Adonis Diaries

Archive for the ‘Christianity’ Category

The Deplorable Neo-cons? Christian Zionist or Extremist Evangelical Puritanism?

Note: Re-edit of “Christian Zionism: The Heresy of Choice for Neocons. May 23, 2018)

For each Jewish Zionist there are ten wacko Evangelical Christian Zionists.

At least one in four American Christians surveyed recently by Christianity Today magazine said that they believe it is their biblical responsibility to support the nation of Israel.

This view is known as Christian Zionism.

The Pew Research Center put the figure at 63% among white evangelicals.

Christian Zionism is pervasive within mainline American evangelical, charismatic and independent denominations including the Assemblies of God, Pentecostals and Southern Baptists, as well as many of the independent mega-churches.

It is less prevalent within the historic denominations, which show a greater respect for the work of the United Nations, support for human rights, the rule of international law and empathy with the Palestinians.

The origins of the movement can be traced to the early 19th century when a group of eccentric British Christian leaders began to lobby for Jewish restoration to Palestine as a necessary precondition for the return of Christ.

The movement gained traction from the middle of the 19th century when Palestine became strategic to British, French and German colonial interests in the Middle East.

Proto-Christian Zionism therefore preceded Jewish Zionism by more than 50 years. Some of Theodore Herzl’s strongest advocates were Christian clergy.

Christian Zionism as a modern theological and political movement embraces the most extreme ideological positions of Zionism.

It has become deeply detrimental to a just peace between Palestine and Israel.

It propagates a worldview in which the Christian message is reduced to an ideology of empire, colonialism and militarism. In its extreme form, it places an emphasis on apocalyptic events leading to the end of history rather than living Christ’s love and justice today.

Followers of Christian Zionism are convinced that the founding of the State of Israel in 1948 and the capture of Jerusalem in 1967 were the miraculous fulfillment of God’s promises made to Abraham that he would establish Israel as a Jewish nation forever in Palestine.

Tim LaHaye’s infamous Left Behind novels, together with other End Times speculations written by authors such as Hal Lindsey, John Hagee and Pat Robertson, have sold well over 100 million copies.

These are supplemented by children’s books, videos and even violent computer games.

Burgeoning Christian Zionist organizations such as the International Christian Embassy (ICEJ), Christian Friends of Israel (CFI) and Christians United for Israel (CUFI) wield considerable influence on Capitol Hill, claiming a support base in excess of 50 million true believers.

This means there are now at least ten times as many Christian Zionists as Jewish Zionists.

And their European cousins are no less active in the Zionist Hasbara-fia, lobbying for Israel, attacking its critics and thwarting the peace process. The United States and Israel are often portrayed as Siamese twins, joined at the heart, sharing common historic, religious and political values.

Pastor John Hagee is one of the leaders of the Christian Zionist movement. He is the Founder and Senior Pastor of Cornerstone Church, a 19,000-member evangelical church in San Antonio, Texas. His weekly programs are broadcast on 160 TV stations, 50 radio stations and eight networks into an estimated 99 million homes in 200 countries.

In 2006 he founded Christians United for Israel admitting that: “For 25 almost 26 years now, I have been pounding the evangelical community over television. The Bible is a very pro-Israel book. If a Christian admits ‘I believe the Bible,’ I can make him a pro-Israel supporter or they will have to denounce their faith. So I have the Christians over a barrel, you might say.”

In March 2007, Hagee spoke at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference. He began by saying: “The sleeping giant of Christian Zionism has awakened. There are 50 million Christians standing up and applauding the State of Israel…”

As the Jerusalem Post pointed out, his speech did not lack clarity. He went on to warn: “It is 1938. Iran is Germany, and Ahmadinejad is the new Hitler. We must stop Iran’s nuclear threat and stand boldly with Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East… Think of our potential future together: 50 million evangelicals joining in common cause with 5 million Jewish people in America on behalf of Israel is a match made in heaven.”

Christian Zionists have shown varying degrees of enthusiasm for implementing 6 basic political convictions that arise from their ultra-literal and fundamentalist theology:

  1. The belief that the Jews remain God’s chosen people leads Christian Zionists to seek to bless Israel in material ways. However, this also invariably results in the uncritical endorsement of and justification of Israel’s racist and apartheid policies, in the media, among politicians and through solidarity tours to Israel.
  2. As God’s chosen people, the final restoration of the Jews to Israel is therefore actively encouraged, funded and facilitated through partnerships with the Jewish Agency.
  3. Eretz Israel, as delineated in scripture, from the Nile to the Euphrates, belongs exclusively to the Jewish people, therefore the land must be annexed, and Palestinians driven from their homes and the illegal Jewish settlements expanded and consolidated.
  4. Jerusalem is regarded as the eternal and exclusive capital of the Jews, and cannot be shared with the Palestinians. Therefore, strategically, Christian Zionists have lobbied the US Administration to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem and thereby ensure that Jerusalem is recognized as the capital of Israel.
  5. Christian Zionists offer varying degrees of support for organizations such as the Jewish Temple Mount Faithful who are committed to destroying the Dome of the Rock and rebuilding the Jewish Temple on the Haram Al-Sharif (Noble sanctuary of Al-Aqsa).
  6. Christian Zionists invariably have a pessimistic view of the future, convinced that there will be an apocalyptic war of Armageddon in the imminent future. They are deeply skeptical of the possibility of a lasting peace between Jews and Arabs and therefore oppose the peace process. Indeed, to advocate an Israeli compromise of “land for peace” with the Palestinians is seen as a rejection of God’s promises to Israel and therefore to support her enemies.

