Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Muslim Marriage

A continued look at the Muslim Book of Marriage (Kitab Al-Nikah).

A book which is a compilation of allegedly authentic sayings (Sahih hadiths) of Mohammed.  Sayings which are deemed Allah-inspired.   Sayings which are devoutly observed by the vast majority of Muslims.

There are some sayings that mention “curse”, 

Book 008, Number 3366:
Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) reported that Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) said: When a woman spends the night away from the bed of her husband, the angels curse her until morning. This hadith has been narrated through the same chain of transmitters (with a slight variation):" He said: Until she comes back."

And some sayings that mention ‘stoning a fornicator’,

Book 008, Number 3437:
Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The child is to be attributed to one on whose bed he is born, and for a fornicator there is stoning.

But there is one saying  that I would like to address in particular.  One that is far more fascinating. One that actually mentions “sin”,

Book 008, Number 3453:
'A'isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported: I felt jealous of the women who offered themselves to Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) and said: Then when Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, revealed this:" You may defer any one of them you wish, and take to yourself any you wish; and if you desire any you have set aside (no sin is chargeable to you)" (xxxiii. 51), I ('A'isha.) said: It seems to me that your Lord hastens to satisfy your desire.

So, here we have A’isha (one of Mohammed’s wives) showing her virtuous jealousy.  Of A’isha being offended when Mohammed revealed to her… his new-found permission to ‘have and to hold’ whichever wife he wanted- whenever he darn-well pleased.  And of A’isha whining in response, ‘Oh, that’s so conveeenient for you, Mo’honey!’.  When previously his wives were all expected to wait for their turn.

Yet A’isha was consoled that she remained his favorite wife.  Grateful that he wasn’t depriving her as much as the other wives.  And grateful that another wife (‘fat and frigid’) had deferred her turn to her. 

However, this new-found permission was quite in violation of what Mohammed likely knew of Jewish law.  What he likely knew of this ancient law from the Jewish Torah.  Which were Old Testament books which Mohammed endorsed in the Qur’an. And quite possibly knew from the New Testament- which he largely held in contempt.

Jewish law found in the Torah just following the Ten Commandments.  And law just preceding a large list of capital offenses.  Law commanding (Exodus 21:10) that the “conjugal rights of a wife must not be diminished”. Yet allegedly this law was now abrogated and no longer a “sin”… for Mohammed!

Which brings us back to A’ishas question, ‘Was this law abrogated’?  And was it ‘especially abrogated for  Mohammed?’  Well… maybe in Muslim scriptures.
Yet we don’t see any exemptions being made in the Judeo-Christian scriptures.  Not for any laws.  Not for any prophets, priests or kings.   

To the contrary, we see numerous examples of the grief that violation of this law causes. 

A primary example can be seen in the ‘Father of the Faith’/Abraham.  Whose wife-induced polygamy caused tremendous strife.  Polygamy which caused a “wild donkey of a man” (Ishmael) to be born.  A man who “will live to the east of all his brothers” (Isaac/Israel).  A man whose “hand will be against everyone” (Genesis 16:12).  

So why would this ‘father of a different faith’/Mohammed think that he was being granted an exemption for his polygamy?  Something that the Jewish faith considered as “treacherous”, as “unfaithfulness”, as “sin”?

Well, it is claimed  that Mohammed was granted this exemption in order to build  ‘international relations’.  Yet as you can see at that link- many of those relations were clearly not of international nature.  Not all that productive.  And not all that reproductive either.

But turned out to be predictably destructive relationships.  Relationships that were condemned in the Torah and condemned by Jesus as well (Matthew 19:5). 

Condemned when Jesus re-affirmed the principle that “a man shall be joined to his wife”.  And re-affirmed the precept that the “TWO shall become one flesh”.  Not of THREE or FOUR (or even more for an allegedly exempt Mohammed) becoming one flesh… but only “TWO” (Genesis 2:24).

A principle that Mohammed certainly appreciated.  But a precept that Mohammed most certainly didn’t.  
A precept that a very “desirous” Mohammed shirked.   And oddly, a godly precept from a type of monotheism that Mohammed condemned as “Shirk”.

A type of monotheism that said, “Let US make humankind in OUR image, after OUR likeness” (Genesis 1:26).   A plural monotheism that even the Jewish Torah reluctantly recognized.   And a trinitarian monotheism that Mohammed held in capital contempt

Yet why was this monogamous marriage precept godly?  

Well, because it was derived from a godly precedent.   A precedent revealed of the very nature of God.  Of His own monogamous nature.  And His own monogamous marriage.  The very nature of His glorious monogamous marriage existing in Heaven.  

 A monogamous marriage that He will share with His faithful.  If they are faithful to Him alone

A sharing for a bride who simply refuses to be deprived.  A sharing for a bride who simply refuses to wait for her turn.  A sharing for a truly thirsty bride.  A sharing that is FREE!


And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let the one who hears say: "Come!" And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wants it take the water of life free of charge.
 (Rev 22:17 NET)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Do NOT Pray for Rome

Continuing in this Do NOT Pray series,

Now, the passage we will consider in this post is 1 Samuel 12:19-23.  How the LORD had spooked Israel- as Samuel had asked the LORD to spook them. For their rejecting the LORD as King (8:7).  And for their demanding another.

