Dalton Thomas of FAI and Maranatha Global is living eternal now. He truly understands we are living in the last days before Jesus returns to this earth.
Maranatha Global is all about encouraging and challenging us to live out our lives as Christ calls us to live in these last days. We need to live lives that will bring great reward throughout eternity.
We all need to know how God’s covenants arekeyto our understanding of history and how God works with mankind.
In the video, Dalton explains how God has unfinished business with Israel as the Abrahamic Covenant is everlasting, unilateral and unconditional.
We also need to understand that Israel is still under the Mosaic Covenantwhich is conditional. It comes with blessings and curses.
Everlasting righteousness only comes by faith in Jesus and it is Jesus who will bring everlasting righteousness to Israel.
“I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written,
The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”; “and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”
You will be blessed by Dalton’s teaching on Daniel 8: 9-13 as he states it is one of the most important End-Time prophecies. Although I believe Daniel 9 contains the most important O.I. End Time prophecy and I will post Dalton’s video on it in a future post.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22
How good is this Scripture for teaching us how to live the Christian life, to be a Kingdom warrior, to do the will of God, to live life with an eternal focus now.
1. REJOICE ALWAYS
2. PRAY WITHOUT CEASING
3. GIVE THANKS IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES
4. DO NOT QUENCH (OR GRIEVE) THE HOLY SPIRIT – The Holy Spirit indwells the Spirit of every believer. Jesus sacrifice on our behalf made it possible for our Heavenly Father to send the Holy Spirit to be our counsellor, teacher and comforter. He produces the fruit of the Spirit (9) in our lives and He provides the gifts of the Spirit (9) for ministry.
5. DO NOT DESPISE PROPHECY BUT TEST EVERYTHING (WITH SCRIPTURE)
Freedom of speech is essentially dead on major media and social media platforms, and because they have such a dominant position in the marketplace of ideas, that means that freedom of speech has been severely crippled in US society as a whole.
Freedom of religion is being greatly eroded as well. States such as California continue to ban large church gatherings in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, but meanwhile they don’t have any problem with the large groups of protesters that are gathering night after night in the major cities to riot and commit acts of violence.
If conditions are good enough for thousands upon thousands of rioters to get together and cause chaos, and if conditions are good enough for thousands upon thousands of people to go shopping at Wal-Mart, then conditions are certainly good enough for Christians to go to church.
The way that Republicans and Democrats in Congress are responding to this crisis is deeply un-American. The USA is supposed to be a free market capitalist system, socialists were always regarded as enemies of the Republic. But now there are very few Democrats that are not socialists. One has to wonder at how many Republicans see socialism as the only option left.
This week government announced that another “stimulus bill” is on the way. This one is going to involve more direct socialist payments to the American people, but at this point hardly anyone is even bothering to point out that this is pure socialism. Never before in American history has such a thing been done. The USA has been through the Civil War, World War I, the Great Depression, World War II and a whole host of other difficult times, and yet they have never passed out “free money” to everyone in the country before. And of course the country can’t afford any of this extra spending that Congress is doing. This new stimulus bill is “only” going to cost about a trillion dollars, but that is another trillion dollars that government will have to steal from future generations of Americans. At this moment, government is more than 26 trillion dollars in debt, and soon it will be 27 trillion dollars. They are systematically destroying America’s future, and the founders of the USA would be absolutely horrified at what they are doing. Mind you look at household debt levels in the USA they are already at a record high. A country in crisis.
Of course, the founders have witnessed America abandoning most of the values that they held dear long ago. What was “right” in their day is now “wrong”, and what was “wrong” in their day has now become “right”. In essence, the nation is literally turning into the exact opposite of what they originally intended for America to be.
It looks like this pandemic is not going away soon. What is next? The government is running out of options. Debt levels are off the charts and interest rates at or below zero. The only feasible option is to hit the RESET button and that is probably what we will see next – a digital currency. Paper money and coins will go, for sure. A microchip is certainly a good option for Governments. It would give them total control over the population. They would not only know how much you have spent, where you have spent it and on what. In fact, they would know your every move. Whatever happens next , let me tell you that it will be one step closer to the “end times” mark of the beast.
