Free Bibles, Commentaries, and Dictionaries for your Cell Phone

The mobile phone can be a ready reference help for those who wish to use Bibles, Commentaries, and Dictionaries on it. Depending on the kind of handset that you use there are various options. Following are some links for free Bibles, Commentaries, Lexicons, and Books.

Download Go Bibles For Java Phones:
http://www.box.com (LATEST)
Download S60 Bibles, Books, and Commentaries: (Download and Install the s60 Bible that matches your handset first, then download the pdb Bible files, same as for Bible+, and save them anywhere in your Phone, then click on the "Options" button on the Bible and go to "Bibles" and click on "Update Bible List". Now, you're set to go).

http://www.compactbyte.com/symbianbible/
http://trac.es/bible/ (for Latest Versions)

More Versions:
http://groups.google.com/group/symbianbible/files?pli=1 (Needs Sign in: You can find S60 Bibles for handsets like Nokia 5800 (S60 v5) here)

More Bibles, Commentaries, Books, and Lexicons for S60 Bible
http://www.thechan.com/content/view/4/13/

Download Bibles, Books, Commentaries and Devotionals from Olive Tree:
Share:

Outline of Theology in Hindi - Part I (Introduction and Bibliology)

बाइबिल के प्रमुख सिद्धांत एवं शिक्षाओं की समझ हेतु धर्मविज्ञान प्रणाली की रूपरेखा का इस पहले कडी को पढिये।


by Domenic Marbaniang

YOU NEED TO DOWNLOAD KRUTIDEV FONT IN ORDER TO READ THE DOCUMENT


You can find the English version at Scribd.

GOD BLESS YOU ALL!
Share:

The Story of Kurien Thomas: First Steps

The Story of Kurien Thomas, as retold by Domenic Marbaniang

The fire of the Spirit ran into my bones. I fell to the ground as words of the heavenly language burst from my lips. They flowed incessantly. The believers around were awestruck as, they said, a glorious light enveloped my body. I spoke in tongues for 8 hours that night from 2 to 10 am. My little village was soon ignited with this news and people streamed to the church to see what had happened. God had asked me moments before He gave me this baptism of fire “Son, I am going to fill you with the power of the Holy Spirit; but what will you do with it?” What does one do with God’s power? I bowed down on my knees and confessed “Lord, give it to me and I will serve you with it. I will live not for the fading glory of the worldly kingdoms but for your eternal Kingdom and serve you in this land of India.” God had answered instantly and inundated me with His blessing and my heart was filled with zeal and enthusiasm.

But the next day, a wind of worldly wisdom blew over to extinguish my flame. It was a letter from the Military calling me to join service at Calcutta. A splendid opportunity, after all, that only a fool could reject; but I had already become a fool for Christ’s sake. I knew my promise to the Lord and was confident about His call over my life. The Government had offered me a promising salary and job security; but my heart was burning with a heavenly desire for the mission of my Father in heaven. I had committed to serve God in His eternal Kingdom and there was no turning back. I look back at these 58 years I’ve spent in His care and have never for a moment regretted or doubted my commitment to Christ. God through His Spirit is more real to me than the smell, sight, and sound of the world surrounding me. There might have been times when my flame has flickered but the light and strength of it has never faded away.

ROOTS
I was born on 9 January 1922 in a Keralite Syrian Orthodox family that traced its origins to the first converts of Thomas the apostle of Christ. I was the second of the four sons and two sisters that my parents were so proud of. We grew up in admiration of our ancient Syrian Church which gave us the sense of rootedness in a rich and honorable history: the Syrian Church traces its history to the Church at Antioch of apostolic times. But the form of religiosity doesn’t guarantee the fact of spirituality and historical rootedness might be ethnically significant but means nothing in the Kingdom of Christ. I was privileged to learn this soon and was not hesitant, when I met Christ through His gospel, to commit my whole life to Him.

However, the road to this was not so easy. I had grown up with a deep sense of patriotism and was, by the age of 17, a leader of a group of young students who joined the Struggle for Independence. We wanted our nation to be freed from the dominance of British rule. It was the year 1939, and the horror of World War II engulfed whole nations. The present Kerala was then divided into three kingdoms – Travancore, Cochin, and British Malabar. Travancore was an independent state under the British Government. The Chief Minister of the state, Mr. C. P. Ramaswami Iyer was a tyrant who would order his troops to shoot at the demonstrating students. But passion for freedom banished the fear of bullets from our hearts.

A little church of Pentecostals in our village, however, seemed disconnected from all these things. They were caught up in some form of spiritual revival which looked as gibber to me. We felt that this bunch of religious heretics was not only traditionally rootless but also intellectually error-driven. So, when some special meetings were arranged at this time in the yard of the Pentecostal church, we sat outside and tried to disturb the meetings. Still, unsatisfied with our actions, we decided to meet one of the guest speakers, Pastor K. E. Abraham and overpower him with our arguments. Of course, we knew very less of the Bible but knew this much that the Pentecostals falsely taught that right form of baptism was by immersion and not by sprinkling of water. They were wrong, we thought, in rebaptizing those Christians who had been already baptized as infants. But Pastor Abraham didn’t argue with us. He simply quoted scripture after scripture that proved his teaching of baptism by immersion and challenged us to prove infant baptism from the scriptures which, obviously, we could not do. On our way back, I told my friends our arguments fell as dry leaves before the strength of the evidence of scripture.

That evening I went back to attend the meeting and squatted down among the people on the ground. Pastor K. E. Abraham began to speak of God’s great love manifested for us at the Cross of Calvary. Tears flooded my eyes as the words sunk deep within my heart and I confessed my sins to Jesus with my head between my knees. I suddenly became oblivious to my surrounding. Obviously, many were repenting and committing their lives to Christ as I was doing. But I sat confronted with the breath-taking supremacy of God’s love. His light flooded into my soul expelling death and darkness. That was when I decided that I could never forsake Christ. My life was surrendered never to revert again. I had realized that it is not traditional rootedness but Kingdom rootedness that establishes one as a child of God. I was born again.

COMMITMENT TO SERVE
Immediately, following this experience, I began to realize that I had a new appetite for the things of God; I wanted to learn more of God and of His Word. I used to be interested in literature earlier but had a particular distaste for religious discussions. However, I saw that my birth into God’s family also created in me a strong craving for the things of God. Appetite, obviously, is a matter of the differences of nature. Therefore, the Scripture tells us that a natural man (or one who is not born again) has no appetite for the spiritual things of God, for they appear as meaningless to him (2Cor. 2:14). But a child of the Kingdom receives strength by the spiritual nutrition that comes from ingesting the Word of Truth.

With the assistance of Pastor K. E. Abraham, I joined the Hebron Bible School with the intent to better understand God’s Word. At this time, I didn’t feel any desire to join the ministry. The Bible School had a policy that only allowed ministerially committed students to live in their hostel. I, therefore, along with some ten other friends arranged to stay outside the campus and attend the school for the classes. The conditions at the school were very trying. They had financial constringencies but were never slack in faith; and God was always faithful to provide for their needs. Things were quite inexpensive in those days and I barely needed a rupee to sustain myself through a whole week; and the rupee was not hard in coming.

But my soul throbbed for God. I would rise up early in the morning each day to go up a hill and sit there for hours reciting the Holy Scriptures with a loud voice. My voice had a sharp pitch, intensity, and volume and would resound back and through the surrounding homes with the Words of Life. By the time I returned, I would be spiritually refreshed. I also used to assist preachers in communicating the gospel especially during open-air campaigns. We didn’t have PA Systems in those days and the only method of communicating to large crowds would be by means of announcers. An announcer would stand close to the preacher and repeat the words he had just heard from him to the crowd within his hearing; another announcer would stand a furlong away and pick up the repeated words to repeat it to the crowd in his hearing, and so on till the last person of the audience was able to hear the message. My vocal capacities earned me a good place as an announcer of such, and as I did that my zeal for the Lord’s work intensified. Also, my convictions grew deeper as I realized my obligation to be baptized the Biblical way.

