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TANATA is devoted to discussing the paradoxes and the mysteries of life, among which is the paradox of the coexistence of good and evil. “God is love,” John tells us. Evil exists, we would suggest, not because God is detached or unconcerned, but because free will exists which is required for true, unforced love to exist. Still, it is painfully hard to reconcile this paradox. We believe that all evil one day will be judged and destroyed, until then we must pray.

DANIEL 7:13-14

13 “I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him.

14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed.

REVELATION 1:7

7 Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.

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Monday
Aug222016

Who Is To Be The Whore Of Babylon?

The Scarlet Woman and the Scarlet Beast

17 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me,h]” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; vertical-align: top; top: 0px;”>[h] “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.”

So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication.i]” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; vertical-align: top; top: 0px;”>[i] And on her forehead a name was written:

MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT,
THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS
AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS
OF THE EARTH.

I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement.

The Meaning of the Woman and the Beast

But the angel said to me, “Why did you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns. The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.j]” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; vertical-align: top; top: 0px;”>[j]

“Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits. 10 There are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, andthe other has not yet come. And when he comes, he must continue a short time.11 The beast that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven, and is going to perdition.

12 “The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. 13 These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast. 14 These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.”

15 Then he said to me, “The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues. 16 And the ten horns which you saw onk]” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; vertical-align: top; top: 0px;”>[k] the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire. 17 For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled. 18 And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth.”

Wednesday
Jul272016

Search For Prester John

HAS PRESTER JOHN BEEN A DISTRACTION TO OBSCURE JOHN MARK?

Prester John (LatinPresbyter Johannes) is a legendary Christian patriarch and king popular in European chronicles and tradition from the 12th through the 17th century. He was said to rule over a Nestorian (Church of the East) Christian nation lost amid the Muslims and pagans of the Orient. The accounts are varied collections of medieval popular fantasy, depicting Prester John as a descendant of the Three Magi, ruling a kingdom full of riches, marvels, and strange creatures.

At first, Prester John was imagined to reside in India; tales of the Nestorian Christians’ evangelistic success there and of Thomas the Apostle’s subcontinental travels probably provided the first seeds of the legend. After the coming of the Mongols to the Western world, accounts placed the king in Central Asia, and eventually Portuguese explorers convinced themselves that they had found him in Ethiopia.

 Origin of the legend

Though its immediate genesis is unclear, the legend of Prester John drew strongly from earlier accounts of the Orient and of Westerners’ travels there. Particularly influential were the stories of Saint Thomas the Apostle’s proselytizing in India, as recorded in the 3rd-century work known as the Acts of Thomas,[1] and reports of the Church of the Eastin Greater Persia. The Church of the East, also called the Nestorian church, had gained a wide following in the Eastern nations and engaged the Western imagination as an assemblage both exotic and familiarly Christian.[2] Particularly inspiring were the Nestorians’ missionary successes among the Mongols and Turks of Central Asia; René Grousset (1970) suggested that one of the seeds of the story may have come from the Keraites, which had thousands of its members converted to Nestorian Christianity shortly after the year 1000. By the 12th century, the Keraite rulers were still following a custom of bearing Christian names, which may have fueled the legend.[3]

Prester John from Hartmann Schedel’sNuremberg Chronicle, 1493

Additionally, a kernel of the tradition may have been drawn from the shadowy early Christian figure John the Presbyter of Syria, whose existence is first inferred by the ecclesiastical historian and bishop Eusebius of Caesarea based on his reading of earlier church fathers.[4] This man, said in one document to be the author of two of the Epistles of John,[5] was supposed to have been the teacher of the martyr bishop Papias, who had in turn taught Eusebius’ own teacher Irenaeus. However, little links this figure, supposedly active in the late 1st century, to the Prester John legend beyond the name.[6]

The later accounts of Prester John borrowed heavily from literary texts concerning the East, including the great body of ancient and medieval geographical and travel literature. Details were often lifted from literary and pseudohistorical accounts, such as the tale of Sinbad the Sailor.[7] The Alexander romance, a fabulous account of Alexander the Great’s conquests, was especially influential in this regard.[8]

Scholars have debated over the origins of Prester John’s name, speculating that Prester could be a corruption of either the word “Presbyter” or “priest”.[9] Sir John Mandeville, a medieval writer who was famous in his lifetime for his travel accounts, wrote of an emperor named John who decides to become a priest after an audience with a Christian knight, in which the “emperour seyde, that he wolde no longer ben clept kyng ne emperour, but preest”.[10] This reference suggests that the latter reading of Prester as “preest”[10] as the correct interpretation of Prester John’s name.

The legend is first recorded in the early 12th century with reports of visits of an “Archbishop of India” to Constantinople, and of a “Patriarch of India” to Rome at the time of Pope Callixtus II (1119–1124).[11] These visits cannot be confirmed, evidence of both being secondhand reports. What is certain is that German chronicler Otto of Freising reported in his Chronicon of 1145 that the previous year he had met a certain Hugh, bishop of Jabala in Syria, at the court of Pope Eugene III in Viterbo.[12] Hugh was an emissary of Prince Raymond of Antioch seeking Western aid against the Saracens after the Siege of Edessa, and his counsel incited Eugene to call for the Second Crusade. He told Otto, in the presence of the pope, that Prester John, a Nestorian Christian who served in the dual position of priest and king, had regained the city of Ecbatana from the brother monarchs of Medes and Persia, the Samiardi, in a great battle “not many years ago”. Afterwards Prester John allegedly set out for Jerusalem to rescue the Holy Land, but the swollen waters of the Tigriscompelled him to return to his own country. His fabulous wealth was demonstrated by his emerald scepter; his holiness by his descent from the Three Magi.[13]

Silverberg connects this account with historical events of 1141, when the Kara-Khitan Khanate under Yelü Dashi defeated the Seljuk Turks near Samarkand. While the Kara-Khitan at the time were Buddhists and not Christian,[14] several vassals of the Kara-Khitan practiced Nestorian Christianity, which may have contributed to the legend as well as the possibility that the Europeans, who were unfamiliar with the concept of Buddhism, assumed that if the leader was not Muslim, he must be Christian.[15] The report of the defeat would have inspired a notion of “deliverance from the East”, and it is possible Otto recorded Hugh’s report to prevent complacency in the Crusade’s European backers; according to his account, no help could be expected from a powerful Eastern king.[16]

Letter of Prester John

No more of the tale is recorded until about 1165 when copies of what was certainly a forged Letter of Prester John started spreading throughout Europe.[14] An epistolary wonder tale with parallels suggesting its author knew the Romance of Alexander and the above-mentioned Acts of Thomas, the Letter was supposedly written to the Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Comnenus (1143–1180) by Prester John, descendant of one of the Three Magi and King of India.[17][18] The many marvels of richness and magic it contained captured the imagination of Europeans, and it was translated into numerous languages, including Hebrew. It circulated in ever more embellished form for centuries in manuscripts, a hundred examples of which still exist. The invention of printing perpetuated the letter’s popularity in printed form; it was still current in popular culture during the period of European exploration. Part of the letter’s essence was that a lost kingdom of Nestorian Christians still existed in the vastnesses of Central Asia.

The credence given to the reports was such that Pope Alexander III sent a letter to Prester John via his physician Philip on September 27, 1177. Nothing more is recorded of Philip, but it is most probable that he did not return with word from Prester John.[19] The Letter continued to circulate, accruing more embellishments with each copy. In modern times, textual analysis of the letter’s variant Hebrew versions has suggested an origin among the Jews of northern Italy or Languedoc: several Italian words remained in the Hebrew texts.[20] At any rate, the Letter’s author was most likely a Westerner, though his or her purpose remains unclear.

Mongol Empire

Depiction of the Keraite ruler Ong Khanas “Prester John” in “Le Livre des Merveilles”, 15th century

In 1221, Jacques de VitryBishop of Acre, returned from the disastrous Fifth Crusade with good news: King David of India, the son or grandson of Prester John, had mobilized his armies against the Saracens. He had already conquered Persia, then under the Khwarezmian Empire’s control, and was moving on towards Baghdad as well. This descendant of the great king who had defeated the Seljuks in 1141 planned to reconquer and rebuild Jerusalem.[21][22] Controversial Soviet historian and ethnologistLev Gumilev speculated that the much reduced crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem in the Levant resuscitated this legend in order to raise Christian hopes and to encourage European monarchs who by that time had lost interest in getting involved in costly crusades in a distant region that was far removed from their own states and affairs.[23]

The bishop of Acre was correct in thinking that a great King had conquered Persia; however “King David”, as it turned out, wasTengrist warlord Genghis Khan. His reign took the story of Prester John in a new direction. Though Genghis was at first seen as a scourge of Christianity’s enemies, he proved to be tolerant of religious faiths among those subjects that did not resist the empire, and was the first East Asian ruler to invite clerics from three major religions (Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism) to a symposium so that he might learn more about their beliefs.[24] The Mongol ruler was also reputed to have a Nestorian Christian favorite among his many wives, whom the Europeans imagined as influential in the disastrous Mongol sack of Baghdad.[24]

The Mongol Empire’s rise gave Western Christians the opportunity to visit lands that they had never seen before, and they set out in large numbers along the Empire’s secure roads. Belief that a lost Nestorian kingdom existed in the east, or that the Crusader states’ salvation depended on an alliance with an Eastern monarch, was one reason for the numerous Christian ambassadors and missionaries sent to the Mongols. These include Franciscan explorers Giovanni da Pian del Carpine in 1245 and William of Rubruck in 1253.[25]

The link between Prester John and Genghis Khan was elaborated upon at this time, as the Prester became identified with Genghis’ foster father, Toghril, king of the Keraites, given the Jin title Ong Khan Toghril. Fairly truthful chroniclers and explorers such as Marco Polo,[26] Crusader-historian Jean de Joinville,[27] and the Franciscan voyagerOdoric of Pordenone[28] stripped Prester John of much of his otherworldly veneer, portraying him as a more realistic earthly monarch. Odoric places John’s land to the west of Cathay en route to Europe, and mentions its capital as Casan, which may correspond to Kazan, the Tatar capital near Moscow. Joinville describes Genghis Khan in his chronicle as a “wise man” who unites all the Tartar tribes and leads them to victory against their strongest enemy, Prester John.[27] William of Rubruck says a certain “Vut”, lord of the Keraites and brother to the Nestorian King John, was defeated by the Mongols under Genghis. Genghis made off with Vut’s daughter and married her to his son, and their union produced Möngke, the Khan at the time William wrote.[29] According to Marco Polo’s Travels, the war between the Prester and Genghis started when Genghis, new ruler of the rebellious Tartars, asked for the hand of Prester John’s daughter in marriage. Angered that his lowly vassal would make such a request, Prester John denied him in no uncertain terms. In the war that followed, Genghis triumphed and Prester John perished.[30]

The historical figure behind these accounts, Toghril, was in fact a Nestorian Christian monarch defeated by Genghis. He had fostered the future Khan after the death of his father Yesugei and was one of his early allies, but the two had a falling out. After Toghril rejected a proposal to wed his son and daughter to Genghis’ children, the rift between them grew until war broke out in 1203. Genghis captured Sorghaghtani Beki, daughter of Toghril’s brother Jaqa Gambu, and married her to his son Tolui; they had several children, including Möngke, KublaiHulagu, and Ariq Böke.

