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Darkness to Light - Vol. XV, No. 2
Darkness to Light
Volume XV, Number 2
Director: Gary F. Zeolla
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Why Are These Books in the Bible and Not Others? - Volume Two - A Translator’s Perspective on the Canon of the New Testament
In this Volume Two of a three-volume set, each of the 27 books included in the New Testament are reviewed in detail. Who wrote them and when, their theology, and other pertinent background information are discussed to explain why they were included in the New Testament. Arguments against the traditional viewpoints on these books are addressed.
Amidst a Massive Sea of Muslim Lands
By Gary F. Zeolla
New Jersians Beware!
Image you are a native of New Jersey (NJ). You’ve lived there your entire life, as did your parents, and their parents, and their parents, and so on back to when NJ was a colony of the British Empire in the 1600s. Now image how you would feel if the other 49 States of the Union declared that you and your state had no right to exist. What if they vowed to wipe your state off of the face of the map and to exterminate all of the native New Jersians, including you and your family. And what if they declared that your state was illegitimate, that it had no right to exist, never mind that NJ was one of the original thirteen colonies and thus one of the original thirteen states of the United States.
Now look at a map of the USA. Notice how tiny NJ is in comparison to the contiguous (lower 48) states. You can barely find NJ on the map. It is so small map makers cannot put the words “New Jersey” on the state itself. They have to put them in the Atlantic Ocean to the east of NJ and draw a line to the state. NJ is just a little speck you can barely see amidst the massive sea that is the rest of the United States
Now what if that rest of the USA said that they would let your state be at peace, if you gave up part of your land, succeeding it to a group of illegal immigrants from other states who first claimed a historical connection to the land of NJ in the 1960s. But if NJ gave up that land, how safe would you feel if your state was now so tiny you could walk across it in one afternoon?
To make matter worse, the United Nations (UN) jumps in and also says that native New Jersians have no right to their land and must give part of it up to those people who only arrived in your state in the past century but are descended from residents of other states. It would now seem like the whole world is poised against you and your tiny state of NJ.
New Jersey = Israel
This is the situation Israel finds itself in. Look at a map of the Middle East and Northern Africa. Israel is about the size of New Jersey. You can barely find it on the map. It is so small map makers cannot put the word “Israel” on the country itself. They have to put it in the Mediterranean Sea to the west of Israel and draw a line to the country. Israel is just a tiny speck you can barely see amidst the massive sea that is Muslim-controlled land that is larger than the contagious United States.
From Pakistan to the East to Turkey to the north, to Morocco to the west, to the Somalia to the south, it is all controlled by Muslims who hate Israel and want to see it wiped off of the face of the map. This map emphasizes the point. Israel is in blue, while Islamic-dominated areas are in green.
To put numbers to these size comparisons, the total area of New Jersey is 8,722 square miles (22,591 km2) and has a population of 8,958,013 (2015 estimate). This is about the same as Israel, at 8,550 square miles (22,145 km2) and a population of 8,602,000 (2016 estimate). Meanwhile, the contiguous United States has an area of 3,119,884 square miles (8,080,464 km2) and a population of 322,550,762 (2016 estimate), while the 22 Muslim countries surrounding Israel have an area about 1.5 times larger at 4,656,865 square miles (12,061,226 km2) and a slightly larger population of 340,000,000 (2012) (sources listed below).
More simply, Israel: 8,550 square miles and 8.6 million people versus 4.6 million square miles and 330 million people for the surrounding Muslim world. Percentage-wise, the 22 Muslim counties have 538 times the area and 39 times the population of Israel.
Palestinian vs. Jewish Claims
This massive sea of Muslims surrounding Israel claim Israel has no right to exist. But it is said that the way to peace for Israel is to give up some of its land to the so-called Palestinians. But if it did, at its thinnest, Israel would only be nine miles wide. That thin of an area of land would be militarily indefensible, especially since the surrounding Muslims would have the high ground (Jay Sekulow Live).
It is further said that Jews are not the legitimate residents of their land. Never mind that only the Jewish people have had a continuous presence on that land from our day back through the Middle Ages through the time of the Roman Empire through the time of various other empires, all the way back to the time of Joshua and the conquest of the Promised Land in 1400 BC. Even after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD and the scattering of Jews after the Jewish revolt of 135 AD, there has always been a remnant of Jews in Judea.
