Sunday, February 16, 2014


The Problem with Camels in the Bible by Stephen Missick

"Most scholars believe that Camel were domesticated sometime around  3000-1500 BC. As beasts of burden and transport, camels occupy an important place alongside horses and donkeys. Two small members of the camel family, the llama and the alpaca of south America, are domesticated first - probably before 3000 BC. At that time both species appear to have been on the verge of extinction. Domestication by the American Indians saves them. Neither the llama nor the alpaca exists now in the wild. The larger of the two, the llama, is primarily a beast of burden, while the shaggy alpaca is valuable for its wool. Neither animal is strong enough to pull a plough or drag a cart - two important steps in the story of civilization which are denied to the early Americans. In the parched regions of north Africa and Asia two different species of camel become the most important beasts of burden - the single-humped Arabian camel (in north Africa, the Middle East, India) and the double-humped Bactrian camel (central Asia, Mongolia). Both are well adapted to desert conditions. They can derive water, when none is available elsewhere, from the fat stored in their humps.  It is probable that they are first domesticated in Arabia some time after 1500 BC. By about 1000 BC caravans of camels are bringing precious goods up the west coast of Arabia, linking India with the Mediterranean and Mesopotamia." (See:

The domestication of camels does have important consequences for the Bible. This problem has existed for some time-but has recently gotten media attention. (See Will camel discovery break the Bible's back? Opinion by Joel Baden, special to CNN and Camels Had No Business in Genesis By JOHN NOBLE WILFORDFEB. 10, 2014  in the New York Times.) Camels do not seem to have been known in Ancient Egypt or North Africa until after the dawn of Islam. This seems incredible, because desert Arabs did domesticate camels earlier. While there are pictures of exotic animals in ancient Egypt-no depictions of camels or references to camels have yet to be found (but I would be surprised if such evidence eventually is discovered). The problem is the dating of Abraham. If camels were domesticated in the year 1500 BC, then camels were not used by people in the year 2000 BC, the time period to which Abraham is usually dated. However, what if Abraham lived 1500-1400 BC and the Exodus occurred around the year 1200, as many Bible scholars believe? Another issue is that we do not know exactly when camels were domesticated. The year 1500 is an educated guess, it may have been earlier. They may have been domesticated several decades, at least, perhaps even centuries before people started drawing them or leaving records of them. This would especially be true if the camels were domesticated by people who lived outside the cities of “civilization.” With These new discoveries these “experts” try to prove that camels were unknown in Israel until well after the rule of King David. This means what they were saying is that, yes, Abraham may have lived in 1500 when camels were domesticated-however, even as late as the time of King David, who died around 970 BC, there were no domesticated camels in Israel. (It is hard to precisely date anything in the Bible that is before the time of David, Saul and Samuel.) If you read the research by these new “experts” you will notice how much of it is mere speculation motivated by a desire to “disprove” the Bible. They found camel bones that were early but they say they don't think they were domesticated-but they don't know. They looked at the leg bones and said they thought that they weren’t used as a beast of burden. What if the camel bones they found were used for riding and not for carrying burdens? These so-called scholars had an agenda. We know that camels were domesticated much earlier than what they are saying-but their caveat is "in Israel." I think these so-called scholars set out with an agenda to try to "disprove" the Bible and make news. Another fact of the matter is that we don't know for sure exactly when Abraham lived. It may be later than many suppose-and remember-Joseph's brothers went to Egypt several times-on donkeys-not camels. I think it is very interesting that in this story it is stated that the patriarchs most often rode donkeys. New discoveries could soon refute these new proposals by these so-called archeologists who are trying to get in the news.  Personally, to me Jesus is Lord and the eternal Word of God. I think the Patriarchs had a limited understanding of God. I feel very uncomfortable with the efforts of people to elevate Abraham over Jesus Christ in order to find common ground with Muslims and Jews. Abraham was the friend of God but Jesus is God Incarnate. Abraham did not die for our sins or rise again. Abraham wasn’t sinless the way Jesus is. Also, Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Muslim. (Jews will concede that Abraham was not Jewish, but Muslims do view Abraham as a Muslim. To Muslims, Jesus was a Muslim too, and is inferior to Muhammad-the so-called “seal” of the prophets. Of course, Abraham wasn’t a Christian either.) As I have stated, Abraham’s understanding of God was partial and limited. God chose to give a more fuller revelation of himself to Moses than he had the Patriarchs. And then, in Jesus the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily.  Jesus Himself said, “For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it” (Matthew 13:17).  The Book of Hebrews says, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds” (Hebrews 1:1-2). My faith is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. It isn’t built on camels bones! (as important as they may be).

