The Contemporary Bible series covers the most essential stories and teachings of the Bible.
Colorful and dramatically illustrated, the new series gives children an opportunity to experience inspiring accounts from the Bible.
Scandinavia Publishing (a Danish company) makes good Bible material available, especially for children. "Elijah and the Prophets" contains good illustrations of Assyria, Babylonia, and Persia in telling the Bible story.
"This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility."
-- Barack Obama to Dmitry Medvedev, March 26, 2012
The puzzle of the Chuck Hagel nomination for defense secretary is that you normally choose someone of the other party for your Cabinet to indicate a move to the center, but, as The Washington Post editorial board points out, Hagel's foreign policy views are to the left of Barack Obama's, let alone the GOP's. Indeed, they are at the fringe of the entire Senate. So what's going on? Message sending. Obama won re-election. He no longer has to trim, to appear more moderate than his true instincts. He has the "flexibility" to be authentically Obama. Hence the Hagel choice: Under the guise of centrist bipartisanship, it allows the president to leave the constrained first-term Obama behind and follow his natural Hagel-like foreign policy inclinations. On three pressing issues in particular:
(1) Military Spending
Current Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in August 2011 that the scheduled automatic $600 billion defense cuts ("sequestration") would result in "hollowing out the force," which would be "devastating." And strongly hinted that he might resign rather than enact them. Asked about Panetta's remarks, Hagel called the Pentagon "bloated," and needing "to be pared down." Just the man you'd want to carry out a U.S. disarmament that will shrink America to what Obama thinks is its proper size on the world stage, i.e. smaller. The overweening superpower that Obama promiscuously chided in his global we-have-sinned tour is poised for reduction, not only to fund the bulging welfare state but to recalibrate America's proper role in the world.
The issue is not Hagel's alleged hostility but his public pronouncements. His refusal to make moral distinctions, for example. At the height of the second intifada, a relentless campaign of indiscriminate massacre of Israelis, Hagel found innocence abounding: "Both Israelis and Palestinians are trapped in a war not of their making." This pass at evenhandedness is nothing but pernicious blindness. Just last month, Yasser Arafat's widow admitted on Dubai TV what everyone has long known -- that Arafat deliberately launched the intifada after the collapse of the Camp David peace talks in July 2000. He told his wife to stay in the safety of Paris. Why, she asked? Because I'm going to start an intifada. In July 2002, with the terror still raging, Hagel offered further exquisite evenhandedness: "Israel must take steps to show its commitment to peace." Good God. Exactly two years earlier Israel had proposed an astonishingly generous peace that offered Arafat a Palestinian state -- and half of Jerusalem, a previously unimaginable Israeli concession. Arafat said no, made no counteroffer, walked away and started his terror war. Did no one tell Hagel?
Hagel doesn't just oppose military action, a problematic option with serious arguments on both sides. He actually opposed any unilateral sanctions. You can't get more out of the mainstream than that. He believes in diplomacy instead, as if talk alone will deter the mullahs. He even voted against designating Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization. Most tellingly, he has indicated that he is prepared to contain a nuclear Iran, a position diametrically opposed to Obama's first-term, ostensibly unalterable opposition to containment. What message do you think this sends the mullahs? And that's the point. Hagel himself doesn't matter. He won't make foreign policy. Obama will. Hagel's importance is the message his nomination sends about where Obama wants to go. The lessons are being duly drawn. Iran's official media have already cheered the choice of what they call this "anti-Israel" nominee. And they fully understand what his nomination signals regarding administration resolve about stopping them from going nuclear. The rest of the world can see coming the Pentagon downsizing -- and the inevitable, commensurate decline of U.S. power. Pacific Rim countries will have to rethink reliance on the counterbalance of the U.S. Navy and consider acquiescence to Chinese regional hegemony. Arab countries will understand that the current rapid decline of post-Kissinger U.S. dominance in the region is not cyclical but intended to become permanent. Hagel is a man of no independent stature. He's no George Marshall or Henry Kissinger. A fringe senator who left no trace behind, Hagel matters only because of what his nomination says about Obama. However the Senate votes on confirmation, the signal has already been sent. Before Election Day, Obama could only whisper it to his friend Dmitry. Now, with Hagel, he's told the world.
