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Monthly Archives: October 2015

“The Book Of Love”
(originally by The Magnetic Fields)

The book of love is long and boring
No one can lift the damn thing
It’s full of charts and facts, some figures and instructions for dancing

But I,
I love it when you read to me.
And you,
You can read me anything.

The book of love has music in it,
In fact that’s where music comes from.
Some of it is just transcendental,
Some of it is just really dumb.

But I,
I love it when you sing to me.
And you,
You can sing me anything.

The book of love is long and boring,
And written very long ago.
It’s full of flowers and heart-shaped boxes,
And things we’re all too young to know.

But I,
I love it when you give me things.
And you,
You ought to give me wedding rings.

And I,
I love it when you give me things.
And you,
You ought to give me wedding rings.
You ought to give me wedding rings.

===

To hear this beautiful song:

Peter Gabriel
Tracey Thorn
Magnetic Fields (Original Artists)

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Does Jeremiah 46 Prophesy Imam Hussein And The Battle Of Karbala ?

No.

The notion that the death of the Shi’a Imam Hussein at Karbala is prophecied in Jeremiah 46 is entirely fanciful. Wishful thinking. Jeremiah 46 has nothing to do with the events of Karbala whatsoever.

My Shi’a friend recently asserted that Jeremiah 46, especially verses 6 and 10 pertain to Imam Hussein and Karbala because they describe a battle on the banks of the Euphrates river in which an army was slaughtered and where the Lord God made a sacrifice.

Carchemish, Not Karbala
The Battle that Jeremiah 46 records is quite simply not the Battle Of Karbala. In fact, Jeremiah 46 tells us exactly which battle it is describing: The Battle Of Carchemish, one of the most significant battles of the ancient Middle East. Jeremiah explicitly states which battle he is describing. Jeremiah 46:2 states:

This is the message against the army of Pharaoh Necho king of Egypt, which was defeated at Carchemish

Karbala is about 100km south-west of Baghdad, Iraq.
Carchemish is about 100km north-west of Aleppo, Syria.

The distance between Aleppo and Karbala is about 745km. They are in completely different countries.

The Battle Of Carchemish occurred in 605 BC. The Battle of Karbala occurred in 680 AD. About 1300 years later.

Wrong battle, wrong country, wrong millenium.
And that’s just the beginning of the Shi’a errors with this scripture.

Shi’a are eager to equate this scripture with the slaughter of Imam Hussein and his supporters at Karbala on the banks of the Euphrates River in 680 AD. Shi’a wish to appropriate these scriptures as prophecies of the death of Hussein so as to validate the Shi’a contention that the final and true religion of God is Shi’a Islam. These scriptures are used evangelistically by Shi’a to demonstrate to Christians that the Bible validates Shi’a Islam as the true religion of God and the primacy of the Shi’a Imams.

Yes, Imam Husein was killed on the banks of the Euphrates River. Yes, Jeremiah 46 is located in part on the Euphrates River. But Jeremiah 46 is not a prophecy about Imam Hussein in any way at all.

The Prophecy Is About Egypt, Not Hussein

By Shi’a interpretation, the slaughtered army is the household of Hussein and the sacrifice that God has prepared is Imam Hussein himself. But Jeremiah 46 is a prophecy about Egypt. Hussein, broadly speaking, should be said to come from Arabia, since he was born there, or Iraq since that was where the majority of his support was located.

However you care to define the country or nation of Hussein, there is no way that it can be said to be Egypt. The Shi’a interpretation is thus shown to be incoherent from the outset. Says Jeremiah 46:2 ‘Concerning Egypt…’ .

But since Shi’a like to affirm that Jeremiah 46 is about Hussein, they must then equate Egypt and its leader, Pharoah Necho, with Hussein and his household. This leads to insurmountable problems in resolving the text and shows that the Shi’a assertion that Jeremiah 46 refers to Hussein is nonsensical, as we will further demonstrate below.

God Is Opposed To The One Slaughtered

The first error of interpretation by the Shi’a is that they have failed to notice that God is opposed to the one that was slaughtered, whereas they assert that God favours and loves the one who was slaughtered i.e. Hussein.

Hussein is a Shi’a hero. Indeed, the most important date in the Shi’a calendar, Ashura, commemorates the Death of Hussein. For Shi’a, Hussein is in the line of infallible Imams, who are God’s rightly-guided caliphs, His very vice-regents on earth who provide infallible guidance to the community of believers.

But Jeremiah 46 says that God is opposed to the slaughtered army, that the slaughtered army are his foes and that this army is will be slaughtered because God is taking his vengeance upon them.

