Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Junia the Apostle

" הכהן תפלוס יהוחנן/בר
ברת יהוחנה/יהוחנה ".

The Ossuary of Joanna the Apostle of Jesus Christ with an Aramaic inscription

Aramaic inscription says "Johanna granddaughter of Theophilus, the High Priest"







Junia the Apostle

Theophilus was the High Priest in the Second Temple in Jerusalem from AD 37 to 41 according to Josephus's Antiquities of the Jews. He was a member of one of the wealthiest and most influential Jewish families in Iudaea Province during the 1st century. A growing belief points to this person as the person to whom the Gospel of Luke is addressed. Theophilus was the son of Annas and the brother of Eleazar, Jonathan, Matthias and Ananus, all of whom served as High Priests. He was also the brother-in-law of Joseph Caiaphas, the High Priest before whom Jesus appeared. In addition, his son Matthias served as the next to the last High Priest before the destruction of the Temple by the Romans. Archeological evidence confirming the existence of Theophilus, as an ossuary has been discovered bearing the inscription, "Johanna granddaughter of Theophilus, the High Priest".The details of this ossuary have been published in the Israel Exploration Journal. Therefore Theophilus had at least one other son named Jonathan, father to Johanna. Johanna appears twice in the New Testament in the Gospel of Luke. First as one of women healed by Jesus who travels with Jesus and the disciples to Jerusalem. Her second appearance also in the Gospel of Luke is on Easter Sunday when she and other women visits the empty tomb. Joanna is a feminine given name deriving from Koine Greek ωάννα Iōanna from Hebrew יוֹחָנָה ānnāh meaning 'God is gracious'. Variants in English include Joan, Joann, Joanne, and Johanna. Other forms of the name in English are Jan, Jane, Janet, Janice, Jean, and Jeanne.The earliest recorded occurrence of the name Joanna, in Luke 8:3, refers to the disciple "Joanna the wife of Chuza," who was an associate of Mary Magdalene. Her name as given is Greek in form, although it ultimately originated from the Hebrew masculine name יְהוֹחָנָן Yehôḥānān or יוֹחָנָן Yôḥānān meaning 'God is gracious'. In Greek this name became Ιωαννης Iōannēs, from which Iōanna was derived by giving it a feminine ending. The original Latin form Joanna was used in English to translate the equivalents in other languages; for example, Juana la Loca is known in English as Joanna the Mad. The variant form Johanna originated in Latin in the Middle Ages, by analogy with the Latin masculine name Johannes. The Greek form lacks a medial -h- because in Greek /h/ could only occur initially. The Hebrew name יוֹחָנָה Yôḥānnāh was borne by men in earlier centuries, but in modern usage it has become feminine, to provide a Hebrew equivalent for the name Joanna and its variants. The Christian Arabic form of John is يوحنّا Yūḥannā, based on the Syriac form of the name. For Joanna, Arabic translations of the Bible use يونّا Yuwannā based on Syriac ܝܘܚܢ
Yoanna, which in turn is based on the Greek form Iōanna. Sometimes in modern English Joanna is reinterpreted as a compound of the two names Jo and Anna, and therefore given a spelling like JoAnna, Jo-Anna, or Jo Anna. However, the original name Joanna is a single unit, not a compound. The names Hannah, Anna, Anne, Ann are etymologically related to Joanna just the same: they are derived from Hebrew חַנָּה Ḥannāh 'grace' from the same verbal root meaning 'to be gracious'. Joanna is a woman mentioned in the gospels who was healed by Jesus and later supported him and his disciples in their travels. She was the wife of Chuza, who managed the household of Herod Antipas, the tetrarch of Galilee. Her name means "Yahweh has been gracious." In the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic traditions, she is a saint. She is considered some so-called biblical scholars as a disciple who later became an apostle. In the Bible, she is one of the women recorded in the Gospel of Luke as accompanying Jesus and the twelve: "Mary, called Magdalene,.. and Joanna the wife of Herod's steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources".

Some scholars believe that Joanna is the Aramaic name of Junia, who is mentioned in the Epistle to the Romans and that her husband Chuza also used the Greek name Andronicus.

The Apostle Paul
wrote in Romans 16:7: "Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me." The phrase translated "of note among the apostles" (KJV) can be read two ways, as illustrated by the two readings in the NIV; "outstanding among" (NIV main text) or "esteemed by" (NIV footnote). In this passage, Junia is seemingly described as "an Apostle" and this is how certain of the Church Fathers understood the text. Chrysostom wrote: "O how great is the devotion of this woman that she should be counted worthy of the appellation of apostle!"

It seems that Joanna, the grand-daughter of the High Priest, married into nobility when she married the steward of Herod. (She was the great-grand daughter of Annas, the High Priest Emeritus, who was behind the crucifixion of Jesus.) Then both she and her husband became followers of Jesus Christ and she became one of the "holy women" who followed Jesus. Later, she became a traveling missionary and when to Rome. If she died outside of the Holy Land, her body was brought back to Jerusalem for burial.

