This message is so well written, and expresses my feelings completely.
Joel C. Rosenberg
(Jerusalem, Israel, July 19, 2012) — Please pray for Michael Ben Ari. He’s a member of the Israeli parliament (Knesset) who this week was given the gift of a Hebrew New Testament study Bible by the Israeli Bible Society but chose to rip it to shreds and throw it into the garbage and do so in front of the press. It was a reprehensible act and a childish temper tantrum and the controversy over what he did and why he did it has made headlines here in Israel and around the world. The good news is several leading Israeli officials condemned Ben Ari’s action and called for him to apologize. Personally, I’d like to see Prime Minister Netanyahu make a strong statement condemning Ben Ari’s action, as well. I’m not aware that the PM has yet done so.
At the end of this column, I post some of my thoughts about why I believe this controversy is important.
But first, here are the latest details: “MK Michael Ben Ari (National Union), a member of the Israeli parliament tore up a copy of the New Testament and threw it in the trash, an act that was apparently caught on camera,” reported Ynet News. “Ben Ari and several other Knesset members received by mail on Monday a copy of the New Testament, sent by the Bible Society in Israel, an organization that distributes religious books. In the letter sent with the book, director of the Christian organization Victor Kalisher wrote that the new edition ‘sheds light on the Holy Scriptures and helps understand them….We hope the book will help you and illuminate your way.’….However, while most MK’s chose to ignore the book or return it to its sender, the rightist lawmaker chose to term the book a ‘provocation,’ tore it up into shreds and then threw it out. ‘This abominable book (the New Testament) galvanized the murder of millions of Jews during the Inquisition and during [other] instances,’ Ben Ari said adding that ‘Sending the book to MK’s is a provocation. There is no doubt that this book and all it represents belongs in the garbage can of history.’”
“The religious and ultra-Orthodox Knesset members should honor those who want to read the book, Kalisher said,” noted the Times of Israel, “adding ‘it could help them expand their own knowledge.’ Kalisher also denied the notion of missionary activity, saying his organization studied and spread the holy scriptures, providing people with knowledge and study tools. There was no intention to ‘hurt the feelings of Knesset members,’ he said. ‘It’s a Jewish book, written by Jews. To better understand Judaism you need to study the New Testament.’
MK Ben Ari’s deplorable behavior was denounced by other Knesset members, including the Speaker of the Knesset Reuven Rivlin. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), to their credit, also called on MK Ben Ari to apologize for his behavior. I agree with the ADL and am encouraged by their statement, which I’ve posted on the blog.
That said, I would encourage all of the Members of the Israeli Knesset to ready and carefully study this Hebrew edition of the New Testament and to proactively study the life of Yeshua (Jesus) of Nazareth. Indeed, my prayer is that all Israelis would read and study the New Testament and decide this question: Is Yeshua the Jewish Messiah foretold by the Hebrew prophets, or not? This is the most important question in all of human history, and the most important and urgent of questions that must be answered by each and every Jew and Gentile. Indeed, our eternal destiny depends on how we answer this question and what actions we take based on our answer. Thus, I’m grateful this controversy has been sparked. May it lead many to decide to obtain a copy of this Hebrew New Testament and study carefully it for themselves.
[To read these stories in full — and/or to read excerpts from IMPLOSION, and/or to find links to the latest news and analysis of events and trends in the U.S., Israel, Russia, and the Middle East — please go to: http://flashtrafficblog.wordpress.com/.%5D
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* TWITTER — I’ve become active on Twitter. Please join me @jcrflashtraffic.