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Aramaic Christian Ministries

The Goal and Purpose of Aramaic Christian Ministries:

Research and Rescue for the Restoration of the Assyrian Christian Heritage


The primary mission of Aramaic Christian Ministries is to proclaim the Good News of Jesus (Yeshua in Aramaic) the Messiah and to restore the Church to its Semitic roots. The Holy Bible is written in three languages; Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. The evidence seems to indicate that Jesus was tri-lingual and spoke these three languages. Certain scholars have constructed arguments that attempt to prove that Jesus was primarily a Hebrew speaker. This may be the case, but the text of the Greek New Testament contains many Aramaic words and shows that Jesus was a speaker of Aramaic. Aramaic is a Semitic language and is closely related to Hebrew, although it is a distinct language from Hebrew.

Aramaic is one of the oldest continuously spoken languages and is still spoken by certain groups of Middle Eastern Christians, particularly the Assyrian Christians of Mesopotamia. Although Christianity began in the Middle East and the Aramaic –speaking Christians are one of the oldest Christian communities still in existence, most Christians know nothing of their history or contributions to theology and Biblical studies. The Assyrian Christians have also been subjected to horrific persecutions throughout their history. One of the principle goals of Aramaic Christian Ministries is education. It is important for more Christians to learn of and learn from the Aramaic Christians. We must also expose the persecution that they are subjected to, work to end it, and help those who have suffered from it.

The work of Aramaic Christian Ministries is researching, rescuing and restoring the Aramaic Christian Heritage.


Aramaic as the Language of Jesus

In the Gospel of Mark, we find Jesus Christ on the cross of Golgotha suffering for the sins of all the world. “And at the ninth hour (three o’clock) Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eloi, Eloi, lama Sabachtani?”  Which, translated (from the Aramaic), is, “My God, my God why hast thou forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34) (If Jesus had been speaking Hebrew he would have said, “Eli, Eli, lama azabtani.” Jesus was not speaking Hebrew but Aramaic, the sister language of Hebrew.)

The New Testament is written in Greek. However, many Aramaic words are found embedded in its Greek text. For example, we find the Aramaic words “Abba, Father,” “Mammon,” (meaning “wealth”) and “Raca,” (meaning “empty-headed) in the teachings of Jesus (Mark 14:36, Matthew 6:24, Luke 16:11, Matthew 5:22). Jesus also uses Aramaic when healing people. To the deaf mute Jesus said “Ephphatha,” Aramaic for “Be Opened” and to the daughter of Jairus he said, “Talitha Qum” which means, “Little Girl, get up” (Mark 7:34, Mark 5:41). 

Many of the people in the New Testament have uniquely Aramaic names. Often, Jesus gave his followers Aramaic names. He named Simon Kaifa, which is written as Cephas in the King James Bible and its equivalent is “Peter” in Greek (John 1:42)  Jesus named James and John, the Sons of Zebedee, “Boanerges” which means “Sons of Thunder” in Aramaic (Mark 3:17). In Aramaic “Bar” means “Son” and in Hebrew “Ben” means “Son.” Many people have “Bar” in their names such as Bartholomew and Barnabas. (Barnabas means “Son of Encouragement” in Aramaic (Acts 4:36).) The name Thomas is Aramaic for “Twin” (John 11:16). The name Magdalene means “from the town of Magdala” in Aramaic. Magdala is the Aramaic word for “Tower” (Luke 8:2). Simon Canaanean means “Simon the Zealot” (or Simon the Terrorist) in Aramaic (Mark 3:18).

