Friday, October 12, 2012

New Aramaic Book: “An Introduction to Biblical Aramaic”

The study of biblical Aramaic, an ancient Semitic language from which the Hebrew alphabet was derived, is necessary for understanding texts written during certain periods of early Jewish and Christian history and is especially important for the study of the books of Daniel and Ezra. This new textbook is a thorough guide to learning to read and translate biblical Aramaic and includes an introduction to the language, examples of texts for practice translations, and helpful comparison charts.

Andreas Schuele is Aubrey Lee Brooks Professor of Biblical Theology at Union Presbyterian Seminary. He earned doctoral degrees in both Ancient Near Eastern Studies and Old Testament from the University of Heidelberg. His research focuses on language, literary history, and theology of the Old Testament. Show More

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Jesus was no wimp! By Johnnie Moore, Liberty University President,

[A common misconception that many people have is that Jesus was a weakling, a wimp, someone who was so passive that he enabled evil. This notion is most popular with liberals who seem to think that Jesus was a wimp and that being wimpy is somehow godly. Jesus called people to repent and live a life of virtue-but liberals think social evils, such as sodomy, abortion, prostitution, ect., are virtues. Now, for his day and time, Jesus would have been considered "liberal" and "anti-establishment." However, modern liberalism is immoral and debauched and its system of immorality is something that is opposed to the spirit of Christ. And, today Liberalism is the establishment. I recently read through a disturbing book entitled "The New Leviathan" by David Horowitz. It is about the vast financial resources of the radical left. They have billions-and they pretty much control all the purse-strings in America. Opposing them seems really hopeless, but the Bible says, "Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world." Horowitz shows that the idea that the democrats are the common people opposed to the wealthy Republican establishment isn't true-actually the opposite is true. However, I don't like the RINO Republican establishment either.]

Of course, as a Bible-believing evangelical, I do not believe that Christians should treat people maliciously, take revenge or fight with others arbitrarily. I believe we should show extraordinary restraint. But, when someone asked me if I thought God would "get even" with people, I decided to make a nuanced, theological point: "God would, and he did, get even." In the end, God won. They must have expected me to react the way some liberal reporters responded in the aftermath of Mr. Trump's speech. The liberal press, which obviously couldn't bear the thought of Jerry Falwell, Jr., and Donald Trump working together to halt the current assault on the American free enterprise system, immediately took to the Bible to try to drive a wedge between these patriotic allies. They wanted us evangelicals to go ahead and stay put (and quiet) in our nice little box. After all, it's much easier to take advantage of us that way. Yet, I believe, it's high time that Christians toughen up a bit. Christians shouldn't be malicious, but they also shouldn't let people run all over them. Is it heretical to believe God is, and God wants us to be, tough? Hardly. Read the Bible. It's filled with God pursuing justice, settling scores with folks who messed with him, or who messed with his people, and – believe it or not - Jesus is "Exhibit A." The prevailing view of Jesus, mainly among liberal Christians, might be that he was a blond-haired, blue-eyed, fluffy little self-help teacher who spent lots of time tip-toeing through the lilies, doling out softly worded pieces of advice to children, and saying things like, "can't we all get along." However, Jesus was no "patsy," (as Trump might say) and being around him wasn't always like being cuddled up in a nice, warm Snuggie ®. Jesus was a tough character. The same Jesus who preached compassion is the same Jesus who publicly embarrassed his nemeses (the Pharisees) by calling them "a bunch of snakes" in front of a large crowd of people. The same Jesus who said, in a particular and oft-misunderstood context, that we ought to "turn the other cheek" is the same Jesus who made a royal mess out of the temple by taking a whip to a bunch of moneychangers. Does that sound like a cuddly Jesus who lets people run all over him? Jesus didn't float on down to planet earth like a deflating balloon. He dropped down like an atom bomb, and his very presence was a provocation. Christians believe Jesus was perfect, and sinless, yet it seems like two images of Jesus emerge in the Bible. One wonders if the real Jesus is the lover of lepers, or is it the tough-as-nails, Judean prophet with dirt under his fingernails "cleansing the temple?" Equally contradictory is the advice King Solomon once gave in the Old Testament, "do NOT answer a fool lest you become like him" to which he immediately followed by saying, "DO answer a fool lest he take advantage of you." (Proverbs 26:4-5). What was Solomon's point, and what can we learn from Jesus' example? We must be wise about "when" and "how" we react when someone has treated us unjustly, but we mustn't be fearful of standing up for ourselves. Of course, Christians shouldn't treat people maliciously and they shouldn't fight arbitrarily, but Christians – like Jesus – should pursue justice, and they should – like Jesus – not let people take advantage of them. Jesus might have been meek, but he sure wasn't weak. He had a steel spine; he spoke boldly and strongly. In the end he had lots of enemies who nailed him to a tree to shut him up. Then, Christians believe, Jesus just raised himself from the dead – showing that he was in control of everything, anyhow. I might just call that more than "getting even."