The major characteristic of Prester John tales from this period is the king’s portrayal not as an invincible hero, but merely one of many adversaries defeated by the Mongols. But as the Mongol Empire collapsed, Europeans began to shift away from the idea that Prester John had ever really been a Central Asian king.[31] At any rate they had little hope of finding him there, as travel in the region became dangerous without the security the Empire had provided. In works such as The Travels of Sir John Mandeville[32][33]and Historia Trium Regum by John of Hildesheim,[34] Prester John’s domain tends to regain its fantastic aspects and finds itself located not on the steppes of Central Asia, but back in India proper, or some other exotic locale. Wolfram von Eschenbach tied the history of Prester John to the Holy Grail legend in his poem Parzival, in which the Prester is the son of the Grail maiden and the Saracen knight Feirefiz.[35]

A theory was put forward by the Russian scholar Ph. Bruun in 1876, who suggested that Prester John might be found among the kings of Georgia, which, at the time of Crusades, experienced military resurgence challenging the Muslim power. However, this theory, though regarded with certain indulgence by Henry Yule and some modern Georgian historians, was summarily dismissed by Friedrich Zarncke.[36]

Ethiopia

A map of Prester John’s kingdom as Ethiopia

Prester John had been considered the ruler of India since the legend’s beginnings, but “India” was a vague concept to the Europeans. Writers often spoke of the “Three Indias”, and lacking any real knowledge of the Indian Ocean, they sometimes considered Ethiopia one of the three. Westerners knew that Ethiopia was a powerful Christian nation, but contact had been sporadic since the rise of Islam. No Prester John was to be found in Asia, so European imagination moved him around the blurry frontiers of “India” until it found an appropriately powerful kingdom for him in Ethiopia.[37] Evidence has suggested that locating Prester John’s kingdom in Ethiopia entered the collective consciousness around 1250.[38]

Marco Polo had discussed Ethiopia as a magnificent Christian land[39] and Orthodox Christians had a legend that the nation would one day rise up and invade Arabia,[40] but they did not place Prester John there. Then in 1306, 30 Ethiopian ambassadors from Emperor Wedem Arad came to Europe, and Prester John was mentioned as the patriarch of their church in a record of their visit.[41] Another description of an African Prester John is in the Mirabilia Descripta of Dominican missionary Jordanus, around 1329.[42] In discussing the “Third India”, Jordanus records a number of fanciful stories about the land and its king, whom he says Europeans call Prester John.

“Preste Iuan de las Indias” (Prester John of the Indies) positioned in East Africa on a 16th-century SpanishPortolan chart

 

After this point, an African location became increasingly popular. This may have resulted from increasing ties between Europe and Africa as 1428 saw the Kings of Aragon and Ethiopia actively negotiating the possibility of a strategic marriage between the two kingdoms.[38] On 7 May 1487, two Portuguese envoys, Pêro da Covilhã and Afonso de Paiva, were sent traveling secretly overland to gather information on a possible sea route to India, but also to inquire about Prester John. Covilhã managed to reach Ethiopia. Although well received, he was forbidden to depart. More envoys were sent in 1507, after Socotrawas taken by the Portuguese. As a result of this mission, and facing Muslim expansion, regent queen Eleni of Ethiopia sent ambassador Mateus to king Manuel I of Portugal and to the Pope, in search of a coalition. Mateus reached Portugal via Goa, having returned with a Portuguese embassy, along with priest Francisco Álvares in 1520. Francisco Álvares’ book, which included the testimony of Covilhã, the Verdadeira Informação das Terras do Preste João das Indias (“A True Relation of the Lands of Prester John of the Indies”) was the first direct account of Ethiopia, greatly increasing European knowledge at the time, as it was presented to the pope, published and quoted by Giovanni Battista Ramusio.[43]

By the time the emperor Lebna Dengel and the Portuguese had established diplomatic contact with each other in 1520, Prester John was the name by which Europeans knew the Emperor of Ethiopia.[44] The Ethiopians, though, had never called their emperor that. When ambassadors from Emperor Zara Yaqob attended the Council of Florence in 1441, they were confused when council prelates insisted on referring to their monarch as Prester John. They tried to explain that nowhere in Zara Yaqob’s list of regnal names did that title occur. However, their admonitions did little to stop Europeans from calling the King of Ethiopia Prester John.[45] Some writers who used the title did understand it was not an indigenous honorific; for instance Jordanus seems to use it simply because his readers would have been familiar with it, not because he thought it authentic.[46]

Ethiopia has been claimed for many years as the origin of the Prester John legend, but most modern experts believe that the legend was simply adapted to fit that nation in the same fashion that it had been projected upon Ong Khan and Central Asia during the 13th century. Modern scholars find nothing about the Prester or his country in the early material that would make Ethiopia a more suitable identification than any place else, and furthermore, specialists in Ethiopian history have effectively demonstrated that the story was not widely known there until well after European contact. Czech Franciscan Remedius Prutky asked Emperor Iyasu II about this identification in 1751, and Prutky states that the man was “astonished, and told me that the kings of Abyssinia had never been accustomed to call themselves by this name.”[47] In a footnote to this passage,Richard Pankhurst states that this is apparently the first recorded statement by an Ethiopian monarch about this tale, and they were likely unaware of the title until Prutky’s inquiry.[48]

17th-century academics like German orientalist Hiob Ludolf demonstrated that there was no actual native connection between Prester John and the Ethiopian monarchs,[49]and the fabled king left the maps for good.

Modern reception

The legend had affected several hundred years of European and world history, directly and indirectly, by encouraging Europe’s explorers, missionaries, scholars, and treasure hunters.

William Shakespeare’s 1600 play Much Ado About Nothing contains an early modern reference to the legendary king,[50] as does Tirso de Molina’s El Burlador de Sevilla.[51] In 1910 British novelist and politician John Buchan used the legend in his sixth book, Prester John, to supplement a plot about a Zulu uprising in South Africa. This book is an archetypal example of the early 20th-century adventure novel, and proved very popular in its day.

Charles Williams, a member of the 20th-century literary group the Inklings, made Prester John a messianic protector of the Holy Grail in his 1930 novel War in Heaven. The Prester and his kingdom also figure prominently in Umberto Eco’s 2000 novel Baudolino, in which the titular protagonist enlists his friends to write the Letter of Prester John for his adoptive father Frederick Barbarossa, but it is stolen before they can send it out.

Perhaps because of Buchan’s work, Prester John also appeared in 20th-century pulp fiction and comics. For example, Marvel Comics has featured “Prester John” in issues ofFantastic Four and Thor. He was a significant supporting character in several issues of the DC Comics fantasy series Arak: Son of Thunder. His Avatar is the ally of the Pendragon in Mage: The Hero Defined. The 1992 video game Castles II: Siege and Conquest contains a sub-plot involving the search for Prester John’s kingdom. Prester John also features in Tad Williams’ epic trilogy, Memory, Sorrow and Thorn and Season 2 of Netflix’s Marco Polo includes references to Prestor John.

Sunday
Jul172016

African Model Shoots Down Sumer Creation Myths

by Sebastian Kaulitzki, LiveScience.com

Almost every man alive can trace his origins to one man who lived about 135,000 years ago, new research suggests. And that ancient man likely shared the planet with the mother of all women.

The findings, detailed today (Aug. 1) in the journal Science, come from the most complete analysis  of the male sex chromosome, or the Y chromosome, to date. The results overturn earlier research, which suggested that men’s most recent common ancestor lived just 50,000 to 60,000 years ago.

Despite their overlap in time, ancient “Adam” and ancient “Eve” probably didn’t even live near each other, let alone mate. [The 10 Biggest Mysteries of the First Humans]

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“Those two people didn’t know each other,” said Melissa Wilson Sayres, a geneticist at the University of California, Berkeley, who was not involved in the study.

Tracing history

Researchers believe that modern humans left Africa between 60,000 and 200,000 years ago, and that the mother of all women likely emerged from East Africa. But beyond that, the details get fuzzy.

The Y chromosome is passed down identically from father to son, so mutations, or point changes, in the male sex chromosome can trace the male line back to the father of all humans. By contrast, DNA from the mitochondria, the energy powerhouse of the cell, is carried inside the egg, so only women pass it on to their children. The DNA hidden inside mitochondria, therefore, can reveal the maternal lineage to an ancient Eve.

But over time, the male chromosome gets bloated with duplicated, jumbled-up stretches of DNA, said study co-author Carlos Bustamante, a geneticist at Stanford University in California. As a result, piecing together fragments of DNA from gene sequencing was like trying to assemble a puzzle without the image on the box top, making thorough analysis difficult.

Y chromosome

Bustamante and his colleagues assembled a much bigger piece of the puzzle by sequencing the entire genome of the Y chromosome for 69 men from seven global populations, from African San Bushmen to the Yakut of Siberia.

By assuming a mutation rate anchored to archaeological events (such as the migration of people across the Bering Strait), the team concluded that all males in their global sample shared a single male ancestor in Africa roughly 125,000 to 156,000 years ago.

In addition, mitochondrial DNA from the men, as well as similar samples from 24 women, revealed that all women on the planet trace back to amitochondrial Eve, who lived in Africa between 99,000 and 148,000 years ago — almost the same time period during which the Y-chromosome Adam lived.

More ancient Adam

But the results, though fascinating, are just part of the story, said Michael Hammer, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of Arizona who was not involved in the study.

A separate study in the same issue of the journal Science found that men shared a common ancestor between 180,000 and 200,000 years ago.

