La Profecía Bíblica de la Historia

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-Daniel Chapter 9-a “The 69 Weeks”

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Daniel Chapter 8

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Daniel Chapter 7

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Daniel Chapter 2

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Introducing Prophecy in History

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Tea & Endtime with the Kurds

My friend and I were sitting in the office of a Kurdish business women. We were over in her neck of the woods, not in the West. And my friend had told me that in his conversations with her at other times, quite often the subject had turned to the events of the endtime, predicted in prophecy. By the way, the picture here is one I found on line of Kurdish women, not of the ones we met.

“So, Mark, the Kurdish woman was an evangelical Christian?”

No, she wasn’t. In fact when we first got there, we had to wait for her as she was having prayer, something many Muslims do 5 times a day.

“Were she and her friends covered from head to toe in black and all you could see of her was where there was a slit for her eyes?”

No, actually they were all dressed completely casually and looked like everyday folks from northern Italy.

“Mark, that doesn’t make sense! How could she be someone that carries on a conversation about the endtime if she was a Muslim?!”

My friend who took me to her office said that all she knows about the prophetic endtime is what she’s learned about it from the Koran and what my friend has shared with her. Yes, there’s plenty about the future to come in the Koran that has some definite parallels to the same narrative we find in the Old and New Testament, and quite a few Muslims know about this.

I spoke about this in my video on Daniel chapter 7, how that Muslims know specifically about “the dejjal”, the name in the Koran for the Antichrist, spoken of as a demonic world leader who will arise in the final years before the return of Jesus. AC figure-2This is also explained in the Koran. That may be surprising news to some who read this. Here’s the text and illustrations to the Daniel 7 class if you’re interested in knowing more about this.

So while drinking tea with her and her friends, one of the things we talked about was “the mark of the beast”, predicted in Revelation 13:16 & 17 as being a part of the world economic system of the final days. We talked about how this type of thing was not really possible for 2000 years. But now in our times virtually every product has a bar code. And we shared with our friend how that it would be just as easy to implant some kind of chip in each individual so that he could be scanned for each economic transaction and kept up with electronically in an almost complete way. We told her that this was prophesied many centuries ago as a sign of the final years at the time of the “great tribulation” (Matthew 24:21), before the return of Jesus.Mark of the Beast

This was not the first time my friend had talked with this Kurdish business woman and her friends about this. But it was a way to share with her the vision of the future from the Bible which she already knew a good deal about, from her study of the Koran. She said, as we discussed the overall endtime picture of possibly needing to draw back from the large cities if a world government took over, that she felt she could be safe in some of the smaller villages she knows where Kurds are the majority. And that’s a similar conclusion to what many in the West have come see as a way to survive if an Antichrist world rule comes in our lifetime. Some may need to “flee into the wilderness” (Revelation 12:14), as the Bible says some will.

Another of my friends later told me that this is one of the easiest ways to enter into conversations with Islamic people, by talking about the vision of the future to come and what the prophets and writers of the Old and New Testament were shown by the God of Abraham about that time. So it was a wonderful day, sharing faith and truth that I’ve learned with someone hungry and receptive to the same truth.

By the way, you might wonder why I’m not being more specific and detailed about the name of the woman, her city and things like that. The reason is that in some parts of the world, a “Christian” way of looking at God, Jesus and the Bible is pretty controversial and even outright dangerous.

In some countries you can be thrown out of them if you’re known to be sharing your faith in that way. In other countries, it can get much worse, not always from the governments but just from local people who “take the law into their own hands” or who are motivated by ancient animosities to see you as an enemy of their society. In those circumstances you learn quickly to be a good deal less specific when sharing news of what the Lord has done, both for your own sake but also for the sake of your friends.

But it’s a wonderful life. It’s a wonderful and thrilling to have a conversation with people like my friend and I spoke with today, ones who have such a genuine hunger for the things of the Lord and such believing hearts to grasp and retain what we shared with them.

So I’d encourage you to not be afraid to step out and share your faith and what you know with your friends who might have an Islamic background. You might find it a very interesting and rewarding conversation, just like we did, even if you have to wait till they finish praying.

Visiting Syria (part 2)

Reyhanli kids in classI mentioned in the first post on my visit to the city bordering Syria, how that the school we visited was a surprise. Clean, organized, a real testimony to the people who are running it. It just struck me as a sign of the resilience of these folks who have almost all suffered personally, often physically, or have had members of their families who’ve suffered. But they seem very determined to make an environment for their children so they can continue their education and to not be defeated by the horror and destruction going on in their country.