Therefore, the Jewish claim to the Land of Israel is justified not only by an old Biblical Promise, but also by a permanent presence of Jews as the only autochthonous [indigenous] ethnic community existing in the Holy Land. Along the centuries and under different dominations, the “Palestinian” Jews did never submit to assimilation but conserved their spiritual and cultural identity, as well as their links with other Jewish communities in the Middle East.
The continuous flow of Mizrachim (Oriental) and Sephardim (Mediterranean) Jews to the Holy Land contributed to support the existence of the Jewish population in the area. This enduring Jewish presence in the so-called Palestine preceded many centuries the arrival of the first Arab conqueror.
Even though Jerusalem has been off-limits to Jews in different periods (since Romans banned all Jews to enter the City), many of them settled in the immediate proximities and in other towns and villages of the Holy Land (Im ninalu.net; True).
But Muslims now claim the Palestinians are the rightful heirs of the land. They claim this by trying to say the Palestinians are descended from as the Canaanites and Philistines that the Israelites conquered in the entrance of the Israelites into the Promised Land. This subterfuge was first tried by the Romans Emperor Hadrian in 135 AD, after the Romans suppressed the Jewish revolt. Hadrian renamed the land “Palæstina” to try to connect it to the ancient Philistines that even by then had ceased to exist. This was done to try to eliminate any historical connection of Israel and the Jewish religion to the land. That subterfuge was the first mention of “Palestine” in historical records, and it was a pure fabrication and failed in its intention.
Similarly, there is no connection whatsoever between today’s Palestinians and the ancient Canaanites and Philistines, neither historically nor genetically. That is also a pure fabrication. The ancient Canaanites and Philistines both ceased to exist over two millennia ago. The Canaanites were conquered by the Israelites under Joshua and assimilated into the Jewish culture, losing their national identity, while the Philistines were defeated under King David and ceased to exist after the Assyria captivity of 622 BC.
Today’s Palestinians come mostly from waves of Muslim immigration to the land from various Arabs counties between 1948 and 1967 to give Muslims a claim to the land. They first proclaimed themselves to be “Palestinians” and claimed a historical connection to “Palestine” in 1967, after Israel defeated nine Arabs nations in the Six-Day War. But there was no Palestinian people before that, neither has there ever been a true Palestine state, king, president, or culture.
Indeed, there is no such a thing like a Palestinian people, or a Palestinian culture, or a Palestinian language, or a Palestinian history. There has never been any Palestinian state, neither any Palestinian archaeological find nor coinage. The present-day “Palestinians” are an Arab people, with Arab culture, Arabic language and Arab history. They have their own Arab states from where they came into the Land of Israel about one century ago to contrast the Jewish immigration. That is the historical truth.
They were Jordanians (another recent British invention, as there has never been any people known as “Jordanians”), and after the Six-Day War in which Israel utterly defeated the coalition of nine Arab states and took legitimate possession of Judea and Samaria, the Arab dwellers in those regions underwent a kind of anthropological miracle and discovered that they were Palestinians - something they did not know the day before (Im ninalu.net; True).
But despite these facts, the world by and large has fallen for this subterfuge, including now the United Nations and the USA via former President Obama and former Secretary of State John Kerry. In December 2016, the UN had the audacity to declare that Israel has no right to its settlements in “Palestine,” while our former President and Secretary of State allowed this resolution to pass by abstaining from the vote rather than vetoing it, leaving Israel to fend for itself against the world.
There are some Christians who believe this situation is what is being predicted will happened in the End Times in the Book of Ezekiel chapters 38-39. There, using ancient names, nations of the Middle East and North Africa, along with Russia, are said to be posed against Israel. This event is often equated with the Battle of Armageddon described in the The Revelation 16:13-21.
In the following Bible verses, the LORD promises land to Abram/ Abraham and later to his grandson Jacob.
1And the LORD said to Abram, “Go out from your land and from your relatives and out of the house of your father into the land which I will show to you. [Acts 7:3] 2And I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you and magnify your name, and you will be blessed. 3And I will bless the ones blessing you, and I will curse the ones cursing you, and in you will all the tribes of the earth be blessed.” [Gal 3:8] (Genesis 12:1-3).