The spirit of lawlessness, a spirit that despises authority and that cultivates chaos. And it is a spirit that is at work throughout America today, leaving a train of destruction in its path.
Paul wrote these important words in Romans 13, words that we need to put front and center during these times of cultural upheaval.
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. (Romans 13:1–5)
There is something else that is animating these rioters to burn Bibles and the American flag. As Ian Miles Cheong, managing editor of Human Eventstweeted, “I don’t know what burning the Bible has to do with protesting against police brutality.
Do not be under the illusion that these protests and riots are anything but an attempt to dismantle all of Western Civilization and upend centuries of tradition and freedom of religion.
Yes, it is beyond ludicrous to suggest that the burning of Bibles has any connection at all to the death of George Floyd, himself a professing Christian. And it is ridiculous to think there is any real connection between the Bible and police brutality. It is an open expression of hostility to the Judeo-Christian God and Judeo-Christian values. It is the thumbing of the nose to divine authority. It is overt rebellion
The spirit of lawlessness is at work. Jesus said lawlessness would increase in the last days before His return. “And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold” Matthew 24:12
“The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.” 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10
How many of you have really “meditated on”, “come to grips with”, “got your ahead around” the FACT Jesus is returning to this earth soon to liberate His chosen nation, and to rule and reign with His resurrected saints on this cursed earth for 1000 years. Moreover, He needs to rule with a rod of iron. People will still be born, people still need to come to know Jesus as their Lord and Saviour and people will still die. The curse of death has not been lifted off this planet. It is destined for destruction by fire at the end of the Millennium. John describes its destiny and what will occur at that time in Revelation 20 and 21.
“Then I saw agreat white throne and Him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:11-15 The New Heaven and the New Earth Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:1-4
It is important to acknowledge that many of the early Church Fathers believed that the earth was less than 6,000 years old and that they read the Genesis creation account both literally and symbolically. To check this out read the article Creationism and Millennialism among the Church Fathers by Andrew Sibley on www,creation.com.
It is clear from a close reading of the Church Fathers that the widely held belief of the church in the first few centuries after Christ was that the creation occurred less than 6,000 years prior to their time of writing; at least it seems to have been the majority opinion among the church leaders. This belief was also tied in with an understanding of the timing of the Second Coming of Christ and His millennial reign; a pressing question for the early church. The millennial scheme symbolically linked six days of creation with 6,000 years of Earth history, with the final millennium reign seen as foreshadowed by the seventh day of rest in the creation account. This undermines claims that such belief is a recent phenomenon, or is not in tune with traditional Christian theology.
Influence for the symbolic linkage between the six days of creation and the six thousand years until the millennial reign of rest may have been passed down directly from the Apostles, especially John, the author of Revelation. Irenaeus, who lived during the 2nd century ad, claims to have received the teaching from Papias and Polycarp, who received it directly from John. Influence may also have derived from Peter’s writing, wherein the Apostle was responding to questions about the return of Christ. Peter wrote that for God “a day is like a thousand years” (2 Peter 3:8) and that the Christians should be patient regarding the question of Christ’s return.
Most of the Church Fathers of the first three centuries relied upon the LXX to determine the age of the earth and the Second Advent. Initially, Christians believed that Christ would return sometime around AD 500. However, later acceptance of the Septuagint Masoretic Text, with its shorter time frame for creation of around 4000 BC, extended the second coming to AD 2000.
So, the gradual acceptance of the Hebrew MT by Christians, from which Bishop Ussher derived a date for the age of the earth of 4004 BC, gave fresh ‘legs’ to millennial thinking among Christians in more recent times, with Christ expected to return sometime around AD 2000.
