Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the voice of His Servant?

Middle East

Christians in the Middle East – Iraq

Most people heard about the bad news about our Christian brothers coming from Iraq. It is very sad indeed.
The same can be said about our brothers in Egypt. (By the way – this site from Raymond Ibrahim has some very good and sensible insights on Islam).

I have had students from Iraq – and most of them were very good students. You could tell they were serious about Christianity and ministry. The following letter is from one of them who is ministering in Iraq.

May God bless him and let’s join him and the other persecuted Christians in prayer: Hebrews 13:3.

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On David and Solomon

It has been an interesting year (or so) for archaeology in the Holy Land.  The minimalists must be quite depressed. 😦

I will list only three major stories that are quite supportive (to say the least) of the Biblical record with its description of the Davidic and Solomonic times:

1) The excavations at Khirbet Qeiyafa of Yosef Garfinkel from Hebrew University.
2) The excavations of Thomas Levy (from my good old school UCSD) in Jordan at Khirbat en-Nahas (which I visited last year – photos later).
3) And the latest on a possible Solomonic temple in Jerusalem is found here.

As it could be expected – there are plenty of archaeologists who question the conclusions of these excavators and are cautious to make any connections with the Biblical record.  This is not surprising, and final conclusions are still to be drawn.

However – one cannot help but think that ‘minimalists’ have not had a good year.

Once again – lack of evidence is NOT evidence of absence!


Donald J. Wiseman – In Memoriam

The great British Orientalist Donald Wiseman was called home.  He played a very important role in the early development of the Tyndale House and had great contributions to biblical scholarship and the study of the ancient Near East. [This information was obtained from Tyndale House]

Here is a photo of Professor Wiseman from ancient Nimrud:

Wiseman next to Agatha Christie at ancient Nimrud

Left to right: Donald Wiseman stands next to his good friend
Agatha Christie, her husband Max Mallowan, and Neville Chittick,
while carrying out archaeological excavation at Nimrud.

There are many things I did not know about Professor Wiseman.  Thus, I had no idea that he was a recipient of the USA Bronze Star Medal for his valor in World War II… Read the tribute below and become wiser/better! (more…)


Christians in Muslim Countries – Egypt

Anyone who has had any contact with Christians living in Muslim countries knows that the Christians who dare to stand for what they believe have a very hard time.  This ‘hard time’ depends on the Muslim country, as some are more open (e.g. Jordan, Indonesia etc.) than others (Saudi Arabia etc.).

Here is the case of a Christian brother from Egypt.  His name is Hani Nazeer. Unfortunately, (and this is also typical, especially for Evangelical Christians) he is hated by both Islamists and “Christians”, as the article states:

“Hani is in between the hate of the Islamists and the hate of the Christians,” he said. “The Islamists of course are against him, and the church [leadership] is against him, so he’s being badly squeezed between the two.”

Let’s pray for Hani that he remains strong in his faith, and that many will come to faith through his witness!

Pastor Chris


The YOM KIPPUR WAR

Since Yom Kippur is around the corner (starts at sundown the 27th), a post on this is appropriate.
Yom Kippur War

See the information below from Hebrew Online on Yom Kippur. For some useful clips on the Yom Kippur War (1973), see this.

Yom Kippur (יוֹם כִּפּוּר, Day of Atonement) is the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. On this day, G-d seals our fate for the coming year. The Torah commands us to spend this day fasting and praying for G-d’s forgiveness and a good year.

In Israel, this day feels very special – the businesses are closed, there are no vehicles driving in the streets and no broadcasting on the radio or TV; many people, dressed in white walk to and from synagogues, and children enjoy the empty roads by riding bicycles.

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Evangelism and Mission

Without further comments, I am posting this amazing report from a friend who ministers in the Middle East.

His passion for evangelism is clear and praiseworthy.

Dear friends,

Sorry that I have not written for a while.  Everything is going well.