14Then GOD said to Abram after to be separated Lot from him, “Having looked up with your eyes, see from the place where you now are towards north and south and east and sea [fig., west]; 15for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your seed until the age [fig., forever]. [cp. Gal 3:16] (Genesis 13:14-15).
10And Jacob went out from the Well of the Oath and departed into Haran. 11And he met [fig., came to] a [certain] place and slept there, for the sun had gone down; and he took from the stones of the place and put [it] at his head, and he fell asleep in that place. 12And he dreamed. And look! A ladder [or, staircase] having been established on the earth, whose top was reaching into heaven, and the angels of God ascended and descended upon it. [cp. John 1:51]
13Now the LORD had stood over it and said, “I [am] the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. Stop fearing! The land on which you sleep, to you I will give it and to your seed. 14And your seed will be as the sand of the earth, and it will be spread abroad to [the] sea and to [the] south and to [the] north and to [the] east; and in you and in your seed will all the tribes of the earth be blessed. 15And Listen! I [am] with you to be protecting you in all the way in which you shall go; and I will bring you back into this land; for by no means shall I forsake you, until I have done all, as many thing as I speak to you” (Genesis 28:10-13).
It is through Abraham and his grandson Jacob that all Jews today trace their lineage. Thus this promise, made way back around 2000 BC, is to them. The amount of land promised is much larger than the current state of Israel, yet Israel is being told today they cannot keep all of even this truncated amount of land.
Note also the promise to bless those who bless Abraham and his descendants and that through Jacob all the nations would be blessed. One way the latter happened is by the Hebrew Scriptures (aka, the Old Testament) being given to the Jews, which are a blessing to all peoples, as I describe in Volume One of my three volume set Why Are These Books in the Bible and Not Others? But the former concerns us here.
The USA and Israel
The USA, as a nation that used to have a Christian consensus, believed the promise that God would bless those who blessed Israel and thus has always been on the side of Israel, and the LORD has blessed this great nation as a result. But then Obama turned from this long-standing policy of supporting Israel, and he did so with great peril to this nation. But President Trump is now in office, and he has vowed to support Israel.
Trump demonstrated this support in his first week in office when he froze Obama’s last minute $221 million payment to the Palestinians (United with Israel). Then in his first week in office, at the end of January 2017, he talked with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the phone. They then met on February 15th, where in a joint press conference they referred to each other as “friends.” As Christians, we should pray that Trump continues to support Israel and that this friendship not only continues but grows.
During an interview on The Sean Hannity TV show on February 16, 2017, Netanyahu indicated that Israel’s relations with some of its more moderate Muslim neighbors is thawing somewhat, namely Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emerites. Ironically, this is due to the disastrous Obama Iranian deal, along with the inauguration of Trump.
Those countries now realize that with Iran being emboldened by the Iranian deal, that Iran is a great threat, and with the renewed relationship between the USA and Israel, they need Israel and the USA on their side to stand against Iran. They also recognize that ISIS is a great threat, and again, they need Israel and the USA on their side against them. It is thus a case of “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”
Only God knows how long this tenuous alliance will last, but it a start. But still, Israel cannot let its guard down, as even these more moderate Muslim nations could turn back against it at any time.
Europe and the USA Next
Go back to that map of the Middle East and North Africa. That massive amount of land that you are looking at, 1.5 times the size of the contiguous United States, used to be Christian lands. But in the early seventh century, Muhammed invented his new religion of Islam. At first, he spread it by persuasion, but for the last ten years of his life, he used the sword to do so. Then after his death, his followers pursued the path of conversion by the sword.
This Muslim onslaught spread across the Middle East and Northern Africa, with the Muslims killing every Christian who refused to convert to Islam, while burning churches and Christian libraries. By 1000 AD, that massive amount of land that had formerly been Christian was now controlled by Muslims and has been ever since.
Muslims, on the other hand, did not rely solely on preaching to spread their faith—they turned also to the sword to conquer vast areas of land in the Middle East and Northern Africa during the seventh and eighth centuries. When they attacked or occupied new territory, they gave its inhabitants three options: convert to Islam, pay a special tax, or die. Under these circumstances many chose to pay the tax, and many others chose to convert to Islam (Open).
Now imagine if the same were to happened to Europe and the United States today. Would you still accept that Islam was a religion of peace? That is what violent Muslims are trying to do today, spread Islam the same way it was spread back then, by force. It was only a couple of fateful battles back in the Middle Ages that stopped the Muslim onslaught from entering Europe. If the Muslim onslaught had not been stopped back then, Europe and thus the USA would already be Muslim areas.
