ICONIUM In the Roman Province of
Galatia Iconium was an important city 80 miles (128 km) on the main road
east from Antioch in Pisidia. The emperor Caligula gave this city, which
he renamed Claudiconium, as a place for army veterans to retire. When Paul
and Barnabas had to leave Antioch in Pisidia he came to the synagogue in
Iconium, and "a great number of both Jews and Greeks became believers"
(Acts 14:1). There was soon opposition and Paul and Barnabas had
to move on to Lystra and Derbe. On the way back they ordained ELDERS
for the church in Iconium (Acts 14:23). When Paul wrote to the Galatians
this was one of the churches which he addressed jointly with the church
in ANTIOCH in Pisidia.
Paul visited the area during his second missionary journey, and he was
joined by Timothy from there (Acts 16:1-2). He again went through
to visit the churches in Galatia during the third journey (19:1).
ICONIUM, Later The city of Iconium
was taken over by the SELJUK TURKS
to be their capital, and its name was changed to KONYA to this day.
IDOLATRY Paul reminded the Corinthians
that "for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and
for whom we exist." This means that idol worshipers are serving what does
not exist (1 Corinthians 8:4-6). That does not make idolatry harmless.
As opposed to sharing in the bread and wine of communion, any communion
with imaginary gods is a sharing in the demonic (1 Corinthians 10:14-22).
Kenneth Hamilton explained "Granted that idolatry is trafficking in gods
that are non-existent, those imaginary gods are present and real to the
imagination of those brought up to trust in them." The power of idols lies
in the dynamics of the non-existent" (To Turn from Idols, Eerdmans,
1973, p.13, 127). A modern example is faith in LUCK.
There is no such thing as luck, but luck becomes a mighty power when it
is used to deny the love and power of God. There is a similar idolatry
of progress, sexiness, eternal youthfulness.
IDOLS There was a little boy who
wanted to love and honor his father. So he made a clay modelof his dad,
put it in a closet of the house, and began going there to say "You
are a wonderful parent. I love you very much." The father was horrified.
Instead of running to him, sitting in his lap, and telling him all the
joys and hurts of school, the boy kept his respectful distance. This is
why the second of the ten commandments is so fierce against idolatry. "I
the Lord your God am a jealous God."The reason is that localizing
a parent, or our loving God, in an idol has terrible results. And the commandment
adds that the results continue "to the third and fourth generation." But
the bad news can be instantly reversed. There is "steadfast love
to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments"
(Exodus 20:5-6). And Jesus explained that the first commandmentis
to run like a little child to God, and enjoy the love of the family.
ILLYRICUM Paul claimed that "by
the power of the Spirit of God, from Jerusalem and as far around as Illyricum
I have fully proclaimed the good news (Romans 15:19). This did not
mean he had preached to every person, only that he had planted a church
in the main city of each Roman Province. Dalmatia (present day Bosnia)
was the southern district of the Roman Province of Illyricum which stretched
north along the Adriatic from Macedonia to present day Croatia. Paul announced
his intention to go there on his way to ROME(Acts
19:21), during his third missionary journey. He must have done this
(Acts 20:2), but for some reason was prevented from crossing the
Adriatic to go to Rome as he had planned. (Romans 15:22-24 - He
later made it to Rome in chains). He sent Titus to establish the churches
in Dalmatia (2 Timothy 4:10) as Titus had previously done in CRETE
(Titus 1:5, where we place the Crete mission before Acts 18:22).
IMAGE OF GOD After describing God's
of various species of vegetation (Genesis 1:11-12), fish and birds
(1:20-21), and mammals and rodents (1:24-25), we are told
that the three Persons of the eternal
decided to make humans in their own image. There had been HOMINIDS
of various species (Homo Erectus, Cro-Magnon, Neanderthal, etc)
for two or three million years. These had all sorts of instinctive skills
ANTS) but they do not appear
to have had the ability to make moral judgments or create new ways of ordering
their lives. . But when GOD created Genesis Man (Genesis 1:27-28)
the first true humans appeared.. They had the astonishing freedom to talk
to God, worship and thank him, make moral judgments, and choose among alternative
religions and ideologies to order their lives (see God
of Many Names chapters 1-3). Man is also a scientist who can look
at, try out, evaluate, and create new scientific explanations (see Model
IMAGINATION see PROPHETIC
IMAGO DEI (Latin for image of God)
IMAGE OF GOD
IMAM The term is used for the leader
of a MOSQUE. But among SHI'AS
it also refers to a line of seven, twelve, or more men who are recognized
by their learning and piety as authoritative teachers. They alone have
the right to interpret the QUR'AN
and the traditions (hadith). In Iran the supreme Imam is called
the ayatollah (in Arabic it means "token of God").
IMMIGRATION "When an alien resides
with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides
with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien
as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt" (Leviticus 19:33-34).
Evidently by Old Testament law people of other races could become Jewish
citizens. "Any alien residing among you who wishes to keep the passover
to the LORD shall do so according to the statute of the Passover" (Numbers
9:14), which required the circumcision of male babies (Exodus 12:48).
On the other hand immigrants were expected to respect the nation's religious
customs. "Anyone of the house of Israel or of the aliens who reside among
them who offers a burnt offering or sacrifice and does not bring it to
the entrance of the tent of meeting, to sacrifice it to the LORD, shall
be cut off from the people" (Leviticus17:8-11). "Aliens as well
as citizens, when they blaspheme the Name (of the Lord) shall be put to
death" (Leviticus 24:16). Immigrants were welcome, but those were
the rules that they chose to live by. That is very different from the MULTICULTURALISM
which requires that we water down our own faith in case we offend immigrants
who want to establish their religion among us.
IMPRECATORY PSALMS We cringe at
some of the language. "Let them be put to shame and dishonor who seek after
my life . . . Let ruin come upon them unawares" (Psalm 35:4, 8).