Within the Christian Zionist worldview, Palestinians are regarded as alien residents in Israel.

Many Christian Zionists are reluctant even to acknowledge Palestinians exist as a distinct people, claiming that they emigrated to Israel from surrounding Arab nations for economic reasons after Israel had become prosperous.

A fear and deep-seated hatred of Islam also pervades their dualistic Manichean theology.

Christian Zionists have little or no interest in the existence of indigenous “Arab Christians” despite their continuity with the early church. (And the foundation of the civilization in the Near-East)

In 2006, I drafted what became known as the Jerusalem Declaration on Christian Zionism signed by 4 of the Heads of Churches in Jerusalem: His Beatitude Patriarch Michel Sabbah, Latin Patriarch, Jerusalem; Archbishop Swerios Malki Mourad, Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate, Jerusalem; Bishop Riah Abu El-Assal, Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East; and Bishop Munib Younan, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land.

In it they insisted:

“We categorically reject Christian Zionist doctrines as a false teaching that corrupts the biblical message of love, justice and reconciliation.

We further reject the contemporary alliance of Christian Zionist leaders and organizations with elements in the governments of Israel and the United States that are presently imposing their unilateral pre-emptive borders and domination over Palestine.

This inevitably leads to unending cycles of violence that undermine the security of all peoples of the Middle East and the rest of world.

We reject the teachings of Christian Zionism that facilitate and support these policies as they advance racial exclusivity and perpetual war rather than the gospel of universal love, redemption and reconciliation taught by Jesus Christ.

Rather than condemn the world to the doom of Armageddon we call upon everyone to liberate themselves from ideologies of militarism and occupation.

Instead, let them pursue the healing of the nations!

We call upon Christians in Churches on every continent to pray for the Palestinian and Israeli people, both of whom are suffering as victims of occupation and militarism. These discriminatory actions are turning Palestine into impoverished ghettos surrounded by exclusive Israeli settlements.

The establishment of the illegal settlements and the construction of the Separation Wall (Wall of Shame) on confiscated Palestinian land undermines the viability of a Palestinian state and peace and security in the entire region.”

The patriarchs concluded, “God demands that justice be done. No enduring peace, security or reconciliation is possible without the foundation of justice. The demands of justice will not disappear. The struggle for justice must be pursued diligently and persistently but non-violently.”

The prophet Micah asks, “What does the Lord require of you, to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8).

It is my contention after more than 10 years of postgraduate research that Christian Zionism is the largest, most controversial and most destructive lobby within Christianity.

It bears primary responsibility for perpetuating tensions in the Middle East, justifying Israel’s apartheid colonialist agenda and for undermining the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.

The closing chapter of the New Testament takes us back to the imagery of the Garden of Eden and the removal of the curse arising from the Fall:

“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb… On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.” (Revelation 22:1-2)

Surely this is what Jesus had in mind when he instructed his followers to act as Ambassadors of peace and reconciliation, to work and pray that God’s kingdom would come on earth as it is in heaven.

Note: It is the US Evangelical who pressured President Wilson to demand that England recognizes the rights of Jews in Palestine before joining in the WWI war.

In social idiosyncrasies, the Devil is NOT in the Details

Note: Re-edit of “The devil is NOT in the details; (October 16, 2009)”

Details are the basis for any program execution.  Do details bring people together to communicate, dialogue, and negotiate to reach compromises?

Strong with draft details, can each organization start to sort out the differences and comprehend the big picture? Why it is never the way around in social behavior?

The main wall that separate among communities is the concrete wall mixed with myths, general concepts, and abstract notions.

I will discuss two cases, one religious and the other of political nature.

First case:

After the crucifixion of Jesus, many Christian sects were born in the Near East in the first four centuries.  Fundamentally, these sects were almost identical in applying the Jewish daily rituals or the Jewish 650 laws of “correct” conduct.

What separated these sects were abstract concepts that did not harm their peaceful coexistence in separate communities of believers: they never attacked by force one another. Actually, they tended to isolate their community from “outside” influence

Military persecutions started when the Church acquired central power in Constantinople; and entire “heretic” sects and entire communities had to flee to safety.

The Mighty Wall was erected after 325 AC when Byzantium Empire decided to adopt Christianity as the main religion of the Empire.