Charles Krauthammer is a syndicated columnist and Fox News contributor
French protest gay marriage
Hundreds of thousands of protesters are mobilizing against the French president's plan to legalize gay marriage, streaming into Paris by bus, car and specially reserved high-speed train. Police are expecting about 300,000 people to march toward the Eiffel Tower from three different points in the city, tying up traffic and closing subway stations for hours in what could be the largest demonstration in a decade. President Francois Hollande has promised to legalize gay marriage, allowing same-sex couples legal protections that would allow them to adopt, among other things. The proposal has grown increasingly unpopular in France, led by opposition from religious leaders. About 50 percent of French favor legalizing gay marriage, down from as high as 65 percent in August.
Good for the French.
40 years of Abortion in America
Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. (Proverbs 24:11)
Golgotha in Aramaic tradition
In some Christian and Jewish traditions, the name Golgotha refers to the location of the skull of Adam. A common version states that Shem and Melchizedek traveled to the resting place of Noah's Ark, retrieved the body of Adam from it, and were led by Angels to Golgotha — described as a skull-shaped hill at the centre of the Earth, where also the serpent's head had been crushed following the Fall of man. This tradition appears in numerous older sources, including the Kitab al-Magall, the Conflict of Adam and Eve with Satan, the Syriac Cave of Treasures, and the writings of Patriarch Eutychius of Alexandria. It is also suggested that the location's landscape resembled the shape of a skull, and gained its name for that reason.
From Gill's Exposition upon the Bible:
went forth in a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew, Golgotha: and signifies a man's skull: it seems, that as they executed malefactors here, so they buried them here; and in process of time, their bones being dug up to make room for others, their skulls, with other bones, lay up and down in this place; from whence it had its name in the Syriac dialect, which the Jews then usually spake: here some say Adam's skull was found, and that it had its name from thence. This was an ancient tradition, as has been observed in the notes on See Gill on Matthew 27:33, and See Gill on Luke 23:33 the Syriac writers have it (k), who say, "when Noah went out of the ark there was made a distribution of the bones of Adam; to Shem, his head was given, and the place in which he was buried is called "Karkaphta": where likewise Christ was crucified;'' which word signifies a skull, as Golgotha does: and so likewise the Arabic writers (l); who affirm that Shem said these words to Melchizedek, "Noah commanded that thou shouldst take the body of Adam, and bury it in the middle of the earth; therefore let us go, I and thou, and bury it; wherefore Shem and Melchizedek went to take the body of Adam, and the angel of the Lord appeared to them and went before them, till they came to the place Calvary, where they buried him, as the angel of the Lord commanded them:'' the same also had the ancient fathers of the Christian church; Cyprian (m) says, that it is a tradition of the ancients, that Adam was buried in Calvary under the place where the cross of Christ was fixed; and Jerom makes mention of it more than once; so Paula and Eustochium, in an epistle supposed to be dictated by him, or in which he was assisting, say (n), in this city, meaning Jerusalem, yea in this place, Adam is said to dwell, and to die; from whence the place where our Lord was crucified is called Calvary, because there the skull of the ancient man was buried: and in another place he himself says (o), that he heard one disputing in the church and explaining, Ephesians 5:14 of Adam buried in Calvary, where the Lord was crucified, and therefore was so called. Ambrose (p) also takes notice of it; the place of the cross, says he, is either in the midst of the land, that it might be conspicuous to all, or over the grave of Adam, as the Hebrews dispute: others say that the hill itself was in the form of a man's skull, and therefore was so called; it was situated, as Jerom says (q), on the north of Mount Zion, and is thought by some to be the same with the hill Gareb, in Jeremiah 31:39. It was usual to crucify on high hills, so Polycrates was crucified upon the highest top of Mount Mycale (r).
John Gill (23 November 1697 – 14 October 1771) was an English
Baptist pastor, biblical scholar, and theologian who held to a firm Calvinistic soteriology. Born in Kettering, Northamptonshire, he attended Kettering Grammar School where he mastered the Latin
classics and learned Greek by age 11. He continued self-study in everything from logic to Hebrew, his love for the latter remaining throughout his life. Gill, as can be seen above, was familiar with the Hebraic and Aramaic roots of Christianity.