"O God, break the teeth in their mouths . . . Let them be like the snail
that dissolves into slime. . .The righteous will rejoice when they see
the vengeance" (Psalm 58:6-10, as in 69:22-28). When we cry out
like that, our loving and just God need not do exactly what we wish on
our persecutors. But the freedom to express such feelings certainly acts
as an emotional safety valve in extreme cases of injustice, vicious cruelty,
and being defrauded. The first result is that instead of taking justice
into our own hands we can hear Paul's words "Beloved, never avenge yourselves,
but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, 'Vengeance is mine,
I will repay, says the Lord" (Romans 12:19). Then having prayed
such a prayer, we realize the danger of the person we have prayed for,
and we may even be able to pray for them, and love them. This has been
a common experience under torture. Imprecatory psalms are also much safer
than repressing our hatred, which can break out in violent behavior. We
should also note that an imprecatory psalm does not affect the person's
eternal salvation. Wrath is always bad consequences in this life.
INCARNATION In our Trinitarian
model of God (see TRINITY) the
three Persons are one in their eternal oneness of love. But they relate
to humans in quite different ways. The HOLY
SPIRIT is always ready to be invited to work deep within our heart
to inspire us with creative ENERGY.
God the Father is never seen by human eyes (John 1:18) but he acts
as a loving parent setting up our environment behind the scenes to free
us as his children. the Son's task is to keep coming into contact with
humans, and on occasion he appears face to face to reveal God's WORD
to individuals like ABRAHAM (Genesis
15:1, 17:1), MOSES (Numbers
12:8, 14), and no doubt many others. Finally the Son decided to take
birth among us, and emptied himself (Greek kenosis) for that purpose
(Philippians 2:5-8, see Luke 1:35). The Nicene Creed says
"He came down from heaven; by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate
of the Virgin Mary."
INDIA see BHAKTI,
Early Christians, MONISM,
INDIA, Early Christians The case
is not proved, but it has become more likely that the Apostle Thomas made
two journeys to India (c.45-49 AD). The first may have been overland, and
he went as a carpenter to build a palace for King Gudnaphar (Sanskrit Vindapharma,
of Alexandria is said to have visited India (c.180 AD), and he reported
he found the Gospel of Matthew in Hebrew left there by the Apostle Bartholomew
(Eusebius, Ecclesistical History, 4.10). The second was by ship
across the Indian Ocean to the west coast of India. There are seven churches
in the state of Kerala, which the Syrian Christians claim were founded
by Thomas. From there he wrote letters from India to the church in EDESSA
("The Doctrine of the Apostles" in Cureton's Ancient Syriac Documents).
After a visit further east to China Thomas was speared to death at Mailapur
near Madras (modern Chennai). His tomb was discovered by the Portuguese
(1522), but his bones were apparently taken to the mother church in EDESSA,
who viewed Thomas as their own apostle (see Dr. Alphonse Mingana, "The
Early Spread of Christianity in India," Manchester: Rylands Library
Bulletin, volumes 9-10, 1926
INKLINGS Beginning probably in
1930, a group of Christian friends began meeting Thursday evenings in C.
S. LEWIS' rooms in Magdalen College, Oxford. He called it the Inklings,
which Tolkien described as "people with vague or half-formed intimations
and ideas plus those who dabble in ink." For over twenty years they would
read what they were writing to one another. This resulted in some astonishingly
creative literature. In February 1933 C.S. Lewis said he had just listened
to TOLKIEN's The
Hobbit. Lewis read to the group his science fiction novels (published
The Screwtape Letters before it was published (1942).
(1886-1945) contributed some of his novels and an important book about
the work of the Holy Spirit in the Church titled Descent of the Dove
His poetry included Taliesssin through Logres (1938) and The
Region of the Summer Stars
(1944). C. S. Lewis edited Essays Presented
to Charles Williams (1947). Another occasional member was Owen
(For others connected with these see Humphrey Carpenter, The Inklings:
London: George Allen & Unwin, 1978. pp. 255-259)
INDEPENDENCE A nation is independent
when it is self-governing and not under foreign control. So we will keep
FREEDOM for our individual
psychological and political freedoms within our country. . Paul the Apostle
made an important statement in his speech on Mars Hill in Athens (about
50 AD). "From one ancestor God made all nations to inhabit the whole earth,
and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the
places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps
grope for him and find him" (Acts 17). Whether or not we believe
in God, it is obvious that nations as nations have a long history. The
Chinese and Japanese, the Slavs of Russia, the Greeks and Romans, and various
other Indo-European nations (Germans, British. French, Scandinavians),
all trace back their independence for at least two thousand years. The
Arabs and Jews originated with ABRAHAM
3800 years ago. And the Jewish nation survived without a homeland and speaking
many languages for 1900 years till 1948. Paul claimed that the purpose
of national independence was to free people, each in their own way, to
recognize and know God.
INDO-EUROPEAN The French word for
Dieu is from the Latin Deus, connected with the Greek
and Sanskrit devas, dyaus the father of the gods. The grammatical
resemblances iin Latin, Greek, German, and Sanskrit was first pointed out
the French Jesuit Coerdoux (in 1767). A computer program at the University
of Pennsylvania (George Johnson, New York Times, reported in the
and Mail, January 6, 1996) suggested that the first division from the
root language was Anatolian (including Hittite). Then came a Celtic grouping
including Cornish, Breton, Welsh, Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Manx. The Italic
languages included Latin, Italian, and Spanish. Armenian was a breakaway
from the languages of Greece. The Germanic languages, including Teutonic,
early English and Dutch, were originally connected with the Slavic and
Baltic tongues. Early Iranian was similar to Sankrit, the language of the
Aryans who came into north India. Scholars have tended to despise the Table
of Nations in
Genesis 10. But it carefully lists the Indo-Europeans
under the Japhethite languages (Genesis 10:2-5). They included Gomer
(Gaul), Magog (Scythians), Madai (Medes, Iranians, Sanskrit), Javan, (the
Greek islands), Kittim (Cyprus), Rodanim (Rhodes), Tubal (Iberians), Meshech
(Iberians), and Tiras (the Balkan people and Slavs).
INDULGENCES Three explanatory MODELScombined
to suggest the theory of indulgences to cancel out Divine retribution.
The first is that sin must be paid for in this life or after death in PURGATORY.
The second is that those who are good beyond what is required (Jesus, Mary,
the saints) contribute to a "treasury of merits," which can be drawn on
to make up for our deficiencies. Thirdly the Roman Catholic Pope can authorize
priests to draw on these merits for people who deserved to be absolved
from the consequences of their behavior. By the twelfth century indulgences
were granted for those who took part in the CRUSADES.