Thus, the central power concept of the Empire dictated that church should be centralized.  Instead of focusing in negotiating on the details that split the various sects an upper abstract superstructure on concepts was imposed.

Concepts such as the dual nature of Christ, the deity of the threes (the father, the son, and the Holy Spirit), the virginity of the mother Mary and on.  This time around, the sects were to join the Orthodox Church by force if need be: a central Empire cannot permit disunity, even on totally nonsense abstract conjectures!

Consequently, the labeled “heretic” sects had to flee beyond the eastern shores of the Euphrates River (to the Persian Sassanid Dynasty).

The Nestorian sect reached China and translated “their” Bible into the Chinese language. Many other “heretic” sects settled in the Arabian Peninsula.

The Christian-Jewish “Ebionite” sect was firmly entrenched in Mecca. The uncle of the Prophet Muhammad, Ain Warkat, was the Patriarch of this sect and Muhammad learned to read in the Aramaic Ebionite Bible.

Muhammad aided his uncle in the translation of this specific Bible into the Arabic slang of Mecca.  Thus, Islam is originally a common denominator “heretic” Christian sect, one of many Christian sects in the Arabian Peninsula. The Prophet had to delete all the abstract notions to unite the sects; it was named Islam or the belief in the One and only God.

The strong animosity of the Catholic Church of Rome against Islam was not directed at a religion such as Buddhism or Mazdean but at a new “heretic” Christian sect usurping its central power in the Near East, the Orthodox Church .

The Orthodox Church in Constantinople was more lenient with Islam because it understood its genesis and the causes for the need of this new “heresy”: for Constantinople, Islam was the oriental counterpart of Protestantism to Rome when Islam became the dominant religion in the region.

It is said: “the enemy of my enemy is my ally”; this Machiavellian principle was lost to obscurantist Catholic Church. Rome was too far away and fought Islam with the ignorance of abstract concepts.

For the Catholic Church in 1,000 AC, Islam was doubly “heretic” instead of just the counterpart to the central Orthodox Church of the Byzantine Empire: it failed to realize that if Islam spread so fast and so widely it is mainly because most the labeled Christian heretic sects quickly converted to Islam as representing their system of belief against the monopole of Constantinople.

Second case:

The other case is the concept of a Syrian Nation with well delimited natural borders including Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and part of Iraq to the west of the Tiger (Dujlat) River.

This concept was highly widespread among the people of the region as the Ottoman Empire was dying during WWI.  It was still even more alive during the mandate of France and Britain to the region (Near East) after WWI.

The people in the Syrian Nation speak one language and have the same customs and tradition.  This nation was as natural as ABC; the immigrants were first called Turks during the Ottoman Empire and then they were all called Syrians regardless of location or religion.

The main problem is that the political parties spent two critical decades proving the evident (according to the newer definitions of the West for a Nation) instead of making the effort to developing draft detailed programs on the type of political administrative structure for this nation, the social representation, and election laws.

( For example, is it a Federal structure like the USA where each mandated State is fully autonomous with local government and local parliament, or provinces tailored made to religious, ethnic, and sectarian majorities, or loosely united States with open borders, common money, central army, or centralized foreign affairs; is Syria to be a monarchy and what kind).

Instead of discussing detailed programs, political parties mushroomed with abstract concepts not based on facts or pragmatic long-term goals.

The colonial “mandated powers” of France and England had field days of “dividing to rule”.

Every sect established its political party in every potential State claiming either total independence, or seeking a pan-Arabic Nation of Arabic speaking majorities in States, or Islamic Nation. 

We watched the emergence of communist parties disclaiming the notion of affiliating to a nation, to sectarian parties claiming democracy, socialism, and progressive. The worst propaganda that was encouraged by the colonial powers is to incite citizens against the Syrian people with the objective of discrediting the word Syria and giving it a bad connotation.

Natural borders of chain of mountains, desert, or large rivers do not necessarily protect from invasions; natural borders certainly encourage people to trade and interact inside the borders.  It is the internal rough geography and terrain that protects from outside military incursions.

Once a force crosses the border then Syria is an open land all the way to Egypt. Syria, or the Near East, was continuously occupied by foreign armies: these foreign invaders had to retreat quickly or get absorbed culturally.

Whatever monuments, constructions, temples, sport arena, or scholarly works that were attributed to invading nations (Persia, Egypt, Greek, Rome, or Arab) are basically the work of the Near Eastern civilization, their scholars, their craftsmen, and their adventurous business acumen.

The City-States in the Near East (Tyr, Sidon, Byblos, Ugarit, Mary …) competed in commerce and trade but never attacked one another militarily.  In Greece, City-States frequently waged military wars against one another.  The Near Eastern people adopted defensive strategy; even Carthage in its apogee refrained to antagonize Rome militarily.

Egypt and Persia frequent invasions in the Near East did not last long.

The Greek were absorbed: what Europe claim as Greek civilization is nothing less than the civilization of the Greek translating Syrians authors who spoke Aramaic.

