I have a new book out "The Secret of Jabez." It is about the Kenites and the Sacred Name of God. The Kenites were a tribe of Arabs who worshiped Yahweh that formed an alliance with the Israelites during the time of Moses. The cover picture shows a Semite belonging to the Tribe of Yahweh who has been enslaved by the Egyptians. This is from the Temple of Soleb.
I have been thinking about going overseas for three trips.
- Egypt: I want to do research on the Exodus by going to the Sinai and Upper (Southern) Egypt. I also want to visit with the Coptic Christians and see how they are doing. I still have friends in Egypt.
- The Silk Road: I received information about an expedition going there. I have researched the Silk Road. In fact one of my papers on the subject "Assyrian Christianity in the Mongolian Empire" is published on the Journal of Assyrian Academic Studies (see www.jaas.org). And this month, National Geographic has an article "The Urban Clan of Genghis Khan: An Influx of Nomads has turned the Mongolian Capital Upside Down." I want to go to Mongolia and teach the Mongolians about their "Assyrian Christian Heritage."
- Uganda: I served with Ugandans in Iraq. They are a very spiritual and religiously devout people. I wish Americans and Europeans had just a little of the sincerity and earnest faith that the Ugandans have. I have been invited to preach some sermons in Uganda. My friends will host me.
If I go on these trips Egypt will be a three week expedition, the Silk Road will be a three week expedition and Uganda will be about a week and a half-probably eight days. I will go on these trips if I receive or somehow allocate funds.
I am now working on getting into a doctoral program. I have to decide between Liberty University or Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. If I study at SWBTS, I will be majoring in Old Testament and earning a minor in Archeology, New Testament or Anabaptist/Baptist history.
John the Apostle
In Aramaic John's name was Yohanna. That was a common name and means "Gift from Yahweh." Jesus gave John and his brother Jacob (called in English "James") a nick-name. This was "Boanerges" which is Aramaic for "Sons of Thunder." (This is probably, literally in Aramaic, Benai Reges-which means "Sons of Anger." But sometimes we in our English language are inclined to say that storm clouds are "threatening" or perhaps even "angry.") In our Bibles we have the "Johannine Corpus," that is, a body of books written by (or attributed to) John. John's Gospel, also called the "Fourth Gospel" is different from the other three Gospels. The other three Gospels are called the "Synoptics" due to their similarities. The Johannine Corpus is the Gospel of John, the First, Second, and Third Epistles of John and the Revelation (or Apocalypse) of John.
Now, there are some interesting theories about John. Some scholars believe that there were different people named John (it was a common name) who became conflated in tradition and merged to become our "John the Apostle." This idea was discussed as early as 325 in Eusebius's "Ecclesiastical History." Eusebius believes that "John the Elder" who wrote the Epistles and Revelation was a different person from John the Apostle. Eusebius claimed to have discovered two graves of John and used this to back up his theory.
The Christian writers of the second and third centuries testify to us as a tradition universally recognized and doubted by no one that the Apostle and Evangelist John lived in Asia Minor in the last decades of the first century and from Ephesus had guided the Churches of that province. In his "Dialogue with Tryphon" (Chapter 81) St. Justin Martyr refers to "John, one of the Apostles of Christ" as a witness who had lived "with us", that is, at Ephesus. St. Irenæus speaks in very many places of the Apostle John and his residence in Asia and expressly declares that he wrote his Gospel at Ephesus (Against Heresies III.1.1), and that he had lived there until the reign of Trajan (loc. cit., II, xxii, 5). With Eusebius (Church History III.13.1) and others we are obliged to place the Apostle's banishment to Patmos in the reign of the Emperor Domitian (81-96). Previous to this, according to Tertullian's testimony (De praescript., xxxvi), John had been thrown into a cauldron of boiling oil before the Porta Latina at Rome without suffering injury. After Domitian's death the Apostle returned to Ephesus during the reign of Trajan, and at Ephesus he died about A.D. 100 at a great age. Tradition reports many beautiful traits of the last years of his life: that he refused to remain under the same roof with Cerinthus (Irenaeus "Ad. haer.", III, iii, 4); his touching anxiety about a youth who had become a robber (Clemens Alex., "Quis dives salvetur", xiii); his constantly repeated words of exhortation at the end of his life, "Little children, love one another" (Jerome, "Comm. in ep. ad. Gal.", vi, 10). On the other hand the stories told in the apocryphal Acts of John, which appeared as early as the second century, are unhistorical invention.