The REFORMATION began when
denounced the practice of giving indulgences on payment of money. "The
moment your gold coin drops in the box your mother will escape from purgatory."
In the overarching model we commend on this website there is neither retribution
nor earning of merit. God's kind of LOVE
does not work that way. Like a loving parent, God does assign consequences
on earth (see WRATH) for unacceptable
behavior. But love forgives the worst of sins, even the killing of the
Son of God on the
CROSS. You cannot
pay for forgiveness. It is guaranteed and total for all who accept it on
earth, and it is never needed in heaven.
INDUS VALLEY The excavations in
the cities of Mohenjodaro (500 km up the Indus from Karachi) and Harappa
(another 1000 km to the north east) enable us to picture a civilization
which had wells, drains, and bathrooms, but no trace of iron. The cities
were probably destroyed (perhaps about 1500 BC) by invading Aryan tribes
who occupied the north of the Indian sub-continent. Their religion seems
to have included the worship of the Mother Goddess (Shakti) as well as
the bull and other animals, trees, and idols such as the lingam
phallus, and the practice of YOGA
(all of which came into Hinduism. But their script has not been deciphered.
Indian scholars connect their language with Tamil and other Dravidian languages
which were pushed to the south of India. If we are right about the SUMERIAN
LANGUAGE (based on Arpachshadin Genesis 10:22, and 11:20-29)
Abraham in Ur would have understood the early Indus Valley language, and
talked to their mariners. The SUMERIANS
certainly reported trade connections with Bahrein and other islands in
the Persian Gulf (Dilmun), Oman (Magan) and Meluhha (the
INNER RINGS For an oration at King's
College in the University of London (1944) C.S.Lewis chose the topic of
"The Inner Ring" (The Weight of Glory, MacMillan, 1949). By then
he had already experienced the hurt of being left out of inner rings at
school, and in university circles. His conversion to Christian faith (1929),
and then the publication of The Screwtape Letters (1940), and The
Problem of Pain (1940) had already excluded him from some inner rings
of academia. The writing of children's stories in The Chronicles of
Narnia (1949-1952) would soon cost him the Professor's Chair he certainly
deserved at Oxford University. Sadly, Christian theology is also riddled
with inner rings that exclude anyone who does not conform to this or that
statement of faith. The result is that the CREATIVITY
of the HOLY SPIRIT is discouraged,
and integrity gives way to conformity. In his address Lewis also warned
the students: "Of all passions the passion for the Inner Ring is most skilful
in making a man who is not yet a very bad man do very bad things."
INQUISITION By the second century
the refusal of communion for wrong behavior or false teaching had become
common in many churches. Reasons why this was not New Testament teaching
(see EXCOMMUNICATION) are
Go Make Learners(chapter
on "Fellowship"). In 316 and again in 347 AD North African churches persuaded
the emperor to use coercion against the Donatists, but it was not till
1232 that the emperor Frederick II had heretics punished by state officials.
To avoid state intervention in church matters Gregory IX (Pope 1227-1241)
immediately appointed the Dominicans and Franciscans to enforce the first
Inquisition. If the accused confessed their error a penance was imposed,
but after a trial they could be given harsh imprisonment. It was 1252 Pope
Innocent IV (Pope 1243-1254) who first allowed torture (1252) to break
the resistance of heretics. The Spanish Inquisition was headed by Tomas
de Torquemada (1420-1498) of the Dominican Order who became the first Grand
Inquisitor in 1483. He condemned at least 2000 persons to be burned to
death, and in 1492 expelled all Jews from Spain if they refused to be baptized.
To oppose the Reformation (in the Counter-Reformation) Pope Paul III (Pope
1534-1559) established the Congregation of the Inquisition to provide for
a final court of appeal in trials of heresy. The Inquisition was finally
terminated in 1820.
INSIGHT In the Book of Proverbs
the NRSV translation "insight" is used for two Hebrew nouns (musar and
Proverbs are one of the ways of learning insight (1:2). The secret
is to "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own
insight" (3:5). If we interpret sophia
as the equivalent
of the Holy Spirit we can see how wisdom and insight (4:5;
8:14; 9:10) are twin fruits of "the wisdom from above" (James 3:17).
Wisdom means making right judgments. Insight sees into the level of truth
below the surface. It is more than the mere gathering of data. As Paul
said "We look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen" (2
Corinthians 4:18). Without insight a doctor sees symptoms without being
able to discern what is the underlying reality. But by insight, not only
the people around us, but Jesus himself are seen in a completely different
way. "We regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once
knew the Messiah from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that
way" (2 Corinthians 5:16). So "the beginning of wisdom is this:
Get wisdom, and whatever else you get, get insight" (Proverbs 4:7).
It is not something you get once for all, it is a continuous walk in the
Spirit. "Lay aside immaturity, and live, and walk in the way of insight"
INSPIRATION The Greeks knew that
you cannot create great art or music, tragedy or comedy, without inspiration.
They imagined the Holy Spirit as nine beautiful women, each with their
names. I don't think the Holy Spirit minded being addressed in this charming
way. Except that they would need a hundred names to capture "the wisdom
of God in its rich variety" (Ephesians 3:10). In the Bible we have
the artistic inspiration of the Spirit given to Bezaleel (Exodus 31:3-5).
The judges (political leaders of early Israel) needed inspiration for the
liberation of their people (Judges 3:10, 6:34, 13:25). As did the
prophets when they "made careful search and inquiry, inquiring about the
person or time that the Spirit of the Messiah within them indicated" (1
Peter 1:10). After the Day of Pentecost people of all nations would
gather in churches of the Spirit to be given "the manifestation (phanerosis)
the Spirit" (1 Corinthians 12:7) through a rich variety of
(gifts of the Spirit). It was also the Holy Spirit who inspired the collection
and preservation of the books of the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16).
INSTINCTS There is nothing wrong
with instincts. Cats have them, as we do (curiosity, self-protection, food,
sex, mothering, play, territory, pecking order). These drives were invented
by the Son of God when he designed our world (John 1:3, Colossians 1:16).
