Tag Archives: Middle East

Revelations From History

For some months I have been reading Simon Sebag Montefiore’s book, Jerusalem The Biography. The cover says it’s “The number one bestseller.” Having nothing better to do in the very early hours of the morning as the bookshop was the only shop operating in Singapore airport, I bought my copy to pass the time while waiting Henry Kissinger (I didn’t know he was still alive) and Bill Clinton (I wonder how much he had to be paid for his 48 words) were among those who recommended the book. Its 720 pages are packed with historical data.

Photo by Stephen Coles

Photo by Stephen Coles

The Middle East is the birthplace of so much that has blessed and cursed the rest of the world. Jerusalem is the epicenter in which divine lightning seems to have repeatedly struck spontaneously birthing a new era of spirituality and claimed revelation. Judaism, Christianity and Islam all lay claim to Jerusalem’s real estate.

Muslims demand exclusive priority rights to the whole of Jerusalem and all the surrounding territory known as Israel. The foundational documents of HAMAS in Gaza and the PLO in the West Bank clearly state their claims and objective of expelling all Jews. To deviate from these claims in the slightest would cost the respective leaders their positions and power.

When Yassar Arafat was offered an exceedingly generous power and land sharing agreement by the Israelis some years ago, even though it contained most of what he had been negotiating about, he walked away. He had to. To have accepted would have cost him his position and probably his life. That was what President Sadat of Egypt paid for reaching an agreement with Israelis that saw them hand back all Egyptian territory they had captured in earlier wars.

In Jerusalem’s troubled history, from time to time depending on who held political control, Jews and Christians were expelled and excluded from its precincts. But as Montefiore’s research makes clear, it is a gross distortion of history to assume that after the Islamic invasion in the first half of the seventh century, all Jews suddenly disappeared. In fact the opposite is true.

Omar Amir al Mumin, Commander of the Believers, received the keys of Jerusalem from Patriarch Sophronius who declared the city would now undergo “the abomination of desolation”. Omar not only settled Muslim Arabs in the city he also welcomed more Jews to resettle within its precincts.

The cycle of struggle for recognition, possession and supremacy has been with us ever since. To understand a little more of the contemporary dimensions of this complex interplay get a copy of my latest publication, Islam Rising The Middle East and Us. It’s available at an introductory reduced price of only $5 plus postage till the end of September. Go to BOOKS and purchase it there.

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THE MIDDLE EAST AND US – PART 4 – RESPONSE

This is the fourth and final of a series of  posts entitled  THE MIDDLE EAST AND US.

Part 1 can be found at this link https://drstuartrobinson.com/2014/09/10/the-middle-and-us-part-1/

Part 2 can be found at https://drstuartrobinson.com/2014/09/16/the-middle-east-and-us-part-2-northern-syria-and-iraq/

Part 3 can be found at https://drstuartrobinson.com/2014/09/24/the-middle-east-and-us-part-3/

or by searching my home page.

The Middle East and Us – Part 4

As Christians swirling in the vortex of this super heated cauldron of confusion how do we respond?

Response

  1. Reject all personal violence, hatred and political triumphalism.

Six centuries before Mohammed, followers of Jesus attempted to make him king. He rejected their political invitation, journeyed from Galilee to Jerusalem and accepted crucifixion.[i] As Mohammed is the example of the perfect man for Muslims (Q.33:21;53;1-3), Jesus is the model for Christians. “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:2)

  1. Refuse to fear. That is what Islamic terrorism tries to produce {Q6:80}. We live by faith not fear. Jesus said, “ I tell you my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more….Fear him who after killing the body, has power to throw you into hell.” (Luke 12:4-5)

God is still in control. If we have read the book, the Bible, we already know how all this will end. FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real.

  1. Develop friendships with Muslims. Don’t hate them to death. Love them to life. It’s not their fault that they have been somewhat coercively persuaded into believing a cosmic deception.
  1. Share generously with Christian agencies that are working in the current refugee crisis.
  1. Be ready to offer hospitality to any real refugees from this crisis. “Do not forget to entertain strangers..”(Hebrews 13:2)
  1. Persevere in persistent prayer.