And in a study detailed in March in the American Journal of Human Genetics, Hammer’s group showed that several men in Africa have unique, divergent Y chromosomes that trace back to an even more ancient man who lived between 237,000 and 581,000 years ago. [Unraveling the Human Genome: 6 Molecular Milestones]

“It doesn’t even fit on the family tree that the Bustamante lab has constructed — It’s older,” Hammer told LiveScience.

Gene studies always rely on a sample of DNA and, therefore, provide an incomplete picture of human history. For instance, Hammer’s group sampled a different group of men than Bustamante’s lab did, leading to different estimates of how old common ancestors really are.

Adam and Eve?

These primeval people aren’t parallel to the biblical Adam and Eve. They weren’t the first modern humans on the planet, but instead just the two out of thousands of people alive at the time with unbroken male or female lineages that continue on today.

The rest of the human genome contains tiny snippets of DNA from many other ancestors — they just don’t show up in mitochondrial or Y-chromosome DNA, Hammer said. (For instance, if an ancient woman had only sons, then her mitochondrial DNA would disappear, even though the son would pass on a quarter of her DNA via the rest of his genome.)

As a follow-up, Bustamante’s lab is sequencing Y chromosomes from nearly 2,000 other men. Those data could help pinpoint precisely where in Africa these ancient humans lived.

It’s very exciting,” Wilson Sayres told LiveScience. “As we get more populations across the world, we can start to understand exactly where we came from physically.”

Follow Tia Ghose on Twitterand Google+. Follow LiveScience @livescience,Facebook Google+. Original article on LiveScience.com.

Sunday
May012016

Apply This Passage To Beloved Disciple Mystery

21 Also Jesus said to them, “Is a lamp brought to be put under a basket or under a bed? Is it not to be set on a lampstand? 22 For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light.” — Mark 4:21-22

Saturday
Apr302016

Good Questions

Has Jesus’ racial identity been hidden from us?

If Jesus was black, will the Antichrist be white?

If the Shroud of Turin is a forgery, what was the forger’s purpose?

Is Jesus’ membership in the Tribe of Judah a certain indicator that he was black?

Were the first Jews of Judah black? 

 

Wednesday
Feb242016

Matthew 28:16 Offers Another Clue

MATTHEW 28:16 — Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them.

Zebedee’s John, as one of the eleven disciples (minus Judas) described here, didn’t leave Jerusalem until after the Resurrection — and then he didn’t take Mary, the mother of Jesus, anywhere, but left with the 10 other disciples to go to a mountain in Galilee, as Jesus instructed. In Acts 1:3-4, it appears that the eleven disciples of Jesus were staying at John Mark’s big house, along with Jesus’ Mary.

Jesus especially loved John Mark because he was an African youth, a refugee, a scholar, a priest, who, along with his mother Mary, was a financial benefactor of Jesus. John Mark leaned on Jesus at the Last Supper as a kid brother would lean on his older sibling.

 

Thursday
Feb182016

What Was It About Jesus That Made It 'Evident' He Was Of The Tribe of Judah?

For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood. — Hebrews 7:14

Jesus was not a Levite; nevertheless, African refugee and Levitical priest John Mark goes on to say that Jesus was and is the ultimate High Priest in the order of Melchizedek. King David was of the royal tribe of Judah. Was there anything about David or Solomon that made it evident they were from the same tribe as Jesus?

Monday
Feb082016

African Lives Matter

SOUL FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

Why were Jesus’ parents told by the angel to take Jesus into Africa to hide Him from the murderous King Herod?

What does it mean that Jesus’ most beloved disciple, a native of Cyrene (Libya), was an African

Why was an African  (also, incredibly another Cyrenean), heading in the opposite direction, chosen by Roman soldiers to help Jesus carry His cross?

Was Jesus called “the son of David,” because Jesus looked like Solomon, who had an African mother?

What does it mean that it was “evident” that Jesus was from the Tribe of Judah?

Was Jesus the half-brother of an African Adam?

The first humans were Africans.

The first Hebrews were very likely African — which calls into question the genetic makeup and race of Abraham, if he was to be a father of “many nations.” Could Abraham really have come from Mesopotamia or did he come from DNA-rich Africa?

African DNA (certain tribes in Ethiopia) can produce all races, including white. But the white race could not create an African.

If Jesus was scientific Adam’s half-brother, was Jesus a virgin-born African?

Why have Ethiopians (notably the Rastafarians) believed from the Kebra Negast document that they would have an African messiah from the Tribe of Judah? I pondered this question when I was stationed in Asmara, Ethiopia, which now belongs to Eritrea, and noted repeatedly that they called Haile Selassie THE “Lion of Judah.” But that title belongs to Jesus.

Do you detect a pattern?

Have all these things been intentionally hidden from us? 

Black lives really matter now more than ever! As for me, I’m only a white guy, who lived and worked as a Naval intelligence specialist in East Africa for a year.

Monday
Feb012016

The Best Test

Here’s a simple cross-referencing test (using John 18:15-16, John 19:26-27 and Acts 1:13-14) to demonstrate that wealthy African refugee and priest JOHN MARK (and not the disciple and apostle John, the son of Zebedee) IS THE BELOVED DISCIPLE and writer of the Gospel of John, as well as being the adopted son of Mary, the mother of Jesus:  

JOHN 19:26 When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!”27 Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And in that hour that disciple took her to his own home.

TO WHOSE HOME HAS MARY, THE MOTHER OF JESUS, GONE? Look at Acts 1:13-14. MARY IS AT JOHN MARK’S HOME! MARY WAS NOT TAKEN TO THE HOME OF ZEBEDEE IN GALILEE … certainly not in an hour!

JESUS ASKED JOHN MARK TO LOOK AFTER HIS MOTHER BECAUSE JOHN MARK AND HIS MOTHER MARY HAD THE MEANS TO DO SO.

ACTS 1:13 And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas, the son of James. 14 These all continued with one accord in prayer with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.

AND, BECAUSE WE KNOW THAT JOHN MARK WAS A LEVITICAL PRIEST (AND SCRIBE), THE PASSAGE BELOW MAKES SENSE:

JOHN 18:15 And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest. 16 But Peter stood at the door outside. Then the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to her who kept the door, and brought Peter in. 

And, did John Mark leave Paul and Barnabas on the mission field to go home to Jerusalem to look after the two Mary’s, as Jesus instructed? Is this, and the fact that he was a skilled writer, the reason that John Mark ultimately found favor with Paul — and should find favor with the world?

Check this out: There are actually people who believe Zebedee’s John drug Mary all over ancient Turkey and wherever else. This is from Wikipedia:

The House of the Virgin Mary (TurkishMeryem ana or Meryem Ana Evi, “Mother Mary’s House”) is a Catholic and Muslim shrine located on Mt. Koressos (Turkish: Bülbüldağı, “Mount Nightingale”) in the vicinity of Ephesus, 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) from Selçuk in Turkey.[1]

The house was discovered in the 19th century by following the descriptions in the reported visions of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774–1824), a Roman Catholic nun and visionary, which were published as a book by Clemens Brentano after her death.[2] The Catholic Church has never pronounced in favour or against the authenticity of the house, but nevertheless maintains a steady flow of pilgrimage since its discovery. Anne Catherine Emmerich wasBeatified by Pope John Paul II on October 3, 2004.

Catholic pilgrims visit the house based on the belief that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was taken to this stone house by Saint John and lived there until herAssumption (according to Catholic doctrine) or Dormition (according to Orthodox belief).[3][4]

The shrine has merited several papal Apostolic Blessings and visits from several popes, the earliest pilgrimage coming from Pope Leo XIII in 1896, and the most recent in 2006 by Pope Benedict XVI.

I have read about these pilgrims who go to Ephesus and Patmos, expecting to see evidence of Mary’s presence, never realizing that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was kept in Jerusalem in a large, well-appointed home for its day, with an upper room where everybody, practically, who was a disciple, was able to stay, including the brothers of Jesus. Nobody had any money but John Mark and his mother Mary. Surely they gave to Jesus his expensive linen cloak.

AND AS A PROFESSIONAL WRITER MYSELF, I THINK THE PERSON WHO WROTE SO MUCH OF THE NEW TESTAMENT OUGHT TO GET CREDIT FOR IT. WRITERS UNITE!

QUESTIONS? AFRICAN AND COPTIC FRIENDS, ARE YOU OUT THERE?

Saturday
Sep122015

'Beloved Disciple' Was African Refugee, Priest John Mark, Gray Says

FROM COLLINS ATLAS OF WORLD HISTORY, 2003: Above is what I consider to be a very telling and important map, which features the spread of Christianity in the Near East and the Med. This is a really blurry photo taken from a book, shot with an iPhone, so you’ll have to let me guide you in what you’re seeing.

The colored lines represent the missionary journeys of the apostle Paul. The light brown indicates that Christianity by 600 A.D. was largely present; the darker golden color represents places where Christianity was strongly rooted. It is noteworthy how Christianity spread in response to the missionary work of Paul. But look at North Africa on the map. You’ll see brown and gold colors in Alexandria, Egypt and Cyrene (today Libya) to the left, but where are the colored lines and arrows indicating the journeys of missionaries to these two places? There are none … and that is telling. Whoever evangelized Alexandria and Cyrene has gotten no credit for it.

This map in a world history book haunted me after seeing it several years back. Who had gone into Africa to bring the Gospel to these two places? What apostle or disciple of Jesus would be responsible for the presence of Christianity in Northern Africa? Who evangelized Alexandria and Cyrene, if it was not Paul or any of his assistants, which would be indicated by colored lines and arrows?

Why show the rise of Christianity in these two places without saying which missionary was responsible? I began to do research on all-things-Africa in 2002, wondering why I had been stationed in Africa for a year in the Navy, revisiting that whole experience and what my time there had done to me. I asked God to reveal to me His reason for allowing me or sending me to Egypt and Ethiopia in 1973, if, in fact, God had a plan for my life. I had reasons to believe that there was a plan for me the more research I did. So, who is responsible for African missionary work which saw the spread of Christianity?

Pieces began to fall together the more I learned about Cyrene and Alexandria, and how it was a man named John Mark, a native of Cyrene, could be held responsible for Christianity’s spread in these two places. I read that John Mark was the founder of the Coptic church in Alexandria, who likely debated and argued with the Gnostics, who arose there. It is notable that John Mark and the Gnostics locked horns, because the Gospel of John was later written — author unknown — employing Gnostic elements to make the case that Jesus was both fully human and fully divine, among other things. The Gnostics believe that the world and solar system were the result of errors made by gods, and that mankind was doomed without spirituality.