John Anderson interviews Victor Davis Hanson, recorded live via online streaming. With great insight, Hanson analyses the culture war and the effect it is having on our geopolitical strategy especially in relation to China, in light of the current pandemic. Both men recognise we are living in a unique time, and for those that don’t recognise that history is playing out exactly as prophesied in God’s Word (Bible), ahead is a chaotic and terrifying time in the history of planet earth.
Victor Davis Hanson is an American classicist, military historian, columnist, and farmer. He has been a commentator on contemporary politics for the National Review and The Washington Times and is currently the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.
John Anderson, former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia. He served as a senior Cabinet minister in the reformist government led by John Howard (1996 to 2005), one of the most successful governments in Australian parliamentary history. This included six years as Leader of the National Party and Deputy Prime Minister. Whilst in office, Anderson, known as a man of simple Christian faith, sought to respect the dictum that another’s right to speak should always be defended, even if he disagreed with them.
The mark of a fully-devoted disciple is a disciple who is making other disciples, a disciple who is bringing others to the faith either through personal evangelism or bringing others with them to church to introduce them to Jesus. Evangelism is the greatest form of discipleship.
If we in our churches are not creating disciples who regularly create other disciples, we are not succeeding in the Great Commission. Christ called us all to share the good news of eternal life that He made possible through His death and resurrection. If we are not making disciples then what are we doing at church, hopefully not making Couch Potato Christians who sit and soak rather than serve and send. If you want to see who the fully-devoted disciples of Jesus Christ are, don’t necessarily go to the biggest churches or find the Christians with the most seminary degrees or the ones who are the most confident (i.e. arrogant) about their doctrine. Find disciples who are making other disciples. Evangelism is the greatest form of discipleship.
The church is simply to be found faithful to the task of heralding God’s message. We are to bring the gospel to the ends of the earth, which for most people, means we are to bring the gospel into our workplaces, friendships, families, and so forth. All that is required of us is to look to where God has placed us currently and simply to be found faithful to the task of proclaiming the good news to those who are dead in their sins.
It requires that we not be ashamed of the good news of the gospel, which includes not being ashamed of the bad news of God’s judgment against sin (perish in the Lake of Fire). “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16). There is a second death. The Bible is explicit about it.
“But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur,which is the second death.”Revelation 21:8
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.” Revelation 2:11
“Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.” Revelation 20:6
Whatever the result of our proclamation of the gospel may be, whether a hardening or a softening of the heart, God effectually uses our message for His purposes. We may not necessarily like the implications of God using our proclamation of judgment and salvation to effectively harden an individual’s heart. We may not believe the implications of this are even fair—but we ought to remember in the midst of everything that we don’t want fair, because our idea of what’s fair doesn’t square with God’s.
What’s fair is God condemning every man, woman, and child to an eventual second death in the Lake of Fire. What’s fair is that the only blameless One to have ever existed would not be put to the cross to pay for the sins of others. What you and I desire is mercy and grace, because mercy is not giving people what they deserve, which is condemnation, and grace is giving people what they don’t deserve, which is no condemnation. The gospel is a scandal to the world because it sees the murderer, rapist, racist, and the like, on equal footing with the sweet old lady who doesn’t confess Christ—and offers them all the same grace of God in Christ. What that very simply means is that the gospel is not barred from anyone on the basis of their own doing or choosing, but rather, on the sovereign choice of God Himself.
If those who struggle with evangelizing were to focus on the sovereignty of God in evangelism, it would free many a burdened soul up to take joy in the work that God has given them, realizing that whether the person they share the gospel with rejects or receives it, God is glorified in accomplishing His work through the preached word.
