A Meeting with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini 35 Years Ago

9 Feb

 

 

Exactly thirty-five years ago I had the experience of a lengthy meeting Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeni in his tent where he received visitors in the Paris suburb of Neuphle-le-Chateau. It was several days preceding his triumphal return to Iran after almost 14 years of exile, mostly spent in Najaf, Iraq. I was returning to the United States after spending two weeks in Iran during the turbulent final stage of the revolution in Iran that was on the verge of victory. My presence in Iran was in response to an invitation from Mehdi Barzargon. 

 

I was accompanied by Ramsey Clark the former American Attorney General, and still then a prominent although controversial political figure in the country, and Philip Luce, a highly respected leader of a religious NGO who had distinguished himself by much publicized nonviolent civil initiatives of opposition to the Vietnam War. At the time, I was chair of a small American committee opposed to American intervention in Iran, and it was the activities of this group that I assume led to the invitation to get a first-hand look at the revolution. We met with a wide spectrum of Iranian religious and secular personalities, including the Shah’s last prime minister, Shapour Bakhtiar, and the notorious counter-insurgency diplomat, William Sullivan, who was appropriately the last American ambassador to Iran (there have been no diplomatic relations with Iran since 1979). While we were in Iran, the Shah left the country signaling the end of his monarchy, which occasioned at the time the largest mass display of joy that I have ever witnessed, with millions peacefully marching on the streets of Tehran in a festive mood. It was a remarkable outcome of this almost completely nonviolent challenge mounted against what had been considered one of the strongest military regimes on the entire planet and enjoyed the undivided support of the United States that had major strategic assets (surveillance capabilities in relation to the Soviet Union and a large detachment of military forces in several large bases).

 

Leaving the turbulent scene in Iran, and having the opportunity to meet with Ayatollah Khomeini climaxed this experience of touching the living tissue of revolution. In Iran, with crowds chanting his name and carrying posters bearing his image, it was clear that Khomeini was the iconic inspiration of the revolution that had unexpectedly managed to gain a victory over the Shah. We had little sense, however, of the sort of future Khomeini envisioned for himself or what his hopes were for the revolution. What was obvious from the moment we were seated cross-legged on the ground within his tent was the strength of his arresting presence, especially his shining eyes that seemed almost black.

 

What struck us immediately was his active mind and sharp intelligence. He wanted to know what we thought were American intentions now that the Shah was gone, and given the CIA role in the 1953 events that restored the Shah to power, whether the United States was ready to respect the outcome of Iran’s revolution. In turn, we asked about his hopes for the ‘Iranian Revolution.’ His response fascinates me to this day. First of all, he immediately corrected us insistently pointing out that what had just been completed was ‘an Islamic Revolution,’ that is, asserting as primary an identity associated with religious and cultural affinities rather than emphasizing the nationalist agenda of regime change that was the common way of interpreting what had happened in Iran. Khomeini went on to say that the importance of the unfolding of events in Iran related to the entire region, and subsequent history vindicated this expectation of regional transformations. Prefiguring the future tensions in the region, Khomeini spoke disparagingly about the Saudi Arabian dynasty, calling it ‘decadent’ and out of touch with its people. His emphasis was on the unacceptability of monarchy rather than on what was later emphasized by way of sectarian tendencies between Shi’a and Sunni tendencies in Islam.

 

Khomeini, then, explained his own role in Iran, saying that he entered the political domain because the Shah had “created a river of blood between himself and the people.” He added that he was looking forward to “resuming the religious life” upon his return to Iran, and would leave the governing process to others outside of the religious community, but drawn exclusively from the ranks of the religiously oriented supporters of the revolution. At first, as we know, Khomeini resumed his residence in Qom, a religious city filled with madrasas (or seminaries), but as the new leadership seemed to falter, his political role became more and more pronounced. By the time of the hostage crisis in late 1979, the radicalization and theocratic nature of the new political order became manifest, and Khomeini himself emerged as ‘the supreme guide,’ with the elected political leadership discharging the functions of government, but subject to his veto and vision.

 

There were other important pronouncements made during the meeting. We asked about the fate of minorities, specifically, Jews and Baha’i’s, who were seen as aligned with the Shah, and in jeopardy. Khomeini’s response was thoughtful, and suggestive of what would follow. He said, “For us, the Jews are an authentic religion of the book, and if they are not too entangled with Israel, they are most welcome in Iran, and it would be a tragedy for us if they left.” In contrast, “the Baha’i’s are not a genuine religion, and have no place in Iran.” Such attitudes did foreshadow both the hostile confrontation with Israel that intensified over the years, and the discriminatory approach taken toward the Bahai’s that at one stage approached a genocidal threshold. Both minorities felt uncomfortable living in an Islamic theocracy, and if they possessed the resources, mainly emigrated to friendlier national habitats.

 

Khomeini spoke at some length about the crimes of the Shah’s government, and the responsibility of its political entourage, suggesting the importance of individual accountability. He mentioned the Nuremberg trials of surviving Nazi political figures and military commanders after World War II as a useful precedent that would underpin the approach taken by the new Iranian leadership toward those who had carried out the repressive policies of the Shah, which included widespread torture and massacres of unarmed demonstrators.

 

As we know, this Nuremberg path was never taken by the new Iranian rulers.  The most prominent members of the inner circle of the Peacock Throne who had not fled the country were summarily executed without either indictments or trials. This was aptly treated by the outside world as an indication that the new governing process in Iran would turn out to be repressive and contemptuous of the rule of law. After the fact, it seemed rather obvious why the regime resorted to rough justice. Many of those who had shaped the revolutionary process had studied in Europe or America, and were recipients of economic assistance from Western governments, included funding from the CIA, and maybe performed political roles. Remember that during the Cold War era, Islamically oriented groups and individuals were looked upon as valuable allies in the West. This was due in Iran to their deep dislike of Marxism and the Soviet Union. Sullivan informed us during our visit to the American Embassy that Washington had prepared 26 scenarios of potential political dangers for the Shah, and not one of them had posited Islamic opposition as a threat.