And he received these same instincts through the genes of his mother when
he took flesh among us (Hebrews 2:17, 4:15). Most of the time our
instincts work very well. The problem is that our flesh has no interest
in turning the other cheek, going the extra mile, praying for the needs
of others, loving enemies, or even loving the people we find so tiresome
in our church. This is why Paul explains that "nothing good dwells within
me, that is in my flesh" Instincts cannot be persuaded to love by willpower.
"I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good
I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do" (Romans 7:18-19).
The solution is not to beat down our God-given instincts, but to avoid
minding their pressing demands by focusing on what only the Spirit can
do. "Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things
of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds
on the things of the Spirit" (Romans 8:5).
INTEGRITY We appreciate a LEADER
who is straightforward. "Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but
whoever follows perverse ways will be found out" (Proverbs 10:9).
That is why we hate working for a devious person. Jesus said "Let your
word be 'Yes ( meaning) Yes, and your No (meaning) No" (Matthew 5:37).
It is never right to "bear false witness against your neighbor" (Exodus
20:16). In war it may be necessary to use camouflage and false information
to prevent the enemy gaining an advantage, but in a family or a team Paul
said "Do not lie to one another" (Colossians 3:9). "Putting away
falsehood let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors (those close to
us), for we are members of one another" (Ephesians 4:25). A body
cannot function if the various parts deceive one another, and an organization,
or the church as a body, will soon fall apart if there is deceit among
the members. A lack of integrity in the CEO
is quickly fatal. Writing about a successor to Pope Paul VI Andrew Greely
said "He must be totally free of the slightest taint of financial and organizational
wheeling and dealing" (Toronto Star August 10, 1978)
INTERNET One definition of postmodernism
is non-foundationalism. We no longer depend on authorities to assure us
of this or that truth. All facts are questionable. There are no absolute
certainties. Similarly the Internet does not rely on accreditation or assured
scientific facts. . We never know whether a website is reliable. But the
Internet works because people are capable of evaluating good and bad sources.
We try out the recipes that are offered to see if they turn out well..
Herbal remedies, acupuncture, Shiatsu, etc. all have an equal right to
be tested in our situation. We learn to trust some writers. We are suspicious
of others even if they might give some helpful insights. On this Model
Theology site we know we will be wrong sometimes. No one is
infallible. But we do try to correct mistakes if they are pointed out to
us. A careful reader will note that over the years we feel free to change
our mind on this or that point of doctrine. But we have no product to sell.
We are not sponsored by any organization, we never ask for money from our
readers or anyone else, and we run the site at our own expense. So we don't
have to dance to any tune. We do believe that Jesus came from the love
of God, and we want to explore everything he did and said in the Gospels
and the comments of his apostles.
IRAN (Persia) The aboriginal people
were Tajiks (similar to the Dravidians of India), but the country was taken
over by Indo-European Aryans (listed as descendants of Japheth in Genesis
10:2-5). The Medes (madai) and Persians (Daniel 5:28)
were united under Cyrus II the Great (reigned 559 - 529 BC) who toppled
Babylon (539 BC, see the Day of the Lord in Isaiah 13:1, 6-13,48:14,
Jeremiah 50:8-9). He immediately (2 Chronicles 36:20-23) ordered
the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem (Ezra 1:1-2, see the prophecy
in Isaiah 45:1, 13). He also recognized Zoroaster and his community
(c.520 BC). Among the Medes he was known as Darius (Daniel 5:30-6:2).
His sucessors waged war against the Greeks (499 BC till their fleet was
destroyed at Salamis 480 BC and their army defeated at Platea, 479 BC).
Esther became queen under Ahasuerus (Xerxes I, 485-465 BC). After the death
of MUHAMMAD (570-632 AD) a huge
Persian army was defeated by the Arabs (637) and Iran was soon converted
to Islam (by 651 AD). The Nestorian churches, which had flourished, were
allowed to continue, but they were often persecuted. In modern times Henry
(1781-1812) did a very beautiful translation of the New Testament into
Persian. There were churches in the main cities till the revolution that
toppled the Shah (1979) and ended the monarchy. This was followed by a
war with Iraq in which hundreds of thousands died. Since the 1997 election
there have been attempts to regain freedom from the rigid controls of the
IRANIAN CULTURE "Abdulkarim Sorush,
the chief intellectual of Iran, argues that every Iranian has three identities,
Shia, Persian, and Western" (reported by Karen Armstrong,
May 8, 2003). The people of IRAN have been MUSLIM
since 651 AD (see
CHURCHES for the period before that time). Their ancient language
is Farsi, which is INDO-EUROPEAN
(see Genesis 10:2) and quite different from ARABIC.
The Bible records a long Persian tradition going back to 539 BC when BABYLON
fell to the Medes and Persians (Ezra 1:1-4; Esther 1:1; Daniel 5:27,
6:1, 9:1, 10:1). As regards the future, the heart longing of many young
Iranians seems to be in terms of DEMOCRACY
and FREEDOM OF RELIGION
without the interference of CLERICS
in their daily lives.
IRAN, Modern Muhammad Reza Shah
Pahlavi (Shah, 1941-79) took over supreme power in Iran (1953) and with
the aid of vast oil revenues instituted major social reforms. These infuriated
the Shiite clergy and theologians of the seminaries in Qum (see IRAN,
Qum). Led by Ayatollah Khomeini (from exile in Paris) they fomented
the revolution (1979), in which the Shah abdicated, and the Iranian Islamic
Republic was established. The small Christian churches were closed down,
and several of their clergy were martyred. This was soon followed by the
against Iran (1980-88) in which a million Iranian young men died in battle.
The motivation of this war was partly for control of oil resources, but
the main reason was the support of the Iranian Shiite clergy for Shiites
who lived in south-east Iraq. These were a threat to Saddam Hussein's secular
dictatorship since they formed a 60 % majority of the population of
The hostage crisis (1979-81) had angered the Americans, and the attempts
by Iranian extremists to export their revolution resulted in trade and
investment sanctions (1995), and this hostility has continued. Mohammed
Khatami was elected President (1997) but his efforts to effect changes
in the direction of freedom were blocked by the immense power of the Iranian
clergy who insisted on retaining fundamentalist control of the country.
