The Middle East Muslim countries are collapsing into violence and anarchy. There is a struggle there that is reminiscent of the Reformation fight against corrupt Roman clerics and absolute monarchs. Except for one major difference...we had the Bible as guide to a new world order....they don't.

I have been watching a fascinating series on TV, first "Pillars of the Earth" and now "World Without End" the follow up. I read both books by Ken Follett and really enjoyed them. The series gives you a vivid and heartbreaking look into a medieval world of dire poverty, lawlessness, superstition, ignorance and a downtrodden people living under the corrupt rule of priests, cardinals, lords and kings...all a law unto themselves.  And this is the world that the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century delivered western Europe out of.  It created the foundation for the advance of science, the rule of law, the freedom of mankind, the dignity of women and the prosperity of the world we live in today.

The question now is...will the Islamic civil war bring forth the same results for a billion Muslims around the world as the Protestant Reformation did for Europe?

When you look at the living conditions of the Arab Islamic nations you look into a time warp of where we were in medieval Europe before the Reformation.  And for the same reasons. In Egypt and other Islamic countries the illiteracy rate is half the population.  Women have no basic human rights.  The mass of people live in dire poverty because their economies cannot produce much of productive value. In fact the whole of the Islamic Arab world (excluding the Gulf economies) have a GNP of about the size of Switzerland.  Very few international patents are issued by them. No world class industries or technology. And when the oil runs out...that's it...a societal collapse of holocaust proportions!

In certain ways the Arab uprising is analogous to the two phases of the Reformation wars. 

The Reformation wars were conducted on two ideological fronts and both pitted the authority of the Bible as Word of God against the authoritarian arbitrary rule of kings and priests.

- The first attack was to destroy the authority of the Pope and the Catholic Church launched by Martin Luther with ground work laid by men like Wycliffe to get the Bible into the hands of the common people.  The key was to get the catholic priesthood out of the way between God and man and give everyone who wants direct access to the grace of God through faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross. The priesthood of all believers and the free gift of salvation made the Roman priesthood redundant and their sale of indulgences for sins unnecessary.

But this break with Rome was not to go unpunished by the Pope's. They mobilized their forces from Spain and France against the Protestant uprisings in Holland, Germany and Switzerland but after horrendous casualties and cruelties the Protestants managed to carve out a living space for themselves in these countries as well as in England and Scandinavia.

- The second phase of the Reformation took place in England in the 17th century and was essentially a civil war of Anglicans against Presbyterians.  This was the famous civil war of England with Cromwell and the Puritan army of Parliament on one side and king Charles and the Anglican establishment on the other side.

The essence of the conflict was basically this:  The rule of kings to rule as they see fit or the rule of law based on the common law of England based on Biblical tradition.  Is the king subject to the rule of law or does the king have a divine right that supercedes the law. The argument for the rule of law over the whims of the king was made by Cromwell and his supporters from the Bible, that God's law as revealed in the Bible is supreme. 

What really tipped the scales to the Puritan army was when the Archbishop of Canterbury tried to force an ecclesiastical hierarchy on the Scottish Presbyterians who had always voted in their leaders.  They decided to join the fight with Cromwell which turned the tide of the revolution. 

This break of the arbitrary power of the feudal powers of lords and priests over the people resulted in a tremendous freedom for all of the common people. And when people are free to own property and are protected by laws and free to think as they want and act according their own interests...this resulted in the scientific revolutions which gave rise to the industrial revolution which gave rise to the great advance of wealth creation in the word we have today.

The question now for the Arab uprising: Will this produce the same results to the suffering Arab people to lift them out of the medieval lifestyle and structures they live in today?

Already the first phase of the Arab uprising has toppled the dictators like Mubarak, Gaddaffi. Hussein and now they want to topple Assad.  But the second phase of the revolution is now in progress: the civil war between Sunni Islam and Shiite Islam.

The dictators have been toppled and in the streets the people rejoiced and were expecting a new world of freedom and prosperity.  The technology of the internet and international media have brought Tahrir square to the world. The people also have access to the information of how the rest of the world is living.  Women want freedoms that other women in the world have.  People want to wear what they want, read what they want, think what they want.

But the Islamic civil war has destroyed all the hopes of freedom and prosperity.  The radicals in both the Sunni Islam as well as Shiite Islam are now in control of the Arab uprising.  In the Protestant Reformation our success allowed freedom for everyone. We do not convert by the sword nor do we force our way of life on others. But there is nothing in either forms of Islam that I think will allow this kind of freedom. And now with each side bombing and killing innocent people from the other side who would want to voluntarily join a belief system that encourages such violence?

So what do we make of this tragedy this unfolding nightly on our news channels? What is the prophetic significance of these revolutions?

For the Dispensationalists who are looking for a place where the Antichrist is supposed to come from and rule the world this disintegration of the Arab world is another major setback to their prophecy blunders. The list of possible Antichrists is now getting to zero.  It used to be godless communism in the 1950's, then it was the European Union 10 nation confederacy and then after 9/11 it seemed to be out of some Arab country that the Antichrist was to come.

What they can't seem to read and understand is the prophecy of Daniel and the stone that is cut from the mountain and topples the great statue and then grows and grows to fill the earth. (see my website heading and scriptures).

The stone is the Kingdom of God. It came down with the incarnation of Jesus, who declared, 'The kingdom of Heaven is at hand" and then upon His resurrection from the dead declared "All power in heaven and on earth is given unto me" and then sent His disciples into all the world to preach the Kingdom and make disciples of all nations. And for 2000 years that stone has been growing and in the process of filling all the earth other world systems must give way.

Rome fell, the barbarians fell,  feudalism fell, so did fascism, communism, and now capitalism is busy falling and that stone kingdom is filling up South America, Africa, China, Korea....

And this stone kingdom must also fill the Arab world.  But first the things that prevent the Kingdom of God from spreading into this part of the world must be removed. And that is what I believe is happening now across the Arab world.  God is moving! He is breaking down the barriers.  By the time this devastating civil war between Sunni and Shiite Islam is over and rivers of blood have flowed and cities and nations destroyed, from this great human tragedy will emerge the outpouring of God's Spirit on the Arab people to heal their land and bind up the wounds as the message of reconciliation and love through the gospel of Jesus Christ is finally preached in all its power.

Out of this great darkness will come a great light.  Pray for these people that this can happen soon.

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