Someone would disagree with this saying that baptism has only a symbolic meaning and the manner of the symbol didn’t matter as long as the objective of it was fulfilled. I agree that baptism is a symbol, though I believe it is more than that: it is a public testimony to one’s committal to Christ. However, I believe it is important to assert here that the mode of the symbol is determined by God and so cannot be humanly altered. None of the biblical symbols, either in the Old Testament or in the New Testament is at the disposal of human alteration. God gave Moses detailed illustration of how the Tabernacle was to be made and cautioned him against any misdemeanor saying “See to it that you make them according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain” (Ex. 25:40). Similarly, regarding the incense of the altar He says “You shall not make any for yourselves, according to its composition… Whoever makes any like it, to smell it, he shall be cut off from his people” (Ex. 30:38). God is very distinctive about his symbols. The symbols are theological and prophetical in nature and therefore not a matter of private interpretation, for they have not originated with men but have come from God (2Pt. 1:20, 21). The symbols are, therefore, absolute. So, in obedience to the divine counsel, I along with 48 others entered the waters of baptism.

The little shack where we met for fellowship looked rather insignificant before the ornate edifices of the traditional churches. The coconut tree provided beam, pillar, and thatch for this little structure. Even the mats were made of its leaves. Such worship places were found throughout Kerala and were known as places were noisy Christians (Pentecostals) met for some weird form of worship. We were looked down as a cult. But I knew deep inside me that this was the original way of the Church of the Acts of the Apostles. The worship services were lengthy here; fervent, passionate, and Spirit-centered. The various gifts of the Holy Spirit as listed in 1 Corinthians 12 regularly manifested. People wept in repentance, sang with joy, listened in silence, and worshipped with the whole heart. As the chorus of praises and Hallelujahs echoed through the congregation, my heart would palpitate with intensity and hunger for more of God. My soul would sometimes be in consternation, and sometimes doubt, since I didn’t possess the similarity of these believers’ experiences, being not yet baptized with the Spirit.

At Hebron, in Kumbanad an English medium school was started by Pastor K. E. Abraham for children of Pentecostal workers and believers. Education was given free of cost and the highly committed and spiritually-fervent teachers who taught there worked by faith and not on any pay-system. For two years, from 1940-1941, I taught at this school during which course of time I crossed paths with many prominent teachers of the day like Habel Verghese, P. J. Thomas, P. J. Daniel, and C. V. Samuel. Hebron was fire-place that attracted visitors from all over the world. Therefore, in process of time, it emerged as a center of the Pentecostal churches in Kerala. However, financial tautness forced most of the workers here to leave it for salaried-jobs. Some left this to join the defence services. I too had similar ideas in my mind when I left the school and the opportunity was not far from hand with the Second World War growing in intensity and calling for more defence personnel. So I applied for it and waited for the reply which, obviously, would be delayed through the viscosity of volatile postal services in those days. One can’t escape faith and hope while living in this world.

While the reply from the Government delayed, I became involved in the 30 days prayer meeting organized by our Church. The meetings were led by an old pastor and his wife who came from a considerably distant place, and though they were not much educated the Lord’s grace was strong over them. As God moved in these meetings, I saw men and women filled with the Spirit and speaking in tongues. The spiritual ecstasy and noise was vibrant but I would sit calm, hands folded in reverence, and pray for God to also move over me. Then one day the pastor’s wife spoke prophetically over me and revealed secrets I had never told others. It was then that the misty layer of doubt vanished from before my eyes and a hunger for the Spirit gripped my soul. I came to realize the absolute necessity of this holy experience, the blessing of being baptized with the Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues.

The meetings were usually prolonged till late in the night as believers continued ardently in prayer. It was on one of those nights that God filled me with His Spirit and I committed myself to His work. News of this infilling soon spread through my village and people began wondering how a rationalizing individual such as I could be so captured with a frenzied experience. The next day, as I recounted earlier, the call from the Military came. But by now, my heart was committed to Christ’s vineyard. I returned the letter along with the rail pass explaining that I could not join the services now. Inside, I was actually afraid of my dad who I felt would compel me to join the job; however now, with the letter returned I felt secure. Eventually, people started condemning me for this decision which they considered to be not far from foolishness. But, I considered losing the world for Christ better than losing what He has for us. I look back over my decision now and am deeply contented for the Lord’s grace. I still work for Christ: there’s no retirement. If I had joined the Military, the Government would have long retired me by now. But the soldier of Christ never grows too old for God.

The power of the Holy Spirit that I received that memorable night gave me great boldness for service. While earlier it would be difficult for me to speak straight for 10 minutes, now I witnessed passionately about Jesus. As the love for evangelism grew stronger each day, I realized that my village was not enough for me. Obviously, this meant the difficult decision to step beyond by leaving home. I was deeply attached to my parents, sisters, and brothers; so, leaving home was not something imaginable for them. But the love of Christ beckoned me to a higher calling.

FIRST STEPS
At the age of 20, I left home by faith in God. But I didn’t go too far. The Spirit led me to a neighboring town called Kunnamkulam where there was already a little Pentecostal fellowship. There is a pool about 4 miles away from this town where Thomas the Apostle is believed to have baptized the earliest converts to Christianity in this land. The believers here were very receptive when they saw me and immediately arranged for a week of special meetings. Soon, a man went about the streets ringing a large bell and announcing loudly about the meetings. That night the place was jam packed. This was my first public speaking opportunity as I had never preached like this before. But the Lord’s hand was upon me. I still remember the message God delivered by me that night. First things are not easily forgotten. I spoke on the topic “Life’s Journey” from the Gospel account of the disciples’ journey by night across the Galilean Sea. Following that night, a revival broke out in that place. I stayed in that town for six months following this and saw people being water baptized every week during my ministry there.

Pastor K. V. Kurien came to this town at this same time and I was refreshed to find a brother with whom I was able to more efficiently serve Christ here. We would preach the gospel from house to house during the day and speak at the meetings in the evening. I used to rise up early in the morning and go along the streets announcing the good news of Christ with a loud voice. We started fresh work in several surrounding places and the work started then has never been abated. Oppositions were not slow in coming. Once, while we were on way for a baptismal service, a drunken man, instructed by some opposing Christians, confronted us and started hurling coarse revilements at us. However, as he drew closer to our group he suddenly grew calm and then broke down with a repentant heart. God worked in the heart of this man. But this didn’t stop the opposition. While the baptismal service was going on, a few men jumped into the water and splashed mud at us; but this didn’t disparage us, for we knew the difference between light and darkness and the fact that those inclined to the world could never favor the things of God.

In Kunnamkulam, I used to live in a little room attached to the church; and during free times during the day I used to sit in prayer inside the church. A young man used to pass by every day and mock me whenever he saw me praying. I never answered him but continued in prayer. One day, however, he stopped by and entered the church. I welcomed him lovingly and gave him a seat. Then I witnessed to him about Christ and His salvation. The young man was convicted; he knelt down beside me and prayed the Lord for forgiveness. Not many days after he wanted to be water baptized. But his parents, being Orthodox Syrian Christians, opposed his desire. They threatened him saying that if he got baptized then both he and the one who baptized him would immediately see death. But I said to him, “If you are ready to be baptized, then for Christ’s sake, we will face death together and not fear the consequences.” The young man complied and was baptized sending the terror of devil into his own bosom. Later on, he came to be known as Pastor Kocchunni of the church at Cochin.