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Officer Blacklisted for teaching facts about Islam

An Army lieutenant colonel who was on the fast track until Muslim groups complained about a course he taught on radical Islam has a legal foundation in his foxhole. Attorneys for Lt. Col Matthew Dooley, a West Point graduate and highly-decorated combat veteran, was an instructor at the Joint Forces Staff College at the National Defense University, where by most accounts he won praise from students and faculty alike. But when Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey excoriated Dooley during a Pentagon press conference in May, characterizing his course, "Perspectives on Islam and Islamic Radicalism" as objectionable, unprofessional, and "against our values," Dooley's once-bright career effectively hit a dead end, say his backers. Following Dempsey's criticism, Dooley received a negative Officer Evaluation Report (OER) after acing them for the past five years, according to Thompson. In military circles, the bad OER was a scarlet letter. "They [superiors] ordered a negative evaluation. He will never have the opportunity for promotion unless this is overturned," Thompson said. Dooley is a 22-year military veteran and decorated soldier who served three generals and did multiple tours of duty overseas. Dooley's attorney says that they are prepared to file a civil lawsuit in federal court if Dooley's negative ranking is not overturned by superiors.

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[This is a very dangerous precedent-you challenge Islam-even radical Islam-and there will be consequences. I guarantee you that Obama is being this. Also, the Coptic filmmaker behind "the Innocence of Islam" was also arrested-on trumped up charges. We must speak up.]

Salafis begin to unravel

[In the last newsletter, I discussed the Decline and Fall of Islam. These Islamic extremist cannot bring anything about except for decline, suffering and misery. I am Ayaan Hirshi Ali give these people 10-30 years to decline. It is already happening. My hope and prayer is that Middle Eastern Christians can survive the next couple of decades-so that they can thrive in the post-Islamist Middle East.]

Internal feuds are threatening to unravel the political party of Egypt's ultraconservative Islamist Salafis, as pragmatists try to shake off the control of hardline clerics who reject any compromise in their stark, puritanical version of Islam. The fight for leadership could paralyze the Al-Nour Party, which rocketed out of nowhere to become Egypt's second most powerful political force, behind the Muslim Brotherhood. Together, the Brotherhood and Al-Nour embodied the rise of Islamists to prominence after last year's fall of Hosni Mubarak. It also underlines the key dilemma in the project of political Islam — what to do when the maneuverings of democratic politics collide with demands for strict purity of religious ideology, particularly the unbending, black-and-white doctrine of the Salafis. Infighting among the Salafis could discredit their aims of radical Islamization of Egypt in the eyes of some Egyptians who saw the movement as pious and uncorrupt, calling for strict adherence to the Quran and the ways of the Prophet Muhammad. "The party is exploding from inside," Mohammed Habib, who was once a leader in the Muslim Brotherhood, said of Al-Nour. "In the street, it has lost its credibility. People see clerics who they used to see as men of God engaging in earthy disputes. They used to trust them. This will have a negative impact not only on Al-Nour or Salafis but on all Islamists in politics." Salafis are among the most hardcore conservatives in Egypt, with a stricter vision of Islam than the Brotherhood. Salafi men are known for their long beards, with the mustache shaved off — a style they say was worn by Muhammad — while the women wear the "niqab," an enveloping black robe and veil that leaves only the eyes visible. They advocate strict segregation of the sexes and an unbendingly literal interpretation of the Quran, saying society should mirror the way the prophet ruled the early Muslims in the 7th Century. They say they want to turn Egypt into a pure Islamic society, implementing strict Shariah law. They also reject democracy as a heresy, since it would supplant God's law with man's rulings. Nevertheless, after Mubarak's fall in February 2011, the movement's main institution of clerics, the Alexandria-based "Salafi Call," backed the creation of Al-Nour to run in parliament elections on the religious principle that "what is necessary permits what is prohibited." The party's showing was stunning, winning a quarter of the seats, second only to the Brotherhood's 50 percent of the legislature — a testimony to the popular networks Salafi clerics set up under Mubarak's rule. Parliament was disbanded by a court ruling this year because of faults in the election law. Now the party is in a bitter feud over leadership.

