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The other shoe

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The whole world was riveted to their television sets and computer screens, as the demonstrators and protestors in Cairo, Egypt chanted their demands and openly defied the long-established dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak. The undulating mass of rebels in the streets received incredible media attention from around the world. The United States-backed regime finally caved and Mubarak fled Cairo, leaving the military in charge, at least for the present.

As I watched this historic scenario unfold I saw that many of the protestors were acting out a familiar custom in that part of the world. They were shaking their shoes symbolically in the face of the hated dictator. This seems strange to Westerners, but it is a long-held tradition in that culture. Gesturing with shoes is a grave insult in the Arab world. You may remember that an Iraqi journalist threw his shoe at President George W. Bush during a news conference in 2008. It was an act of defiant rage and an insult.

Now that the government of Egypt has collapsed, the long and sometimes stormy process of installing a new government begins, for this, the largest, most populous nation in the Middle East. This will certainly be a test of the motives of the many fractious and differing groups that coalesced to bring down the Mubarak government. Will they cooperate and establish a peaceful, benevolent government, or will there be a power-grab by religious extremists who have waited for this moment for a generation?

Success brings responsibility. Will these victors have the self-discipline and desire to do the hard work necessary to establish a representative government? If history is any indication, they will not be successful, and, in time, a repressive, authoritative government will emerge, especially if a charismatic leader appears.

The Bible gives some valuable insights into what to expect. God revealed the future to the mother of Ishmael, the father of the Arab peoples: "And the Angel of the Lord said to her: 'Behold, you are with child, and you shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because the Lord has heard your affliction. He shall be a wild man; his hand shall be against every man, and every man's hand against him. And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren'" (Genesis 16:11–12). A look at history will show that this prophecy has been, and is being, fulfilled even now.

Isaac, son of Abraham, gave a prophecy to his son, Esau, whose descendants reside in the Mediterranean area. Esau was distraught because he had lost his birthright after being tricked by his brother. In Esau's plea for a blessing, his father, Isaac, was inspired to predict: "Behold, your dwelling shall be of (away from) the fatness of the earth, and of (away from) the dew of heaven from above. By your sword you shall live, and you shall serve your brother; and it shall come to pass, when you become restless, that you shall break his yoke from your neck" (Genesis 27:39–40). This reference to the sword brings to mind the emblem of the Muslim Brotherhood which features crossed swords.

There are other prophecies that will play out in this region; events we may see happening before our eyes on the nightly news. The prophet Daniel, in chapter 11 of the book that bears his name, foretold of a king of the north, and a king of the south who enter into a great conflict in the end-time (the end of this age; not the end of the world).

If one has ears to hear, then it is obvious that the Muslim peoples are looking for a caliphate or kingdom to be established. Will this be the "king of the south?" It may take a while, but momentous times are ahead, as the whole world watches and waits for the other shoe to drop.

The Tomorrows World television program and magazine contain a prophetic focus that sheds light on these developments that will affect your life in the days to come. We also have a booklet, The Middle East in Prophecy. You can order a printed copy, free of charge, download it or just read it online.