Tag Archives: Israel

Goodbye Kiddy! The way of Taliban love

Instead of giving their kids comforting dolls, the Taliban give them bombs and tell them they won't get blown up along with their victims.
Instead of giving their kids comforting dolls, the Taliban give them bombs and tell them they won’t get blown up along with their victims.

Update:  In early January, 2015, the anti-Western, anti-secular Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram used a 10 year old girl to kill shoppers at a market in Nigeria.  The girl was blown up, 16 killed, and 27 injured.  The group has killed thousands since 2002, and kidnapped more than 200 girls in April, 2014; the girls were never rescued or freed.  June 2015 Update:  The practice continues: Boko Haram uses Young Girls as Suicide Bombers in Terror Campaign.

As reported in January (2014), a young girl who was supposed to detonate a suicide vest to kill checkpoint police turned herself in after being beaten by her father for not carrying out the deed.  Though the Taliban denied that young Spozhmai was sent on a suicide mission, the Afghan police believed her.  Spozhmai was lucky – though beaten, she didn’t get blown to bits.

According to one source, in the first part of 2011, four children aged 8 to 14 were not so fortunate and died along with several victims when their suicide vests detonated.  Other children that year had also been deployed as suicide bombers, but were stopped prior to anyone getting hurt.  The Taliban, despite its denials, has been training and deploying children suicide bombers since at least 2010.

The Taliban’s use of children as suicide bombers is not only sickening, but it makes a mockery of Mullah Omar’s claim to protect children and civilians. Any political movement or army that manipulates or coerces children into becoming human bombs has lost touch with basic humanity.  Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch

Another source, from 2012, gave a more detailed and disturbing account of children suicide bombers used by the Taliban in Afghanistan in the whole of 2011 (this also happens in Pakistan and can be read about here):

A senior Afghan intelligence official estimated that more than 100 had been intercepted in the past 12 months, including 20 from the Kandahar area in the south. 

The largely illiterate boys are fed a diet of anti-Western and anti-Afghan government propaganda until they are prepared to kill, he said. But the boys are also assured that they will miraculously survive the devastation they cause.

“The worst part is that these children don’t think that they are killing themselves,” said the official. “They are often given an amulet containing Koranic verses. Mullahs tell them, ‘When this explodes you will survive and God will help you survive the fire. Only the infidels will be killed, you will be saved and your parents will go to paradise’.”

Moving back to the very recent past, just a day or two after Spozhmai told her story to Afghan police, a 14 year old boy stopped a child suicide bomber in his school.  The teen, Aitzaz Hasan, tackled a suspicious teen at his school and the other teen’s bomb went off, killing Hasan and himself.  Violence has only increased in Afghanistan and the regular populace is sick of it, and sick of their government not doing anything about it.  Attacks on schools have increased and school attendance has, not surprisingly, decreased.

No doubt your thoughts are to pray for peace in Afghanistan, and for no more children, in particular, to be prey to the satanic tactics of the Taliban.  We should pray about this and for the oppressed people there (and bless you for doing so), but it doesn’t hurt to know how our government (and the Western press) is handling issues like this, and the related issue – in my mind – of ignoring all the Christians being killed and displaced out of the Middle East and other Muslim countries.

It doesn’t hurt to also know what lying hypocrites groups like the Taliban are.  The Taliban continue to deny they use children bombers, even though there is a great deal of irrefutable evidence against their denials.  The Taliban has codes they claim to go by, and using children in this way defies their own code.   It goes against the Quran as well.  Yet, they are still very willing to have Muslim children killed for their cause.

The Palestinians have also done this in the past, and today train children to be suicide bombers.  Yet, somehow, Israel is to blame for all the ills of the Palestinians and many Western countries are not only boycotting Israel but are increasingly antisemitic.  And, our government seals its lips when it could educate, not only about the tactics of Islamists, but the post-WWII history and legitimacy of Israel as a nation and why the UN did not also grant statehood to Palestine at that time or in the years afterwards.