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Captain Hook arrested and extradited to the United States

[For decades Islamic terrorists have been able to operate openly in England. One in particular was Abu Hamza al-Masri. While creating IEDs, the IED exploded in his face costing him an eye and both of his hands. He wears hooks for prosthetic hands. He was finally arrested and now has been extradited to the United States.]

A partially blind extremist Egyptian-born preacher and four other terrorism suspects appeared in federal courts Saturday, hours after they lost yearslong extradition fights in Britain and were transported to the U.S. under tight security to face trial. The preacher, Abu Hamza al-Masri, entered no plea to charges of conspiring with Seattle men to set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon and of helping abduct 16 hostages, two of them American tourists, in Yemen in 1998. Al-Masri has hooks in place of hands, but he came into court without them and both arms exposed through his short-sleeved blue prison shirt. His court-appointed lawyer, Sabrina Shroff, asked that his prosthetics be immediately returned "so he can use his arms."

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Turkey bombs Syria

Cross border mortaring between Turkey and Syria has been going on for days. It shows that Syria has no fear of the United States or NATO in that it would carry out attacks upon a NATO member. (NATO is a mutual defense treaty organization-supposedly an attack on one NATO member would be considered an attack upon them all.)

Coptic boys arrested in Egypt for violating Sharia Law

CAIRO -- Two Coptic Christian boys have been put in juvenile detention after locals accused them of urinating on pages of the Islamic holy book, an Islamic cleric and prosecutors said Wednesday, in the latest in a series of legal cases in Egypt against alleged contempt of religion. Accusations of insulting Islam have increased in Egypt – particularly against Christians – since last month's fury over an anti-Islam film produced in the United States. Such cases occurred in the past, but the flurry to prosecute in recent weeks has raised concerns over freedom of speech and over the power of ultraconservative Islamists in the country. The new case is a rare instance of minors being accused. The boys, ages 9 and 10, were detained Tuesday in a southern town, to be held for 15 days while prosecutors investigate the accusations. There have been 17 cases of alleged contempt of religion filed since the January 2011 revolution, including at least five in recent weeks, according to the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights. A female Coptic teacher in another southern town was also summoned for interrogation last week and detained for a night after her students accused her of speaking offensively of the Prophet Muhammad in class. The teacher was released from detention, but prosecutors are still investigating her, human rights activists said. Another Coptic Christian, Alber Saber, is facing trial for posting material on his Facebook page deemed offensive of religion. He was first detained after neighbors complained he had posted the anti-Islam film, but investigators didn't find it. Nonetheless, within days he was put on trial on charges of contempt of religion. His trial began last week. In a rare case of prosecuting an offender of Christianity, an Islamic preacher is on trial for tearing up and burning a copy of the Bible during protests last month against the film. Charges of contempt for religion in Egypt carry a potential maximum sentence of five years in prison. Since the film, there have been calls by leaders of some Muslim nations, including Egypt, for international laws criminalizing insults to religion. The incident with the two boys took place in the village of Ezbet Marco in the southern province of Beni Suef. Sheik Gamal Shamardal, a Muslim cleric and the local leader of a hardline Islamist group, said residents saw the boys bring pages of the Quran behind a local mosque and urinate on them. Police arrested the boys and a crowd of angry residents gathered outside the police station. Fearing violence, security forces have surrounded the village and the boys were taken to a juvenile detention facility.

