Saturday, April 30, 2011

Nation of Islam

The Nation of Islam (NOI) (Arabic: أمة الإسلام‎, Ummah al-Islāmu) is a religious Black Supremacist group founded in Detroit, Michigan, United States by Wallace Fard Muhammad in July 1930 with the self-proclaimed goal of resurrecting the spiritual, mental, social, and economic condition of the black men and women of America. NOI also promotes the belief that Allah will bring about a universal government of peace.

Between the years 1934 and 1975, the NOI was lead by Elijah Muhammad who established businesses, large real estate holdings, armed forces and schools.

During the later part of the period between the origin of the NOI in the early 1930's and 1975, Malcolm X became a prominent minister and leader in the NOI. Before his controversial assassination in 1965, he had moved to non-separatism and orthodox Sunni Islam after his experience of having made Hajj to Mecca.

Wallace Fard Muhammad's son by his legal wife Noonga, Warith Deen Mohammed, a minister in the NOI, was made national leader of the organization in 1975. He led most of the NOI members to merge and convert to traditional Islam and dissolved the NOI structure. He renamed the group the American Society of Muslims, which he led until 2003.

Splinter groups developed soon after Elijah Muhammad's death, including that of Louis Farrakhan, who was unhappy with Mohammed's leadership. Originally calling his group Final Call, in 1981 Farrakhan took back the name of Nation of Islam, at the same time renewing the original practices and beliefs of Elijah Muhammad. He was followed by a minority of the members at the time of Muhammad's death. The N.O.I.'s national center and headquarters were located in Chicago, Illinois at the Mosque Maryam. Farrakhan named it to bridge the gap between his group and African-American Christians, while simultaneously moving toward mainstream Sunni Islam. Farrakhan holds his Sunday meetings at 10AM locally, the same as most churches.


Sunday, April 24, 2011

West Bank

The West Bank (Hebrew: הגדה המערבית, Hagadah Hamaaravit, Arabic: الضفة الغربية‎, aḍ-Ḍiffä l-Ġarbīyä), also referred to in Israel and by Jews as "Judea and Samaria", is a landlocked territory on the west bank of the Jordan River in the Middle East. To the west, north, and south the West Bank shares borders with the mainland Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the country of Jordan. The West Bank also contains a significant coast line along the western bank of the Dead Sea. Since 1967 most of the West Bank has been under Israeli military occupation.

Prior to the First World War, the area now known as the West Bank was under Ottoman rule as part of the province of Syria. In the 1920 San Remo conference, the victorious Allied powers allocated the area to the British Mandate of Palestine. The 1948 Arab-Israeli War saw the establishment of Israel in parts of the former Mandate, while the West Bank was captured and annexed by Jordan, who destroyed any existing Jewish villages. The 1949 Armistice Agreements defined its interim boundary. From 1948 until 1967, the area was under Jordanian rule, and Jordan did not officially relinquish its claim to the area until 1988. Jordan's claim was never recognized by the international community.

The West Bank was captured by Israel during the Six-Day War. With the exception of East Jerusalem, the West Bank was not annexed by Israel. Most of the residents are Arabs, although a large number of Israeli settlements have been built in the region since 1967.


Saturday, April 23, 2011


Photo of Passover Seder Plate showing (clockwise, beginning from top):maror (romaine lettuce), z'roa (roasted shankbone),
charoset, maror (chrein), karpas (celery sticks), beitzah (roasted egg).
Pesach (Passover, Hebrew: פֶּסַח; transliterated also as pecach, Pesah) "passover" which can refer to:
  1. sacrifice of passover,
  2. animal victim of the passover,
  3. festival of the passover,
which is from the Hebrew Root Word פָּסַח pacach "to pass over, spring over" is a Jewish holiday beginning on the 15th day of Nisan, which falls in the early spring and commemorates the Exodus and freedom of the Israelites from ancient Egypt. Passover marks the "birth" of the Jewish nation, as the Jews were freed from being slaves of Pharaoh and allowed to become servants of God instead.

In most languages of Christian societies, other than English, German and some Slavic languages, the holiday's name is derived from Pesach, the Hebrew name of Passover, a Jewish holiday to which the Christian Easter is intimately linked.

Together with Sukkot (or Succoth) and Shavuot, Passover is one of the three pilgrim festivals (Shalosh Regalim) during which the entire Jewish populace made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in the days of the Holy Temple.

