Why apostle Peter would be a really bad Pope today

Recently I read the Pope has a bit of jolly visiting the holy land, which when visiting Beth Lehem, the Palestinian authority put on a nice show for him showing how they were dedicated to peace. You know, showing Jesus’s step-father Joseph with a Keffiyah (Arab headscarf) and other assorted propaganda that make out Jesus to be a Palestinian. Sigh.

I’ve been perplexed to figure out how Catholicism is influenced from the bible.  Someone the other day told me that Peter was the first ever Pope.  Peter is a well known figure that I’ve been reading a bit recently.

In actual fact I think that Peter would be a really bad Pope, at least put into the context of modern day Catholicism.

Peter is quite a passionate sort of chap, he is someone with a temper, good at talking to people and is a pioneer and building churches for the gentile believers.   He has his qualities and faults.

Peter has faith issues! (at least early on)

He doesn’t cope well with walking on water and sinks when hes asks Jesus that this idea doesn’t quite match up with laws of physics. I can see what he means I don’t swim at all, as I’m terrified of water and the idea of drowning. I’ve never managed to swim since several bad experiences as a child.
Jesus challenges Peter, by asking him to feed my lambs. In all honesty, I’ve never figured out exactly why Jesus was being a bit cryptic here. It seems he’s just asking him to check if he really loved him.  After denying Jesus 3 times which was highlighted by the rooster that crowed, Peter realises the terrible mistake he has made.

In Matthew 10 : 32-33 Jesus says Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.  Harsh words indeed.  Peter went on to achieve a lot later.

Its interesting that St Peter’s church in Jerusalem, has a rooster on top of it.  I wrote about this three years ago.

Peter is blunt!

The Pope does a lot of meeting and greeting of heads of state and senior members of other religious groups. On the PR front, Peter would probably get into a lot of trouble.

Christians who prefer only fluffy teaching would most probably consider him ‘judging’ at lot of the time. Peter doesn’t have time for cute Christian rubber wrist bands and that kind of rubbish, he’d rather get into with prayer and fellowship, in fact he’s really quite harsh with false teachers, which is why in the brief 3 chapters of II Peter has number two devoted to the charlatans and phonies in the church.

Peter has his own transport!

I’m pretty sure Peter would not need his own chariot and someone to drive him around in a custom bullet proof automobile. Peter is a fisherman so is used to getting his hands dirty and operates and services his own boat along with his friends.   Wonder if Petey took his fish to market on a horse, or if there was another person in the distribution channel who bought from the side of the lake and sold it to the other parts of the country?

Peter is named a rock by Jesus!  

Matthew 16:13-19
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

Its really interesting here that Jesus is told people mistakenly think that other biblical figures, some then and some from the OT were thought to be the Messiah.    From here, Peter meaning rock becomes his name rather than Simon.

Peter tells Jesus hes also a rock!

Peter’s own writings from 1 Peter, the metaphorical stones Jesus used in changing Simon to Peter, Peter uses from the books of Isaiah and Psalms.

See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” 1 Peter 2:6 / Isaiah 28:16

The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” 1 Peter 2:7 / Psalm 118:22

A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” 1 Peter 2:8 / Isaiah 8:14

Peter commits violence!

When Jesus is taken away and arrested, Peter hacks off the Roman soldier’s ear! Jesus then heals the soldier of this heavily bleeding cranial trauma, and carries on with the death sentence that’s issued to him.

Peter and Paul once had a disagreement over theology!

Oh dear, and people think troubles in the church are a modern thing, and going back to Hebrew roots will give us a more pure more authentic experience right?   Not quite.  Arguments of the same issues were in the first generation believers.   Here I think this was down to someone having an idea that out of Gentile believers and Jewish believers, one was more important than the other.   Galatians 2 talks about this.

Peter has a calm balanced approach to Eschatology!

Yes, he talks about end times and the earth burning up in 2 Peter 3 but in quite relaxed way, but warns against scoffers, ie: those who are denial about how moral standards would deteriorate before Jesus’ return.  I think today Peter would encourage us today to stay firm in our faith and moral standards but no need to listen to daft conspiracies on Youtube.   I might be wrong but don’t think I’ve seen any mention of the Pope looking forward to Jesus’ return or the worldwide troubles that would be associated before hand.

