Friday, February 25, 2011

Jesus the Poet: Christ’s Words as Hebrew Poetry By Stephen Andrew Missick

Jesus the Poet


King David is "the sweet psalmist of Israel" in the Bible (2 Samuel 23:1) but rarely do we think of Jesus "the Son of David" as a poet. But when we examine his words against their Semitic background we see that he clearly was. Jesus has many titles in the Bible, Messiah or Christ, Son of God, Son of Man, King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Many scholars are on a "quest for the historical Jesus" and there are many novel ideas of who Jesus was. Some theorize that he was a magician, a revolutionary or an Essene. Many of these sensational new ideas, such as Jesus being the husband of Mary Magdalene, are absurd. One thing that all of these authors have overlooked is Jesus as a poet of the Hebrew tradition. In his proclamations Jesus used Hebrew poetic structures that are found in the Sacred Scriptures and other ancient Hebrew and Aramaic literature. Many people have read the Bible all of their lives totally ignorant of the poetic structures of many of the texts (especially in the prophets and the psalms). Knowing the structures helps us to read and understand the Bible better. Once the poetic structures are learned it becomes amazing to the reader how often they are used in the text and how obvious they are. Every serious reader of the Bible needs to know how Hebrew poetry works. Everyone who wants to intelligently read the Bible needs to understand certain basic facts about how it is written. One of these basic facts is Hebrew poetry. It isn't only used in certain obscure passages in the Old Testament, it is often used by Jesus the Christ. These are the most important words ever spoken by the person who lived the most important life ever lived.

William Barclay in his translation of the New Testament notes that "Hebrew poetry does not rhyme; it is built up on a series of parallels, and often the series is quite elaborate. A good example is in Matthew 7:24-27, where each one of the first ten lines has its exact parallel in each of the second ten lines. A shorter example is in Matthew 5:45.


        If you do that,

You will be like your Father in heaven,

        For he makes his sun to rise,

        On the bad and on the good alike,

        And he sends the rain

        On the saint and sinner.


The last four lines have the clear pattern a b a b." These words of Jesus that are given here are from the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus use of such structures gives a link between the Old and New Testaments and places him in his Hebraic culture. Michael Fixler in The Mentor Bible notes that in "certain peculiar characteristics of the Hebrew imagination truth is most truthful when it is doubled or expressed in parallelisms. A Hebrew verse will consist of a phrase that is followed by a parallel, almost synonymous formulation of its meaning, a parallel that enlarges, enriches, completes or in some way modifies the sense by enhancement, and sometimes two such parallelisms will follow the first, of thematic, phrase." He also notes that "Parallelism probably made memorizing easier" which is probably one of the reasons it was employed by the Messiah and the prophets of the Old Testament.


Lost in Translation


Many of these poetic structures show through in English translation but some do not. LaSor notes in Old Testament Survey: the Message, Form, and Background of the Old Testament,


In poetry, play on the sounds of language is particularly striking. With alliteration, words or syllables begin with the same or similar sounds. Assonance uses the same or similar sounds (usually vowels) within words. Paronomasia (pun) plays on words with the same or similar sounds but different meanings. Onomatopoeia is the use of words that sound similar to or suggest the activity they describe. Unfortunately, the devices can rarely be carried over in translation. For example, when God asks Amos: "What do you see?' and Amos answers: "A basket of summer fruit" (8:1), the Hebrew word for "summer fruit" sounds almost like that for "end" This similarity of words prepares Amos for God's statement, "Then end has come upon my people, Israel." But the pun is lost in translation.


Hebrew poets liked to use acrostics, especially the alphabet acrostic. Psalm 9 and 10 and Psalm 119 are alphabet acrostics. In Psalm 119 each stanza uses one letter of the Hebrew alphabet in each of its eight lines. The stanzas are in alphabetical order. Also, every line mentions the law in some form such as commandments, precepts and so on. We are familiar with the alphabet acrostic in English. Here is an example,


Although things are not perfect

Because of trial or pain

Continue in thanksgiving

Do not begin to blame

Even when the times are hard

Fierce winds bound to blow

God is forever able

Hold on to what you know

Imagine life without his love

Joy would cease to be

Keep thanking him for all the things

Love imparts to thee

Move out of "Camp Complaining"

No weapon that is known

On earth can yield the power

Praise can do alone

Quit looking at the future

Redeem the time at hand

Start every day with worship

To thank is his command

Until we see him coming

Victorious in the sky

Xalting God most high

Yea, there'll be good times and yes some will be bad, but

Zion waits in glory…where none are ever sad.

(Written by Cindy Blackmore, November 1994)


Notice that the alphabet is listed horizontally. This is how Psalm 119 works but there is no evidence of the acrostic in the teachings of Jesus. (Other alphabet acrostic psalms include Psalm 25, 34, 37, 111, 112 and 145. Each chapter but the final one in the Book of Lamentations is an alphabet acrostic.) Certain poetic forms can work in different languages; such as the Japanese Haiku. The Haiku consists of respectively 5, 7 and 5 syllables in the units. Here is an example.


The wind that blows-

Ask them, which leaf on the tree

Will be next to go


To me Haiku usually sounds like the old "Dick and Jane" stories but they are often reflections on nature. Often the poetic forms that Jesus uses can be seen in English translation from the Greek (which is itself a translation from the original Aramaic and Hebrew).


How Hebrew Poetry Works


Hebrew is a fusional language meaning it is built with prefixes and suffixes. English is an analytic language, in some ways like Greek. However, both Hebrew and Greek are fusional languages. Hebrew used accents in poems 3x2, 3x3 and 4x2. Hebrew also uses a lot of word play. It doesn't rhyme well but used accents, usually three. So we have rhythm with a number of accents. Some basic forms we see in Hebrew poetry are;


  1. Rhythm-A three stress line (with variation).
  2. Wordplay-Sometimes near homonym (such as hear and here). In Hebrew poetry wordplay is a powerful element.
  3. Parallelism-Each line intensifies a basic image in the preceding line, or goes from general to specific and vice versa.
  4. Chiasm-An example would be "Hear O People, O People hear!"
  5. Antithesis-This is the use of opposites such as "Hear O heaven and give ear O earth!"


In parallelism the sacred authors often use was is called a merismus, this is a contrast of opposite extremes. An example would be contrasting the heavens and the earth as we see in Deuteronomy 32:1 ("Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak; let the earth hear the words of my mouth."). Often in Hebrew poetry numbers have special significance. This is seen in Proverbs 6:16 which says "there are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him…" Other examples are Psalm 62:11, Micah 5:5.Amos 1:3 says, "For three transgressions of Damascus and for four I will not revoke the punishment…" It isn't necessary to compute the transgressions the importance of these numbers is their poetic significance. (This is also seen in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew. "14' is the numerical value of the name David, since in Hebrew and Aramaic letters can signify numbers.)

A structural device called a chiasm commonly appears in Hebrew poetry. In a chiasm, the parallel stitch reverses the order of units found in the initial stitch. If connected the parallel members form an X (in Greek the x-shaped letter is called a chi, hence "chiasm"). Two Old Testament examples include Psalm 2:9

A                B

Thou shalt break them        with a rod of iron;

B                A

Like a vessel of a potter    Thou shalt crush them


This is also seen in Isaiah 40:3 (This serves an example to show that Hebrew poetry is not confined to the book of Psalms.)


(A) In the wilderness    (B) prepare (C) the way (D) of Yahweh


(B) Make straight (A) in the desert (C) a highway (D) for our God.


A Chiasm is found in the introduction of the Gospel of John (John 1:1-18)


A. The Word with God (1.2)

B. His role in Creation (3)

C. Gift to Man (4,5)

D. The Witness of John the Baptist (6-8)

     E. The Word enters the World (9-11)

     F. The Children of God (12,13)

     E. The Incarnation (14)

D. The Witness of John the Baptist (15)

C. Gift to Man (16)

B. His Role in re-creation (17)

A. The Son with the Father (18)

John Chapter One is probably an ancient Christian hymn, perhaps the one mentioned by the ancient Roman Pliny. He said that believers gathered before dawn on a "certain day" and sang a hymn anti-phonetically to Christ as a god. Other hymns are found embedded in the text of the New Testament (Colossians 1: 15-20, 1 Timothy 3: 16, 2 Timothy 2:11-13. In Philippians 2: 6-11 and Ephesians 5: 14 Paul probably quotes ancient Christian hymns that he did not compose.)

LaSor, Hubbard and Bush in their book Old Testament Survey: the Message, Form, and Background of the Old Testament devote an entire chapter to Hebrew poetry. They state that Hebrew poetry "appeals more to human imagination and emotion than to reason." In this Semitic approach, "Poetic imagery compares the Unseen to something the readers have already soon helping them to know God better. Ultimately God is known in the incarnate image, the Son. Without denying the value of philosophy, we can say that the biblical approach is superior in many ways to the philosophical. People learn far more through the senses than through speculation." Jesus use of Hebrew poetic structures puts him in his Semitic context. Certain so-called Bible scholars (such as John Dominic Crosson) are trying to divorce Jesus from his Jewish identity and recast him as a pagan philosopher. These people try to paint Jesus as student of Greek thought. He tries to argue that Jesus was a Cynic (from where we get the word 'cynical'). Jesus modes of thinking and speaking are Hebrew not Greek. Greek philosophy has certain false ideas (especially coming from Plato) such as reality isn't real, only the imaginary world of ideas is real. (The ancient Greeks were great thinkers but many of the ideas of Plato are bizarre and disturbing. An educated and well rounded person will be familiar with Greek thought and the contributions that the ancient Greeks made toward human progress.) The importance of the real world to Jesus and not lofty speculation will be dealt with below.

Bishop Lowth was the first to categorize Hebrew poetry. He did this in a commentary on the book of Isaiah in 1778. (He was informed by Rabbinic sources.) Adam Potkay defines the structure of Hebrew poetry in the following manner.


  1. The main structural element of Hebrew poetry is parallelism: that is, the juxtaposition of two or more clauses that are related in meaning. The two most common clauses are relations between the clauses that are "synonymy" and "anti-thesis". But a third can also be found, "synthetic" parallelism.
  2. Synonymous parallelism is the most common type in Hebrew poetry. The two clauses are different in form, but roughly identical in meaning. For example in Psalm 38:1 "O Lord, rebuke me not in thy wrath: neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure." Or from Psalm 148:1:" Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the LORD from the heavens: praise him in the heights."
  3. Antithetic parallelism occurs when the two clauses show an opposition or contrast of ideas. For example, from Psalm 20: 8: [The ungodly] are brought down and are fallen; but we are risen, and stand upright. Or in Psalm 1:6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
  4. Synthetic parallelism occurs when the second clause completes the idea begun in the first clause (e.g., "as x, so y"). For example in Psalm 3:4: "I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah."
    1. There is also cause and effect synthetic parallelism. For example in Psalm 126: 3: "The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad!"
    2. And finally, in synthetic parallelism there is analogous parallelism. For example in Psalm 125:2 "As the mountains are found about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people."