I took some photos of some of the drawings the kids had done which were posted in the hallways of their school. Often they were in English. One of them said:

Peace poster -1

 

Peace is part of love.

Peace cannot be controlled but it can only be made.

Peace is there.

Peace is here.

Peace is all over the world.

 

And another one said:

Peace poster -2“P” Peace is calm and friendly.

“E” Everyone is joyful.

“A”  Always have a smile.

“C” Careful and nice, no hate is allowed.

“E”   Evil is not right

But what could we do in the time we had there? We visited several classrooms, including where they were learning English. There were 4 of us; 3 spoke Turkish and 2 also spoke Arabic. We told them that we loved them and that we were so amazed by their happy smiles and joyful spirits. It wasn’t an opportunity or appropriate right then to speak on religious topics to these kids in their classrooms. But they knew we were different and had come to show love and solidarity with them.

Some of the Syrian kids with school supplies we brought for them.

Some of the Syrian kids with school supplies we brought for them.

With the head teachers and administrators, we talked more. We asked what we could do to help. They asked if we meant financially, materially or psychologically. We said we didn’t come from a large aid organization but were primarily volunteers. We brought with us several hundred dollars worth of school supplies for the children there, as well as clothes and goods they could pass on to the most needy in their community. We also gave a cash gift. We wished we could do so much more but this was what we had that we could share right then.

But we said we felt our strongest help could be in the realm of the heart, to let them know that millions are praying for their people, that they’re not forgotten and that our hearts were broken for them and their people at this time. When we asked what we could do, one of them spoke up emphatically to tell us to stop the bombing of their villages and cities and to stop the killing. We said we would if we could but that was beyond our abilities.

At one point in our talk with the administrators, I somehow shared how I’d come to faith in God as the only solution that was able to help my life and that we all felt the ultimate solution to the crises that griped their nation was to somehow find the love of God and love for each other. These were things that they all agreed with, even though I got the impression that some of them had seen such horrible examples of vilely twisted religiosity in their country that they’d swung towards secular solutions and views as they rejected the twisted religious views they’d seen. Then again later we were able to speak with other members of the school staff and to take the conversation in the direction of faith and a loving God who can heal and deliver us from the worst of circumstances.

One thing we learned from the situation in Reyhanli and from other areas nearby is that there are a number of volunteers coming from various parts of Europe and even farther afield. Most of these are young people and it often has to do with things like teaching music, sports activities, trauma counseling, computer training, art and just finding ways to help young people to still be able to get on with their lives in spite of the collapse of their society at this time. The motivation of these volunteers ranges from simple humanitarian concern to spiritual/religious convictions of different types.Mts syrian kids 4-fixed

As classes were being dismissed, we were able to gather with a large group of young students in the activity area in front of the school. One of us had a guitar and we got going with some good songs, both in English and in Arabic. Some of the kids really got to rocking out with us. They knew some of our songs and gather round to sing loudly. At this time we also brought in the school supplies and materials that we’d brought with us to distribute. Later we talked more with some of the administrators and got more familiar with the situation, as well as finding out possible opportunities to come back and do more.

Singing with the school kids, hills of Syria in the background.

Singing with the school kids, hills of Syria in the background.

Afterwards it was still daylight and we considered visiting some other places in the region. But we felt what had happened already was a real answer to prayer and had gone well, perhaps more than we had even believed could have happened. So we agreed that we should “quit while we were ahead.” Then one of us paraphrased that idea to fit our situation, that we should “quit while we still have a head”. We laughed, somewhat quietly.

At the end of the day, as we headed back to our city, there was a feeling of peace and joy that we’d been able to go there, do what we’d been able to do, and then to get safely back out of a relatively dangerous situation. It seems like it is very rare for folks there to get visitors like us to their city and their people. My friends here will continue to be contact with similar groups and initiatives along the border where people with love and Godly concern in their hearts are doing what they can to bring light, love and practical help to what is one of the worst humanitarian crises I’ve seen in my lifetime.

Visiting Syria (part 1)

Reyhanli city-2I should be clear that I didn’t visit the geographic nation of Syria. I was in a large town, just on the border, as seen in this picture. But there are over 3 million Syrian refugees living outside their country now. So in visiting a place where the majority of the city was Syrian refugees, it was visiting Syria in that sense.