In some cases, God actually uses the proclamation of truth as a means to close one’s mind from repentance, we can guard our hearts by recognizing that God ordains whatsoever comes to pass. What that means with respect to evangelism is that sometimes, the preaching of the gospel actually serves as the means through which an individual’s heart is hardened against God. In other words, not every instance of proclaiming a message of repentance is designed by God to bring the people who hear it to repentance and faith. In fact, Scripture often demonstrates the opposite is true—that the proclamation serves to condemn the recipients rather than restore. A great example of this is found in the commissioning of the prophet Isaiah:
“Go, and tell this people: keep on listening, but do not perceive; keep on looking, but do not understand. Render the hearts of this people insensitive,their ears dull, and their eyes dim, otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and return and be healed.” Then I said, “Lord, how long?” and He answered, “Until cities are devastated and without inhabitant, houses are without people and the land is utterly desolate, the Lord has removed men far away, and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land. Yet there will be a tenth portion in it, and it will again be subject to burning, like a terebinth or an oak whose stump remains when it is felled. The holy seed is its stump” (Isaiah 6:8-13).
Christ Himself taught in parables for the express purpose of concealing the truth of the Kingdom of God, lest those whom it was not granted to would hear and repent (Matt. 13:10-16; Mk. 4:10-12; Luk. 8:9-10). The apostle Paul even picks this idea up when he speaks of God giving mankind up to the lusts of their hearts, dishonorable passions, and a debased mind (Rom. 1:18–32). When you look through the entirety of the Old and New Testaments, what is plainly seen is that God is at work to harden the hearts of whom He desires, which is most clearly expressed in Rom. 9:6-29. In every instance where the edict is rendered a “lost-cause” against the recipients of the message, the truth of God has been made self-evident so that man is without excuse.
“”What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.“Romans 9:14-18
None of this is a matter of controversy in Scripture. Instead, election and condemnation are simply part of the cosmic reality of judgment and salvation unfolding before us as the plan of God is revealed. In the midst of this, Scripture unabashedly upholds the tension between God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility without much qualification. The important thing to note in all of this is that it is not as if those under this severe indictment from the Lord are under it without cause. In every instance, the people have either forsaken the covenant or rejected their Creator willingly. The commission of Isaiah serves to show us this reality quite clearly, in that chapters 2-5 give clear evidence that the people plainly rejected the terms of their covenant with God, and as a result, He would send the prophet to seal their fate.
This post is based on an article by Grayson Gilbert “A Lesson from Isaiah on the Sovereignty of God” http://www.patheos ,com
This is a follow up article to my post entitled “Be An Overcomer Having The Mind Of Christ“. Can I suggest you read it first if you have not already done so. It provides information on all the Holy Spirit gifts and the essential role the Holy Spirit has in every believers life.
Without a doubt, speaking in tongues is the most controversial Holy Spirit gift mentioned in the New Testament. Should believers ignore it, oppose it, or embrace it? There are many legitimate questions regarding the gift of tongues that deserve a thoughtful, biblical response. The most significant.
1. Is speaking in tongues for all believers?
The most important thing you need to know about speaking in tongues is what Jesus said about it, and He did not mince His words in Mark 16:17: “And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues.” Jesus declared that tongues is a supernatural sign that can and should accompany everyone who believes in Him. God does not give His children any bad gifts, so we shouldn’t fear or ridicule the gift of tongues. The gift of tongues was the most common spiritual gift in the New Testament church. The Bible tells us in Acts 2:4 that all of the original 120 disciples at Pentecost spoke in tongues in the Upper Room: “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” Also, Paul made it clear in 1Corinthians 14:5 that he wanted every believer to pray in tongues (for personal edification) and prophesy (to edify the church): “I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy.”
2. From where does it come, what is its origin and purpose?
The gift of tongues is a heavenly language which the Holy Spirit downloads into your spirit that enables you to communicate directly with God. However it is important to remember what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13:1, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels. but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”
In 2006, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania took brain images of five people while they spoke in tongues. Their research was published in The New York Times. The leader of the study team was Dr. Andrew Newberg, who arrived at this conclusion:
“We noticed a number of changes that occurred functionally in the brain. Our finding of decreased activity in the frontal lobes during the practice of speaking in tongues is fascinating because these subjects truly believe that the spirit of God is moving through them and controlling them to speak. …Our brain-imaging research shows us that these subjects are not in control of the usual language centers during this activity, which is consistent with their description of a lack of intentional control while speaking in tongues.”