Aramaic language but Hebrew Poetic Structure


In 1924 Rev. C. F. Burney, a professor at Oxford, wrote The Poetry of Our Lord: An Examination of the Formal Elements of Hebrew Poetry in the Discourses of Jesus Christ. In this book he carefully describes how Hebrew poetry works and gives examples from the Old Testament and Jewish literature. Later he demonstrates that many of the sayings of Jesus are poetry of the Hebrew structure. In this book he reconstructs the words of Jesus in the Aramaic language and shows that not only does Jesus use Hebrew poetic structures but when his words are translated back into the original Aramaic they have both rhyme and rhyme. Aramaic is a Semitic language that is closely related to Hebrew. It is the language of Ezra and Daniel as well as the language of important Jewish prayers and the language that parts of the Talmud are written in. So the poetic forms are Hebrew but the words spoken by Jesus are almost always Aramaic. Why is this? The reason for this was explained in Gustov Dalman's Words of Jesus.


Aramaic as the Language of the Jews


  1. Jews translated the Old Testament into Aramaic paraphrases called the Targums. Most of the Targums we have- although they represent an older oral tradition- they were confined to writing after the time of Jesus. However Targums were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls.
  2. Aramaic is used in titles for classes of people and feasts in the New Testament and extra-biblical literature. Pharisee is from the Aramaic for "separate ones", Essene is from an Aramaic word. In the New Testament Passover is called "Pascha" from the Aramaic.
  3. In Rabbinic literature it is stated that Aramaic as well as Hebrew was used in the Temple.
  4. Certain official documents were written in Aramaic.
  5. The language of public documents, such as marriage decrees, were in Aramaic.
  6. The adoption of the Old Square Aramaic alphabet as the Hebrew alphabet which replaced the original "Paleo-Hebrew". Certain of the Dead Sea Scrolls are written in Paleo-Hebrew. The Samaritans still use the original Hebrew alphabet.
  7. The Syntax and the vocabulary of the Hebrew of the Mishna prove themselves to be the creation of Jews who though in Aramaic.(I.E. the language we call Aramaic Josephus and the writers called Hebrew. However, sometimes Hebrew is meant, like in the book of Revelation.)
  8. The custom of calling Aramaic "Hebrew" in both the New Testament and Josephus.


(I have presented the historic evidence that Jesus was an Aramaic-speaker in my book Aramaic: The Language of Jesus of Nazareth. That Jesus was an Aramaic speaker is an established historical fact and is a teaching of the New Testament.) Although Jesus used Aramaic he also at times also spoke in Hebrew. In the Gospel of Luke it clearly shows that Jesus could read Hebrew when he preached at the synagogue in Nazareth. Recent archeological discoveries show that while Aramaic was the common language, Hebrew was also spoken especially among very devout and literate Jews. In Aramaic Sources of Mark's Gospel Maurice Casey views all of the historical and archeological evidence about the uses of different languages in Palestine of the first century and comes to this conclusion, "There is no doubt that scribes wrote in Hebrew: they did not have reason to use Aramaic unless it was a popular tongue…In a sense, the prestige language was Hebrew, since this was the language of the Torah…instruction in the halakha [declarations of Jewish religious practice] was given to most Jews in Aramaic, into which the Torah was translated…In our period the Hebrew Bible was completed and most of the Dead Sea scrolls were written, in Hebrew in Aramaic, because these were the sacred tongue and lingua franca [common language] of the vast majority of Jews in Israel." (To re-construct the words of Jesus in Aramaic Burney used the Palestinian Talmud and the Targums. Maurice Casey is using only the Aramaic from the Dead Sea Scrolls.) The Poetry of Our Lord includes several pages of the words of Jesus reconstructed in Aramaic.


Synonymous Parallelism


According to Burney, "This is a correspondence in idea between the two lines of a couplet, the second line reinforcing and as it were echoing the sense of the first in equivalent though different, terms." There are two good examples from the Old Testament. The first is Psalm 114:



When Israel came out of Egypt,

The house of Jacob from a strange people,


Judah became His sanctuary,

Israel His dominion.


The sea beheld and fled,

The Jordan turned backward.


The mountain skipped like rams,

The hills like the young of the flock.


What aileth thee, O thou sea, that thou fleest?

Thou Jordan, that thou turnest backward?


Ye mountains, that ye skip like rams?

Ye hills, like the young of the flock?


Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord,

At the presence of the God of Jacob;

Who turneth the rock into a pool of water,

The flint into a springing well.


This is also seen in Psalm 19


The heavens declare the glory of God,

And the firmament declareth his handy-work.

Day unto day uttereth speech,

And night unto night sheweth knowledge.


Synonymous Parallelism is also used in the Song of Moses in Deuteronomy 32. Jesus used this poetic form very often. There are too many examples for me to list here.

Mary used synonymous parallelism in the Magnificant in saying, "My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit is joyful in God my savior…"(Luke 1:46-47).
Here are some examples from the teachings of Jesus:


Suffer the little children,

And forbid them not to come unto me.

(Mark 10:14, Matthew 24:7, Luke 21:10)


The sun shall be darkened,

And the moon shall not give her light,

And the stars shall fall from heaven,

And the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.

(Matthew 25:29)


Love your enemies,

So good to your haters,

Bless your cursers,

Pray for your persecutors.

(Luke 6: 27-28)


To whomsoever much is given,

Of him shall much be required;

And to whom they commit much,

Of him will they ask the more.

(Luke 12:48)


Do not judge and you will not be judged.

Do not condemn and you will not be condemned.


Forgive and you will be forgiven.

Give and you will be given.


A good measure of wheat shaken, packed down

And overflowing will be placed in your lap,


Since the measure of your measure

Will be the measure of your return. (Luke 6:37-38)


These verses I quote here are from Gospel of Luke 6: 37-38 from The New Covenant: Commonly Called the New Testament, Newly Translated from the Greek and Informed by Semitic Sources by Willis Barnstone. In his introduction to his translation he notes that he has Yeshua [Yeshus is the Aramaic form of the name "Jesus"] speaking in verse. He states,


With respect to their prosodic form, the sayings [of Yeshua, which means 'Jesus'], like Psalms, Song of Songs, and most of the words of Isaiah and Jeremiah in the Hebrew Bible, may be read and lineated as poetry, even though the monumentally poetic King James Version cast them in prose…Here in this version, Yeshua's words are lineated as poetry, just as most of Yeshua's words, especially in John, are lineated in the French and English editions of the…Jerusalem Bible (1990). To most of us it is a secret that Yeshua's speech takes the form of poems. This translation will introduce the Jewish messiah… as the great poet of the first century…, who heretofore has been our invisible poet.


In English it is valued to be succinct and to the point, especially in term papers. One editor commented that she felt that the Bible needed to be edited and that it could easily be pared down. The person is failing to see two things, first the Bible was transmitted orally and much of it is meant to be read aloud and also she fails to see the poetry.

Semitic people look on their languages as art forms. Today among Arabs and Assyrians poetry is valued as it was in biblical times. God spoke through the prophets (including Jesus, although Jesus is much more than just a prophet) in the tradition of ancient Semitic oral poetry. Burney argued that the Gospel of John was originally written in Aramaic partly because of the large amount of Hebraic poetry found in that Gospel.


Antithetic Parallelism


Joachim Jeremias notes that "in the synoptic gospels, antithetic parallelism occurs well over a hundred times in the sayings of Jesus." He continues, "the evidence shows that the large number of cases of antithetic parallelism in the sayings of Jesus cannot be attributed to the process of redaction…we have to derive the frequency of this usage from Jesus himself." What Jeremias is saying is that there is so much use of the Hebraic Antithetic Parallelism poetic form in the words of Jesus it must have been the way that he actually spoke and not just the way it was written down in the Bible. A good example of antithetic parallelism in the Old Testament is Proverbs 10:1


A wise son makes a glad father,

But a foolish son is a sorrow to his mother.


Jeremias notes that, "in cases of antithetic parallelism in the Old Testament, the second member serves…to illuminate and deepen the first by an opposed statement…in the sayings of Jesus exactly the opposite is the case; there the stress is almost always on the second half."


Every good tree bringeth forth good fruits,

But the corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruits.

Matthew 7:17


If you forgive men their trespasses,

Your heavenly Father also shall forgive you,

But if you forgive not men their trespasses.

Neither shall your Father forgive your trespasses.

Matthew 6:14-15


He that findeth his life shall lose it;

And he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

Matthew 10:39


Whosoever exalteth himself shall be humbled;

And whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.

Matthew 23:12




Joachim Jeremias was an expert on the Aramaic background and the Jewish cultural background of the Gospels and the New Testament. He noted that,


When C.F. Burney translated the sayings of Jesus back into Aramaic, he was struck by the degree to which they had a rhythmic shape, like so many of the prophetic sayings in the Old Testament. He found three rhythms (four-beat, three beat, and the kina metre); I should like to add forth, the two beat rhythm. Each of these four rhythms expresses to a special degree, if not exclusively, a different mood, and therefore finds its place in a particular area of thought.


Jeremias also notes the significance of this unique feature in the words of Jesus and demonstrates how translating his words back into the original Aramaic places him in his native Semitic setting. (Although Hebrew poetry doesn't usually rhyme it does have rhythm. In English poetry rhymes and has rhythm as well, usually what is called the Iambic Pentameter. Good poetry will have a certain number of stresses and rhyme and not only rhyme.)


It may be affirmed that the accumulation of the rhythms in the sayings of Jesus allow us to draw the conclusion that we have to do with a distinct characterization of his. In addition, they indicate a Semitic background and provide an important pointer towards the antiquity of the tradition. A comparison of the parallel traditions shows that much of this rhythmic language was lost when the sayings were translated into Greek, and while they were being handed on into a Greek milieu.


Jesus often uses the four-beat rhythm. Jeremias comments, "the repose which characterizes the four-beat…make it appropriate for conveying didactic themes. It is hardly a coincidence that many saying with four-beat lines are addresses to the inner circle of followers and the messengers, for the most part giving instructions but also bringing consolation. The four-beat line is pre-eminently the rhythm for the instruction of disciples." (Here the sayings of Jesus are reconstructed in His Aramaic language. Although Jesus used Hebrew poetry forms he spoke and taught in Aramaic.)


Kil man deit leh yityeheb leh

Wa kolman delet up ma diet leh

Ytneseb minneh.


For whoever has, to him will be given,

But whoever does not have.

Even what he has will be taken from him.

Mark 4:25


Let talmid    lel min rabi

Wa let abda    lel min mareh

Missat le talmida dihe kerabbeh

Wa abda kemareh


A disciple is not above his teacher,

Nor a servant above his master.

It is enough for a disciple to be like his teacher,

And a servant like his master.