I and Pastor K. V. Kurien continued ministering in this area reaching out to several surrounding villages and towns. We went through several times of trials and tears. But the Lord’s faithfulness never ceased; neither did the zeal in our hearts. After six months, I returned to Travancore to my home.

But I didn’t return to stay back. Two weeks later, God led me to the city of Kottayam. The way God took me there was quite intriguing. I was on way to a place called Munnar with my friend. However, on reaching Kottayam, we found out that we didn’t have money for two bus tickets. I, therefore, had to stay back while my friend bought the ticket and went to Munnar. There was a Pentecostal church in Kottayam called Faith Home and I went there intending to spend that night and leave in the morning. But God had other plans, for when I reached there I met Pastor P. M. Philip who asked me if I could work with him for some time in this place. I felt it a good idea and spent the next few months preaching the gospel to the people of this city and the surrounding places.

Story based on Kurien Thomas's God's Trailblazer (Bombay: GLS Press, 1986).
Share:

Hindi Christmas Carol Song- Hamare Liye by Domenic M

Hamare liye ek balak hei janma
Ek putra diya gaya hamare liye x2

Aaj Bethlehem nagar mein ek taara chamka
Huwa ujiyala, nayi subah
Aur prithvi par hum gayenge
Swarga dooton ke saath jayjaykaar

Hamare....

Dekho Parmeshwar ne jagat se pyaar kiya
Aur diya Putra hamare liye
Karo vishwas us par aur pawo najaat
Mrityu ka dar dur huwa

Hamare....

Happy Happy Christmas


हमारे लिए एक बालक है जन्‍मा
एक पुत्र दिया गया हमारे लिये
हमारे लिए एक बालक है जन्‍मा
एक पुत्र दिया गया हमारे लिये

1.
आज बैतलहेम नगर मे एक तारा चमका
हूआ उजियाला, नई सुबह
और पृथ्‍वी पर हम गाएंगे
स्‍वर्गदूतों के साथ जयजयकार

हमारे लिए ...

2.
देखो परमेश्‍वर ने जगत से प्‍यार किया
दिया अपना पुत्र हमारे लिये
करो विश्‍वास उस पर और पाओ नज़ात
मृत्‍यु का डर दूर हुआ

हमारे लिए ...

हैपि हैपि क्रिसमस
मैरि मैरि क्रिसमस
हैपि हैपि क्रिसमस
मैरि मैरि क्रिसमस


Share:

ईश्वरीय जीवन का दान

"And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life" (1Jn 5:11-12).

1. अद्वितीय जीवन (Adviteeya Jeevan) – Exclusive Life,Jn.17:3, There’s nothing like it.
2. अनंत जीवन (Ananta Jeevan) – Eternal Life, 1Jn.5:11,12 (Quality not Duration).
3. अलौकिक जीवन (Alaukika Jeevan) – Supernatural Life, 1Cor. 15:47-49.
4. आत्मिक जीवन (Aatmika Jeevan) – Spiritual Life, Rom. 8:10,11.
5. अमूल्य जीवन (Amulya Jeevan) – Invaluable Life, 1Pet.1:18,19. Life of His blood.
6. अलोकित जीवन (Alokit Jeevan) – Illuminated Life, Jn. 8:12; Jn.1:3; Eph.5:8.
7. अविनाशी जीवन (Avinashi Jeevan) – Imperishable Life, 1Cor.15:51-53; 2Cor.4:16
8. अमर जीवन (Amar Jeevan) – Immortal Life, 1Cor.15:25,26,53; Heb. 2:14; Rev.2:11; 20:6.
9. अपरिमित जीवन (Aparimita Jeevan) – Infinite Life, boundless, abundant, Jn.10:10.
10. अपराजित जीवन (Aparaajita Jeevan) – Invincible Life, Rom.5:17,21; Rom.8:37; 1Jn.4:4.
Share:

Who'll Break the Ice? or Water the Moon

Let's break ice and water the moon
While windstorms hurl our lands into oceans,
While sandstorms react with angry heat,
Let's cover land and capture the skies,
Let's rocket through our farthest horizon,
Take a giant leap through a crater deep;
Perhaps, one step away, a new world lies;
And in this shifting luminary a future thrives.
So, let's break ice and water the skies.

But who'll break ice for a lonesome child
For a helpless youth, for an anxious mother?
Who'll bring light to the darkened world,
Having eyes and lives enlightened?
Aren't you, O man, called to be the neighbor,
To bring hope to the world around?
For, we may conquer the skies, yet be destitutes inside;
We may travel as light; yet be haltered by the night;
For, what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world,
But loses his own soul?

(c) Domenic Marbaniang, Nov, 2009
Share:

Strength within the Soul

"he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin" (1Pe 4:1).

"I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified" (1Co 9:27).

Someone said that there are an infinity of angles at which we can fall; but, only one at which we stand. Time, patience, discipline, and efforts are required to build something up; but, how sooner can the brutish nature, that infernal hound, bring down the whole edifice in an instant.

Rebuke my slothful nature,
Chastise my little mistakes,
Whip out the inner folly,
Drive blood into my veins!
For, now I stand, then I collapse,
Punctilinear creature of time and space.

Divine Master, kill these reactions
Of lustful flesh.
Surround me with winds and currents,
But drive me to Your throne.
My will I place on Your altar,
I hate it's freedom; it's pleasure I despise.
For, what good can freedom bring
When death reigns over it to the end?
Lord, fuse my spirit with Your life
Renew my mind to awake to Your consciousness!
Rule my night like the moon and the stars;
My day, like the sun in the sky.
Cut off the blindfolds off my heart forever!
Lord, this one thing I desire
Purify me and sanctify
By the fire of Your love!
Bring down your knife and prune away the poison,
Bring down your fire and remove all the dross!
Lord, I fall at Your Throne of Grace
Seeking help in this my direst hour of need!
Tie up my sinews, my tendons, and my veins
Settle them in their honorable place;
By Your strength I'll leap o'er the wall
And bend the javelin, the spear of iron.
For in my weakness, Your strength is revealed!

"He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the LORD
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint. " (Isa 40:29-31)

"For a righteous man may fall seven times
And rise again" (Pro 24:16).


"For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you" (2Co 13:4).
Share:

Conquer this Self!

i am, this egotistical self,
Vain, vexed, and wanton;
This idolatrous flaunt,
Reckless, raucous, and rotten -
How long shall the self strive
To put itself away?
Each time the mind gives up
To flits of false display!
The line between humility and pride
Is almost invisible;
The sinner and the broken man
Can't almost part.

I AM, Thou art O Merciful Savior
The True Originator and Reason of all!
Take this empty, vaunting self
And fill it with Thyself
Consuming its nothingness
With Thy light!
Share:

Soul & Spirit

"For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Heb 4:12).

There's a need for a division between soul and spirit in order to differentiate between the acts of human intellect and emotions and the revelation of the Spirit. Right action is that which follows the direction of the Spirit of God.

Plato put the intellect over the hierarchy, but the limitations are evident; "man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word (rhema) that proceeds from the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4).

Prayer: Father, give us Your Spirit of wisdom and revelation and enlighten our eyes of understanding to know and do what You desire of us in Jesus Christ. Amen.
Share:

Welcome Speech: Graduation Ceremony 2009



Good morning everybody!