 

Reflecting on this meeting more than three decades ago several strong impressions remain. First, the almost archetypal reality of Khomeini as the embodiment of an Islamic religious leader, who despite a physical frailness, exhibited great strength of mind and will combined with a demeanor of austere severity. Secondly, his vision of an Islamic political future that was rooted in religious and civilizational affinities rather than based on national borders. Thirdly, the discrepancy between his assertions that upon returning to Iran he would resume the pursuit of his religious vocation and his emergence as the dominating political figure who moved from Qom to Tehran to preside over the drafting of a new and suppressive theocratic constitution and the formation of the government.

 

I have thought often, especially about this last observation, and discussed its core mystery with friends. This remains my question: did Khomeini change the conception of his role upon returning to Iran, or did he hide from us either consciously or unconsciously his real game plan? As far as I know, no one has provided a credible explanation. It may be that Khomeini during his long exile underestimated his popularity in Iran, which he reassessed after receiving such a tumultuous welcome when he returned or that he found that the liberal Islamists (such as Bani Sadr, Barzargon, Ghotbzadeh) he was relying upon to manage the government were not committed to the kind of revolutionary future that he believed to be mandated by the Iranian people or upon his return he was pushed by other imams ‘to save the revolution’ from this first wave of post-Shah politicians who had mainly lived in the West and were not trusted in Iran. However such issues are resolved, it is clear that the Islamic Republic that emerged in Iran resembled the kind of ideal design of Islamic government that Khomeini had depicted in a series of lectures on ‘Islamic Government,’ which was published in 1970.

 

There is one further reflection that bears on the present course of events in the Middle East in this period three years after the Arab Spring. Khomeini by insisting on all or nothing in the struggle against the Shah did create a transformative moment in which an Iranian transition to a truly new political order took place. In contrast the 2011 militants in Tahrir Square were content with the removal of the despotic leader and some soft promises of democratic reforms, and ended up succumbing to a counter-revolutionary tsunami that has reconstituted the repressive Mubarak past in a more extreme form. This does not imply that what has unfolded in Iran was beneficial, only that it was a decisive break with the past, and in this crucial sense, ‘revolutionary.’ In this respect, Ayatollah Khomeini was a true revolutionary even if his goal was to turn the clock back when it came to modernity, including secular values.

 

 

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51 Responses to “A Meeting with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini 35 Years Ago”

  1. Myint Zan February 9, 2014 at 7:01 pm #

    Dear Richard Thanks for this reminiscence and retrospective look at Khomeini and the Islamic Revolution. At least one person, an Iranian, has informed me that the revolution was ‘hijacked’ by Khomeini and the Islamicists. I think you met Khomeini again after the hostages were taken from the American Embassy. I think that meeting was televised and I have seen the footage on TV though I remember Khomeini talking or spewing forth his contempt or hatred of the United States in cool, calm tones.

    The Iranian regime ‘one of the longest military regime on the planet’? I am not sure whether the Shah regime (or government) is a full-fledged military regime. I would not say the father-son-grandson 67 year dictatorship as fully ‘military’ though definitely the totalitarian regime of the post-Second World War. I do not think Shah or for that matter Khomeini’s regime can be described as ‘totalitarian’. In my opinion from what I have read the Saudi Arabian regime which Khomeini has castigated may come closer to ‘totalitarian’ regime though in a different mode and not as bad as the North Koreans.

    In my opinion one of the ‘longest military or at least quasi-military regimes’ with large dollops of one or two dominant figures which made it a military and personal dictatorship is Burma since 1962 and in a sense continuing notwithstanding the so-called ‘stunning reforms’ of recent years. The President, one of two Vice Presidents are ex-military, the Chief Justice and three other Judges of the current Burmese apex court are ex-militaryy (no other former British colony in Asia- Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Brunei, have such military representation (some of them like Pakistan and Bangladesh former military regimes) have such military representation in the executive, legislature and judiciary. At least 65% if not more of the Legislatures at all levels are military or ex-military, 65% if not more of the Cabinet are military are ex-military and 65% of the top ‘judiciary’ are also ex-military. And it has lasted in open or disguised form for more than 50 years. I think it easily ‘beat’ in terms of longevity the Shah’s military regime.

    The only other previous military personal dictatorship which is not that close ‘second’ to a succession of Burmese and previous Burmese military regimes is that of Alfredo Stoessner of Paraguay who ruled Paraguay from 4 May 1954 to 3 February 1989 nearly 35 years. But when he was overthrown he really was overthrown unlike the Burmese dictators Ne Win who ‘retired’ in 1988 but who was the power behind the scene for about ten years and Than Shwe the despot who around 2002 eased out Ne Win and who perhaps to a certain extent still influence the course of Burmese political affairs.

    I do not think post-Stroessner the new regimes or governments that came to power and ruling is, at least in comparison with Burma not military dominated any more and I think compared to Shah’s regime and even with that of Stroessner the succession of the Burmese military regimes could well be ‘one of the strongest’ and one of the ‘longest lasting military regimes on the planet’.

    With Best Wishes

    Myint Zan

  2. Kata Fisher February 9, 2014 at 10:56 pm #

    I have a reflection:

    I came across a monk who gave me excellent council on matters that I was wrestling with; he was spiritual. However, his ability to be in a full understanding over some errors, mainly, of traditionally radical origins/Law (time-pass) some concept based on invalid view of the Law and by myths—this way of interpretations was hindering his effectiveness of approach.

    I think that he was doing things in his own will-power.

    He was stuck in his own interpretation of the text (and his ability was not sufficient); he isolated himself from reality. The last time that I checked on him – he was mixing up everything, and I felt that he is still off as he was before.

    The Church in Rome, Vatican has had a bad approach when comes to delivery of reports on abuses in the Church that are caused by invalid priesthood (a priesthood that is not ordained, in fact). Meaning, not ordained in a valid way – not by the standard of the Church Law under the Spirit – the Church under the governing of the Spirit of God who directs the Body of believers by one mind.

