Saturday, October 27, 2018

Thessaloniki to Philippi

by Steve Ray on October 27, 2018

We drove just under two hours to Philippi from our very nice hotel in Thessaloniki. We have two sites to visit today which are both related to St. Paul. The first is Philippi where we will tour of the ancit site and see the prison where Paul and Silas were chained (Acts 16). Will also have Mass on the river where he baptized his first European convert named Lydia. Fr. Gregory’s homily. Then we visited Kavala which is the modern name of ancient Neapolis where Paul first set foot on European soil. We then flew back to Athens for a very short night before everyone flies home or to Rome or other destinations. It’s been a great pilgrimage! These videos will continue with the contingent that is going with Janet and I for three days to Rome.

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Here are clear statements of the Koran itself. Is this really a religion of peace or is it rather a political agenda of conquering and ruling?

Those who think Islam is primarily a religion are deluding themselves. Islam is a political agenda to conquer the world and rule it in the name of Allah. It is a holy war as you’ll see from the Koran itself. It is very clear.

download“Kill the unbelievers wherever you find them.” Koran 2:191

“Make war on the infidels living in your neighbourhood.” Koran 9:123

“When opportunity arises, kill the infidels wherever you catch them.” Koran 9:5

“Any religion other than Islam is not acceptable.” Koran 3:85

“The Jews and the Christians are perverts; fight them.”... Koran 9:30

“Maim and crucify the infidels if they criticize Islam” Koran 5:33

“Punish the unbelievers with garments of fire, hooked iron rods, boiling water; melt their skin and bellies.” Koran 22:19

“The unbelievers are stupid; urge the Muslims to fight them.” Koran 8:65

“Muslims must not take the infidels as friends.” Koran 3:28

“Terrorize and behead those who believe in scriptures other than the Qur’an.” Koran 8:12

“Muslims must muster all weapons to terrorize the infidels.” Koran 8:60

Steve's Talk: "Islam, What Every Infidel Should Know" Steve’s Talk: “Islam, What Every Infidel Should Know

Added to these are a few samples of Muhammad’s teachings and life. Here are some quotations taken from Muslim sources:

“I have been commanded to fight against people till they testify that there is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah” – (Muslim 1:33)

“Fight everyone in the way of Allah and kill those who disbelieve in Allah.” (Ibn Ishaq 992). Muhammad’s life was a succession of warfare, plundering and killings… and every Muslim is invited to imitate this supreme “model”.

– Muhammad owned and traded slaves – (Sahih Muslim 3901), and ordered his followers to stone women for adultery. – (Muslim 4206)

– He himself beheaded 800 Jewish men and boys, (Abu Dawud 4390) ordered the murder of women (Ibn Ishaq 819, 995) and killed those who insulted him. – (Bukhari 56:369, 4:241)

– According to him, Jihad in the way of Allah elevates one’s position in Paradise by a hundred fold. – (Muslim 4645)

– In his last ten years, he ordered 65 military campaigns and raids. – (Ibn Ishaq) and killed captives taken in battle. – (Ibn Ishaq 451)

images– He encouraged his men to rape enslaved women, (Abu Dawood 2150, Quran 4:24), he put apostates to death, plundered and lived off the wealth of others, captured and enslaved non-Muslim people.

– After Mohammed’s death, his followers attacked and conquered the populations of 28 countries and declared holy war on the people of five major world religions.

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Since we are in Philippi Greece today, I thought I would post this colorful blog :-)

We miss a lot when reading the English Bible. We’re at a great disadvantage. The early Christians read the writings of the apostles in the original language – they understood the words and expressions must better than we do. The original language of the Bible is full of rich imagery, stark reality, and colorful terminology.

Toilets.jpgFor example, Paul writes that he considers all things as refuse that he might gain Christ (Phil 4:8).  We lose the impact of his graphic language. Paul wrote in Greek and in Greek the word refuse means human waste or crap. In Paul’s day it might have been the equivalent of the “sh–” word forbidden in proper communication. Paul used crude language, and it was very graphic for the original readers. Our English translations are very “proper”.

(Picture: Steve sitting on old stone Roman toilets in Philippi, filming in “Paul, Contending for the Faith“)

As a Pharisee, Paul tried to earn his righteousness by his self-righteous efforts and pride. But now that he has learned of faith in Christ and salvation by grace along, he considers his old efforts and self-righteousness to be nothing but crap. English Bibles santize this wording for us :-)

Let’s look at another crude example.  In Galatians 5:12 Paul reacts to the Jewish converts who tried to make the Gentiles get circumcised.  They said the pagans must be circumcised and obey all the 613 laws of Moses to be saved (Acts 15:1).  The heretics made Paul so mad that he says he wished the false teachers would not just cut off the foreskin of the penis but slip and cut the whole thing off.  Ouch!

Flint Knife.jpgEverywhere else this Greek word is used in the New Testament, it is translated “cut it off” but in this passage most prim and proper English translations render the word as “mutilate themselves” though a few say “castrate themselves” or “go all the way and emasculate themselves.”  Paul didn’t mince his words, nor hide his anger and frustration.

(Picture: Ancient flint knife, the kind used for circumcisions in biblical times)

One of my favorite gold nuggets that I discovered in the New Testament is a Greek word used only twice in the whole New Testament. This word relates to God’s two creations.  By reading the English Bible you would never know these two different passages use the same Greek word. But you would never know it from reading the English. When you dig deep you find gold!

What are these two creations of God?  The first is obviously the physical world created “in the beginning.”  The second creation is the Church, into which we are ‘born again” through baptism, a new creation. Both creations were “born” out of water with the Spirit of God hovering over the water (Gen 1:2; Mk 1:9-110, John 3:1-5).

Ready? Well here are the two verses; I have italicized the English words that have the Greek word in common:

First, the physical creation: “Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made” (Romans 1:20).

Second, the spiritual creation: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).

Was I right? Would you have known that the underlying Greek word in both verses is poiema? It is the Greek word from which we get our English word poem. In Romans 1:20, five English words are used to translate one Greek word: poiema which refers to the physical created universe.  The word workmanship is what you are, what the Church is. The poem of the Church includes you.

So, God has “written” two poems: the physical world and the Church.  God is a poet, He is an artist, and his two great works of art reveal much about Him as an artist. You can learn a lot from looking at the paintings of an artist or by reading the pages of a poet.  Just as any poet can be understood by reading his work, so God can be understood to some degree by reading his poetry.

Solar System.jpgGo out at night and look at the sky –  ponder the masterpiece of God’s creation. Look at the symmetry and beauty of a flower, the power and creatures of the oceans, the majesty of mountains and thunderstorms. Then look at the Church around the world as she redeems sinners. Think of the billions of people that have accepted her embrace and been born into a heavenly family, a culture of love and blessings. Two marvelous, breath-taking creations.

Any you? You are part of God’s two creations, you are written into his poetry and painted on his canvas.  He treasures you.  You are not a random mass of molecules that happened to appear on lonely planet earth spinning meaninglessly around the sun. No, you are part of God’s glorious poetry that angels admire and God cherishes. Be proud, be thankful!  Live worthy of your place in God’s heart.

So, the New Testament is rich in its vocabulary. It is richer than the English language reveals. Like Paul says, anyone that tries to please God by their meager human efforts has nothing but crap to show for it, unworthy of the kingdom of God. Anyone who says we must be circumcised to be a Christian opposes God’s plan of free grace. Paul wanted them to castrate themselves.

Actually the New Testament is rich in imagery and figures of speech.  You are blessed to be freely made part of God’s two creations. You are beautiful. The Word of God says so!

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