There is no doubt that one of the most dangerous conflicts in the world today finds its epicenter in the Middle East.
But have you ever wondered why?
Most people shrug their shoulders and say “The Jews and the Muslims have always hated each other. Always have. Always will.”
What is the fuel that keeps this fire burning?
As Muslim convert Cat Stevens once asked, “Why must we go on hating? Why can’t we live in bliss?”
Believe it or not, there is an answer to that seemingly rhetorical question.
The hatred we see in the Middle East doesn’t originate in a lack of education.
Or economic inequality.
Or political oppression.
The ultimate source of the increasingly dangerous conflict in that region is – spiritual.
What we see playing out physically is merely a shadow of what is going on in an unseen battle for the hearts and souls of men.
And guess what?
You don’t have to be a particularly spiritual person to grasp this.
Shortly before taking office as Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu granted an interview to Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic magazine.
The headline of this story was stunning to say the least.
Netanyahu to Obama: Stop Iran—Or I Will
But even more eye opening was the succinct way Mr. Netanyahu summed up the reason why such drastic action is necessary:
In unusually blunt language, Netanyahu said of the Iranian leadership, “You don’t want a messianic apocalyptic cult controlling atomic bombs. When the wide-eyed believer gets hold of the reins of power and the weapons of mass death, then the entire world should start worrying, and that is what is happening in Iran.”
There is no doubt that ideas have consequences.
But this is never more true than when these ideas have spiritual roots.
As has been detailed in this space, Mahmoud Ahmadinejhad and his fellow Shiite Moslems have a deep seeded faith that a Muslim Messiah known as the Twelfth Mahdi is going to come on the world scene in the near future.
According to their end times scenario, he will arrive at the height of global conflict, lead the Muslim faithful to victory and establish a world wide caliphate.
To achieve this end, war is an absolute necessity.
So who better to war against than the hated occupiers of territory once controlled by Islam, the Jews?
Ahmadinejhad and his fellow true believers are not motivated by the desire to acquire territory, or control natural resources, or promote a particular nation’s interests.
Their hatred is fueled by their faith.
In that sense, Benjamin Netanyahu gets it.
There is no possibility of an “agree to disagree” arrangement with someone who belives the key to their messianic hopes is wiping you off the map.
Iran’s current leadership can not be dissuaded. They must be disarmed.
They simply can’t be allowed to “put feet to their faith”.
And so, what we see revealed in a conflict that could lead to nuclear war is a point of truth the Bible makes plain.
The world we live in is a spiritual war zone.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6:12-13)
Just as there is a God who loves us and wants us to know His truth, so the Bible is plain that there is a devil who hates us and wants us to be deceived.
And when deception is sown in the hearts of people who grow up to be leaders of nations, the potential for mayhem is great.
But conversely, this same principle offers a ray of hope.
If people can be lead into lives of destruction by believing in lies, so people can make a positive difference if they come to know the truth.
The abolition of the slave trade, the civil rights movement, and the elevation of the status and equality of women have all become reality because people took God’s truth to heart.
For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time (I Timothy 2:4-6)
The bottom line?
The wars outside of us will never cease until the war inside of us comes to an end.
Pray that the people of Iran, yes, including Mahmoud Ahmadinejhad will come to know the true and living God, and that His love will set them free.
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