Matthew 10:24-25


The Beatitudes use the three-beat rhythm. Jeremias explains, "Even in the wisdom literature of the Old Testament, the three beat line is used by preference for conveying wisdom; it is also used very often in the psalms. It is the most frequent rhythm used in the sayings of Jesus; it serves to drive home important sayings and maxims." I will use some "animal verses" to illustrate.



Le talayya-it lehon horin

Uliopa dishmaya-qinnin

Wa Barnasha let leh

Han deyarken reysha


The foxes have holes,

And the birds of the heavens have nests,

But the Son of Man has no

Place to lay his head.

(Luke 8:20)


La tihabun qaddisha le kalbayya

Wa la tirmn margeliyyatkon be appe Khazirayya.


Do not give what is holy to dogs

And do not cast your pearls before the swine.

(Matthew 7:6)


Synthetic Parallelism


In this type in the second line of the couplet the sense of the first line flows continuously.


I came to cast fire upon the earth;

And what will I, if it be already kindled?

But I have a baptism wherewith to be baptized,

And how am I straitened till it be accomplished!

Think ye that I came to give peace on the earth?

Nay, I tell you, but rather division.

(Luke 12: 49-50)


The Kina Rhythm


The Kina rhythm is a tradition dirge, a song of mourning, usually for the dead. Jochim Jeremias describes it in the following manner, "the kina metre has the most individual rhythm. 3=2 with occasional variations of 2=2 and 4=2. It derives from the lament for the dead (this lament is called "kina"), in which the singer who leads the lament utters a long cry (three-beat) to which the lamenting woman make answer with a shorter echo (two beat)". Jeremias states that, "The kina metre serves above all to express strong inner emotion. It covers a wide span, including laments, warnings, threats, admonitions and summons as well as beatitudes and messages of salvation."

Burney listed Old Testament examples of the Kina meter. Note that the indented line is the response.


She is fallen, no more shall she rise,

    The virgin of Israel;

Forsaken on her soil.

    None to upraise her.

(Amos 5:2)


Yahweh is my light and my salvation;

    Whom shall I fear?

Yahweh is the stronghold of my life,

        Whom shall I dread.

(Psalm 27:1)


Give ear to my words, Yahweh;

    Detect my whisper;

Attend to the sound of my cry,

    My king and my God.

(Psalm 5:2-3)


Qaisa rattiba abdin hek be yabbisa ma nihwe?


If they do this when the tree is green, what shall they do when it is dry?

(Luke 23:31)


Zemaran lekon wa la raqqedtun élan wa la arqedtun


We piped for you and you did not dance, we sang a dirge and you did not weep.

(Matthew 11:17)


This is significant because in Aramaic in this short poem we find word-play (raaqqedtun/arqedtun) and rhyme (-nan, -tun).


(To illustrate the Kina-dirge in the utterances of Jesus Burney first translates the words of Jesus into biblical Hebrew and then into Aramaic on page 138-139 of The Poetry of Our Lord.)


The Beatitudes and the Lord's Prayer


The Beatitudes have both rhyme and rhythm when they are translated back into Aramaic. The Lord's Prayer also has a beat (and rhymes) as well. Jeremias notes that, "only with the petitions in the first person plural does to Lord's Prayer go over to four-beat rhythm, to return abruptly to a two-beat line in the closing petition." Both the Lord's Prayer and the Beatitudes prove that Jesus used Hebraic poetic formulas in his utterances. (I have separate teachings on the Lord's Prayer and the Beatitudes in Aramaic along with their Hebrew background in my other books.)


Hebrew and Aramaic Word-plays


In Matthew 11:17 (parallel Luke 7:32) we found an Aramaic word-play and rhyme. There are other Hebrew and Aramaic word-plays that are discovered with the words are translated back into the original Aramaic and Hebrew. In Mark 13:28 Jesus uses the same word-play found in Amos; Qatis (summer fruit) and getz (end). This also works in the Aramaic and is found in the Old Syriac version of Matthew at Matthew 24: 32-33. This illustrates the fact that Hebrew and Aramaic are so alike that sometimes the word-plays often work in both languages.


Hebrew word-plays:


Matthew 1:21 Yeshua (Jesus) and yosia, Salvation. (This works in Hebrew but not Aramaic._

Matthew 3:9 "sons" Banim and "stones" Abnim.

Matthew 22: 37, 38 and 46

Yrao "honor/fear" and bishrayo "saw"


Old Syriac Word-play (Old Syriac is an Aramaic version of the Gospels).

Matthew 8:2 "one man" gabra and "leper" garba


Both the Hebrew and Old Syriac have a word-play at Matthew 27:6

"Price" Shdmy "blood" dam in Hebrew and dmya and dama in Syriac.

In Matthew 11:7 Hugh Schonfield believed he found word-play, with the Hebrew word qaneh, for a cane or reed and the Aramaic word Qana, a Zealot.


Also in the Old Syriac there is a word-play in John 8:34, "Everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin." In Aramaic it is Abed/Ahbdah ("doer/slave").


Christ's Poetic Inspiration


Edward Norman in Secularization: Sacred Values in a Godless World commented that Jesus did not address the aesthetic sense of his followers. (Aesthetics is the philosophical search for what is beautiful.) Norman states, "He did not ruminate on the beauty of the Galilean scenery." This isn't true; not only did Jesus did ruminate on nature, he asks his disciples to do so as well. "Consider the Lilies of the Field" (Matthew 6:28). Hugh Schonfield commented on Jesus' ruminations of the Galilean scenery.


He became a keen student of life and human character. The man we meet in the Gospels is one who knows the countryside of Galilee intimately, its flowers and trees, fields and orchards, the activities of the people in work and worship, in their social, political and economic affairs. The things he teaches and the realistic tales he tells to illustrate his teaching are proof of how much he has absorbed. Such a store of information could only have been the outcome of prolonged and acute observation. There had been nothing somnambulistic in his walks abroad. He had deemed it vital to his equipment that he should have firsthand knowledge of the ways of the world.


Jesus was inspired by the beauty of the world around him. Jesus found beauty and inspiration in the real world and daily life. This isn't only true in his poetry and his teachings but also his parables. Jeremais also brings this point out although his context is the parables and not the poems of Jesus, "We find no fables on the lips of Jesus,; fig tree and vine do not speak in his sayings. Also, in Ethiopian Enoch we read an outline of the history of Israel in the form of a long-winded allegory involving various animals. Jesus indeed regularly uses familiar metaphors, mostly drawn from the Old Testament and familiar to everyone at that time, but he does not construct allegories. His parables take us, rather, into the midst of throbbing, everyday life. Their nearness to life, their simplicity and clarity, the masterly brevity with which they are told, the seriousness of their appeal to the conscience, their loving understanding of the outcasts of religion-all this is without analogy. If we want to find anything comparable we have to go back a long way: the parable of Nathan (II Sam. 12:1-7), the Song of the Vineyard (Isa. 5:1-7)."

The word "inspire" means 'to breath into'. Jesus was inspired of course by the Holy Spirit. (In Aramaic 'Christ" is Meshika which means anointed with oil. The oil is symbolic of consecration to God and represents the Holy Spirit.) The Jews at the time of Jesus put the Bible in Aramaic so they could understand it. These Aramaic versions of the Bible were called the Targums. In Mesopotamia the Messianic or Christian Jews called their Targum the Peshitta. This version of the Bible is the official version of the Aramaic churches. In Genesis Chapter one in the Peshitta it says and God saw what he had made and said that it was, not "tawa", good, but" shapira"; beautiful. Jesus used beautiful words. In the movie "Dead Poets Society" Robin Williams played a poetry teacher. He began his class by telling them to rip out and discard a chapter on how to construct a poem. He taught his class to "carpe diem"- "seize the day". We do need to be inspired. Great movements usually produce great music (music is poetry). But, structures can make words "aesthetically pleasing". We need to seize the day and be inspired, but we need to use the structures so we can communicate effectively. Jesus understood this and he spoke (and still speaks) in beauty and power. One reason his words have endured is the manner in which he spoke them; as Hebraic poetry. We have an inner sense of what is beautiful, put there by God. Poetry that is sloppy, no matter how sincere, will not appeal to others or endure and will fail in its purpose to move and inspire others.


A note about Hebraic Music


Although the book of Psalms is a hymn book it didn't have musical notation. So we no longer know what the melodies of these songs sounded like. What we usually think of as Jewish music isn't Biblical music, but is actually Eastern European music and melodies. If we could get into a time machine and went back and listened to music sung in the temple, it would sound totally different from what we think of as Hebraic music. Actually Middle Eastern and Arabic music is probably much closer to Biblical melodies than what passes as "Messianic" music (or the 'Jewish' music from "The Fiddler on the Roof"). Certain attempts have been made to reconstruct the music of the Bible. The most notable was by Suzanne Haik-Vantoura. In 1976 she published "The Music of the Bible Revealed". Her attempts at reconstructing the melodies of the Bible are based on her hypothesis that she has deciphered notations in an ancient Hebrew manuscript of the Tiberian Masoretic text. She believes that certain notations are symbols for hand gestures that represent musical scales. She has made recordings of what she believes is the original music of the book of Psalms. Many scholars are skeptical of her efforts.

The Israelites of the biblical era were not vastly different from their neighbors so it is a safe assumption that music from neighboring cultures would be very similar to the music of the Psalms. (Especially since Psalm 104 seems to be an altered version of the Hymn to Aten, where the name of the Lord is substituted for that of Aton. Psalm 29 is believed to have been based on a hymn lauding the Canaanite storm god and it was changed to give praise to the Lord.) The most scientific attempt to reconstruct music from Bible times was based on archeological evidence. A 14th Century BC song with musical notations has been deciphered by archeologist. The archeologist reconstructed replicas of ancient lyres and made a recording that is entitled "Sounds from Silence". This effort also dates from 1976. Scholars believe that this recording is the closest approximatization to the music of the book of Psalms. Other such attempts to recreate biblical era music have been made. (It should also be noted that ancient Semitic poetry discovered in Ugaritic, Canaanites and Aramaic, are very similar to the Hebrew poetry found in the Old Testament.)

One way to reconstruct biblical era music is to use instruments from the time of the scriptures. Interesting attempts we made in the soundtrack to The Gospel of John film that was narrated by Christopher Plummer. SAVAE (San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble) has put out an album entitled Ancient Echoes in which they used only Middle Eastern musical instruments from the time of Jesus. All the vocals in this album are Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. The lyrics are from the Gospels, the Old Testament, the Dead Sea Scrolls and ancient inscriptions. I strongly recommend this album although I disagree with some of the commentary on the Beatitudes and the Lord's Prayer they have included in the jacket. The album is just Jesus' poems and other ancient words put to music. Other recent attempts at more authentic music from the Gospels include Peter Gabriel's Passion and Mel Gibson's The Passion of The Christ (which includes Aramaic songs).

Also, the Ancient Assyrian Church of the East have preserved Aramaic chants and melodies in their worship services that probably go back to the apostolic era.


