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An end times update, & the Islamic State

Sunday, November 23rd, 2014

[ by Charles Cameron — apocalyptic date-shiting, Baghdadi as the Sufyan, and somehow that ties in with the Fatima apparitions? ]
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Here, in frozen real time, you can witness the updating of an end times prediction:

announcement

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If you look here, you will see:

The book reveals that the first phase of the End Times will start in late 2013 with the emergence of the first evil person (Araj, Dajjal, etc.) which triggers the emergence of the Mahdi and will end in 2022 after the emergence of the last evil person (Dajjal, Anti-Christ, etc.) which triggers the descent of Prophet Jesus Christ (p) from Heaven.

That’s “as of June 29, 2012″. Furthermore:

The book includes in-depth analysis of specific dates (the day, month, and year) on which important End Times events will occur, such as : (1) Beginning of the End Times and emergence of the first Dajjal and the Mahdi , (2) Destruction of New York, London, Sydney, Vancouver, (3) Bringing of Tabut Al-Sakina (Ark of Covenant) and a copy of the original Torah, (4) Dajjal’s resurrection of people of some cities, (5) Destruction of the Aqsa Mosque, (6) Discovery of a copy of the original Gospel, (7) Tariq Star and switching of the Poles of the Earth, (8) End of the U.S. and Canada, (9) Liberation of Palestine, (10) Muslims’ Conquest of Britain, (11) Muslims’ Conquest of Russia, (12) Emergence/Return of the last Dajjal, (13) Descent of Prophet Jesus (p) from Heaven, (14) The last day on which repentance and becoming a Muslim can be accepted by God., (15) End of the first phase of the End Times when people will be classified as either Believers or Unbelievers.

Without exaggeration, this book is one of the most significant Islamic books that have ever been written.

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As you’ll have noticed above, however, revisions have been necessary, and are being made as we speak.

The current website offers these predictions:

The beginning of the End of Time, including the emergence of the Imam Mahdi (Mehdi), will most likely be either in 2015 or 2016, while Jesus Christ (p)’s return [or second (2nd ) coming] is in 2022, in-sha-Allah (if God is willing).

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What I find even more interesting, though, than the updating of one of the most significant Islamic books that have ever been written, is the updating of the real-time news invoked to include ISIS / Daesh, and specifically to suggest al Baghdadi may be the Sufiyani:

The quick victories of the Islamic State in Iraq & Syria (I.S.I.S.) in Central and Northern Iraq and its establishment of an Islamic Caliphate, headed by Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi who seems to fit the characteristics of a man called the Sufyani mentioned in several Hadiths of Prophet Mohammad. However, please note that the Hadiths about the Sufyani are mostly considered weak. This means that it is possible that Prophet Mohammad did not mention these Hadiths and therefore, it is possible that there will be no Sufyani emerging.

The Sufyani is supposed to :

(a) seem to be a religious Muslim.
(b) be a butcher who kills and slaughters innocent people.
(c) be an enemy of the Mahdi.
(d) emerge within a short period before the Mahdi.
(e) defeat his rivals, rule Al-Sham (Greater Syria) and attack cities in Iraq.
(f) send an army to attack the Mahdi, but his army will encounter a Khusf (land slide/collapse or a catastrophe).

The Islamic State in Iraq (I.S.I.) was established on October 13, 2006 which is the anniversary of the last apparition (vision) of the 3 children, regarding the End Times, in Fatima, Portugal which happened on October 13, 1917.

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Fatima?

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And you know how I stumbled across all this? I was amused by a headline in FP that read In a New Ukraine, the Sun Rises in the West & recalled that the sun rising in the west was one of the signs of the soon coming of the Mahdi– and when I went to find an appropriate citation to back that up, I ran across this page, Rising of the Sun from the West — which had a sidebar note:

The End Times:
Based on Numerical Analysis of the Quran, Hadith, Arabic Words, and Historical Events.
Imam Mahdi in 2014
Jesus Christ (p) in 2022
www.EndTimes2014.com

Hey — an apocalyptic DoubleQuote: totally irresistible!