    When comes to the spiritual aspects of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeni that Professor Falk was wondering about; I can note one thing: Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeni would have to be under prophetic anointing while totally neutral when influencing/directing the outcomes in the Land, and in this case Iran. Iran needs spiritual protection; however, all the approach by which they have done that was not effective. This is why: Iran as a land has violated international Laws and most likely has known well that were doing that. That is not a valid way of governing, in fact, and will bring about openings to shake-ups in the Lands, and destruction of stability.

    Iran can thank God that they have a valid spiritual authority over the Land in this point in time, and they should strait out their household during this time. It seems that Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeni may have fallen under havy spiritual attacks, as he was trying to hold of spiritual destruction over the Land. This can be possible, and most likely has taken place.

    In addition to that, they may have misinterpreted and misapplied Islamic Laws in corporate setting of Iran. For this reason, Laws international have to be guidance to the public conscience along with the religious Laws. Sadly, it is not the case and people are diverted from authentic Spiritual covering that appointed Laws do provide, can do that effectively. When International Law overlaps the religious Laws – from a Scriptural perspective – this also means a dual Spiritual authority (along with governing authority of the Land). I personally have nothing against Islamic approach to the governing; however, interpretations of Islamic text are a concern, even to me as Church and outside Islamic Faith community.

    Sacred texts have to be in # 1 a anointed and #2 in a prophetic spiritual oversight – this does not mean that we yank away sacred text away from the public/lay-people. It means, however, that we have a better understanding of those who is qualified to handle the Texts of the Scriptures. Likewise, lay-people would have to understand spiritual authority of Faith Leaders, and not ignore that aspect of government. Further, those who are spiritually mature would have to work out differences that concern the overlaps in authority, and governing of the people (civil and religious governing).
    For example, US violates freedom of the Church to practice Church Law according to the teaching of Paul Apostle when comes to the disputes over woman’s issues/contraceptives and Healthcare Law. But how? It submits the corporate conscience of the Church Leadership into spiritual Lawlessness. It is valid for spiritually/civilly Lawless to be Lawless; however, civil Lawlessness that is imputed onto the Church that is under the Law of God’s Spirit (in that mind/conscience) cannot be violated by the civil Laws of the Land –this would be not constitutional to do so in the Land. It also completely violates international Law by which Church (as religious entity/body) is covered. The freedom of the Church is, in fact, to be free from the burden of spiritual and/or civil Lawlessness (in body and conscience): to be supporting one/many in personal will of civil/spiritual lawlessness? Humorously NOT; it is a furry claw! We, the Church Catholic Charismatic say to that obnoxiousness “Fur Blush!!!” However, civil government, in fact, may do that (supporting one/many in personal will of lawlessness whether spiritual or civil).

    When comes to the Church in Rome, we have Church order: The priests are silent; the prophets will speak, and these who teach will teach. This is the Law of the Sprit. I heard report that a lady @ UN that is responsible for child rights was suggesting that Vatican Changes the Canon Law of the Church. This can be done, in fact, but only if God said so. Meaning, nothing changes until prophets are appointed by God to make a change. By the Law of the Gospel the Church under God’s Sprit cannot touch anything that took place in any time-pass –not without apostolic and prophetic office; that is, all man in the Church Charismatic under apostolic and prophetic anointing who would complain to the Pope appointed about the issues of the Church.

    I would say that woman is not correct, not valid (on spiritual base/has no sustaining authority spiritual) for suggesting that Church should change Canon Law. She does not understand the essence of the Canon Law of the Church Catholic. However, she has a valid request: report on Church abuses.

    Silence about abomination in the Church is not a matter of valid Church vows and/or Church Order that we strive to protect by the Scripture and by tradition; however, it is a matter of Church disorder/cause by invalid vows/invalid ordination and sexual immorality within the Church leadership, itself. According to the Scripture we use Judgment by the Gospel. Church order is this: when there is a corporate sin- there will be a corporate confession. Meaning, Church report by Rome/Vatican on child abuses to UN will have to take place, otherwise the Church will fall under judgment of God, and will be given over to destruction. Only the prophets and Church that is under God’s Sprit will be safe and will not be condemned to destructions. In this point in time, the communities of the Churches are already excommunicated spiritually –have fallen off from Faith of the Church. There are hardly any conversions by Faith of the Church, only conversions by Spirit into the Church/Faith.

    We know that religious immature/invalid like to argue and play ping-pong by those in authority. However, if they do not submit to the Laws valid that are appointed – there will be a judgment that is appointed trough the prophets in the Church-Charismatic under prophetic anointing who will curse them and will cut them off. This is specifically relevant for those who are @ UN and are appointed by Vatican, including those in Vatican who may direct outcomes on that area of the problem.

    That is what I was able to see lately.

  3. Gene Schulman February 10, 2014 at 1:00 am #

    Not too content with either of the above comments, but Richard is to be thanked for the lucid and reflective assessment of the revolution and Khomeini’s part in it way back then.

    • Kata Fisher February 10, 2014 at 8:18 am #

      I know how you feel Gene, and I feel the same way.

      Also, I do not like either what I am dealing with – I cannot say if is a curse or a blessing. It is just awfully difficult to be misplaced into a calling/not a calling. However, these are some issues that different religious chaoses create for society/for all of us. We have a vast social disorder due to religious absurdity.

      All we can do is to share our thoughts and prayers about that – if any person can use even a paragraph, or a sentence of that which is said here – we achieve effectiveness. I do hope in things that are not visible to me.

      I am not someone who enjoys wasting their time for no valid cause/effect. About that I am straight-forward; I do not hide that. :)

  4. Sergey February 10, 2014 at 10:42 pm #

    Dear Dr. Falk,

    Thank you for sharing your memories with us.
    Either hated by some or revered by others, Khomeini was an epochal figure whose vision has radically transformed Iran and constructed new structures of political institutions in the country.

