Thursday, February 03, 2011

“Mubarak, let my people go!”

As we observe from the comfort of our armchairs the social upheaval and political turmoil in Egypt, with millions pouring onto the streets, thousands wounded and hundreds dying, the words of Moses to Pharaoh drifted into His Grace’s mind.

This is not quite an Exodus salvation history with a divine commission, and yet it may be for those who have lived for decades under the yoke of Mubarak’s oppression, confiscation and exploitation. Three-and-a-half millennia ago, the Lord chose a naturalised Egyptian by the name of Moses to free Israel from bondage; today, almost the whole of Egypt seems to have chosen themselves to be the agency of revolution.

Emancipation from absolutism and slavery is always a risk, especially when the strongman keeps hardening his heart, announcing his imminent departure and then deciding that the country really can't do without him. But it is the readiness to confront Pharaoh that sets the revolutionary narrative in motion and which eventuates in the changed circumstances of the slave community and the commitment to an alternative form of public power.

It won’t embrace the holiness of YHWH, of course, for Allah prefers an alternative totalising reality which diminishes the status of the neighbour. But what we have in the plot of the 'Lord versus Pharaoh' is the legitimacy of protest: human initiative is indispensible in bringing about an alternative mode of public power and institutional order.

From encounter, through confrontation to disruption, the Egyptians are replicating their empire’s history. But they should heed from that history the irony that Solomon became Israel’s Pharaoh, with a highly centralised economy and an ideology of arrogant, autonomous totalism generated by the legitimacy associated with the Temple. And so Israel was placed under a new economic bondage which ended the covenantal practice of public power.

There is nothing new under the sun.

In considering the limitations imposed on human authority, one cannot divorce human political economy from the doctrine of God. For it is that which distinguishes between generous compassion and brutalising totalism; determines the social contract between rich and poor; dictates the attitude towards the non-believer; and ordains war and peace.

For Israel, the refrain ‘You were slaves in Egypt’ became an everlasting leitmotif which yielded humility, obedience, gratitude and social relationship.

And we see glimpses of relationship in this outbreak of civil war: new bonds of friendship between Christians and Muslims: watching each other’s homes, guarding each other’s holy sites, sitting in each other’s services of worship; standing and prostrating shoulder-to-shoulder for peace, liberty and security.

For this is not a religious conflict, though there are some who would like to make it so.

Egypt is on the brink either of greater liberty and democracy, or of an even greater totalising authoritarianism. Whether she embraces secularism or Islamism remains to be seen.

But we should listen carefully to the concerns of our brothers and sisters on the ground, and remind ourselves that social and political revolutions in the Middle East tend not to result in greater freedom for Christians.

As one Pharaoh is entombed, another is enthroned.

And so it continues.

There is nothing new under the sun.

39 Comments:

Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace

Egypt turn towards secularism? Democracy?

I think not. For example, Turkey is unlikely to remain secular for much longer. Democracy is a Judaeo-Christian idea. It is not one that can emerge from a Moslem culture for obvious reasons.

It is quite possible that the nations mentioned in Psalm 83 are being prepared by God. They have never before come together in a confederacy against Israel.

There time has come?

3 February 2011 at 08:45  
Blogger Dick the Prick said...

Your Grace

Just as an aside but isn't it a bit disgusting to have Cathy Ashton, Tony Blair & Ban Ki Moon issuing edicts and instructions? Are they taking the piss? Are they not aware that Mubarak has greater legitimacy than they?

As Mr Singh asserts, democracy may not be the ideal but that, in my little mind is secondary, for the moment let us just pray that casualties can be limited.

3 February 2011 at 10:32  
Anonymous bluedog said...

His Grace said. 'one cannot divorce human political economy from the doctrine of God. For it is that which distinguishes between generous compassion and brutalising totalism.' And when 'God' is Allah and Allah is merciful the Islamic despot has a licence to act the same, and no more. We are fortunate indeed that our God loves us.

To submit to a God who is grudingly merciful must be to live under permanent threat of execution. Hardly a benefit to the mental health of the faithful.