“Though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary they have divine power to demolish strongholds…. Take captive every thought to make it a obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

  1. Always commend Jesus in your words and deeds. If you do, amazing things may happen. You may discover what God is doing.

What God Is Doing

Undoubtedly he grieves to see what is happening. But he is not inactive.

In the troubled areas of Iraq and Syria today church planting has accelerated 5 to 10 times what it was previously.[ii] Muslims are tired of Muslims killing Muslims. They are looking for real peace, not the mirage of peace that apocalyptic Islam proclaims.

One former foot soldier recently put it like this:

“I have been a man of violence. I was a jihadist. But I observed that violence only begets violence. In my search for another way I met Jesus. He has transformed me. He is peace”.[iii]

In another area of Muslim domains, former violent jihadists have become the best Christian evangelists. Authorities are reluctant to send them to prison because that results in many other inmates becoming followers of Jesus.[iv]

“The law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17)

Muslims consider themselves the slaves of Allah and the harsh Law formulated in the name of this unknowable spiritual entity. People tend to become like the God they worship.

Jesus Christ fulfilled the demands of the law and freed us for a relationship with a loving Heavenly Father. Our Muslim brothers and sisters are in need of that same deliverance more than ever. The process can quite startling.

A Muslim of Turkish Indian origin trained for 10 years in a Madrassa[v] i.e. an Arabic medium Quranic college. He wanted to become an Imam in a mosque. His preaching included the standard Muslim teaching that Jesus was not the Son of God. But that raised the question, who then is Jesus? Diligently he sifted through the 666 000 words in the 114 chapters in his Quran. He noted that the name Mohammed is mentioned 4 times but that of Jesus is mentioned 25 times.

Why would the Quran give more prominence to Jesus than Mohammed?

The Quran also mentions miracles that Jesus performed and that he brought dead people back to life. Furthermore the Quran affirms Jesus is still alive. Mohammed did none of these things and he is dead. He also concluded that the Quran identifies Jesus with the Word of God and the Spirit of God.

He went to a Muslim scholar with his difficult questions but the teacher grew annoyed and ordered him to leave.

Unable to think what to do next he prayed, “Allah, tell me what I should do”? His Quran fell open at chapter 10:94, which says: “If you are in doubt about as to what we have revealed…then ask those who have been reading the Book… ie the Bible.

So he studied the Bible intensely.

From John 1 he discovered that God created through his Word and that Word is Jesus. In John 1: 12 he read that those who receive Jesus become children of God and that a relationship is established whereby followers of Jesus are privileged to address God, the creator of the Universe, as Father! How extraordinary.

When his family learned of his decision, his father beat him into unconsciousness, stripped him of all clothing, bound him in chains, rubbed chili powder into all his wounds and body orifices and left him locked up without food and water for 20 days.

His father then returned with a large knife to finish him off. But to see if his son was still alive he proceeded to choke him. This caused the young man to gag. All he could do was to refuse to revert to Islam and to utter the name “Jesus”.

Immediately a brilliant light fell onto his forehead. Incredible energy surged through his body. His father fell back onto the floor and in so doing slashed his own chest and started to foam from the mouth. The family ran in, gathered up the father and rushed him to the hospital. In their haste they forgot to relock the door. The young man struggled to his feet, got dressed, ran outside and just happened to be picked up by a passing Christian taxi driver who looked after his needs.

His family later conducted a funeral service for their son, who in their eyes was now dead. They even prepared a tombstone with his name and the dates of his birth and “death”. They placed it in a local cemetery plot.

Thinking back to those events this man says, “On that day I really understood that Jesus is alive and he saved me. Before I was following Mohammed into an uncertain future. The penalty for our sin is death, permanent separation from God for eternity. But Jesus, who is coming back, has taken the punishment for my sin and given me life forever. All must die. It’s the only certainty we have. But I no longer fear death because of what the living Jesus has done for me and for all who believe in him.”