[You cannot have free speech and blasphemy laws. You can't even have inter-faith dialogue, or genuine inter-faith dialogue-with blasphemy laws. This sort of thing goes on in Pakistan ALL the time. (That is Christian children-or adults-arrested for "insulting Islam" desecrating the Koran-or some other sort of rot-gut. There has been persecution of Christians in Egypt-but this "blaspheming Islam" seems to be a new development.]

"Piss Christ" back on display

Tax-paying funded sacrilegious art featuring a crucifix dipped in urine was put on display in NYC. Where, "the holy virgin Mary" (an image of Christ's mother made out of a collage of pornographic images-and smeared with elephant manure) and a picture of Jesus on the cross being eaten by ants were both recently put on display. No comments from the president. Taxpayers have also paid for a picture of Jesus Christ performing sexual acts on his twelve apostles. So, American tax-payers have to pay for "art" that maligns the Son of God.

New York's MET will not display images of Mohammed

[The MET is cautious about displaying its ancient Islamic created pictures of Mohammed.] The Met is no longer non-prophet. After at least an eight-year absence, images of Mohammed will return to the Metropolitan Museum of Art as the renovated Islamic galleries reopen in November. The controversial depictions have not been seen in years, and there was some doubt about whether they would resurface when a $50 million renovation of the gallery space is completed. Conservative Muslims object to any images of the prophet, saying that their religion forbids showing renderings of Islam's founder. "Islamic Sharia law doesn't allow his image," said Chernor Sa'ad Jalloh, an assistant imam at the Islamic Cultural Center in Manhattan. "Even in Islamic museums they don't allow this." But a Met spokesman said the display is a matter of art, not religion. "We have tried to be up-front and frank about our plans with members of the Muslim-American community," said Harold Holzer. "We have not asked for guidance." The museum invited New York Muslim groups on an advance tour of the new 19,000-square-foot space on the second floor, and reached out to dozens of Islamic art scholars during the renovation. The Met is widely considered to have one of the world's most important collections of Islamic art, spanning 13 centuries. The renovation has added 5,000 square feet of exhibition space and includes the recreation of a Moorish courtyard. Experts spent three years restoring a 16th-century rug that once belonged to Russian royalty. Holzer refused to say whether the Met had made special security arrangements for the opening of the awkwardly named "Galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia and Later South Asia." The name was changed from "Islamic Galleries." The Met has five images of the prophet in its 60,000-piece collection of Islamic art. Curators plan to display only two at a time because they are delicate and cannot be exposed to light for long.

NOTE: Now the MET will not display the images-citing the "Innocence of Muslims" brouhaha. Please note that this is Islamic art, art created by Muslims, that depict the "prophet" Mohammed. I don't understand why we allow the Saudi Arabian extremist to determine what is acceptable for Muslims and what isn't. I have seen the Shiites with pictures of Ali. The Saudis destroyed the shrines for Mohammed and the first Muslims when they took over Mecca. (Of course they preserved the graves.) Muslims had no problem with the decorations-but the Saudis are an extremists iconoclastic sect. (The Saudi Arabian radical Islamic cult is called "the Wahibi.")