Could John Mark have dropped his last name, Marcus, which means “hammer,” and written a book that was ascribed to the apostle John by early church fathers? Was John Mark an apostle? Could he be a second apostle John, who may have written the Gospel ascribed to him?

The answer is yes. 

THIS RELEASE WENT OUT OCT 5, 2015

WRITER, VET: ‘BELOVED DISCIPLE’ WAS AFRICAN REFUGEE, PRIEST
Gray Cites Coptic Biography Of John Mark To Suggest Jesus May Have Been A Virgin-born African

SIGNAL MOUNTAIN, Tenn. — It is one of Christendom’s most enduring and confounding mysteries: Who was the unnamed “other disciple, whom Jesus loved” (John 20:2), who knew the Jewish high priests Annas and Caiaphas (John 18:15), who sat next to Jesus at the Last Supper (John 13:23-25), and who presumably wrote the Gospel of John, the Johannine epistles and Revelation? Bible scholars, laymen and early church patriarchs have wrestled with the obscured identity of the Beloved Disciple and the writer of John’s Gospel for nearly two millennia. 

A lengthy list of potential candidates ranges from Matthias, to Theophilus, to Lazarus, to John, the son of Zebedee, to Mary Magdalene, even Judas Iscariot. But it could not be Mary Magdalene, because she is described at the empty tomb of Jesus in the company of Peter and “the other disciple, whom Jesus loved.” Perhaps it is telling that “the other disciple” used this monicker to describe himself. The  use of the word “other” would seem to suggest the Beloved Disciple was not one of the twelve.

Now, Tennessee writer and ex-Naval intelligence specialist (stationed in Asmara, Ethiopia) Randall Carter Gray says he has solved the mystery, relying, in part, on a 1968 Coptic (Egyptian) biography of St. John Mark, The Beholder of God, which was only translated into English in 1997, clear scriptural evidence and a scholarly article “John and John Mark,” written by Pierson Parker and published by the Society of Biblical Literature in 1960.

Gray, 62, who has a 100-percent military related disability, said the biography, written by the late Coptic Pope Shenouda III, reveals tantalizing clues on “a largely overlooked, very important man,” whose given Jewish name was John … and whose unusual adopted Roman surname was Mark or Marcus, meaning “hammer.”

“North African refugee John Mark, of Cyrene (Libya),” Gray said, “is the Beloved Disciple, who wrote all the works in the New Testament ascribed to people named John and Mark. He knew the high priests, because he worked with them as a priest and scribe. He was the only professionally trained writer in Jesus’ inner circle.”

“What makes this mystery so fascinatinating,” Gray continued, “is the scriptural evidence in Mark’s Gospel suggesting that John Mark may have been intentionally obscured as the Beloved Disciple — perhaps because of what it might say about Jesus having a special bond with an African refugee.” As it is, Gray said, “there are plenty of clues that I followed to unlock the secret.”

In the biography, Shenouda claims that John Mark was 1) a native of Cyrene, 2) a North African refugee with a well-appointed home in Jerusalem, 3) a Jewish Levite priest and scribe, 4) the founder of the Coptic church and a theology school in Alexandria, Egypt, 5) one of the 70 apostles (evangelists) chosen by Jesus, 6) a cousin of Barnabas, 7) a secretary for the apostles Paul and Peter, and 8) John Mark was the host, along with his mother Mary, of the Last Supper. Gray said John Mark, a youth during Jesus’ ministry, leaned on Jesus like a kid brother would” (John 13:23-25). Gray rejects even the slightest suggestion of homoerotic behavior. “Jesus was without sin.”

“It is John Mark’s home that Peter immediately runs to after being miraculously released from prison,” Gray continued. “The home is effectively the first church, as it was a meeting place for Christians in Jerusalem, including Mary, the mother of Jesus and Jesus’ brothers (Acts 1:14; 12:12). John Mark’s mother Mary was a wealthy benefactor of Jesus, who was among the women in Jerusalem who cared for him.”

Acknowledging the description of John’s Gospel as a “Gnostic gospel,” Gray said, “John Mark wrote the fourth gospel with Gnostic elements, arguing that Jesus was both fully human and fully divine, because he confronted the Gnostics in Alexandria, where the heretical group arose,” Gray added. “I’m very surprised that people trying to solve this mystery have been so far off and disregarded the Coptic perspective. Wikipedia doesn’t even mention John Mark’s name in its page on ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved.’ But uses space to suggest something lasivious, when John Mark leans on Jesus like a kid brother would. Everyone from Lazarus to Mary Magdalene is posited as a candidate. But neither knew the high priests. John Mark did.

“I can imagine John Mark in the high priest’s courtyard (John 18:15-17) arguing on Jesus’ behalf after Jesus’ arrest, perhaps risking his career and even his life, even as Peter was denying he even knew Jesus. I can imagine Jesus especially loving John Mark, because the youth was a refugee, and perhaps a man of color, and a sensitive thinker and writer.” Jesus foreknew how important John Mark would be to the church and the New Testament, Gray said. “He foreknew that ‘this man’ (John 21:21-23) would not taste death as the writer of Revelation (Gray does not believe John Mark was martyred, though that has traditionally been asserted).

Returning to John’s Gospel, Gray said, “It was often disregarded or condemned by some of the early Christians. John’s Gospel was actually banned for a time. But today, the Gospel of John may be the most-preferred gospel among Christians, notably evangelicals.” 

As for John, the son of Zebedee, Gray said, “He has been the safe, but impossible choice for the Beloved Disciple for decades. Early church father Irenaeus wrote that ‘the apostle John’ was the person who wrote the fourth gospel, as it had somehow been told to him. But there were two apostles named John,” Gray said.

“We can’t assume anything about Zebedee’s John as a writer, because we know that he was uneducated, as Peter was” (Acts 4:3); and he appears nowhere in John’s Gospel except as an afterthought in the final chapter. But facts concerning his possible martyrdom have been obscured, Gray says, “because someone has tampered with the original manuscript of the Gospel of Mark. (14:51-52).

Given the biography’s claim that John Mark was a priest and scribe, Gray said it is “fascinating to focus on one particular use of the name ‘John’ in Acts 4:6, which may demonstrate to us that John Mark was a member of the Sanhedrin.

“Alexander is also mentioned here along with John,” Gray said. “That is significant, I think, because one of Simon of Cyrene’s sons was named Alexander, with the other being Rufus. I believe there is much ethnic significance in the fact that John Mark, Simon, Alexander and Rufus were all from North Africa” (Mark 15:21). Simon of Cyrene was seized by Roman soldiers to assist Jesus in carrying his cross — which Gray believes may show that Jesus, perhaps like Simon, was “a man of color.”

Gray said the shortened name “John” is used twice further on in Acts (13:34; 15:36-40) to describe John Mark. Sometimes, the young priest’s Gentile/Roman name “Mark” or “Marcus” — which means, interestingly, “hammer” — is used; “so,” Gray said, “we can’t be absolutely sure that the name of John in Acts 4:6 refers to John Mark, but in that very book, Luke, who wrote Acts and the gospel bearing his name, calls John Mark only by his first, Jewish name, John, just as he does when he’s describing the rulers, elders, priests and scribes assembled to hear Peter and Zebedee’s John.”

Gray explained that students of the Bible “all come rather jaded to the subject of the Beloved Disciple, because we have accepted some things that we think are unknowable. But I believe Jesus was right when he said there would come a time when all hidden mysteries will be revealed (Mark 4:22). It is time for John Mark to get his just due.”

Gray, a retired newspaper reporter and editor, who served in Egypt and Ethiopia (Eritrea) as a Naval intelligence specialist, said that he is raising funds and making contacts in the effort to produce a documentary on John Mark as the Beloved Disciple, the working title of which is Beloved Disciple/African Priest. He’s seeking interested parties to be interviewed and help with production. He can be reached by email at rcartergray@yahoo.com or by phone (423) 619-9034.

Gray said in his search for the identity of the Beloved Disciple he has tried to put himself in “Jesus’ sandals” to surmise what kind of person Jesus would be most likely to love. “I can envision Jesus loving a North African refugee, who apparently suffered at the hands of robbers in his native Cyrene, precipitating his flight to Jerusalem with his mother Mary,” Gray said. “I can see Jesus having had special affection for a man who may have been the object of racial bias, if John Mark was a man of color, which we can only assume he was.”

Much additional material pertaining to John Mark appears on Gray’s website: TANATA: Things (often) Are Not As They Appear: https://tanata.squarespace.com.

Thursday
Sep102015

TANATA To Launch PR Campaign On John Mark Hypothesis

Just so you know, valued TANATA reader, we are about to launch a PR campaign via press releases sent to iReach, a service of PRNewswire, to promote internationally our hypothesis about African John Mark being the obscured “other disciple, the one Jesus loved” (John 20:2), with our goal being to generate interest in a documentary project, which, I think, I’m prepared to write. But I need to get my interviews first, and that involves money for a production crew. So we hope to raise funds along with interest. It’s a long shot, but I think we could be in business if the right person reads our hypothesis.

I’ve written a rough draft of the first press release, and it reads okay, though it is wordy, with so many complications to iron out in various places in the New Testament. I’m torn over whether to come right out and say that the Gospel of Mark has, in my view, been tampered with to obscure the identity of John Mark, the Beloved Disciple. The “certain youth” (Mark 14:51,52) in the Garden of Gethsemane. The certain youth was relieved of his linen sindon covering, reportedly; but is this a spurious reference? A nude certain youth, running away from people, effectively takes John Mark out of the picture of running after anybody, rendering him not likely at all to be the Beloved Disciple. But, of course, he is.

Tampering with the Gospel of Mark is not out of the question, because of the spurious last 12 verses of the final chapter, mostly being rejected by Bible scholars as NOT John Mark’s work. At least these verses did not show up in the most reliable, earliest manuscripts of Mark’s gospel. These odd words from verses 8 to 20 in chapter 16 of Mark tell us that tampering with original works is never out of the question, even when we’re talking about the divine Word of God. God simply allowed for a puzzle to emerge from his New Testament, which would shed light on Jesus as a true Hebrew, being of the same color as Adam. Abraham, a father of many nations, must have been black. Moses got in trouble for marrying an Ethiopian woman, which may discredit any attempts to say Moses was a man of color. Solomon had an Ethiopian mother.

