Take a shufti.
“Shufti” is British slang, now almost forgotten by people under 50 years old. It means take a look – look at this. It comes from an Arabic word that British soldiers picked up in the markets of Afghanistan when Britain was involved in a war there – no not the recent wars – this was the First Anglo-Afghan War between the British East India Company and Afghanistan from 1839 to 1842.
If you take a look at British English you will see we have hundreds of words from all over the world in our language and slang. This is because we had a world-wide empire. Tracing the etymology (origin) of our words, through Greek, Latin, Arabic, Persian, Chinese, Indian languages, Sanskrit, takes you on a journey around the world, through beautiful places, cultures and peoples. Many of the words that have travelled through cultures and survived into British English are the words for beautiful things, foods, flowers, games, music – lemons, oranges, lilac, kebabs, alfalfa, tulips, tigers, sugar, candy, carafe, coffee, bronze, paradise. Many other words refer to the human condition, words about people and their interactions – beggar, cushty (nice, pleasant), bazzar (marketplace).
What you can see in this is that we are all brothers and sisters. People we are divided from by religion and language and culture and war – these are our fellow human brothers and sisters. We have a common origin – even a silly evolutionist would probably agree about that. I am going to get a little bit political-sounding here – but I am not advocating a policy or taking sides on a political debate. I am however looking at a thorny issue and asking “What do YOU personally think Jesus would do?” and suggesting you form your own conclusion about what you think is best, for you, in the long run.
There are people that other people do not want to come and live in their lands, because the foreign newcomers will bring opposing religions and cultures, they will bring their own conflicts hatreds and wars, they will take resources, overpopulate, change the existing culture, and do terrorism. They are called economic migrants and refugees. They come in boats and over borders by any means. They will die to try. From Asia, Mexico, North Africa, the poor and oppressed come, unwelcomed, to make a new life in the lands of the rich. This is a GLOBAL phenomenon. It has always happened, but in our crowded world it is now huge. Millions are moving. Hundreds of millions want to. It’s not just happening to your country or region, it’s the world.
What are we the rich to do? I have searched my heart because I like most here in the rich world I am worried about it. Like most here if I am honest would rather these people did not come in vast numbers to settle in my homeland. I would rather they did not have to come. That strong desire to preserve and protect my worldly life here in my fortunate place of birth troubles me however, as it does not sit well with my understanding of Jesus; teaching.
Look at the life of Jesus. He was a refugee. As a baby His family fled from Herod to the land of the old oppressor, Egypt. Although we know little of His early childhood years, we know He was an immigrant kid, a Jew in a place where Jews were probably not very welcome. Later in His life he tells parables such as of the good Samaritan. The Bible is full of conversions of the bad and foolish and misled and possessed being redeemed and becoming the best of this world. The stone that the builders rejected becomes the cornerstone.
So, my stance on the issue of immigration is to ask, “What would Jesus do?”. Would He open the gates? Would He open His heart? Would He walk on the water and rescue the drowning boat children? Would He feed them? Clothe them? Welcome them? Love them? Did He not, after all He had experienced as a refugee and persecuted person say to love our enemy, love our neighbour, love those that hate you? Is not his highest command after Loving our maker to love one-another? As He was dying for us unjustly tortured and nailed naked to a cross in agony did He forgive the people who did it? Love of God and the our fellow people is His highest command, and He obeyed it come what may and to the death. His reward was our salvation and eternal life with the Father in Heaven for Him and all who will follow Him. This ultimate price faith for life deal is still on offer to all, and if you watch your news you will even know that while the deal comes with many payment options, there are Christians actually literally being crucified in our present day world.
I think there is no way out of this, we have a duty to God and our fellow humans that is higher than our fears of the consequences of the wave of human migration that is happening around the world. It will bring good and bad in great measure – wars terrorism overpopulation diseases – who knows? – but it will also bring joys and opportunities and friendships and new food music words marriages babies conversations, and conversions to Christ.
