August 16, 2013
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Egypt has influenced a lot in the course of History. To Christians it provided a place for refuge for some of its key figures. Speaking of which even Jesus Christ was taken to Egypt when King Herod’s murderous rage grew to a crescendo. Alexandria was one of the great Christian centers in the early church. It was there were the first catechetical school was established by Pantanaeus in 190 AD, producing great scholars such as Athenagoras, Clement, Didymus and Origen. Today it burns and the screams on the streets beg the rest of the world to pray for it’s inhabitants. An exceedingly vulnerable circle is the Christian community in Egypt.
If you get a few moments today please pray for Egypt. Pray that …
* The current violence will end soon
* The effective rule of law and order will be re-established for the benefit of all citizens
* There will be effective protection of church and other property against attacks by extremists
* Egypt will be governed for the benefit of all its citizens, with people of different persuasions able to live alongside one another peaceably
* Egyptian Christians will have opportunity to play an increasingly prominent and effective role in addressing the needs of all Egyptians and helping to bring healing and reconciliation in the country
If you want to understand what is going on in Egypt from an Egyptian Christian perspective read here. In Egypt, the majority of the churches belong to The Christian Coptic Orthodox Church Of Egypt, or commonly, the Coptic Church. Coptic tradition traces their history from Mark the Evangelist whom they say founded the church in Alexandria about 41-43 AD, according to the historian Eusebius of Caesarea. We might think that the Copts have always been a persecuted church, but they are proud of their “golden age” in the first 1,000 years from their foundation. Read more on Egyptian Coptic Christians here.
June 28, 2013
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One good question when you read the account of Pharaoh and the Israelites is the question who hardened his heart? Did he harden his heart towards God or did God harden his heart?
Exodus 7:3-4 says, “But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my miraculous signs and wonders in Egypt he will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and with mighty acts of judgment I will bring out my people the Israelites.” It seems unjust for God to harden Pharaoh’s heart and then to punish Pharaoh and Egypt for what Pharaoh decided when his heart was hardened. Why would God harden Pharaoh’s heart just so He could judge Egypt more severely with additional plagues?
First, Pharaoh was not an innocent or godly man. He was a brutal dictator overseeing the terrible abuse and oppression of the Israelites, who likely numbered over 1.5 million people at that time. The Egyptian pharaohs had enslaved the Israelites for 400 years. A previous pharaoh—possibly even the pharaoh in question—ordered that male Israelite babies be killed at birth (Exodus 1:16). The pharaoh God hardened was an evil man, and the nation he ruled agreed with, or at least did not oppose, his evil actions.
Second, before the first few plagues, Pharaoh hardened his own heart against letting the Israelites go.