IRAN, Monarchy Under Shah Abbas
the Great (reigned 1587-1628) Persia was a very powerful
Europeans came to visit the splendor of his capital in Isfahan. This was
the age of huge multi-colored mosques and world-famous Persian carpets.
But Abbas killed off his rivals, which weakened his Safavid dynasty, and
the status of Persia declined till Shah Riza Khan Pahlavi seized power
(he ruled 1921-1979). He modernized Persia, renamed it Iran, and
controlled the clergy. Iran was invaded (1941) during the war, and came
under foreign control. Through his vast wealth from the sale of oil he
was able to regain authority, and build a powerful army. But he neglected
the needs of ordinary people as the economy grew rapidly. To keep the lid
on discontent, the Shah created the ruthless SAVAK secret police
(1957) which drove the opposition underground. When he brought women into
politics and took over the religious endowments of the clergy, the ayatollahs
turned against him. So he arrested and exiled Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini.
After the Shah abdicated the monarchy was ended and Iran became an Islamic
republic (1979). Ayatollah Khomeini quickly returned from exile to bring
Iran under the control of a Shiite THEOCRACY(seeIRAN,
IRAN, Qum After the Battle of Karbala
(680) those who supported the claims to the
of the genealogical line of Ali (son in-law of MUHAMMAD)
found themselves persecuted. A group of them took refuge in Qum (712).
In addition to being a world-famous center of Persian silk carpets, Qum
became a center for the training of Shiite clergy (Imams, Ayatollahs, Mullahs).
Ayatollah Khomeini was exiled by the Shah, but from Paris he organized
the Islamic revolution (1979). This resulted in the banishment of the Shah
(he died in Egypt, 1980). The establishment of the Iranian Islamic Republic
meant that ultimate control was now in the hands of the clergy. This made
the seminaries in Qum into the intellectual center of Shiites all over
the world. Their authority was greatly increased when SADDAM
HUSSEIN persecuted the Shiites in south-west IRAQ,
and the leading theologians fled from Najaf (see
Najaf) and established themselves in Qum.
IRAQ Except for the mountains of
Kurdisan (see KURDS) the country
is a plain irrigated by the two rivers TIGRIS
to the north and EUPHRATES to
the south. These join before the port city of BASRA
which is located near the ancient city of UR
in the district of Chaldea. (see ABRAHAM).
The original written language of the country was Sumerian (see SUMERIAN
LANGUAGE) which is probably listed under ARPACHSHAD
in what the table of Nations calls the Shemites (see SHEM).
As a result of the invasion by NIMROD
a HAMITIC language replaced the
language of the SUMERIANS. It
AKKADIAN which includes
both ASSYRIAN in the north and
Alexander III of Macedon (the great 356-323 BC ) conquered the area now
called Iraq before the battle of Issus (333 BC) against the Persians, and
after overrunning the Punjab (327-325 BC) he died of a fever in Babylon.
In the years before
ISLAM was imposed (633-639
AD) there were hundreds of bishops of Christian churches (see EDESSA).
During the era of the Abbasid Caliphate (750-1258 AD) BAGHDAD
was the center of a brilliant Islamic civilization that stretched from
to SPAIN while Europe was still
in the dark ages. The country was twice occupied by the British before
it became the republic of Iraq (1958) with it's capital in Baghdad. The
people are now mainly ARABIC speaking,
and their religion is ISLAM divided into Sunnis
in the north and Shias in the south with a minority Christian population.
see BABYLON, BAGHDAD,
IRAQ, Early Christians The diocese
of Arbel in the Province of Abilene (present day IRAQ)
extended from the mountains of Kurdistan to the Persian Gulf when Pkidha,
the first Bishop of Arbel, was ordained (c.90 AD). By the time of Abd-Mshika
(Bishop of Arbel, 190-225 AD) there were 25 Bishops in the Province of
Abilene. This and much valuable information is given by John Stewart (Nestorian
Missionary Enterprise: The Story of a Church on Fire, Edinburgh:
T & T Clark, Madras: Christian Literature Society,1928, pp.3-5, 14,
33-34. He refers to Dr.
Alphonse Mingana, "The Early Spread of Christianity
in India," Manchester: Rylands Library Bulletin, volumes 9-10, 1926).
Stewart also refers to a terrible persecution that broke out (345 AD).
When Hanania was martyred "the greater number of the inhabitants of Adiabene
(Iraq) were Christians (Neale, The Patriarchate of Antioch, p.129).
In another persecution (448 AD) there was a massacre of Christians in Karka
d'Beit Sluk (modern Kirkuk) "where, on a mound outside the city, ten bishops
and 153,000 others are said to have been martyred, the slaughter lasting
several days" (Wigram, History of the Assyrian Church, see Labourt,
Christianisme dans l'empire Perse,p. 127). Sadly, without a Bible translation
into ARABIC, the Christians churches
were soon absorbed by the Muslim occupation.
IRAQ, Hawza During the reign of
Saddam Hussein the grouping of Shi'a seminaries in the Hawza (university)
of Najaf lost their influence to the seminaries of Qum in Iran (see IRAN,
Qum). But as soon as SADDAM
HUSSEIN was toppled in Iraq (March 2003), the Shi'a theologians
of Najaf regained their authority (see
Najaf; SHI'AS AND SUNNIS)..
They immediately provided security and services in the main cities from
Basra to Baghdad. The senior Shi'a theologian is the Ayatollah Sayyed Ali
al-Sistani, who lost some credibility by never criticizing Saddam Hussein.
Most popular among Iraqi Shi'as are followers of Imam Mohammed al-Sadr,
who was killed (1999) by Saddam Hussein. His followers include the two
million Shi'as of Baghdad in Saddam City (now renamed Sadr City). Ayatollah
Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim was an exile who heads the Iranian-backed Supreme
Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. He heads the 15,000 strong Badr
Brigade. A fourth grouping, the Al-Da'wa party, was an offshoot (1950)
of the Sadr party, and they are totally opposed to any form of secularism.