Books about Junia:

The Lost Apostle: Searching for the Truth About Junia by Rena Pederson

Junia: The First Woman Apostle by Eldon Jay Epp

Aramaic Village in Syria overrun by Al Qaida






Al Qaeda-Linked Rebels Attack Christian Village Where Aramaic--Language of Christ--Still Spoken -

September 5, 2013 - 5:36 PM Syrian rebels try to overrun Christian village - See more at: http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/al-qaeda-linked-rebels-attack-christian-village-where-aramaic-language-christ-still#sthash.309xPRNM.dpuf

By KARIN LAUB and ZEINA KARAM, Associated Press

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — The sound of artillery reverberated Thursday through a predominantly Christian village north of Damascus as government troops and al-Qaida-linked rebels battled for control of the mountainside sanctuary. The hit-and-run attacks on the ancient village of Maaloula, one of the few places in the world where residents still speak Aramaic, highlighted fears among Syria's religious minorities about the growing role of extremists among those fighting in the civil war to topple President Bashar Assad's regime. The fighting came as President Barack Obama's administration pressed the U.S. Congress for its authorization of a military strike against the Assad regime, while the president arrived at a G-20 summit in Russia expected to be overshadowed by Syria. The fighting in Maaloula, a scenic village of about 3,300 perched high in the mountains, began early Wednesday when militants from Jabhat al-Nusra stormed in after a suicide bomber struck an army checkpoint guarding the entrance. The group — listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department — is one of the most effective fighting forces among Syrian rebels. The suicide attack triggered battles that terrorized residents in the village, famous for two of the oldest surviving monasteries in Syria — Mar Sarkis and Mar Takla. Online video showed rebels in the streets, some firing truck-mounted heavy machine guns in the direction of the surrounding mountains. The video appeared authentic and matched Associated Press reporting on the fighting. Residents said Wednesday the rebels took over the mountaintop Safir hotel and were firing in the direction of the community below. Rami Abdul-Rahman, director of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said that despite a heavy army presence in the village, the rebels staged hit-and-run attacks, at one point patrolling the streets on foot and in vehicles, and briefly surrounding a church and a mosque before leaving early Thursday. Heavy fighting around the village, which is on a UNESCO list of tentative world heritage sites — continued throughout the day, and heavy artillery echoed in the village. "The stones are shaking," said a nun at the Mar Takla monastery. "We don't know if the rebels have left or not, nobody dares go out." Frightened residents expected the militants to return to the Safir hotel, she said, adding: "It's their home now." She spoke with the AP on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals. Al-Mayadeen TV, a Lebanese station who has an embed with the Syrian army, broadcast live images from the area Thursday evening that showed smoke rising from behind the hotel, suggesting the military was shelling it. The nun said about 100 people from the village took refuge in the St. Takla convent that she helps run. The 27 orphans who live there had been taken to nearby caves overnight "so they were not scared," she said. Maaloula, about 40 miles (60 kilometers) northeast of Damascus, had been firmly under the regime's grip, despite sitting in the middle of rebel-held territory east and north of the capital. The village was a major tourist attraction before the civil war. Some of its residents still speak a version of Aramaic, the language of biblical times believed to have been used by Jesus. In 2008, Assad and his wife, Asma, visited the St. Takla convent, eating with Christian orphans there. In the same year, Assad took former U.S. President Jimmy Carter for a stroll in the area. The attack highlights fears among Syrian Christians that the alternative to Assad's regime, made up mostly of Alawites — followers of an offshoot of Shiite Islam — would not tolerate minority religions. The nun who spoke to AP said there were reports that the militants threatened villagers with death if they did not convert. The report could not be independently confirmed. Such fears have allowed Assad to retain the support of large sections among Syria's minorities, which includes Christians, Alawites, Druze and ethnic Kurds, throughout the 2½ year civil war. Most of the rebels and their supporters are Sunni Muslims. Elsewhere Thursday, a car bomb exploded outside a research center belonging to the Ministry of Industry in the area of Soumariya near Damascus, killing four people and wounding several others, a government official said. The official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters. Three people were wounded when mortar shells hit two residential neighborhoods of Damascus, the state news agency SANA reported. In the northern province of Aleppo, a Syrian surgeon working for an international aid group was killed. Doctors Without Borders said the 28-year-old surgeon, Muhammad Abyad, died in an attack. Abyad, whose body was found Tuesday, had been working in an Aleppo hospital run by the group. The conflict started in March 2011 as largely peaceful demonstrations against Assad's rule. It turned into a civil war after opposition supporters took up arms to fight a brutal government crackdown on dissent. Two years of fighting have led to a stalemate, with the rebels controlling much of the countryside in the north, east and south, and the regime holding most urban centers in the west, where the majority of Syrians live. More than 100,000 people have been killed, with nearly 7 million people uprooted from their homes. U.N. officials estimate that 5 million have been displaced inside the country while another 2 million have fled to neighboring countries. The total amounts to nearly a third of Syria's population, which was 23 million before the fighting began. U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos met with Syrian government officials in the capital, lobbying for access to civilians trapped in areas where fighting has raged. After meeting with the president of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, Amos told the AP that she is "extremely concerned that the situation on the ground is becoming worse." An alleged chemical attack near Damascus in August has brought the U.S. to the brink of launching punitive airstrikes after the Obama administration concluded that Assad's forces were responsible. Obama has been lobbying for international and domestic support for punishing the regime, which the U.S. says fired rockets loaded with the nerve agent sarin on rebel-held areas near Damascus before dawn Aug. 21, killing hundreds of people. Obama has called chemical weapons use a "red line." Top administration officials have argued before the U.S. Senate and around the world that Assad would take inaction by Washington as a license for further brutality against his people. So far, however, Obama has won little international backing for action. Among major allies, only France has offered publicly to join the U.S. in a strike. At the Group of 20 economic summit in St. Petersburg, Obama will confront Syria's closest supporter, Russia, as well as foreign leaders skeptical of his call for an international military intervention in Syria. Moscow and Washington have sharply disagreed over ways to end the bloodshed, with Russia protecting the Assad regime from punitive actions in the United Nations. The U.S. has backed the opposition and repeatedly has called on Assad to step down. He has refused and the U.S. has been supporting the rebels with non-lethal aid and by training some rebel units in neighboring Jordan. Russia's Foreign Ministry said Syrian Foreign Minster Walid al-Moallem will travel to Moscow on Monday for a meeting with his Russian counterpart. European Union President Herman Van Rompuy urged U.N. investigators to release information as soon as possible about the purported chemical weapons attack Aug. 21 so that the international community can decide how to respond. SANA said Syrian Parliament speaker Jihad Laham sent a letter to the President of the European parliament, Martin Schulz, inviting members to visit Syria to follow up on the outcome of the U.N. investigation and help develop terms of reference for any subsequent investigations. - See more at: http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/al-qaeda-linked-rebels-attack-christian-village-where-aramaic-language-christ-still#sthash.309xPRNM.dpuf