The Aramaic Christians

Usually, the history of Christianity is told from a Euro-centric perspective. Therefore, the historical contributions of Aramaic, Chinese, Indian, Coptic and Ethiopic Christians are overlooked. Tatian the Assyrian was the disciple of the famous Justin Martyr. Tatian composed the first harmony of the Gospels which he entitled the Diatesseron. He apparently created a Syriac and a Greek version. There are also other renown theologians of the Syriac tradition. This includes Saint Ephraim, Saint Isaac of Nineveh and Bar-Hebreus (his name in Aramaic means “son of the Hebrews” as he was a Jewish Christian). There are different churches of the Aramaic tradition. This includes the Assyrian Church of the East. (This church has been called the “Nestorian” Church in the past. However, it was founded long before Nestorius was born. In the Church of the East, the Nicene Creed is recited during every service. So, the Church of the East is theologically orthodox and has been recognized as so by many theologians and by the Roman Catholic Church). The Syrian (or Syriac) Orthodox Church is another important church of the Aramaic Church tradition. Another influential church of the Aramaic tradition is the Maronite church of Lebanon. Also, there is a group of Aramaic baptizers called the Mandaeans. They claim to believe in John the Baptist but not in Jesus Christ. Assyrian physicians and scholars made many important contributions when they came under Islamic rule. They translated Greek scientific work from Greek into Syriac and then into Arabic. These translations sparked scientific progress among the Muslims.




The Aramaic Bible

Portions of the Bible are written in Aramaic, in both the Old and New Testaments. Aramaic, along with Hebrew and Greek, is one of the three original languages of the Bible. However, there exist many versions of the Bible that are completely in Aramaic.

By the time of Jesus, Aramaic had largely displaced Hebrew as the common spoken language of most Jewish people. (Hebrew was still spoken in some circles.) Since most Jews no longer spoke Hebrew, it was necessary to have the Bible translated into Aramaic. These Aramaic versions of the Bible are called the Targum. Fragments of Targumim have been found among the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Targum are still used. As noted above, Jesus quoted an Aramaic Targum version of Psalm 22 from the cross. (Bruce Chilton explores the teachings of Jesus through the Aramaic Targumim in “A Galilean Rabbi and His Bible.”)

Early Christianity spread west to the Greek and Roman speaking regions, and east to the Aramaic speaking regions. Soon a version of the Bible was made in the Aramaic language. This version is called the Aramaic Syriac Peshitta Version. Syriac was a form of Aramaic, very closely related to the Aramaic spoken by Jesus, that was spoken in Edessa. There were (are are) different dialects of Aramaic. Another Aramaic version that has survived is the “Palestinian Christian Aramaic Version.” The Syriac Peshitta Bible is still used by the Syriac Churches. The Christian communities that used the Palestinian Christian Aramaic Bible have disappeared.




Aramaic as a Jewish Language

The Rabbinic Blessing of Aramaic: “Let not Aramaic be lightly esteemed by thee, seeing that the Holy One (Blessed Be He) hath given it honor in the Law, the Prophets and the Writings”          Palestinian Talmud: Tractate Sata 7:2


Certain ancient Jewish writings that we known unto the Apostles were written in Aramaic. This includes the book of Tobit and the Book of Enoch, which is quoted in the Epistle of Jude in the New Testament. Josephus, a contemporary of the apostles, claimed that he originally wrote his history of the Jews in Aramaic. 

The ancient Kaddish prayer is still used by the Jewish people and is an ancient Aramaic prayer that was known to Jesus.

Aramaic is still an important Jewish language. Important Jewish prayers and songs, such as Chad Gadyo, Kol Nidray, and the Aktamot, are in Aramaic and still recited in Aramaic by Jewish people. The Kabballah, and important Jewish mystical writing, is also written in Aramaic.

