[ by Charles Cameron — some good advice from Tim Furnish, which Jerry Boykin doesn’t appear to have heard… ]
Gen. Jerry Boykin (upper panel, below), speaking with his visionary preacher friend, Rick Joyner, naturally has the right to voice his views, including those that see Middle Eastern geopolitics through the lens of Isaiah 17:1-3…
… but he might want to listen to blog-friend Dr Timothy Furnish (lower panel, above) — a fellow Christian and conservative — first.
I fear that at the moment, Boykin sounds more vigilant than sober, though both are jointly scripturally mandated at 1 Peter 5:8.
Rick JOYNER: And we’re seeing Biblical prophecy unfold.
Jerry BOYKIN: We are.
JOYNER: These are times in which things are unfolding in scripture, and one of the Scriptures that has never been fulfilled…
JOYNER: …and has to be fulfilled before this age can end, is that Damascus will be destroyed, never inhabited again.
BOYKIN: I share your concern, Rick, and as you say, certainly, and I’ve said this for a long time, one of the ways that Damascus could be destroyed, never to be reoccupied, would be through a chemical attack. So let’s just take a scenario…
Interested? You can hear Boykin’s scenario of Assad’s final gesture in utter defeat, here.
I find it charming that we can read the opening paragraphs of a Mother Jones piece about Joel Rosenberg on on Rosenberg’s own site. Here are the first paras — or grafs, as my friend Danielle would say:
In early 2012, bestselling novelist Joel Rosenberg came to Capitol Hill for a meeting with an unidentified member of Congress to discuss the end of the world. “I thought the topic was going to be the possible coming war between Israel and Iran,” Rosenberg explained on his website. “Instead, the official asked, ‘What are your thoughts on Isaiah 17?’”
For the better part of an hour, Rosenberg says, the writer and the congressman went back forth on something called the “burden of Damascus,” an Old Testament prophecy that posits that a war in the Middle East will leave Syria’s capital city in ruins—and bring the world one step closer to Armageddon. As Rosenberg put it, “The innocent blood shed by the Assad regime is reprehensible, and heart-breaking and is setting the stage for a terrible judgment.”
But Rosenberg and his anonymous congressman aren’t alone in viewing Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s actions through a Biblical lens.
That’s my first shoe. And here’s Richard Bartholomew, the blogger at Bath’s Notes, dropping the second:
Isaiah: "Sorry, when I said Damascus will be destroyed, I meant 3,000 years from now. I've no idea about current Assyrian threat." #isaiah17
Okay, here are some observations of my own, which I wrote a while back…
Which comes first: history or Revelation?
Just as nature and scripture can be “read against” one another, each perhaps illuminating the other at times, so in the case of one particular scripture — the Revelation — the book is “read against” history: there’s a long history of interpreters attempting to “translate” the book into contemporary political terms.
Luther is one who tried his hand at this:
Since it is meant as a revelation of what is to come, and especially of coming tribulations and disasters for the Church, we can consider that the first and surest step toward finding its interpretation is to take from history the events and disasters that have happened to the Church before now and to hold them up alongside these pictures and so compare them with the words. If, then, the two fit and agree with each other, we can build on that as a sure, or at least an unobjectionable, interpretation.
But Bernard McGinn makes a shrewd comment on Luther’s process, in his article on Revelation in Robert Alter and Frank Kermode‘s Literary Guide to the Bible:
Earlier interpreters, such as Joachim (but not Augustine), had also claimed to find a consonance between Revelation’s prophecies and the events of Church history, but they had begun with Scripture and used it as a key to unlock history. Paradoxically, Luther, the great champion of the biblical word, claimed that history enabled him to make sense of Revelation…
So: which direction should theologians “read” the analogy between Revelation and history in?
Should they, like Luther, start with history and try to “shoe-horn” the Book of Revelation to fit it, or vice versa? There are two very different processes here, and the results may be correspondingly different — but when people today read accounts of Revelation which propose that the “end times” are nigh, they seldom even ask the question: which came first in the interpreter’s mind?
As you all know, I am fascinated by the intersection of the poetic (sacramental, irrational, magical, pre-scientific) and the prosaic (secular, rational, mundane, scientific) worldviews, so ably captured by John Donne with the four words “round earth’s imagin’d corners” in one of his Holy Sonnets:
At the round earth’s imagin’d corners, blow
Your trumpets, angels, and arise, arise
From death, you numberless infinities
Of souls, and to your scatter’d bodies go…
One such intersection comes where prophecy meets prediction.