We have assembled here this morning for an august occasion; to witness and participate in a grand celebration of a few bright, strong, vigorous, and promising men and women who finished a course, a race, and a learning episode. To some of us, this is a magnificent spectacle; to a few, it is intensely personal; because the laborer who brings home his wages knows the value of what he got by his sweat; and the laborers here are many, the labors have been many, especially on the part of the learners, but also greatly on the part of the teachers, administrators, sponsors, and numerous others who gave this momentum its particular shape. So, isn’t this a significant academic juncture; especially when we see that this package of the conference has unfolded under its cover of prayers and passion with the deeply embedded motif of Encountering God? We’re having mind-opening revelations, heart-strengthening visitations, and spirit-enriching manifestations. From the early unveiling of our eyes to the morning through the time we invite our faculties to sleep in the night, we move and live and have our being in God. We are at a solemn and spiritual point; it’s the 45th Graduation Ceremony of Central India Theological Seminary; and I take this pleasure and privilege to welcome you all to witness the marvels of what God can do and has done with humble things within the Body of Christ. It is not just an academic celebration; it is a spiritual jubilation over the fact that another initial and preparatory training episode is over and that the Lord of the Harvest doesn’t fail to successfully recruit laborers for His harvest. Honorable Faculty, distinguished leaders, guests, students, and all friends, it gives me great pleasure to have you all at this commencement exercise this morning. May the Lord’s cup of blessing retain its overflowing flow over us this morning! God bless us all!
Share:

Tracings

Amidst these reeds of life's chaotic maze
My aisle is dazed by my emotions.
What worlds of intuitions arise out of fragments
Of opinions we make of ourselves and of others!
Lord, this morning I pray, hold together my paths,
My passions, and desires within the contours of Your Grace!
Enlighten my spirit, shield my heart, uplift my soul,
In Your rejoicings alone!


"Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." (Ps. 119:105)
Share:

Protect Your Heart

Throw not a stone in the dirt,
For it'll splatter back on your skirt.
Wipe off the daily dust,
And let not your iron rust.
Do not let the despiser inside the gate;
For his breath is a baited bait.
Protect your heart with all precaution;
For it alone first deserves your caution.
(Proverbs 4:23)

(c) Domenic Marbaniang, Oct 8, 2009
Share:

Can Angels Take or Appear in Various Forms?

Theories
1. Simulation. The angels take form and when doing so reproduce the exact form and characteristics of the species or kind or personality in which they appear. (Pagan view explicit in mythology of gods assuming animal and human form.)
2. Restriction. The angels assume different forms but are untouched by the natures and characteristics of these forms. (Still doesn't answer why such forms are to be taken then, unless meant for some kind of deceptive or clandestine purposes.)
3. Negation. Angels do not assume other forms (but appear as they are in different dimensions of glory).
(a) Essence defines identity; therefore, essence (essential nature) cannot change without affecting identity. That means that the angel who simulates no longer remains an angel (at least for the said amount of time) thus producing confusion in the order of creation. God's creation follows a set order. Why don't angels appear as females?
(b) Since angels are God's servants and God doesn't employ deceptive means; neither is He short of instruments; therefore, angels cannot assume forms other than their own. For instance, when God needed a fish, He used a fish and didn't transform an angel into a fish.
(c) There isn't any biblical warrant for the view that angels take form. The angels are always seen as appearing in form of a male (but glorious being), except in visions.
(d) Any present supernatural occurrences involving mysterious men, voices etc are simply miraculous and so unexplainable. However, one must note that God can appear in various forms (fire1, pillar, cloud, man). But in cases where simulation of existent or deceased persons is involved, they should not be attributed to God. Either they are simply miraculous or in some specific instances (such as appearance of Samuel or Moses) they may be appearances of the spirit, however, never without the permission and direction of God. However, since Scripture doesn't give proofs of such occurrences as common to the children of God and is definitely against divination, such occurrences must no longer be expected. (Even Lazarus was not sent back in answer to the rich man). Therefore, they must be considered as simply miraculous visions if bearing divine affirmation of the Holy Spirit as in the case of the Macedonian Call and they are always recognized as so later on.
P.S. Demons are deceptive and "assume" forms by means of mental manipulations to deceive humans away from the true worship of God. Therefore, the only source of our knowledge of supernatural reality is the Word of God. If the Bible is silent on any topic, that topic is dispensable.
P.S.2. All appearances of deceased spirits at present are to be considered as demonic.

NOTE
1 Not as fire but in fire... Like a dove, gentle. Fire (Acts 2).. power.

From notes jotted down sometime between 2007-2009
Share:

Unchanging God

One another day passes by...
Can't invalidate my eyes:
Gods of wind, wealth, and vanity
Rule the feelings of humanity
Ever demanding all
Never returning one.

Man's sweat now mingles in their goblets of desires
They evoke so much love; they revoke so much love.
What enslavement to the destroyer?
What fear? What distaste?

But the One by Whom all things exist,
Suffered for the sake of others;
He embraced the shame of the cross
To destroy the enmity by sin;
He suffered for our faithlessness
And calls us now to Him.
What god is there who gives His life for His sheep,
The value of truth is measured by the teacher's commitment to it.


(c) Copyright, Domenic Marbaniang, 2009
Share:

Hillsong - Dwell (Hindi Translation)

Hillsong – Dwell
You set me apart
Gave me a new heart
Filled with compassion
To share Your great love

Show me Your ways
I want to know You
Guide me in truth
My hope is in You

That I may dwell in Your house forever
Lifting up Your name
Dwell in Your house forever more

That I may dwell in Your house forever
Lifting up Your name
Dwell in Your house forever more

I'll hold on to You,
My strength and my refuge.
Whom shall I fear?
I know You are near

All of my days
I live for You, Lord
Establish my path
There's one thing I ask
That I may dwell in Your house forever
Lifting up Your name
Dwell in Your house forever more

That I may dwell in Your house forever
Lifting up Your name
Dwell in Your house forever more

Holy Spirit, have Your way
Sweet anointing teach our hearts
Our lives, we pray

That I may dwell in Your house forever
Lifting up Your name
Dwell in Your house forever more

That I may dwell in Your house forever
Lifting up Your name
Dwell in Your house forever more

That I may dwell in Your house forever
Lifting up Your name
Dwell in Your house forever more


हिलसांग – रहूं तेरे संग
पवित्र किया, दे दिया दिल नया
तरस और प्रेम से भर दिया
मार्ग दिखा कि जानूं मै तुझे
तुझसे है दुआ

कि रहूं तेरे घर में सदा हमेशा
उठाते हुए तेरा नाम
रहूं तेर घर में मैं सदा

कि रहूं तेरे घर में सदा हमेशा
उठाते हुए तेरा नाम
रहूं तेर घर में मैं सदा

तुझे पकडे रहूँ,
मेरा बल और मेरा शरण
किस से डरूं, जब तू ही है साथ
हर दिन हर रात, जिंयूं तेरे लिए
तू मुझे चला, यही है दुआ


कि रहूं तेरे घर में सदा हमेशा
उठाते हुए तेरा नाम
रहूं तेर घर में मैं सदा

कि रहूं तेरे घर में सदा हमेशा
उठाते हुए तेरा नाम
रहूं तेर घर में मैं सदा

पवित्र आत्‍मा, कार्य कर
मधुर आत्‍मा, दिलों को सिखा
यही है प्रार्थना

कि रहूं तेरे घर में सदा हमेशा
उठाते हुए तेरा नाम
रहूं तेर घर में मैं सदा

कि रहूं तेरे घर में सदा हमेशा
उठाते हुए तेरा नाम
रहूं तेर घर में मैं सदा


Translation by D. Marbaniang
Share:

Matt Redman - Amazing (Hindi Translation)

Matt Redman - Amazing

A love so undeserved, a gift that's free
You lavish me
A peace I could not earn
And mercy for the freedom of my soul

That's what's so amazing about Your grace
That's what's so amazing about Your grace

Forgiveness runs so deep
Within Your heart of loving kindness
And should a soul forget
The cross of Christ reminds us every day

That's what's so amazing about Your grace
That's what's so amazing about Your grace
Lord, every day You pour on me
Your blessings of eternity
And that's what's so amazing about Your grace

Freely I've received, now freely to give
Freely I've received, now freely to give
Freely I've received, now freely to give
Give my life to You...

