And suddenly another beast, a second, like a bear. It was raised up on one side, and had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. And they said thus to it: “Arise, devour much flesh!” (Daniel 7:5 NKJV)
The stirring rendition of Russia’s national anthem during the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi continues to echo through my mind. And yet the image of eager, innocent Russian children singing the praises of their Motherland, carries with it a haunting question: why must the best national hymns belong to the world’s most aggressive empires?
As if the world needed more proof of this, the Olympic athletes had hardly left Sochi before Russia was pressing its weight on neighboring Ukraine in support of a popularly-elected, but corrupt, president. As events of the past week have shown, the issue now is not whether Russia will intervene in Ukraine, but when or if Russia will leave Ukraine to work out its own problems. Speaking as a historian and student of such things, it seems that there are only a few key questions facing the international community: Please click here to continue reading
It is a peculiar thing that the book of Esther does not mention God, particularly since the hand of God is evident throughout the story. In brief, the story is that Haman, the Grand Vizier of Persia in the reign of King Xerxes, became consumed with hatred at the Jews because Esther’s kinsman Mordechai refused to bow down to him. Haman determined to gain revenge not only against Mordechai, but against all the Jews. His plan was to manipulate the king into issuing a decree that on the thirteenth day of the month of Adar all the enemies of the Jews throughout the Persian Empire could rise up and kill them. God’s plan of salvation was already in motion for He had brought Esther in to the palace as Xerxes’ new queen. He worked through Esther to reveal Haman’s plot to the king. At the king’s order, Haman and his sons were executed, and Mordechai and Esther had authority to issue another decree in the king’s name for the Jews to rise up against their enemies on the very day that they were to have been slaughtered. Since that time, Jews have celebrated the feast of Purim every year on the fourteenth day of Adar. Please click here to continue reading