Comments and Replies ... and Who We Are

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.


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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Ordinary Dogs

People chained like ordinary dogs

They’re falling down in a war of fog

The southern kingdom of Israel

Dispersed into the world of endless hell


Now we have a renewed blessed plot

The Jews worked mightily for what they got.

Where is strongman, where is the king

That the enemies of Israel mean to bring?


David, of Judah, was black like ebony

Solomon’s mother an Ethiopian tree,

Grown from the first blacks of Ethiopia.

Judah moved south into Africa.


Jesus was black — are you surprised?

Know the African Adam to become wise:

The first humans were formed in East Africa.

Lord, now I understand the cruel diaspora.


But what will come of these matters?

Shall the writer of John’s Gospel be scattered

With the sands of Jerusalem; you know that this is true.


This is my earnest means to tell the truth to you.


What Color Was Jesus and Solomon?

What color were Jesus and Solomon, yo?

Can’t be another question, so say so

If Jesus was black like Adam’s seed …

What does that say to you and me?

Jesus was the half-brother of these African clans

Jesus has the DNA to save everyman. Hear it, see it, tell it!


If your brother is white you might need a gentle hand

The supremacists won’t tell the truth — they’re a withering band.

When they know a black has created all the world …

That’s gotta change a grown man into a girl.


Notes On 'Finding Prester John'

After a second cup of coffee, Eli Knowles (pronounced “know-less), 64, had a sufficiently clear mind to recall what he knew, as he shaved, and what he was going to say and do on this special day. But what he had to say is what a crazy man would say. He could be wrong, but he didn’t think so; he needed for people to get ready for the paradigm shift of all paradigm shifts, that God was going to gloriously reveal. Eli felt funny. People already thought this Navy vet was crazy. His material had to ease people into the fact that Jesus, like the first humans who migrated out of East Africa, was black. And that Eli wasn’t crazy. But, even if he was, this material was getting out if it killed him. Literally. And he had gotten death threats on his web site, with one Russian hacker able to knock out five years of essays, poems, papers, reflections.

What Eli was was a former Navy intelligence specialist who spent a year in Asmara, Ethiopia (now Eritrea), and came to discover that the locals all equated themselves with the Tribe of Judah, and Haile Selassie, the emperor, would one day would become their Lion of Judah, with the Ark in nearby Axum to make the ancient prophesies come true.

It didn’t sink in for Eli for a long time that the people of Eritrea and Ethiopia were long-time descendants of the first Jews of Judah, the southern kingdom. If Jesus was the Lion of Judah, how could that be worked out? And also Eli asked himself, was Jesus black? 

Not until the film The Da Vinci Code revealed its heresies did Eli feel motivated to speak on Coptic matters anytime the film producers were ready. Did these people really believe that a dung-covered scroll written in the 3rd century and not found until 1945 could have any bearing on a painting finished in 1499? To read the Nag Hammadi Library, all Gnostic works, was the most bizarre claptrap I have ever read.  


Why did the angel tell Mary and Joseph to take Jesus into Egypt to hide Jesus from the murderous King Herod?

Why did the Roman soldiers go out of their way to get an African, headed in the opposite direction, (Simon of Cyrene, North Africa) to share Jesus’ burden of carrying the cross to Golgotha?

Would it interest you to know that John Mark, who is the reporter for all these events, also came from Cyrene, the place in Africa that his friend Simon was from?

Now look at Hebrews 7:14, which is one of the final identifiers that Jesus was black. Jesus arose from the same seed as Adam and the first Adam clans formed by God out of nothing.


If You Can Reach It

There’s something you might imagine

It’s a tale of redemption and love

And how the African refugee John Mark

Communed with Jesus, our God.

And wrote much of scripture

From John, to Hebrews, to Revelation

With John Mark being given the gifit

To exalt a foundering nation.


John wrote Mark and John,

Striving to reveal the truth

Don’t give up on the puzzles in the Bible.

The mysteries are there for you.

The Lord will wait for you;

Answers appear from secrets

And all the Bible codes are true.