A note about genres in the Psalms


Herrmann Gunkel developed what is called Form Criticism. He divided the Psalms into different categories. These include hymns (Calls to Worship, Psalm 105, Victory Psalms, Psalm 68, Processional Songs for Pilgrims, Psalm 87, Psalms Extolling Zion (Psalm 46), and "Enthronement of Yahweh" psalms (Psalm 47). There are also Songs of Complaint or Lamentation (Psalm 22 is an example. In this genre it begins with a cry unto God and continues with a description of the crisis, an affirmation of trust, a series of petitions, an argument, a vow of praise and concludes with a statement of faith.), Thanksgiving Psalms (Psalm 116), Royal Songs (including wedding songs such as Psalm 45 and Coronation Songs such as Psalm 2, and Battle Hymns such as Psalm 20), and Wisdom Psalms (such as Psalm 1). H. Kraus further identified that certain Psalms were used on the feast of Tabernacles and Passover. Kraus organized these psalms as "festival songs".


Songs of Ascent


Psalm 120-134 are entitled "Songs of Ascents" or "Songs of Degrees". They are so called because they were sang by pilgrims as they ascended up the gates of Jerusalem to worship in the temple. An early Jewish Christian book was based on this theme and it was entitled "the Ascents of James the Just" referring to Jacob the Brother of Jesus. Recently Eugene Peterson wrote a commentary on our wayward society composed as a meditation of the Psalms of Ascents that was entitled "A Long Obedience in the Same Direction".


Jesus Sang the Psalms


Mark 14: 26 states that when the Passover dinner was finished, "After singing the Psalm they went to the Mount of Olives". These hymns specifically were the Hallel; Psalms 113 & 114 and 115-118. In conclusion they sang "All thy works shall praise the, Yahweh, our God…From everlasting to everlasting Thou are God, and beside thee, we have no King, Redeemer or Savior". Jesus participated in worship in the Temple of Jerusalem and there the psalms were sung in Hebrew. While Joachim Jeremias contends that Jesus spoke in Aramaic in his Eucharistic Words of Jesus he concedes that Jesus spoke in Hebrew during the Last Supper.


Imprecatory Psalms


In these Psalms the psalmist calls down judgment on the enemies of God and on his own persecutors and tormentors. An example is Psalm 137. Some of these Psalms are found to be offensive to modern sensitivities by some people. The Psalms deal with the whole of the human experience (including anger, pain, and deep distress) and that is why they are so powerful. Suffering, sorrow and pain are a part of life and these realities are dealt with in the Psalms. We need to read these Psalms in their context. Certain people today don't want to deal with the reality or death and pain. They want to anesthetize way all hurt. We are born in pain and many of us will die in pain. Pain helps us to grow and to learn. These men spoke from the depths of their souls. Imprectory psalms also are effective in "spiritual warfare". Believers need to pray against wickedness in the world and the powers behind evil if we truly are children of the light.


Joachim Jeremias

The best authority on Aramaic as the language of Jesus was Joachim Jeremias. Joachim (pronounced in German as "yo-ah-KEEM") Jeremias, theologian, born 9/20/1900 in Dresden, died 9/6/1979 in Tübingen. Jeremias spent large parts of his youth (1910-1915) in Jerusalem, where his father served as Provost of the Protestant Lutheran congregation at the Savior Church. An exten-sive knowledge of Palestine is strongly throughout his later scientific work.  He pursued further study of theology and the Oriental languages in Tübingen and Leipzig in the years of 1922 and 1923, with attainment of the Ph.D. and Th. D. degrees.  In 1922 he became a private tutor at the theological seminar in Herrnhut, and in 1924 he became an instructor at the Herder Institute in Riga.  He qualified to teach at the university level in 1925 in Leipzig for the academic field of New Testament, and in 1928 became a presiding (senior) professor and director of the Institutum Judaicum in Berlin.  In 1929 he became professor at Greifswald, and finally he taught at Göttingen from 1935 until his retirement as professor emeritus in 1968. He was a member of the confessing church.  After the Second World War, he received numerous distinctions:  He was made an honorary doctor at the University of Leipzig, at St. Andrews (Scotland), at Uppsala, and at Oxford; he received the Burkitt Medal of the British Academy of London for biblical studies; became was admitted as a member of the Academy of the Sciences at Göttingen, where from 1956 on he was a member of the Septuaginta Commission, as well as a member of the Royal Dutch Academy of the sciences and of the British Academy of London.His scientific work touches almost all areas of the New Testament research, including those of archaeology and historic geographies.  His particular and concerted emphasis, however, was on the reconstruction of the announcement and appearance of Jesus against the background of the contemporary Judaism, which he implicitly trusted like few scientists of his time, and whose language he handled very competently. His chief works -- "Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus", "The Allegories of Jesus", "The Holy Communion Words of Jesus", "New Testament Theology, First Part, The Announcement of Jesus" -- were translated into numerous European languages (and also into Japanese, Korean, and Chinese), and attained ecumenical importance and recognition.

The Aramaic word studies written by Joachim Jeremias that are in English include New Testament Theology, The Central Message of the New Testament, and The Prayers of Jesus.



BOOKS By Stephen Andrew Missick


(The books listed below can be ordered through or Barnes and Nobles On-line or can be ordered through their publisher.)


The Words of Jesus in the Original Aramaic: Discovering the Semitic Roots of Christianity (Xulon Press, 2006)


Although Bible scholars have called Aramaic "the Language of Jesus" most Christians have never heard of Aramaic. However, anyone who has read the Bible has been exposed to Aramaic whether he or she knows it or not. "Abba, Father" is Aramaic. Golgotha, the place where Jesus was crucified is Aramaic for "Skull-Place". Names such as Thomas, Barnabas, Martha, and Magdalene are all Aramaic names. "Maranatha" is a short Aramaic prayer that is left un-translated in the New Testament. Translated from the Aramaic it means, "Our Lord, Come!" After the release of Mel Gibson's movie "The Passion of the Christ", which was filmed mostly in Aramaic, more people have been exposed to the Aramaic language than ever before. Aramaic is an important but often over-looked tool in discovering the mind of Christ. This book is an introduction to Aramaic biblical studies and to the last Christians who still speak the ancient Aramaic language, the Assyrians of Mesopotamia. This book also explores the Aramaic behind Christ's words, such as in the title Christ used for himself, the Son of Man, which is Barnasha in Aramaic, and looks at important people in early Aramaic Christianity, such as James the Just and Mary of Magdala.



Mary of Magdala: Magdalene, the Forgotten Aramaic Prophetess of Christianity (Xlibris, 2006)


According to the Biblical account Mary of Magdala was the first witness of the resurrection. The early fathers of the church called Mary Magdalene the "Apostle of the Apostles". She played an important, but until recently, largely ignored role in the early church. Aramaic was the language of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Her name "Magdalene" is an Aramaic name meaning "the Tower". St. Jerome, who was fluent in Aramaic, believed she was called "the Tower" due to her ardent faith. This book explores Mary of Magdala through the Aramaic language and ancient Aramaic sources and traditions.

Treasures of the Language of Jesus: The Aramaic Source of Christ's Teaching (Xlibris, 2006)


Treasures of the Language of Jesus: The Aramaic Source of Christ's Teachings explores Jesus in the light of his language, culture and times. Bible scholars have determined that Aramaic was the language that was spoken by Jesus Christ. This book examines the meanings of Aramaic words and Aramaic figures of speech that are found in the New Testament. Treasures of the Language of Jesus is an introduction to Aramaic biblical studies and to the last surviving native speakers of the Aramaic language, the Assyrians and Chaldeans of Mesopotamia.


Aramaic: The Language of Jesus of Nazareth (Xlibris, 2008)


Aramaic: The Language of Jesus of Nazareth is a brief introduction to the Aramaic language. Bible scholars have determined that Aramaic was the language spoken by Jesus Christ. This book lists the evidence from the Bible, archeology and other ancient records that have led them to this conclusion. Examining the words of Jesus in his native language gives us a deeper understanding of the Messiah and his message. Aramaic: The Language of Jesus of Nazareth serves an important introduction to Aramaic biblical studies and to the last surviving native speakers of the Aramaic language, the Assyrian Christians of Mesopotamia.


Christ the Man (Xulon Press)


Immerse yourself in the life of John the Baptizer and Jesus the Christ as they preach God's New Covenant with the beasts of the field, with the birds of the air, and with all the living things of the earth (Hosea 2:18). John and Jesus' radical new message of forgiveness and hope provokes opposition from the authorities. After John is arrested, Jesus decides to confront the religious establishment in the very courts of the Temple of Jerusalem! Jesus rescues the animals from sacrifice, evicts the all the merchants and their customers from the Temple and then boldly proclaims, "My Father's House shall be a house of prayer for all nationalities!" Rediscover the beginnings of the Good News of Christ the Man. Gain fresh insights on the historical background of the life of Christ supplemented with twenty illustrations from the "Christ the Man" graphic novel.


The Hammer of God: The Stories of Judah Maccabee and Charles Martel (Xulon Press, 2010)


According to the Gospel of John, Jesus Christ celebrated the Festival of Hanukkah (John 10:22). Hanukkah celebrates the heroic exploits of Judas Maccabeus and his battle for religious freedom. These events occurred during the four-hundred silent years between the Old and New Testaments. The Seleucid Greeks that ruled over the Jewish people made observing Judaism a capital offense and ordered all copies of the Bible to be collected and burned. In the year 167 Before Christ, Judas Maccabaeus led the Jewish people into battle to preserve the Holy Bible and to establish religious liberty. Judas was called Maccabeus which means "the Hammer" in Aramaic. Centuries later, in the year 732 A.D, Charles Martel, known as "Charles the Hammer," fought to defend the religious liberties of the Christians and Jews in Europe when an army of Islamic terrorists threatened to eradicate Christianity in France. In The Hammer of God learn about the history of the battle for religious freedom, a battle that continues today.


The Ascents of James: A Lost Acts of the Apostles (Create Space 2010)


The Ascents of James is an ancient account of the life of James the Just, the brother of Jesus, that was composed by the Ebionites, an ancient sect of Jewish Christians, at a time close to the end of the first century. In this ancient Jewish Christian book, James and the Twelve Apostles explain their beliefs in Jesus as the Jewish Messiah and answer questions from their opponents on the steps of the Temple of Jerusalem. The main argument made in The Ascents of James is that Jesus is the Prophet like Moses prophesied in Deuteronomy 18: 15-22. The Ascents of James provides us with a rare perspective into an extinct and very ancient form of Jewish Christianity.