When they prayed in tongues, their frontal lobes, the willful part of the brain we use to think and control what we do, were quiet. The language center of their brains—the part we use to speak in our native language—were quiet as well. The people were not in a trance; they were fully aware of what was happening. The researchers were unable to pinpoint which part of the brain was controlling this behavior of speaking in tongues. Dr. Newberg went on to say, “The amazing thing was how the images supported people’s interpretation of what was happening. … The way they describe it, and what they believe, is that God is talking through them.”
Speaking in tongues is clearly not a fabricated language, as these scientists have confirmed. It is a spiritual language given to us by God to communicate with Him.
3. Did the gift of tongues cease after the first century, or is it still active today?
The doctrine of cessationism is firmly entrenched in Reformed Christianity. This is the belief that the apostolic and charismatic gifts (including speaking in tongues) ceased after the original 12 apostles passed away. However, several notable early church fathers—such as Justin Martyr (100-165), Irenaeus (115-202), Tertullian (160-220), and Origen (185-254)—recorded that the spiritual gifts, including speaking in tongues, were still active in the church in their days, long after John had passed away around 100 AD.
Peter proclaimed in Acts 2:39 that the gift of tongues is for everyone who is called by God: “The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” Paul wrote in 1 Cor. 13:8-9 that when that which is perfect comes, tongues will cease. That is a reference to the Second Coming of Christ. The Bible teaches that no one is perfect except Jesus. When Christ returns, we will not need to speak in tongues to communicate with God because we will be with Him. But until then, the gift of tongues is available to any believer who desires it.
4. What are people saying when they pray in tongues?
The Bible reveals five main things that happen when believers pray in tongues:
1. They are speaking directly to God. 1 Corinthians 14:2,“For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit.” Tongues is an intimate and direct line of communication with God.
2. They are declaring God’s wonders. Acts 2:11, “We hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” When we pray in tongues we are actually declaring the wonders and mysteries and majesty of God.
3. They are praising God. Acts 10:46, “For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.” Even if we don’t understand what we are saying when we speak in tongues, we are praising God in the Spirit (1 Cor. 14:16).
4. They are edifying themselves.1 Corinthians. 14:4, “He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.” Praying in tongues is like a spiritual workout—it builds you up and makes you stronger spiritually.
5. The Holy Spirit is praying through them, declaring God’s will.Romans8:26-27, “We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express…because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.” Praying in the Spirit will bring revelation and insight into God’s will for your life.
If you desire the gift of tongues, pray for it in faith until you receive it. Jesus said in Luke 11:13, “How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” Sometimes we have to ask and keep on asking, seek and keep on seeking, and knock and keep on knocking until we receive our answer to prayer.
If you already have the gift of tongues, use it every day. In 1 Cor. 14:18, Paul boasted about how often he prayed in tongues: “I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you.” Tongues is a real language, and as with any language, you have to use it in order to increase your fluency and vocabulary.
Are there excesses and abuse with the use of the gift of tongues? Yes, of course, and they need to be corrected, but don’t throw out the baby with the bath water by rejecting the gift of tongues altogether. Let us take the words of the Apostle Paul in 1 Cor. 14:39 to heart: “Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues” (emphasis added.)
This article is an abbreviated version of the article from Charisma News by Brian Alarid entitledThings You Need to Know About Speaking in Tongues. He is is the lead pastor of Passion Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and an area coordinator for Billy Graham Evangelistic Association/My Hope.
Geopolitics, Biblical prophecy and Muslim prophecy and how they intersect in these last days.
Biblical prophecy reveals in Daniel 8 that in the last days Turkey (Sunni) will defeat Iran (Shia) and become the dominant Muslim force but not for long. It will be broken up into four kingdoms and out of one of them the little horn (Antichrist) will come. Only a great power or coalition of nations will be able to break up what would effectively be a revived Ottoman Empire.