Judaism is based upon the Talmud. The Talmud is a Rabbinical commentary on the Mishna, the Jewish oral law. The commentary on the Mishna is called the “Gemara, which is written in Aramaic. There are two Talmuds-the “Palestinian” or “Jerusalem” Talmud and the Babylonian Talmud. Both are written in Aramaic. Some Bible scholars believe that the Talmud helps us to understand the Jewish culture in which Jesus lived and that it can help us to understand the context of the Gospels better.



The Aramaic Church Fathers

Scholars have discovered an ancient Aramaic hymnbook entitled “The Odes of Solomon.” Some scholars have dated this hymnbook to the first century. (2010, composer John Schreiner released a two-disc album called The Odes Project, which is an adaptation of the Odes of Solomon into modern music.)

According to the traditions of the Aramaic Christians, Saint Thaddeus and Saint Thomas, brought the Gospel to the Assyrians of Mesopotamia and other Eastern peoples. These traditions are preserved in the ancient Aramaic texts “The Doctrine of Addai” and “The Acts of Thomas.”

Ephraim the Syrian was a great Aramaic poet and theologian who lived in the Fourth Century. He is recognized as a “Doctor of the Church” according to the Roman Catholic Church. Ephraim wrote many beautiful hymns. He also wrote an important commentary on the Diatesseron.

Saint Isaac of Nineveh lived in the seventh century. He gave his life to prayer and meditation. His spiritual insights with he wrote of are highly valued in the Greek Orthodox church and also among the other Eastern Orthodox Churches.

There are many other Aramaic Church Fathers and Theologians whose work has sadly been ignored for far too long.






The Missionary Outreach of the Assyrian Church of the East


From their origins until about 1500, the Assyrian Christians were very active in global missions. They founded churches in India. Assyrian Christians also planted churches along the “Silk Road.” The Silk Road is the name given by historians to the various trade routes through central Asia which connected the East to the West. Marco Polo traveled across the Silk Road and describes finding “Nestorian” churches often. In 636 A.D., Assyrian Christians preached to the Emperor of China. He declared his favor upon Christianity and commanded that churches be built and that the Scriptures be translated into Chinese. Christianity thrived in Asia for centuries. Many of the Mongols were Christians. Assyrian Christianity was widespread under the rule of Genghis and Kublia Khan. In fact, many in the Mongolian royal family were members of the Assyrian Church of the East. Later, due to Islamic persecution and the ravages of the Black Plague, many Syriac Christian communities in the Far East disappeared. (After the Assyrian Church fell in decline, Roman Catholics would often make converts of Chinese “Nestorian” Christians. It is possible that many Chinese Christians roots go back to Syriac Christianity.) The Church of the East also planted churches in remote areas such as the Isle of Socotra off the coast of Africa. Archeologists have found Chinese Imperial monuments proclaiming the Christian messages, Christian scrolls written in Chinese and the ruins of church buildings and Christian cemeteries. The Church of the East survived in Iraq, Iran and India




The Persecutions


On October 31, 2010, two Islamic radicals with suicide vests full of projectiles entered a church and detonated themselves into the congregation. Over fifty were killed. Throughout their entire history, Assyrian Christians have been persecuted. Before the dawn of Islam, certain Zoroasterian rulers persecuted the Assyrian Christians. After Islamic armies arrived in Mesopotamia, Assyrian Christians had to endure Islamic rule. Throughout the Islamic world, Christians are discriminated against, persecuted and at times there have been massacres. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, Turks and Kurds persecuted Assyrian Christians. In one attack, the Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East was murdered. Perhaps the most terrible massacres occurred during the “Armenian Genocide” of the World War One period and the period after. During this genocide, Muslims killed Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians. In August 1933, over two hundred Assyrian Christian men, women and children were machine gunned to death by the Iraqi army. After this slaughter, the officers and soldiers who participated in the massacre were given awards for this action. Christians always face discrimination in Muslim countries. Saddam Hussein did prevent Islamist attacks on Assyrians. After the second Gulf War, Islamist attacks on Assyrian Christians intensified and tens of thousands of Assyrian Christians became refugees. Please pray for the Aramaic speaking Assyrian Christians of the Middle East and all other Middle Eastern Christians.