BTW, the hits on TANATA have increased by about 30 percent since we began using outlets, like Academia.edu, to publish our material on the obscured African refugee, scribe and priest. The post below contains a link to a draft of a paper, which, though published, is not quite complete. I don’t cite any sources; not having a bibliography is frowned upon, but I am not a traditional scholar. I’m a newspaperman … and a former spy.

Thanks for reading. Comment if you agree with TANATA on John Mark. 

Wednesday
Sep092015

Loose Ends About John Mark

What does it tell us that the apostle John, the son of Zebedee, is not mentioned in the Gospel of John, and where he does appear, in the fourth gospel, he is described by the Beloved Disciple as merely being one of two “sons of Zebedee,” the other son being James?

It tells us that John, the son of Zebedee, was not the Beloved Disciple and neither, apparently, was John respected by the Beloved Disciple for his role as a disciple and apostle of Jesus. After all, Zebedee’s John, along with James, was called a “son of thunder,” indicating that the two men were crude, boisterous and not thoughtful scholars, by any means.

Does anybody know how hard it is to write? It’s usually controlled chaos, to write well. It involves a lot of prewriting and constant self assessment and criticism. It would have taken a learned person to write John’s Gospel. Besides, the mere juxtaposition of the casual description of the two sons of Zebedee, by someone other than them, is compelling. Zebedee’s John, a loudmouth who wanted to know if he would get special favor in heaven, would not merely have referred to himself and his brother as “sons of Zebedee.”

So, we have more evidence to prove our thesis that John Mark is the Beloved Disciple. The problem we have now is … which John died a marytr .. and which one lived to write Revelation? Tradition says both were martyred between 45 and 60 A.D.

Here’s the link to my paper JOHN MARK: CERTAIN YOUTH AND BELOVED DISCIPLE, which appears on Academia.edu https://www.academia.edu/12052585/John_Mark_Certain_Youth_and_Beloved_Disciple

 

Tuesday
Aug182015

Peculiar Treasure

The Jews have enriched all the nations in which they have settled — an inevitable fact because of the promise given to Abraham when he left his home to go to a land of God’s choosing: “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great, and thou shalt be a blessing” (Gen. 12:2).

According to the psalmist, God chose Israel for His “peculiar treasure” (Ps. 135:4). And although it has not often been recognized, the Jews have been a treasure to all nations of the world.

Mark Twain wrote:

Jews constitute but one percent of the human race. It suggests a nebulous, dim puff of stardust in the blaze of the Milky Way. Properly the Jew ought hardly to be heard of, but he is heard of. He is as prominent on this planet as any other people. His commercial importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk. His contributions to the world’s list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine, and abstruse learning are also altogether out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers. He has made a marvelous fight in the world in all the ages and he has done it with his hands tied behind him.

Blessings through the Jews

Even those who hate Jews take advantage daily of their many contributions. Those who have heart disease and use digitalis are benefiting from the work of Ludwig Traube. If one has a toothache and uses Novocain, he is helped by the work of Carl Koller. If one contacts typhoid fever, his recovery is likely to be the result of the work of two Jews, Widal and Weil. If one has diabetes and uses insulin, it is because that product is available through the research work of a Jew named Minkowsky. The list is long; the blessings that come to us through the Jews are many.

When settling in their ancient homeland, the Jews brought blessing to the Arabs who dwelt there. That may sound absurd in the light of present conflicts in the Middle East, but it is true.

In 1937 the Peel Commission was sent by Great Britain to survey the situation in Palestine. The commission was headed by Lord Peel and composed of a group of men of exceptional ability. Its report in part was as follows:

It is difficult to detect any deterioration in the condition of the Arab upper class. Landowners have sold substantial pieces of land at a figure far above the price it would have fetched before the First World War [It must be noted that this commission’s study was during the depression of the thirties]…. In recent transactions, mainly Palestinian Arabs have been concerned and the transactions have all been considerable…. Partly, no doubt as the result of land sales, the effendi class has been able to make substantial investments of capital…. At least six times more Arab-owned land is now planted with citrus than in 1920…. Some of the capital has been directed to building houses for lease or sale to industrial enterprise…. In the light of these facts, we have no doubt that many Arab landowners have benefited financially from Jewish immigration…. A member of the Arab higher committee admitted to us that nowhere in the world are such uneconomic land prices paid as by the Jews in Palestine.

The general beneficent effect of Jewish immigration on Arab welfare is illumined by the fact that the increase in Arab population is most marked in urban areas affected by Jewish development…. We are also of the opinion that up till now the Arab cultivator has benefited on the whole from the work of British administration and from the presence of the Jews in the country. Wages have gone up and the standard of living has improved. Jewish example has done much to improve Arab cultivation, especially citrus.

The reclamation and anti-malarial work undertaken by Jewish colonists have benefited all Arabs in the neighborhood. Institutions founded with Jewish funds primarily to serve the national home have also served the Arab population. The Arab charge that the Jews have obtained too large a proportion of good land cannot be maintained. Much of the land now carrying orange grove s was sand dunes and swamp when it was purchased.

But if this is true, why the Arab-Israeli conflict?

A similar question might also be asked concerning the reaction to Jews all over the world. Why are the Jews so maligned and hated when they are so productive and helpful? There can be but one explanation — the fulfillment of prophecy: “And thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all nations whither the Lord shall lead thee” (Deut. 28:37).

The Dilemma

So the Jew finds himself in a difficult situation. He is a blessing, yet a byword. He is a treasure, yet he experiences great trouble. He is a contributor, yet he causes conflict wherever he goes. In short, although the material gains brought by Jews are desired, the Jew himself is unwanted. Nowhere was this truer than in Germany during the Third Reich. The official government policy became the extermination of the Jews while salvaging their accumulated wealth, including all personal possessions down to the fillings in their teeth.

Hitler’s Nazis made no secret of their hatred of the Jews from the very beginning. Part of their platform in 1920 was: “None but members of the nation may be citizens of the state. None but those of German blood, whatever their creed, may be members of the nation. No Jew, therefore, may be a member of the nation.”

Saturday
Aug082015

Seven Years To 2022

Seven years of a broken heart

Till two-thousand-twenty-two

When my girl left, she took a part

The end comes into view

 

It was seven years from the night

A snowy Christmas Eve

She turned me out of the light

Seven years I grieved

 

But that seven years

When they were over, done

My girl came back to dry my tears

But now I’m all alone

 

Can I mark the end of her life

And count ahead seven years

When I will see her face again

Through joyful, grateful tears?

Wednesday
Jul082015

African Nations Decry Corruption of Charismatic Pastors

Charismatic Teaching In Africa: Fleecing The Flock

By Conrad Mbewe

The Zambian government is concerned about the many cases of pastors defiling girls, impregnating female church members, swindling church funds, causing the death of congregants by advising them against medical treatment, etc. At their level, they are seeking to address this matter because it is conspicuously getting out of hand. We wait to see what wisdom God will give to “the powers that be”! Other countries, such as Botswana, have already started clamping down on such pastors.

However, as a church, there is an elephant in the room that we seem to be failing to see — namely, that this scourge is almost exclusively among our Charismatic friends. Notice, I said “almost exclusively.” So, put those guns back into their holsters! I agree that once in a long while you hear of a pastor in other Christian circles being guilty of these misdemeanors. However, for every one of these pastors there are ninety-nine Charismatic pastors wreaking spiritual havoc. Am I the only one seeing this discrepancy in numbers on the two sides of this fence?

Also, in other church circles there seems to be self-regulatory methods that quickly kick these wolves in sheepskins out of the sheep pen. Disciplinary measures are undertaken and the individuals are speedily expelled. Across the fence, in the wider Charismatic world, these self-regulatory systems seem to be almost absent. Partly, it is because the pastor and his wife are normally the owners of the church’s name and the church’s assets. Hence, they have the audacity to tell those who point out their wrongs that the whistle blowers are the ones who must leave. Or, if they are ever expelled, they simply cross the road and start another Fimo-fimo [i.e. Something-something] International Ministries. And the rot goes on! Isn’t this ridiculous situation staring all of us in the face?

I have been told on many occasions that when I lump the bad guys with the good ones under the umbrella of “the Charismatics” I do a great disfavor to the good guys. I should perhaps use the term “prosperity gospel preachers” or “health-and-wealth preachers” in order to point out who the bad guys are.

Two vital concerns: Two issues concern me here. Firstly, why is it that almost all of these heretics are being nursed in Charismatic circles until they are weaned and ushered upon the world’s stage as full-blown heretics? Does this not suggest that there is something intrinsic in the Charismatic milk, which, once sucked for a number of years, tends to lend itself towards these heretical views? I am simply asking.

For instance, there is the view that God still speaks to us independent of the Bible. Drink this milk for a number of years and you will soon be attributing to God the inner voices coming from your fallen self. Then there is the view of “the man of God” who is a cut above everyone else in the church. Again suck this for a few years and, before you know it, you want to be a bishop, an apostle, and God-knows what other ecclesiastical titles are being forged in this factory of madness. You also close yourself off from peer accountability structures. You are a chief!

What about the emphasis on miracles, signs, and wonders? Again, does it not make sense that once this becomes a regular diet, all that people will want is health and wealth at the fingers of ecclesiastical witch doctors? Even the blood of Jesus is no longer about appeasing the wrath of a sin-hating God but instead it is about sprinkling on cars (for safe travel), hospital beds (for healing), and wallets (for more money). This is such an obvious continuum that I am amazed that we are not seeing this. Charismatic teaching is breeding these spiritual mavericks!

That does not mean that everyone who holds on to Charismatic views will end up tipping over the cliff edge. I have many Charismatic friends who I deeply respect and so far they are keeping a safe distance away from the edge. Many of them, for instance, are concerned about the Nigerian religious junk that is engulfing the continent. However, I am still asking the question: Can’t they see that intrinsic in their doctrinal position are the seeds leading to the disaster we are currently facing on the continent? This question needs to be faced honestly.

Secondly, I am very concerned about the failure of acknowledged leaders of the Charismatic movement on the continent of Africa to address this matter because to me it is a very serious issue. Behind closed doors, with a volume that is just slightly louder than a whisper, they assure me that they are concerned about it and are addressing it. But I never hear their voice in the growing chorus of condemnation at the havoc being caused by these health-and-wealth preachers.

A creepy similarity: There is a creepy similarity between this phenomenon and what is happening in Islam. There seems to be a fear by many people to state that Islam is the cause of the current mayhem in the world. They would rather we just call the people who are doing all this simply as terrorists. However, why is it that Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Boko Haram, Al Shabaab, etc., comprise people of Islamic belief? Could there be something in Islamic teaching that fosters the belief that Allah rewards you if you thrust your religious convictions down the bloody throats of other people?