If that had happened, the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights would not exist. I say this as a representative government with a separation of powers and guaranteed rights as we have in the United States do not exist in any Muslim dominated country. They are instead totalitarian regimes with no basic human freedoms.
There is limited or no press freedom in the Arab countries….
In Saudi Arabia, there is absolutely no religious freedom nor religious tolerance, not even for foreign workers or tourists. A Muslim’s conversion is punished with death penalty. In other Arab countries, a limited religious tolerance exists for historical communities (Copts, Assyrians, Armenians, etc). In general, religious tolerance is granted only to foreigners and tourists, not for nationals….
Gender discrimination against women and domestic violence are a general feature in the whole Arab world, even in the most socially developed countries as Jordan. In spite of the technical existence of some legal rights, they are actually seldom applied and have much less force than social pressure, that prevents women from exerting some of their few rights granted by law….
The use of Internet in the Arab world is subject to censorship. There is no free web surfing….
There is no press freedom, or very restricted, and any book must fit the religious standards
(Im ninalu.net; Israel).
Homosexuality is considered to be one of the worst sins in Islam and one of the greatest crimes punishable under Islamic law. The Prophet Muhammad not only condemned homosexuality but even the “appearance” of homosexuality (effeminate men and masculine women). With the rise of the Islamic population amongst historically non-Muslim societies, also comes the rise in persecution. For example, while Muslims comprise just 2% of the total British population, they commit 25% of all anti-homosexual crimes (WikiIslam; Persecution of Homosexuals).
According to Islamic laws, non-Muslims in Islamic lands should be subdued and be treated as dhimmis (second class citizens). They should be coerced and intimidated to convert to Islam, through special humiliating taxes like Jizyah imposed on them. Following Prophet Muhammad’s example, this has been taking place throughout Islam’s history. While Muslims demand for concessions in non-Muslim countries, non-Muslims are systematically persecuted, terrorized and ethnically cleansed from Islamic lands (WikiIslam; Persecution of Non-Muslims).
Islam is the only major world religion that does not allow its followers the freedom to change faith. According to Shari’ah laws (extracted from the Qur’an and Sunnah), apostates of Islam must be sentenced to death. This has led to former Muslims often being persecuted, abused and killed (WikiIslam; Persecution of Ex-Muslims).
To put it another way, if I were to try to write and publish this article while living in a Muslin country, I would probably be jailed. For that matter, if I lived in an Islamic country, my over 25-year Christian ministry would never have happened. I would never have been able to write and post articles on my Christian website, write and publish Christian books, and publish a Christian newsletter. Doing so would have gotten me imprisoned and probably executed a long time ago. It is such freedoms that are at stake when dealing Islamic terrorism.
But if not by violence, the peaceful Muslims are now trying to take over Europe and eventually the United States by immigration and population growth, as the birth rate among Muslims is about twice that of non-Muslims. There are even areas where Sharia (Islamic) Law already operates in Europe, and no freedoms exist. Thus whether by force or by peaceful methods, the Muslim onslaught has been revived. And freedom loving Europeans and Americans may someday find ourselves in the position of Israel today, surrounded by a massive sea by Muslims who want our extermination, if we do not stand up for Israel and against this renewed Muslim onslaught.
Saying such is not Islamophobia or xenophobia. It is a legitimate concern based on the history of Islam and the situation that exists in Muslim countries today. We ignore these facts to our great peril. But thank God Obama and his failed policies in dealing with this Islamic threat are now gone. The new Trump admiration has already begun to deal with this threat in logical manner. For more in this regard, see my article Executive Order on Immigration on my new Politics website.
But here; it should be noted, the nation of Israel does have a representative form of government with a separation of powers, and in the nation of Israel there is freedom of speech, of the press, and of religion, along with gender equality. Thus I could operate my Christian ministry within the borders of Israel. As such, Israel is an island of freedom amidst the massive sea of Islamic oppression. That is another reasons the USA and Europe should stand with Israel.
There is complete press freedom in Israel, ranked with European and North-American States at the highest places worldwide; has by far the highest rate in the Middle East and occupies the highest rank with Japan in Asia….