The Second Adam and the Restoration of All Things (Create Space 2010)

According to the Book of Genesis in the Holy Bible, God created Adam and Eve in a state of harmony with Nature. Adam and Eve disobeyed God and were expulsed from the Garden of Eden. In the New Testament, Jesus is described as the Second Adam who brings a restoration of all things (Acts 3:21). Describing the New Testament, Hosea says, "In that day I will make a New Covenant for them with the beasts of the field, with the birds of the air, and with the creeping things of the ground. Bow and sword of battle I will shatter from the earth, to make them lie down safely" (Hosea 2:18). According to the Gospel of Mark, the Good News is Good News for all creatures or all creation (Mark 16:15). The Bible states that in God's New Kingdom, "They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea." (Isaiah 11:9).


Saint Thaddeus and the King of Assyria: The Aramaic Origins of Christianity (Create Space 2010)


According to ancient manuscripts written in the Aramaic language, Saint Thaddeus, one of the Apostles of Jesus Christ, traveled to Mesopotamia and preached the Good News of the Kingdom of God to the Assyrians and preached in Chaldea and Babylonian as well. The Assyrian people received the Gospel and became fervent Christians. The Assyrian Church of the East produced many great theologians and scholars. Assyrian missionaries planted churches in India, China, Mongolia and Socotra all before the year 700 A.D. Under the pagan Persians and then later under the Moslems, the Assyrians endured horrific persecution because of their Christian faith. The Assyrian Christians still endure persecution and still live in Iran and Iraq and have survived as a dynamic living testimony to the saving power of Jesus Christ.


The Secret of Jabez


Discover an astonishing truth that has been concealed for centuries and is now unveiled at last! This book tells the story of the first people known to history to have worshiped Yahweh (Jehovah) as the one God, a tribe of Kenite Arabs called the Rechabites. Recent archeological evidence has convinced historians and Bible scholars that it was these Kenites, an Arab tribe that pre-dates Abraham and Ishmael, who were the first to call upon God by the name of "Yahweh," or Jehovah, and to worship him as the one true God. It was they who introduced the Israelites to the worship of Yahweh God. Jabez, who has been popularized through his short prayer found in the book of Chronicles in the Holy Bible, has a unique connection with these Rechabites. Jeremiah called the Rechabites a people blessed by God, and used the example of the faithfulness of this gentile (meaning non-Jewish) people to condemn the great lack of faith in God found among the Israelites. These Rechabites are still wandering the deserts of the Middle East to this very day. They are still devoted to Yahweh and bear on their bodies the emblem of their tribe. This symbol they have bore since their beginning as a people. Like Paul they bear on their bodies "the marks of the Lord Jesus" (Galatians 6:17). They have worn this stigma from time immemorial. Now let us unravel the secrets of the Prayer of Jabez, decode its hidden meaning and unlock the mystery of the lost and forgotten identity of Jabez and reveal the true purpose of his prayer.



(These books are also available in hard copies.)


The Language of Jesus: Introducing Aramaic (2010)


"The Language of Jesus: Introducing Aramaic" is a brief introduction to general facts about the Aramaic language. Bible scholars have determined that Aramaic was the language spoken by Jesus Christ. This book lists the evidence from the Bible, archeology and other ancient records that have led them to this conclusion. Examining the words of Jesus in his native language gives us a deeper understanding of the Messiah and his message. "The Language of Jesus: Introducing Aramaic" serves an important introduction to Aramaic biblical studies and to the last surviving native speakers of the Aramaic language, the Assyrian Christians of Mesopotamia.


Judas Maccabeus: The Hammer of God (2010)


The Story of Judah Maccabee is a timeless inspirational story of great faith and courage against seemingly impossible odds. It is also a timely story about the collision of traditional religion and modernity. Hanukkah celebrates the heroic exploits of Judas Maccabeus and his battle for religious freedom. These events occurred during the four-hundred silent years between the Old and New Testaments. The Seleucid Greeks that ruled over the Jewish people made observing Judaism a capital offense and ordered all copies of the Bible to be collected and burned. In the year 167 Before Christ, Judas Maccabaeus led the Jewish people into battle to preserve the Holy Bible and to establish religious liberty. Judas was called Maccabeus which means "the Hammer" in Aramaic. In Judas Maccabeus: The Hammer of God learn about the history of the battle for religious freedom, a battle that continues today.



(Journal of Assyrian Academic Studies

The Assyrian Church in the Mongol Empire, Mar Thoma: The Apostolic Foundation of the Assyrian Church in India, and Socotra: The Mysterious Island of the Church of the East which were published in the Journal of Assyrian Academic Studies (Volume XIII, No. 2, 1999, Volume XIV, No. 2, 2000 and Volume XVI No. 1, 2002).



(Crossover Videos:

Iraq's Christians in Crisis

The Armenian Genocide



The Assyrians: The Oldest Christian People

Chronicles: Facts from the Bible

The Hammer of God: Character and Historical Reference

The Hammer of God Coloring Book

The Hammer of God Mini-Comic

The Hammer of God: The Battle for Religious Freedom


Reverend Stephen Andrew Missick is the author of The Assyrian Church in the Mongol Empire, Mar Thoma: The Apostolic Foundation of the Assyrian Church in India, and Socotra: The Mysterious Island of the Church of the East which were published in the Journal of Assyrian Academic Studies (Volume XIII, No. 2, 1999, Volume XIV, No. 2, 2000 and Volume XVI No. 1, 2002). He is the author of The Words of Jesus in the Original Aramaic: Discovering the Semitic Roots of Christianity, Mary of Magdala: Magdalene, the Forgotten Aramaic Prophetess of Christianity, Treasures of the Language of Jesus: The Aramaic Source of Christ's Teaching, Aramaic: The Language of Jesus of Nazareth and Christ the Man. He is an ordained minister of the gospel. He graduated from Sam Houston State University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Rev. Missick has traveled extensively throughout the Middle East and has lived among the Coptic Christians in Egypt and Aramaic Christians in Syria. He also served as a soldier in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 and 2004. While serving as a soldier in Iraq he learned Aramaic from native Aramaic-speaking Iraqi Assyrian Christians. Rev. Missick is the writer and illustrator of the comic book "The Assyrians: The Oldest Christian People," the comic strip Chronicles: Facts from the Bible and the comic book series The Hammer of God which are available from The Hammer of God comic book series dramatizes the stories of Judah Maccabee and Charles Martel. He has also served as a chaplain in the Army National Guard in Iraq during his second deployment in 2009 and 2010.


Contact Stephen A. Missick at PO Box 882 Shepherd TX 77371 A monthly newsletter, The Aramaic Herald, is available free of charge. DVDs and Gospel tracts with an Aramaic focus are also available from the above address. Rev. Missick has several short video teachings and presentations at and a blog at
















Tuesday, February 22, 2011

February Newsletter

Leprosy at the Time of Christ

It is often said that the lepers Christ healed were not suffering from the disease known as leprosy but were rather suffering from a variety of skin conditions such as eczema and boils. However, a new archeological discovery has proved that leprosy was an affliction in the Holy Land at the time of Christ. Shimon Gibson excavated a tomb in the Valley of Hennom in Jerusalem. He found a tomb that was sealed during the time of Chris (dated at approximately 1-50 A.D.). The body was found under a shroud in a sealed tomb. Usually, in the first century after the body decayed the remains were put into ossuaries or "bone boxes." Obviously, the tomb was sealed to contain the contagion. This is reported in "Science Illustrated" January/February 2011 on pages38-39).

Jewish origins for the Son of God?

Certain people attempt to argue that the idea of Jesus being the "Son of God" was part of the "paganizing" process of the early church. Perseus and Hercules were sons of gods therefore to attract converts, the early Christians began teaching that Jesus is similarly the son of God. However, it seems that this is not the case. Actually, the idea of Jesus being the Son of God arose in a Jewish context. This is proven in the new book "King and Messiah as Son of God: Divine, Human and Angelic Messianic Figures in Biblical and related Literature" by Adela Yarbo Collins and John J. Collins.

Jesus, the Middle Eastern Storyteller by Gary M. Burge

This book says on page 32, "Prayer was likely spoken in Hebrew, the language of the Torah, which in Jesus' day was not a language spoken by the common person. The language of the street was Aramaic, another Semitic language related to Hebrew and acquired by Israel during its Babylonian exile. Therefore regular prayer would have been highly stylized, following a language that was awkward to the average person. Jesus likely stood out in two respects: he prayed in Aramaic and he prayed casually, even conversationally. His prayers do not reflect any of the set forms of his day (no blessing of the nation, land, or temple); they are instead expressions of personal concern. For example, in Matthew 6:7 he is critical of prayers that are filled with "babbling" and instead urges that prayer be heartfelt, private and sincere because God will particularly hear all secret prayers uttered with honesty. This is the moment when Jesus gives his followers a sample of how prayer ought to sound-what we know as the Lord's Prayer (Matth. 6:9-13). In Luke 11"2-4 we find a shortened version of this prayer. The Lord's Prayer is a model prayer that reflects the concerns that need to appear in prayers, and most scholars agree that Jesus no doubt taught it in Aramaic. The opening word "Father" (11:2) reflects the Aramaic word "Abba," and this was so well known as Jesus' habit in prayer that it became a liturgical form used in Greek speaking churches in Paul's day (Rom 8:15, Gal. 4:6).

I do not agree with all the interpretations in Mr. Burge's book. For example, he criticizes western "Individualism" which he believes originated in the "Enlightenment" and believes we should think as a community. I don't agree with this. Community is important but "group think" is dangerous. We are all part of a community, however, we have to approach God individually. We also have to seek out truth and think it through for ourselves. There was a Samaritan that belonged to a group of lepers but when he was healed he left the group and went to Christ as an individual to thank and praise Christ for what he did for him. Jesus said, "I have come not to bring peace but division." People who followed Jesus faced ostracism and rejection by their families. During the Roman persecutions, it was even more of a radical choice. Sometimes things sound good-but they aren't. I read what Mr. Burge wrote in hi s book, and although he has a good point here and there, this central idea is wrong.

Texas School teaches Arabic and "Muslim culture" to elementary kids

Mansfield School District was requiring "mandatory" learning of the Arabic language in their elementary school. Also, the children were to be indoctrinated in the Islamic religion (or "Culture," Muslims view religion and culture as the same thing). This is going to be financed with federal funds. So, the American taxpayers are paying for their children to be sent to Islamic madrassas so that the government can convert their children to Islam.

Quote of the Day:

Glen Beck said something to the effect of, "The world is too big to allow one small group-the left-wing, extremist secular-progressive, atheistic liberal democrats-to totally monopolize the news and information as they do." WE MUST break the control the liberals have over the news media , the entertainment industry and education. It is not good for public discourse, freedom of thought and freedom of inquiry for this new established church of the left to criminalize dissent and enforce their dogma over all of society. They are the establishment and they destroy any person they perceive as a threat to themselves and their agenda (Dan Quayle, Judge Bork, Clarence Thomas, Sarah Palin are examples. They have made Mrs. Palin into one of the most hated people in the world. But what has she done that is so bad? She hasn't committed any crimes and seems to have done a pretty good job as governor of Alaska.)



