November 29, 2013
The Free Syrian Army and affiliated rebel groups moved into Aleppo—about 7,000 fighters—in February 2012. Islamic fighters, most experienced in creating insurgency in Iraq, have overwhelmed their ranks.
And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east.”
The same route would be taken by invaders from Mesopotamia against the tribes that descended from Abram (now Abraham): Assyrians captured Samaria in 722 B.C., then Babylonians captured Jerusalem in 597 B.C. They burned and destroyed it, along with Solomon’s temple, 10 years later.
Some scholars speculate that the apostle Paul, who “went away into Arabia” after his conversion near Damascus (Galatians 1:17-18), traveled to the Babylon academies to present the Jews of the Eastern Dispersion with the gospel. The term “Arabians” by then had come to signify those Jews. These scholars argue that as a “Hebrew of Hebrews,” Paul would seek ways to testify to the truth of Christianity in a bastion of Jewish learning. (As Briggs put it: “Paul was not the man to seek to learn to swim by reading books about the subject, but by plunging into deep water.”) Paul later adhered to a similar pattern on his missionary journeys, they contend, entering first the synagogue in any new city before preaching to the Gentiles.
In spite of the distorsions the faith of Christians in the Middle East, like the history of the Jews, has been shaped by removal and destruction. Within five years of Muhammad receiving a revelation from Allah, he unleashed his Muslim armies upon the ancient empires of the Near East.
Audo in many ways is emblematic of the Christian’s journey in the Middle East. His father migrated to Aleppo from Al-Kosh, a town in Iraq perched in the hills above the Nineveh Plains. Al-Kosh was the home of Nahum, who prophesied Nineveh’s destruction and the fall of the Assyrian empire. A tomb reportedly containing his remains rests in the middle of town above the ruins of a synagogue, surrounded by Hebrew inscriptions. The last of the town’s Jews left in the 1940s, but churches and a Christian cemetery predominate.