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Jottings 14: Sincerity of the snake-handlers

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

[ by Charles Cameron — a death at the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name church in Middlesboro, and a glance at the Covenant, Sword and Arm of the Lord ]
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There’s something very simple and profound about the sheer faith the snake handlers of the Holiness tradition bring to their worship. It’s not yo my aesthetic taste, and the doctrines espoused are, to my mind, literal-minded and unwise — but the faith, the trust moves me.

Pastor Jamie Coots has now died of snake-bite in the course of woship:

Like the police chief, Jeffrey Sharpe, interviewed above, in my own way and to my own degree I feel saddened by dis death.

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I find myself feeling a similar fellow-feeling for the worshippers in this church, with it’s quite similar rusticity and simple ways. And what interests me here is that the group worshipping here is one whose theology I have very little sympathy for — the Covenant, Sword and Arm of the Lord or CSA, a Christian Identity paramilitary church whose 200-acre compound was besieged and shut down by the FBI in 1985.

The opening of this video, from the trailer for Silhouette City directed by Michael Wilson, show us the worship of the CSA — and much as I dislike their racism and proneness to murderous violence, I find there’s something affecting in what this clip shows of the simple hearts of the believers. Reading Tabernacle of Hate, the autobiography of Kerry Noble whose quest for Christ brought him in contact with the group before it became infected with racism and hate, who went on to become its second in command and eventually left in disgust at all the hatred, I have the same feeling — of a simple piety led horribly astray.

Here then is the clip — it’s the first 35 seconds I’m inviting you to watch — the movie then turns to present day, more mainstream uses of militant Christian imagery:

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I don’t want to leave you on the sour note of CSA Christianity — so let me turn back to the Holiness snake-handlers.

For a deeper glimpse into their ways, you could do worse than to watch this documentary:

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May pastor Jamie Coots rest in peace.

This, on Jamie’s son Cody Coots, from The Christian Post yesterday:

The deadly rattlesnake that delivered the fatal bite to “Snake Salvation” pastor Jamie Coots in Middlesboro, Ky., last Saturday will be back in church to help praise the Lord in another heart-pounding service this Saturday, according to his son, Cody Coots.

Cody, 21, who will be burying his serpent-handling father on Tuesday night, told TMZ that the snake will not be killed. His father’s death, he says, was “God’s way” of taking him home, and his family will embrace the deadly rattlesnake that delivered his death sentence at the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name church in Middlesboro again this Saturday.

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Jottings 11: self-immolators and suicide bombers?

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

[ by Charles Cameron — on some aspects of religiously motivated suicide, and I’m not clear why I called this one a jotting, since it’s quite long and detailed ]
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I have been taking a couple of online courses on terrorism in recent months, and in one of them I ran across a Foreign Policy article titled Ultimate Sacrifice: What’s the difference between self-immolators and suicide bombers?

… there is another form of deadly protest that has made a resurgence in recent years. Not only did Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi’s fiery suicide ignite the region and inspire subsequent self-immolations in Algeria, Egypt, and Morocco, but a growing number of Tibetans have also set themselves alight to protest Chinese rule in Tibetan region

It’s an intriguing question, phrased by one of my fellow students as the question, “Can Tibetan Self-immolators be considered “terrorists”?

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I did my “due diligence” research, and came up with some articles worth reading:

  • Tenzin Tharchen, 125 Self-Immonlations: why suicide by fire protests continue in Tibet
  • Tsering Shakya, Self-Immolation, the Changing Language of Protest in Tibet
  • Martin Kovan, Buddhist Self-immolation and Mahayanist Absolute Altruism
  • while my interlocutor offered this one:

  • Jose Cabezon, On The Ethics Of The Tibetan Self-Immolations
  • But you know, the mind has indirect back-channels as well as direct information freeways, and the question seems to have been percolating while I’ve been asleep.