3 February 2011 at 11:14  
Anonymous Redneck said...

If Blair and Bush we still in charge, we would have had regime change by now and a democratic egypt like we have in the good ol' US of A. But with a Communist in the white house, do we expect anything different?

3 February 2011 at 11:44  
Anonymous Harry Hily said...

The trouble is the Yanks don't like democracy in the middle east- whatever they say in public- it is far easier to have a pro-west dictator (Mubarak, Sadam)than it is to have true muslims in charge, as they would not toe washington's line.

3 February 2011 at 11:46  
Anonymous 会社設立 said...

A country with such a long and secret history, what should be changed?

3 February 2011 at 12:11  
Anonymous John Thomas said...

Yes, it's not a war between religions, or a religious struggle of any kind, and yes, it's good to see Christians and Muslims supporting one another. But it does seem very likely that in the end, the beneficiary will be militant islam, probably in the form of power being held by the Muslim Brotherhood; either way, the Copts prefer the devil they know (Mubarak)to the devil they may get. Yes (as someone sugests, here) Turkey is going secular > Islamist, and Egypt and other "secular Muslim" states will probably follow.

3 February 2011 at 12:46  
Blogger Bryan said...

The end of the Mubarak dictatorship is not the rise of democracy. It is the collapse of moderation in the face of extemist Islam. The "cold peace" beween Egypt and Israel is swiftly coming to an end. The only question is, how long before the shooting war starts?

3 February 2011 at 13:38  
Anonymous Redneck said...

@Bryan - Kick ass and get the gas!

3 February 2011 at 13:49  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ Redneck (11:44)—If the experience of Iraq is anything to go by, democracy can be a mixed blessing. In the Iraq of Saddam Hussein, Christians lived and worshipped in complete safety but, since regime change and the introduction of democracy, many Christians have fled the country in fear of their lives.

3 February 2011 at 13:50  
Anonymous Jonathan Stuart-Brown said...

I think we are moving to Psalm 83 but Egypt may be at the same time moving to the last phase of Isaiah 19.
These signs once visible should be a final warning to the British Christian Community to repent (as well as others) in 2 Chronicles 7 verse 14 style. If not, then we can not expect God to heal our Government, our schools, our hospitals and our land.
http://www.savethebritishfilmindustry.com/2011/02/why-israel-is-the-most-trustworthy-ally-any-nation-can-have-and-meanwhile-pinewood-shepperton-plc-share-price-loses-53-value-in-last-three-years/

3 February 2011 at 15:28  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Redneck: perhaps then it was a pity that the ''good o'l US of A'' interfered with the plans of Israel, Britain and France in 1956?

3 February 2011 at 15:52  
Anonymous Paul said...

Remember the Sphinx came from Egypt...

3 February 2011 at 16:01  
Anonymous Redneck said...

Oswin, mighty dandy of ya to say so! You bet-the civilised world shuuda stuck tegether on that. Now we have some half -civilized arabas runnin'n it!

3 February 2011 at 17:58  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Redneck - very droll.

3 February 2011 at 18:09  
Blogger AncientBriton said...

Me sphinx the graphic is brilliant.

3 February 2011 at 19:11  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

Let my people go was the Habiru version of events, the Egyptian version apperantly tells that the Habiru where tyrants the Egyptians eventually kicked out.

That is what we see being repeated today, a Habiru puppet tyrant being ejected.

If I was Egypt watching Israeli expansion towards a Greater Israel I would have serious concerns about the Egyptian army being controlled by friends of Habiru.

3 February 2011 at 19:34  
Blogger LeucipottomySpoon82 said...

@ Ancient Briton

The artist would undoubtedly say to you "Sphanx a lot"...I think/sphinx.

Not many comments on here today. Perhaps everyone is running around stockpiling because they think Armaggedon is coming.