In Israel, Passover is a 7-day holiday, with the first and last days celebrated as a full festival (involving abstention from work, special prayer services and holiday meals). Outside Israel, the holiday is celebrated for 8 days, with the first two days and last two days celebrated as full festivals. The intervening days are known as Chol HaMoed (festival weekdays).
Passover in 2011 will start on sunset of Monday, the 18th of April and will continue for 7 days until Wednesday, the 26th of April.
The primary symbol of Passover is the matzo, a flat, unleavened bread which recalls the bread that the Israelites ate after their hasty departure from Egypt. According to Halakha, this bread is made from a dough of flour and water only, which has not been allowed to rise for more than 18–22 minutes. Many Jews observe the positive Torah commandment of eating matzo on the first night, as well as the Torah prohibition against eating or owning any leavened products — such as bread, cake, cookies, or pasta (anything whose dough has been mixed with a leavening agent or which has been left to rise more than 18–22 minutes) — for the duration of the holiday.


Friday, April 22, 2011


Zechariah or Zecharya (Hebrew: זְכַרְיָה, "Renowned/Remembered of/is the Lord") was a person in the Old Testament bible and Jewish Tanakh. He was the author of the Book of Zechariah.

It is a theophoric name, the ending -iah being a short Hebrew form for the Tetragrammaton.

He was a prophet of the two-tribe kingdom of Judah, and the eleventh of the minor prophets. Like Ezekiel, he was of priestly extraction. He describes himself (Zechariah 1:1) as "the son of Berechiah." In Ezra 5:1 and 6:14 he is called "the son of Iddo," who was properly his grandfather. His prophetical career began in the second year of Darius, king of Persia (B.C. 520), about sixteen years after the return of the first company from their Babylonian exile. He was contemporary with Haggai (Ezra 5:1).

Although there is an indication in Targum Lamentations that "Zechariah son of Iddo" was killed in the Temple, scholars generally understand this as a reference to the death of a much earlier figure, Zechariah Ben Jehoiada.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Good Friday

Burial of Jesus, Carl Heinrich Bloch
Good Friday, also called Holy Friday or Great Friday, is the Friday preceding Easter Sunday. It commemorates the crucifixion and death of Jesus at Calvary.

Original Events of Good Friday

Jesus Christ, having been arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane by the Temple Guards through the guidance of Judas Iscariot, is brought to the house of Annas, who is father-in-law of the current high priest, Caiaphas. There he is interrogated with little result, and sent bound to Caiaphas the high priest, where the Sanhedrin had assembled (John 18:1-24).
Major events in Jesus' life in the Gospels

  • Nativity
  • Childhood
  • Baptism
  • Temptation
  • Sermon on the Mount
  • Appointed 12 Apostles
  • Exorcisms
  • Money Changers
  • Olivet discourse

  • Last Supper
  • Trial
  • Passion
  • Death
  • Resurrection
  • Great Commission
  • Ascension
  • Second Coming
Conflicting testimony against Jesus is brought forth by many witnesses, to which Jesus answers nothing. Finally the high priest says to Jesus,
"57 Then those who had seized Jesus led him to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders had gathered. 58 And Peter was following him at a distance, as far as the courtyard of the high priest, and going inside he sat with the guards to see the end. 59 Now the chief priests and the whole Council were seeking false testimony against Jesus that they might put him to death, 60 but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. At last two came forward 61 and said, "This man said, 'I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to rebuild it in three days.'" 62 And the high priest stood up and said, "Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?" 63 But Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to him, "I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God." 64 Jesus said to him, "You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven." 65 Then the high priest tore his robes and said, "He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy. 66 What is your judgment?" They answered, "He deserves death." (Matthew 26:57-66 ESV).

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Prayer is an active effort to communicate with a deity or spirit either to offer praise, to make a request, seek guidance, confess sins, or simply to express one's thoughts and emotions. The words of the prayer may either be a set hymn or incantation, or a spontaneous utterance in the praying person's own words.

How did Jesus pray?
35[1] And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and[2] there he prayed.
Forms of prayer

The great spiritual traditions offer a wide variety of devotional acts. There are morning and evening prayers, graces said over meals, and reverent physical gestures.