'Either You Convert to Islam, Or You Will Be Beheaded'


The village of Maaloula has been taken over by Syrian rebels associated with al Qaeda, who have stormed the Christian center and offered local Christians a choice: conversion or death. A resident of the town said the rebels shouted "Allahu Akhbar" as they moved through the village, and proceeded to assault Christian homes and churches. "They shot and killed people," he said. "I heard gunshots and then I saw three bodies lying in the middle of a street in the old quarters of the village. Where is President Obama to see what has befallen us?" Another witness stated, "I saw the militants grabbing five villagers and threatening them and saying, 'Either you convert to Islam, or you will be beheaded.'" The village is located just 25 miles from Damascus, and sites within the village are dedicated as United Nations world heritage sites. Residents still speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus. The rebels who took over the city are associated with the al Nusra Front, an al Qaeda-associated Islamist group. Villagers reported foreign dialects ranging from Tunisian to Libyan, from Moroccan to Chechen.

Stephen's take

I have lived in Syria and worked on my book in Maloula. I have become very concerned and decided that I needed to speak out.


Stephen appears on the Sean Hannity Radio-show

On Monday, September 9th I appeared briefly on the Sean Hannity Show. A soldier who spoke before me insinuated that he would not want to go to war with Syria. This troubled me-when I came on, after greeting Sean, I said that I am also in the military and ready to go wherever I am sent, whenever I am sent. Then I mentioned that I had been to Maloula and met with Aramaic Christians there-I also mentioned that there are other Aramaic speaking Assyrian villages in the east of Syria that I had been to. I described what was going on as ethnic cleansing. Sean then talked about the dangers of Islamic extremism. We were up against a hard break so that was just about it-unfortunately.

Stephen appears on American Family Radio-"Focal Point" with Bryan Fisher


Watch the video-

During the week of this interview, Syria was a topic of conversation. I decided that I would engage the media since-Maloula was in the news-and I had been there and to Syria many times. Many people were giving their opinion-but I have a unique experience in having lived in Syria and having worked with Syria's Christians. I am an opponent of the Syrian regime. So I am conflicted about what is going on in Syria. The Alawite regime is bad-but we don't want the Muslim Brotherhood taking over-and of course not Al Qaida. Syria is controlled by Iran. If we could bring a more moderate regime into power in Syria is would be a great stride forward for peace and stability in the region. Most Syrian Christians (NOTE: NOT ALL) do support the Alawite regime because they feel that they protect them from Muslim extremists.