I didn’t really know what to expect. I can tell you that I did some pretty tall praying even before leaving the States for this trip. And then the day we went to this border town, that was another time of very serious prayer and looking to the Lord for His confirmation and then protection and blessing.

“Mark, that was naive and frivolous of you! Many people love you, Mark. And you just risked you life on some kind of foolhardy Christian joy ride! For what, Mark?”

Jesus said, “I was sick and in prison and you didn’t visited Me.” And then He said that “they will ask, ‘When were You sick and in prison and we didn’t visit You?’ And He said, “In as much as you did it not to the least of these, you did it not to Me.” (Matthew 25:43-45) Or as He said in another place, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39)

“Mark, get a grip! They aren’t your neighbor. They hate us and want to kill us, Mark!”

Friend, if you think that, truly you are the one that needs to get a grip. I went there because I had an unexpected “open door” (I Corinthians 16:9) from the Lord to go there. Besides that, this whole thing that’s been going for the last couple of years has just grossed me out and “gotten my goat”, to perhaps use strong language. So I wanted to get as close as I responsibly could, to see for myself how it is, to help all I could and to find what if anything I myself can do about it on the longer term.

Reyhanli mapI was able to make a one day visit to Reyhanli, a town/city of originally around 63,000 people which has swollen to around 150,000 with the influx of refugees. If things were different, I might have aimed to stay there a couple of weeks, to try to do more. But that truly wouldn’t be wise or safe. By the time you get that close to the situation and you’re a Westerner, you run a real risk of getting kidnapped. The baddies in Syria will offer a very large reward for ones outside Syria who can deliver up Westerners which they hold for ransom or to ultimately execute publicly.

We were able to visit a very well run school for refugee children, within sight of the nearby Syrian border. On our way to Reyhanli we saw refugee camps along the side of the road, people living under makeshift plastic sheets and begging (or worse) at traffic lights and in towns and cities. But the school we visited was surprisingly well organized, with cheerful, focused children who sang us songs and tried to converse with us in English.

About half the staff of the school spoke English. All the women wore traditional Muslim clothes but they were very friendly to us and showed us how the school worked. They said they get almost no visitors like us. We also had some time of rather deep and intense talks with some of the administrators. One of them had had his house bombed by “barrel bombs”, dropped by the government. Miraculously, no one was killed. But they took it as a sign it was time to leave.

A friend sings with the kids at the school, I’m in the background and the hills of Syria in the background.

A friend sings with the kids at the school, I’m in the background and the hills of Syria in the distance.

It seems like the funding comes from Syrians rather than any international or UN source. The school had been set up there for a few months and there are several others like it in the city. I’ve decided not to share the name of the school as the whole thing with this is a slight dilemma for me. I want to let you know how things are and what’s happening. And in the case of this school, it was a real surprise to see these folks having gotten things going there so well.

Reyhanli, May 11, 2013

Reyhanli, May 11, 2013

But on the other side, this is a very serious place. The city of Reyhanli had two car bombs go off there in 2013, killing over 50 and injuring around 150. You can read about “Reyhanli bombings” on Wikipedia for more info. It happened right off the main street through town and we drove by there several times. Also mortar rounds fired from across the border have landed in the city there at night. Our friends told us that they can see helicopter gunships and jet fighters which drop bombs on villagers just on the other side of the border. So I also truly need to think of the well-being of the ones we visited and the ones I’ve worked with here. For that reason I’m being less than fully explicit about some of this.

I should add that on Sunday, two days after our visit to Reyhanli, a bomb was found and diffused on a car there. This might be an encouragement to those of you who prayed for my trip. That’s how important prayers are. Here’s the link to the article about the bomb that was found. http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-police-disarm-bomb-found-in-former-syrian-rebel-commanders-car.aspx?pageID=238&nID=79060&NewsCatID=341

It seems like there’s a lot to write about what we saw and experienced that day. So I think I’ll write another post with more of the details of what happened, what we learned, how we tried to help and how more help might be possible.

Speaking Truth to Evil

I heard recently, “People need to see more heroes.” Well, here’s one, as far as I can see. She may not be “one of us”. But then that depends on how you see what “us” means.

This is the kind of news you won’t see normally on American news media. But it shows us something of the little people, the unheard of’s, the forgotten of this world who still stand up to evil in their land, among their people, and in these times. May the gracious God of Abraham see and bless this dear soul and all those like her.

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