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    Sonam Wangyal, Lama Sobha, was the first Tibetan lama to self-immolate, and left a cassette tape in which he explained his motives:

    I am giving away my body as an offering of light to chase away the darkness, to free all beings from suffering, and to lead them — each of whom has been our mother in the past and yet has been led by ignorance to commit immoral acts — to the Amitabha, the Buddha of infinite light. My offering of light is for all living beings, even as insignificant as lice and nits, to dispel their pain and to guide them to the state of enlightenment. I offer this sacrifice as a token of long-life offering to our root guru His Holiness the Dalai Lama and all other spiritual teachers and lamas.

    The full text of Lama Sobha’s message can be found at the bottom of an International Campaign for Tibet page titled Harrowing images and last message from Tibet of first lama to self-immolate — the “harrowing images” themselves are linked to, but not shown.

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    The Chinese come close to targeting Tibetan self-immolators as terrorists, using the terms “Splittist”– so often also used of the Dalai Lama — and calling their actions “intentional homicide”. This from the “>Scottish Parliament’s Cross-Party Group on Tibet:

    Nonetheless, the response by the Chinese authorities to self-immolations by Tibetans has been extremely draconian, largely because of an assumption that all protest by Tibetans must be intrinsically “splittist” (that is, secessionist). In particular, it has involved the formulation of new laws that seem to target Tibetans specifically, and the imposition of collective punishments, and the application of the crime of “intentional homicide” to all those aiding, abetting, encouraging or even photographing self-immolations.

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    It occurs to me that sacrificing oneself for the benefit of other beings is symbolically enacted in the Tibetan Chöd ritual, in which one symbolically feeds the parts of one’s body to the pretas or hungry demons to satiate them and put them to sleep — and also in some of the Jataka Tales of the previous rebirths of the Shakyamuni Buddha.

    I’m thinking particularly of The Bodhisattva and the Hungry Tigress, and will quote here from Edward Conze‘s telling in Buddhist Scriptures, pp 24-26. On being told that self-sacrifice is difficult, Mahasattva (the future Buddha) replies:

    It is difficult for people like us, who are so fond of our lives and bodies, and who have so little intelligence. It is not difficult at all, however, for others, who are true men, intent on benefitting their fellow-creatures, and who long to sacrifice themselves. Holy men are born of pity and compassion. Whatever the bodies they may get, in heaven or on earth, a hundred times will they undo them, joyful in their hearts, so that the lives of others may be saved.

    His prayer before offering his own body and blood to feed an ailing tigress and her cubs is:

    For the weal of the world I wish to win enlightenment, incomparably wonderful. From deep compassion I now give away my body, so hard to quit, unshaken in my mind. That enlightenment I shall now gain, in which nothing hurts and nothing harms.

    Assuming the Jataka tales made it to Tibet, this one might be a potent influence on potential self-immolators.

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    A possible Tamil “comparable” — presumably Hindu rather than Buddhist, culturally if not religiously:

    When young Murugathasan Varnakulasingham (aged 26) committed self-immolation in front of the UN headquarters in Geneva on 19 February 2009 he was protesting against international failures of intervention in the unfolding humanitarian tragedy in northern Sri Lanka, where he believed that large bodies of Tamil people faced extinction by the Sri Lankan government. “The flames over my body will be a torch to guide you through the liberation path,” he wrote in his parting letter.

    There have been a few other protest suicides by Tamils in Tamilnadu and Malaysia, but Varnakulasingham’s altruistic act probably garnered the most attention.

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    Further thoughts:

    There’s always Samson, pulling down the pillars that upheld the roof of their temple on the Philistines, once he’d regrown his hair and strength…

    Then the lords of the Philistines gathered them together for to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon their god, and to rejoice: for they said, Our god hath delivered Samson our enemy into our hand. And when the people saw him, they praised their god: for they said, Our god hath delivered into our hands our enemy, and the destroyer of our country, which slew many of us. And it came to pass, when their hearts were merry, that they said, Call for Samson, that he may make us sport. And they called for Samson out of the prison house; and he made them sport: and they set him between the pillars. And Samson said unto the lad that held him by the hand, Suffer me that I may feel the pillars whereupon the house standeth, that I may lean upon them. Now the house was full of men and women; and all the lords of the Philistines were there; and there were upon the roof about three thousand men and women, that beheld while Samson made sport. And Samson called unto the Lord, and said, O Lord God, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes. And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left. And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.