We will consider how Israel was spooked by great thunder.   Causing “all the people” to fear for their lives.   Just as the nasty Philistines had just been spooked by “great thunder”… which caused the Philistines to fear for their lives and be routed by Israel (7:10).

We will consider how Israel was so spooked by the “thunder and rain” that they asked Samuel to pray for them (after praying against them).   And Samuel replied that it would be a sin NOT to pray for them!  A sin to “cease praying” for Israel.  At least for him.  Now why would that be a sin, you ask?

Well, I submit that it is because it was Samuel’s job to pray for Israel.  Because Samuel remained Israel’s high priest.  Remained constrained to “listen to Israel’s voice” (8:9).  And remained constrained to serve his calling. 

And that job description given to Samuel had NOT been abrogated by the LORD.  Despite Israel’s arrogant demands that the job description of their LORD be abrogated.

Just as Matthew Henry states on this passage,
It is a sin against God not to pray for the Israel of God, especially for those of them that are under our charge.

Which begs the rhetorical question, ‘Is mighty Rome “under our charge”’?  Is mighty Rome under our job description?

And Henry continues,
Our rule is to pray without ceasing; we sin if we restrain prayer in general, and in particular if we cease praying for the church

Which begs the question, ‘Is Rome actually “the church”’? 

Now we could dig into the Old Covenant theology stuff of Henry.  And dig into Rome’s current Latitude of Grace… but we won’t.  Suffice to say, ‘The church is not necessarily Rome’.  And not necessarily of Romish ‘desire’ either.  No matter how Rome tries to qualify this.

And we should consider where Henry’s “pray without ceasing” is intended.  We are instructed to “not cease praying” for the “saints and faithful brethren in Christ” (cf. Col. 1:2,9).  Which leaves precious little time for the unfaithful and the aints that are NOT in Christ.

And we should consider if Rome is the “Israel of God” as well.   Because they look pretty much like the Israel that demanded a new king.  Pretty much like  those people that demanded a king to lead them… because the King of kings is kind of spooky.

Yes, Rome looks pretty much like a people that would prefer to serve the Baals and his mysterious  Ashtaroth  [a ‘female consort to Baal’-not unlike the “Mother of God”/ Mary].  Despite being repeatedly told to serve the LORD alone (1 Samuel 7:3,4).  
Now, Rome will tell you that they do not actually serve the Pope.  Or that they do not actually worship the “Mother of God”.  But then Israel wasn’t really serving other gods.  Or worshipping a golden calf either.  Or were they (cf. 1 Samuel 8:8, Deut. 9:12)?  

Israel was just using this golden calf as a catalyst, right? Just an iconic supplement, right? They were just making a little “god who will go before us” (Exodus 32:23), right?  A god with a little “g”, right?  A little god to  supplement the big God, right?

And Israel was just making a little king that might “go out before us and fight our battles” (1 Samuel 8:20), right?  A king with a little “k”, right?  A little king to supplement the big King, right?

And Rome was just making a little pope that will ‘go out before the Church… to fight the churches battles’, right?  A pope with a little “p”, right?  A little priest to supplement the big Priest, right?

Well, the big King wasn’t buying this hooey and He thundered.  And just as He thundered with His commandments (Exodus 20:18)… He thundered at their sinfulness.  Thundered at their unfaithfulness (1 Samuel 8:7).   Yet granted them their tyrannical king.  Not to bless them- but to oppress them.

Which begs the historical question,  ‘When and where was the thunder that spooked Rome to appoint a pope’?  The overwhelming noise needed to frighten a people into granting universal kingship to a man?    

Well… at the risk of appearing ahistorical, I would defer to historian- Philip Schaff. Defer to him  in suggesting that “Rome assumed universality somewhere between 604 and 715 A.D”.  Somewhere between Gregory the First (who actually protested his job description of Universal Bishop) and Gregory the Second.    

A tumultuous period, when Boniface IV expanded the Pantheon.  When this alleged pope dedicated the Roman Pantheon of the gods… into a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary.    Creating an Ashtaroth of sorts.    

A monumental dedication that Mohammed was contemporous (608A.D.) with.  
A dedication which may very well have influenced Mohammed to consider Mary as being a Christian consort of God. 
But primarily a period where “the progress of Mohammedanism and its encroachment on the Greek empire likewise contributed to the rise of their [Rome’s] independence”.    

Indeed, a period where a Universal Pope was considered absolutely necessary to fight the churches battle against these neo-Philistines.  Against the marauding Muslims.  Against a thunderous Muslim expansion.  

An expansion that razed Alexandria (the greatest library of that time) in 633 A.D.  An expansion that plundered Jerusalem in 637 A.D.  An expansion that ruled over a realm as large as the Roman Empire in 653 A.D.  An expansion that was subjugating Spain in 711 A.D... and was headed for St. Peter’s and their beloved Pantheon.  An enormously spooky expansion.

Spooky enough for Rome to annoint a Pope.  A Universal Bishop… to counter this expansion.

But enough history.  Suffice to say, that Rome looks pretty much like an unfaithful Israel anointing a king there.  And as history shows… a tyrannical king. 

So, if we were to find time, and if it were our calling… how would we pray for an unfaithful Rome?  Would it be like the prayers of Samuel?  Not praying for Rome- but rather praying against Rome?   Praying that Rome be spooked?

Spooked enough to abandon her king and consort?  And return to the King to kings?

Hmmm, sounds pretty much like the prayers of the Reformation!