Terrorism – Who has the upper hand?

This word, terrorism, has become very popular in our days. It has become the preoccupation of the entire world, and astronomical amounts of money are being spent to combat or prevent it. Yet despite all the armaments, despite all the wars and campaigns, the problem called terrorism seems to be unfazed and even gaining ground. The latest example is the quick growth of the Islamic State, that not only withstands pressure from armies such as the Russian and that of the US, but it seems to have unlimited resources from all around the world.

Personally, I am not one to comment on international events or politics; those things are outside my focus. My dealings are with my Lord Jesus and with His people. And this is the reason that prompted me to make this commentary – God’s people, the bride of the Lamb, His Church. By the reactions of most of my brethren around the world, especially in the Western world, it would seem that terrorism is such a real threat to the Church, that it could spell its annihilation. Millions of Christians around the world are targeted and slaughtered by groups that “are not parts of Islam”, and yet they are all Islamic. So, the question is, should we, the people of God, be fearful of such events, and are the claims of some American brethren justified, that we ought to arm ourselves for our own protection?

Perhaps we have forgotten the words of the Lord Himself, “…I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18). How is it, then, that the Church seems to be crumbling under the pressure of terror attacks and threats? I believe the key lies with this word: MY Church! Which implies that besides the Lord’s church, there are other churches, that are counterfeit, fake, which the enemy has planted like the tares (Matthew 13:25,26). And lest anyone takes offense at my statement, I will explain a few things.

Terrorism, although it has been around for many years and perhaps centuries, only took vast dimensions recently, perhaps in the last 40 years. So what happened before that time, was the world a happy, safe, peaceful place? If not, (which is the answer), what kind of problems and threats did the world face back in history? How did they deal with them, and if they dealt with them successfully, why can’t we just take a look at their successes and become effective too? Further, suppose we manage to eliminate terrorism, will the world become safe and peaceful?

For each civilization, from the beginning of history to today, there have been threats. The ancient peoples had their share of troubles. For the peoples in the Middle East it was their neighbors; for Greece it was the Persian Empire, and vice versa; for Israel it was the people who inhabited Canaan; for Egypt it was the Roman Empire; even the powerful Roman Empire had its own threats. Eventually the “barbarians” managed to overthrow it, and as for its eastern leg, the Byzantine Empire, it was the Ottomans. Of course, the obvious cause here is man’s sinful nature that causes wars, but what about God? Does He just watch with indifference, allowing people to just kill and torture other people? Does He even have any plan about it?

By looking into history, we see that all great civilizations perished – the Sumerians, the Egyptians (today’s Egyptians have no relation to the ancient ones), the Persians, the Greeks (same goes here as for the Egyptians), the Israelites, the Romans – all with the exception of the tribe of Judah, or, as we better know them, the Jews. All other people, the modern Egyptians or the modern Greeks or the modern Persians (Iranians) have undergone so much mixing and meddling with, that they have lost all of their former glory and homogeny. The Jews, on the other hand, although they were constantly at war with enemies, managed to come down in history unchanged, until they were overwhelmed by the Romans, who forced them to scatter widely to the other nations of the earth. And around that time, just before Judah bowed out of the world scene, another people arose, a people not limited by race or language or geography – that people, that civilization still exists, though invisible. It is called “the Church”, or better, “the Church of Jesus Christ” – not any building or denomination that bears such a name, but a real, invisible organism, about whom only God can tell safely who they are (John 3:8).

To return to the question of what is God’s position on wars and threats, I can say confidently that not only is He concerned with it, but He also made it a part of His eternal purpose. Ok now, I can see people picking up stones to hurl them to me for saying such a thing – “God uses terrorism for His plans”, what a statement! No, I am not sharing the opinion of some “preachers” and “televangelists” who blame certain countries’ lifestyle for the suffering they undergo. I am simply stating that God is sovereign and that His plans always come to pass. Let me explain.

We read in the Bible of the many wars the Israelites fought. Some were successful, yet others were disastrous for them. What determined their success? And not only Israel, but there were other people who were spared destruction, such as the Assyrians of Nineveh (Jonah 3:10). Of course, people who are not born from above see things from an earthly standpoint, but we, the people of the Lord, have the truth and that is how we should see things. What happened that kept Nineveh from destruction? We read the events in Jonah chapter 3, verses 4 to 9. What happened to Israel when threatened with annihilation by the Assyrian king Sennacherib? We read in 2 Chronicles chapter 32. What happened when the Israelites were faced with an army many times smaller to theirs? We read the story in Joshua chapter 7. Now let’s see some events concerning the Church. What happened when the Church strayed from the truth and adopted secular power and pagan elements? Islam was born and plagued her. What happened when the eastern leg of Christianity (the compromised one) failed to return to the truth of Christ? The Ottomans took over almost half of Europe. And to get to our times, what happened when the Church became nominal, indifferent and bigoted? Islam-linked terrorism became the scourge.

But Islam is not the only problem today. I live in a country where there is little effect of terrorism, as happens in the entire Caribbean region. But this is because crime is on very high (unusual) levels. What is the lesson we gather from all these examples? The problem is not the scourge, but the indifference and the apostasy of God’s people. This is the real issue, for God and for His people. And when God sees His people turning their backs to Him, he allows cruel people to go and awaken His own.

But scourges have another purpose too. Remember my reference to the tares? Well, this is what the Lord said about this: “Behold, I have told you before.” (Matthew 24:25). Read the entire chapter to see what He has warned us about. And again, we read: “Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.” (Hebrews 12:26-27, KJV). The world is now a threshing floor, and the desired result is that the sons will be manifested (Romans 8:19). So, what should our attitude be in these hard times?

The message to us is the same as always: “REPENT! This is the message to the Church today. This is what spared people from destruction, from the beginning of history. Repentance. Repentance the way the Ninevites did. We are all riled up with revival, we keep talking about revival, and we have no clue of what revival is and how it comes about. The only way revival has ever come and will come now is by the way of repentance. Are you still afraid of ISIS or any terrorist threat? Does crime scare you? Then keep this in mind: “When a man’s ways please Jehovah, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” (Proverbs 16:7, MKJV). God is not cruel, but His ways of disciplining us are not our ways. Let us not get carried away and lose focus, like those who don’t know God, but let us focus on what matters, and that is the kingdom of God in us. Let us spread the word before it’s too late.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s