Harry's Place has some updates on the situation, including a piece written by our old friend Sandmonkey if you scroll down:

http://hurryupharry.org/

Barnabas Fund also has news:

http://barnabasfund.org/AU/News/Latest-emergencies/Christians-in-danger-as-Egyptian-security-breaks-down.html

3 February 2011 at 19:45  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

You are at it again Cranmer. What is happening in Egypt has nothing to do with “doctrine of God”. People are and always have always been the same, when they are oppressed they yearn for freedom, when they have freedom they yearn for the ability to shape their destiny, it was ever thus.

What is going on in Egypt is no different from Hungary or Czechoslovakia under the Soviets, or America under George III, or any nation subjected to the rule of a tyrant.

The issue here that you singularly fail to address is the fact that the West has supported and reinforced tyranny using the excuse that its existence protects our national interest. No wonder the people of the Arab world hate us as much as their own oppressors. You ignore objective morality in favour of a clapped out and discredited Judeo/Christian philosophy that has wrought havoc for centuries and continuous to do so.

3 February 2011 at 20:04  
Anonymous len said...

History is laid out in Bible prophesy.
The enemies of Israel are gathering for their ultimate objective, the annihilation of Israel.There is a huge thrust going on for the islamification of Arab Nations.

The secular World has no solution for the problems of Mankind, in fact the secular World is part of the problem.Ignorance and denial of the Spiritual battles that are occurring leaves us helpless and vulnerable!

Our once Christian Nation has been left wide open and vulnerable to hostile spiritual forces.
Don`t take my word for it Just open your eyes.

Just as nature 'abhors a vacuum' Spiritual voids WILL be filled!

3 February 2011 at 20:46  
Anonymous Indigo said...

An awful lot of journalists, from many countries, are getting hurt and requiring hospital treatment. Widely reported on Twitter. So whatever happens next in Egypt prolly won't be covered by non-Egyptian media.

3 February 2011 at 22:11  
Anonymous JayBee said...

These attacks on the meeja suggest that Pharaoh doesn't want us to see the next phase.

Perhaps the army is about to have its mind changed.

3 February 2011 at 22:53  
Blogger srizals said...

Hopefully when the time comes, the Egyptians would show to the world how to walk like an Egyptian once more. And learn from their past mistake of borrowing money from dishonest usury eaters and being dependent on their enemies! They are not America, he can be a superpower ridden with debts! Of Chinese money and who knows who else. I don’t think the USA can ever pay off its debts in 10 life times, not unless it becomes an imperialistic power once more, which is the tendency of the poverty ridden West once did. With all the military arsenals, who knows?

It is inevitable. Muslims that show tendency to other than Islam would be doomed to commit more gross error. Following Islam fully, would lessen the error.

The dominos are falling down, falling down, my fair lady.

Pray that the long oppressed people can forgive the supporters of their kind tyrants. The false advocators of democracy. They are actually undercover tyrants. Mr. Graham Davis has said it perfectly. And a Muslim and an Atheist agreed on something. Could the gentle Christians share this common ground? The hatred towards tyranny? I’m crossing my fingers.

4 February 2011 at 00:13  
Blogger DocRichard said...

Amen.

4 February 2011 at 00:25  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Srizals : they ain't OUR dominos.

How can you say : ''...follow Islam fully, would lessen the error'' in the same breath as the ''...hatred towards tyranny'' ?

A wholly 'Islamic' Egypt would be that tyrany! As it is elsewhere, as it is in Iran.

Hopefully the Egyptian people will opt for a third course ...I'm crossing my fingers, but I am not sanguine.

4 February 2011 at 02:25  
Anonymous bluedog said...

D Singh @ 8.45 said 'Democracy is a Judeo-Christian idea'. This would have come as news to the Athenian Greeks who introduced it in 481BC. Neither is there any reference to democracy in either Testament of the Bible. Alexandria was not named after any Judeo-Christian notable, but after a Greek. Perhaps there is something left in the Egyptian DNA of the early Ptolomaic kingdom that now draws the people to a Greek ideal. There is sadly an opposing force in the Egyptian nature and nurture that makes the possibility of democracy very slim indeed.

4 February 2011 at 06:56  
Anonymous len said...

Christianity is actually a Monarchy.

When a Righteous King(Jesus Christ) Rules.