Here are a few examples of various types of physical gestures during prayer:
  • Christians pray in various ways:
    • Some Christians bow their heads and fold their hands
    • Some Christians kneel
    • Some Christians sway their bodies
    • Some Christians hold their heads and palms upward
  • Native Americans dance
  • Sufis whirl
  • Hindus chant
  • Orthodox Jews sway their bodies back and forth
  • Quakers keep silent
  • Muslims pray in various ways:
    • standing hands raised,
    • Standing with hands folded over chest,
    • Prostrated on the ground, etc.


plus "How did Jesus Pray?" by Mark Driscoll

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Passover Seder

The Passover Seder (Hebrew: סדר, Seder, "order", "arrangement") is a special Jewish ritual which takes place on the first evening of the Jewish feast of Passover (the 15th day of Nisan on the Hebrew calendar) in Israel , and on the first and second evenings of Passover (the 15th and 16th days of Nisan) in the Jewish Diaspora.
This year's Passover begins on sunset of Monday, April 18 and goes through Monday the 25th of April, 2011
Incorporating the holiday meal, the Seder relives the enslavement and subsequent Exodus of the Children of Israel from Ancient Egypt through the words of the Haggadah, the drinking of Four Cups of Wine, the eating of matzot, and the eating of and reference to symbolic foods placed on the Passover Seder Plate.

In the following passage from exodus, the Hebrew word for feast is חג chag, meaning "festival, feast, festival-gathering, pilgrim-feast" from חָגַג chagag, "to hold a feast, hold a festival, make pilgrimage, keep a pilgrim-feast, celebrate, dance, stagger."

The Seder itself is based on the Biblical verse commanding Jews to retell the story of the Exodus from Egypt:
8 You shall tell your son on that day, 'It is because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt.' (Exodus 13:8 ESV)

The Seder is considered an integral aspect of Jewish faith and identity. As the Haggadah—which contains the complete Seder service—explains, without the Exodus, the Jews would still be slaves to the Egyptian Pharaoh and would never have realized their role as a nation. Therefore this is an occasion for much praise and thanksgiving to God. It is considered a mitzvah (commandment) to embellish one's retelling of the Exodus on this night. Often the Seder lasts into the early hours of the morning of the next day, as participants continue to learn Torah and talk about the events of the night and sing special Passover songs included in the Haggadah.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Moloch, Molech or Molekh, representing Hebrew מלך Molek , (translated directly into king) is either the name of a god or the name of a particular kind of sacrifice associated historically with the Ammonites and Phoenicians and related cultures in north Africa and the Levant to whom some sacrificed their infants in the valley of Hinnom.
Josh. 15, 8, valley of Hinnom, of the sons
of Hinnom, etc. on the south and west
of Jerusalem, through which passed the
southern boundary of Benjamin and the
northern of Judah, Josh. 15,8. 18, 16. It
was noted for the human sacrifices here
offered to Moloch, 2 K. Jer. 11. [1]

Moloch, sometimes Ba'al Moloch, known as the Sacred Bull, was widely worshipped in the ancient Near East and wherever Punic culture extended (including, but not limited to, the Ammonites, Edomites and the Moabites). Baal Moloch was conceived under the form of a calf or an ox or depicted as a man with the head of a bull.

Hadad, Baal or simply the King identified the god within his cult. The name Moloch is the name he was known by among his worshippers, but is a Hebrew translation. (MLK has been found on stele at the infant necropolis in Carthage). The written form Μολώχ Moloch (in the Septuagint Greek translation of the Old Testament), or Molek (Hebrew), is no different than the word Melech or king, transformed by interposing the vowels of bosheth or 'shameful thing'.

  1. Gesenius Hebrew and English Lexicon the Old Testament

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Yehosef Bar Qayyafa (Hebrew (ש"ע) (בברית החדשה) כוהן יהודי; צדוקי , "Joseph, son of Caiaphas"), also known as Caiaphas (Greek:Καϊάφας) in the New Testament, was the Jewish high priest to whom Jesus was taken after his arrest in the garden of Gethsemane, and who played a part in Jesus' trial before the Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate. Although Caiaphas acted individually, passages involving Caiaphas are among those cited over the years by those claiming a Biblical justification for anti-Semitism. He married the daughter of Annas.
12 Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. They bound him 13 and brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. (John 18:10-13
In the Mishnah, Parah 3:5 refers to him as Ha-Koph (the monkey), a play on his name for opposing Mishnat Ha-Hasidim.

In Matthew chapter 26, Caiaphas, other chief priests, and the Sanhedrin are shown looking for "false evidence" with which to frame Jesus (Matthew 26:59). Jesus never declares he is the Son of God, but doesn't deny the charge either, and makes an allusion to the Son of Man, Caiaphas and the other men charge him with blasphemy and orders him beaten.


