Fidel Castro’s death has resounded around the world, after his strongman dictatorship over Cuba (first as Prime Minister, then as President) from 1959 to 2008, when he handed power to his
brother, Raul, because of ill health. It is known that he was educated by Jesuit priests, but, following the Revolution, he renounced the Roman Catholic faith of his childhood. Nevertheless, in his later years, he showed a keen interest in meeting with world renown Christian leaders, including Pope Francis in 2015, and his request to Rick Warren of a signed copy of “The Purpose Driven Life” is a well attested fact.
But what is less well known is that, on various occasions, he encouraged visiting evangelical pastors to speak with him at his residence in La Habana. One of the more telling visits is reported by pastor and author Juan Stam. “It was in October 2002,” he says. “We were visiting La Habana to take part in a theological encounter about the Reformation.” Stam recalls how, one night, the group leader called them all together to give them some startling news. Fidel Castro had invited them to speak with him that very night from eleven o’clock to 2 am.
After greetings, Castro went straight to the point. “You who are pastors,” Fidel asked, “how do you understand the Book of Revelation?”. He very respectfully asked the pastors about human rights and the death of so many people, and the destruction of the forests and seas. “They were good questions and difficult ones to answer,” Stam says. “As some of the pastors knew that I had written about Revelation, they said, , ‘Look, Fidel, here is someone who can answer your concerns’.
I had never expected to be put on the spot like that, but I found myself with the ball at my feet. I sent a quick prayer up to heaven. Then I began to tell Fidel that the word ‘Apocalipsis’ (the name in the Spanish Bible for Revelation) did not mean catastrophe or calamity but rather the manifestation of the hope there is in Christ Jesus. Fidel seemed taken aback. Then I told him that much of Revelation were visions, and these visions needed to be understood. But, they are always messages from God to the ungodly, calling them to repentance…”
Source: Protestante Digital
Bible Study: Revelation 21:4-8
MARCH: Praise God for men like Juan Stam, who trust the Holy Spirit for a word in season. Pray that all of us may be prepared to give an account when challenged.