I was accordingly interested when Erin Cunningham pointed us to these two remarkable tweets, the first from earlier today:
I believe that second tweet permits photographer David Degner the (secular) rank of Prophet — but it would take, in my view, an entity with the secular rank of Angel, Recording Angel to be precise, to give us an accurate and complete timeline of mental, communications and physical events here, from the first stirring of an idea in the mind of some Egyptian judge, general or staffer through multiple discussions, decisions and levels of implementation, to today’s outcome.
One might even say that the IC with its all source intel aspires to, but will never quite obtain, such an angelic function… while for those of us wholly reliant on open source intelligence, observation and intelligent extrapolation (in the case of Degner) and keeping one’s eye on appropriate parts of the twitterstream (for the rest of us) seems to be the way to go.
I’m not alone in noticing this video [1, 2, 3], but I may have more interest in it than many others, because I believe Mahdism — and “end times” excitement in general — is a volatile conceptual additive and should be handled with considerable caution.
In particular, I would note that the “black banners of Khorasan” ahadith, cited in the video, have been widely used in AQ recruitment as reported by ex-FBI agent Ali Soufan and Syed Saleem Shahzad in their respective books [1, 2], although the ahadith are of probable Abbasid origin as suggested by David Cook [Contemporary Muslim Apocalyptic Literature, Chapter 8, Apocalyptic Predictions concerning Afghanistan and the Taliban, pp. 172 ff.] — and indeed, I’d recently asked the tweeting American mujahid Abu Mansoor Al-Amriki (Omar Hammami):
to which he’d responded:
[ I started to tweet occasional theological questions to Abu M after he instructed his followers to read Zenpundit, here and more emphatically here — I believe the post he was specifically referring to was this one ]
This account of the Mahdist video would make a long post, and if you can watch the video and make out most of what it is saying in the title cards (intertitles) that form, along with the occasional voice over, the through-line of the movie, you won’t need most of the rest — I’m mostly going to offer transcriptions of those portions that aren’t too fuzzy for me to read.
Three things you might find worth noting, however, are:
the quotes from Imran Nazar Hosein, whom I’ve discussed before eg: 1, 2, 3, 4], starting in this section
There are others — I’m thinking of Chris Anzalone and Aaron Zelin — who could tell you the origins of the various video clips and anasheed that are used throughout the video, but I’ll confine myself to the text cards and voice overs.
Over the last of the horsemen, the voice of Imran Nazar Hosein speaks [00.46]:
The prophet said, “When you see the black flags coming from the direction of Khorasan, go and join that army.” That army has already started its [march). They know it. And that’s why they demonize as a terrorist anyone, anyone who supports that army. They know it. And that’s why they demonize as a terrorist anyone, anyone who supports that army.
That’s the end of the Intro, after which the title in English appears [01.16]:
For a bit of flash and excitement, there’s a count-down [01.23 – 01.32] — we’re approaching zero hour, I’m guessing — and the first major text card shows up [01.38]. It is the first of several “notes”:
The caution exhibited here is interesting — someone doesn’t want to be caught out in an error by theologically more sophisticated viewers, hence the admission that some scholars view the black banners of Khorasan ahadith as weak… and the always welcome admission:
Allah knows best.
At [01.56] a hadith is introduced over black and white visuals of war by night:
I’ve magnified this one a little for easier reading [02.09]:
The citation in red is hard to make out, but I believe it references “Sunan Ibn Majah Hadith 971 Volume 3″.
The statement, “their weapon will be the weapon of Emaan (Faith)” is of interest, compare in the New Testament Ephesians 6.13-17 —
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
as is the reference to the conquest of Constantinople “without materialistic weapons”. But all that’s fodder for another post on another day.
At [02.36] we get:
The text in red here — compare with the use of white and red print against a black background in the screen-grab by JM Berger from an As-Sahab Media video at the top of this post — reads fairly clearly:
Saheeh Muslim Book Hadith 2896, page 1904, volume 3
There’s a brief flash of the world map, then this map with its central text in small print and the word EAST quite large by comparison [02.54]:
That central text reads:
(Where the Prophet Muhammad received his Revelation)
Next coes another hadith [02.59]:
Here the only reference is “Musnad Ahmad”.
Then two maps identifying Khorasan [03.04 and 03.07]:
So that’s the set-up.
Things get pretty intriguing around here, as a question is posed as to the race or races of those who will follow the black banners, and the comments on Afghanistan and the Lost Tribes of Israel begin…
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