Monday, April 11, 2011


The Euphrates (the traditional Greek name, Arabic: الفرات; Al-Furat, Hebrew: פְּרָת, Pĕrath ) is the westernmost of the two great rivers that define Mesopotamia (the other being the Tigris).

The name Euphrates may have originated from Old Persian Ufratu, as it were from Avestan *hu-perethuua, meaning "good to cross over" (from hu-, meaning "good", and peretu, meaning "ford"). Alternatively, some suggest that the name Euphrates is possibly of Kurdish origin.

In Kurdish, fere means "wide", re means "flowing water" and hat is "flowing", giving fererehat, meaning "wide flowing water". The modern Kurdish name, Ferat, is possibly a reduction of the older name. However, the Indo-European etymology of the name is put into doubt by the Sumerian and Akkadian names for the Euphrates are Buranun and Pu-rat-tu, respectively, Buranun being attested in an inscription associated with king Gudea (22nd century BC). It seems thus likely that the Old Persian name arose by popular etymology based on the pre-Iranian name of the river.

The river is approximately 2,780 kilometers (1,730 miles) long.

The Euphrates is formed by the union of two branches, the Kara (the western Euphrates), which rises in the highlands of eastern Turkey north of Erzurum and the Murat (the eastern Euphrates), which issues from an area southwest of Mount Ararat, north of Lake Van. The upper reaches of the Euphrates flow through steep canyons and gorges, southeast across Syria, and through Iraq (see also: Iraq Maps). The Khabur and the Balikh River join the Euphrates in eastern Syria.

Downstream, through its whole length, the Euphrates receives no further water flow. North of Basra, in southern Iraq, the river merges with the Tigris to form the Arvand/Shatt al-Arab, this in turn empties into the Persian Gulf.


Saturday, April 09, 2011


(Latin virtus; Greek ἀρετή) is moral excellence. Personal virtues are characteristics valued as promoting individual and collective well-being, and thus good by definition. The opposite of virtue is vice.

Etymologically the word virtue (Latin virtus) first signified manliness or courage. In its widest sense, virtue refers to excellence, just as vice, its contrary, denotes its absence. The term as used by moral philosophers and theologians signifies an operative habit essentially good, in contrast to an operative habit essentially evil. What are traditionally known as the four cardinal virtues, enumerated by the classical Greek philosophers have been translated into English as Justice, Courage, Wisdom, and Moderation. The three virtues of faith, hope and love (or charity) are central aspects of the Abrahamic religions

Virtue may also be identified from another perspective: it can have either normative or moral value; i.e. the virtue of a judge is to justly convict criminals; the virtue of an excellent judge is to specialise in justly convicting criminals, this being its normative value, whereas the virtues of reason, prudence, chastity, etc. have moral value.

In classical Greek, virtue is more properly called ἠθικὴ ἀρετή (ēthikē aretē), or "habitual excellence", something practiced at all times. The virtue of perseverance is itself a necessary adjunct to each and every individual virtue, since, overall, virtue is a species of habit which, in order to maintain oneself in virtue, needs to be continuously sustained. Self-proclaimed immoralist Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, however, expressed the view that "when virtue has slept, it will arise all the more vigorous."


Friday, April 08, 2011

History of Christianity

The history of Christianity concerns the history of the Christian religion and the Church, from Jesus and his Twelve Apostles to contemporary times. Christianity is the monotheistic religion which considers itself based on the revelation of Jesus Christ (cf. Galatians 1:12 see below). "The Church" is understood theologically as the institution founded by Jesus for the salvation of mankind.

Christianity began in the 1st century AD as a Jewish sect but quickly spread throughout the Greco-Roman world.
The word revelation never occurs again in the book that has come to bear that name. Every other time the book refers to itself, it is as a prophecy (v. 3; compare 22:7, 10, 18) or a "book of prophecy" (22:19). Revelation should therefore be understood in much the same sense as in 1 Corinthians 14:6, 26, where Paul lists "a revelation" among the things prophets in early Christian congregations received from God in the Spirit--along with knowledge, prophecy, teaching (v. 6), a psalm, a teaching, a tongue, an interpretation (v. 26).