There is a church tradition, which says, that when John was evidently an old man in Ephesus, he had to be carried to the church in the arms of his disciples. At these meetings, he was accustomed to say no more than, "Little children, love one another!" After a time, the disciples wearied at always hearing the same words, asked, "Master, why do you always say this?" "It is the Lord's command," was his reply. "And if this alone be done, it is enough!"
Another interesting theory was that John the "Beloved Disciple" was "John the Priest," a Levite. In John's Gospel it says that "the Beloved Disciple" (how the author of the Fourth Gospel identifies himself) was "known to the high priest." That is odd if he was merely a common fisherman.
Mesopotamia's Raw Deal
For some reason Ancient Egypt has been able to capture the imagination of the American public in a way that Mesopotamia has not. There have been some exceptions of course. The archeologist in "True Lies" concentrated on Mesopotamian antiquities. One of the earliest motion pictures "Intolerance" by D. W. Griffith (an innovative film maker) also featured ancient Mesopotamia on an epic scale. We also briefly saw Babylon, in all its glory, on Oliver Stones controversial, highly panned homo-erotic film "Alexander." (This movie was about Alexander the Great.) The public was interested in Wooley's excavation of "Ur of the Chaldees" but this discovery was eclipsed by the discovery of King Tut's tomb. What synched it was mummies and the pyramids. You would think that America's involvement in Iraq would stimulate curiosity and interest into the history of Iraq-but that hasn't really happened. At any rate-I am trying to do research on Mesopotamia.
I have gotten into arguments with people who claim that Hebrew is a supernatural language. The issue is, did Jesus speak Aramaic-or did the Hebrew people engage in circular reasoning (which is apparently a preferable way of thinking). I say, "Yes, Jesus did speak Aramaic" and "There is no evidence that the Jews engaged in "cyclical thinking." The comeback I get it, "You need to learn Hebrew." I do know Hebrew and I have studied it on the graduate level. I believe that Biblical languages are very important. However, knowing a Biblical language doesn't make you more spiritual. Many Israelis are totally secular. Speaking Hebrew doesn't necessary bring you closer to God. Studying conjugations and vocabulary doesn't necessarily make you a better person neither does it automatically bring you closer to God. Jesus said "Love one another" and "You must be born again." These truths are not unfathomable unless you know Hebrew or Aramaic.
The Origins of Hebrew
Hebrew emerged from another language. This language is pre-historic but has been reconstructed by Linguists. It is called "Proto-Semitic." Aramaic and Arabic also developed out of proto-Semitic. But, "Proto-Semitic" evolved out of an earlier language-or language family and that language family is called "Afro-Asiatic." Ancient Egyptian is also an "Afro-Asiatic" language. Egyptian is different from Semitic languages- but it also has interesting similarities with Semitic languages-and that is because they have the same source. The first historically attested Semitic language is Akkadian-the language spoken by the Assyrians and the Babylonians. "Hebrew" is Canaanite and is the same language that was spoken by the Phoenicians and Carthaginians. The famous general Hannibal was a Hebrew speaker. The prophets constantly rebuked the Hebrew speaking Israelites for their sins and their idolatry. Jesus told Nicodemas, who obviously spoke Hebrew and Aramaic, "You must be born again." Jesus said that for a man to enter the kingdom of God he must humble himself and become as a little child. Paul said, "knowledge puffs up but love edifies."
Supposedly, Iran tried to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in America. Now, the Obama administration is making threats-even the threat of going to war-against Iran. I say, let's do it! We should have toppled the regime in Iran rather than that in Iraq first anyway. This current phase of Islamic fanaticism actually started with the Ayatolla's revolution in Iran anyway. It is surprising that Obama has become a militant. After his assassination of the Yemeni terrorist, Cheney, rightly, demanded an apology from Obama. His attacked the "Bush policy" (of "Pre-emptive strikes") and yet now is a practitioner of it. Iran sentenced an Iranian actress to 90 lashes for making a movie criticizing censorship. Obviously, 90 lashes, if given at once, will kill a person. This shows the savagery and barbarism of the Iranian regime. Also, Iran has declared a "mistrial" of the pastor who was sentence to death for converting from Islam to Christianity. This is a move to buy more time. They are also hoping that when he is condemned to second time there won't be international attention so that they will be able to carry out the death sentence.
Obviously, the "Arab Spring" is actually the "Islamist Spring." There has been a horrific incident of persecution in Egypt.