That’s his experience and estimate of Jesus. What is ours?

If you are interested in reading more about this subject my books including  Mosques and Miracles – Revealing Islam and God’s Grace are available for purchase at https://drstuartrobinson.com/books/

 

[i] Jonathan Borman, Confessing the Peace of Jesus in a Terroristic World. A Statement and Appeal by EMM Christian/Muslim Relations Team. n.d.

[ii] Source withheld.

[iii] Source withheld.

[iv] Source withheld.

[v] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjUXd4gW9mg

 

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The Middle East and Us – Part 1, Gaza and Israel

This is the first of four posts I will be doing entitle  THE MIDDLE EAST AND US. The following 3 posts will be uploaded over the coming three weeks.

THE MIDDLE EAST AND US—PART 1

On August 8, 2014, former head of the Australian Army Lieutenant General Peter Leahy reportedly said, “Australia is involved in the early stages of a war which is likely to last for the rest of the century.”

Michael Krause a retired Major General agreed. Aware of the army’s experience in Iraq and Afghanistan he said, “I have seen these people. I know how they think. I know how they fight. There is no compromise possible.”

The headline of The Australian newspaper the next day was, “We’ll fight Islam (for) 100 years.”[i] UK Prime Minister David Cameron reportedly made similar comments in the last week of August 2014. What is happening in the Middle East has global consequences.

When Western forces first entered Iraq and Afghanistan it was said at the time they will win some battles but will lose the war. In both those countries, no matter how our political leaders reframe the outcomes, it may now be said that the losers by most measures have been western nations. Little remains of their hoped for outcomes from their interventions costing trillions of dollars and thousands of lives.Screen Shot 2014-09-06 at 1.09.02 pm

In Australia as in other Western countries, we are unable to plan beyond our election cycle of 3-4 years. Muslim leaders think in terms of centuries. Mohammed invited the Christian leaders of his time to submit to Islam. They declined. So Islamic forces determined to capture the Citadel of Christianity– Constantinople. Although their attacks were repeatedly repulsed, they finally succeeded after only 800 years.[ii]

Gaza and Israel

In the Middle East if a Jewish person is asked the basis of his claim to the land of Israel the reply may be, “We have been here for 3000 years.” To the same question persons today called Palestinians may reply, “We have been here for 6000 years.”

From the Biblical record we understand that God reserved for Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their descendants a sliver of land on the coast along the Eastern Mediterranean seaboard, which became known as Israel. The vast expanse of land to the east and south of Israel was reserved for the descendants of Ishmael, the son of Abraham and Hagar who was a servant of Abraham’s wife Sarah. (Genesis 12-27)

In 1003 BC King David was at last able to conquer Jerusalem. The area of the city at that that time was just 12 acres, or a little less than 5 ha. The rest of the Promised Land was conquered and possessed by King David except for the Philistine territory, which is today’s Gaza.

Half a millennium later, in 586 BC most of the people of what remained of Israel were deported as captives of war to the vicinity of today’s Baghdad. Towards the end of that 6th century BC the deportees were permitted to start to return to their homeland. The Temple in Jerusalem was rebuilt in 536-516 BC. Almost a further 70 years later, about 453 BC, Nehemiah arrived to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.

Arabs and other local tribal chiefs, who were on the scene by that time, resisted his work. They ridiculed, threatened, concocted false reports and sought to terrorize the returnees. Their activities are recorded in Nehemiah chapters 2, 4 and 6. What is happening today is not a new phenomenon. Jews remained in possession of their land till 70 A.D. when the Romans destroyed the Jerusalem Temple and scattered the inhabitants.

Almost five and a half centuries later in 638 CE an Islamic Army captured Jerusalem for the first time. The city and its accompanying territory remained mostly under Muslim control thereafter. But the Jewish people did not vanish.