    — Judges 16.23-30 — not quite self-immolation, not quite suicide bombing, but certainly suicidal warfare with a religious motive.

    Okay, When Christians quote John 15.13:

    Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

    surely they include in their understanding of that verse, those who throw their bodies on top of grenades to protect their comrades — which would seem in its own way to parallel the teaching of the Jataka Tale.

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    Likewise, when Muslims quote the hadith from Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 52, Number 53, in which the Prophet says:

    Narrated Anas bin Malik:

    The Prophet said, “Nobody who dies and finds good from Allah (in the Hereafter) would wish to come back to this world even if he were given the whole world and whatever is in it, except the martyr who, on seeing the superiority of martyrdom, would like to come back to the world and get killed again (in Allah’s Cause).”

    and from Sahih Muslim, Chapter 28, Book 020, Number 4626:

    It has been narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah (may peace upon him) said:

    [ … ] By the Being in Whose Hand is Muhammad’s life, if it were not to be too hard upon the Muslims. I would not lag behind any expedition which is going to fight in the cause of Allah. But I do not have abundant means to provide them (the Mujahids) with riding beasts, nor have they (i.e. all of them) abundant means (to provide themselves with all the means of Jihad) so that they could he left behind. By the Being in Whose Hand is Muhammad’s life, I love to fight in the way of Allah and be killed, to fight and again be killed and to fight again and be killed.

    — how close are we to Nathan Hale:

    I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country

    — and behind that, to Joseph Addison:

    What a pity it is
    That we can die but once to serve our country.

    — that’s from Addison’s now obscure play, Cato, a Tragedy, Act IV, Scene 4

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    Of course, the way to stop self-immolations in Tibet is simple — put up a notice:

    See also New document sheds light on China’s campaign against self-immolations in Tibet

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    Super Buds

    Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

    [ by Charles Cameron — you can’t even watch the Super Bowl without the Antichrist slipping deftly into your subconscious — or can you? ]
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    Thank God I don’t watch the Super Bowl. If I did, and unless I’d been taking a break during the commercials to go on a scavenger hunt in the kitchen, I might have been exposed to this:

    Horrific, no? And yet so smoothly and sweetly done!

    As you might imagine, this cute commercial was “the Most Successful Commercial of the Super Bowl” according to TIME, and “racked up more than 37 million views”.

    On the other hand, this video commentary has only managed 13,495 views as of the time my writing this post:

    It seems the forces of advertising Antichrist are beating out the voices of false prophecy about 2472 to 1.

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    Or perhaps not.

    I have an alternative theory. Perhaps the Budweiser Clydesdale horses are just Clydesdales, the puppies just puppies — and for the record, it was “17 Clydesdale horses and eight golden Labrador puppies” I missed, thank God, fingers crossed, just in case — and the ad just an ad, the beer just a beer, with nary an Antichrist in sight.

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    Scholar that I am, I believe you might like further resources with which to deepen your understanding of this matter of commercial appeal or (fingers crossed) theological interpretation.

    Our “co-prophet” skipped his usual introduction in this particular “cute puppy” video, but he posts extensively, and I was happy to find his commentary on the Vatican Doves, which I discussed recently [ here and here ]:

    So that’s how our co-prophet sees himself — the “third eagle” of the Apocalypse.

    And then there’s the ad itself, which I must finally admit I prefer to its alleged millennial meaning.

    Two looks behind the scenes:

    and:

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    And that’s it, folks.

    Sigmund Freud, or was it Groucho Marx, said it first: sometimes a Clydesdale is just a Clydesdale.

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    Hat-tip: blog-friend Bryan Alexander of the ever-ghastly Infocult.

