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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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."
- 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.
- Coptic Christians complain that the government of Egypt educates children in schools about Islam but teaches negative things about Christianity.
- In Egypt there are numerous examples of Muslims who convert to Christianity being arrested and tortured. Look at the testimony of Majed El Shafie.
- 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."
- Mr. Mubarak finally agreed to meet with "opposition groups" namely-the Muslim Brotherhood. Coptic oppositions groups were not invited.
- 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 www.youtube.com/aramaic12.
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.