I think that the Alawite regime doesn't really care about Christians in Syria. I think that the government allowed the terrorists to take Maloula because they thought that that would help them with propaganda. They say-look terrorists have taken Maloula-see what happens if we Alawites aren't in power? When I was in Syria, a car-bomb went off. It was an inside job by the Syrian regime to "prove" that they are fighting terror and that they have a problem with terrorism to. They didn't fool any one. But I think they did by giving Maloula to the terrorists. It breaks my heart to see Maloula fall to the terrorists.

The Decline of America and the Rise of Russian Influence in the Middle East

I am an American and I love my country and I want to see my country be a force of good in the world. Obama, due to incompetence or design, is bringing America down. I wonder, however, if Russian influence would be better for the region. Most Middle Eastern Christians are Eastern Orthodox, as Russia is. If Russia is working to influence the region, the Middle Eastern regimes may do more to protect their Christian minorities in order to please the Russians and curry favor with them. America is becoming more of an anti-Christian country, is seems, while Russia has been returning to its Christian roots. So, a stronger Russia, vying for influence in the region, may be good for Middle Eastern Christians. America has done nothing to help Christians in the Middle East.

Kenyan Mall Attack Saturday, September 21, 2013

At least 61 civilians and six Kenyan security officers died in the four-day attack and rescue efforts, President Uhuru Kenyatta said Tuesday, but the death toll will rise as recovery workers retrieve bodies buried in the rubble of the partially collapsed mall. Kenyan forces killed five terrorists, and 11 others are in custody over possible links to the attacks, Kenyatta said, declaring that his country had "ashamed and defeated" the attackers. But even though Kenyatta declared the siege over, an immense amount of work remains to learn how Al-Shabaab, a terror group thought to be badly bruised by recent losses in its Somalian homeland, was able to pull off such a well-coordinated and brazen attack. It started Saturday when the attackers stormed into the upscale mall and began shooting. A senior Kenyan government official said they took "very few" people captive; the attackers were primarily out for blood. "They were not interested in hostage-taking," the official said. "They only wanted to kill." Muslims targeted Christian and asked Islamic trivia to see who was and was not a Christian. Those who didn't know basic Muslim triva were put to death. As is usual-the Liberal News Media-including the Left-wing CNN refused to report on the Islamic dimension of the attack. However, Fox News is beginning to address this issue.


O'Reilly: The world failing to confront the true nature of Muslim terrorism

Published September 23, 2013 | O'Reilly Factor | Bill O'Reilly

Bill O'Reilly

Over the weekend another vicious terror attack, this one in Nairobi Kenya. Scores of innocent people massacred, gun downed in a shopping mall. This kind of terror activity now a growing industry throughout the world and there is a reason why. The truth is that Muslim jihadists want to kill Christians and Jews. That's what this is all about, nothing more. The Muslim jihad believes that infidels do not deserve to live. But you will not hear the leaders of the world say that including President Obama. They will not tell you what is really going on here. This is simply about murder and if you are a Christian or a Jew, you are a target. It is clear that al Qaeda and its affiliates are now going to wage small- time terrorism all over the world. They will burn down Christian churches, attack Jewish synagogues and if they can launch another 9/11. And then there are other horrific attacks by jihadist Muslims on other Muslims. In Iraq alone, more than 4,000 civilians have been killed this year by other Muslims. In Pakistan, a pair of Muslim suicide bombers killed at least 81 Christians just yesterday at a church. In March, a Muslim mob torched 200 buildings at a Christian neighborhood of Lahore, Pakistan. In Egypt 60 Christian churches were burned during a four-day period last August, all by Muslims. "Talking Points" could go on and on. And what is the Muslim world doing about it? Nothing. Pakistan, for example, allows terrorists to live in the northern part of the country pretty much unmolested. From there they can launch attacks on Afghanistan and blow up Christians inside Pakistan. Iran pretty much supports worldwide terrorism with arms and shelter. Yemen, a safe haven for Muslim terrorists. Somalia another chaotic place where terrorists can pretty much do what they want to do. In fact, the attack inside Kenya was launched from Somalia, according to reports. There's simply no coordinated leadership to confront the jihad. President Obama is not going to do it; Great Britain and NATO not going to do it. In fact, the most aggressive country fighting the jihad is France, if you can believe it. Recently French troops defeated al Qaeda in the African country of Mali. France gets it. The French understand the danger from fanatical Muslims. We're living in a cowardly world and the terrorist know it and sadly we can expect more death and destruction because the jihad is just getting started. And that's "The Memo."

What do we do? I have had enough of this. What can we do? First off, we need to stop being afraid of speaking out. I am working on my approach and I will have it available in the next edition of the Aramaic Herald.

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