Ever since the revolution of the 25th of January, Egypt has been living in unrest. It is true there has been ups and downs, but these days it’s all down. History is repeating itself, but instead of ex-president Mubarak, now it’s Tantawy, the minister of defense.
Some say that the prophecies of Isaiah 19 are taking place now, others say that these are the signs that Peter said would signify that “the end of all things is at hand” (1 Peter 4:7), a third party believes that this is God’s revenge towards the army forces who killed Christians at Maspero.
I am not sure if I believe that it is God’s wrath, yet I surely know that Christians in Egypt have always been persecuted, but this year has truly marked an increase in the public display of hatred towards Christians.
Despite the fact that all these events are taking place, history is also repeating itself showing that God is present in our midst.
Remember what happened to Moses on Mt. Horeb?
1 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. 3 Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.” (Exodus 3:1-3)
Throughout history many theologians and church doctors contemplated on what that event may have meant. I’ll list a brief summary of what they said:
- St. Augustine believes that it refers to the glory of God; that although dwelling in the Jewish people, it did not abolish the hardness of their thorny hearts.
- St. Clement of Alexandria, as well as St. Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa, see in the bush, a proclamation of the virgin birth. As the Lord Christ has been born by the Virgin, yet His birth did not cancel her virginity.
- St. Cyril of Alexandria and St. Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa, both, believe that the burning bush carried the secret of the divine incarnation; the Godhead united with humanity, without devouring it.
- St. John Chrysostom sees in the burning bush, a living portrait of the resurrection of the Lord Christ, who carried a real body, actually died, but death had no power over Him.
- The scholar Tertullian, as well as St. Hillary, Bishop of Poitier, saw in the bush; a reference to the Church, burning, yet not consumed by the fire of oppression.
The fifth interpretation is actually what triggered in me the thought to write this post. Although there is oppression on the Church, whether it is from the army or from conservative Islamic parties like the Muslim brotherhood or the Salafis, God has never left His Church. Oppression will always exist, for we are a persecuted Church, but oppression will never overcome the Church, just like the bush; it was buring, but the bush was never consumed.