Christian family gets 15 years for Converting to Christianity from Islam
The 15-year prison sentence given to a woman and her seven children by an Egyptian court for converting to Christianity is a sign of things to come, according to alarmed human rights advocates who say the nation's Islamist government is bad news for Christians in the North African country. A criminal court in the central Egyptian city of Beni Suef meted out the shocking sentence last week, according to the Arabic-language Egyptian paper Al-Masry Al-Youm. Nadia Mohamed Ali, who was raised a Christian, converted to Islam when she married Mohamed Abdel-Wahhab Mustafa, a Muslim, 23 years ago. He later died, and his widow planned to convert her family back to Christianity in order to obtain an inheritance from her family. She sought the help of others in the registration office to process new identity cards between 2004 and 2006. When the conversion came to light under the new regime, Nadia, her children and even the clerks who processed the identity cards were all sentenced to prison. Samuel Tadros, a research fellow at Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom, said conversions like Nadia's have been common in the past, but said Egypt's new Sharia-based constitution "is a real disaster in terms of religion freedom. The cases will increase in the future," Tadros said. "It will be much harder for people to return to Christianity."
Iranian American pastor arrested in Iran-Christian Post
An American pastor currently held in Iranian prison is facing a grim future after it was announced that his case was recently transferred to a judge accused of human rights violations and infamous for the number of people he has sentenced to death. "This new development is highly troubling -- it appears Iran is determined to remove any chance of the American pastor receiving any semblance of a fair trial. Even more troubling is that the U.S. government has remained silent, essentially abandoning this American in his search for justice," Jordan Sekulow, Executive Director of the American Center for Law and Justice, said in a report shared with The Christian Post. The ACLJ is representing Pastor Saeed Abedini's family in the U.S. Abedini, 32, grew up in Iran, before converting to Christianity at the age of 20, and marrying an American woman in 2002, which helped him gain U.S. citizenship. Along with his wife, Naghmeh, and their two young children, the pastor has traveled back and forth between Iran and the U.S. a number of times in the past few years, helping create a network of underground churches, which provide a safe haven for Muslims who have converted to Christianity. During one such trip in 2009, Abedini was detained by Iranian officials and interrogated for his conversion. While he was released with a warning against engaging in any more underground church activities, in July 2012, he was once again arrested while working on a non-sectarian orphanage project. The ACLJ says the minister was arrested for "his previous work as a Christian leader in Iran," and that he faces the death penalty for trying to convert Muslims to the Christian faith. Currently, Abedini is facing trial at the Evin Prison in northwestern Tehran, described by the persecution watch group as one of Iran's most brutal prisons -- reports allege that he has been beaten by guards and inmates.
King Herod Exhibit
Israel's national museum said Tuesday it will open what it calls the world's first exhibition devoted to the architectural legacy of biblical King Herod, the Jewish proxy monarch who ruled Jerusalem and the Holy Land under Roman occupation two millennia ago. The display includes the reconstructed tomb and sarcophagus of one of antiquity's most notable and despised figures, curators say. Modern day politics are intruding into this ancient find. Palestinians object to the showing of artifacts found in the West Bank. The Israeli museum insists it will return the finds once the exhibit closes. King Herod as vilified in the New Testament as a bloodthirsty tyrant who massacred Bethlehem's male children to try to prevent the prophesied birth of Jesus. He is also said to have murdered his wife and sons. Herod was also revered for his ambitious building projects, including his lavish desert palaces and an expansion of the Second Jewish Temple complex in Jerusalem. Actually, Herod demolished the Jewish Temple that was built in the Persian Era, that was built where King Solomon's Temple had stood before it was demolished by the Babylonians. Herod built a third temple-but the Jewish people today incorrectly and irrationally call Herod's Temple-the "Second Temple."
Sadly, having worked with Palestinian archeologists, I wouldn't trust them with ancient Jewish antiquities because they are so extremist and anti-Jew, I really feel that ancient Jewish relics are not safe in their hands.
Brad Pitt as Pontius Pilate?