Rome was finally absorbed: the Roman Laws are of the legal minds from the school of Beirut and the latest Emperors were born, raised, and educated in Syria.

The Byzantine Empire was fundamentally a Near Eastern Empire.  The Arabs from the Arabian Peninsula were absorbed when Damascus was selected as Capital during the Umayyad Dynasty.

The “Arabs” were absorbed by the Persian civilization when the capital shifted to Baghdad.

The Mogul retreated quickly but established long lasting Empires in India and Afghanistan.

The Ottoman conquered this land and could not be absorbed: the Syrian people were already exhausted from many years of successive invasions, religious obscurantism, and immigration by scholars to greener pastures.

France and England retreated “officially” within two decades but kept deep footprints in the laws and the administration structure. 

Implanted colonial Israel failed to retreat on time and is now being absorbed as Near Eastern State in social behavior, regardless of Israel propaganda attempts to seeking European image.

Consequently, failing to writing a draft on a possible administrative program for the Syrian Nation opened the door to abstract concept instead of working out negotiation and dialogue on pragmatic matters that concerned the people.

An unpublished coherent biography? Jesus The Nazarene

Note: Re-edit of “The Nazarene: An unpublished coherent biography (December 16, 2008)”

Preamble: Over a hundred of different manuscripts (Bibles) have been written on Jesus and his message in the early days of Christianity and before the four New Testaments (that were written by Matthew, Luc, Mark and John) that the Council of Nicea (Turkey) in 325 decided to select as the official representatives of the story of Jesus.

(Ironically, the selected Bibles were written in Greek; maybe the language was one of the main factors for retaining them. the other factor was to show Jesus a serious person who didn’t travel wide and large during his younger years. So far, no early manuscripts were made available or even recognized as valid).

There are evidences that the Bible of Mathew was originally written in Aramaic, the language of the Land, before being translated into Greek. Many of these early manuscripts were written by the disciples of Jesus and close companions like Barnaby (the spiritual guide of Paul and who accompanied Paul in his first apostolic trip in the interior of Turkey), Thomas (not necessarily the twin brother of Jesus who established the first Christian community in the port of Deb on the Indus River), Philip, Bartholomew, and others.

There are many folk tales that are to be considered as more valid than the canonical “truths or facts”.

What we know is that Jesus had his Bar Mitzvah in Jerusalem and he sat among the priests and had a discussed with them.  Actually, this event was done in the Carmel at the Eseens Grand Temple in Galilee.

In between this event and his preaching adventure (over 25 years) the Church has nothing to offer but that Jesus obeyed his parents.  Even the story of his birth until his Bar Mitzvah is not reliable and could be considered as one of the acceptable version.

It is said that Jesus was 33-year old when he was crucified; that is the minimum age because Jesus was older and probably close to be forty. Marie got wed very young at 15 or 16 as tradition required and she died at age 56 and Jesus was her eldest son. Do the calculus.

How Jesus spent the time in between (a span of at least 20 years) and where did he live and grew to maturity?

As is the custom in Judaism, boys were married at 13 and Jesus was not to be an exception but he had an outlet to tradition:  Nazareth, which didn’t even exist before Jesus lived there for a while until Joseph passed away and removed to Qana to live with his mother town. That is why the Jews of Jerusalem mocked Jesus as The Nazarene. 

The Essenes sect main location was in Qumran (not far from the western side of the Dead Sea).

The Essene sect (cabala) lived in a closed community; women were not included, and the members vowed celibacy;. They were vegetarians, ate together, distributed their wealth to the community, and each member worked according to his skills.

The members wore a unique white dress code in summer and another outfit in winter. The members of this community were known to be excellent healers. This sect was also labeled the “Baptist”, the “Nazoreen” and “Ossene” (the Strong).

The teachings of Buddhism had reached this community two centuries ago because King Ashoka of India had dispatched Buddhist monks to this region.

It is very plausible that Jesus opted to join the Qumran community to avoid being wed. The Essenien caste had branches in Alexandria (Egypt) called Therapeutic or healers and also in Syria.

John the Baptist cousin of Jesus, was Essenien.

The fact that the canonic testaments reveal that John the Baptist didn’t recognize Jesus at the first sight might suggests that the two men didn’t meet in the community of Qumran at the same periods or that Jesus had left the community long time ago: Jesus was a traveler and not a community dweller.

There are evidences that Jesus was a wide traveler, knew many languages and was highly versed in religions and other legal aspects of the land.

It is very plausible that Jesus visited Alexandria, Syria, and even reached India; he lingered in India and Persia before returning to Syria and Galilee.

A manuscript named “Himis” was discovered in Kashmir, close to the city of Leh, which described the “Lost years of Jesus”.

In that manuscript it is referred to Jesus as Issa (an Aramaic name that the Arabs adopted) who traveled to most of the Holy Cities in India such as Juggernaut, Rajagriha, and Benares, and was frequently chased out by the clergies (sacerdotal officers).