Democracy is entirely(So I believe ) Greek idea which would work if you could find a righteous man who would put the interests of the people above their own and could convince others to follow his leadership.
We have had glimpses of this with Lincoln in America, and with some UK PM`s but not many!
This has only happened with leaders who were committed Christians.
Our Secular leaders( I include those who' do God')haven`t the commitment or the courage to promote Christian values because they favour their own popularity and position too much!.

4 February 2011 at 08:06  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bluedog: Alexander was not a Greek he was a Macedonian! Daniel had that wrong as well. Democracy in Athens was nothing like we would consider as democracy. The early Ptolemies were not democrats even in the Athenian sense.

4 February 2011 at 13:01  
Blogger srizals said...

Not in Malaysia, Oswin, and also in most other Islamic countries. As in Iran, they have democratic presidential election I think. So it is close to democracy. I don't think we should follow democracy blindly without considering local atmosphere. We have to adopt and adapt, to make it work for us.

But we should really consider of letting the 'powerful' ruling elites rule us longer than 5 - 10 years and have more able people participating in politics. The longer they taste the sweetness of power and easy wealth that comes with it, the sorrier we all will be. And the average Joe would have to spend wisely in order to make ends meet. The 'powerful' spends lavishly, as always. It’s not their money anyway, in wars and fancy white elephant idol-like grandeur or ensuring their cronies have gold and diamonds for breakfast from certain important projects for the ordinary people to see, never to eat and benefit from it.

But most political world are seeing two party system, even though they didn't put it that way officially, so the choices for us are getting less varied than ever. We would end up voting for the same corruptible and incompetent leaders of the same breed.

Interestingly, we are seeing more and more billionaires and millionaires in the world. Are the men getting richer than their own country? Whatever happened to good old taxing system and giving back to the society? Is monopoly and manipulation continues to be the rule of the day? Then, the ruling elites and the manipulators are doing a great job of making us busy hating and killing each other while escaping our radar.

And before I forget, getting richer and richer in these short lives of theirs, profiting on our fears. I despise any nation and anyone that prefers killing and torturing the people in order to monopolise lives, lands, power and wealth.

Len, I'm still waiting for your proof. Sorry if I seemed impatient. Time is not a luxury I can afford.

4 February 2011 at 14:16  
Anonymous Jonathan Stuart-Brown said...

Your Grace, tis time President Obama followed his own advice and stepped down now to allow an orderly return to Judeo-Christian democracy and perchance President Allen West. Ex-Pharoah Obama can seek asylum in Saudi Arabia.

http://www.savethebritishfilmindustry.com/2011/02/obama-has-lost-michael-jackson-and-egypt-just-as-jimmy-carter-lost-elvis-presley-and-iran-but-obama-and-the-usa-has-very-much-worse-to-come-as-he-proves-he-is-utterly-out-of-his-depth-and-should-step/

4 February 2011 at 15:39  
Anonymous Floridian said...

Actually, the USA is not a democracy, but a nation ruled by laws and a constitution.

Strictly popular vote would produce lawlessness, ruin and evil in Egypt, the US and elsewhere for sure.

See Fr. Robert Hart's essay on Democracy, The US and Egypt @The Continuum here:
http://anglicancontinuum.blogspot.com

4 February 2011 at 16:33  
Anonymous len said...

Srizels,
You have asked me several questions,one about the Trinity, one about Paul,one about the 'comforter'.

1, The Trinity.
God tells us in Genesis 1:26-27 "And Elohim said ‘Let-us-make man in our-image, according-to-our-likeness. . . . And Elohim created man in His-image, in the image of Elohim He-created him; male and female He-created them." How did God create man? He tells us in Genesis 2:7 "Then Yehovah-Elohim formed man of dust from the-ground, and breathed into his-nostrils the spirit of lives; and man became-a-living soul." God tells us in this passage that He created man three in one just like He is Three in One. Man has a spirit and a soul and a body. Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 "Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." Man is spirit and soul and body. Take anyone of these away and you no longer have a Man. However, a man is not three men in one Man. One Man is spirit and soul and body. In the same way God is not three God's in one God (as the enemies of Christianity claim Christians teach, but do not) but one God manifested in three Persons: Father and Son and Holy Spirit. Take any one of these away and you no longer have the one and only true God. Just as Man is of one essence manifested in spirit and soul and body; so God is of one essence manifested in three Persons: the Father and Son and Holy Spirit. One Man of one essence and one God of one essence. The Nature of Man is spirit and soul and body. The Nature of God is Father and Son and Holy Spirit.