Our country wrings it hands and vacillates regarding Syria.  It ignores the persecution and killing of Christians in Egypt.  The issues are very many and a future post will outline the extermination and the apparent coming extinction of Christians from Muslim countries.  Jews are already missing from the Middle East, except in Israel, and they are increasingly unwelcome elsewhere.  It is now happening to Christians, too.  And The West stands by, warming up to the idea.  It’s now pretty easy to imagine the biblical scenario of God’s two witnesses during the end days (Revelation 11:8-10):

Their bodies will lie in the public square of the great city . . .  For three and a half days some from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial. The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth.

SOURCES

Teenagers recruited, trained as suicide bombers (2011)

Afghanistan: Taliban Should Stop Using Children as Suicide Bombers (2011)

Afghan boy suicide bombers tell how they are brainwashed into believing they will survive (2012)

The Surprise Lesson on Palestinians, Jews and Suicide Bombings Found in a Tennessee High School Textbook (2013)

Violence and Context in Islamic Texts (2013)

A Short History of Suicide Bombing (2013)

Taliban denies ordering 10-year-old girl to carry out suicide bombing on Helmand checkpoint (2014)

Afghanistan: Ten-year-old girl ‘forced to wear suicide vest’ (2014)

Pakistani boy who stopped suicide bomber: another Malala Yousafzai? (2014)

Boko Haram Strapped Explosives to 10-year-old girl, Killed 16 (2015)

Taliban and Government Imperil Gains for Afghan Women, Advocates Say (2014; this article is more serious and disgusting than it sounds from the title)

Israel and Palestine: A Brief History – Part I (ongoing, with various links for all of history, biographies, etc.)

Advertisements

World Jews outraged by Christian murders, our own government isn’t

This is the crime against humanity of our time. It is the religious equivalent of ethnic cleansing. It is deliberate, it is brutal, and it is systematic. And I, as a Jew, want to say that I stand solidly with Christians throughout the world in protest against this crime. And I am appalled that the world is silent.

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks (2013 Erasmus Lecture)

. . . the Jews seem to be the ones most outraged by it. . . . It’s shades of the past that a world that is indifferent to such brutal actions becomes indifferent to anybody’s suffering.

The White House—the whole Western community—ought to be taking action, as we would against any country that engages in this kind of action. Look, overall the West is muted in their response to the killings of Christians by the thousands, from Indonesia to Nigeria to Tehran to Damascus. Where is the outcry? Christians and Copts [are being killed] in Egypt, other countries—and hardly any response to it. . . .  Where are the [United Nations] Security Council resolutions? Why aren’t the condemnations coming from them?

Malcolm Hoenlein, head of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

The above quotes are from the First Things article, “Jews and the Persecution of Christians” by Tom Wilson; the Hoenlein quotes were taken by Wilson from an interview of Hoenlein in The Time of Israel.

. . . the Middle East [was] once home to countless thriving Jewish communities, only for them to have been decimated in the mid-twentieth century. With the rise of hardline Islam and growing turmoil in many of these countries, Christians risk sharing a similar fate. . . .  A century ago, Christians constituted 20 percent of the population of the Middle East; today, that number stands at just 4 percent.

Jews care.  A lot of Jews get it.  What is with us?  Why does our own country, and the West, not care?  The western media is biased in its reporting when Christians are killed in countries like Sudan.  They seem to be ashamed that Christians even exist and that violent-minded Muslims are justified in doing evil.  But where is the Christian response, the Christian outrage?  If it doesn’t exist, then it can be surmised that Christians don’t really exist.  At least, our own government’s weak response against the atrocities can certainly be viewed as nothing but hot air.  But why should our government do anything about it or care, when we people of faith don’t even seem to??

Churches are our gathering places.  Why aren’t churches organizing anything to raise awareness about what is going on in the world?  If they don’t know . . . what excuse can be given?  Maybe some pastors are writing newspaper editorials and encouraging action by their flock–I don’t know.  Feel free to let me know of examples of such action in the comments below, or provide links there to Christians groups and organizations that are trying to do something about this (I don’t mean groups that report on it only).  Thanks.