NEW EVIDENCE SHOWS IRAN ENRICHING URANIUM TO 27% PURITY, UP FROM 20%: Nuclear talks in Baghdad go nowhere; next round in Moscow
by Joel Rosenberg
Posted: May 25, 2012 in Uncategorized
“The U.N. atomic agency has found evidence at an underground bunker in Iran that could mean the country has moved closer to producing the uranium threshold needed to arm nuclear missiles, diplomats said Friday,” according to the Associated Press. “The International Atomic Energy Agency has found traces of uranium enriched up to 27 percent at Iran’s Fordo enrichment plant, the diplomats told The Associated Press. That is still substantially below the 90-percent level needed to make the fissile core of nuclear arms. But it is above Iran’s highest-known enrichment grade, which is close to 20 percent, and which already can be turned into weapons-grade material much more quickly than the Islamic Republic’s main stockpile, which can only be used for fuel at around 3.5 percent.”
Meanwhile, the nuclear talks held this week in Baghdad between Iran and six world powers went nowhere. The only thing agreed upon was to hold more talks. The next round is scheduled for June 18-19 in Moscow. This will give Russian Czar Vladimir Putin an opportunity to dramatically shape the future of the showdown between Iran and Israel. How will he use it? Putin is reportedly headed to Israel in June, though as far as I know the dates are not yet set. But clearly next month is going to be a critical moment in Russian-Iranian-Israeli relations. UPDATE (5/25): Russia’s Putin to visit Israel in June.
All this comes as Iran’s top military commander said his country was fully committed to completely destroying the State of Israel. “The Iranian nation is standing for its cause and that is the full annihilation of Israel,” Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi , the Iranian military’s chief of staff, said in a speech to a defense gathering Sunday in Tehran.
Scary to think the world is coming to this. Although, the Bible clearly points to things getting worse.
2 Timothy 3 (New International Version)
2 Timothy 3
1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7 always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. 9 But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.
A Final Charge to Timothy
10 You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11 persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. 12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Despite a long list of woes that include being labeled an anti-Semite, having a violent temper and allegedly breaking the teeth of the mother of his youngest child—Mel Gibson has a friend in Jesus—or, at least the actor who played him in 2004’s “Passion of the Christ.”
“Mel Gibson, he’s a horrible sinner, isn’t he?” Jim Caviezel asked members of the First Baptist Church of Orlando, FL during an appearance Saturday night. “Mel Gibson doesn’t need your judgment, he needs your prayers.”
Caviezel, 42, spoke at the 14,000-member church in a speech the local paper described as “giv(ing) witness to his faith, (urging) others to share it and to sell a new all-star audio production of the Bible that he has produced.”
The staunch Roman Catholic recalled when Gibson first offered him the role of Jesus, he warned that it could end his career.
“(Gibson) said, ‘You’ll never work in this town again,’” Caviezel explained. “I told him, ‘We all have to embrace our crosses.’”
During the 20-minute talk, Caviezel said he was “called” to be an actor, noting that it was no coincidence that “in my 33rd year, I was called to play Jesus.”
He even joked about his initials– J.C. –with Gibson during casting, which “freaked [the director] out a little.”
Caviezel said taking on the role of the Son of God limited his career, saying that he was “rejected in (his) own industry.”
“Jesus is as controversial now as he has ever been,” Caviezel said. “Not much has changed in 2,000 years.”
But Caviezel has no regrets, saying “We have to give up our names, our reputations, our lives to speak the truth,” and adding that he’ll get his reward in heaven.
As many San Francisco Giants followers learned yesterday, Brian Wilson, their famous, or infamous pitching closer, may not be able to play ball this year. Pending first, second, third, and possibly more medical opinions, he may have to have surgery for his arm. He has a great attitude, and will use his faith to weather this storm or others that may come across the horizon.
His condition is of importance to us for various reasons. Foremost because he is not ashamed to show his faith. That puts him in a category of the minority of famous folks.
Secondly, we live in the San Francisco Bay Area and are avid followers of the Giants.
So, let’s pray for this man, his team, his fellow teammates–that regardless of their physical condition, they will continue to exemplify that being a follower of Jesus is nothing to be ashamed of, and in fact is something that we all should show, daily.