Hindi

मेट रेडमैन – यही तो बात है तेरा अनुग्रह का

क्‍या प्‍यार अयोग्‍य क्‍या ये तौफा तूने मुफत में दे दी
अमूल्‍य शांति और दया मेरे छुटकारा के लिए ही
यही तो बात है तेरा अनुग्रह का
यही तो बात है तेरा अनुग्रह का
दया के दिल में तेरे गहराईयों से माफी बहती है।
कि भूले कोई न इसे सो क्रूस चिताता हर दिन ये
यही तो बात है तेरा अनुग्रह का
यही तो बात है तेरा अनुग्रह का
प्रभू मुझपर तू उंडेलता
हर दिन अनंत आशीषें
यही तो बात है तेरा अनुग्रह का
मुफत में पाया, कि दिल से दूं
मुफत में पाया, कि दिल से दूं अब
मुफत में पाया, कि दिल से दूं
जिंदगी तुझे दूं।

Trans. D. Marbaniang
Share:

Studies in Ezekiel: Call and Commission (Chs 2-3)

Chapter 1 ends with "the likeness of the appearance of a man" in fire, rainbow, and great brightness, and Ezekiel recounts "This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face..." (1:28). This was the manifestation of the God of Israel in the vision of Jesus Christ, 500 years before His birth in Bethlehem.


The ministry of a certainty belongs to Christ who is the Son over His own house (Heb.3:5). It was He whom Moses obeyed when he forsook Pharaoh's palace (Heb.11:26), and He who was the Pillar of Cloud and Pillar of Fire, the Angel of the LORD to lead the Israelites in the wilderness (1Cor.10:1-4). The Messiah was before Abraham (Jn.8:58). Christ now calls Ezekiel and commissions him to the prophetical ministry that would reveal the transition from the old into the new, the fading of the Old Covenant into the New Covenant. It doesn't mean a cessation of Israel as a people of God, but a revelation of God's purposes for them in a glorious Temple of which Christ Himself is the High Priest. It marks the plan for the tearing of the veil and the revelation of God's Holy Presence through the covenant of Jesus Christ. Ezekiel, perhaps, had been contemplating on his 30th year that he should have been in the temple at Jerusalem, but God now reveals that he is appointed to be a prophet of renewal. God's glory now comes from the north (not from the east) directly to Babylon where Ezekiel, the heavens open up on earth to a man called to be a priest. He is now called to be a prophet of the Most High, to reveal mysteries that are too hard for words, that would need symbols, imageries, and parables. Ezekiel the priest is called and commissioned by God in exile.

Thought: Do you think you are in an exile like situation where ministry is an impossibility? You do not need to worry about place, time, or situations. God is not limited by them. His Glory fills the universe. Do you think that you have not been qualified enough? God doesn't call people after they have qualified themselves. In fact, He only uses people whom He first calls and qualifies. We only need to believe and obey. Do you believe in Christ? Are you willing to do whatever He says? The only way to be God's servant is by giving up all rights, absolutely all of them, in perfect submission to His Lordship. It is then that His fire and His light envelops your heart and passion to be a watchman of Israel.
Share:

Studies in Ezekiel: Wings and Wheels (Chap. 1)

God speaks in Ezekiel through four different ways:

1. Visions - They reveal God's glory in relation to His people (the 4 living creatures, the Temple). They usually answer the question, "What is the truth of God?"
2. Symbols - Ezekiel is to signify certain happenings through his very life (e.g. the mimic siege, the razor, the death of his wife). They usually answer the question, "How is it going to happen?"
3. Parables and Allegories - They illustrate the story of God's relation with His people and demonstrate the reason why He chastises them (the boiling pot, the vine). They usually answer the question, "Why is it going to happen?"
4. Plain speech - They are explanations, commands, and promises that God gives to Ezekiel and to His people.

Promises - Ezekiel contains a number of divine promises including the promise of a new covenant and the future regathering of Israel.

Chapter 1 demonstrates how God's servants, the cherubim, are connected to God's will in perfect unison that they only go where the Spirit wants to go. The wheels demonstrate God's sovereign ruling over creation and the winged cherubim symbolize the perfection of His executed will.


Ezekiel is accosted by God by the river Chebar in Babylon by direct visions of God. He sees the heavens open and sees the Might of God's Glory amidst the holy cherubim in chapter 1. The scene displays the fact that God's glory is not limited to the Temple. The Tabernacle of old and the Temple of Jerusalem were only shadows of the real, which is Christ. The faces of the cherubim, viz. man, lion, ox, and eagle were on the standards of each of the four companies of Israel that encamped around the Tabernacle in the wilderness (Num. 2:2). Each face prophetically symbolized the 4-fold nature of Christ and the living creatures or cherubim as well as those ensigns, thus carried the mark of God's glory as revealed in Jesus Christ:

  • Man (north) - Humanity of Jesus Christ
  • Lion (right, east of Tabernacle) - Royalty of Jesus Christ
  • Ox (left, west of Tabernacle) - Servanthood of Jesus Christ
  • Eagle (south) - Divinity of Jesus Christ
The revelation of God in Ezekiel 1 is, therefore, the revelation of Christ (Eze.1:26).

Key: The history of Israel and the history of the world consummates in Jesus Christ (Rom.10:4; Eph.1:10;2:16; Col.2:10).

"The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy" (Rev.19:10).

Important notes about chapter 1:

"out of the north" (v 4) - The north symbolically designates the dwelling place of God (Job 37:22; Ps. 48:2; Isa.14:13; 41:25).

"a great cloud with raging fire engulfing itself" (v 4) - This is how the Lord appeared in His glory to the Israelites in the wilderness. It demonstrates His presencepurity, and power (Exo. 24:16,17).

"they went wherever the Spirit wanted to go"  (v 12) - This reflects the experience of the Israelites in the wilderness. Whenever the Shekinah glory of God (Pillar of cloud or Pillar of fire) lifted up from the Tabernacle and moved the priests had to dismantle the Tabernacle, according to the guidelines, and follow the Lord (Exo. 40:36-38). As the cherubim were bound to the ark of the covenant in the Temple, so are they bound to God's will and action in reality. 

"a wheel in the middle of a wheel" (v 16) - The contrast between the ark of the covenant and this vision is clear. The ark had to be born on the shoulders of the priests, but the heavenly reality of which the earthly is only a copy moved on intersecting wheels according to the direction of the Spirit of God. There was no need of dismantling the Tabernacle when the cloud lifted. This is the divine chariot of God that surpasses the glory and might of all the kings of the earth. God's movement on the earth are marked by omnipresence (He fills the earth, "so high"), omniscience (He sees all things "full of eyes"), and omnipotence (v 18).

Mark this: God's call to His servants comes only after a self-revelation of Himself (Exo.3; Isa.6; Lk.5:1-11). Have you known God yet?

Share:

Studies in Ezekiel: Introduction

The book of Ezekiel was written by a priest-prophet named Ezekiel (meaning "God will strengthen") in around 593-571 B.C., when those messages were given. The book has 48 chapters and contains a number of visions and prophecies regarding the then and future Israel.

About the Author
Ezekiel was born in 623 B.C. in a priestly family of Jerusalem. His father's name was Buzi (1:2). When he was 25 years old, he was taken away into the exile in Babylon by the army of king Nebuchadnezzar who invaded Jerusalem in 597 B.C. Five years later, in 593 B.C., Ezekiel got his first vision of God when he was 30 years old, the age when a priest was supposed to enter temple ministry (1:1-3). Beginning from then, he prophesied for the next 30 years, his last message dates as on April 28, 573 B.C. (Zondervan Archaelogical Bible). Ezekiel typifies the style of prophetical life in which the prophesy is symbolized by a lifestyle of the prophet which acts as object lessons to the audience.