    • Gene Schulman February 11, 2014 at 12:28 am #

      “Sorry, but anyone who defends that madman does not know the whole story of what those stone-age thinkers have done to my country. Falk has now gone straight into my list of semi-informed ‘liberal’ Americans. Right or left, I’m afraid they are poorly informed. That does not mean that the Neocons or their kin are better, but the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily a better person.”

      Just thought I’d share a different opinion with you, from a dear Iranian friend whose anonymity I must respect.

      • Richard Falk February 11, 2014 at 8:46 am #

        Gene: I am well aware of the strong feelings that surround the memory and perception of Khomeini, especially
        in Iran. Many Iranians changed their minds drastically after experiencing the repressive after-effects of
        theocratic rule, although welcoming the revolution and supporting Khomeini’s leadership earlier. I claim no special insight
        into these complexities, beyond saying that I made an effort then and later to understand these shifting perceptions as best
        I could.

  5. monalisa February 13, 2014 at 3:39 am #

    Dear Richard,

    I find you extraordinaire insofar, that you very often touch a subject of controversy.

    From my point of view – and I regard it from history in a broader sense – any real revolution from within the population itself and not orchestrated as nowadays from some powers with paid “instrumentals”, will have the tendency to have a pendulum from one extreme side to the other.
    While the Iranian Shah was an installed figure dismissing the Iranian population and serving Western complexes, the religious leader of the revolution swung into the other extreme of religion.

    However, my female side sees for example great achievement insofar, that

    approx. 85% of the female rural population is since the revolution educated in reading, writing and arithmetic;

    approx.60 % of students are female.

    This is an achievement within the shortest possible time reached and speaks for itself.

    PS: I personally don’t like any extremes of any religion.

    Take care of yourself

    monalisa

    • Richard Falk February 13, 2014 at 8:13 am #

      Dear monalisa:

      As always, your comments resonate. I think both realities have emerged: the sort of tangible achievements that
      you mention and the oppressiveness of a theocratic state. What to me is most illuminating in retrospect is the
      difference between a revolutionary process that reconstitutes the state and a reform process that gets rid of a
      particular leader and his immediate entourage. Both types of upheavals are subject to counter-revolution as the
      French Revolution and the recent Egyptian coup illustrate.

      Hope you are enjoying life in these earl months of 2014.

      Richard

      • Kata Fisher February 17, 2014 at 7:19 pm #

        Professor Falk,

        I wrote this a while ago, and I was compelled to shear this with you (in the context of the religious issues that were discussed here). Specificaly, in reference to the order of priesthood that may or may not be applicable to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. With that some conflict in his religious approach in govrement of Iran.

        I did not study from a Islamic Faith perspective and/or Interpretation, and my interpretation is based on some basic Christian Hermeneutic; however, a line or two (in my conclusion) may aid a better understanding of errors of religious orders/approaches.

        Who was Melchizedek? A historical character or “something” other?
        Nathan Lefler, Catholic University of America writes in his article The Melchizedek traditions in the Letter to the Hebrews: reading through the eyes of an inspired Jewish-Christian author and through Catholic exegesis, which, according to Dei Verbum is “the task of authentically interpreting the word of God, whether written or handed on, has been entrusted exclusively to the living teaching office of the Church, whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ.” With that in mind he explains through a brief historical survey the Melchizedek passages in the letter of the Hebrews and recounting of the Genesis narrative in Hebrews 7.1-10 and writes that “…by and large the Fathers of the Church as well as the bulk of the Schoolmen read the Old Testament allegorically, as point unwavering to Christ, both prophetically and typologically.” And with that in mind it is understandable that, “a work like the Epistle to the Hebrews, then, a New Testament text packed with Old Testament quotation and allusion, a relative uniformity can be expected in pre-modern exegesis with respect to the author’s many Old Testament citations.” According to the authors principles of interpretation and interpretations found in New Testament Letters (since there is no reference to the Melchizedek in the Gospel)—“Melchizedek is a type of Christ, even perhaps the paramount type, as the non-Levitical, and royal, high priest.” Further the author writes that fathers of the church concurred with the author of the Hebrews himself in his interpretation of Old Testament. He notes that Thomas Aquinas; although, tried to elucidate the literal sense of the Scripture and the importance of reading the text in its historical context, has come to a reliable conclusion with the respect to the theological significance of Melchizedek, the king of Salem, and the priest of the Most High. With that, the author gives a literal and reliable interpretation of Melchizedek and his office, according to the New Testament. Thomas, T. K , writes about Melchizedek, the king of Salem (pre-Israelite Jerusalem) in the light of Etymology and the Psalms 110.4. “Etymologically, Melchizedek’s name “means king of uprightness”, or righteousness, and Salem means peace…he was the king and priest, in fact the first priest we meet in the Bible, the ‘progenitor of all priesthood.’” In Psalms 110.4, according to author Melchizedek is presented as a king and priest, he is the head, or founder, or prototype of an order of priesthood and different from the Levitical or Aronic order. However, the views that consider that “Melchizedek is simply a divine title for Yhwh himself” explained and accepted by Rick Van De Wather in his article Michael or Yhwh? Toward Identifying Melchizedek in 11Q13, does not pass the test of faith/the Scriptural truths, when interpreted literally.
        Concluding notes
        As we must rest on authority of the Scripture, and apply a sound exegesis, to our interpretation of the Scripture—these passages can be literally interpreted according to the Scripture (within the literary context), and we should look at Scriptural facts. That is, in truth, exactly what Melchizedek represents, according to the Scripture, as a whole. He represents a first order of the priesthood, and foreshadows Messiah’s “King-Priest order,” where a King Himself takes part in his ministry (in this case, specifically, the king Melchizedek meets the kings and Abraham). This order according to Melchizedek is in a different from of order, then a Levitical order, where according to the Scripture, it was unlawfully for a King to take part in an “order of priesthood.” We read in the Scripture when Prophet Samuel explains about the consequence to Saul for disobedience of Levitical order—as a king—when he makes offerings to God. (We can note a similarity between this events, as Saul takes part in “order after Melchizedek” while being unrighteous, according to the Levitical order). Levitical order, according to the Scripture was established by God Himself (for entire tribe of Levities); however, while God was present, He was not taking part in these orders, and these orders were not a priest-king order (in a form of an office, as Saul assumed; therefore, a severe consequence). Here, the order of Melchizedek is a order that king-priest himself takes part in it, just as we see Christ being a “Priest-King,” after the order of Melchizedek and is taking part in ministry (as a King) according to Psalms 110.4 and Hebrews 7.1—10.
        Etymologically, Melchizedek represents the Household/Kingdom of David; (David, king after God His own heart and all that comes with that). When we take word study such as those above, and apply these name/character requirements to the order of Melchizedek: “king of uprightness,” or “righteousness,” in consideration, and likewise, that the Kingdom of David is originated in Salem, in Jerusalem (the city of David).
        The background of Genesis 14, tells us exactly who Melchizedek was: King of Salem—a king just as other kings were; however, he also was a priest of God Most High and has worshiped God and was righteous, and from Scriptural Background, he was not a part of the war between kings; however, he came to meet the kings and Abraham. Melchizedek, his name refers to excellence of righteousness (as Job was righteous and has fellowshipped with God). Job can be placed about the same historical point in time as Abraham and Melchizedek.
        When these Scriptural references are interpreted symbolically and a conclusion leads to believe that these passages referee to a theophany (a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ), then, we have to look at the Scripture, literary, where theophanies, in fact do occur and make our conclusions based on the textual evidence/backgrounds that surround these specific pre-incarnate appearance of Christ, individually. With that, applying a sound exegesis to our interpretation, looking at the Scripture, literary and within its historical-cultural context, by which we interpret the Scripture.