Instead, The Pope could try and mimic Peter

vaticanstampMaybe the Pope could take up fishing. By getting yourself to the level of a simple occupation that provides food and income, and a still quiet place like the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) would give you ample opportunities to mentor young believers, use the quietness to reflect and seek God.   Society tends to put a big artificial layer of complexity on religion, in terms of our relationship with our Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. I don’t really see a need for a man in his own palace in Rome which has an authority with its own special postage stamps.

So dear readers I hope you can read and be enthralled by Jesus and his disciples and the impact they made and not see them set today as people set in a context they were not meant to be.

A few dozen reasons Christians living in Israel is great

I could of called this list 20… or 101 reasons……   I didn’t want to stick to a particular number, here is many blessings I’ve experienced in the 52 months I spent volunteering in Jerusalem:-

Things I’ve discovered:-

  • Bus drivers don’t let you sit down before the start driving off
  • Using rep training means I can better represent this country to those not aware of Israel’s background
  • The Shuk is the most fun way of shopping
  • Understanding different types of anti semitism in other ways, some more discreet, not just from the Nazis and Islamic world
  • Seeing Barry and Batya Segal play Hebrew worship music live at my church
  • Finding that cooking chicken is dead easy when you have a slow cooker.
  • Sitting in garden during lunch break observing blackbirds, green parrots, woodpeckers and jays, and also an elderly bad tempered black Persian cat known as Mr Fluffy
  • Going on a Zealous young adults group around different parts of the country
  • Visiting Nazareth and Capernaum and imagining Jesus spent 17 years of his life in mostly secular work and bible study before doing ministry at 30
  • Going hiking in the Galilee, Golan, Mount Hermon or the desert.
  • Fixing an iPhone with a smashed screen with $15 worth of parts from ebay and watching instructions on Youtube from some else who did it
  • Hebrew worship music
  • Praying at the Kotel, aka the Western Wall
  • Watching how firemen use special tools on opening the doors of a rental car in the Galilee when someone locked the keys inside
  • Having my elbow healed from a tibular break after falling over onto snow in the UK
  • Floating in the Dead Sea
  • Seeing local Israeli live bands, then they recognise you as you have been to 3 of their gigs
  • Teaching friends how not to get ripped off by crooked taxi drivers
  • Sitting by the edge of the Kinneret
  • Learning Hebrew, mostly only enough to know how to buy stuff in shops, and read the signs in the bus station
  • Hanging out with friends drinking wine on my balcony
  • Sitting on Ben Yehuda with an Arab believer friend who loves Jewish people
  • Cycling to work past famous places
  • Watching Jerusalem’s first formula F1 race
  • Independence day parties
  • Got to know an Iranian believer who loves Israel on Facebook, and now praying him for to be released from prison, his crime is being a believer
  • Learning how to build a whole email infrastructure from scratch with a free certification from Google
  • Spying on Google, yep I saw the outside of their offices in Haifa from a train
  • Seeing flowers in the ponds and waterfalls of the Golan
  • Listening to street musicians
  • Sliding down the snow at Mount Hermon
  • Falafel, nuff said
  • Giving away an old laptop computer refurbished out of bits of two broken ones, to an Ethiopian community centre
  • Playing chess in coffee shops with friends
  • Visiting a friend in Switzerland who I met at my church here in Jerusalem
  • Watching the view from the Tayelet of most of Jerusalem
  • Then also watching the view from the Mount of Olives
  • Observing Yom Kippur and then getting something to eat to break the fast
  • Crossing over into Jordan and visiting Petra with the Indiana Jones music on my ipod
  • Inviting a American Messianic Jewish friend to sleep on my couch who I only knew from his writings in the internet
  • Seeing exotic coloured fish through a glass window into the Red Sea
  • Humous, the chilli or lemon stuff is the best
  • And of course, Shabbat, hosting or being hosted by others.

Cycle art in Jerusalem

P1060948  P1060943

P1060945I spent sometime with my very dear friends Peter and Deanna from Canada the other week, on the way home were these strange bicycles recently added as a mechanical art thing.

These contraptions don’t go anywhere, they are bolted to the grown, and pedaling provides kinetic power does one of several tricks, either make a big electric fan, plays music or, make a bunch of plastic flowers pop out on a spring.

Its a sort of cartoon type exhibit made by mechanical design, folks will think is rather clever or a may seem a waste of money to some people.

I’m sad this lovely couple have left now, I have worked with for 3 years, but I got to spend as much time as I could at the last few weeks here.

Now I have an excuse to visit Canada, a nation I have not visited yet, and I also hope to show them round Portsmouth and popular and less well known historical parts of southern England.