The Parable of the 10 Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13): Confusion and Understanding

Light your lamp (http://www.sxc.hu/photo/848608).
Light your lamp (http://www.sxc.hu/photo/848608).

Prior to my pastor’s recent sermon on having faith that you’re saved even when you feel inadequate and have doubts, I was wondering about the meaning of what Jesus said in the “Parable of the 10 Virgins” in Matthew (25:1-13).  Whenever this parable was brought to my attention, it bothered me, and it was on my mind prior to that sermon.  Maybe God was trying to tell me that my concerns about the parable were not applicable to me, and followers of Christ like me, and that there was another meaning to it that I simply wasn’t grasping.  In my 19 years of having been a Christian, I had not come to terms with this parable, which seems kind-of pathetic and embarrassing.  I want to dig deeper into this parable—car to come along?  Here is the parable (NIV):

“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.  Five of them were foolish and five were wise.  The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them.  The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.  “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’  “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps.  The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’  “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’  10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet.   And the door was shut.  11 “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’  12 “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’  13 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

The concluding verse exhorts us to keep watch always.  And that is good and necessary, and is repeated elsewhere:  “You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him” (Luke 12:40; see also Matt 24:42, 44; Mark 13:35).  The problem is, the young ladies weren’t keeping watch in an ordinary New Testament sense.  The five that got into heaven fell asleep just like the five that didn’t get into heaven.  The difference was in the oil–in their preparedness–not in their actual watchfulness (being awake, having one’s eyes open, looking toward Christ, etc.).

And the problem with this, the oil issue, is at least twofold.  One, oil is commonly known to be symbolic of the Holy Spirit, which we receive from God (we don’t take it or buy it).  Related to this is, (2) how much of our own work do we need to do to be saved?  First, one must read and understand the parable correctly.  Depending on the version I had read in the past, it wasn’t always clear to me that the five foolish virgins didn’t have any oil at all.  This needs to be clear:  five of the virgins brought lamps with them that were . . . empty!  Who does that!?  These were the foolish virgins, we’re told, but it still took a lot of time for my mind to register that someone would bother to bring lamps that didn’t have any oil.  (Truly, what is the point?  It’s like pushing your gasless car somewhere, expecting to drive it off later without filling it up.)   For a long time I thought that the virgins in question had oil in their lamps when they left their homes, and that they didn’t bother bringing extra and thus ran out (this is the take on it that Kaiser et al present, too).  But that’s not what the parable says.  In any case, let’s look at the oil issues I mentioned.

If oil represents the Holy Spirit in this parable, as it does elsewhere in the Bible, then the foolish virgins didn’t have the Holy Spirit.  They wanted into heaven, but they didn’t really accept God (God’s spirit); they weren’t true believers.  If you are sincere in wanting to be with God, God will give you His Holy Spirit; if you just want the goodies of heaven without acknowledging God’s will, your heart is in the wrong place.  So, the only work necessary is to actually believe in God and His son’s work:  “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent (John 6:29).  And according to the parable, if you have God and His Holy Spirit you will be saved even if you get drowsy waiting.  This is quite comforting, and the opposite meaning of what I had originally thought regarding this parable.

One reason why I had a bit of a hard time with this parable is that it didn’t seem logically cohesive.  What I mean by that is, we believers are the church, which is referred to as Christ’s bride in the New Testament.  So, why would the ten virgins (and thus the message) refer to believers, who are already behind the door in the parable (as the bride)?  The virgins are attendants, not the bride; the Syriac and Vulgate versions of the New Testament make this clearer by adding in verse 10 that Christ came with his bride.