There is complete religious freedom in Israel. Even though Israel is the “Jewish State,” Judaism has not the status of official religion. Any religious institution may establish its worship places in Israel, as well as their headquarters and main temples.
Israel is the most advanced democracy in the world concerning Women’s rights. Complete gender equality is granted in every aspect – social, cultural, political, etc. (Im ninalu.net; Israel).
The Christian Response
Christians should not act with violence or discrimination against Muslims who reside in the USA or Europe. And all Americans, but especially Christians, should fully welcome freedom-seeking Muslim immigrants. But violent and totalitarian Muslims who seek to commit terroristic acts or to transport Sharia (Islamic) law here have no place in American society. In that case, Christian compassion should be directed towards our fellow Americans, whose lives would be severely adversely affected by a terrorist attack or the institution of Sharia law.
8But if anyone does think beforehand of [or, provide for] his own and especially his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever (1Tim 5:8).
But of whatever kind, Christians should proclaim the Gospel to immigrant Muslims. It is only by trusting in Jesus and His death on the cross for their sins that Muslims will abandon this violent and anti-freedom religion, as they come to know the peace and freedom that exists in Jesus Christ.
28Come to Me, all the ones laboring and having been burdened, and I will give you* rest. 29Take My yoke upon you* and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, ‘and you* will find rest for your* souls.’ [Jer 6:16, Heb.] 30For My yoke [is] easy, and My burden is light.” (Matt 11:28-30).
34Jesus answered them, “Most positively, I say to you*, that everyone committing [or, practicing] sin is a bondservant [or, slave] of sin. 35But the bondservant [or, slave] does not remain in the house into the age [fig., forever]: the Son remains into the age [fig., forever]. 36Therefore, if the Son makes you* free, you* will be free indeed! (John 8:34-36).
27“Peace I leave to you*. My peace I give to you*; not as the world gives I give to you*. Stop letting your* heart be troubled, and stop letting it be timid (John 14:27).
33These things I have spoken to you*, so that in Me you* shall be having peace [or, freedom from anxiety]. In the world you* have tribulation, but be taking courage, I have overcome the world!” (John 16:53).
Bolding added to all quotes.
Bible verses quoted from:
Analytical-Literal Translation of the Old Testament (Septuagint) Volume One: The Torah. Copyright © 2012 by Gary F. Zeolla (www.Zeolla.org).
Analytical-Literal Translation of the New Testament: Third Edition. Copyright © 2012 by Gary F. Zeolla (www.Zeolla.org). Previously copyrighted © 1999, 2001, 2005, 2007 by Gary F. Zeolla.
Some of the details in this article come from guest hosts and their guests on The Sean Hannity Show during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day 2016 and from a special on Israel on TBN that aired in 2016.
Encyclopedia Britannica (various articles for areas and populations stats)
Historical Muhammad: The Good, Bad, Downright Ugly.
Im ninalu.net; Israel and the Arab World: Their Contribution to Mankind. Comparison Charts.
Im ninalu.net; True Identity of the So-called Palestinians.
Jay Sekulow Live TV show. 1/7/17 episode on TBN.
John Ankerberg TV show. Various series on Islam and Prophecy. Seen on various Christian TV networks, with audio replays available via his smart phone app and website.
Open Study. How was the spread of Christianity different from the spread of Islam?
Sean Hannity Show. February 16, 2017 on Fox News.
United Church of God: Why Is Israel the Focus of Muslim Hostility? (for areas and populations stats)
United with Israel. Trump Freezes Obama’s $221m Payment to Palestinians.
WikiIslam; Persecution of Ex-Muslims.
WikiIslam; Persecution of Homosexuals.
WikiIslam - Persecution of Non-Muslims.
Wikipedia (various articles for areas and populations stats).
Tiny Israel: Amidst a Massive Sea of Muslim Lands. Copyright © 2017 by Gary F. Zeolla of Darkness to Light ministry (www.zeolla.org/christian).
Why Are These Books in the Bible and Not Others?: Volume Three - The Apostolic Fathers and the New Testament Apocrypha
This Volume Three of a three volume set covers books not included in the New Testament. These books include the writings of the Apostolic Fathers, who were Church leaders and writers of the late first to mid-second centuries, along with “apocryphal” books, both orthodox and Gnostic. Among these apocryphal books are some that have received much publicity of late and from which many people derive their ideas of early Christian history.
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