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Support Jews and Arabs in Israel, buy Coca cola!!

One of the common announcements by the BDS Crowd (thats Boycott, Divestment and Sanction)   is to rally around to get people to cease doing business with Israel to ‘stop the occupation’

Its funny that the word ‘occupation’ seeing as Jews have lived in Judea and Samaria for thousands of years, places like Bethlehem, Jericho, Hebron, Shiloh, etc have Hebrew names and and well known in the bible and real history books.

One of the favourite targets for the BDS movement is Coca Cola being ‘Zionist company’  Some more interesting hoaxes against the Coca Cola company http://www.coca-colacompany.com/contact-us/coca-cola-rumors-facts

This is an interesting idea, and actually not buying Coca Cola actually hurts Arab people and Palestinian people, here’s why:

P1060640I went to the Arab convenience store near my house here in the southern most tip of Jerusalem.   Here is what I bought:-

This Can of Coke is in Hebrew, and its made in Benei Barak, a Jewish city outside of Tel Aviv that has a mostly Ultra Orthodox community.  Its certified Kosher too.  Coca Cola also make soda in the Palestinian city of Ramallah.   However I couldn’t buy this from this shop, but there are other Arabic labeled products from other Palestinian cities.    A company called United Beverage company in Ramallah are licenced to make Coke for Arabic speaking people in this region.

Here’s their official web site of the National Beverage Company who are licenced to sell Coca Cola for Arabic speaking customers:- http://www.nbc-pal.com/

Here below is the Hebrew canning operation of the Coca Cola factory which is on the side of a big motorway, rather use my own photos, I nicked this off of google.

P1060642-001

This can of Pepsi is in Arabic and marked as for sale to the West Bank and Gaza market, – but – its made in Greece!!

Coke and Pepsi seem to often alternate between using 330ml cans in the tall skinny type or fatter traditional ones.  I’m not quite sure why.

These boycott lists of so called ways to help Palestinian people are always unfair and inaccurate, and often use any kind layoff from the financial changes in the last year as a so call ‘win’ for the BDS movement.   The BDS movement’s goals are based on malice towards Israel and not towards positive ways to help Arab people anywhere.  A better way to help Palestinian people would be to maybe manufacture and market the popular Arabic drink Sahalab to UK and western nations, particularly maybe sell it in Arab and Asian restaurants in Europe.

 

Computer hackers Anonymous are no match against Israel

So much for the world famous computer hacking syndicate ‘Anonymous’  who wants to pick on the only democratic country in the middle east.  The country with the largest number of technology patents in the world proportional to the population.

The web site they produced to show their plans to hurt Israel’s infrastructure:

Erm, it got hacked by Israel!!!

anonymous are lamers

Nice touch showing proper history of this part of the world to those not in the know.

Today seems to be no actual damage to Israeli sites, some propaganda is reusing previous successful attacks on Israel and pretend its 2013 material.

Strange bright light from Jerusalem

In Isaiah 62:1 it says: For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet, till her vindication shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch.

P1060612

So whats this bright thing I saw from the Jaffa Gate entrance of the old city?    The barriers are from where much of the centre part of town was cordoned off from Obama’s visit.

I was just coming out of my bible study group and on the way to the pub when I saw this….

more tomorrow….

Bats in Jerusalem

After a day of cycling past workman set up decorations and security arrangements for the US President visit, go to work, read in a coffee shop (normally do this from 5pm to 7pm on certain days)  then go to a bible study, then head to a bar and have a beer with some friends afterwards, I grab my bike and head back past David HaMelech Street, I see a bat fly in the street in big circle, quite different from a bird.

I then saw it disappear into a small tree, thinking to myself there was no way I can ever spot this creature in the branches, I walk my bike underneath it, I quickly grab my camera and shoot directly up above me, as I am right under the tree, thinking it would probably get spooked by the flash.

P1060611b

Can you see him?

There is plenty of old buildings they can roost in as well as a trees.  I have seen them hover around palm trees, not sure if they are attracted to palm dates or insects there.

bat

 

shopping at my local Arab corner shop

As I mentioned previously, where I live is in between a Jewish community and an Arab Palestinian community, there is a local Arab corner shop you can buy supplies when most shops are shut on Shabbat.   As I dislike boycotts and think small businesses of all types are important, I sometimes go out and get stuff if I run out of anything at the weekend.