        BIBLIOGRAPHY
        Lefler, Nathan. “The Melchizedek traditions in the Letter to the Hebrews: reading through the eyes of an inspired Jewish-Christian author.” Pro Ecclesia 16, no. 1 (December 1, 2007): 73-89. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed October 9, 2010).
        Thomas, T. K. “Melchizedek, King and Priest : An Ecumenical Paradigm?.” Ecumenical Review 52, no. 3 (2000): 403-409. New Testament Abstracts, EBSCOhost (accessed October 9, 2010).
        Van de Water, R. “Michael or Yhwh? Toward Identifying Melchizedek in 11Q13.” Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha 16, no. 1 (2006): 75-86. New Testament Abstracts, EBSCOhost (accessed October 9, 2010).

      • Dan Livni February 20, 2014 at 7:43 am #

        You should have asked Khomeini why he supports executing gays for no reason, other then his hatred of gays.

  6. Gene Schulman February 20, 2014 at 9:20 am #

    I was going to suggest that Dan Livni’s comments be blocked, but actually he is so far out that it is almost entertaining to read his screeds. He is probably one of the most irrational and idiotic trolls to appear on this blog.

    • Kata Fisher February 20, 2014 at 11:42 am #

      Gene, Mr. Livini has a distinguished way to Q/A’s…

      I have a reflection:

      Religious Laws that make null and void the Laws that are appointed are “null and void.”
      The Law itself allows and condemns the law of the sin.
      The law of the sin: specifically, sexual immorality.
      Sexual immorality = unlawful marriages.
      What is–or would be an unlawful marriage?: 1) unlawful under the Law, 2) unlawful under the Law of the Faith and/or 3) unlawful under the Law of the Spirit.
      There are three types of Laws those define/allow/restrict unlawful marriages – from different perspectives.
      If you have more than one wife (sexual relationship) – that itself is unlawful by the Law of Faith and or the Law of the Sprit; however, allowed by the Law (as sin nature that Law condemns): sexual immorality. One may practice the law of the sin.
      The same law of the sin applies to people that are practicing ecclesiastically unlawful marriages– that may need to be allowed under civil laws.
      Meaning, the Law of Faith and Sprit cannot bless ecclesiastically unlawful marriages; it can however allow for them.
      Why to allow? God allows free will, and he gives a choice to a conscience. Conversions of the spirit can happen @ any age to anyone?
      Now, religious absurdity confuses a lot. Self-righteousness is easy to practice, and yields what? – Lawlessness. What is the result of Lawlessness: socio-religious disorder?

      • Kata Fisher February 20, 2014 at 11:47 am #

        This is what I think and feel: when someone kills a person because he may practice homosexual relationship – that is like a stealing of the sheep under the Law of the Spirit.

    • monalisa February 21, 2014 at 1:06 am #

      to Kata Fisher:

      please beware yourself to think that everything you read on CNN, BBC, Bloomberg etc.will describe the truth.

      Instead, i suggest – if you are interested on the truth – look out on the political developments and things already happened in order to get your own picture.

      monalisa

      • Kata Fisher February 21, 2014 at 6:40 pm #

        Monalisa:
        I am thankful for the fragrance of the joy that comes from your spirit –this adds to my strength. I am thankful to God for that. You are dear to me.

        I am thinking about Walker B. Percy. He said nothing for a very long time. Did we offend him by Spirit? :)

      • Richard Falk February 22, 2014 at 1:40 pm #

        I share the sentiment behind Kata Fisher’s lovely phrase to endorse my admiration
        for the wisdom of monalisa, and also to share her wonder about Walker Percy’s silence.
        I welcome the idea that this digital habitat might yet form a likeminded community.

      • Gene Schulman February 23, 2014 at 2:58 am #

        I also share the sentiments of Kata Fisher and monalisa. However, I wonder if Walker Percy and others like him; the good Rabbi, et al., will not soon be back if you post your Princeton speech on this blog. That will certainly give these wolf-like trolls something to snarl at again.