Date
The book was written between 593-573 B.C.

Place
The messages were given to the exiles in Babylon.

Message
The book contains series of messages that deal with God's judgment of and later, restoration of Israel.

Plan
The messages can be divided into three periods:

1. Pre-siege Messages (593-586 B.C.) - Chapters 1-24
2. Messages during the Siege (586 B.C.) - Chapters 25-32
3. Post-siege Messages (586-573 B.C.) - Chapters 33-48

The first part deals with prophecies related to God's judgment of Israel and the transition into the "times of the gentiles" when the three great world empires, according to Daniel's prophecy, would arise and rule over Israel.
The second part is a set of prophecies of condemnation on those nations that oppressed Israel.
The third part speaks of the glorious plan of God regarding the restoration of Israel.

Ezekiel and Revelation in Comparison
  • The first vision of Ezekiel is similar to that of John in Revelation 4. Both have a vision of the glory of the Lord and of 4 living creatures. However, John's vision is of things in heaven, while Ezekiel's is of things on earth.
  • John's vision has mainly to do with events related to the Church under Roman rule (the 4th kingdom prophesied by Daniel - a kingdom which is revived in the last days) while Ezekiel is speaking of Israel, especially before and after the destruction of Jerusalem.
  • Both Ezekiel and John have a vision of God's future and glorious temple (Eze.40-46; Rev.21,22).

Understanding Ezekiel
It is understood that Jewish Rabbis prohibited a person from reading the book of Ezekiel until he was 30 years old. Perhaps, it has to do something with the fact that Ezekiel himself was 30 when the visions came to him; but, more because the book is filled with so much of abstruse imagery (Jerome). However, since "all Scripture is given by the inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in all righteousness" we understand that the prophetical message of Ezekiel is meant for our edification to make us wise unto salvation.
Share:

Outline of Theology - Folder Edition

DESCRIPTION 
This folder edition of "Outline of Theology" gives detailed overview of the major doctrines of the Bible. The folder comes in 6 pages that can be printed on 3 sheets of paper (front and back) and folded into 3 folds through the column spaces.

Keep it in your Bible, purse, or case as a ready and handy guide to Bible doctrines.
Pdf_16x16 6 Pages  View/Download

Study Theology Online Here
Share:

Bible ki Sacchayiyan - Hindi PDF Booklet

हिन्‍दी पुस्तिका 'बाईबल की सच्‍चाईयां' यहां से डाउनलोड करें। परमेश्‍वर आपको आशीष दें।

डाउनलोड >करें
Share:

Bible Truths in Hindi - E-Sword Module


This little booklet gives an introduction to the basic teachings of the Bible. You may need to install language support for East Asian scripts in order to read the material. For more information look at Hindi Wikipedia Help. The material can also be found online at bibletruths-hi.yolasite.com.

Specifications:
Name: Bible Truths-Hindi
Author: Domenic Marbaniang
Format: E-Sword 8x Topic
Files Required: E-Sword Bible Version 8x, Hindi font support (Mangal.ttf).

Download Bible Truths (Hindi E-Sword Topic).
DOWNLOAD E-SWORD HINDI BIBLE HERE


Share:

मेरी माता के पुत्र मुझसे अप्रसन्‍न थे।

'मुझे इसलिए न घूर कि मैं साँवली हूं, क्योंकि मैं धूप से झुलस गई। मेरी माता के पुत्र मुझ से अप्रसन्न थे, उन्होंने मुझ को दाख की बारियोंकी रखवालिन बनाया? परन्तु मैं ने अपनी निज दाख की बारी की रखवाली नहीं की!' (1:6)

उपरोक्‍त आयत में शूलेमी अपनी दु:खपूर्ण गाथा सुना रही है। उसका अपने प्रेमी से प्रेम होने की वजह से उसकी माता के पुत्र अर्थात उसके अपने ही भाई अत्‍यधिक नाराज गये, उन्‍होंने उसे दाख की रखवालिन बना दिया। अत्‍यधिक तेज धूप में दाख की रखवाली करने के कारण शूलेमी के शरीर का रंग सांवला हो गया। शूलेमी को अपने ही परिवार के लोगों ने सताया तथा उसके सच्‍चे प्रेम को तोड़ने की कोशीश की। शूलेमी ने तो वफादारी के साथ अपने भाइयों की दाखबारियों की देखभाल की परन्‍तु वह अपनी बारी की रक्षा न कर सकी।

जब एक विश्‍वासी मसीह की ज्‍योति में आ जाता है तभी उसे अपने पूर्वजीवन का सारा कालापन दिखाई देता है। तभी सारी कमजोरियां दिखाई देती हैं। शूलेमी की सतावट घर से ही थी। बाहरी पीड़ा से घर की पीड़ा अधिक कष्‍टकर होती है। जो लोग सच्‍चाई के मार्ग में आगे बढ़ना चाहते हैं उन्‍हें घरवाले ही रोकेंगे। यीशु ने भी इस सच्‍चाई को नहीं छिपाया बल्कि चेतावनी देते हुए कहा: 'तुम्‍हारे माता पिता, भाई और कुटुम्‍ब ही तुमको पकड़वाएंगे' (लूका 21:16)।

प्रथम शताब्‍दी में जो सतावट मसीहियों पर आयी वह धर्मावलम्बियों की ही तरफ से थी। ठीक उसी प्रकार आज भी सच्‍चे विश्‍वासी को नामधारी मसीहियों की ओर से बहुत कष्‍ट दिये जा रहे हैं। आपके लिए मेरा यही निवेदन है - हे परमेश्‍वर के जन, अगर दुनियां तुझे घूर कर देखती है तो देखने दे। तू तो अपने हृदय की दृष्टि में अपने परमेश्‍वर को देख। तेरी दृष्टि हमेशा तेरे प्रेमी पर ही लगी रहे।

डॉ. कुरियन थामस की पुस्‍तक परिणयगाथा से। © Dr. Kurien Thomas, 1989
Share:

Titus 1:1: Bondservant of Jesus Christ

"Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ..." (Titus 1:1).

A freeman, a citizen of this world, though I be, I'm a bondservant of Jesus Christ.
I am a slave without rights, bought by the price of Christ's very life,
By the blood that He shed as my price.
I'm bought by His love, sold to His love, and bound by His love to His love
Not just for a day but for eternity, I'm His irrevocable possession,
His trophy, His prize, and His symbol of victory;
I'm bought by the blood of Jesus Christ for all eternity.

I have no vision of my own, but of my Lord;
No dreams of my own, but of my Master.
I'm a servant in His house, my Temple, and my Heaven.
Can I ever forget the cage of iniquity from which He freed me?
Can I ever forget my sinful misery?
From the dark depths of sinful hatred,
He pulled me up with cords of love.
He washed me with His blood of righteousness
And filled me with His Spirit from above.
What did I do to ever deserve this grace?
Why was it that He took my place and bore my iniquities?
I can never understand His love,
But I'll always remain the bondslave of my Master,
My Lord, my Hero, my Savior.