But all these Shi'a theologians are committed to an Islamic state controlled
by themselves as the clergy. A key figure is Sheikh Mohammed al-Yacobi,
a civil engineer who trained to become an Imam, said that nothing in the
new Iraqi constitution must go against any part of SHARIAH
IRAQ, Karbala When Ali, the fourth
Caliph was killed by a poisoned sword, Muawiya of Damascus was soon accepted
as the fifth Caliph (661-680) to begin the Ummayad Dynasty (661-750). In
present day IRAQ those who thought the CALIPHATEshould
belong to the line of Ali, invited Husayn ibn Ali, the second son of Ali,
and the grandson of MUHAMMAD,
to take refuge with them in Kufah. They promised to support his claim to
the Caliphate. But when he arrived in Karbala with his family from Mecca
he was met by an army of 4,000 soldiers sent by Caliph Yazid I who had
succeeded (in the spring of 680) to the
CALIPHATE. Husayn was defeated and killed at the Battle of Karbala
(October 10, 680). Husayn's decapitated body was buried in Karbala, and
his tomb is viewed by Shiite Muslims (see SHIAS
AND SUNNIS) as the most holy place in the world. Saddam Hussein
terminated the annual pilgrimage of thousands of Shias who used to walk
in procession to Karbala to mourn Husayn's terrible fate, and he oppressed
Husayn's Shia followers mercilessly. A few days after the American war
against Saddam Hussein (April 20, 2000) hundreds of thousands of Shias
resumed this pilgrimage, beating their chests to mourn Husayn's death,
and they gathered at his tomb by the magnificent Karbala mosque. Many of
them said they wanted the Americans to leave so they could establish a
Shia Muslim state.
IRAQ, Kufah This city was founded
(638) by Omar (Umar), the second Caliph, as a garrison town to control
the area now called Iraq. But the Muslims of Kufah (Kufa) opposed the claims
of Omar's son Othman (Uthman) to be third Caliph (see CALIPHATE),
and they supported
ALI who became the
fourth Caliph (656-660). He was killed by a poisoned sword in a war against
the Syrians who supported the DAMASCUS
Caliphate. The people of Kufah then invited Ali's second son Hussayn
to come from Mecca, and they promised to support him as Caliph. But as
soon as he arrived he was killed by the Syrians at the Battle of
(October 680). As a center of SHI'A
opposition to the Abbasid Sunni Caliphate of BAGHDAD
Kufah was sacked again and again (924-25, 927, 937). But it was rebuilt
and survived under the Ottoman Turks till 1918 (see IRAQ,
Ottoman) and under the British mandate (1920-32) and again under
British control (1941-45). SADDAM
HUSSEIN distrusted and persecuted the Iraqi Shi'as in his war against
Shi'a IRAN(1980-88). As a Sunni Arab it seems
he also hoped to restore the glory of the BAGHDAD
Caliphate, which the Shi'as would certainly oppose. But suddenly when the
Americans came (April 2003) the Shi'a clerics saw their opportunity to
take control of their area of Iraq, and Kufah was restored as a key center
for the renewal of Shi'a power in south-eastern Iraq.
IRAQ, Mosul The third biggest city
of IRAQ is the city of Mosul (Arabic al-Mawsil).
It is 225 miles (360 km) north-west from present day BAGHDAD
on the west side of the TIGRIS.
There is now a five-span bridge across the river to the ruins of the ancient
Assyrian city of
was destroyed (612 BC). Mosul took the place of Nineveh as the trading
center on the main road from Turkey to Iran. It was 260 miles (416 km)
east of the great Christian center of EDESSA,
and there was a strong church there by the end of the first century.
The city reached its zenith under the Zangid Dynasty (1127-1222) but it
was ravaged by
MONGOLS under Hulegu.
I (1258) who left as quickly as they had come. Later it was ruled for four
hundred years by OTTOMAN Turks
(1538-1918). This is why Turkey still view Mosul as part of their territory
though it had a majority population of KURDS,
who were mostly expelled under Saddam Hussain. When the American-Iraq war
had ended the next Sunday (April 20, 2003) seven hundred Chaldean Christians
celebrated Easter in the ancient church building.
IRAQ, Najaf Shi'as maintain that
the rightful CALIPHATE descended
from Ali (600-660) the cousin and son in law of MUHAMMAD.
Ali's tomb and the holy MOSQUE
dedicated to his name is in the Iraqi city of Najaf. The seminaries in
Najaf trained the Shiite clergy (Imams, Ayatollahs, Mullahs) and influenced
the theology of the second most important grouping in
for 1300 years. The deposition of the Shah and the Islamic revolution in
(1979) allowed the city of Qum (see
to emerge as an important theological center for Shiites. Because of his
war against Iran (1980-88 in which 1.5 million soldiers were killed)
HUSSEIN set out to destroy the power of the Shiites, who form 60%
of the people of Iraq, and looked to Najaf as their spiritual center. As
a result, many of the theologians of Najaf had to flee to Iran, where they
taught in seminaries in Qum, and that city quickly replaced Najaf as the
theological center of Shiites throughout the world. When the American war
(spring 2003) broke the power of Saddam Hussein the seminaries in Najaf
quickly came back to life, and Iraqi theologians returned from Iran. Having
seen the result of interference in politics and the ordinary life of citizens
in Iran, many of these want freedom from the domination of Qum. They also
seem open to a greater separation of CHURCH
AND STATE (see FIRST AMENDMENT).
IRAQ, Ottoman In the same year
as the beginning of the REFORMATION
(1517) the Ottoman Turks under Selim I (1512-20) took Cairo and defeated
the Egyptian Mamlukes (1517). This enabled them to claim the Muslim CALIPHATEas
a Turkish preserve (see OTTOMAN
Empire). This was the first time a people who were not Arab by
race had claimed authority over Muslims everywhere. The Ottomans began
(1534) to take over parts of what is now known as Iraq During the reign
of Suleiman II (1520-66) the Ottoman empire expanded west into the Balkans
and east across Mesopotamia to the Persian gulf. The Ottomans were Sunnis
SHI'AS AND SUNNIS)
but they were wise enough to permit the majority Shi'a community of south-east
Iraq to build magnificent MOSQUES
and train their Imams in the seminaries of Najaf (see IRAQ,
Najaf). They knew that the Shi'as maintained that only descendants
of ALI (killed in 660) could be rightful
Caliphs and leaders of ISLAM. But as long as
the Shi'as did not foment revolution the Ottoman Turks turned a blind eye
to this for nearly 400 years till the end of the Ottoman Empire (1918).