The manuscript relates multitudes of pronouncements and teachings by Issa that are compatible to the canonic Bibles.

Issa fled to Kashmir, Afghanistan, and Persia.  It is plausible that a Christian sect in the vicinities of Kashmir wrote that narrative. It is also plausible that Jesus survived his wounds during crucifixion and headed eastward: the shroud of Milan have marks of a body still hot and not of a cadaver.

I frankly cannot see why this story should be thrown out; countless adolescents tour the world nowadays; it was even more common in those times for young people trekking to learn and attend renowned schools.

Jesus knew more than three language; Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek (the language of the educated of the time) and Latin since he spoke to Roman centurions and Pontius Pilate.

It is also narrated that Jesus lived for a time in Sidon (a Lebanese port) teaching in its famous law school.  His mother Mary and part of her extended family were original of the town of Qana in the district of Tyre, and moved to a town nearby when Jesus was a lecturer in the law school.

It is no fluke incident that Jesus and Mary attended a wedding in Qana (a town close to Sidon); it is also very rational that Jesus decided to start his message after Qana when his mother removed the cover of secrecy and exposed his supernatural gifts of turning water to wine.

Jesus was a high priest in the Essene sect and preached a message based on symbolism and fables and was highly spiritual and staunchly anti-Pharisee.  The Jewish cabala sect is a branch of the Essene sect and is founded on the Sumerian theology and myths. 

Albert Schweitzer, a theologian, physician, thinker, organ player and Nobel Peace laureate offered his version on Jesus.

Schweitzer said, based on the first two Bibles of Matthew and Marc, that Jesus preached his message to the general public in the last year before his crucifixion.  Six months, all in all, was the period that Jesus was accompanied by the public; the remaining months he spent them among his close disciple around Caesarea of Philippi.

In the beginning, Jesus accepted the label of a prophet among the prophets but then he reached the belief that he is the Messiah of the Jews.

Thus, he sent his disciples two by two to preach the message of the end of time, as was the custom of every “prophet”.

Jesus was very surprised when all his disciples returned safe and sound; he expected his disciples to suffer terribly and be put to death if the “prophecy of end of time” was to be accomplished.

Jesus then decided that God would accept his sacrifice and save his close disciples from atrocious deaths before the first coming of the Messiah.  The version of what happened in Jerusalem and Jesus crucifixion can be followed in my article “Judas Iscariot“.

Note 1:  Jesus had a large extended family; he had many brothers and sisters and his grandmother Ann married a second time and had many boys and girls.  Matthew made a valiant attempt through 42 generations to link Jesus to David. If we have no records of Jesus own family then how could we go that far back in genealogy?

The Christian Jews wanted a Jewish King very badly.  Actually, several early Christian communities unified the New Testament into one coherent book and had eliminated Matthew’s ridiculous endeavor.

Note 2: The first Christian communities emulated the monastic and ascetic life of the Essene sect. A few early Christian sects went beyond the ascetic of the Essenians. For example, the author Amine Maalouf, in his book on Mani, mentions a community called in Aramaic “Halle Haware” or white garment clad people.

This caste did not eat meat or drink wine or leavened bread; the disciples wore white garments from top to bottom, they were scared of fire (symbol of evil), and thus would eat only raw fruits and vegetables grown by the community.

Outside food was prohibited and considered “female” food because women were banished from the community and the female names in the scriptures were not mentioned unless the names represented calamities and bad augurs.  Travelers of this community carried with them the unleavened bread and produce of their home grown community because outside food was not pure.

Many monophysist Christian sects (Jesus is only divine) such as the Jacobite and Nastourian (a name originated from the name Nazareth) had reached China before Islam (around 600 AC). They translated their Bible into Chinese and were permitted to preach their brand of religion and build churches.  T

The Nestorians built churches all along the Silk Road and many of these edifices can still be found in Tibet, Mongolia, China, Afghanistan, and Persia.

It is also believed that the Prophet Muhammad learned about Christianity from these sects that were marginalized by the official Byzantine Church.

Note 3: What the disciples of Jesus retained most from all the teaching of Jesus was that “the second coming” will take place shortly after they died, so that they will be resurrected as Jesus was.

 And what is the origin of Jesus Christ?

Note: Repost of my article “Who are the Israelites?  Origins of Jesus Christ; Chapter two, (March 20, 2009)”

Joachim (Youwakeem) Omram and Hanna, the parents of the “Virgin Mary”, were from the village of Qana (10 kilometers south of the city of Tyr and at an altitude of 85 meters)

This Qana was called Qana of Upper Galilee and was within the district of Phoenicia (Ty) during the Seleucid and early Roman Empires in the Near East (Levant). The administrative district of Upper Galilee extended from Tyr to Acre.

Joachim was one of the eminent personalities in the town of Qana and the neighboring region and was an Essenes high priest.