We know that the context of the parable is eschatological, that is, regarding the end times.  Only two of the commentaries I have here address the actual relevance of this issue, and they appear to disagree:  Enns 2008, which mentions the theological stance that the wedding takes place in heaven, while the banquet takes place on earth after Christ’s second coming, and MacDonald 1995, which seems to place the wedding and the banquet together (in heaven).  The time is during the tribulation, so the virgins represent true believers and those who aren’t true.  But, why use the term virgin, instead of just person?  Since Christ’s bride – the church – is already in heaven (behind the door), then why are the people in the parable referred to as virgins?  It makes me think Jesus is talking about the Jews during the tribulation period.  Certainly his audience at the time was made up of Jews, and MacDonald (1297) refers to them as those with messianic hope.

Israel is specifically called out in Revelation 7, where during the time of the opening of the Sixth Seal a certain number of Jews will be marked as saved; that is, sealed.  In the New Testament, God seals us with, and gives us, the Holy Spirit (2 Cor.s 1:22; Eph.s 1:13, 4:30).  But whether or not the “virgins” refer to Jews alone, or the wedding feast takes place in heaven or on earth (or even if that has any relevance), people will indeed be saved during the tribulation and the mark of this is the seal of the Holy Spirit, just as it is prior to the tribulation.  The admonition to always be ready and waiting for the Lord’s return is true at all times prior to the actual wedding banquet, announced in Revelation 19, which happens after all the seals are opened, all the bowls of judgment are emptied, and all the trumpets sounded, but before the final battle and binding of Satan (this order is according to the literal reading of Revelation).

The message to walk away with is, don’t be foolish but wise and receive the Holy Spirit, and after that keep vigilant in waiting for the king’s return.  However, we can take comfort that Jesus “knew” the five virgins who did in fact drift off to sleep, but who had held on to God’s seal.

_____

Sources

Dunn, James, and Rogerson, John. Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Pub Co, 2003. Print.

Enns, Paul. The Moody Handbook of Theology. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2008. Print.

Kaiser, Jr., Walter C., et al. Hard Sayings of the Bible. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1996. Print.

MacDonald, William. Believer’s Bible Commentary. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Pub.s, 1995. Print.

Plummer, Robert L. 40 Questions About Interpreting the Bible. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 2010. Print.

 

The Anti-Semitic, Anti-Israel Nation of Sweden

I didn’t know Sweden had gotten so anti-Semitic.  Did you?  Isn’t this an example of hypocrisy to support violence against people, against a minority in your country, even?  I don’t keep up with European affairs too much, so I was very shocked and very sickened after reading the article linked below.  It’s so astonishingly tiring, too, to think violence perpetrated against Israel is Israel’s fault.

There is a lot of false “history” out there regarding the formation of Israel and the tensions and wars that followed (I guess even the educated in Sweden don’t want to know, but would rather spread hate).  Israel was not perfect – nobody is or was – but the Palestinians (and the Arab immigrant fighters brought in at that time) are not at all innocent.  Why do you think Israel received the land for their state after WWII, but then the Palestinians did not (nor have they ever since)?  Please read some real history if you don’t know and you think it’s all Israel’s fault (see the second link)!

LINK:  “Sweden. Violence dominates and a Jew today feels like a Jew in Berlin in the ’20s”

For a detailed history of Israel and Palestine, and all that has transpired in that region until the present day, go to this page to start, and then read on (links continue the narrative and provide other side links for more specifics):

LINK:  “Israel and Palestine: A Brief History – Part I” [it is not brief, it’s just not in book form . . .]

You will read that Israel had accepted the UN lines of partitions for their respective countries, even though it wasn’t great for Israel.  And then the Arab League declared war on Israel.  And, the Arabs were stabbing each other in the back over these lands (read the bottom of the “Partition” section).  Regarding the 1948 war:

The conflict created about as many Jewish refugees from Arab countries [as there were Arabs from Israel], many of whom were stripped of their property, rights and nationality, but Israel has not pursued claims on behalf of these refugees . . .

So who has moved on, left the past and revenge behind, and simply tried to make a good living?  Israel.  Israel defends itself, as anyone one would; it doesn’t terrorize and go out and kill innocents in buses, at restaurants, etc.  The hate toward them is mind-bogglingly unfounded.