IRAQ, Population The population
of Iraq is about 25 million people. Of this the majority (60%) are Shias
and the minority (37%) are Sunnis (see SHIAS
AND SUNNIS). The other (3%) include 700,000 CHALDEAN
CHRISTIANS. Under SADDAM
HUSSEIN the Shias were severely persecuted partly due to their
connections with IRAN, which is mainly Shia.
But he allowed Christians the freedom to worship, as long as nothing was
said against his regime.
IRENAEUS (c.130-c.266) was apparently
a native of Smyrna, one of the seven churches of Asia Minor. He studied
in Rome, and was ordained in Lyons, France. He was sent on a mission to
Rome (177) to discuss the prophecies of Montanus. In his absence the Bishop
of Lyons was martyred, and Irenaeus was elected in his place (178). His
great work, written in Greek, survived in Latin as Adversus Omnes Haereses
(c.190 AD). He opposed GNOSTICISM
and the prophecies of an imminent descent of the New Jerusalem by the male
and female prophets of
But he does not seem to have rejected the charismatic enthusiasm of
IRON CURTAIN As part of the Cold
War the Communists built a wall (1949) across Berlin to prevent the escape
of German people to the west. This iron curtain was extended north and
south to maintain Soviet control of eastern Europe.. Not one commentator
predicted the end of the Iron Curtain, but thousands of people began silent,
non-violent, processions holding candles through the streets of Leipzig.
When the SON OF GOD came in
a DAY OF THE LORD to topple
the Berlin wall, within one month (November 1989) the countries of East
Germany, Czechoslovakia (see PRAGUE),
Hungary, and Romania were suddenly freed to enjoy DEMOCRACY
and FREEDOM OF RELIGION.
ISAAC (c.1852- 1672) was born when
was a hundred years old. By then ISHMAEL
(1866-1792) was fourteen. The two sons were raised in CANAAN
and spoke CANAANITE, which is
the HEBREW language of most of the
Old Testament. Abraham sent his servant over 500 miles north (Genesis
24) to find a wife for Isaac from his original Sumerian family that
came from UR and settled in the area
of ARAM near Haran (Harran). He had
JACOB, from whom the
Jewish nation is descended, and ESAU
from whom the Edomitess were descended (Genesis 36). The children
of EDOM merged with their cousins
descended from Ishmael to become the ARABS
of north-west Arabia.
ISHMAEL Abraham's firstborn son
was Ishmael(Genesis 16:15). When Sarah gave birth to Isaac Abraham
was promised "As for Ishmael, I have heard you; I will bless him and make
him fruitful and exceedingly numerous; he shall be the father of twelve
princes, and I will make him a great nation" (Genesis 17:20, see
the early Arab tribes in Genesis 25:12-18). For a reconstruction
of Arab origins and genealogies see Ishmael
the Arab 1866 - 1792 B.C.).The
teaches that it was Ishmael, not Isaac, who was taken to Mount Moriah (the
present site of the mosque on Dome of the Rock) to be sacrificed, and God
provided a LAMBto take his place
ISLAM The beginning of Islam (submission
to God) as a religion could be dated in 610 AD when MUHAMMAD
the age of 40 began receiving messages, which he said were dictated to
him by ALLAH (Arabic for God), and
which later became the QUR'AN.
A MUSLIM is someone who submits
to Islam. The five pillars of Islam sum up the basic requirements. First
to recite the Creed "There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet
(messenger). Secondly to pray in the direction of Mecca with the seven
prescribed postures and prostrations five times a day. Thirdly to give
two and a half per cent of his income for religious purposes and for the
poor. Except in special circumstances there must be a total fast
from sunrise to sunset during the holy month of Ramadan. And whenever
this becomes possible there should be a pilgrimage (haj) to circle
the Kaaba in Mecca.The three main reactions to western influences
are Secularism (as with Kemal Ataturk 1923-38 in Turkey), reformism (reinterpreting
the Qur'an in the light of modern science and democracy), and Islamism
(strict application of SHARI'A
if necessary by violent means). Based on the Qur'an Islamism encourages
the submission of women (see MARRIAGE,
PATRIARCHAL) and permits men to marry more than one wife, (see
ISLAM & CHRISTIANITY Cal Thomas
reported that in an interview he had (April 2003) with the Attorney General
of the United States, John Ashcroft made the comment that "Islam is a religion
in which God requires you to send your son to die for him" but "Christianity
is a faith in which God sent his Son to die for you" (as explained in 1
John 4:10). The two models can also be differentiated by Islam's demand
for submission to God as opposed to the Christian invitation into the love
of God. At a deeper level this depends on a contrast between a UNITARIAN
picture of God as Creator and Judge, and a vision of God as three Persons
held together by love (see TRINITY).
The latter model permits us to be adopted as children into the family oneness
of God (see John 1:12, and 1 John 3:1-2, as was seen clearly
by the CAPPADOCIAN FATHERS).
ISLAM AND THE STATE There are a
variety of models that govern church and state relationships in Islam.
The first was the CALIPHATE in
which a successor of MUHAMMAD
was the supreme ruler of an empire (see DAMASCUS
EMPIRE). An opposite model is based on a secular state. But this
can exist (see TURKEY) with Islam
being recognized as the religion of the majority of the people. In a
(as in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Republic, and other Gulf States) the
Sheikh or King is the absolute ruler. A council of advisors may have a
measure of elected authority. But behind the scenes there is control in
all religious and moral questions by the CLERICS(Imams)..
In the case of Saudi Arabia the WAHHABIfundamentalists
have been very powerful. In IRAN the Shah was
an absolute monarch who kept the clergy under his control as he brought
his country into the modern world. When he was toppled (1979), an Islamic
republic was established under the control of SHI'A
clerics (Ayatollahs), They ran the country under their interpretation of
LAW. They claim a God-given authority (Velayat-e-Faqih) for
an Ayatollah to sanction and oversee every detail of political and social
life. For their training and seat of authority see ISLAM,
Qum and Najaf)
ISLAM, Qum and Najaf For a thousand
years Shi'a CLERICS were trained
in the seminaries of Najaf (see IRAQ, Najaf).