He had been frustrated because he could not secure any descendents. Joachim took his sheep to a remote area and fasted and prayed for 40 days. Hanna was also frustrated with this extended absence and decided to take off her black cloth and washed her hair and went out in the garden.

Hanna received an apparition that she will soon get pregnant and that Joachim is on his way home.

Mary was born in Qana and her parents dedicated her to the Great Temple on Mount Carmel (Mount Carmel was also in the district of Phoenicia).

When Mary was 3 years of age she was interned in the monastery of the Great Temple of the Carmel.  Mary was one of the 12 virgins of the elite families in the region to be dedicated to serve in the temple and she was named “The Pigeon of God Eil“. (The Hebrews in Judea never allowed girls to serve in temples).

Joseph was also from Qana and one of Mary’s relatives; he was one of the superintendents at the temple and he cleaned, painted and did the various tasks of maintenance. Mary received the “Good Tiding” from the Archangel while serving in Mount Carmel.

Mary and Joseph got married and Jesus was born in the village of Bethlehem Tifone by the Carmel, close to the famous city of Dora by the seaside and north of current Haifa within the district of Phoenicia (Not in the Bethlehem of Judea).

Mary visited her aunt Elizabeth in Galilee who was 6 months pregnant.  Jesus was presented to the Great Temple of Mount Carmel for sanctification; Jesus was lost in the same temple discussing with the priests when he was 12 of years. Jesus studied in the schools of Mount Carmel.

Joseph and Mary lived in Bethlehem by the Carmel. The town of Nazareth did not exist yet and the area was called Nazareth. When Joseph died, Mary returned to her hometown of Qana where her father and grandparents were buried; Jesus spent his youth in Qana.

Jesus was called “Jesus of Mary” after the death of Joseph to distinguish him from the other people named Jesus. (The Hebrews of Judea never referred a son to his mother).

Mary was also called “the sister of Jacob”.  Hanna had remarried after the death of Joachim and gave birth to many offspring; the eldest son of Hanna was apparently named Jacob.

Jesus was also called Emmanuel (Amanou-eel) which means (The God El is among us).

Thus, God was made human.  All the names that start with El or finish with El refer to the God El, the all-encompassing God of the Land.

In the wedding of Qana, where Jesus showed his miraculous power of transforming water into wine, Mary was in her own town and it is Jesus who was invited.

Jesus came up from Lake Tiberias to join the wedding.  After the wedding, Mary and the brothers of Jesus (Jacob, Joseph, Simon, and Judah) followed him down to Capernaum by the Lake and stayed there for a few days and then joined Jesus’ party from then on.

Jesus was highly educated.  He could speak Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek and Latin.

The folk tales and early manuscripts demonstrate that Jesus studied Law and taught Law at the university in Sidon (Lebanon).

Jesus was born in the year 7 BC and Caesar’s census started in the year 10 BC. Jesus was also called Rabbi (Rabuny) which means teacher in Aramaic.  Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not let anyone call you Rabbi since you have only one teacher in Christ and you are all brethren”

Jesus dressed in the same long white robe that the Essenes sect of Mount Carmel wore. The consecrated members were called “The White Brethren” and they were famous as healers.  The Essenes had many branches in Galilee and a prosperous one in Alexandria (Egypt) and had places for welcoming travelers and the sick.

John the Baptist, close relative of Jesus and just 6 months older, never left the region of Galilee, baptized with water as of the Essenes traditions and baptized Jesus.

Note 1: Jesus was elevated to Heaven on Mount Carmel. The first church was built on Mount Carmel and dedicated to the Virgin Mary while still alive.  A church was built within the town of Qana by the disciples and excavations showed a church from the first century.  The Muslims had veneration for the tomb of Joachim called “The tomb of the prophet Omran”.  When Israel bombarded south Lebanon in 1996 for 15 days, one of the missiles made a large crater, 4 meters off the tomb of the prophet Omran.  The excavations uncovered a buried church and the tombs of the family of Omran.

Note 2: Qana is famous today because Israel massacred over 100 civilians and gravely injured 120 when her bombs targeted a UN compound in Qana in 1996 and then hit that same town in 2006 and killed 50 more civilians.  Qana was an important town for many centuries before Christ and the main resting place of the disciples before venturing any further.

Qana of Upper Galilee (The Galilee of Nations or the Gentiles for the Hebrews) was the location where the disciples gathered for a while after the lapidation of the first martyr Etienne (Estefanos).

Note 3: I may conjecture that Mary retained the title of Virgin because she earned it serving as one of the virgins in the Great Temple.  There is this tradition in the Levant to bestow the title of nun and priest for even those who later relinquished their sacerdotal duties.

Note 4: The astrophysicist Reznikoff confirms that the Comet Halley that showed the way to the mages crossed Galilee and not Judea.

Note 5:  There are indications that Jesus entered Jerusalem for the first time when he was to be crucified.  No wonder that Jesus experienced a cultural shock when he witnessed business as usual and usury transactions within the temple. Jesus got hold of a whip and chased out the merchants and turned their tables over and declared: “It is said that the temple is the house of God and not a cavern for thieves”.