      • Fred Skolnik February 23, 2014 at 6:34 am #

        Here are a few more lovely phrases from Kata Fisher for your like-minded community:

        The Jews-fake (in Israel), in fact, are the government of Antichrist/ as wicked Israelites and Gentiles that are Church/in the Church/False Christians– and are practicing “The Third Rich of Hitler”, in fact.

        All wicked Israelites and pagans-wicked in the Church-wicked need Baptism in God’s Spirit by the Free Fall of God’s Spirit to annul their irrevocable sins—they are in Satan’s harlot all together.

        Are you completely shameless, Professor Falk?

  7. Bryan Hemming February 23, 2014 at 3:42 am #

    As Westerners I think we display a certain amount of arrogance in looking and analysing countries outside the west from a religious/political/despotic point of view if we can’t see the lack of true democracy existent in our own societies. The West is now ruled and controlled by a convenient allegiance between the military/industrial comlex and global financial institutions, both of which now have far more power than our nominal rulers. Yet neither have a mandate beyond their own self-interests, or any democratic legitimacy. Certainly President Dwight Eisenhower gave ample warning of the dangers of such an alliance,

    I think it´s high time more analysts started looking inwards as much as outwards at the current problems the world faces.

    • Kata Fisher February 23, 2014 at 8:59 am #

      Dear Mr. Fred Skolnik:

      Bring some Scripture to the table when you can?

      I do have sharpened words that may or may not cut trough a conscience and a spirit.

      The Law of God’s Sprit condemns the wicked; it always has done that. It is God who hates the wicked and He condemns them. We condemn the wicked by God’s Spirit.

      There is such thing as “wicked Israelites” in spirit of Antichrist/Anti-Spirit of God: Accursed in their spirit and mind!

      There is such thing as church-harlot in spirit of Antichrist/ Anti-Spirit of God: Accursed in their spirit and mind!

      THE HARLOT: The one who was always drinking on the blood of the saint and servant of God.

      Are you “wicked Israelite”…are you or are you not? This is debatable?
      By Sprit of God we can know SINS OF THE WICKED!

      The fact: The wicked cannot response to a single fact to their conscience. IMPOSSIBLE FOR THEM!

      Why is that? NOT POSSIBLE FOR THEM DUE TO BAD SINS personal/generational. The sin: “Blasphemy of God’s Sprit and/or Satanic seals!”

      I would hate you WHEN would not be truthful to you if I will tell you anything else then this: The wicked need Baptisms in Gods Spirit! Why? Yes, why is that? OTHERWISE, their sins CAN NOT be forgiven.
      Can you use Scripture and annul this which I am saying to you? – But use ALL OF THE SCRIPTURE?!

      There is only wicked in the world and those who are not wicked!
      There is only “wicked/false Israelites and church false-wicked” and there is only “the Holy People and Church grafted in by God’s Spirit!”

      Not by the Faith of the Church? Give me a break! The Faith of the Church the wicked can’t keep! When someone is spiritually evil…we say: “This fails the test of Faith…we need to graft them in!” Do we have to graft in everyone? YES and NOT!

      It is possible to graft in evil people! It is, in fact: only by Baptism in God’s Spirit (and only by free Fall – or giving over to Satan).

      A blessing and a curse! To chose one! :D :D :D

      • Bryan Hemming February 23, 2014 at 10:21 am #

        I am not Fred Skolnik and I find your comment as highly offensive as I do his.

      • Kata Fisher February 23, 2014 at 11:45 am #

        Mr. Hemming:

        Why? :)

      • Kata Fisher February 23, 2014 at 12:16 pm #

        Dear Mr. Hemming,

        I have a reflection:

        “What are my brothers needs?”

        Perhaps, I have asked you the wrong question…

  8. rehmat1 February 24, 2014 at 7:37 am #

    Dr. Falk is at loss to understand a true Islamic scholar. Imam Khomeini did not study at Iran’s public schools or a western university. Thus, his brain was not corrupted like most of Muslim scholars and leaders. Imam Khomeini knew that the so-called “western modernity and secular values”, are based on Western Pagan culture – and thus are incompatible with the true teachings of Islam.

    The 1979 Islamic Revolution did not turn the “clock back” (even though Muslim power ruled a greater part of the known world from the 8th to early 18th century when Western society was passing through its Dark Age) – it has transformed Islamic Republic into the most powerful regional power.

    http://rehmat1.com/2013/06/05/imam-khomeini-remembered-after-24-years/

    • Gene Schulman February 24, 2014 at 8:08 am #

      @ rehmat1

      I would hesitate to say that Professor Falk is at any loss to understand what you claim is a “true Islamic scholar”. His own scholarship belies that contention.

      I would agree with him that the revolution indeed turned the clock back from modernism and democratic ideology.

      I also do not agree that Iran is the region’s greatest power. So far that title remains with Israel, along with its guarantor, the USA. The conflict between them is how to retain that edge by preventing Iran from becoming a deterrent.

      Lastly, I doubt if most Iranians, inside and outside the country, would agree that the theocratic Islamists are the best choice for ruling that benighted land. It has been desecrated by neglect and authoritarianism.

      • rehmat1 February 24, 2014 at 1:27 pm #

        @Schulman

        If Dr. Falk is such a great scholar, why he is hated by most of Jewish scholars?

        If the Islamic Revolution turned the block backward, how come none of the remaining 25,000 Iranian Jews refused to migrate to Israel when offered $10,000 each?

        Is Islamic Republic is the greatest regional power? Former British Foreign Secretary Lord David Owen said that in an Op-Ed at British daily MIRROR on December 16, 2011. Ooops! I forgot Lord Owen was not a member of British Friends of Israel, therefore, he could not be a reliable source.

        http://rehmat1.com/2011/12/17/lord-owen-iran-is-the-most-powerful-country-in-the-region/

      • Gene Schulman February 25, 2014 at 1:25 am #

        @rehmat1

        Great scholarship does not have to be approved by religious scholars. Most of those who you claim hate Falk are not scholars. Or at least not honest ones.

        There are some people who are happy where they live, and are not tempted by money.

