We continue to live amid troubled times. The recent events in Afghanistan and the Taliban taking control remind us that the only force powerful enough to penetrate Islamic belief and nationalism is the gospel. We have the reassurance of the promises found in scripture and can cling to the hope that the light of the gospel can overcome any darkness.
Looking at the Bible, prophecies about Afghanistan can be found even though the nation is not explicitly named, the geographic region can be identified when an understanding of the layout of the ancient world is developed.
The region of modern Afghanistan was part of the Persian Empire for nearly two hundred years. This is significant because the Persian Empire appears many times in the Old Testament plays a major role in the history of Israel. The empire that Cyrus, the “anointed one” created included Israel and Afghanistan and in 2 Chronicles and Ezra we learn that he played a critical role in the restoration of Jerusalem, believing it was best to tolerate varying religious beliefs of the different people groups comprising the empire.
Another example of the Middle East region in scripture is in the book of Esther. The events in Esther clearly took place in what would include Afghanistan today. Historically, Jewish people were marked for death and faced much attack and hate. One example is Haman in the book of Esther who sought to destroy the Jews. Today, Jews remain threatened as antisemitism is on the rise and Israel continues to be under attack. However, the Jewish people of Israel are God’s chosen people and in scripture, we see that the Lord will protect and deliver them – He will not let them be destroyed.
Hostility is real and the threat of hate is embodied in nationalism, ideology and religious fervor, going beyond a specific nation or person. We must acknowledge that there are new Hamans in our world today and Islamic extremism still seeks to ruin Judaism.
The words of Scripture will endure all things and all time, no leader nor nation can interfere with God fulfilling His promises. There is hope that the new Afghanistan will change trajectory and follow the example of Cyrus to once again cherish freedom of religion and display respect for the vast differences among the people of the Middle East.
It is critical that we take action by praying. I encourage you to join me in praying for the peace of Jerusalem, the future of Afghanistan and for His shalom to reign in the Middle East. There is power in prayer and we must believe that His light can overcome the present darkness.
Dr. Mitch Glaser is the President of Chosen People Ministries. He speaks and writes widely on Jewish evangelism and Messianic Judaism. He is co-editor with Darrell Bock of four academic volumes published by Kregel Publications and has authored numerous books and articles.