Note 6:  For 6 months, while walking to Jerusalem, the Sanhedrin and the Romans were gathering intelligence on this “Walking rabbi“, who is this Jesus, are his miracles for real and what are his purposes for visiting Jerusalem.

What JESUS Didn’t SAY? And what Mohammad didn’t say either…

Jim Palmer posted this November 22, 2013

15 THINGS JESUS DIDN’T SAY

shamegirl

15 things Jesus Didn’t Say:

1. “For God was so disgusted with the world and you that he gave his one and only Son.”

2. “I have come to bring you a new religion.”

3. “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have correct theology.”

4. “If anyone would come after me, let him disparage all other religions and their followers.”

5. If you love me, you will regularly attend a church of your choice… within reason.”

6. “Blessed are the tithers for they shall be called the children of God.”

7. “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done in Heaven after the earth goes up in flames and destroyed.”

8. “You have heard it said, ‘Love your neighbor,’ which means the people with whom you attend church and relate to in your Christian sub-culture.

9. “In my Father’s house there are a limited number of rooms. But no worries, there is plenty of room in Hell.”

10. “The kingdom of God has come!… Well, not exactly. I mean, not completely. Let’s face it, the really-real kingdom comes after we die. Hang in there. It won’t be long.”

11. “And you will know the truth and the truth will make you superior to all the other simpletons who never learned Greek, Latin, Aramaic or Hebrew.”

12 “You are the light of the world… well… in a sinful-filthy-scum kind of way.”

13. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you a checklist of things to do and not do in order to remain in God’s favor.”

14. “For God so loved the world… you know like theoretically… as in, God loves the big ‘W’-world. But when it come to you specifically, that are quite a few things that would need to change for God to actually and specifically love… or even like… YOU.”

15. “He appeared to his disciples over a period of 40 days and spoke about how to incorporate his life and teaching as a 501(c)3, and go into all the earth to build mega-churches in his name.”

Jim Palmer. Notes from (Over) the Edge. It’s an excerpt from my upcoming book, Notes from (Over) the Edge. You can learn more about all my books on my Goodreads Author Page. Photograph by Erwin Olaf.

Arab secularism? In what forms and shapes? Its demise?

The end of Christianity in the Middle East could mean the demise of Arab secularism

In this current Middle East rebuilt on intolerant ideologies, there is likely to be little place for beleaguered minorities

The past decade has been catastrophic for the Arab world’s beleaguered 12 million strong Christian minority.

In Egypt revolution and counter-revolution have been accompanied by a series of anti-Copt riots, killings and church burnings.

In Gaza and the West Bank Palestinian Christians are emigrating en masse as they find themselves uncomfortably caught between Netanyahu’s pro-settler government and their increasingly radicalised Sunni neighbours.

In Syria most of the violence is along the Sunni-Alawite fault line, but stories of rape and murder directed at the Christian minority, who used to make up around 10% of the population, have emerged. Many have already fled to camps in Lebanon, Turkey or Jordan; the ancient Armenian community of Aleppo is reported to be moving en masse to Yerevan.

arab christian retreat

An Iraqi security officer guards the Church of the Virgin Mary in the northern town of Bartala, near Mosul, in 2012. Photograph: Karim Sahib/AFP/Getty Images

The worst affected areas of Syria are of course those controlled by Isis. Last weekend it issued a decree offering the dwindling Christian population of eastern Syria and northern Iraq a choice: convert to Islam or pay a special religious levy – the jizya. (It is business as usual for hard cash to replenish the treasury)

If they did not comply, “there is nothing to give them but the sword”. The passing of the deadline led to possibly the largest exodus of Middle Eastern Christians since the Armenian massacres during the first world war, with the entire Christian community of Mosul heading off towards Kirkuk and the relative religious tolerance of the Kurdish zone.

Even before this latest exodus, at least two-thirds of Iraqi Christians had fled since the fall of Saddam.

Christians were concentrated in Mosul, Basra and, especially, Baghdad – which before the US invasion had the largest Christian population in the Middle East.

Although Iraq’s 750,000 Christians made up only 7% of the pre-war population, they were a prosperous minority under the Ba’athists, as symbolised by the high profile of Tariq Aziz, Saddam’s foreign minister, who used to disarm visiting foreign dignitaries by breaking into Onward, Christian Soldiers in Aramaic, the language of Jesus.

According to tradition it was St Thomas and his cousin Addai who brought Christianity to Iraq in the first century.

At the Council of Nicea, where the Christian creed was thrashed out in AD325, there were more bishops from Mesopotamia than western Europe.

The region (East of the Euphrates, under Persian Empire) became a refuge for those persecuted by the Orthodox Byzantines, such as the Mandeans – the last Gnostics, who follow what they believe to be the teachings of John the Baptist.

