As history progressed through the Viking Age and what historians call the High Middle Ages, you can see the emergence of nations like Poland, Hungary, and Croatia; along with the rise and fall of the Mongol and Ottoman Empires. The Renaissance saw unprecedented growth in science, theology, religious wars, and political revolutions. One can see the changing landscape of national boundaries through the era of "World Wars" in the 20th century, as well as the rise, fall, and resurrection of the economic/political system called communism. (You can see a fascinating recreation of 6013 years of changing European boundaries in this 3-minute video). Currently Europe is attempting to remain united under a faltering compact called the European Union. But there are cracks in the cement of this coalition.
|Supporters of the newspaper staff who were murdered in Paris.|
Sign reads "I am Charlie".
France is not the only European nation to find itself engulfed in a battle for a free civilization. The growing Muslim populations in European countries have led to a rising conflict between cultures and vocal protests against the increasingly radicalized Islamic citizens in Sweden, Denmark, Greece, and now Germany. Ultra-Nationalism is becoming a greater influence, which has resulted in the rise of nazism and the ugly threat of anti-semitism.
Only 70 years since the most horrific murder of 6,000,000 Jews in the Holocaust, the world once again is seeing the evidence of prejudice and persecution of Jews in Europe. But this time, the hatred of Jews is not only coming from ultra-nationalist factions in the political arena, but from the growing Muslim population in Europe. That's what makes this new antisemitism even more dangerous, if that were possible.
Since the year 2000, there has been a steady increase of physical assaults against Jews including beatings, stabbings and other violence. Pro-Palestinian rallies across Europe have resulted in shouts of "Death to the Jews" and "Gas the Jews", as well as graffiti expressing similar threats. People have been killed at the Jewish Museum in Brussels, Belgium; and Jewish businesses and synagogues in Paris, Italy, and Germany have been destroyed. The truth is that Jews are not feeling safe in Europe, and while these circumstances may eerily resemble the climate of Europe before Hitler's "Final Solution"; in reality, it is much worse. The Jews find themselves a target of the confluence of political rhetoric, socialist ideology, and religious fanaticism. And it is all fueled by the immediacy and emotional impact of social media.
And in the midst of it all, we see what Jesus called "the multiplied lawlessness and iniquity". But what are we to do? It's simple. We endure and we preach the Gospel. The rest is up to God; and believe me, He will take care of it. He says He will. Until then, we have been given the warnings and we should not be unprepared for what is coming.
You know, I find myself not so much fearing those final days of spiritual trouble, as much as I feel apprehensive about the "worldly" issues -- the uncertainties of income, the wondering when the economic collapse is coming, or how to deal with rising prices and lack of resources. I know the ways of this world are temporary and meaningless; and I want nothing more than to be out of this worldly system. At the same time, I strive to count it all joy, and willingly suffer as Christ did. I know my spiritual strength and that God abides in me; I know my eternal life is secure.
But I worry about friends and family, and how this coming storm will effect them. Most of all, I am concerned for my Jewish friend, Ophir, who lives in the heart of Jerusalem. She is a believer in Jesus as the Messiah, and is a single mother with four small children, all under the age of nine. The oldest, beautiful Liya, has Down's syndrome, and her youngest son is only 18 months old. I pray for their safety and that it will not be wintertime when they are forced to flee Jerusalem.
So, I see clearly what is on the horizon. It cannot be avoided as we look at the headlines coming out of Europe. It is ugly, and it is a warning of the tribulation to come. But, as it is written in Scripture: ... "When you see these signs, all taken together, coming to pass, you may know of a surety that He is near, at the very doors." As disturbing as the signs are, they are both a warning of the evil to come, and a beacon of hope for our deliverance from this wicked world. Maranatha!
Revelation 22:20 "He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!"