David Horowitz Exposes ACU in CPAC Address


Written by Raven Clabough   

Sunday, 13 February 2011 21:00

This year's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) has dealt with a number of controversies, ranging from the disputed presence of the homosexual Republican organization GoProud to the American Conservative Union's naming of Donald Rumsfeld as this year's Defender of the Constitution recipient. However, none of those controversies have been quite as prominent as the speech delivered by renowned author David Horowitz, in which he implicates a number of ACU board members for potential ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. A 60s leftist, David Horowitz eventually renounced Leftism and embraced conservatism and has made a reputation for himself as a conservative writer and policy advocate. He has authored a number of books, including Reforming Our Universities: The Campaign for an Academic Bill of Rights and Left Illusions: An Intellectual Odyssey. Horowitz recently penned a pamphlet entitled, "Barack Obama's Rules for Revolution," which is modeled after Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals. In his February 12 CPAC address, Horowitz indicated the two biggest threats to the American republic are leftism on college campuses as well as the links between the American Left and radical Islam. Horowitz specifically addressed the dangers of radical Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization that Horowitz contends has infiltrated both the Democrat and Republican parties, as well as the Conservative movement, by way of the Muslim Brotherhood's front groups such as the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Muslim American Society, and the Islamic Society of North America. He stated: "The Muslim Brotherhood has been wildly successful in its plan to become more part of America's civil culture and to infiltrate the institutions of America's civil government, including the White House and both political parties as well, and the conservative moment."According to Horowitz, the infiltration of the conservative movement is evident just by taking a cursory glance at the panel on the board of the American Conservative Union, the very same organization responsible for the annual CPAC conference, at which Horowitz was speaking. Revealing no qualms about implicating the very same people who had him appear at this year's conference, Horowitz named a number of ACU board members that have connections to the Muslim Brotherhood: "[ACU board member] Suhail Khan is the proud son of Mahboob Khan and his protégé as he is also the protégé of the convicted terrorist Abdurahman Alamoudi, sponsored by his longtime patron Grover Norquist, who has been the pillar of the Conservative movement." It's worthwhile to note that Suhail's father Mahboob ran a large mosque in Santa Clara, California, that catered to Osama Bin Laden's number two man, Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri. Suhail Khan was on President George W. Bush's staff at the time of the September 11 attacks, but was quickly transitioned to the Department of Transportation afterward. Likewise, the Cypress Times reports, "Norquist is said to have been the one who got Khan into the White House. Khan has also been an advisor to CAIR, the Council on American Islamic Relations, an un-indicted terror co-conspirator, Hamas front group and Muslim Brotherhood affiliate." The relationship between Norquist and Khan is clear, as observed by Horowitz:

With Grover's support, Suhail has also been made a board member of the American Conservative Union and was a moderator on a panel on religious liberty yesterday at this event. Suhail Khan used his offices at the Bush White House with the support of Grover to carry weight for the terrorist Sami al-Arian and the attempt to ban the use of secret evidence in terrorist trials-a proposal that thanks to Grover's influence was actually endorsed by President Bush and was only thwarted by the September 11 attacks.

The remainder of Horowitz's speech described the current administration's friendly treatment of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the appointments of members of CAIR and the Islamic Society of North America to top positions in the Department of Homeland Security. Yet listeners could not help but find themselves reeling over the information Horowitz provided that implicated members of the ACU board. David Horowitz credits Frank Gaffney, president of the American Center for Security Policy, as the "courageous bringer of the bad news about Grover and Suhail Khan." Specifically addressing the board of the ACU, Horowitz adds: "Many good conservatives on the board of the ACU refuse to believe the evidence of Suhail's Brotherhood allegiances and agendas. They are of the opinion that Suhail's public appearances with Alamoudi and the Muslim Brotherhood fronts took place a decade ago and that he doesn't promote violent agendas. I understand this." Horowitz later explains, "The conservatives are much too civilized and inclusive and should not be making exceptions for people like Suhail." What will it take for Horowitz to be convinced of Suhail Khan's alleged change of heart? "When an honest person has been a member of a destructive movement and leaves it, he will feel compelled to repudiate it publicly and to warn others of the dangers it poses," Horowitz said. Like William Ayers of the Weather Underground, Mr. Khan has yet to repudiate the violent organization with which he has been connected. Horowitz closed his CPAC talk by urging conservatives to educate themselves further on the Muslim Brotherhood and its various front organizations, and to be "vigilant against its spread to the ranks of the conservative movement, the Republican Party, and the government of the country we love." In an exclusive interview with The New American following his enlightening speech, Horowitz explained what being "vigilant" entails: "They have to educate themselves. is an excellent guide to the Left. Also books like The Grand Jihad by Andrew McCarthy and my book Unholy Alliance are excellent resources conservatives can use." Horowitz's willingness to stand before the very group that provided him a speaking platform at the conference was certainly a courageous, and controversial, move. When asked what compelled Horowitz to do so, he told The New American, "There was just too much evidence to ignore the facts." Likewise, Horowitz made a number of attempts to allow Suhail Khan and Norquist to vindicate themselves by answering for the information produced against them. According to Horowitz, Norquist simply refused to address any of the allegations made by Gaffney in his report, replying "I'm too busy with the revolution." By contrast, Khan did address the allegations when Horowitz brought them to his attention, adamantly denying their accuracy. Unfortunately, it was Khan who proved to have a problem with accuracy. For example, Khan explained that despite Gaffney's assertions, he is not responsible for the list of people with approved access to the White House. Gaffney, however, disproved Khan's remarks, by sending Horowitz an approved White House guest list with Khan's name on it as the approver of the guest list. Similarly, Khan claimed that his father was merely a member of the mosque, but did not have a fundraiser for terrorist Ayman al-Zawahiri-as his father was accused — seemingly unaware that the Washington Post had published an article on the role Khan's father played in the fundraiser. Once Khan realized that each of his assertions were being discredited by hard evidence, he stopped returning Horowitz's calls. Horowitz asserts that Khan is "an agent of the Muslim Brotherhood and a threat to America." When The New American asked if Horowtiz if he believed Norquist to be a conscious subversive, or, to use Lenin's term, simply a "useful idiot," Horowitz stated simply: "He's not an idiot." Horowitz contends that he will not allow the potential consequences of exposing Norquist's and Khan's connections to the Muslim Brotherhood — such as not being invited back to CPAC — intimidate him from doing so. He told The New American, "This is my mission — to wake up the conservative movement."

Critics Slam U.S. Government, Media for 'Weak' Response to Anti-Christian Attacks

Reported by Fox News February 15, 2011

At least 65 Christians have been killed in attacks across the Muslim world in recent months, sparking sharp criticism from human rights groups that charge the U.S. government and media aren't doing nearly enough to speak out against the violence. A shooting in Egypt last month that killed a Christian man and injured five Christian women was just the latest in the series of attacks, several of which occurred around the holiday season: A New Year's bombing at a Coptic Christian church in Alexandria, Egypt, killed 23 people and injured more than 100; Christmas Eve blasts in Nigeria killed at least 32 -- just part of a night of terror across the country that saw three other churches attacked and six worshipers killed; six perished in a Christmas Day Catholic Church bombing on the island of Jolo, in the Philippines; and a string of New Year's Eve bombings in Iraq left two dead and at least 13 wounded. The spate of attacks has some saying that not enough is being done. "The lack of a policy response beyond sending condolences each time a church or Christians are targeted in some horrific act of violence like in Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria etc. is absolutely bewildering," Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom, told "This should be seen as not only a humanitarian issue, but a security issue." Even the condolence statements have come up short, said Shea. When the Obama administration first noted an Oct. 31 church bombing in Iraq, for example, it sent "a general condolence to Iraqis that didn't even mention the word Christian or churches." That bombing, claimed by an Al Qaeda-linked organization, left 58 people dead and at least 78 wounded. It was the worst attack ever against Iraq's Christian minority. Critics have also charged the U.S. media hasn't done enough to publicize the plight of persecuted Christians.

CBS and ABC aired nothing on the Nigerian attacks, PBS had one "NewsHour" report, while NBC gave the story three briefs mentions on the morning of Dec. 27, according to L. Brent Bozell III, president of the Media Research Center. "CBS Evening News" anchor Katie Couric instead found the protests against a new Islamic Center set to be built near Ground Zero to be more newsworthy, labeling the "seething hatred" against Muslims in America as one of the "most disturbing stories to surface this year" on her New Year's Eve Internet show. That night, 11 bombs exploded near Christian homes in Baghdad, killing two people and wounding at least 13. And just minutes into the new year, the bombers in Alexandria struck. "ABC aired nothing. CBS and NBC each aired one brief anchor read," according to Bozell. Not everyone agreed with Bozell. "Christians get massive, massive media coverage, way out of proportion to their importance," said media analyst T.J. Walker. "This is another case of an interest group developing the media strategy of 'working the refs' … No matter how fair or generous your media coverage is, complain bitterly that you are being treated unfairly in the hopes of making reporters give you even more positive coverage just to avoid the headache of dealing with nonsense virulent criticism." But Bozell maintained stories of perceived discrimination against Muslims -- like a Florida pastor's proposition to memorialize the 9/11 attacks with "Burn a Koran Day," or a Seattle-based cartoonist's decision to protest Comedy Central's decision to censor an episode of "South Park" that depicted Muhammad in a bear costume -- pick up far more coverage by comparison. "It's appalling that you've got a worldwide assault on Christianity in place, where every week there's a reported attack on some Christian church somewhere by Muslim fanatics and no one's covering it," Bozell said. "…but one idiot in Florida threatens to burn a Koran and everyone's talking about." Included in that everyone was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. "I am heartened by the clear, unequivocal condemnation of this disrespectful, disgraceful act that has come from American religious leaders of all faiths," Clinton said about "Burn a Koran Day" at a Sept. 8 dinner in observance of the Muslim holiday Iftar. "It's regrettable that a pastor in Gainesville, Fla., with a church of no more than 50 people can make this outrageous and distressful, disgraceful plan and get the world's attention," she said the same day, at a Council on Foreign Relations event. But some argued the Florida pastor did a better job of getting Clinton's attention than the string of recent attacks against Christians. While State Department spokesman Mark Toner issued a statement on December 31 condemning the New Year's Eve violence in Iraq, and another spokesman, Phillip Crowley, noted the department was "aware of a recent string of attacks against Christians from Iraq to Egypt to Nigeria, Clinton herself did not publicly address the issue.