US Church Remains in 'Coma' Despite Cataclysmic Events in Middle East, Says Watchdog By Alex Murashko , Christian Post Reporter

The church in America is no longer simply in a slumber when it comes to its lack of awareness about the persecuted church in the Middle East; it is in a "diabetic coma," says the leader of a
persecution watchdog group in the U.S. "For years we've said wake up and strengthen what remains," Open Doors USA President and CEO Dr. Carl Moeller told The Christian Post in an exclusive interview. "We would think of the American church as a napping church and that we would elbow it and it would wake up and rouse itself and do something. "In my mind today, the picture I have is a church in a diabetic coma that has gorged itself on the sweets of affluence, materialism, and the idolatry of worshipping the materialistic world. That diabetic coma is now life threatening. We as a church are at the point of death – not the church in the Middle East. We are the ones who can no longer rouse ourselves to even pray for an hour on behalf of things that God would have us pray for." Moeller said he has been working with Open Doors for almost 10 years to bring an awareness of "the suffering church to the American church conscience." "Revelation 3:4 says, 'Wake up, and strengthen what remains about to die.' For 50-plus years Open Doors has taken that verse as a motive to wake the church in the West up and to motivate them to go and strengthen what remains in the Body of Christ that is about to die in those places where the church is suffering," he explained. "It's always been a case where we talked about waking the church up in the West, but also serving the church that is in utter persecution." However, Moeller now believes that even the "cataclysmic events that are going on around the world today" have not awakened the church in the West. Events that he says have transpired without sufficient notice or action by Christians in the U.S. are such things as the bombing of the Israeli bus in Bulgaria, and Iran calling for the destruction of Israel and the United States.

He added, "We have the election of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the U.S. government affirming basically a terrorist organization as the legitimate government of the key intellectual capital of Islam and the Arab world in Cairo. We have in Syria a blood bath where Christians are literally caught between the hammer and the anvil, but there is a despotic regime being set upon by an Islamic extremist rebel force and the world is saying ok, we are going to take sides with the extremists." Moeller believes Open Doors has a unique perspective as it has ministry workers on the ground in many Middle Eastern countries in efforts to support Christians who are persecuted for their faith by governments and other faith groups. "I'm utterly amazed at the inability of Americans to put two and two together at times. This is what has challenged me," he said. "We've been working in those places where Christians are persecuted for decades. We've seen what real, true fire-tested Christianity looks like and the faith that it produces. We've also seen unfortunately a slumbering church in the West move deeper and deeper into sleep." He believes that one of the most telling signs that Jesus will soon return to the world is "this great apostasy in our church today of people who claim to be Christians and yet have neither the guts nor the hands to live out the Christian life the way our brothers and sisters in the persecuted church have." "The American church is now on a death spiral to final unconsciousness," he said. "If we were to say what is the insulin that the church needs desperately to wake up from its diabetic coma, it's to understand that the lies of a materialistic culture are not true. We need a dose of truth and the truth is found in the persecuted Christians' experience with Christ. They are the ones that know that despite all the attempts of the enemy to destroy the church, persecution only serves to strengthen the true faith of believers. That's the message the American church needs to know and learn." He said he is absolutely convinced that persecution will come to America "because we have left God no option." "One of the greatest tools of the enemy is to make the church in America and the Western world numb to the cries and suffering to people around the world," he explained. "As a result of the church being unconscious, the enemy is going to invade. The enemy is going to destroy our family, our lives, our culture, and our freedoms. Once those things are taken away then maybe the church will rouse itself because in persecution the church inevitably does become more aware of what has been taken away from it in terms of freedoms." Moeller said he hopes and prays that the current state of the church in the U.S. does not become a permanent disability. "I want nothing more of a church that is simply entertaining," he said. "I want a church that is prepping people for the inevitable battle that is raging all around us spiritually."


[But with Obama in office pursuing a pro-Islamist and extreme secularizing agenda, and with a lap dog news media and a cowardly congress that refuses to oppose his agenda-there isn't much that the American church can really do right now.]