Toasting Victory in Teheran
By Judith Miller Published October 15, 2011 | FoxNews.com
They must be uncorking the non-alcoholic champagne in Teheran tonight. The Obama administration's decision to withdraw by January all but 160 U.S. active-duty troops to guard the American embassy in Baghdad is a strategic defeat for the U.S. that is likely to significantly enhance Iran's already considerable influence in Iraq and throughout the region. But let's remember this: this was clearly Iraq's call. For the past several months, administration officials have been quietly pressing Baghdad to negotiate a new agreement that would enable Washington to keep several thousand U.S. troops there to continue efforts to help stabilize the country and train Iraqi security forces. Specifically, American negotiators have insisted that Iraq grant American forces in Iraq immunity from prosecution in Iraqi courts as a condition of extending America's military presence there. But Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who heads a politically fractious coalition that is in thrall to the Iran's ruling mullahs, has been unable or unwilling to do so. And the Obama administration has been unwilling to stay without such immunity guarantees. So the U.S. really has little choice but to abandon initial plans to leave 3,000 to 5,000 American forces in the country after Dec. 31, to help guarantee stability and help Baghdad defeat remnants of Al Qaeda and other Islamist militants. Iraqi officials tell me that while Maliki wanted several thousand of the some 40,000 troops now based in Iraq to remain longer than the deadline and personally favored granting such immunity, Muqtada al-Sadr, a virulently anti-American cleric who lives partly in Iran, and other Islamist members of Maliki's coalition not only threatened violence, but also to desert the coalition and bring his government down if the American forces stayed. So this decision, in effect, was made in Teheran. And make no mistake about it: the decision is bad for the prospects of stability in and the political independence of Iraq, bad for the United States, which is likely to be accused of abandoning its eight-year commitment to the security and stability of the country it invaded and upended in 2003, and good for Iran, which will be seen as having forced Washington to abandon its military commitment to Iraqi stability. While many will praise President Obama's decision to withdraw virtually all American active-duty forces there – thousands of security contractors and diplomats will remain in Iraq, after all -- the administration's critics are likely to charge -- particularly in a politically charged election season -- that he left Iraq before stability was assured, and hence, if chaos increases and Iranian influence grows, that the 4,400 American soldiers killed during the 8 year war in Iraq died in vain. This is particularly a risk given the timing of the leak of the withdrawal plans. Earlier this week, the Obama administration accused Iran of trying to assassinate Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the U.S. and blow up the Israeli and other embassies in Washington. Such an Iranian-blessed plot, if proven, would suggest that Iran has become far more aggressive and willing to take unprecedented risks to achieve its political goals. Such terrorism on American soil, had it succeeded, might well be considered an act of war. President Obama has made no secret of his view that the Iraq invasion was an ill-conceived "war of choice" that diverted American attention from fighting Al Qaeda, the Taliban and other militant Islamist allies in Afghanistan. And he had long vowed to withdraw most of the active-duty forces from Iraq by the year's end, saying that America's investment there in blood and treasure had continued long enough. But he did try to negotiate an agreement with Maliki. His inability to do so may leave his administration open to charges that it did not try early enough or hard enough to persuade Iraq that a sustained American military training presence in the country was in Iraq's best interests.
This is very sad. Obama is going to give Iraq to Iran. But, I guess this is what America wanted-they voted that far left inexperienced zealot into office. There will be terrible consequences to this. I lived in Iraq and I love the country. I hate to see disaster befall Iraq-especially after all the gains we made there. But the majority of Americans wanted this Islamo-Marxist president we have.
Tales from the 1001 Arabian Nights: The Tale of the Little Hunchback
In one of the 1001 Arabian Nights stories, there is the story of a little hunchback who died choking on a bone, he is dropped off at the house of a Jewish doctor. The doctor, afraid that he will be held liable for his death, threw him out into the street, where his body ends up colliding with a drunken Christian, who thinks he is being attacked by a robber. He strikes the corpse. He is then accused of murdering a Muslim and is immediately sent to the gallows under the declaration "There is no pardon for a Christian who kills a Muslim." In the tale, he is rescued. It is a comical story mocking mass hysteria and the fear "Dhimmis" have to live under in the Muslim world. The Arab author could afford to mock and make jokes-but the Christians and the Jews must live in fear. This is the way life is-and has been since the time of the Arabian Nights. Muslims are the "Umma" which means "the Nation." Christians are outsiders who must live in a state of submission and humiliation-according to the dictates of the Koran and Sharia law.