However by the late 1800s the brutality of the Muslim authorities was so severe that many Jews were forced to flee. Simultaneously the Muslim Ottoman government in Turkey began to repopulate the vacated land with Muslim refugees from other parts of their Empire in which there were disturbances.

In 1890 the Muslim population was only 432,000. By the time of Israel’s establishment by the UN in 1947, the Muslim population, through Turkish repatriation policy had almost tripled to 1,181,000.[iii]After 1918 with the defeat of the Turkish government in World War I the Jewish population started to return. Many of them were fleeing from European threats and conflagrations, especially the Holocaust of the 1940’s, which saw approx. 6 million Jews killed. Today the descendants of Isaac and Ishmael face off against one another.

Neither side in the current conflict is prepared to yield a centimeter of land. Article 7 in HAMAS’s charter based on Islamic texts specifically asserts they will destroy all Jews and Israel. Israel says, “If you attack we will retaliate.”

HAMAS spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri on August 17, 2014 on Al -Aqsa television declared, “Our true war is not aimed at opening border crossings. It is aimed at the liberation of Jerusalem. We refuse to accept the continued defiling of our land by the occupier. The army of Mohammed has begun its return.”[iv] HAMAS can never cannot accept the loss of territory once occupied by Muslim authorities. To them it remains a sacred trust, a Waqf, which must be regained.

The current off-again on-again war between Gaza and Israel has provided opportunity for mostly public pro-Palestinian reaction in many Western countries. In France, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, USA, Australia and elsewhere, Muslims, formerly thought to be well-integrated, assimilated, moderate citizens who contributed to the rich mosaic of multiculturalism in those countries, have suddenly taken to the streets showing a different side of Islam, reportedly shouting:

“Heil Hitler. Hamas Hamas. Jews to the gas. We are all Hamas. We are Jihad”.[v] Many well-meaning non-Muslim people have joined these processions.

In Sydney as the crowd waved their black flags of jihad, the reported shout was:

Palestine is a Muslim land.

The solution is Jihad.

You can never stop Islam.

From Australia to Al Sham.

One Ummah (Muslim community) hand in hand

from Lakemba to Gaza.

One call –“Khalifa”.[vi]

The latest claimant for the role of Caliph, that is, a leader of international Islam, is Abu Bakr al Baghdadi also known as Caliph Ibrahim. He reportedly announced that, “The long slumber of neglect has ended. The sun of Jihad has risen. Triumph looms on the horizon. Infidels are terrified. As East and West submit Muslims will own the earth.”[vii] Those objectives are clear.

As for Israelis the Muslim objectives about them are equally clear. In his Friday sermon on August 22, 2014 in Khan Younis in Gaza, Sheikh Mohammed Abu Rajab is reported as saying, “We pledged before the commanders of the Jihad to die for the sake of Allah; we have gathered the Zionists from all corners of the globe so that it will be easier to slaughter and kill them”.[viii]

 

Part 2 will be posted within a week.

 

[i] Brendan Nicholson, We’ll fight Islam 100 years. The Weekend Australian, August 9-10 2014, 1.

[ii] https//www.raymondibrahim.com/islam/the-seige-of-constantinople(viewed August 16 2014)

[iii] Ezequiel Doiny, The Muslim Colonists: Forgotten Facts about the Arab-Israeli Conflict. http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/4611/muslim-colonists. August 15 2014.

[iv] MEMRI TV, Hamas Spokesman: Our War Is For Liberation of Jerusalem Not For Lifting Of Blockade. Viewed August 26 2014.

[v] Denis MacEoin, The New Romantics ‘Being Fair’ to Terrorist Groups. http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/4602/new-romantics. August 14 2014.

[vi] Andrew Bolt, Wake up Labor, smell the threat. HeraldSun, August 4 2014, 13.

[vii] Daniel Pipes, Caliph Ibrahim’s Brutal Moment. The Washington Times. http://www.danielpipes.org/14691/caliph-ibrahim August 5 2014.

[viii] www.memri.org/clip/en/4442.htm, August 22 2014, viewed August 29 2014.

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