The opinions and decisions of the senior teachers (ayatollahs) influenced
the whole SHI'A world. As soon as
they toppled the Shah (1979) Shi'a ayatollahs were able to take over total
control of IRAN. And the seminaries in the city
of Qum (see IRAN, Qum) became very powerful.
When SADDAM HUSSEIN
went to war against Iran (1980-88) he broke the power of the seminaries
in Najaf (see IRAQ, Najaf), and many
of the top Shi'a teachers moved to Qum. With the fall of Saddam Hussein
(March 2003) Najaf quickly began to regain its authority. The Najaf school
does not believe in the direct interference of religion in politics. In
Iraq the supreme ayatollah has traditionally been more an advisor (mentor)
in matters of religion and morals. He welcomes open debate in the search
for the correct interpretation of the QUR'AN.
But the supreme leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, claims the God-given
authority (Velayat-e-Faqih) to sanction and oversee every detail
of Iranian life. This is the model taught in the seminaries of Qum with
currently 40,000 clergy. About 3,000 of these are expected to move from
Qum to Najaf, and they may bring the model of absolute clerical authority
to Iraq. As opposed to these two visions in ISLAM
the model of
by the FIRST AMENDMENT
in the American constitution provides for FREEDOM
OF RELIGION and a total separation of CHURCH
AND STATE. We can assume these models will underlie the political
struggles of every country in the Middle East during this century.
ISLAM, Women The freeing of women
in ISLAM began in Indonesia as a result of
being a Dutch colony, and then under Japanese occupation, before it became
a republic (1945). This was also the case in INDIA
and BURMA (before 1947), African
countries under British rule, and in Egypt and North Africa under French
influence. There was a huge change in the status of women in TURKEY
through KEMAL ATATURK (President
1923-38). Women were given similar freedoms in IRAN
by Shah Riza Khan Pahlavi (ruled 1921-1979) which infuriated the Muslim
clerics. They toppled the monarchy (see IRAN,
Monarchy), and Iran became an Islamic
(1979) run by SHI'A Ayatollahs
(see IRAN, Qum). When SADDAM
HUSSEIN was in power, women in IRAQ
could vote, enter the professions, inherit equally with their brothers,
choose their own husbands, and maintain custody of their children after
a divorce. Women are free to drive cars in the UNITED
ARAB REPUBLIC but this is not the case in
ARABIA where the influence of WAHHABIclerics
is very powerful. When SHARI'A
law was enforced by the TALIBAN
in AFGHANISTAN, in northern
Nigeria, and the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan the legal freedom
women had enjoyed was quickly ended.
ISLAMIC TERMS Translations of some
words with links to other Word Thoughts:
ahl al-kitab The people of the Book (see WORD)
referring to Jews and Christians
fatihah The first sura (section) of the QUR'AN
hajj The pilgrimage to Mecca required at least once in
a lifetime (see HAJJ)
harun The high priest AARON
brother of musa (MOSES)
iblis The devil or SATAN
id al-adh The feast to remember ibrahim(ABRAHAM)
and the sacrifice of his son
imam The leader of prayers in a MOSQUE
among the SHI'AS
injil The evangel or New Testament GOSPELS
isa al-masih Jesus the MESSIAH
jibra'il The angel GABRIEL
kalima The confession that there is no god but Allah
and MUHAMMAD is his prophet
khalifa The successor to MUHAMMAD
ruler of Islam (CALIPHATE)
jahannam Place where Allah punishes unbelievers
muharram A month to remember the death of Hasan and Husayn
(see IRAQ, Karbala)
ramadan The annual month of FASTING
(RAMADAN) which ends with 'id
salat or namaz Ritual prayer as opposed
to du'a meaning free prayer (see PRAYERS)
sawm or roza Fasting (FASTING)
tawrah The Jewish Torah, or Books of Musa (MOSES)
zabur The Old Testament PSALMS
zakat Giving to those in need (ALMSGIVING)
ISRAEL Jacob was the grandson of
When he tricked his twin brother Esau out of the family inheritance, his
mother sent him 500 miles north to her cousins in north-west Mesopotamia
(Genesis 27:43-45). On the way he met with the Son of God, and received
the name Israel (Genesis 28:10-17). Like his father, he married
into what was probably a Sumerian family. He had twelve children by his
two wives and their two maidservants (Genesis 29:21-24, 35:22-18).
His twelve children became the bene Israel (Children of Israel)
just as the ARABS were called the
Ishmael. The quarrel between the descendants of the two sons of Abraham
that began when ISHMAEL was disinherited
21:1-21) has already continued for 3,800 years, and shows no sign of
being settled. When the kingdom was divided (1 Kings 12:16-24) the
northern tribes chose leaders who were called Kings of Israel as opposed
to the Kings of Judah. There were no kings after the exile, and the division
among Jews ended as they dispersed all over the Mediterranean and to the
west and east. When the Jewish State was proclaimed in 1948 the country
was called Israel.
ISRAEL, Land The original Abrahamic
promise was to "go to the land that I will show you. I will make of you
a great nation." When ABRAHAM arrived
among the CANAANITES he was
promised the land "from the river of Egypt (theWadi Arish) to the great
river Jordan (not the EUPHRATES)"
for his descendants (Genesis 15:18). This formed a rectangle (125
miles by 50 miles, 400 x 80 km). The Jewish people have never claimed the
river Euphrates as a border. During Abraham's lifetime he was only able
to buy a burial ground near the city of Hebron (Genesis 23:27).
The land was first occupied under Joshua (Joshua 1:4, again reading
the river Jordan, not the Euphrates). But occupation by the children of
Israel was conditional on faithfulness to their calling, defined as "In
you all the families of the earth shall be blessed" (Genesis 12:3).
The Jews were exiled from the land for seventy years under the Babylonians.
And Jesus later warned them that "My house shall be called a house of prayer;
but you are making it a den of robbers" (Matthew 21:13). Unless
there was a radical change, the second temple would be destroyed in that
generation (Matthew 24:1-2) as happened in AD 70.. The city of Jerusalem
was finally leveled in 135 AD, and the Jewish children of Israel were excluded
from the land for 1800 years.