4 February 2011 at 18:31  
Anonymous len said...

Jesus Of the Bible is not, and never could be, the 'Isa' of the Koran.

The 'Isa' of the Koran was never crucified, he never rose from the dead, he is merely another prophet.
The Islamic Jesus is a created being: ‘The similitude of Jesus before Allah is that of Adam: he created him from dust, then said to him, ‘Be’: and he was.’ Koran: Sura 3:59. In the Bible Jesus is revealed as an eternal being who said of himself, ‘Before Abraham was I am’ (John 8.58). He is the creator not a created being: ‘All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made’. John 1:3.

'Isa 'and Jesus Christ are clearly totally different people.

4 February 2011 at 19:48  
Blogger srizals said...

Thanks Len for sharing your point of view. How about Paul and the comforter?

6 February 2011 at 14:26  
Anonymous len said...

Srizels,
The Comforter,

JOHN 14:15-17: "If you love me you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father and He will give you another Comforter to be with you forever - the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept him because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him for he lives with you and will be in you."

What Jesus is saying here is I will send another exactly like me. Identical to me.
This Comforter is plainly a Spirit being( because you cannot see Him, and He will be IN you.
The Holy Spirit is like Jesus. Not as in a physical body, but as in Spirit. a) II Cor 3:17 states "Now the Lord is the Spirit... There is a relationship between the Spirit and the Lord, and both are said to dwell in the believer (see Romans 8:9-11). Galatians 2:20 says "...Christ lives in me...". Galatians 4:6,7 states "God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts.." Acts 16:6,7 states the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of Jesus are the same.

"Parakletos" is the Greek N. T. word for "Comforter", literally “called to one’s side, i.e., to one’s aid”. It denotes a legal assistant, counsel for the defense, an advocate, one who pleads another’s cause, an intercessor. (From Vine's Exp. Dictionary. of N.T. Words, p200) [14].
...........
Some Muslims assert that the original word in the N.T. was 'periklutos' - i.e. 'praised one', which is 'Ahmad' in Arabic. ['Ahmad', or 'Praised One' is a name ascribed to Muhammad]. This is a baseless assertion. There is no evidence at all supporting this claim. There are thousands of N.T. manuscripts pre-dating Islam and not one of these contains the word 'periklutos', anywhere. Muslims like to charge Christians with changing their Bible - 'tahrif' (corruption) of their Scriptures, but it is Muslims who are guilty of 'tahrif' when they claim that the original word was 'periklutos'.

6 February 2011 at 17:15  
Blogger srizals said...

What about Paul? Why is he considered as the centre for Christianity?

6 February 2011 at 18:39  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Srizels,
Sorry for the interval.
Paul is somewhat of a controversial figure in Christianity,started off persecuting followers of Christ, had a revelation of the risen Christ (which totally changed him ) he then preached the Gospel.
I suppose Paul is an interpreter of Christianity(in some detail)
Jesus never totally revealed all His purposes in detail, deliberately, because if Satan had been able to put all the pieces together( of prophesy and God`s intentions)he(satan) would never have crucified Christ(in fact he would have done all in his power to prevent the Crucifiction).
Paul is sometimes accused of'doing away' with God`s Law but this I believe is a misinterpretation of what Paul intended because he quite plainly says ,

Romans 3:31 (NKJV) Do we then make void the Law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the Law.

In Romans in the Bible, Paul goes into this in much more detail.Paul quite clearly upholds the Law of God.

7 February 2011 at 19:26  
Blogger srizals said...

Not at all anon 19:26, I appreciate your views. In Islam, the rivalry between man and Satan is clearly stated in the Koran.