Thus, the Shi’a view that the slaughtered army (the Shi’a) and leader Hussein are the beloved of God is directly contradicted by the text. The army is slaughtered because God is opposed to this army, has judged it and will destroy it. Shi’a believe that Imam Hussein is loved by God. Why then does Jeremiah 46 say that Hussein is a foe (enemy) of God, on whom He will take vengeance ? For Shi’a this is impossible. Therefore Jeremiah 46 cannot be a prophecy of Hussein.

The hostility of God toward the slaughtered army is evident from the very beginning of the prophesy. In verse 2 The Lord God says He is against them:

This is the message against the army of Pharaoh Necho king of Egypt, which was defeated at Carchemish on the Euphrates River (Jer. 46:2)

Language throughout the entire chapter shows that the Lord is opposed to the slaughtered army and leader. Verse 21 and verse 25 says the Lord will punish them and verse 24 says they will be put to shame. Shi’a say the Karbala was a day of honour for Hussein and his people and a day in which the religion of God was preserved. None of this is compatible with the wrath that God pours out on His foes in the slaughtered army.

Details Of The ‘Karbala’ Battle Completely Incorrect

Shi’a insist that Jeremiah 46 is a record of the battle Of Karbala. But the details of Jeremiah 46 are in complete opposition to the Shi’a account of Karbala. For example, Jeremiah 46 says that the conquering army attacked the Egyptian army from the north. But Hussein was attacked from the west. So, the Shi’a interperetation has incorrect geography.

Next, the Egyptian Army (supposedly representing Hussein’s household) is said to contain mercenaries from Ethiopia (Cush), Libya (Put) and Western turkey (Lydia) (See verse 9) Hussein’s army contained no such mercenaries. Furthermore, these mercenaries were disloyal to Necho and attempted to desert the army, insulting Neco as they left calling him a loudmouth and a windbag (verse 16). Of course, Shi’a believe that Hussein’s army was completely devoted to Hussein and would never insult him nor desert him. Once again we find the Shi’a equation of Jeremiah 46 with The Battle Of Kerbala to be completely superficial and totally lacking in any consistency or credibility.

Sacrifice, Martyrdom, Destruction

Shi’a liken the death of Hossein to a sacrifice, a martydom, in which Hossein lay down his life in order to protect the true religion of Allah, Shi’a Islam. While Jeremiah 46:10 does indeed use the word sacrifice to describe God’s actions at Carchimesh in destroying the army of Pharoah Neco and Egypt, God does not consider Neco to be a martyr for good.

The sacrifice of Neco is a sacrifice of destruction, not of martyrdom in which the the slaughter of nations and people hostile to God is offered by God Himself. Vultures devour the flesh of the victims who are God’s enemies and so God’s righteousness and protection of his people, Israel is demonstrated, thus showing that God is faithful to his covenant with Israel. See  Isaiah 34:6; Jeremiah 46:10; Ezekiel 39:17 (twice in verse); Ezekiel 39:19 and Zephaniah 1:7,8.

The concept of God offering a sacrifice to satisfy his own justice is seen in the self-sacrifice of Jesus and will be a feature of the time of the end in which God, by His Messiah, will destroy the enemies of God in the last days before God establishes his Kingdom in the land of Israel and restoring Israel to peaceful and prosperous existence in the land that God promised them long ago.

Carchemish, Not Karbala
The Battle that Jeremiah 46 records is quite simply not the Battle Of Karbala. In fact, Jeremiah 46 tells us exactly which battle it is describing: The Battle Of Carchemish, one of the most significant battles of the ancient Middle East.

This is the message against the army of Pharaoh Necho king of Egypt, which was defeated at Carchemish

Karbala is about 100km south-west of Baghdad, Iraq.
Carchemish is about 100km north-west of Aleppo, Syria.

The distance between Aleppo and Karbala is about 745km. They are in completely different countries.

The Battle Of Carchemish occurred in 605 BC. The Battle of Karbala occurred in 680 AD. About 1300 years later.

Wrong battle, wrong country, wrong millenium.
And that’s just the beginning of the Shi’a errors with this scripture.

The Fundamental Error that Shi’a have made with Jeremiah 46 is, to use the words of Gordon Fee, that they have tried to make it say what they want it to say, instead of trying to hear what God intends it to say.

As such, Shia have ignored all the fundamental disciplines of correctly interpreting the Biblical text. They have ignored historical context, also ignored the intention of the scripture under consideration and also ignored the very words in the containing text (overall chapter).

The events at Karbala were tragic and heart-rending but this does not excuse such opportunistic and negligent handling of God’s Holy Books.

Who Is The Favoured Nation Of God?