It's entirely possible that in a few years time we will identify Brad Pitt as the man who killed Jesus Christ. New reports have surfaced online saying that the A-list star is now contemplating signing on for Pontius Pilate, a new period drama set up over at Warner Bros. that explores the biblical tale of the man who sentenced the Christian savior to be killed by crucifixion. The script was written by Vera Blasi (Woman on Top) and while Pitt isn't currently officially attached, that could change very soon.
Deadline, which first reported the potential casting news, has a full breakdown of the script, having received a copy of it after the project was announced last August. A biopic of sorts, the movie sees Lucius Pontius Pilate grow to become a strong warrior under Roman Emperor Tiberius and a prefect of Judea. The movie, which the site describes as "a Biblical era Twilight Zone episode" and "reminiscent of such films as Braveheart and Gladiator," sees Pilate do what he believes to be right, but end up in over his head. New Testament figures like Caligula , John the Baptist, Salome and Mary Magdalene all play roles in the drama as well. It's also said that the project is much less polarizing than Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, and goes as far as to "explain the motivations of religious leaders like the Jewish high priest Caiaphas (who engineers Christ's demise)." Even if he doesn't end up taking the lead in Pontius Pilate, be prepared to hear Pitt's name a lot more this year. The star has three films confirmed to come out this year, with World War Z due out in June; Steve McQueen's Twelve Years A Slave expected during award season, and the Ridley Scott/Cormac McCarthy drug thriller The Counselor set for November.
Moses "Gods and Kings" Movie?
You may remember us reporting back in September that Warner Bros. was eyeing Steven Spielberg to direct a biopic about the greatest Jewish hero of all, Moses. After all, Spielberg had explored Jewish heroes in films like Schindler's List and Munich, so who better to tackle not just one of the Bible's most important figures, but one already played onscreen by Charlton Heston. It seems like the Moses biopic, called Gods and Kings, wouldn't really be able to happen with anybody but Spielberg behind it, so I suppose it's a good thing that he finally committed. Deadline reports that Spielberg has committed to the Warner Bros. project, which aims to distance itself completely from the Heston-led The Ten Commandments, instead depicting Moses's life as a gritty war movie in the style. "A movie like a Braveheart-ish version of the Moses story. Him coming down the river, being adopted, leaving his home, forming an army, and getting the Ten Commandments." Given that Spielberg has just completed one of the glossiest war epics in recent memory, War Horse, it's a little tough to imagine him going back to Saving Private Ryan's verite style. But he'll have time to plan it first-- they're aiming to start production in March or April of 2013, giving Spielberg plenty of time to wrap up Lincoln and the upcoming Robocpocalypse and make his plans for Gods and Kings. He's been on top of the world this year given War Horse and Tintin, and it's interesting to see him sign on for something that looks like another huge challenge. Say what you will about Spielberg, but he doesn't seem interested in giving himself a break.
I haven't seen that the "God's and Kings Movie" is a confirmed project yet. It is most likely still in development.
Louie Giglio and the Presidential Inauguration (Below are excerpts from Dr. Molher, a hyper-Calvinist extremist. I do not endorse him or his views. But this article is very good-and deals with the danger of Obama's not allowing someone to pray because he believes that homosexuality is sinful. First off, I don't believe a Christian should pray at Obama's inauguration. It would be like Elijah praying at King Ahab's coronation.)
