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.

Having a love like a child in Jesus

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some brand new believers in Jesus. Something I love about people who have been newly saved.

Trying to remember that scripture about the angels in heaven sing and dance when someone commits the life to the Lord. I once worked in sales office with some highly commissioned salesman would get excited and would ring a little bell or press the button on a talking Gorilla cuddly toy, about a couple of times a week, when they got a sale, and the client had faxed or scanned over a signed contract for some IT equipment worth about £10,000-£1m or so. Some of the best evangelists I know have done sales work. I wasn’t great at it, some great deals I did happened when I approached the client at a coincidentally ideal time rather than me pushing the right buttons on the company’s decision maker.

Anyway, the zeal and love for the Lord is proof that scholarly background and knowledge of theology is not a substitute for a love of the Lord.

I read various blogs and news sites from various Christian groups and things going on in the middle east.  A lot of time I’m reading negative things, showing such-and-such a ministry have had a scandal or bad decision of some sort.

I’m often not good at being gracious when I’ve disagreed with. I need to get better at this. I’ve spoken to many people who have worked in ministry for sometime and it seems common to get jaded after seeing so many ugly things in the church and ministry world, in Israel the believing community is small, everyone knows each other so not so easy to keep secrets when mistakes happen.

Jesus spoke about us needing to be like a child in our humility:-

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.

If you’ve been a Christian for a long time I’d be interested how you have got back to a simple love for the Lord.

Post volunteer life back in Portsmouth

Long time since I’ve been blogging I know.

In November 2013 I finished up my volunteering after over 4 years of working for Bridges for Peace.

The last 7 months or so have been hard, readjusting, getting back into my original church and cell group, but getting to know new people in UK to. Don’t have many of the same friends I had 5 years ago, not by choice but just by circumstances.

I’m looking at moving to London for a new job and new adventures.

Jordan trip 2013

This was my second trip to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, a nation next to Israel which the two enjoy mostly good relations.   Jordan effectively became a new country taking the eastern two thirds of the British Mandate of Palestine in 1946, two years before the creation of modern state of Israel using the other third.

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Petra is a big national park, we spend a day and a half there which was just right to see most it.  Getting around is done by donkeys, horses and camels, the standard mode of transport for the traditional Arabian people.

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The terrain here is stunning, there are hundreds of caves, narrow passageways and hill tops to explore.   These Roman soldiers were a nice touch and didn’t remember seeing them last time.

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There are people selling stuff everywhere, mostly traditional style jewlery, its almost like the vendors go to a special bedouin sales school, as they tend to use the same phrases to trade, “its happy hour, special price!”  was heard at almost every hour of the day.  Coke machine in the desert!    Sadly you can’t buy ice cream here, as it appears the vast expanse of the place means everything runs of a generator, and freezers are too difficult to run this way I think.

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This is the iconic temple carved into the rock used in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, although it doesn’t get more than a minute or so exposure.

I’ve always wondered if George Lucas might of had coffee with the then King Hussein of Jordan, seeing the movie put Jordan on the map for film loving visitors to the Middle East.

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Some of the sellers of items we ignored with the intention of making some deals in the way back down the hills, these coins were interesting as Roman heads can be seen on them.  By the time we came back down to take a better look at these items, the traditional Arab woman was half asleep smoking a marijuana joint, and her 7 year old girl was running the shop!    Theres a small number of feral cats here, I’m sure there descended from the felines brought over by the British to keep the mice under control.  This kitten we fed with some left over cottage cheese from our lunch seemed happy.

Petra is an unforgettable experience, and without a doubt one of the wonders of the world.

May 2013 plans and studying

Not written much in a long time, will try and catch up with some writings of what I have been doing.

Next week I’m studying for a theology course I am doing with Bridges for Peace to be a better advocate for Israel and all things biblical.

Please pray for this to go well, its going to be hard work as its likely I will be in class from about 8am till 9pm at night.

I have all visa paper work from now until February 2014 which is a huge blessing.    Thanks for your prayers.

Jonathan

Jerusalem’s Old City music event

P1060612Actually those lights I mentioned wasn’t that unusual.    Its my camera which is a bit rubbish, its some coloured lights glowing from this:-

There was a musical festival in Jerusalem’s old city walls, consisting of artists who were both Jew and Arab, a nice evening for me and some friends to take a stroll around the evening.   In fact, pretty much forgot about the whole Obama visit thing.

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Outside Christ Church.

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Jordanian bikers come for the day.  Take a close look at this guy’s jacket.  Its extremely unusual to Jordanian plated vehicles here.   Not sure if these chaps were part of the entertainers.