In the Middle East, everyone drives like crazy people. One time I was in a car with Arab Christians where they traded a baby through the car window in heavy traffic. Often people walk in front of busy streets. So, in the Middle East it is not uncommon for people to get hit by cars. (Some of my Arab friends have been hit by cars.) A Muslim could run over a Christian, back over and run over him again and nothing will be done about it. But, if a suicidal Muslim jumped in front of a car driven by a Christian, the Christian driver is going to jail, if he lives long enough to get arrested. (What I mean is a Muslim mob may murder him before police arrive on the scene.) This is life for Christians in the Middle East.
The Egyptian Massacre of the Copts
More fuller news reports of the incident can be found at my blog:
The Christian protesters said their demonstration began as a peaceful attempt to sit in at the television building. But then, they said, they came under attack by thugs in plainclothes who rained stones down on them and fired pellets."The protest was peaceful. We wanted to hold a sit-in, as usual," said Essam Khalili, a protester wearing a white shirt with a cross on it. "Thugs attacked us and a military vehicle jumped over a sidewalk and ran over at least 10 people. I saw them." In the past weeks, riots have broken out at two churches in southern Egypt, prompted by Muslim crowds angry over church construction. The Church was demolished by Islamic rioters. One riot broke out near the city of Aswan, even after church officials agreed to a demand by ultraconservative Muslims known as Salafis that a cross and bells be removed from the building. Protesters said the Copts are demanding the ouster of the governor, reconstruction of the church, compensation for people whose houses were set on fire and prosecution of those behind the riots and attacks on the church. Wael Roufail, another protester, corroborated the account. "I saw the vehicle running over the protesters. Then they opened fired at us," he said. Ahmed Yahia, a Muslim resident who lives near the TV building, said he saw the military vehicle plow into protesters. "I saw a man's head split into two halves and a second body flattened when the armored vehicle ran over it. When some Muslims saw the blood they joined the Christians against the army," he said. The Health Ministry said 25 people were killed and 329 wounded, including more than 250 who were taken to hospital.
The American new media has done a poor job of reporting the incident. This is because they are brain washed by political correctness and they do not want to report news that portrays Islam or Muslims in a negative light. These incidents occurred in Shubra, an area in Cairo that I have lived in and probably involved churches that I have visited.
Egypt's State Media Implicated In Violence Against Christian Demonstrators
AINA) -- Egyptian state television has been accused of spreading false information and inciting violence against Christians protesting in front of the TV building in Maspero on October 9. Calls have been made for the Information Minister Osama Heikal to resign. Egyptian lawyer Hamdi el-Assuiti filed a complaint with the Prosecutor General against the Minister of Information and TV presenter Rasha Magdi, accusing them of "deliberate broadcast of false news, information and rumors, which disturbed public security, causing terror among the public, and harming public interest." While the event of the attack on the Copts was ongoing, news presenters called on Egyptians to come to the aid of their armed forces, which were being attacked by "armed Coptic protesters, killing three military personnel and wounding many," said broadcaster Rasha Magdi. The news bar read the same for over three hours. Angry Muslim young men from the neighbouring Boulak, Sabtiya and Ezbet el Safih in Ramsis, hurried to the help the army, chanting anti-Christian slogans and intercepting Copts in the streets and assaulting them with stones, clubs, and firearms, before going to Maspero to join the military police attack on the peaceful protesters.Dr. Emad Gad, head of strategic studies at Al Ahram Organization, called on the Minister to resign, saying the State television's coverage "could have led to wide-scale massacres, or even civil war. I know Copts who did not go to work for two days, afraid to leave their homes.""This was devastating to the Muslim-Christian relationship," said Nabil Sharaf-eldin, Muslim liberal and head of El-Azma electronic news wire, who attended the Maspero candle vigil before being joined by the 150,000 Christians arriving from Shubra district. He said on his way back home he heard Muslim comments against Christians, adding "it caused a spiritual divorce between them that will never heal."
So, the State News was inciting a riot, or a pogrom, against Christians. They broadcast on television-in effect-"Muslim brothers-we are under attack by Christians-come here and help us fight them!"
A Catechism of the Assyrian Church of the East
When I went to Chicago I picked up a copy of "A Catechism of the Church of the East" by Qasha Klutz and Father Tooma. It was very interesting. A catechism is a book of religious instruction that is given in a question and answer format.
Stephen's Books and Projects
On the blog I have posted a list of the projects I have completed and the projects that I am working on.
I am also trying to put some of my books on "kindle" and "nook." I am working on "Christ's Language." My book "The Language of Jesus: Introducing Aramaic" seems to be doing well on Kindle and in its print edition.