© Domenic Marbaniang, August 2009.
Share:

मैं काली तो हूं


"मैं काली तो हूं परंतु सुन्दर हूं, केदार के तम्बुओं और सुलेमान के पर्दे के तुल्य हूं।" (1:5)

इब्रानी भाषा का शब्द जो कालेपन के लिए यहां प्रयोग में लाया गया है वह 'शोरा' है जिस का अर्थ है धूप के कारण आनेवाला कालापन। यह कालापन पुराने पापमय जीवन को दर्शाता है। स्वाभाविक रूप से काली होने पर भी वह ईश्वरीय प्रेम में सुंदर है। मसीह का प्रेम भी परिवर्तन लाने वाला होता है जो हमें अर्थात कलीसिया को सर्वांग सुंदर बना देता है। प्रेमी भी अपनी प्रेमिका को जिस प्रकार सर्वांग स्वीकार करता है ठीक उसी प्रकार प्रभु यीशु मसीह ने कलीसिया को ग्रहण किया है।

प्रेमिका अपनी तुलना केदार के तम्बुओं तथा सुलेमान के पर्दों से करती है। यह पवित्र लोगों में पाई जाने वाली पवित्रात्मा की सुन्दरता के तुल्य है। पवित्र लोगों के धर्म के कार्यों की तुलना चिरकाल तक स्थिर रहेगी (प्रकाश. 19: 8)।

डॉ. कुरियन थामस की पुस्तक परिणयगाथा से। © Dr. Kurien Thomas, 1989
Share:

Anatomy of Religious Violence

Anatomy
of  Religious Violence


The history of religion has been a seriously blood-bathed one. It reveals the intense power, weight, and depth of religion within the human heart. No wonder, the word “religion” itself comes from the Latin religare meaning “to bind”. Religion binds the adherent to its belief, authority, and community. It holds an intense power over the individual. Of course, there are several instances of religious faith opening itself to philosophical dialogues and investigations in the past. However, it is a fact undeniable that much of religious faith is a matter of faith alone and not rational discussion. Therefore, they have the potential to invite physical opposition by not submitting to any force of logic. That is why in some cases words are silenced by blows – with the sanction of some religious authority.
Religious violence may be defined as violence committed in the name of religion. It is both intra-religious violence and inter-religious violence; i.e. violence within the group and violence against other groups. It must be differentiated from communal violence, apartheid, and religio-political violence, i.e. political violence in a religious garb. While communal violence and the like are more a matter of cultural differences, communal feelings, and dehumanizing theories; religious violence is exclusively related to a clash between religious beliefs, religious sentiments, and religious practices. A religious community may suddenly get infuriated at some other religious community and commit violence; however, this kind of violence should not be termed as religious unless it is committed in the name of religion alone – i.e. in recognition (true or false) of some authoritative religious basis for doing it. In this essay, we will analyze some theories that authorize religious violence and then show their unspiritual nature and irrational procedure in the assertion of faith.
EPISTEMIC BASES OF RELIGIOUS VIOLENCE
By “epistemic bases” is meant the grounds for believing that religious violence is right. Analytically, all sanction for religious violence is based on authority. I used the word “analytically” because the word “sanction” itself implies sanction by some authority. There is no rational principle for religious violence. There may be one for justice and retribution but not for religious violence. On the other hand, one may look to instinct or emotion as the psychological basis for violence. However, such psychological sources of violence cannot be the sources of theories sanctioning religious violence; therefore, though instinct or emotion may be reactionary sources of violence they cannot be considered to be the epistemic basis for religiously justifiable violence. In fact, no religious authority ever sanctions the unreflective obedience to the passion of emotion. The epistemic basis is, therefore, neither reason nor experience, but it is religious authority in the form of religious tradition, leader, or scripture.

