosities remained into adulthood and Mr. Fortson was one of the guys who helped push me on my way. I’m grateful for that, I always will be.
He published this piece just today:
I wrote my response as a comment, but I’m going to repost it here because that’s what I do. I’m not calling Mr. Fortson “out.” That is not my intention. I respect him greatly. He’s dignified my comments with many responses and I think he’s a dedicated man. I post web comments and internet responses primarily because I think my responses have important things to remember, teachings I guess, that Christians should cling too. I post his article only as a reference to what spurned me to write this, to frame out my writings with context.
You can’t pin Isis on “bush and the republicans.” The idea that political parties matter, especially as a discerning Christian is… laughable. We can just ignore all the evidence of gun running and training of rebels to over throw the legitimate government of a sovereign nation, namely syria. We can ignore how those rebels took that aid and turned it against us. We can ignore how we celebrated “200” airstrikes a week to fend off Isis when we ran 200 daily during the height of the gulf wars. The United States wants ISIS around.
The evils in the middle east happened long before George Bush Junior or Senior were president. When we supported the coup in Iran, which was a democracy in comparison to where they are now, the side we put into power: the radical muslims, sent the people back into the stone age of social progression. Christians were then hunted to extinction in iran. In the larger picture of things, if you study the history of the middle east when the United States gets involved, we support the government harshest on Christians, we usually back the muslims, almost always. This was spun out from the cold war, and before that, the mess europe left behind in the wake of colonization, it goes back piece by piece, further and further, every event building on the last.
Syria, although not a democratic paradise, again, by current standards, was a fairly free place. People had what they needed and lived, generally, how they needed. Christians had free practice of their faith in a round about way. They were making some progress. The united states gets involved through shady CIA actions outlined above, things go south and radical muslims take control. Again, hunting down Christians to near extinction.
Egypt would be another good example of this. We supported the muslim brotherhood.
Turkey, just a week ago had a military coup. The ruler of the country is a radical muslim, voted into power by the people. However, if you know turkish history their greatest ruler strove against that. The goal was to become “westernized.” The military saw what was coming and tried to seize control to preserve unity with the west. They lost. Now radical muslims will take control and the country will now move further towards the east. Christians will die for that choice.
However, in the grand scheme of things turkey (and syria) looks to be shaping up to become a hotbed of prophecy. It may be a catalyst to bringing about the man of sin and catapulting us into the end times. That is God’s plan.
The united states, and by extension, western civilization, are some of the major reasons why Christians in the middle east are gone. The US are not the good guys in the world. We may have been in some loose manner way back when, but now, we are the personal hitmen and enforcers of banks and middle eastern muslim interests. We are the evil army and we’ve all been played for suckers by our propaganda machine. There is a plan in play, a plan governed by the true ruler of this world: Satan.
I think that is the lynchpin of the argument that is missed. Satan rules this world.
God doesn’t interfere in the time WE expect:
1. because there is a reason he put Satan in charge, the more evil, the closer we get to the end times and
2. (and most importantly) because God takes misery and evil and turns it into a triumph, victory, and testament to HIS strength. If there was no hardship, there would be no struggle to overcome. There would just be complacency, and by extension no hope. I won’t even delve deeply into the fact that hardship is the only time people lean on God. No one really calls on Him when everything is going wonderful. Jesus promised suffering and our overcoming that is a testimony to the strength of God within us.
God didn’t make angels fall before the flood, nor did he make them manipulate the genetics of all living things. They exercised their free will to do so, but that doesn’t mean that God didn’t see the events unfold before and turn them to his advantage. He destroyed the world, lowering man into a more manageable creature. One that needed Him just a bit more than before. There was a plan.
On Mt. Sinai when God and Moses were talking, do you think that God wasn’t aware that the jews would make a golden calf idol? God said he was going to kill all the jews for that offense. Right there, just kill everyone. Do you think that’s what he actually planned? No. He needed Moses to make the free will choice to stand up for his people, take charge, and get them under control. God knew he would make this decision, but Moses needed to muster the courage within himself to do so. There was also a larger plan, these were the events that would lead to the creation of Israel, killing the parents of all its inhabitants doesn’t facilitate that.
We have free will to make the choice to be with Him. God has angels, whom we know aren’t mindless automatons, but they are more readily bound to Him than we are, perhaps bound differently than we understand. He doesn’t need more servants. He wants people who know of Him, lean on Him, and are appreciative of His gifts to us. People who have lived through an ordeal, who have experienced hardship and witnessed the miracle of God’s triumph over that ordeal are more apt to trust that feeling later in life, rather than God just showing up and saying “I already took care of that, go back to drinking your slurpie, nothing to see here.” We would learn to not feel anything after that. He desires love and loyalty and we give it freely to Him when we realize he’s been giving it to us all along, through thick and thin.
God doesn’t see our lives here as a final thing. This argument of “where was God” is invalid for the Christian because honestly, this place, this time doesn’t matter. It matters long enough for us to make a choice, a choice to accept the gift of everlasting life from the son who shed his blood on a cross in israel. Do you think the romans, all exercising free will, should have been stopped? Jesus became sin for us, all of us. Forever. He died for things i haven’t even done yet. If God stopped that suffering (and who the hell knows what “becoming sin” even means in our limited understanding), i wouldn’t have that gift. If God had stopped the jewish farce, the roman farce, stopped the suffering of his ONLY SON, we could not be with Him. He allowed His own child to die because He loved us so much. He allowed it to happen because he knew the momentary suffering was irrelevant next to His resurrection, His glory, and His gift, His expression of love. God had that plan in place before the foundation of the world. That’s the only real choice that matters.
The question of “where was God” comes from a person that cares about this world, thinks that this is the only life they have. Death doesn’t matter. I’m in Christ. I get to live again thanks to His sacrifice for me. I owe Him everything, nothing else matters.
If a Christian dies, We should celebrate. They are are in Him. If a non-christian dies, that’s a different story, but even in that choice, we, as christians, can plant the seeds of salvation, but only the holy spirit can make them grow. If they don’t, there is probably a reason why. God has everything at hand and knows better than every one of us about how much pain and sacrifice it takes to show someone you love them, but it is our free will that makes us receptive to that love or not. Not to mention receptive enough to reciprocate it with everything we have.
The graphic below from wikipedia shows the laws in the middle eastern countries. The reds are the places where most Christians are dying. Africa is another hotbed I failed to mention in my response. I haven’t researched if there is any activity in southeast asia yet.
There is also the increasing threat of Communist China persecuting Christians.
Whether you believe in the “rapture” or not, I believe we too will see persecution before the return of our King. We need to be spiritually prepared and really take stock of what that means for us, our families, and our faith in Christ.
Turkey is already turning on Christians.