Then there was the Church of the East, which brought the philosophy of Aristotle and Plato, as well as Greek science and medicine, to the Islamic world – and hence, via Cordoba, to the new universities of medieval Europe.

Now almost everywhere Arab Christians are leaving.

In the past decade maybe a quarter have made new lives in Europe, Australia and America.

According to Professor Kamal Salibi, they are simply exhausted: “There is a feeling of fin de race among Christians all over the Middle East. Now they just want to go somewhere else, make some money and relax.

Each time a Christian goes, no other Christian comes to fill his place and that is a very bad thing for the Arab world. It is Christian Arabs who keep the Arab world ‘Arab’ rather than ‘Muslim’.” (It is them who translated the Greek, Byzantium and Syriac scientific and philosophical books into Arabic)

Certainly since the 19th century Christian Arabs have played a vital role in defining a secular Arab cultural identity.

It is no coincidence that most of the founders of secular Arab nationalism were men like Michel Aflaq – the Greek Orthodox Christian from Damascus who, with other Syrian students freshly returned from the Sorbonne, founded the Ba’ath party in the 1940s – or Faris al-Khoury, Syria’s only Christian prime minister.

Then there were intellectuals like the Palestinian George Habash, and George Antonius, who in 1938 wrote in The Arab Awakening of the crucial role Christians played in reviving Arab literature and the arts after their long slumber under Ottoman rule.

(And don’t forget, Lebanon Antoun Saadeh, who founded the secular Syria National Social Party and was executed without trial from claiming that oil must be used as strategic weapon in 1947, against Zionist expansionism in Palestine)

If the Islamic state proclaimed by Isis turns into a permanent, Christian-free zone, it could signal the demise not just of an important part of the Arab Christian realm but also of the secular Arab nationalism Christians helped create.

The 20th century after 1918, which saw the creation of the different Arab national states, may well prove to be a blip in Middle Eastern history, as the old primary identifiers of Arab identity, religion and qabila – tribe – resurface. (The Nationalist Turks started the genocide against the Christian sects and Armenians in 1915)

It is as if, after a century of flirting with imported ideas of the secular nation state, the region is reverting to the Ottoman Millet system (from the Arabic millah, literally “nation”), which represented a view of the world that made religion the ultimate marker of identity, and classified Ottoman subjects by their various sectarian religious “nations”.

Despite sizeable Christian populations holding on in Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt, there is likely to be little place for Christian Arabs in a Middle East rebuilt on intolerant ideologies like those of Isis.

Their future is more likely to resemble that of the most influential Christian Arab intellectual of our day, Edward Said. Born in Jerusalem at the height of Arab nationalism in 1935, Said died far from the turmoil of the Middle East in New York in 2003. His last collection of essays was appropriately entitled Reflections On Exile.

Note: The demise of the Christians would become final if they are Not quickly incorporated in the political system and institutions in the Arab World. Only a solid political quota for the Christians can encourage the Christians to remain and return home

• The headline of this article was amended on 24 July 2014.

Marie Magdalena

Khalil Toubia shared this link. 3 hrs · Beirut · 

Elle… qui fut le premier témoin de sa résurrection.

Elle… à qui il apparut en premier pour lui annoncer son retour.

Elle… qui aura le rôle d’annoncer sa résurrection aux apôtres….

Elle… qui reçoit la mission de faire découvrir aux disciples où il se trouve et où ils doivent le rejoindre.

Elle… à qui il a permis ce très beau geste d’amour «elle n’a pas cessé depuis que je suis là de pleurer, d’essuyer ses larmes sur mes pieds avec ses cheveux, d’embrasser de sa bouche mes pieds, d’y déposer ce si précieux et si fin parfum »

Elle… qui ne trahira et ne reniera, comme l’ont été certains de ses plus fidèles apôtres.

Elle…. qui, avec Marie-mère, sera au pied de la croix.

Elle…. cette « pècheresse »… possédée par sept démons… symbole du mal absolu… a été « libérée » par le Nazaréen….

« Tes péchés te sont remis… ta foi t’a sauvée »… rémission qui lui a rendu sa dignité de femme… « …car les péchés sont pardonnés quand il y a beaucoup d’amour »…. paroles de Christ !!!!

Elle… pour qui … il demanda a Simon… « Oh Simon, ne sois pas si dur avec elle….regarde comme cette femme aime… » …

Elle… la femme… que Marie-mère a présentée aux soldats romains comme “elle est aussi de la famille”.

Elle… cette femme… qui a souffert d’amour…

Elle… cette amante dépossédée à qui les premiers chrétiens lui décerneront le titre « d’apôtre des apôtres ».

Elle… par qui et avec qui les « deux natures »… elles se sont le mieux exprimé.

C’est cette chrétienté, celle qui tolère, qui accepte, qui pardonne même, au « fils de l’homme » son instant de doute, exprimé sur la croix…. est celle-là même qui refuse de reconnaitre à ce même « fils de l’homme » ses instants d’amour dont il a été capable avec cette « noble dame ».


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