Paul uses the phrase "revelation of Jesus Christ" in Galatians 1:12 (NRSV) to refer to the divine message he had received, and by virtue of which he became apostle to the Gentiles. Both in Galatians and here in Revelation the phrase "revelation of Jesus Christ" tells us primarily where the revelation comes from, not what it is about. It is a revelation given by Jesus Christ from heaven, now that God has raised him from the dead. Much of it, of course, will also be about Jesus, but above all the title is saying that the book is from Jesus. ©InterVarsity Press 
12 For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. (Galatians 1:12 ESV)


Sunday, April 03, 2011


In the arts, history, archaeology, the study of antiques, and similar fields involving unique or scarce artifacts from the past, and, with regard to documents in law, authenticity (Greek: ἀρχηγός from 'archēgos'='author').
  1.  the chief leader, prince
     - of Christ
  2. one that takes the lead in any thing and thus affords an example, a predecessor in a matter, pioneer
  3. the author
Strong's Number: 747 Greek: archegos
Author: translated "Prince" in Act 3:15 (marg., "Author") and Acts 5:31, but "Author" in Hebrews 2:10, RV, "Captain," RV marg., and AV, and "Author" in Hebrews 12:2, primarily signifies "one who takes a lead in, or provides the first occasion of,anything." In the Septuagint it is used of the chief of a tribe or family, Numbers 13:2 (RV, prince); of the "heads" of the children of Israel, Numbers 13:3; a captain of the whole people, Numbers 14:4; in Micah 1:13, of Lachish as the leader of the sin of the daughter of Sion: there, as in Hebrews 2:10, the word suggest a combination of the meaning of leader with that of the source from whence a thing proceeds. That Christ is the Prince of life signifies, as Chrysostom says, that "the life He had was not from another; the Prince or Author of life must be He who has life from Himself." But the word does not necessarily combine the idea of the source or originating cause with that of leader. In Hebrews 12:2 where Christ is called the "Author and Perfecter of faith," He is represented as the one who takes precedence in faith and is thus the perfect Exemplar of it. The pronoun "our" does not correspond to anything in the original, and may well be omitted. Christ in the days of His flesh trod never deviating the path of faith, and as the Perfecter has brought it to a perfect end in His own person. Thus He is the leader of all others who tread that path.
In Acts 28:16 some mss. have the word stratopedarches (lit., "camp-commander"), which some take to denote a praetorian prefect, or commander of the praetorian cohorts, the Emperor's bodyguard, "the captain of the praetorian guard." There were two praetorian prefects, to whose custody prisoners sent bound to the Emperor were consigned. But the word probably means the commander of a detached corps connected with the commissariat and the general custody of prisoners.

primarily an adjective signifying "originating, beginning," is used as a noun, denoting "a founder, author, prince or leader," Acts 3:15, "Prince" (marg., "Author"); Acts 5:31

As Christians

In one sense, the idea of being authentic really has a lot to do with the ways that we, as Christians, know we ought to act, and ways in which we would want others to perceive us, and ways that people talk about us with others.
For example, here are two possible ways someone might be referred to:
  1. "Oh, that Bob, he's such a liar."
  2. "Oh, that Bob, you can trust him."
If there is really no good reason to suggest, or even suspect, that Bob might be a liar, it's not very likely that anyone would say that Bob is a such a liar. On the other hand, if someone is commonly referred to as a liar there is a good chance they probably are one.


Friday, April 01, 2011

The Golden Horn

The Golden Horn (Turkish: Haliç or Altın Boynuz, Greek: Χρυσόν Κέρας – Chrysón Kéras) is an inlet of the Bosphorus dividing the city of Istanbul and forming a natural harbor.

According to Greek legend, the Golden Horn derives its name from Keroessa, the mother of Byzas the Megarian, who named it after her. It forms a deep natural harbor for the pensinsula it encloses together with the Sea of Marmara. The Byzantine Empire had its naval headquarters there, and walls were built along the shoreline to protect the city of Constantinople from naval attacks. At the entrance to the Horn, there was a large chain pulled across from Constantinople to the old Tower of Galata (which was known as the Megalos Pyrgos (Great Tower) among the Byzantines) on the northern side, preventing unwanted ships from entering. This tower was largely destroyed by the Latin Crusaders during the Fourth Crusade (1204), but the Geneose built a new tower nearby, the famous Galata Tower (1348) which they called Christea Turris (Tower of Christ).

There were three notable times when the chain across the Horn was either broken or circumvented. In the 10th century the Kievan Rus' dragged their longships out of the Bosporus, around Galata, and relaunched them in the Horn; the Byzantines defeated them with Greek fire. In 1204, during the Fourth Crusade, Venetian ships were able to break the chain with a ram. In 1453, Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, having failed in his attempt to break the chain with brute force, instead used the same tactic as the Rus', towing his ships across Galata into the estuary over greased logs.




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