Notice also that behind closed doors, Islamic leaders are willing to tell us that they are equally opposed to these militant terrorist groups. They assure us that Islam is a very peaceful religion. But even before they finish giving us these assurances, these Islamic terrorist groups are reported to be blowing up civilians on every side and we do not hear any loud condemnation from their lips. CNN, BBC, or Aljazeera is not quoting any of them issuing clear condemnations against these perpetrators of mayhem. Instead, they are conspicuously quiet.

These assurances from both Charismatic and Islamic leaders—while the world is going up in flames—remind me of what my late dad used to say when you wake up with a wound on any of your toes or fingers. He would say, “It was the work of a rat.” When you would ask how come you did not feel pain while the rat was nibbling your flesh away, he would say, “The rats blow on the wound each time they nibble. Thus you do not feel the pain. And that way, they can eat away your entire toe or finger.” Although that may not have been true, it was enough to keep me checking my limbs in the morning when I slept in a rat-infested place.

I fear that although the story of blowing rodents may be untrue, Charismatic and Islamic leaders are fulfilling this story in the world of humans. Their assurances are numbing our nerve-endings while rebels within their ranks wreak havoc. It is time they admitted that their teaching is fundamentally flawed at a very crucial point and is a nursery bed that is breeding these dangerous religious fanatics!

Botswana Trying To Rid Itself of ‘Charismatic Corruption’ 

By Keletso Thobega

Charismatic churches are on the rise in Botswana, with pastors promising miracles in the forms of successful marriages, work promotions, financial freedom, children for the barren – the list is endless. However, the government of Botswana has come out strongly against these “wolves in sheep’s clothing,“ threatening to deport them for their antics.

The country is currently considering a new policy that will give foreign pastors 30-day permits reserved for visitors and tourists instead of the usual 5-year permits allocated to them. In cases where foreign pastors apply for licences to operate their churches, they must have more than 250 listed congregants.

As reported in the Midweek Sun, former minister of labour and home affairs Peter Siele and Ntlo ya Dikgosi deputy chairperson Kgosi Lotlamoreng II started a campaign to curtail foreign pastors in 2010 and 2011  over concerns that they are are defrauding Batswana of their hard-earned money.

Some pastors have been accused of drug dealing, sponging money off locals, power struggles within their churches, failure to submit annual tax returns and preaching ill about President Ian Khama, which is akin to a crime in Botswana – you just don’t speak badly about the president!

Nigerian Prophet Peter Bollaward who was the helm of the Glory of the Latter Ministries in Gaborone was deported on February 8 after the ministry of labour and home affairs declared him a ‘prohibited immigrant’. He was reportedly detained for a few days before his deportation and questioned about the several millions in his ministry’s account and the fleet of expensive cars he drove.

In 2011 the flamboyant Pastor Frances Sakufiwa of Zambia, who ran the New Seasons Ministries and lived in Botswana for 15 years, was deported under a presidential order.  He wassurrounded by controversy, mostly related to his roving eye. It’s alleged that the handsome, charming and married pastor was a womaniser who changed women as often as one changes underwear. A few days after he was booted out of the country, a group of women reportedly pleaded with the president to reverse his decision and allow Sakufiwa back into Botswana, claiming he was “highly anointed”.

However, other sources claim the pastor was sent packing from Botswana because of his politically inclined prophesies. Apparently the Khama government became increasingly nervous about his prophesies and the huge media attention they were attracting.

In an interview with the Midweek Sun last year, director of immigration Mabuse Pule stopped short of proclaiming that government would not tolerate foreign pastors. “They come here to abuse our people and push personal agendas. The pastors group themselves and see our own pastors as outcasts in their own country,” he said. He used the biblical analogy in Matthew 7:15 which likens such folk to wolves in sheep’s clothing. “God does not bring crooks here. We will not allow anyone to deceive our people using His name,” Pule said.

In Botswana, the title of pastor is synonymous with wealth and social prestige. Congregants pay tithes and purchase miracle water and other religious memorabilia from the church. Pastors also receive ‘gifts’ from congregants in the form of money, clothes and even vehicles for their blessings and help.

Many Batswana have deserted Methodist, UCCSA, Anglican, Roman Catholic and ZCC churches in favour of the charismatic churches that have sprung up. The latter are characterised by loud music, singing and dancing, vigorous preaching, promises of miracles,  and exorcising of  “devil spirits”.

An acquaintance was involved in a horrific car accident that left her bound to a wheelchair  for a few months. Now a congregant at the Universal Church, she can walk with a slight limp and vehemently believes that God used the pastor to heal her through the Holy Spirit. As a self-proclaimed agnostic, I’m never sure how to digest this except by pointing out how commercialised faith and God have become.

On the few occasions that I visited the Universal Church and New Seasons, I was struck by the high turnout of congregants, particularly the youth, who are dressed to kill and are enthusiastically dancing, singing and chanting praises. Church is the new “cool” in this country; a big social club. This is a choice many Batswana have made, and it’s clear that charismatic churches will continue to thrive despite government’s attempts to stop them. The people will believe who and what they want to believe.

Keletso Thobega is a copy editor and features writer based in Gaborone, Botswana. 

(EDITOR’S NOTE: I personally know someone who preaches heatlh and wealth in Africa, all while failing to feed anyone anything. What the people are starving for is solid spiritual food based on the teachings of Jesus. The problem stems from the freedom that “pastors” have to declare themselves “Reverend” and “Dr.,” when they might not have spent a day studying for the ministry in a seminary. It is almost comical that these whitebread pastors from America treat the African pastors like strangers in their own country — when the very real fact may be that Jesus, a half-brother of Adam, forerun by King Solomon, was and is a man of color — a condition which many corrupt pastors would never be prepared to believe. — rcg)

Monday
Jun292015

Ancient Alien Creators? Or Demons?

The History Channel presents “Ancient Aliens” documentaries on a regular basis. In them, the Ancient Alien (or Astronaut) theorists would have us believe that extraterrestrials, and not the God of Abraham, Isaac and Joseph, and Adam, created mankind — or at least gave ancient apes their ET DNA, turning apes into homo sapiens, they assert. And this is all based on the hard evidence on the ground and in museums — and it is compelling — that there are timeless beings who have made marks in stone and crops, apparently, and have now disappeared, perhaps to enjoy the fun.

Where are these timeless beings if they exist? Why are they hiding? Are they waiting for events to occur in the history of mankind to make their grand entrances (i.e. “take me to your leader”)? Is timing of the essence, for them? I suspect they will reappear with a central figure, who will be prepared to solve the world’s problems, especially the Israeli and Palestinian stalemate. If the figure arrives really impressively, who will there be to say that this isn’t God or Jesus?

But what we’re dealing with is not mere inhabitants from another world or galaxy — but demons, who inhabit the bowels of this planet. How can you look at the face of a “Gray” and not see that they, in addition to being sexless, are evil-looking as hell? They’re clearly demons, with the ability to traverse time. (Evil is as old as free will.) They’re waiting — until their new leader, perhaps sexless, emerges from where they may have cloned or test-tube created him. The guy is gonna be special, but deadly. Just my guess.

Meanwhile AA theorists fall all over themselves, where petragylphs, UFO sightings and ancient artifacts are concerned, trying to retell the creation story as it appears in Genesis. Further, the theorists (and I love how they call themselves “theorists,” and yet hammer home their views as if they are fact.) believe that ET’s want to help us, and they cite the nuclear accident in Japan as an example. Apparently, there were numerous UFO sightings around the damaged plant; at one point a UFO sent down beams of light. Well, that has been all it has taken for these theorists to believe ET’s are benevolent, have helped us in our so-called “evolution,” and will help us in the future make the next leap in our “evolution.”

Brother.

Nothing has been said in any of these shows about the biblical narrative, the holy history of mankind and earth, as they are reflected in the Scriptures. Nothing has been said about “scientific Adam” — the very first homo sapien (there had to have been a first person, right?) — and how evidence of ancient “beginnings” point not to the Americas, Europe, and what was Sumer (now Iraq), but to Ethiopia, where God created Adam, a type of Solomon … and also a type of Jesus. (Hint: Solomon’s mother was an Ethiopian.)

It bears pointing out that the human race is not made up of creatures from another world or galaxy, or a heavenly realm, apart from the giants who mated with human women, presumably triggering God’s wrath and the reason for the flood. We are special. If aliens made the human race, where are the hybrids that look more like Gray’s? And if they created us, why do they abduct us in such numbers to perform procedures, apparently meant to find out what makes us tick?

Huh?

… to be continued

Saturday
Jun202015

Faith Of My Childhood Trumps 'Secret Knowledge'

When I was roughly the age of 5, I began experiencing night terrors with full-blown hallucinations. (When I became an adult and a father, I waited for my two children to have trouble sleeping, assuming all children did; but apart from a few normal nightmares, my kids never went through what I did.) At times one floating spirit after another burst onto my face and passed through me. I could see them even with my eyes closed — so it was in my mind, somehow. Something from outside me and my experience was doing this to me.

I’ve struggled to understand why these terrors occurred at all; they would keep me up all night, leaving me and my bedclothes soaked with sweat by morning. I can only presume I was feeling guilt for my molestation at 5. Satan was accusing me of having done a very wrong thing with two female babysitters.

I assumed that it was God whom I felt tormenting me. The night terrors continued until I reached a night where I was exhausted and absolutely spent worrying about the fearful things I saw and felt. I knew I had reached a limit; I knew I would go insane if nothing changed. Somehow God communicated to my mind that he was not the source of my guilt and shame, anxiety and hallucinations; that He was not tormenting me, but rather Satan was.

As soon as I had that thought, I fell happily to sleep after telling myself a brief story about animals going on a picnic, and I never had another night terror. I had God on my side; Satan was powerless against me.

As I look back and look at today and perhaps at what lies ahead, I see a world where there are actually people who believe there is no evil persona opposing God, but that God, if there is one, is both evil and good at the same time. Whoa. Who would want to live in a world like that? I know this is true, because a very intelligent and learned rabbi once told me that he didn’t believe in a persona that represents evil, i.e. Satan, the devil. He believed evil was a choice that some people just chose to make, without being tempted or coerced by any evil spiritual force behind the scenes, and, presumably not deserving of hell, even if they do evil. Oh well.