“Then the goat (Turkey) became exceedingly great, but when he was strong, the great horn was broken, and instead of it there came up four conspicuous horns toward the four winds of heaven. Out of one of them came a little horn, which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the glorious land (Israel).” Daniel 8:8-9
A critical shift is taking place in the Middle East. The Ballistic Missile Program of Iran (Ram) is significant considering its influence in Lebanon with Hezbollah and in Iraq and Syria as well as Hamas, but even more significant is the Turkey Caliphate (Goat) , a revised Ottoman Empire is rising. The Ottoman Empire collapsed in 1923 after 600 years ruling an amazing amount of territory.
Covid 19 Pandemic is providing an opportunity for leaders such as Erdogan. The combination of people’s disillusionment with the Saudi regime as well as Bin Salman’s ambivalence towards Sunni radicalism has led Erdogan to pursue a role as the new political leader of Sunni Islam.
We can see Erdogan’s ambition in a number of actions that he has pursued in the past couple months. The first and most obvious is the reconversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque. This has obvious implications. For centuries, Muslim armies made the capture of Constantinople, the center of the Christian east, their chief goal. Various Muslim Hadiths (sayings of the Islamic prophet Muhammad) predicted the submission of the Byzantine capital to Islam. When the Ottomans finally captured the city on May 29, 1453 and turned the Byzantine cathedral of Hagia Sophia into a mosque, it spelled the end of Christian political power in the Middle East and the beginning of the Ottoman Empire as the center of Sunni Islam. Ataturk converted the mosque into a museum in 1935, uncovering some of the Arabic calligraphy to reveal the centuries-old Christian icons. This move, while imperfect, signalled that Turkey was no longer an Islamic state and that it would pursue secularization.
For years now, Erdogan has been undoing Ataturk’s vision. He has cracked down on the sale of alcohol, halted the teaching of the theory of evolution, and is even suspected of aiding Sunni Jihadist groups in Syria. The reconversion of Hagia Sophia serves as a symbolic reminder that in Turkey Islam reigns supreme and that, while Saudi Arabia shrinks away from its Wahabbist legacy, Sunnis who long for a return to a more muscular Islam can turn to Istanbul instead.
The second ominous sign of Turkey’s ambition is the recent onslaught of anti-Armenian sentiments made by pro-Erdogan figures in Lebanon. Lebanon, which is dominated by the Shia Hezbollah (funded and controlled by Iran), has faced increased criticism by Lebanese citizens for its corruption. Massive protests occurred just last year over endemic political corruption and economic stagnation in the country. This is where Erdogan sees his opening. The Sunni community of Lebanon, which doesn’t have nearly the same level of political representation as Shia Muslims or even Christians, and increasingly fears the domination of Hezbollah over the country, could easily turn to Turkey as a sort of protector. We should not be surprised that the bulk of anti-Armenian sentiment in Lebanon has come from the North, which is heavily Sunni.
Perhaps the most insidious result of this strategy is the propagation of anti-Armenian propaganda at pan-Muslim events in the United States. Just last year, during a Muslim American Society convention, official publications from the Turkish government denying the Armenian Genocide were distributed to visitors. The U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations, a major American Muslim Advocacy group, has also pushed Turkish propaganda, claiming that the Armenian Genocide of 1915 is taken out of historical context and that Muslim suffering during the same time period is never discussed.
The overall attempt has been to inflect a general Muslim hostility towards Christianity (which has very deep roots in Islam) with a more particular Turkish hatred of Armenians. Such an attempt, if successfully accomplished, would be a massive propaganda victory for Erdogan’s government. This would signal a shift in influence over radical Islam from the Saudis to the Turks.
Armenians should brace for increased hostility not only from the Turks, but also from the Sunni communities that they have lived with peacefully for decades. They are in turmoil right now, and Erdogan may have found them the perfect scapegoat.