Another Take On Our John Mark Thesis


A key proponent of the suggestion that John Mark was the beloved disciple is Pierson Parker, “John and John Mark” JBL 79 (1960): 97-110. He makes the following points:

  1. John Mark lived in Jerusalem (Acts 12:12) where the Fourth Gospel concentrates most of the activity of Jesus and the beloved disciple (97).
  2. John Mark was related to a Levite named Barnabas (Colossians 4:10; Acts 4:36) and may have mutilated his fingers to get out of his priestly duties (Mark’s Latin prologue in codex Toletanus). The Fourth Gospel is interested in the temple cult, the beloved disciple knows the high priest in John 18:15, and there is the tradition of Polycrates that “John” wore the priestly vestment (98).
  3. John Mark was a figure of means, befitting a Gospel that does not take as much interest in the poor and the elite circles of the beloved disciple (98).
  4. John Mark could be host of the last supper (98).
  5. John Mark was a companion of Paul and there is Pauline influence in the Fourth Gospel, though in the author’s distinct terminology (98-99).
  6. John Mark was a co-worker of Luke. The distinct agreements between the Gospels of John and Luke, as well as their differing wording and literary contexts, are due to two authors sharing oral traditions when they worked together (99-100).
  7. Just as Paul reconciled with Barnabas and John Mark after their dispute over Gentile “Judaizing” (cf. Acts 15:37-39; Gal 2:7; Col 4:10), the Fourth Gospel sides with the Gentile view of the controversy (100).
  8. John Mark ministered among the diaspora and the Fourth Gospel is the sole one to mention Greek-speaking Jews in the diaspora (John 7:35; cf. 12:20) (101).
  9. John Mark was a companion of Peter (Acts 12:12). The Fourth Gospel goes into the most detail about Peter and the beloved disciple is his constant companion (101).
  10. There is no reason to suppose (John) Mark waited to be Peter’s “interpreter” until late in Peter’s life (cf. Papias) and the Fourth Gospel aligns with Peter’s preaching in Acts (102).
  11. The discrepancy over whether (John) Mark wrote a Gospel after Peter’s death (cf. Irenaeus) or during Peter’s lifetime (cf. Clement of Alexandria) is due to the evangelist adding an addendum (John 21) after Peter died (102-3).
  12. The tradition that John Mark went to Alexandria accords with the Alexandrian theology of the Fourth Gospel (103).
  13. John Mark visited Ephesus, explaining the tradition of the evangelist John in Ephesus (103).

Parker turns to Papias where he points out that (John) Mark’s substandard order may reflect the Fourth Gospel’s departures from the Synoptic tradition based on his personal recollections (104). Against Papias’s statement that (John) Mark was not a witness of Jesus, Parker cites a line from the Muratorian Canon that “he was present at some events” and argues that Papias defended the Fourth Gospel against its detractors (105). Since Papias ascribes the observation about (John) Mark’s lack of order to the Elder John of Ephesus (note: Parker leans towards seeing the tradition that the Apostle John was in Ephesus as mistaken), John Mark and the Elder John must be separate individuals (110). He closes with one more list about the evangelist:

  1. He had a home near Jerusalem in John 19:27 (106).
  2. He was a young man cared for or “loved” by Jesus (106).
  3. His date for Easter was supported by Christians in Ephesus (106).
  4. He stresses eyewitness testimony and could be one of the eyewitness “ministers” of the word (cf. Luke 1:2; Acts 13:5) (106).
  5. He did not rely on written sources besides his memory (106).
  6. The Fourth Gospel took shape after Peter’s death when John Mark was old (106).
  7. The Fourth Gospel has a good grasp of Jewish and Pagan though (106-7).
  8. The Fourth Gospel is similar to Colossians in combating Gnostic ideas.

It could also explain the unanimous tradition that the author of the Gospel was John, even as the various figures named John became confused in the early church (107-8).

This theory coheres with the beloved disciple being an elite Jerusalem follower, but major flaws remain. There is no evidence in the New Testament that John Mark knew Jesus during his lifetime or that the house in Acts 12 was the locale of the last supper and it seems problematic to discern the identity of a character in one text from an entirely separate book (Acts). Papias clearly states that (John) Mark was not a witness like the beloved disciple but a second-hand reporter of Peter, which is why he was not able to get the “order” correct, while the fragmentary line in the Muratorian canon could refer to Peter as the subject. The early church followed Papias in linking Mark or Peter with the second canonical Gospel: Parker is not persuasive in dismissing Justin Martyr (Dialogue 106:3) and, while he notes that Jerome hesitatingly related John Mark of Acts to the second canonical Gospel (Commentary in Philemon 24) (109n.36), 1 Peter 5:13 was the more common proof-text in defending that Gospel’s authorship.