Letting people in would only hasten the inevitable, not change it. War and terrorism and all the other problems are coming anyway, welcome or not both the good and the bad people are coming in. We cannot sort the wheat from the chaff, only God can do that. The end as prophesied in Revelation is coming anyway, but remember, love knows no fear. In the ambit of immigration, know that love knows no fear. In the big picture know that love knows no fear. Fear is the weapon of the enemy. Love is the answer. So, next time you have to think about immigration for any reason whatsoever, just be a good samaritan eh? There but for the grace of God go you.
As to the long term consequences of it all, well God revealed what the end is all about to help you survive it forever, not so you could fear dying in it. Migration and refugees are symptoms of the end times, consequences not causes. As to worldly wars and natural catastrophe, if you are on His side you are on the winning side on the other side of that coin, in the spiritual world where it’s really happening, in the really big picture, in the long run (actually eternity) for your own self and those who you love (hopefully those you love includes the new friends you will be making).
Back to languages. All these lovely rich words from other languages and the foods and music and fashions we enjoy in our rich cosmopolitan world come from mixing and sharing in the diversity of cultures from around the world.
Of course the richest thing we have is the word of God, and that takes us to Hebrew. If you look at the Hebrew language and writing system, you will also see the links to many things. The word for our set of letters Alphabet comes from Hebrew. Hebrew is an amazing language, all the letters have meanings of their own which derive from little pictures that the letters are simplified forms of. They also have number values and every letter has a name. The position of the letter in the alphabet also give it further meaning. The things in the pictures represent semantic concepts (meanings – like father or beginning or breath) and words are built up from letters that contain the concepts. The first letter “A” is a picture of an Ox that gives rise to the letter “A” we still use today – turn your modern “A” upside down and you get a little icon of a triangular-headed Ox (an animal like a Bull) with horns. It’s name is Aleph. It has the first position in the alphabet, it means beginning, it means leader, it means father. A brilliant website about this topic is http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/3_al.html
Most languages’ writing systems are either iconic – the letters are pictures like in Chinese, or purely codes where each letter represents a sound you say – as in English. A few languages are conceptual like sign-languages for the deaf such as Amaslan and BSL. Chinese has quite a lot of conceptual elements in it with symbols (icons) for things also being in the symbols (icons) of things or places associated with them – for instance Shanghai which is a port city contains the symbol for boat.
What is clear from the study of languages – a subject that has utterly fascinated me all my life – I was reading large adult dictionaries of etymology at the age of 6 – is that the things in the Bible about Babel are true. This is just one tiny part of the evidence that ideas like evolution are way off, and the way the Bible explains geology, cosmology, physics, biology and human origins is true.
Christ is the answer. If you have any question or need, ask Him. Pray. Literally ask Him, then wait patiently. He will answer you when He knows you actually need the answer, not when you think you need it or want it. Do not expect the answer to be what you want to hear, it will be the truth, which in the big picture will set you free. If you ask why did you not answer my prayer for that person to live, He might remind you that there is a heaven and the person that has gone there deserves that better eternal life and that if you only realised the truth of that you would want it for that person you love and know that in time you can join them if you give your life to Christ Jesus.
Studying the Bible, just reading it is studying it (you don’t need to go looking up word origins and Hebrew all the time – it’s all there in plain text and useful stories about how to behave as well) in the context of thinking about all kinds of things about our own lives and how the people and world, and universe around us is, will guide you, help you, and take you on a lifetime journey to eternal life and paradise, with the most lovely person and best friend you could ever have at your side, Jesus Christ. If there is someone else in your life who you think would be your ideal travelling companion rather than Christ, a relative, partner or child, remember He made them for you to love, and He loves them too, and He knows you love them and He is looking after them for you as well. Never in the way you think He should, always in the way that is best, for all.
A study of hidden codes in the Bible will also reveal that book’s truth. It’s jaw-dropping stuff. Whilst there are some not-so-good books about the subject, there is one I seriously recommend – exciting, amazing, fascinating and inspiring – “Cosmic Codes – Hidden Messages from the Edge of Eternity” by Dr Chuck Missler (if you want it get it on Kindle on Amazon for quick cheap access). Chuck has a website you should look at – http://khouse.org Take a shufti.