Our April/Passover outreach went very well. We had about seven hundred and fifty orders for the Redemption film in Russian and all have been delivered.  We worked with a number of congregations throughout the country and now more congregations want to get involved in what we are doing, towards which we hope to have a conference on the 3rd of July inviting all the churches to participate.  In addition, we also hope to distribute some good teaching material in Russian by John Piper. Most of the Russian churches don’t really have good teaching so we hope to rectify this problem through fellowship and cooperation. We also want to print in Russian the book ‘Don’t waste your life’ by John Piper and we are in the process of translating another book by the same author into Russian.

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Obama in the Middle East – Is Peace Possible?

Obama is in the Middle East trying to mend relations with a part of the world that very much hates us.  The first stop was in Saudi Arabia – without doubt one of the most repressive countries in the world, a country with almost zero religious freedom (rivaled only by North Korea).

As one who lived in a muslim country (Indonesia), with a more colorful background that W, he is supposed to be more qualified to mend relations with this part of the world, and understand better Islam.  One only hopes that is the case.

My view is much more pessimistic about Obama’s knowledge of Islam and the Middle East, and also about the possibilities for peace.

I wrote a while back about PEACE in Islam (see the article rubric above) and my conclusions were not very encouraging.  I hope I am wrong.  Here, I will point out a few things and I would like to hear/read some opposing views.

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Jerusalem, Hebrew, etc

I offer the following (from our friends at HebrewOnline) as a tribute to Jerusalem and as a small Hebrew lesson.

On May 12, 1968, the government of Israel proclaimed a new holiday – Jerusalem Day – to be celebrated on the 28th of Iyar, the Hebrew date on which the divided city of Jerusalem became united. This year Yom Yerushalayim falls on May 22nd 2009.

!יוֹם יְרוּשָׁלַיִם שָׂמֵחַ
Yom Yerushalayim Same’ax!
Happy Jerusalem Day!

As a background, during the 6-day war, Jordan joined Egypt and Syria and attacked Israel from the East. On the second day of the war, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) captured Mount Scopus (הַר הַצּוֹפִים, har hatsofim) and besieged the Old City. On the third day of the war, on June 7th 1967, the Paratroopers Brigade (חֲטִיבַת הַצַּנְחָנִים, xativat hatsanxanim), under the command of Colonel Motta Gur entered the Old City through the Lions’ Gate (שַׁעַר הָאֲרָיוֹת, sha’ar ha’arayot). At 10:00AM Motta Gur announced: “The Temple Mount is in our hands, Over!… All forces Cease Fire. Over!” (“!הַר הַבַּיִת בְּיָדֵינוּ, עֲבֹר!… כָּל הַכּוֹחוֹת חָדַל אֵשׁ. עֲבֹר”).

You can watch the entrance into the Old City and listen to the words of Motta Gur and Moshed Dayan here.

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I am AWAY in the Middle East

I am away from Korea for some time learning new things about the Middle East.

 

First of all – my access to the net is limited here so I will not be writing very much.  In a way this is good – if I can reduce my time on the net I may get more accomplished at work (writing), and I get to spend more time with my family.  Praise the Lord! [Ashkur Allah = Thank God]

 

I am learning some Arabic together with my wife and also about the Muslim culture.  The whole Muslim world is celebrating Ramadan.  This means that we cannot eat out (before 7 pm and then it is very very crowded) during most of the day.  They of course eat a lot more at night. The people seem to be enjoying this religious holiday, but I have not talked to many Muslims about this.

 

It is an interesting and educational experience talking to the taxi drivers.  I found out that one is a secret Christian who cannot change his name (to a Christian one) for fear of being killed.  Another one told me that Israel will not exist anymore by 2022 and had a very negative attitude toward USA (he spoke English fairly well).  And yet another one cheated me about $1 on his way to break the Ramadan fast.  It is an interesting and fascinating world out here, and we are both looking forward to learn more about this fascinating part of the world.  Thank you for your prayers.

 

May God bless the Middle East with much SHALOM/SALAAM!