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P1060624The Cardo, behind the stone pillars were these guys.   One of them looks like a kind of Robert Smith of the Cure.  I had visions of the Cardo becoming a sort of biblical style mosh pit.   :)

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Beautiful music and beautiful instruments from Jewish, Arab and Armenian Christian residents of the Old City.

Egypt, jam and prophecy

Lately I have been getting back into reading Isaiah, the book with highest amount of prophetic value in the scriptures.  I haven’t been to Egypt but been curious about the past and present in the surrounding middle east nations.

Isaiah 19 : 4 I will hand the Egyptians over
to the power of a cruel master,
and a fierce king will rule over them,”
declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty.

Although Egypt’s previous government run by Mumbarak and folks trashing museums in Cairo seems horrible, things sound like they could be a lot worse with the Muslim Brotherhood running the place.   I was talking to some people in my bible study, and they pointed out this passage.    Until recently Egypt has a just about ok relationship with Israel, but with this new leadership they could be as dangerous as Syria or Iran.

Isaiah 19 : 16 In that day the Egyptians will become weaklings. They will shudder with fear at the uplifted hand that the Lord Almighty raises against them. 17 And the land of Judah will bring terror to the Egyptians; everyone to whom Judah is mentioned will be terrified, because of what the Lord Almighty is planning against them.

18 In that day five cities in Egypt will speak the language of Canaan and swear allegiance to the Lord Almighty. One of them will be called the City of the Sun.[a]

(a) – Isaiah 19:18 Some manuscripts of the Masoretic Text, Dead Sea Scrolls, Symmachus and Vulgate; most manuscripts of the Masoretic Text City of Destruction

Looking at this Hebrew version of this passage on www.bible.cc, it says this also.  My regular NIV people says Destruction, with message at the bottom, about it also being ‘City of the sun’.

city of destruction

“Speak the language of Canaan..”, how about this article?

egyptians speaking hebrew  orangejam
Here is a jar of Marmalade I bought from an Arab shop near my house here in Jerusalem.    Its labelled as “Orange Jam”  and its made in Egypt, this is a city just outside Cairo.

After I looked in Wikipedia about 6th October City:-

1973 – Egypt launches a coordinated attack with Syria against Israel leading to the Yom Kippur War.
The city was established in 1979 by the 504th presidential decree of president Anwar El Sadat. It is 17 km from the great pyramids of Giza and 32 km from downtown Cairo.[4] The city has a total area of 97.4 thousand feddans (400 km2) and is expected to eventually have 3.7 million inhabitants.[5] It was announced as the capital of the 6th of October Governorate in April 2008. Following the governorate’s dissolution in April 2011, it was reincorporated into the Giza Governorate, to which it had originally belonged.
The city’s name commemorates the commencement of the October War on 6th October 1973 to liberate Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. For this reason, the date was also chosen as Egypt’s Armed Forces Day.

My primitive knowledge of Hebrew tells me that שמש – Shemesh is sun.   There is a city outside of Jerusalem called Beit Shemesh.

Just out of curiousity, in case there was another definition, I did some translating.   This other word “Chamah” which I don’t recognise, could be sun, or heat, rage, fury or wrath.   Now I think I know there is two different English biblical interpretations of this.

shemesh

Funny, I only went out to get something to spread on some pita bread, interesting what inspires me to see what Isaiah is talking about regarding what will prophetically happen to Egypt one day….

Is revival heading toward Egypt one day, yes, check out this link for 70,000 Egyptian believers in Jesus got together at the end of 2011.

http://www.tyndale.ca/news/egypts-remarkable-prayer-gathering 

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.

Roman Holiday 36AD – a story by me

Some friends of mine from my church back at home run a writing club from a bar in Southsea, Portsmouth.

Rosie’s wine bar in Portsmouth is a well known place often for live music.

When I was back in the UK during Christmas, I wrote a story for this event on a fictional Roman couple on holiday in the Middle East.   Its short – the rules state it should be under 5 minutes when I stood up to read.


Here it is, if you’d like to read it:-

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1gVMZYCVj7FTYocYoJ8Mx7uUPdoKVhCD0t8pcbzEzszM/edit 

If you would like to write or just listen to locally produced short fiction in a small friendly group, please visit Write Invite here:-

http://www.write-invite.com/

The competitions are done in Portsmouth, but you can also do them online anywhere in the world.

video interview from Uriel Ben Avraham

I got interviewed in the street whilst out during my lunch break at work.

youtube interviewClick to see the video.  Its worth checking out some of the opinions of other folks he spoke to.

Uriel seems like an interesting guy with a passion for this country and listening to what the public has to say, we chatted for a bit afterwards, so I’ll try and meet up with him for coffee one of these days.