Vatican City (AFP) – Pope Francis on Thursday said the Catholic Church will not accept a Middle East without Christians, who often find themselves forced to flee areas of conflict and unrest in the region. “We will not resign ourselves to imagining a Middle East without Christians,” he said after meeting with patriarchs from Syria, Iran and Iraq, before calling for “the universal right to lead a dignified life and freely practise one’s own faith to be respected.” (Read more)
After reading the Pope’s statement, “We will not resign ourselves to imagining a Middle East without Christians,” I could not help but be reminded of this verse:
Daniel 9:26 (NASB) 26 “Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.
“The Messiah will be cut off and have nothing…” Of course, we are all aware that this statement is generally interpreted to be a reference to the crucifixion of our Lord Christ and the fall of Jerusalem to the Romans in 70 AD. I wonder, however, if this is so. Until Messiah Christ (and His followers) has “nothing,” the prophecy cannot have been completely fulfilled. The Messiah cannot have been cut-off until His church is cut-off. That has not occurred, yet. Perhaps, Pope Francis’ words are a prophecy themselves. Soon, perhaps sooner than we imagine, Christianity will be “cut-off” from the Middle East. It is happening in Egypt, Syria, and other parts of the land of Islam.
I cannot help but wonder also if the rest of the prophecy has yet to be fulfilled as well. The “people of the prince who is to come” are Muslims, not Romans; and, the time of the destruction of Jerusalem and the sanctuary” is not 70 AD and the Roman destruction, but the future destruction of Jerusalem at the end of days (as the remainder of verse 26 implies). Of course, the “sanctuary” would not refer to the original Temple since it was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD, unless the reference is to the section of the original Temple still standing, that is, the Wailing Wall? Or — is it possible that the word, “sanctuary” in the original language is not a reference to the Temple at all; but rather, to the present adorning desecration, i.e, the Dome of the Rock? In another post, I will address this. The Hebrew word used in Daniel 9:26 is a word that does not always refer to the Temple. If this were the case, this conclusion would lead us to interpret the 70th week as the end-of-days Armageddon prophesied by Zechariah 14:2-5 NASB and other passages. If you think about it, lots of “pieces” fit with this view.
Only the Lord knows. Jesus come quickly.