A new chapter in America's moral revolution came Thursday as Atlanta pastor Louie Giglio withdrew from giving the benediction at President Obama's second inaugural ceremony. In a statement released to the White House and the Presidential Inaugural Committee, Giglio said that he withdrew because of the furor that emerged Wednesday after a liberal watchdog group revealed that almost 20 years ago he had preached a sermon in which he had stated that homosexuality is a sin and that the "only way out of a homosexual lifestyle … is through the healing power of Jesus." In other words, a Christian pastor has been effectively disinvited from delivering an inaugural prayer because he believes and teaches Christian truth. The fact that Giglio was actually disinvited was made clear in a statement from Addie Whisenant of the Presidential Inaugural Committee: "We were not aware of Pastor Giglio's past comments at the time of his selection, and they don't reflect our desire to celebrate the strength and diversity of our country at this inaugural. Pastor Giglio was asked to deliver the benediction in large part because of his leadership in combating human trafficking around the world. As we now work to select someone to deliver the benediction, we will ensure their beliefs reflect this administration's vision of inclusion and acceptance for all Americans." That statement is, in effect, an embarrassed apology for having invited Louie Giglio in the first place. Whisenant's statement apologizes for the Presidential Inaugural Committee's failure to make certain that their selection had never, at any time, for any reason, believed that homosexuality is less than a perfectly acceptable lifestyle. The committee then promised to repent and learn from their failure, committing to select a replacement who would "reflect this administration's vision of inclusion and acceptance." The imbroglio over Louie Giglio is the clearest evidence of the new Moral McCarthyism of our sexually "tolerant" age. During the infamous McCarthy hearings, witnesses would be asked, "Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?" In the version now to be employed by the Presidential Inaugural Committee, the question will be: "Are you now or have you ever been one who believes that homosexuality (or bisexuality, or transsexualism, etc.) is anything less than morally acceptable and worthy of celebration?" The Presidential Inaugural Committee and the White House have now declared historic, biblical Christianity to be out of bounds, casting it off the inaugural program as an embarrassment. By its newly articulated standard, any preacher who holds to the faith of the church for the last 2,000 years is 'persona non grata.' A fair-minded reading of that statement indicates that Pastor Giglio has strategically avoided any confrontation with the issue of homosexuality for at least 15 years. The issue "has not been in the range of my priorities," he said. Given the Bible's insistence that sexual morality is inseparable from our "ultimate significance as we make much of Jesus Christ," this must have been a difficult strategy. It is also a strategy that is very attractive to those who want to avoid being castigated as intolerant or homophobic. As this controversy makes abundantly clear, it is a failed strategy. Louie Giglio was cast out of the circle of the acceptable simply because a liberal watchdog group found one sermon he preached almost 20 years ago. If a preacher has ever taken a stand on biblical conviction, he risks being exposed decades after the fact. Anyone who teaches at any time, to any degree, that homosexual behavior is a sin is now to be cast out.
Hilary Clinton "What does it matter!"
After her fake concussion, Hilary Clinton finally testified before congress-both the house and the senate. The media spun it in such a way to make Hillary out to be the victim-although she is responsible.
When directly asked why she blamed the attack on a "spontaneous demonstration" over an anti-Muslim for several days-when she knew well that there was no demonstration-she began screaming "What does it matter?" And then said she was trying to find out what the facts were. This was an incoherent statement-that it precisely why it matters-it wasn't true and we need to get down to the facts. She was rebuked by Ron Paul-who said she should have been fired over her incompetence and also by John McCain-who says it matters because the American people deserve the truth.
The response by the White House to the Benghazi incident is disgraceful-as is Hillary Clinton.
Unfortunately, the next two years are going to be difficult. Good years from radical Islam-and bad years for Christianity and for freedom.
The tragedy is that the News Media is the propaganda wing for the White House and the Democratic Party. We don't really have a free press in America anymore. We have a state controlled leftist control liberal media establishment-and it is a force for evil.
I am heading to India for the first week of February. I am going with Congregation Shalom-a Hebrew Christian fellowship in Humble, Texas. Most of my expenses will be covered by them. I will be preaching at an Evangelistic Crusade and going to a pastor's conference and I will be visiting an orphanage. I have always wanted to go to India. I wanted to go in order to trace the footsteps of the Apostle Thomas. However, I am going to Hyderabad, which is in Central India.
I have been wanted to write the story of Saint Thomas in India. One of the reasons I have hesitated to do so was that I felt that I should go to India-and experience the country for myself before setting down on the task.
Please pray for me while I am on this mission trip-and pray for India.
Also, please pray that God would provide my needs. My financial situation looks dire to me and has been causing me some anxiety. Hopefully, I will get my teachers certification and have a job this fall.
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 www.comixpress.com. 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. He participated in an archeological excavation of Bethsaida in Galilee in 2011 and went on a missionary trip to Uganda in 2012. PO Box 882, Shepherd, Texas, 77371 BLOG: www.aramaicherald.blogspot.com
YOUTUBE CHANNEL: www.youtube.com/aramaic12
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