Here is some Marmalade, actually its called ‘orange jam’ and its made in 6th of October city (strangely a real city!) in Egypt.  Jam seems to vary a lot in quality, some is excellent, and some is fruit flavoured liquid sugar.   This particular stuff is really nice actually.

I wanted to make some couscous for lunch using Chicken I had left over from yesterday, but then I realised as I was cutting up vegetables I had run out of couscous, so off to the store, I had to ask the man there (they usually speak a small amount of English) if they had any, he grabbed me a bag, and I gave him 12 shekels.

 

When I got home, I was kind of surprised at the very political (Dome of the rock) packaging!   actually its not really couscous its a similar wheat type product which is I think popular in Africa, however it came out quite nice anyway.

I got some non alcoholic beer, I am not driving or on medication, its just they didn’t have any proper beer.   This stuff was actually quite pleasant really.  Please don’t hate me, real ale clubs!

The previous week I got some of this fruit flavoured malt drink with the branding of a popular beer manufacturer, kind of odd, as was just malt and mango soda to be honest.   A good way of using beer brand names to a mostly Islamic audience I suppose.   Don’t remember now where this stuff was made.

This was a surprise, this box which presumably contains boxes of noodles, is made in Saudi Arabia!   I would of thought the wealthiest Arab state in the world would be exporting food more exciting than this! :)

Please “slicha” (excuse) the poor quality of the pictures, I took them discretely on my phone in the shop, don’t think they would of been pleased with me using a camera in their shop!

In all honesty I think there is a lot of similarities between Jewish and Arabic food, especially with humous, pita and falafel being massively popular throughout the middle east, no one can agree who invented it, like politics here in general, but at least the tastes are the same :)

Of course the shop has nuts, Turkish delight and other Arabic made candy and usual other things I see, as well as a bakery making their own bread on a ancient squeaking conveyor belt oven behind the counter too!!

It sad and pathetic that the anti-Israel and BDS bandwagon are quick to boycott different food products here, I will write an article on food manufacturing soon and destroy some common myths the west has been force fed.

Take out coffee and Transfiguration

These don’t seem like related subjects do they?

I didn’t think so, until the beverage I got from Aroma had this interesting message on top of it:-

P1060568

It’s made in a factory in Tavor (Mount Tabor, V and B are often interchangeable in Hebrew) funny as this is also the mountain considered to be the most likely place of Jesus’s transfiguration.

It’s also an exciting sounding place I’d like to go.  I am waiting for two new PCs to arrive at work, then I need to visit Karmiel to install these are some other maintenance then I will visit some of these places.

I think the town at the foot of Mt Tavor is Arab.   I’m now curious if the little hole is to let the heat out slowly, of it could be a symbol of something implied over Tavor? :)


Actually now you can see it on Google Street Map View!!    I’m not sure if this ‘spoils’ visiting biblical places or not, you could see it like a spoiler in a movie or trailer to get an idea what to expect – in this case Mount Tabor on your computer is more of the latter as you can’t see much pass the car park when you get to the top.

Matthew 17 (I have added some colours for emphasis)

After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.

Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”

While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”

When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.

As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

10 The disciples asked him, “Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?”

11 Jesus replied, “To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. 12 But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” 13 Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.

The climb up the hill goes in a zigzag fashion which looks not too difficult to do, or you can go up in a car or bus.    Interesting enough, although three shelters were erected on here, there are two churches (Catholic and Orthodox) at the top today.   Its not guaranteed if Tabor is the exact place of the transfiguration, but seems the most likely place by biblical historians.    The other mountain in the north, Mount Hermon is covered in snow a lot of the time, I think Jesus would of mentioned this if it was there. :)    This part of the world has had earthquakes so maybe the shape of the landscape could of been different then, which Jesus mentioned in Matthew 17 : 20 that mountains aren’t necessarily a permanent fixture.

Related: My quick glimpse of Mount Tabor in September

unless you change and become like little children….

Whilst I was at church on my first weekend back in Israel, after the service I noticed something amazing;

There was an Arab family in the hallway as I was leaving, I had not seen this couple and their daughter who was only about 4 years old or so.    I introduced myself to the man but didn’t think he spoke much English.    I was just leaving and I noticed the little girl tugging on the sleeve of her friend another girl the same age, who had blonde hair and Jewish.

It took me back to see this, with all these attempts at meetings between nations on peace, when you realise any kind of prejudice in human beings is not preinstalled in us but is sadly picked up around us.   For all the problems that exist between Arabs, Jews and Christians, its us needing to be like children as Jesus mentions here:-

Matthew 18
1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.