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    Within the Vatican, feathers fly.. II

    Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

    [  by Charles Cameron — this time, the New Testament — this is last of the posts recovered from our down time ]
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    In a previous post I described the release of two white doves from the Papal balcony the other day, and the swift response of two other birds, a crow and a seagull, which attacked them.

    SPEC sacrificial doves

    In that earlier post I chose a quote from Heraclitus by way of contextualizing the event — this time I would like to offer one quote from St Matthew‘s gospel and one from that of St Luke

    In the circumstances, the quote from Matthew [upper panel] would make it just a tad difficult for Pope Francis to argue, as the secular-minded can, that this was simply the playing out of nature’s way, and not to be interpreted as a sign from God.

    I offer the second quote [lower panel], from Luke’s account of Mary and Joseph bringing the infant Jesus to be circumcized, by way of contrast, since the concept of sacrificing birds to God is now as improbable to the secular mind as the concept that God takes separate and particular care over the life of every bird that flies…

    The Pope was not, I am sure, intending to offer the two doves as sacrifices. Nor did he see them as symbolic of the future fate of the Ukraine to the point of prophecy: the attack was not an omen, a mark of fate, as some have interpreted it.

    From which it follows that the gesture was a gesture of peace, of hope — and that the Pope takes his Master’s words, “not a sparrow falls” as a metaphor for the ubiquity of divine grace and mercy, not as a proposition in dogmatic logic.

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    The Washington Post, in a piece titled The papal peace doves are the perfect metaphor for Pope Francis’s first year, offers us both the gentle gesture and the harsh response, reporting:

    Pope Francis called for peaceful dialogue in Ukraine on Sunday, concluding his remarks by having adorable Italian children release two white doves from the window of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican. The magical and touching symbol was quickly attacked by the harsh reality of bird-on-bird violence, with one seagull and one black crow attacking the doves. The crowd, inspired and blessed only moments earlier, watched in helpless horror as the crow and gull pecked and pulled at the doves.

    National Geographic, in a piece titled Why Birds Attacked the Peace Doves in Rome and subtitled “A crow and a gull targeted the freakish doves, bred to be unnaturally white”, added insight from the natural sciences:

    Are doves really peaceful? Not particularly. They have weak feet and small bills and mostly mind their own business, walking around eating seeds and the occasional tiny bug. But they’re just as likely to fight each other over territory (with lots of wing-slapping) as any other species. I once saw a mourning dove chase a blue jay away from a bird feeder. No wimpy bird gets the best of a blue jay.

    Why were these doves white? Because white symbolizes peace, purity, serenity, and other good stuff. But here’s the thing: There are no pure-white doves in the natural world. The ones that were released were the result of hundreds of years of domestication and breeding, creating these freakishly white birds for use as pets, and for release at weddings and other ceremonies.

    and:

    So this wasn’t a sign of the Apocalypse? Hey, I write about nature, not theology. But if I had to bet on whether this is the End of Times or just a couple of predatory birds doing what they do naturally, I’d choose the second as more likely.

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    But it would be churlish of me to leave you on such a note. Instead, I invite you to recall this story of St Francis, whose name the present Pope took, from the Little Flowers of St Francis, an early compendium of hagiographical tales about the saint:

    A certain young man having caught one day a great number of doves, as he was to sell them he met St Francis, who always felt a great compassion for such gentle animals; and, looking at the doves with eyes of pity, he said to the young man: “O good man, I entreat thee to give me those harmless birds, emblems in Scripture of humble, pure, and faithful souls, so that they may not fall into cruel hands, which would put them to death.”

    And the young man, inspired by God, immediately gave them to St Francis, who, placing them in his bosom, addressed them thus sweetly: “O my little sisters the doves, so simple, so innocent, and so chaste, why did you allow yourselves to be caught? I will save you from death, and make your nests, that you may increase and multiply, according to the command of God.”

    Then St Francis made nests for them all, and they began to lay their eggs and hatch them in presence of the brethren, and were as familiar and as tame with St Francis and the friars as if they had been hens brought up amongst them, nor did they ever go away until St Francis had given them his blessing.

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