It is a very dangerous layout of dominoes, which tells you that you can do what you want without eventually getting caught. While I am not possessing of “the gnosis” or “secret inner knowledge,” or “Kundalini fire,” or whatever, I do have the simple faith of a child that God is somehow living in and around me, which I don’t understand. The flowers of the world are God’s handiwork — we should give him praise for the colors and the variety. When I was a child, beautiful flowers and the seeds that produced them fascinated me and increased my admiration of God. Just add soil and water … and voila!

God doesn’t make me feel guilty when I do wrong, his pure, loving nature won’t permit Him. If that could be conveyed to those who are so impressed with Eastern religion, and unimpressed with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and Christianity, my side could be making a lot more progress than it’s making to serve the neediest among us and draw people to the truth.

“God is love,” John wrote.

Many Gnostics, and or followers of Kabbalah teachings, believe that the Tree of Life, or Sephirot, accurately portrays a dark universe, with evil being on one side and good on the other, but both of them being part of the same tree. What a license to do wrong Gnosticism could become in the minds of people who actually believe Jesus was trailer-park trash, if he existed at all, kissing the girls and making them cry, having nothing ultimately to do of a redemptive nature. Gnostics also believe in the Demiurge, which is another way of saying “a god of both good and evil.” We should be told and told repeatedly that evil exists because of the free will that must be present for love and good to exist. God is no part evil in any sense — but it makes some people feel better to pull God down below the point where they find themselves in life, cursing him for their lives, believing they have a license even to kill, since God himself kills. But He doesn’t. He has dominion over us and loves us, before and after we die.

What is most remarkable about the Gnostic gospels in the Nag Hammadi Library is how little the authors have to say about Jesus, who should be their unwavering focus, and how much the gospels appear to be unimpressively esoteric and apparently fabricated to the point of being nonsensical. As one of the twelve, Philip, in any piece of writing he might produce, would surely not spend his time babbling in print, as much of the Gnostic Gospel of Philip appears to be, if there were stories to tell about Jesus the person, the miraculous works he did and his ultimate role in redeeming the world. And yet there are those, including scholars, who embrace the Gnostic gospels and the rest of the Nag Hammadi Library, as if the material were on par with the Dead Sea Scrolls, which it is not. They praise the gnosis or inner knowledge the library attempts to purport. But alas, we must believe that those people would have also “seen” the new outfit of the stupid king.

Where should we begin to make our case that the Gnostic gospels, in particular those of Philip, Mary Magdalene and Thomas, are bogus forgeries, which just happen to be written in the Coptic language? And what should we say about where the Nag Hammadi Library was found (under a heap of dung in Nag Hammadi, Egypt), which ought to eliminate the Coptic material as authentic, because we would not expect Egyptians to have the words of Philip, Mary and Thomas, when no one else anywhere else does? How did the Coptic writer come by these materials? Were they first written in the languages of Philip, Mary and Thomas, which would have been aramaic? If they were first penned in aramaic, or some other language besides Coptic, where are the original manuscripts? Are we to believe that Philip, Mary and Thomas traveled to Egypt to give their accounts to the Coptic writer?

And then we have an author who has managed to find a way of making hay by giving credibility to the Gnostic material, which portrays Jesus as a kisser of prostitutes, at best, which would have, had it happened, ruled Jesus and his ministry out in the minds of his closest disciples. But those who praise the library in question are not convinced that Jesus could have been the perfect man the true Gospels claim he was. 

Finally, we have to ask ourselves not what can the Gnostic writings teach us, but what can they tell unless about fraudulent people who were obviously impressed with the New Testament Gospels and couldn’t resist trying their hand at writing something resembling scripture. Forgers are not new; presumably they’ve been around since there has been ink transferred to parchment. What does it say about a person who must, by writing, make such an ugly and dishonest mark?

“No harm, no foul,” some people might say. What’s wrong with embracing materials which, for one, make Jesus out to be a pretty amorous guy, even where presumed prostitutes are concerned?

We forget the story of Jesus and the woman at the well; it is a story that shows the morality and the non-judgmental nature of Jesus, who tells the woman that she has been sleeping around, and is on her fifth “husband” — all so that he may explain to her, in glowing terms, that forgiveness is available to all sinners and that the salvation of all men was “of the Jews.” He further describes the Father, not in weird or bizarre terms, which we repeatedly find in the Nag Hammadi Library, but in gentle, loving, spiritual terms she can understand. The authority of the New Testament Gospel material is inherent; it doesn’t try to preach any kind of elaborate knowledge, but rather succinctly and matter of factly describes the life and ministry of a carpenter’s son and how that ministry might be applied to every person’s life. 

Looking at the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and comparing them to the Nag Hammadi Library, is like comparing a Grand Piano to a cheap keyboard you can get online for 30 bucks. If you’re interested, read further about African John Mark’s Gospels of Mark and John (and perhaps Hebrews and the letters attributed to John), and how it was that John Mark took on the Gnostics in Alexandria, Egypt and parts of Africa, which he evangelized — a point that should be repeatedly made. John wrote a Gospel with an eye toward the Gnostics, who were (and still are) false teachers. He made the point to the Greeks and Gnostics in Alexandria that Jesus was both fully man and fully God. Who would spend their time writing a “gospel” which didn’t have anything substantive in it about Jesus? And yet that’s exactly what the fraudulent Gnostic gospels are.

… to be continued

Sunday
Jun142015

Code Schmode: The True Identity of the Beloved Disciple

For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light. 

Mark 4:22. Jesus said it.

Sir Leigh Teabing, a character in The Da Vinci Code, quotes the secret Gospel of Philip in making his case that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were lovers. The secret Gospel of Philip also includes a reference to Archons, which the Gnostics believed to be an alien force of deities. 

Gnosticism originated in Alexandria, Egypt.

African scholar John Mark, who wrote the Gospel of Mark, founded the Coptic church in Alexandria.

The Gnostic writings contained in the Nag Hammadi library are written in Coptic.

The Gospel of Mark includes twelve verses which most scholars believe were forged. The beginning of these twelve verses includes an awkward reference to Mary Magdalene. 

The Gospel of Mark minus these twelve verses contains exactly 666 verses.

Anti-Gnostic elements in the Gospel of John show that John Mark, the writer, argued against the Gnostics, who rose up in Alexandria, Egypt. Gnostics believed (and presumably still do) that Jesus’ spirit descended upon His material body. John Mark argued that Jesus was both God and man.

The number 666 is the “mark” of the beast.

A reference to “a certain youth” in Mark’s Gospel, believed by many scholars to be John Mark, may identify “the other disciple, the one Jesus loved” in the Gospel of John. He was apparently called “the other disciple” because he recognized he was not one of the twelve.

The description of the “certain youth” being disrobed and humiliated, taking him out of consideration as “another disciple” who followed Jesus to the high priest’s courtyard, may have been inserted to throw people off the scent of African John Mark as the Beloved Disciple. Even if John Mark was disrobed, he still could have run home to dress and then make his way to Annas’ courtyard. The Gnostics’ lack of ethics and humility, and their willingness to distort the truth about Jesus, may have led them to fabricate the story of the “certain youth.”

Mark’s given name was John.

The Last Supper is missing the disciple John, who is believed by some scholars to be the disciple whom Jesus loved.

The Last Supper, evidenced by a disembodied hand grasping a dagger (near the woman believed by some to be Mary Magdalene), was clearly vandalized.

John Mark hosted the actual last supper with his mother Mary.

There is a reference to “the other Mary” twice in the Gospel of Matthew.

The patron of The Last Supper, Ludovico Sforza, a duke of Milan nicknamed “the Moor,” was reportedly of African descent.

The Sforza family crest appears in the collar of the Mona Lisa.

Caterina Sforza, the niece of the patron, who may be the Mona Lisa, was an alchemist whom Machiavelli said tried to poison Pope Alexander VII.

The father of the patron of The Last Supper created the first Tarot cards.

Gnosticism is not benign. Gnostics, namely the Brotherhood of the Serpent, summoned the “Kundalini fire” to use in their interactions with Archons.

The ancient Gnostics, according to the Nag Hammadi library, possessed knowledge of a race of alien deities called Archons (believed by some to be Saurons, Dracos or Reptilians). The Gnostics identified the Archons with Yaldaboath, the Gnostic name for Jehovah or the Demiurge, a pseudo-creator who was both good and evil.

Yaldaboath (Gnostic name for Jehovah, the false creator god, or the Demiurge) did not wish humankind to have any recollection of the Generators, the Cosmic Mothers and Cosmic Fathers on high. It was the serpent who, by tempting them, brought Gnosis to our parents; who taught the first people of our kind the complete knowledge of the Mysteries from on high.

The ancient Coptic Gnostic beliefs about the Archons were delusional beliefs about divinity. These beliefs held that this alien force infected the human mind with ideological viruses, which were intended to thwart humanity from reaching its true potential.

Epiphanius, a Christian who infiltrated the Ophite cult of “Snake-worshippers,” reported that they “venerate the Serpent because God has made it the cause of Gnosis for mankind. These snake worshipers drank bodily fluids as part of their ritual practices. Yuk.

Gnosticism accounts for the legend of Merovech the Twice Born, Meroveus or Merovee, the offspring of the Frankish king Clodius and Princess Basina of Thuringia who originated the Merovingian line (which allegedly contained the blood of Mary Magdalene). Merovech the Twice Born was believed to be part human and part sea creature (quinotaur).

Gnosticism accounts for the sacred geometry found in the landscape of France (beginning with the Rennes-le-Chateau, the Church of St. Mary Magdalene), which includes five-pointed stars (pentangles) and the Star of David enclosed in a circle.

Lagniappe:

If John Mark was “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” and if he was an African, what does that say about Jesus?

Is it significant that there is a place in Ethiopia called Magdala?

Is it significant that “a scientific Adam” lived in Ethiopia and that Jesus was believed by the apostle Paul to be “a second Adam”?

Will white aliens one day pose as messiahs, with one claiming to be Jesus?

NOTES: John Mark took on the heretics in Alexandria, Egypt — hence the Gnostic-flavored Gospel of John.We are still having the same arguments with heretics — only The Da Vinci Code and the Gnostic gospels haven’t had an answer until now.