President Obama did, however, saying the perpetrators of the Egypt attacks "were clearly targeting Christian worshippers" and "must be brought to justice for this barbaric and heinous act." He offered "any necessary assistance to the Government of Egypt in responding to it," as well as to the Government of Nigeria in responding to its attacks. But Shea argued these governments need pressure, and not assistance. Shea said the U.S., which provides billions of dollars in foreign aid to many of these countries, should push them to protect their Christian communities "through a combination of carrots and sticks, sanctions and incentives." She pointed to Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, who responded to the attacks by calling for the European Union to reduce or cut aid to countries that do not protect their Christian minorities as an example of what the U.S. leaders should be doing. The EU has yet to act on the proposal. Graeme Bannerman, a scholar at the Middle East Institute and expert on U.S.-Arab relations, said the U.S. may be taking the smarter approach. "Take Egypt for example. The critics do not believe the government there is doing enough; they haven't gone after the Muslims enough; they haven't taken the threat upon the Christian community seriously enough. But there are others who say they may have not reacted rapidly enough, but they're certainly taking action," Bannerman told, pointing to the recent conviction and death sentence for a Muslim man who killed six Christians and a Muslim guard last year outside a Coptic church on Jan. 6, Coptic Christmas Eve. Shea called the death sentence "unprecedented," and said she hopes to see similarly strong action in other countries. She also warned against what might happen if these Christians minorities are wiped out. "Christians are a moderating force in the Middle East. When they are gone, religious diversity and pluralism goes with them," she said. "…It ultimately means there will be a setback for our own national security interests and the ability of these countries to peacefully coexist with us."



I do think we are heading towards a global war. And it looks to me like England has some serious problems with Islamic radicals-and refuses to do anything about it or acknowledge the problem exists. I saw that myself when I was there. But I loved England and hope to go back. Robert Spencer has written some very good books about Islam. The Barnabas Fund which does good work, puts out good information. There have also been "signs in the heavens." The apparition that appeared above Jerusalem seems to be an authentic incident and not a fraud. It looks like to me that Islam is going to be a serious political force, that the free peoples of the world are either going to have to fight or be destroyed by it. If our governments had the moral courage, we could easily defeat Islamic forces now. Since we are being non-confrontational it looks like to me, they will strengthen their position and many people are going to die needlessly. It is just like Hitler in world war two. Everyone thought Churchill was a crazy, rightwing fanatic and wouldn't listen to him-and they paid a price. In all over 20 million people died in World War 2.,

PO BOX 882 Shepherd TX 77371

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


WORSHIPPERS KILLED: Blood spatters a portrait of Jesus Christ inside the Coptic Christian Saints Church in Alexandria, Egypt. A car exploded in front of the church early January 1 killing at least 21 people.



My Take on the Current Situation in Egypt

I have traveled to the Middle East several times. In one of my visits I was having a conversation with an Arab man. He said to me, "Let me tell you what I admire most about America." (The Liberal Democrats hate America so much that they operate under the assumption that everyone on earth, especially the people in the Middle East, hate everything about America.) I asked him what it was that he so admired about America. He said that it was that our president only served two terms of four years. (I have also heard Arabs, who hate Israel, speak admiringly Israel for removing a prime minister and a president for corruption. They said that none of their leaders could ever possibly be removed from office due to their being corrupt.)

I have lived in Egypt so what do I think about what is going on over there? Well, lets examine some facts.

  1. Hosni Mubarak has been in office for 30 years and is 82 years old. Until only a few days ago he had no plans of succession. Even if he was a good leader-he should have stepped down decades ago.
  2. Mr. Mubarak discriminates and persecutes the Coptic Christians in his country. (See below.) It is so horrific for Christians in Egypt under Mr. Mubarak's brutal barbaric and tyrannical rule that the Christians started rioting in the streets. In a recent edition of this newsletter, I listed the major massacres of Christians in Egypt in the past 20 years. This is because of a climate Mr. Mubarak has created.
  3. Mr. Mubarak was sitting right beside Anwar Sadat when Sadat was assassinated and yet he wasn't attacked by the Muslim Brotherhood. Oswald accidently shot the governor of Texas when he shot JFK and he was a sniper and yet Mr. Mubarak was spared.
  4. Recently, in an edition of "The Week" magazine (January 14, 2011) Coptic journalist Hani Shukrallah was quoted discussing recent massacres of Coptic Christians in Egypt as saying, "I accuse the Egyptian government, which coddles and appeased extremists in the hope of siphoning support from the opposition Muslim Brotherhood."
  5. Mr. Mubarak is not a friend of Israel. There is a treaty but no real peace between Israel and Egypt. In the wiki-leaked documents, the US government criticizes Egypt's military because Mr. Mubarak is training them for war against Israel and not against a threat from radical Islam.
  6. Coptic Christians complain that the government of Egypt educates children in schools about Islam but teaches negative things about Christianity.
  7. In Egypt there are numerous examples of Muslims who convert to Christianity being arrested and tortured. Look at the testimony of Majed El Shafie.
  8. Mr. Mubarak had programs broadcasted on Egyptian TV about the "Blood Libel" teaching the Egyptian people that Jews sacrifice children and consume human blood. (You can observe clips from this movie on the documentary "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West."
  9. Mr. Mubarak finally agreed to meet with "opposition groups" namely-the Muslim Brotherhood. Coptic oppositions groups were not invited.
  10. The Copts have had enough of this persecutor and they want him gone-as many Egyptians do. They know living under Mr. Mubarak is a horrific nightmare. Yes, the future is unknown and could be dangerous-but there is the possibility that without this monster-there may be a brighter future.

The man needs to go. Another issue is that he turned off the internet. That is a terrible precedent and just an example of what is wrong with the man. Sean Hannity is convinced that the Muslim Brotherhood is going to take over and so we must support Mr. Mubarak no matter what he does. Well, God bless Mr. Hannity for having the courage for speaking out against radical Islam. Few journalists have the courage to do so. (Rev Booko, an Assyrian pastor, has met with and prayed with Mr. Mubarak several years ago-but like Pharaoh-who also heard God's word from a prophet-Mubarak has hardened his heart to God.)

But let me talk about what I would like to see happen. I know that the Muslim Brotherhood is a threat. However, we need to realize that for decades, Mr. Mubarak has been appeasing radical Islam. I think the man is a radical Muslim himself. Just because a person shaves and wears a business suit, that does not mean that he is a moderate. By appeasing the radical Muslims he had strengthened them. If he was a moderate he would have created, or worked to create, an atmosphere of tolerance and respect between Muslims and Christians. If he was a moderate, then Muslims who have been murdering Christians would have been punished instead of being allowed to get off scott free. (Recently, the men who killed Christians during the 2009 Christmas were sentenced to death, but this is something new. Usually Muslims who kill Christians in Egypt are released. The reason the people were sentenced to death was because it attracted international attention. Usually, persecution of Christians in the Middle East does not. A typical example was how recently Muslims went around burning Christian homes. Coptic Christians were able to get video of the arson. But the government declared that the fires were an "act of God" and released all the Muslim arsonists.)

Maybe, the Egyptians are tired of living under a police state. They resigned themselves to their fate. Then the Tunisians got rid of their tyrant Ben Ali. Then the Egyptians realized that they didn't have to tolerate Mr. Mubarak and rose up. I don't believe that this is a Muslim Brotherhood revolt or that they will inevitably take over. It really could happen-and it would be a terrible tragedy. But something else could happen. Maybe the Egyptians could get rid of Mr. Mubarak and establish a functioning democracy. Then perhaps other dictators would fall-such as Mr. Bashir Assad. And other people who have plans to become dictators, such as Mr. Maliki, would realize that isn't an option anymore. If the people revolt and establish freedom-Iran would probably eventually fall.

There is a group of foreign policy experts called "realists." They aren't realist in my opinion. They say that we have to support dictatorships in the Middle East for the sake of "stability." You call this "stability"? Syria kills Lebanese Christians, uses Hezballah to attack Israel and gets Lebanese Arabs, Palestinian Arabs and Israelis killed while at the same time, Saudi Arabian recruited terrorists are flown into Syria, trained at military camps and then smuggled into Iraq across the porous border to kill Americans and Iraqi and they do this with impunity and we call it "stability." I don't know why people can't see that these "experts" have zero credibility.

I am no fan of Obama and I do not think that he is handling the situation well. But remember-this was a spontaneous uprising of the people. It did not originate with the Muslim Brotherhood.

What if the Muslim Brotherhood takes over? Then America should prepare for a war that will make "Operation Iraqi Freedom" and "Operation Enduring Freedom" look like a walk in the park. This will be a war that we can and will win. I think it is inevitable anyway. The reality is that we must go to war to protect mankind and save the human species from radical Islam. People want to deny and escape this reality-but eventually people will have to wake up and see that that is not an option.

One thing to remember and this is one of the reasons why I try to be optimistic about the situation in Egypt. EGYPT DEPENDS ON ITS TOURIST INDUSTRY. They need the billions of dollars they make from tourists every year. If the international face of Egypt is a wild-eyed insane fanatic like Osama Bin Ladin or the Ayatolla Khomeini, then people will be frightened away from Egypt and this will strike a devastating financial blow to Egypt. Egypt literally cannot afford to frighten tourists away.

SO-I am cautiously optimistic about the situation in Egypt. I recognize its dangers-but also see an opportunity for greater freedom for Egyptians. If the Muslim Brotherhood does take over-it is because Mr. Mubarak made it happen by radicalizing an entire generation, by creating a climate of intolerance through his persecution of Egypt's Christians, and by strengthening the Muslim Brotherhood for decades by appeasing them and giving them unwarranted concessions.

FOX NEWS reports: Christian 'Genocide' In The Mideast by Greg Burke (Jan 18, 2011)

Christians have been getting pushed out of the Middle East for some time now, but the attacks on them have recently become particularly ferocious.

It's enough to look at the bombing at a Coptic church in Alexandria, Egypt, on New Year's Day that left 23 dead, or the brutal siege on St. George Chaldean Church, a Catholic church in Baghdad that killed more than 50. "If you look at the technical definition of what genocide is, it is the attempt to annihilate a particular group because of their ethnicity or their religion," says David Alton a Catholic member of Britain's House of Lords. "And certainly that is what is happening to many of the ancient churches of the Middle East." Lord Alton, a prominent campaigner for religious freedom, told Fox News in an interview that radical Muslims target Christians as a way of hitting the West. "They use Iraq as a staging post for that, and as a pretext for attacking groups they say are U.S. allies, and so Christians are in the firing line for that reason," Alton notes. "It is absurd in many respects, but it is a very convenient piece of shorthand for those who carry out the attacks." John Pontifex of Aid to the Chuch in Need points out that the rise of radical Islam is putting extreme pressure on other religious groups, but especially Christians. As the number of Christians falls drastically in the Middle East, Pontifex says, the radicals rejoice. "Extremist groups have made it clear that because of this change in numbers, they are getting close to achieving their objective, which is the wipeout of Christianity in some of its oldest heartlands." While Christians are hardest hit in the Mideast, that's not the only region they're feeling pressure, whether it be slighter forms of discrimination, or outright violence. Pontifex estimates that there are 30 or more countries where Christians suffer "very severely," and that "in certain of those countries, that persecution is very endemic and very persistent and has as its objective an end to the Christian presence." Pope Benedict's annual speech to diplomats last week focused on religious freedom as a fundamental human right, and mentioned the attacks in Iraq and Egypt. Benedict also called for Pakistan to overturn its blasphemy law, saying it serves as a "pretext for acts of injustice and violence against religious minorities." Egypt responded by recalling Aly Mekhemar Hamada, its ambassador to the Holy See to Cairo for consultations. Before leaving, Hamada gave an interview in which she said her government did not agree that Christians suffered discrimination in Egypt. And in Pakistan, the response on the street was a not a friendly one, as protesters burned the Pope in effigy.