Political Allegiance through Religious Allegiance
In the Roman persecution of Christians in early Church history, the authority was chiefly political. The persecution of Christians was mainly because they were suspected of working against the State. Their allegiance to the State was examined by asking them to deny Christ and sacrifice to the gods for the well-being of the king, failing which they were punished.[1] This reveals the epistemic bias of judgment; that an individual’s allegiance to any God should not be above the state or against any decree of the king.
Later, however, when Emperor Decius assumed control in 249 Christians began to be persecuted and punished for failing to show their respect and allegiance to the Roman gods through offerings to them. The assumption was that anyone who had no respect for the Roman gods could also have no respect for the government that honored these gods. Therefore, Christians who did not offer to the gods were singled out as traitors of the Empire. In modern secular politics, however, with the separation of religion from state such criteria of allegiance no longer exist. However, there is always the danger of fundamentalist tendencies gaining root to the extent that the political guarantee of religious freedom is lost.
Dharma and Violence
The concept of religion in popular Hinduism is captured in the word dharma. Dharma means duty or righteousness (or being true to what one ought to be). Dharma includes among many things the practice of truth, justice, caste-duty, and spiritual discipline. In modern times, however, dharma is often used for “religion”. But many Hindus still don’t see an infrastructural difference between world religions and consider the essence of religion to be dharma (observance of what is one’s right). That is why, Hinduism is considered to be a pluralistic religion. Its pluralism is expressed by Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita[2] in the following words:
By whatever way men worship Me, even so do I accept them; for, in all ways, O Partha, men walk in My path (IV. 11).
Whatever form a particular devotee wishes to worship with faith – concerning that alone I make his faith unflinching. (VII. 21).
However, this liberalism is not without its restrictions; for it is soon qualified by Krishna’s claims to his own exclusivity.
Even those devotees of other gods who worship (them) endowed with faith, worship Me alone, O son of Kunti (Arjuna), though in an unauthorized way (IX. 23).
Notice that Krishna calls the other ways of worship as “unauthorized” or, as one version says, “not according to ordinance.”[3] Still, those ways are acceptable to him. However, though the ways of worship may be different, such differences and relativity is not allowed in matters of dharma or personal duty; for all personal duty (primarily of caste) is by divine ordinance. Thus, when Arjuna, the archer, is saddened by the thought of having to kill his cousins in the war, Krishna shows the irrationality of all such grief by teaching him the gist of what he claims to be true dharma.  One quickly notices in the early part of the Gita the common-sense teleological ethics of Arjuna in contradiction to Krishna’s view of true morality or dharma. Krishna explains to him that his grief over having to kill someone is unfounded since death is never a final event. The phenomena of slayer, slaying, and slain is not real in the ultimate sense; since the self is neither born nor does it ever die; it only changes bodies at death and rebirth as people change clothes (II. 19-23), phenomenally speaking but in its true sense it is unmanifest, birthless, and immutable. Arjuna must do his own duty (swadharma) which evidently in this case is punishing the wicked. The caste-duty (varnashrama dharma) of a kshatriya was to vanquish the foes of righteousness. The Gita never promotes religious violence in the sense of persecuting other religions; however, it does sanction violence against downright wickedness as a religious duty with a justification based on pantheism and the immortality of the soul. 
The Command to Defend
 The Koran declares Allah as the All Sovereign and Merciful one (Sura V. 39, 40). Therefore, he forgives those he chooses to forgive and punishes those he chooses to punish as it says: “Unto Allah belongeth whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth. He forgiveth whom He will, and punisheth whom He will. Allah is Forgiving, Merciful” (Sura III. 129).[4] In other words, since God is Sovereign Lord, He may forgive whom He will and punish whom He will. The condition for forgiveness is, however, belief. Unbelief is intolerable by God with such severity that believers (Muslims) are commanded to fight and destroy the unbelievers till they are all destroyed or converted, although they are also to be judged in the Day of Resurrection. In fact, violence in Islam originally began as a means of self-defense and as a response to the unabated religious persecution by the people of Mecca. Seeing that such persecution is only detrimental to Islam, the Koran declares: “fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is all for Allah” (Sura VIII. 39). The fight against unbelievers, however, is merciless against those who do not convert. Accordingly it says,
The only reward of those who make war upon Allah and His messenger and strive after corruption in the land will be that they will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternate sides cut off, or will be expelled out of the land. Such will be their degradation in the world, and in the Hereafter theirs will be an awful doom (Sura V. 33).
Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful (Sura IX. 5).
The injunctions are clear: those who war against Allah are to be destroyed and those who repent are to be accepted as brethren. One knows of the many atrocities committed by kings like Aurangazeb who wanted to establish the Islamic religion. But there are also examples of those like Akbar and the Sufi saints who looked for peace and tolerance rather than snatch away from others their religious freedom. It is evident that all methods of conversion by force are only, at the most, externally efficient. They can’t affect the internal soul. But while self-defence is justifiable seeing that one has also the obligation to care for his own body, yet it is wrong to inflict pain on anyone just because of his faith. Truth is never in need of violence unless it is in danger of being violently destroyed. However, truth cannot be violently destroyed because it is founded in the nature of God Himself and no one can destroy God. At the end, all things will be brought to judgment and consummation. Therefore, the Bible tells us not to take vengeance, for vengeance belongs to the Lord.
The Command to Love
The New Testament is straightly against violence, except when it is justly executed by a civil government, in accordance to the Law of God (Rom. 13: 1-5). However, religious violence is never endorsed by Christ for political purposes. It was biblically untrue for the Church in the past to unite with political leadership and punish those who it considered to be heretics. The Crusades are a dark spot on the history of Christianity. However, they lack an epistemological foundation in God’s revelation through His Word. It was during the Reformation that the evil of the Church’s uniting with political leadership to persecute the true Christians was observed. Luther differentiated between the kingdom of the world and the kingdom of God and made room for just rebellion against evil government when they violated God’s Laws.
The Beatitude says: “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of God” (Matt. 5: 10). The contrast between Krishna and Christ is stark here. While Krishna calls those blessed that persecute others for righteousness’ sake; Christ said that it is not the inflictors but the sufferers of persecution for righteousness’s sake who will be rewarded. For the strength of the belief is not measured by the ability to hunt people down but by the commitment to live for it and die for it. Thus, though permitting violence in accordance to the justification of moral governments for establishing justice in society, the ultimate end of all relationships according to Christ is the Love of God. He Himself is our example who chose to suffer rather take revenge on His enemies. He doesn’t take the law into His own hands until the Father permits it. For, though Christ is our Savior, He will also return as Judge of both the living and the dead.
Thus, we have seen two kinds of epistemic bases: politico-religious relationship and scriptural authority.
PSYCHOLOGICAL DIMENSION
Modern psychological research has shown that authoritative devaluation of any human through dehumanization and deindividuation can lead to severe crime in society. Contrary to the anarchists who say that man rules and is ruled best when left to himself alone with nature; psychological research has shown that by demeaning someone, treating people as anonymous or by treating them as less than humans, violent emotions and actions against them can be evoked.[5] Propaganda through literature, billboards, advertisements, secret meetings, etc are ways in which indoctrination regarding falsehood occurs. The brute extent of it was witnessed during World War II in the Nazi concentration camps. Obviously, the Nazi tortures were not confessedly religious; however, they at least tell how dehumanization can bring a change in the character of man. Professor Philip Zimbardo of Stanford University, who has done intensive research on the psychology of evil, writes:
At the core of evil is the process of dehumanization by which certain other people or collectives of them, are depicted as less than human, as non comparable in humanity or personal dignity to those who do the labeling. Prejudice employs negative stereotypes in images or verbally abusive terms to demean and degrade the objects of its narrow view of superiority over these allegedly inferior persons. Discrimination involves the actions taken against those others based on the beliefs and emotions generated by prejudiced perspectives.[6]
Dehumanization is only possible where love for one’s neighbor doesn’t exist. However, while earthly philosophies are not opposed to hatred for the enemy – even torture of him, Jesus teaches us to love our enemies and pray for them; because it is hatred that dehumanizes any individual or community and discriminates against them. Love accepts the fact of being in opposition (it doesn’t suppress it) but it refuses to let such opposition transform its perspective into prejudice and hateful discrimination.
One another psychological influence is mass suggestion where deindividuation gathers high tones. Riots and majority ruling influence people to join gang of persecutors in their evil acts; in such mob-feeling, conscience is set aside. Further, propaganda and false testimonies lead to enrage people in such direction.
CHRISTIANITY AND RELIGIOUS VIOLENCE
Evidently, the Old Testament cannot always be seen as supportive of religious tolerance. For instance, the Law of Moses stipulated death penalty for idolatry and witchcraft, for breaking the Ten Commandments, and for dishonoring God (Lev. 24: 16). But this was only binding on those who were considered to be the members of the Covenant. Neither the Old Testament nor the New Testament allows any persecution of other religions in the name of religion.
The Bible indicates in 1 Timothy 2: 1, 2 that if people are not able to live a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty, then a great part of it is due to the failure of civil governments to comply with the moral government of God. The word for honesty is semnotes in the Greek and also means “dignity” and “honor”. Obviously, in a state where religious violence is rampant the dignity and honor of the citizens is lost through dehumanization. Therefore, Christians are called for to pray for the government so that there may be peace and order in the state.
We also learn from the life of Jesus and the apostles that religious persecution must be avoided as far as possible. For instance, Jesus tells His disciple to leave any city which as a whole refuses Christ’s message and starts persecuting the messengers (Lk. 9: 5; cp. Acts 13: 51). Jesus Himself avoided unnecessary falling into the enemy’s traps (Matt. 4: 12; Lk. 4: 30). Similarly, Paul escaped once through a basket when people were in wait for him, was prevented by the disciples from getting beaten by a crazy mob, and took measures to inform the authority of a group of Jewish fanatics who had vowed to not eat till they killed him (Acts 9: 25; 19: 30; 23: 17-21). He also used his Roman citizenship as a privilege to prevent unnecessary torture, to appeal to the highest court of justice, i.e. to Caesar, and to get people understand that they cannot just by-pass laws to persecute the minority (Ac. 16: 35-40; 22: 25; 25: 11). Thus, it is obvious that the Bible desires Christians to be rational in their conduct of life, seeing that the Bible does allow the avoidance of persecution if it is possible.
But in any case the Scripture forbids vengeance (Rom. 12: 19). Trials do show the strength of the truth of one’s faith in the Gospel and in the love and justice of God. The Scripture exhorts us to bless our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matt. 5: 44). Jesus came not to punish the wicked but to save the sinners. However, man is accountable for his every word and deed at the final Day of Judgment. The believer, truly, is not frightened by anything for he walks not in agitation but in faith, hope, and love.
References
Bhagavad Gita, trans. Swami Vireswarananda (Madras: Sri Ramakrishna Math, 1974).
Booty, John E. The Church in History, New York: Seabury Press, 1979.
Frost, Jr. S.E. (ed.) The Sacred Writings of the World’s Great Religions, New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1972.
The Meaning of the Glorious Koran, trans. M. M. Pickthall, New Delhi: Islamic Book Service, 1992.
Selected Glossary:           
Dehumanization – process or procedure of divesting humans of their human identity, dignity, and rights.
Deindividuation – process or procedure of removing individual identity and individuality; thus, creating a sense of anonymity.
Epistemic – epistemological or that which is related to the problem of knowledge.
Individualism – philosophy that emphasizes individual worth, rights, and specific identity apart from society.
Secularism - philosophical ideology that stresses, especially, the separation of science and politics from religious dominance.
Secularization – process by which society is freed from absolute dominance of religion or the supernatural.


[1] John E. Booty, The Church in History (New York: Seabury Press, 1979), pp. 150-151.
[2] Bhagavad Gita, trans. Swami Vireswarananda (Madras: Sri Ramakrishna Math, 1974).
[3] S.E. Frost, Jr. (ed.), The Sacred Writings of the World’s Great Religions (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1972), p. 58
[4] The Meaning of the Glorious Koran, trans. M. M. Pickthall (New Delhi: Islamic Book Service, 1992). All quotations from the Koran, unless specified, are taken from this translation.
[5] www.zimbardo.com & www.prisonxp.org
[6] “The Lucifer Effect by Philip Zimbardo” (www.lucifereffect.com).


Published in Basileia (Itarsi: CITS, Oct 08). Copyright © 2008 by Domenic Marbaniang 
Share:

Popular Posts

Blog Archive

Contact Form

Name

Email *

Message *