When the first man was created and designated the position as God's assistant on Earth, even the angels questioned God's plan and later understood them when He showed to the angels, the ability of man which the angels do not know of. The ability to learn. Azazil was not pleased either. He refused to bow down to Adam a.s. when he was ordered to do so by his Creator, and hence became an infidel, those who do not believe in God's wisdom. The jealously and proudness had caused him to rebel against God. And becomes our mortal enemy until the End of Days. Do you know why Satan hated us so much that he would do anything in his power to lure us away from the right and the light?


[7:10]
We established you on earth, and created in it means of living for you. Little you appreciate.

[7:11]
We created you, then gave you a shape, then We said to the angels, “Prostrate yourselves before ’Ādam.” So, they all prostrated themselves, except Iblīs (Satan). He did not join those who fell prostrate.

[7:12]
Allah said, “What has prevented you from prostrating when I ordered you?” He said, “I am better than him. You have created me of fire, and created him of clay.”

[7:13]
He said, “Then, get you down from here, it is not for you to show arrogance here. So, get out. You are one of the degraded.

[7:14]
He said, “Then give me respite until a day when all will be resurrected.

[7:15]
He (Allah) said, “You are granted respite’’.

[7:16]
He said, “Now that You have led me astray, I will certainly sit for them (in ambush) on Your straight path.

[7:17]
Then I will come upon them from their front side and from their behind, and from their right and from their left. You will not find most of them grateful.

[7:18]
He (Allah) said, “Get out of here, condemned, rejected. Indeed, whosoever will follow you from among them, I will fill Hell with all of you together.


[17:15]
Whoever adopts the right path does so for his own benefit, and whoever goes astray does so to his own detriment, and no bearer of burden shall bear the burden of another, and it is not Our way to punish (anyone) unless We send a Messenger.

[17:61]
(Remember) when We said to the angels, “Prostrate yourself before ’Ādam.” So, they all prostrated, except Iblīs (Satan). He said, “Shall I prostrate before the one You have created from mud?”

[17:62]
He (Iblīs) added, “Tell me, this one whom You have honored more than me, if You give me respite till the Doomsday, I will subdue his progeny, except a few of them.”

9 February 2011 at 13:05  
Blogger srizals said...

[17:63]
He (Allah) said, “Go then, for whoever of them follows you, the Hell shall be the recompense of you all, a full recompense.

[17:64]
Entice with your voice those of them whom you can, and rally against them your horsemen and your footmen, and share with them in their wealth and their children, and make promises to them” - and Satan promises them nothing but delusion -

[17:65]
“As for My servants, you have no control over them, and your Lord is enough to look after (everything).”

[38:71]
When your Lord said to the angels, “I am going to create man from clay.

[38:72]
So, once I make him perfectly and breath My spirit into him, you must fall down in prostration before him.”

[38:73]
Then, the angels prostrated themselves, all of them together -

[38:74]
except Iblīs (Satan). He waxed proud, and became one of the disbelievers.

[38:75]
He (Allah) said, “O Iblīs, what did prevent you from prostrating yourself before what I created with My hands? Did you wax proud or were you among the lofty ones?”

[38:76]
He said, “I am better than him. You created me from fire, and created him from clay.”

[38:77]
He said, “Then, get out from here, for you are accursed,

[38:78]
and on you shall remain My curse till the Day of Judgment.”

[38:79]
He said, “O my Lord, then give me respite till the day they are raised again.”

[38:80]
He said, “Then, you have been given respite,

[38:81]
until the Day of the Appointed Time.”

[38:82]
He said, “Then, I swear by Your Might, that I will definitely lead them astray, all of them -

[38:83]
except Your chosen servants among them.”

[38:84]
He (Allah) said, “Then, the truth is-and it is (always) the truth that I speak-

[38:85]
that I will definitely fill the Jahannam with you and with those who will follow you from among them, all together.”

Could you share the verses from the Bible regarding the enmity between us and Satan? Thanks.

9 February 2011 at 13:05  

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