Greg Burke is a hero. He has also been reporting on the persecution of Aramaic Christians in Iraq and hasn't stopped following that story. God bless him.

Note: In the story above Mr. Mubarak recalled the ambassador to the Vatican. He refuses to acknowledge that the way he persecutes Christians is a problem. Also, thank God that we have a pope who is willing to speak out to defend Middle Eastern Christians. I am not Catholic but God bless him for that.

What is a "Middle East Expert"?

I was watching Fox News and I heard Joel Rosenberg described as a "Middle East Expert." I have nothing against the man and perhaps he is but what makes someone a "Middle East Expert." I think I am as much an expert as a lot of these talking heads you see on the news. And many of these so-called experts put out erroneous information. A part of the reason for this is that many experts work for the Saudi Arabians. The "talking heads" have an agenda to support certain foreign interests. Saudi Arabia is the most fanatical and dangerous country in the entire Arab world. (Iran is probably the most dangerous country in the Middle East but it is a Persian and not an Arab country.)

Land-mines encircle traditional site of Christ's baptism

By Aaron Heller (Jan 18, 2011)

QASR EL-YAHUD, West Bank – Just months before the official opening of one of Christianity's holiest sites to visitors, the area where John the Baptist is said to have baptized Jesus remains surrounded by thousands of land mines. Israel says the sites visited by pilgrims and tourists in an area known as Qasr el-Yahud will be safe, but advocacy groups warn that crowds could be in danger. On Tuesday, some 15,000 Christian pilgrims marched between two fenced-in mine fields to reach the Epiphany ceremony led by the Greek Orthodox patriarch on the Jordan River, 5 miles (8 kilometers) east of the oasis town of Jericho at the edge of the West Bank. Worshippers from around the world dipped themselves in the muddy waters, facing fellow believers on the other side of the small river. Orthodox clergymen dressed in dark frocks and robes chanted prayers as Patriarch Theofilos III blessed the waters, hurled branches and released white doves into the air. This site is Christianity's third holiest — after the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, on the spot where Christian belief says Jesus was crucified and resurrected, and the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, where tradition holds Jesus was born — and the baptism marks the beginning of Jesus' public ministry. Since Israel took control of the area in the 1967 Mideast war, pilgrims have had to coordinate their visits with the Israeli military, because of security concerns and leftover land mines. The ancient churches and monasteries on the Israeli side, some dating back to the fourth century, are surrounded by signs reading "Danger! Mines!" "Since it was a border, the place is really littered by hundreds and hundreds of mines, and therefore the area is not open to the public and to the believers and pilgrims," said Avner Goren, an archaeologist who works with Israel's Tourism Ministry. The ministry says about 60,000 people visit each year, but with the upcoming official opening that number is expected to rise to the millions. No date for the opening has been set. The Israeli military says the baptism site and adjacent churches are located in a "completely mine-free zone," and insists "no danger is posed to tourists or worshippers." "The (military) regularly clears away minefields in the Jordan River Valley, and in the last year alone approximately 8,000 mines have been removed from the area," the military said in a statement. Dhyan Or, the Israel director of the global anti-mining advocacy group "Roots of Peace," said there are half a million mines in the Jordan Valley — an area prone to floods. He warned that land mines could drift from the fenced areas, and that overzealous worshippers could stray from the marked paths. "There is no political problem to remove the mines and no technical problem to do so," he said. "All that is missing is the political will." In contrast, Jordan cleared the minefields on its side of the border after signing a peace deal with Israel in 1994. Jordan has developed a cultural heritage center on its side across the narrow river from the West Bank shrine, claiming it as the site of the baptism. The center has attracted millions of tourists. Pope John Paul II visited the Jordanian site in 2000, reinforcing the Jordanian claim.

Cardinal Wuerl and my problem with "Apostolic Succession"


I was talking to a friend about how Christians in Iraq were killed and he retorted "They aren't Christians-they were Catholics." First, yes they were Christians. Secondly, I would be equally offended if it was a massacre of Jews or Yezidis. I was deeply offended by his remarks. Catholics claim that they have "Apostolic Succession." This means that they are the one true church because the hands of ordination placed upon them go back all the way to the apostles. (The Eastern Orthodox and the Assyrian Church of the East claims this as well.) The Catholic Church often speaks out against the death penalty and in favor of an open border with Mexico. They do not speak out against abortion as they should. (I am speaking about the American Catholic Church. I have to admit that most of the people who have joined me in protests at abortion mills were Roman Catholics.) The Cardinal of Washington DC is Mr. Wuerl. I am very concerned about how the military will begin persecuting Christians who believe that homosexual conduct is immoral due to their religious beliefs. Mr. Wuerl was asked about this and he refused to respond-although the Scriptures and the church is very clear on this issue. Why didn't he as the leader of the church proclaim the word of God and speak out to defend religious liberty. The Bishops of the Catholic church often get involved in the very controversial and divisive political issue of immigration. Mr. Wuerl doesn't have the courage to speak the word of God. Why is he even a priest? How did this guy get to be a bishop? What good is "Apostolic Succession" if you do not have the moral courage or integrity to speak the word of God and to be the light of the world? I think Christians need to stand together and this failure troubles me. It also bothered me that Mr. Obama, a radical pro-abortion president, who has stated he believes that if a baby survived an abortion and is living on the table crying-that it should legally be put to death by the abortionist, was awarded a honorary doctorate from a major Catholic university (Notre Dame-named after the mother of our Lord-and they dishonor her by this action). We need to stand up uncompromisingly upon the word of God.



I was talking to a friend and he was complaining about "retreatism." This is when Christians, instead of engaging the world retreat from them and withdraw from society. I think he has a good point.


Biblical Archeology Review Dig Scholarship


I am Stephen Andrew Missick. I am a chaplain in the National Guard and I have recently returned from a deployment to Iraq.

I hope to teach at a Christian college and to get into a doctoral program.

I would like to dig at Beth Saida. (I would prefer the Ashkelon dig. However, the Beth Saida dig gives me flexibility with the dates as I do have military obligations. Also, Jesus ministered in Beth Saida and I am very interested in the history and archeology of the first century.) I want to dig because I want to become a better Bible scholar and so that I have experience digging in the field. Experience at a dig I believe would be invaluable. With such experience I would better understand archeological reports that I read during research. With such experience perhaps in the future I could do my own dig.

My goal is to be a professor at a seminary or Christian college. If I have the experience of going on a dig perhaps I can inspire my students with how exciting history and archeology is and perhaps inspire them to go on a dig themselves. I have returned from Iraq without a job here waiting for me. If I won the scholarship I would be able to go on a dig. Without the scholarship I can't afford to go.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Protests in Egypt are at least a mental liberation for Arabs


By the Monitor's Editorial Board The Monitor's Editorial Board – Fri Jan 28, 3:45 pm ET

Mark the day: On Jan. 28, 2011, the Middle East changed. The region's most populous Arab nation, Egypt, saw a massive uprising against President Hosni Mubarak that finally broke the people's fear of his ruthless regime. No matter how events play out in coming days or weeks, Egyptians now realize they only had to shed their fears – as Tunisians did this month in ousting a dictator – and stand together for clean, representative government and a better way of life. Like waking from a bad dream, they saw that nothing had to change but their thinking. Friday's protests give further hope for a huge shift among Arabs demonstrating that they need not put up with the corruption, poverty, and smothered liberties of the region's autocrats. The fact that these protests were led by huge numbers of young people – not the Muslim Brotherhood, not the Army, not the elite – gives this nascent revolution deep roots of legitimacy. Gone are warnings that Arabs aren't eager or ready for democracy, as was said of Iraqis after the ouster of Saddam Hussein. Troubles may yet lie ahead for Egypt in what could be a difficult transition. But nothing can take away the events of Jan. 28. Any government in Cairo will now have to better reflect the will of the people. The country's rigged elections last November, combined with reports that Mubarak or his son might run again, helped break the regime's facade of legitimacy. Egyptians finally connected Mubarak's corrupt politics to high inflation and joblessness. And this volatile mix of bad economics and 30 years of political suppression only needed a spark. Tunisia's revolt provided that. But the internet also played a role in spreading cooperation among dissidents. No wonder then that Mubarak cracked down on almost all electronic communication during Friday's protests. And Egyptians had also witnessed popular protests in Iran and Lebanon, and Iraq's democratic elections since 2005. The Arab world, once dominated by socialism and nationalism, or once aligned with the Soviet Union and tempted by radical Islam, may have turned a corner toward the democratic ideals of the West. Events in Egypt over coming days will be critical to whether the nation, and the region, take the right course. But the mental change has already come. Jan. 28 will be remembered as a day of liberty, not just outrage, for Egypt.

(Apparently, many Arabs view Egyptians as being lazy. I overheard an Iraqi soldier in Iraq talk about wanting to do some Egyptian PT (Physical Training). I asked him what that was and he said taking a nap.)

Hebraic Cyclical Thinking


Bill Cloud and Brad Scott say that the Hebrews though "cyclically" and this is the thinking pattern that those who want to please God should adopt. Is this true? and is it what the Bible teaches? Check out my teaching on this subject at


Glowing Orb appears over the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and is filmed from multiple angles (Fox News Reports, February 3, 2011)


A glowing orb filmed hovering over the skyline of Jerusalem has left UFO experts dumbfounded. The circular object was seen descending slowly over the holy city's iconic Dome of the Rock before flickering and shooting skyward like a rocket. Similar clips have been seen before and debunked as hoaxes. But this latest sighting has proved more difficult to dismiss -- as it was recorded from four different perspectives. Some UFO enthusiasts believe the videos -- which have taken the Internet by storm -- are final proof that aliens exist, while others say the unidentified object was the Hebrew god Elohim. Adding to the mystery is the fact that flying over the Dome of the Rock landmark -- an ancient Islamic shrine -- is forbidden. Two witnesses at the Armon Hanatziv panoramic lookout near Mount Zion filmed the object at 1am on Saturday. A little after one minute into the clip, the object descends slowly, almost to ground level. The craft hovers there for a short while and then flickers before shooting upwards at an incredible speed.


Muslim Brotherhood Motto


"Allah is our objective. The prophet is our leader. The Koran is our law. Jihad is our way. And dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope. Allahu Akbar."


We need to be aware of the problems our world faces-to stand with our fellow Christians who are being persecuted and pray. Perhaps this revolution happened in Egypt because God has heard the crying of his people there and is now moving to deliver them from this Pharaoh who persecutes them.