        To cite one person’s opinion does not make the opinion true. Especially if it appears in the Daily Mirror!

  9. Gene Schulman February 25, 2014 at 6:01 am #

    Richard’s voice is going to be missed after he steps down next month. Who else is as capable of holding Israel’s feet to the fire? His final report is embedded as a link in the attached article. it is well worth reading.

    http://www.commondreams.org/

  10. rehmat1 February 25, 2014 at 4:57 pm #

    @Shulman

    Your ignorance is laughable to the least. The ADL, UN Watch and AJC are all Jewish and they called for the firing of Dr. Falk. Are you saying those Jews attached to these and other groups are “religious” or “not honest”.

    If Lord Owen is the “lone voice” claiming Iran to be a regional power – Why Bibi is whining about Islamic Republic all over the world.

    http://rehmat1.com/2014/02/25/netanyahu-everyone-i-hate-is-antisemite/

    • Fred Skolnik February 26, 2014 at 2:35 am #

      Good for you, Rehmat. You are right. Israel is not a regional power, because it has no interest in extending its hegemony over the Arab nations in the region while Iran does. Israel’s only interest is to defend itself against Arab and terrorist aggression.

      • Gene Schulman February 26, 2014 at 2:55 am #

        Nope. Israel is not a regional power, being the only one in the region to be a nuclear power. No hegemonic ambitions, but as a partner of the US, merely encourages wars and seeks regime changes in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt, Ukraine, Georgia and Iran. Need one go on?

        nehmat1 and Fred Skolnik, just how much does the Lobby pay you to spread this hasbara?

      • Fred Skolnik February 26, 2014 at 3:10 am #

        Nope, Israel is not a regional power. It does not encourage wars because instability in the region poses a threat to its security. You are fictionalizing again. And rehmat is one of yours in case you haven’t noticed it, mirroring your own irrationality and resentments. It’s a pity that you don’t look at yourself the way you look at him.

  11. Gene Schulman February 26, 2014 at 12:07 am #

    rehmat1 is beyond redemption, and no longer worth a reply.

    • Dan Livni February 26, 2014 at 5:19 am #

      rehmat1 thinks Jews were behind 9/11, Madrid train bombings in 2004, London train bombings in 2005, the killing of Rafic Hariri in Lebanon in 2005.

      • Dan Livni February 26, 2014 at 5:23 am #

        Gene Schulman let me put what Richard Falk wrote last month.

        http://richardfalk.wordpress.com/2014/01/10/the-emergent-palestinian-imaginary/#comment-17195

        Leadership in the region that dares challenge or threaten Israel. Iran has been the principal target of this Israeli projection of a tendency to punish disproportionately and violently those that stand in the way or exhibit hostility to the Israeli National Project. Syria is illustrative of the sort of fragmentation that weakens a neighboring country that has been hostile or in a conflictual relationship with Israel. A welcoming of the Egyptian coup that displaced the democratically elected government with an oppressive military leadership is a further disclosure of Israel’s conception of its security interests.

        Gene Schulman tell me the connection between 150,000 Syrians being killed in the last 3 years, 3 million Syrian refugees, Assad dropping barrel bombs on his people and gassing his people.
        Yet Falk gives the impression Israel is behind this.

      • Fred Skolnik February 26, 2014 at 5:36 am #

        Because the only real criterion for “advocacy” among America haters is which side America (or Israel) is perceived as being on, they often find themselves entangled in a web of impossible contradictions. Mubarak was perceived as a friend of America and therefore the America haters were for the protesters. Assad is perceived as an enemy of America and therefore the America haters pull their punches when contemplating his atrocities. The net result of Mubarak’s actions against the Egyptian protesters was pretty close to zero dead. The result of Assad’s actions against the Syrian protesters is 140,000 dead. The Assad advocacy or tolerance is reinforced by the fact that Hizbollah, an enemy of Israel, is supporting him, but at the same time, Hamas, which is also an enemy of Israel, is supporting the rebels. To get around this confusing problem, the haters focus with great satisfaction on the fact that the loathsome Al-Qaeda is active among the rebels and inadvertantly financed by America, but of course this is the most blatant hypocrisy, as the haters have always refused to acknowledge that Al-Qaeda is a barbaric terrorist organization, even trying to exonerate it from 9/11. But lo and behold, Turkey too is on America’s side in the Syrian war. What to do? Criticize Turkey? But Turkey is now an adversary of Israel. When you are irrational, as haters are, you are going to wind up tripping over your own feet and committed to insane positions. Needless to say, when America and Israel are not part of the equation, these people couldn’t care less how many Arabs or Africans or Asians are slaughtered in local wars. As Norman Mailer once noted, two blacks in the ring just don’t do it for fight fans, but when a white boy goes up against a black boy, the juices really start flowing. Throw Jews into the mix and the haters go wild.

  12. Gene Schulman February 26, 2014 at 5:58 am #

    Whatever nonsense you trolls try to convince me with, I won’t buy any of it. I’m with Richard Falk all the way. Thank goodness we’ve had him to inform us of the truth of the Israel/Palestine conflict, not to speak of Syria. The US and Israel are behind all the chaos in the region.

    This is all I have to say on the subject.

  13. Kata Fiisher February 26, 2014 at 7:13 am #

    I have a reflection:

    Gene, I think that “rehmat1” does not understand the bare realities.

    You really have to discern who a valid Jew is/would be, and then what exactly is/would be the valid way of Judaism/the Faith of Jewish exile- people – or Jewish Diaspora that who over 2000 years have remained in obedience to the Law by Faith and God’s Spirit (even to this point in time).

    Note that valid Jewish people of Faith would not intentionally misinterpret and misapply the Books of Old Testament, especially, the Law would be emphasized by care of conscience, as they would keep the Law, by Faith. Now, not necessarily keep the ‘work of the Law’; the righteousness of the Law itself by Faith would be kept by righteous person. Contemporary Jews that are in valid Faith/interpretation of the text are exceptionally righteous people – they do not practice abominations, nor can they.