Okay TANATA campers, gather around the light that glows before you. We’re going to talk about a project called “Code Schmode: The True Identity of the Beloved Disciple,” and we’re going to be providing links associated with this project on our website. Bear with us if you do not wish to surf these sites — which are mostly sites operated by film production companies. When we’re through, you’ll know a lot more about Jesus, the person and friend. And how to produce a documentary without borrowing all the money. First, we’re going to need Bible scholars to interview about our topic. Then and only then can we write our script. Here’s a good directory, but its not as good as one we used to know. The second directory is pretty thorough; it pertains to Christian film production companies — and it’s a whopping list. I suppose we will snail mail as many companies and scholars that we can to generate real interest. We might even write a press release. In fact, that’s what I’m going to do. I wish there was a way to know Jesus’ DNA, as God’s Son; would Jesus be the half-brother of the biblical (and genetic/scientific) Adam? Was Jesus a man of color? And does that thought bear on our topic; it does if we’re talking about the most ancient races of people being in East Africa — which I came to know. I have often wondered what my purpose in going to Africa was, as God views it. I believe I have followed the clues to a solution of the mystery.

Christian Scholars Directory

Christian Film Production Companies

Genetic Adam and Eve Uncovered

John’s Gospel and Gnostic Teachings

A Good Beloved Disciple Discussion

The way this is going to work is like this: We’re going to have to launch a campaign to get our project known by scholars who can intelligently speak to it. At once, we’re trying to round up experts, which will involve some doing, collect footage and generate graphics, and raise funds so that we can produce the documentary. I, of course, see good things for this project, which has reemerged on my front burner following the passing of my dear sweet wife Susan. It seems more important than ever to have a project to work on, however well or poorly we do what we’re trying to do. But, of course, it’ll be a knockout, or it won’t be done at all.

The following material is UNDER CONSTRUCTION:.

Jesus said this — speaking apparently of the Apocalypse or “unveiling” or “revealing.” Some, including the Apostle and disciple Peter, believe that there will be a restoration of heaven and earth, even as all knowledge is given to us. Pretty mysterious. Biblical topics have been very mysterious and controversial in our time.

What biblical mysteries are there to plumb, which may be brought into the light? How about the identity of “the other disciple (not one of the 12), whom Jesus loved”? Of what help might be the code, which became the basis for a book and a film? Was Jesus’ most beloved disciple Mary Magdalene, as the code purports, or was Jesus best friend … an African scribe and priest?

What has Jesus to do with Africa … and anyone coming from there? Remember the infant Jesus was taken into Africa to hide him from the evil King Herod. Why did Mary and Joseph need to go as far as Egypt to hide their son?

The answer can be found, in part, in the biography of the founder of the Coptic Church and its first bishop, written by the late Coptic Pope Shenouda III, and only translated into English in 1997.  

In 2003, The Da Vinci Code was published, immediately raising a firestorm of questions about Jesus’ sexuality, His deity and the identity of Jesus’ most beloved disciple. The book’s author relied on Leonardo Da Vinci’s puzzling fresco The Last Supper and the Gnostic gospels of Philip and Mary Magdalene to make the case that Jesus’ most beloved disciple had been Jesus’ confidant, lover and wife, Mary Magdalene herself.

But there remain questions, presumably hidden from us, which could tell us many things about Jesus, the person and the friend he could be. The Da Vinci Code goes to rather elaborate lengths to somehow link a fresco painted by Leonardo in 1499 to a hidden code, the matter of the identity of Jesus’ most beloved disciple.

Let’s take a closer look at the famous fresco … and see if there are any new conclusions which can be drawn to shed light on whether there has been or is some code, which links Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Or this young African man.

It was the year 2003. A best-selling work of fiction, borrowing from the Gnostic gospels of Mary and Philip

Published in 2003, The Da Vinci Code raised questions about Jesus, his deity, and even his sexuality. The book’s author put forth the idea of Jesus having been married to Mary Magdalene, that he only swooned on the cross

What secrets have been hidden from us? Secrets about death and the afterlife

 

 

Jesus spoke these words more than two-thousand years ago, speaking about a future time when the Apocalypse or “unveiling” will occur. . What hidden information or secrets have been kept from us, which will one day be revealed by God?

What do we not know that we want to know?

There are many mysteries in the Scriptures and the holy history that produced them.

For Bible scholars, there has been the age-old question of who was Jesus’ best friend, also known as the Beloved Disciple. It is imperative that we identify the so-called Beloved Disciple

What can be drawn from the fact that the Beloved Disciple outruns Peter to the empty tomb, but finding the stone rolled away hesitates to go inside?

What can be drawn from the fact that the Beloved Disciple is described as leaning on Jesus’ breast, when that on the surface may seem to be inappropriate?

Is it significant that Jesus was taken into Africa as a child, the same continent from which came the woman and her son who hosted the last supper?

What made the Beloved Disciple so lovable, so that Jesus would permit him to recline on his bosom? No true disciple would do that. Amy hint of sexual impropriety would have made Jesus out to be a fraud. This was not one of the twelve.

What about the Beloved Disciple’s age? It would be appropriate for a young boy to lean on his hero, or big brother.

Think you’ve got the inside track on Jesus from The Da Vinci Code, which in part is based on The Last Supper, Leonardo’s much-contemplated fresco in Milan?

Why is it important that Jesus lived part of his life in Africa, and that the Last Supper was actually hosted by an African woman and her son?

Jesus lived a part of his life as an African — that is, his parents moved Him to Egypt so He might be safe from King Herod’s decree to slay all infants until the  

Mysteries abound in this life. Life and death are mysterious, with each of us surrounded by a world and universe that only leaves science more puzzled the more it learns. But need it always be so? Will any of these mysteries of life and death ever be revealed, explained, detailed, pointed out? Reportedly, people who have died and been resuscitated have said all knowledge was made available to them in the afterlife. Do we have to wait until we die … to make some sense out of the mysteries of life that surround us?

Jesus said that in the End of Days, all mysteries would be revealed. Well who was Jesus to make such a statement? Did He ever exist? Is there a way to help solve the mystery of the person of Jesus Himself? 

Can we link Adam to Jesus?

Jesus went to an ancient part of the world, not far from where Eden is believed to have existed.

Science says the scientific Adam was Ethiopian, as the first Hebrews might have been

In Egypt, there is a place where Jesus stayed, revered

Jesus lived in Africa for a part of His life

Africans hosted The Last Supper in their Jerusalem home 

Did Jesus ever exist?

Did He do the things we’re told He did in the New Testament Gospels?

Did He do the things that the Gnostic gospels say he did?

Is it remarkable that the Gnostic Nag Hamadi Library was written in Coptic?

Has the Coptic Church been an unheralded defender of the Christian faith?

Who was Jesus’ most beloved friend? And what binds them together?

In whose home in Jerusalem was the Last Supper held?

Why did Mary and Joseph travel to Egypt to hide Jesus?

Is Jesus the half-brother of Adam?

How important to Christendom is the Coptic Church?

Who founded the Coptic Church in Alexandria?

Which disciple and apostle of Jesus was the most educated?

What does the painting The Last Supper really say about Jesus and His disciples? Is Leonardo’s portrayal of the Passover meal Jesus shared with His disciples actually flawed? Does the nationality of the woman and her son who hosted the meal give us pause, as we ask ourselves if anyone was painted out, hence the large gulf between Jesus and John, which is a distance not described in scripture.

 

Tuesday
Jun022015

Speeding Chariots In Jerusalem

Brothers at war, so what else is new?

Jacob and Esau have battle to do

Set in motion by the One,

Who will rule when war is done

 

Does the ancient story hold?

Does God use literary types to mold

The holy history of man on earth,

Reaching back to Adam’s birth?

 

Jacob is the chosen one,

To best Esau, the Arabian;

Bombs lobbed into Jerusalem …

Will Islam really want it then?

 

Chariots speeding in the streets,

With so many souls to greet

The Lord delivers on his promises

As the prophet Nahum says.

 

For decades, certain Orthodox rabbis have maintained that the Messiah would come when three signs were in evidence at the same time.

First, there must be speeding chariots in the streets of Jerusalem, fulfilling Nahum 2:4: “The chariots shall rage in the streets, they shall jostle one against another in the broad ways: they shall seem like torches, they shall run like the lightnings.

This interesting verse once prompted Sir Isaac Newton to predict that men would someday travel as fast as forty miles per hour.

Voltaire, an enemy of Christianity in that era, scorned Newton’s statement, saying, “See what a fool Christianity makes of an otherwise brilliant man, such as Sir Isaac Newton! Doesn’t he know that if a man traveled forty miles an hour, he would suffocate and his heart would stop?”

But Newton was conservatively correct. And today, in Jerusalem, as in other major cities, speeding chariots (automobiles) jostle one against another in the broad ways. At night they seem like torches and they run like lightning.

 

Dark activity in the Holy Land,

As God predicted with prophets’ hands;

Isaac and Ishmael, destined to feud:

Will Jacob once more trade his food?

 

Friday
May222015

This Is An Important Poem

I’m aware of a rolling mist,

Like smoke before my eyes.

What is the source of this,

So like clouds in the sky?

 

This is an important poem:

For I believe I see

A truly spiritual realm

Somehow enveloping me.

 

Is my wife watching over me?

Does she swirl and dance,

Through the air surrounding me?

Is there any chance?

 

A cloud of witnesses? Maybe

Other angels watching o’er me?

A sign not shown to others;

But for me alone to see?

 

It’s most prominent at night,

Seeing the falling mist-smoke,

Ever circling, first left then right.

I swear this is not a joke.

 

I have some credibility:

A cloud the size of a car

Hovered over my roof

On a cloudless night, for sure.

 

Nearly touching my roof,

It glowed with the full-moon light.

I had stepped out to smoke

Very late one 2006 night.

 

It began to rise and head for trees (but missed them by inches)

When I  become too sleepy to stay.

The cloud rose up and to the South

Perhaps that means something one day.

 

The trees by which I measured it,

As the cloud began to rise,

Have died, their bare limbs broken.

Have I reason to cry?

 

Are the dead trees now a sign to me?

I’m concerned, but I digress:

The cloudlike mist enveloping me

Is what I should address.

 

So clouds and I have a past:

Now the clouds encircle me!

I’m not just crazy, seeing things;

See if you can see!

 

Let your eyes softly focus

On the space before you eyes

Then watch the cloud-smoke swirling!

Tell me if you are surprised.

 

Do all people have the cloud-smoke

That may circle to keep them well?

Or is this just my experience,

And preparation for heaven or hell?

 

I know the pain of mental illness:

The girl who drove me mad did it again;

Then I got ambushed in the service.

Losing her now only brings new pain.

 

Cumulous and puffy white was the cloud;

Translucent is the cloud-smoke, like displaced air

Please try to see it and write back to me;

Hopefully, we’ll have notes to compare.