The intention of Shia in asserting that the Bible prophecies the coming of Hussein and the Imams is to attempt to provide Biblical validity to their contention that the Shia Islam is the true religion of God and that through the lineage of the Imams that true guidance and salvation is found. If I may put it this way, Shia wish to assert that Shia Muslims are the favoured nation of God and that this view is proven by discovering prophecies of Hussein in The Bible.

This is not the view of the Bible.

The Bible asserts that God’s favoured nation is Israel and that His Messiah is Jesus and that ultimately, favoured status and salvation with God comes through correct relationship with the Messiah Jesus, who is a son of Israel.

So it is that we see in Jeremiah 46 that God provides words of comfort and consolation, not to the slaughtered army, Egypt, or to the conquering army, Babylon, but to Israel. See here the conclusion of Jeremiah 46 where we see that Israel is the true focus of God’s affection:

Do not be afraid, Jacob my servant,
for I am with you,” declares the Lord.
“Though I completely destroy all the nations
among which I scatter you,
I will not completely destroy you.
I will discipline you but only in due measure;
I will not let you go entirely unpunished.” (Jer. 46:28)

Why Is God Taking Vengeance On Egypt ?

In Jeremiah 46:10, God tells Egypt that He is taking vengeance on them because they are his foes (enemies). The reason that Egypt is God’s enemy is that Egypt have oppressed his people, Israel.

A large part of the Book Of Jeremiah describes Jeremiah prophesying about the great powers of the time, Babylon and Egypt, and Israel’s part in this drama. Israel’s part in all this is that she will be at various times attacked and occupied by both Babylon and Egypt. Jeremiah gives the consistent message that God will not forget Israel during all this trouble which has come upon her because of her disobedience. Israel will be punished by these nations, but not forgotten. The great powers who ravage her will be destroyed by God and Israel will resume her place in the Promised Land.

In Jeremiah 30:16-17 God says

“‘But all who devour you will be devoured;
    all your enemies will go into exile.
Those who plunder you will be plundered;
    all who make spoil of you I will despoil.
 But I will restore you to health
    and heal your wounds,’
declares the Lord,

Jeremiah 46 brings more detail to the prophecy of Jeremiah 30. The time is closer, so more detail is given. Babylon will defeat Egypt at Carchemish and later invade Egypt itself and break her power, causing great destruction to Egypt in the process. Some cities like Memphis will become wastelands and uninhabited (Jer. 46:19). These events have occurred and are recorded by history

The Battle Of Carchemish and subsequent events are prophesied in Jeremiah 46. These events are God’s vengeance on Egypt for devouring and plundering Israel, His chosen people, and also a judgment against the idolatry of Egypt in which

I am about to bring punishment on Amon god of Thebes, on Pharaoh, on Egypt and her gods and her kings (Jer. 46:25)

So God’s vengeance in 46:10 is upon Egypt for attacking His chosen people and for sins of idolatry. It is thus inconceivable that verse 10 should be some form of congratulations for Hussein. Unless Shia believe Hussein was an idolater who attacked and plundered God’s people and so became an enemy of God.

Note that God’s message of comfort to Israel in Jer. 46:27-28 is a restatement of the same message he gave in Jer. 30:10-11. This explicitly links the two chapters, allowing them to provide a direct commentary on each other.

Appendix: Example Of Mishandling Prophetic Scripture

As we have demonstrated above, Shi’a have catastrophically mishandled the prophecy of Jeremiah 46. In fact the way that Shia have misused this passage provides a case-study in bad scholarship.

Gordon Fee gives a good example of how prophecy is often mishandled in his book How To Understand The Bible For All Its Worth. His example is the misapplication of Isaiah 49:23 ‘kings who “will bow down before you with their
faces to the ground”’ to refer to the the three Magi who visited the infant Jesus (Matt. 2:1–11) .

Here is Fee’s example in full

Too great a zeal for identifying [far-future] events in Old
Testament prophetic oracles can yield strange results. The reference
in Isaiah 49:23 to kings who “will bow down before you with their
faces to the ground” has sounded just enough like the three Magi
who visited the infant Jesus (Matt. 2:1–11) to encourage many to
assume that Isaiah’s words are messianic. Such an interpretation
embarrassingly ignores the context (both kings and queens are mentioned;
the issue of the passage is the restoration of Israel after its
Babylonian exile), the intent (the language of the oracle intends to
show how great Israel’s respect will be when God restores it), the
style (the poetry symbolizes the respect of the nations via images of
their rulers as foster parents to Israel, and licking the dust at the feet
of the nation), and the wording (Magi are wise men/astrologers, not
kings). We must be careful that we do not make prophetic oracles,
or any part of Scripture, say what we would like it to say. We must
hear what God intends it to say.