    One can be unrighteous/accursed in their mind and spirit (by the law of sin) and practice wickedness by the Law itself (their interpretation/application; therefore, – just by twisted application of the Law (not that the Law is twisted) – but their twisted application of the Law that the Law itself will condemn.

    There are reports that cults of false Jews practice abominations by their interpretation of the Scripture and/or their self-made religion. They have another religion – not what Judisam is!

    When you look at bare realities of those people – they are hypocrites (as false Jews). Even genetic research showed us what is written in the Scripture “another nation” another spirit (within the nation).

    Also note that these false-Jews are highly anti-Semitic, and in the one sprit with false-Church that is highly anti-Semitic. For that reason they viciously hate to kill the Jews authentic world-wide, and exceptionally Jewish-exiles of Palestine (contemporary Muslims that are Jewish exiles in Holy Land). Research on genetics gave report and evidence about that!

    I hope you are having a wonderful day today, Gene!

    • Gene Schulman February 26, 2014 at 12:39 pm #

      Thank you Kata. Frankly, I don’t care about whether anyone is Jewish or not. That’s there own business. Everyone is entitled to believe in whatever religion or faith they wish. My concern is about Israel and Zionism. How it became attached to the American empire, and what it is doing to innocent people in it’s neighborhood and beyond. I am ashamed for the Israeli people of all faiths or none, as I am of my fellow Americans, who have allowed themselves to be taken in by a fascistic leadership governing each of those countries. Israel will survive so long as they walk hand in hand with the US. But the US democracy (sic) is on its last legs itself, and is desperately thrashing out everywhere to upset regimes that are not in its camp. When more and more begin to resist and the US continues its decline, perhaps then the necessary revolution will occur. I can only hope it will peaceful.

      In spite of the above, I hope your day was as nice as mine, today. Except for the rain :-)

      • Dan Livni March 1, 2014 at 8:59 am #

        Gene Schulman Israel is a dot compared to the Arab world.
        Comparison of the size of Israel vs. the Arab World

        http://www.iris.org.il/sizemaps/arabwrld.htm

      • Kata Fiisher March 1, 2014 at 12:51 pm #

        Gene,

        I am amazed that you are uttering your words by Sprit!

        It is a cancer in the Middle East because the ORIGINAL cell itself is modified and is of death…

        In fact, it’s Biblically pathetic and delusional, in a way — the way England and else who chooses the landmark for them…They WANTED A LAND! They got a land in hell, in a way.

        Now day’s the Land of Israel looks as good to Israelites/supporters of that nonsense of theirs as good a “King Saul” was looking good to be the ‘King of Israel’.

        Saul! – He was just a head taller Benjaminiti — that made him qualified? (God mocked them with that requirement – as they insisted in their own timing for a king, and just as other nation did want to have one – just before the time that David was appointed/anointed, while youth. He was always a chosen King.

        When God appointed David and then David was anointed by prophet, then David was also anointed by elders of Judah as a King while Saul ‘was acting as one’ but was not ever one). Still David has consider Saul as anoited – as he/Saul was @ a time.

        The only thing Israelites accomplished with their request was destruction and blood. There is nothing new under the sun.

      • Richard Falk March 1, 2014 at 1:05 pm #

        It has been removed. I will try to be a diligent gatekeeper in relation
        to posts that contain language that personally insults the author of another
        comment or of a post. But I will not always be able to monitor some of the
        blog traffic, especially from contributors that have been approved in the past whose comments are posted, and must then be removed if violating the civility ground rules.

      • Kata Fiisher March 1, 2014 at 5:36 pm #

        Skolnik:

        What is anti-Semitism? In fact, anti-Semitism it is/would be this: “the hate of Arab-Jew(s) peoples in Palestine!” Arab-Palestine are Jews-exsiles in Holy Land.

        I have hard time to believe lies, and I do not change my mind! – What I said, I have said by ‘whatever’? No. I am Church Charismatic that will not sugar coat a lie and I tell you in accordance to A Mind.

        Your misinterpretation/misapplication of that what I said is YOUR OWN WAY!

        Skolnik:
        This is your way:

        It is common for those who are in unrighteousness/wickedness and an evil spirit of that to apply “their way of self-righteousness” to another person who does not believe in their lies and their heresy (interpretation of truth by/in an evil spirit).

        What is anti-Semitism? In fact, anti-Semitism it is/would be this: “the hate of Arab-Jew(s) peoples in Palestine!”

        Unrighteous will misapply ability of the Church-Charismatic in God’s Spirit to do discerning of the spirits!

        And the Church Charismatic can in fact get to the bear nakedness of one’s nature (bad or evil). How & why, he/Skolnik would know that? I am not an expert on it, but I am equipped to it!

        Is it hurtful, and cannot be liked? I mean SURE! I mean YES! It is harsh on human spirit…even on me. But hay, hay, hay!

        He calls that ability to do “discerning of the sprits” anti-Semitic?

        The Church Charismatic in God’s Spirit says to people like that, “believe whatever according to the spirit of your mind!” In reality, we say that!

        What is anti-Semitism? In fact, anti-Semitism it is/would be this: “the hate of Arab-Jew(s) peoples in Palestine!”

        The science research genetic gave evidence to this fact: Arab-Palestine are Jews-exsiles in Holy Land.

  14. ibrahim itace March 11, 2014 at 6:57 am #

    while iran is recording tremendous scientific and technological breakthrough as legacy of islamic revolution under khomeini 35 years ago,zionist saudi wahhabists have been busy exporting evils and destructions to muslim nations through wahhabi affiliates like alqaeda and boko haram. look at how boko haram is slaughtering innocent muslims like rams in nigeria burning schools, killing school boys and taking away girls as sex slaves. the currency saudi policy shows that they are replacing islamic ideals with barbaric arab jahili legacy. we dont like it.down with arab monarchs, the factors of disasters and backwardness

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