Iranian-American to publish Holocaust history online for Iranians

By Lisa Daftari
Published October 01, 2012

It's not hard for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to insist that the Holocaust never took place when there's virtually no Persian-language record of it, but an Iranian-American author is making it his mission to correct the historical record in his homeland. Ari Babaknia, a 65-year-old from Orange County, Calif., has written a four-volume book in Persian entitled "Holocaust," which he hopes will allow Iranians to learn the truth about the suffering of Jews at the hands of Nazis. Babaknia hopes to make the book available for free online within the borders of Iran. "It is not enough to sell this book," said Babaknia, a Jew who went to medical school in Iran in the 1970s and now is a fertility specialist in Newport Beach, Calif. "The power and reach of the Internet is where the real impact of this book will be. "I want the entire young Persian-speaking world who have access to the Internet to have the ability to download it, read it and research it." Ahmadinejad has repeatedly insisted that the Holocaust is a "myth" and that the extermination of six million Jews at the hands of Nazis never happened. The Ahmadinejad line is in keeping with the denials of the hard-line government that has ruled the Islamic Republic since the revolution of 1979. When Babaknia began researching his subject 15 years ago, he was surprised to discover that there was no Holocaust material in Persian, the language also referred to as Farsi. Not only was there no description of the Holocaust, there was little historical context for younger Iranians to learn about the mid-20th century events that shaped the world. "I wanted to know where the rest of the world was," Babaknia said. "Where was Churchill? Where was Roosevelt? What was the reason for world leaders to be indifferent?" After all, he said, "forgetting the Holocaust is repeating the Holocaust." Babaknia's book is self-published through his Memorah Foundation, together with Washington-based David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies. Once he recoups his expenses, he plans to release the content online for free. That could be problematic, however, as Tehran has announced plans to create a separate Internet for Iran, one that the theocratic government could control. Babaknia knows of that plan but is unfazed. "What happens with the Internet over there is beyond my control, but you cannot suppress humanity forever," he said. Babaknia has managed to create some awareness within Iran of his project, largely through dozens of interviews with Iranian satellite TV stations that broadcast directly into the country. One important point he emphasizes is that Iran has a positive story to tell regarding the Holocaust. "Iran has always been good to Jews," he said. "During the Holocaust, there are many instances that show how good the Iranian people and officials were to Jews. This goes against Ahmadinejad's claim that the Holocaust didn't happen. Iran was one of the refuges for victims." Babaknia, who came to the U.S. in 1974 to complete his residency in gynecology at Johns Hopkins University and has lived here ever since, originally thought he would be able to finish the book in a year or two. "I didn't care how long it would take, I took it upon myself to tell the whole story, and it took five years," he said. The volumes are entitled, "Man's Inhumanity to Man," "America's Response to the Holocaust," "The World's Response to the Holocaust" and "End of the Holocaust and Liberation of Nazi Camps and the Genocides of the Last 100 Years." The four volumes are available through Amazon and the websites and for $200. Babaknia is also traveling the country for book signings and speaking engagements. In April, Babaknia will be coming out with a second book, this time in English, about the psychological experiences of both Holocaust victims and oppressors. Read more:

[When I lived in the Middle East, I was horrified by the extreme hatred of Jews-by pretty much ALL Muslims and even a large minority of Christians. Many actually think that the Talmud, a commentary on the Jewish "oral Law" is the "Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion"-a notorious anti-Semitic forgery. (Thoroughly debunked in Will Eisner's "The Plot.") How do you oppose such ignorance? I thought that what the Jews need to do is to translate the Talmud into Arabic and publish it online. Perhaps, they could go online and discuss Judaism-in Arabic-or other Islamic languages. What this gentleman is doing is what I had in mind. I think Christians should do the same thing-explain what we believe-in Arabic. Liberals would surely oppose it-and call it "proselytizing." But, the goal would be to create mutual understanding. Liberals think that American are the bad guys-we are ignorant and intolerant and have a problem. In reality it is the Muslim who are ignorant, intolerant and have a problem. If they understood who we are, what we believe and why-perhaps it could enable them to become more openminded and tolerant. Its so evident-but the liberals can't see it-because they are brain-washed into political correctness. The results of this have been deadly.]

Stephen Missick PO BOX 882, Shepherd, TX 77371,

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