WASHINGTON, July 10, 2013 – As the Arab Spring continues to stir upheaval across Northern Africa and the Middle East, many high-level U.S. policymakers have been caught off-guard by the barrage of stunning world events. Recent protests in Egypt were the largest mass demonstrations in recorded history and the shockwaves of Morsi’s sudden ouster continue to be felt by Western heads of state.
With so much drama erupting in a region that since ancient times has been a key flashpoint for humanity, many Americans are now taking an interest in the Bible as means to explain what is happening in the world. In an exclusive interview, global televangelist Dr. Stephen Swisher shared his faith insights on current political events.
Danny de Gracia: Dr. Swisher, the Bible records Jesus saying in Luke 21:25-26 that there would be “distress of nations, with perplexity” and speaks of “Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and looking after those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.”
That sounds like today’s front page. In D.C. there’s a growing sense the world is becoming more dangerous. What does the Bible say about this?
Dr. Stephen Swisher: The Bible certainly addresses God’s grace and the love of Jesus to overcome every circumstance. I don’t believe it addresses this specific situation on the world stage, as I’m hesitant to call everything that happens geopolitically a prophetic event prescribed in the Bible.
However it’s clear that the Bible speaks to us within the context of life. Jesus [experienced] every [possible] scenario and more than you or I or your readers will face and his example is all we need to live a fulfilled, successful and happy life.
Jesus said “Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” He also coined a phrase that Sean Hannity uses in his broadcast every weeknight: “Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. Believe in God, believe also in me.”
When I think about the issues facing our nation and world and the temptation for many to be confused and afraid, I think of the story of the little boy who was attempting to memorize Psalm 23 for his Sunday school class assignment.
On the day he was supposed to give his recitation, he began “The Lord is my Shepherd” then a long pause. He tried again, “The Lord is my Shepherd” then another long pause. A quick idea sprang to his mind and he affirmed to the class, “The Lord is my Shepherd and that’s all you really need to know.” I think that sums it all up very well.
DDG: Egypt seems to be a recurring topic all throughout the Bible, both in the Old Testament and the New Testament. In Hosea 11:1 it speaks of a son being called out of Egypt, which readers see in Matthew 2:15 was a Messianic prophecy fulfilled by Jesus who sojourned there. Why do you think Egypt is so often mentioned in Bible history and prophecy?
Dr. Swisher: Egypt has been pivotal throughout Biblical history and has a very important place in both the Old Testament regarding Moses and the children of Israel as well as the New Testament in relationship to Jesus and his earthly parents.
As you allude, it was Egypt where baby Jesus and his family fled to during Herod’s persecution and remained there until Jesus was two years old. So it’s not only [Egypt’s] proximity to Israel in the Near East that makes it significant but also the spiritual ties it has to two of the most significant figures in the Bible and church history.
The [recent events] I believe shows the Egyptian people’s desire for freedom and the unrest that is currently being felt by the heavy handed government they have been subjected too. This is certainly a situation to watch and to keep in prayer for freedom loving people in Egypt, Israel, Syria, Saudi Arabia and others nations throughout the region.
DDG: Let’s talk a little bit about a Biblical perspective on debt and finances. Those are two very big things these days in the United States. A lot of people are in debt and a lot of people are in search of finances. What do you teach about the topic of debt and finances?
Dr. Swisher: Jesus said more about money and possessions than any other single topic recorded in the Bible. It seems almost too incredible to believe, but any student of the Bible knows this to be true.
In Romans 13:8 [the Bible says] “Owe no one anything but to love him.” This is the Scripture often used by ministers to encourage people to get out of debt.
DDG: Some of our readers are wondering what Christians mean when they talk about being “saved.” Could you explain that concept?
Dr. Swisher: To “be saved” or “born again” simply means to accept Jesus into your life, accept his help and then change from our current mistakes, problems, hurt, guilt and pain to a new life of joy, peace, fulfillment and purpose.
DDG: Last but not least, would you mind saying a prayer for our readership?
Dr. Swisher: It would be an honor: “Dear Lord, I pray your blessing upon each person reading this article. That the knowledge of your presence, peace and joy flood their minds, senses and emotions now and that the reality of your love will cause each one of us to take a look at our lives and realize that true fulfillment and happiness lies in you. We pray for America and for each state, community and church that continues to make us the land of the free and home of the brave. In Jesus’ Name, amen.”
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