The Challenge of Islam

After Mohammad died, the Arab people revolted against his new religion. In a war called by the Muslims the Ridda Wars, or “Wars of Apostasy,” Islam was forced upon the Arab peoples. Soon afterwards, Muslims forced the Christian Arabian tribes, which had belonged to churches of the Aramaic heritage, from the Arabian Peninsula. Then the Muslims attacked the Byzantine and Zoroasterian Persian Empires. Although Byzantium did not fall to the Muslims until 1454, large territories that had been traditionally Christian for centuries fell under Muslim rule. Mohammad speaking in Allah’s name in Quran 9:29 says, "Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, even if they are of the People of the Book, [meaning Christians and Jews] until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued."What about the verses that deny the Trinity, the sonship of Christ?-even the crucifixion is denied in the Koran. When Muslims conquered Christian lands, they offered Christians the choice to convert, to pay the Jizya, or to die. Under Islamic Law, the Muslims claimed the right to take all the property of a Christian and kill them at will. Soon Christians were forced to pay the exorbitant Jizya tax. Many Christians converted to Islam to escape the taxation and persecution. The persecution of Christians was so horrific, that the Coptic Christians of Egypt revolted against their Islamic oppressors. In the Peshmurian Coptic revolt of  832, revolted against the Abbasid Islamic rule, where they expel the state workers and raised the banner of rebellion and refused to pay tribute (special tax called the jizya) .In the reign of Caliph Al-Ma'mun who arrested and killed large numbers of Copts and their dependents. There have been many persecutions of Coptic and Aramaic Christians during the 1400 year long rule of Islam in the Middle East.

The Crisis

Despite enduring centuries of persecution from their Muslim rulers, the worst persecutions occurred in the 20th Century and are occurring right now. In the period of World War I, in what is known as the Armenian Genocide, one million Armenian Christians, as well as tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of Assyrian Christians.

In August 1933, over two hundred Assyrian Christian men, women and children were machine gunned to death by the Iraqi army. After this slaughter, the officers and soldiers who participated in the massacre were given awards for this action.On October 31, 2010, two Islamic radicals with suicide vests full of projectiles entered a church and detonated themselves into the congregation. Over fifty were killed.

After Operation Iraqi Freedom began, Muslim radicals began targeting Iraq’s Christian minority. American forces refused to give Iraq’s religious minorities any security or protection. Since the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Iraq’s Christian population decreased by two-thirds. Syria had a population that was 12 % Christians. Muslim militants have also targeted the Christians there in the current civil war. The Coptic Christians of Egypt are also under attack.

There is currently a large-scale ethnic cleansing of the Middle East’s Christian population. Many Christians have fled the region and are destitute.

Raymond Ibrahim Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christianity (Regency Publishing, Washington, 2013)

The Silence of Our Friends by Ed West [Kindle Edition]



A Call to Action: How to Help

There is power in prayer. Please pray for all the Middle Eastern Christians and all Christians who are persecuted by Muslim radicals around the world. Also, become informed and challenge people to know the truth.

If you feel led to immediately give to help Aramaic Christians in need contact the Barnabas Fund and give a designated offering to help Middle Eastern Christians. Currently, Iraqi and Syrian Christians are in desperate need. ( 6731 Curran Street
McLean, VA 2210, Telephone: (703) 288-1681, Fax: (703) 288-1682
Toll Free: 1-866-936-2525 , Email:

I need $400 to organize Aramaic Christian Ministries as a 501 (c3) organization. If you feel led to give, contact me through the contact information below.

Please pray for me as I work on my doctoral project. My project will be Facilitating Interaction between the Aramaic Assyrian Christian Community and Evangelical Christians for Sustainment and Spiritual Renewal. Please pray that I will find funding for my doctoral research and that I will be blessed as I create educational materials about the Aramaic Christian heritage.








Aramaic in the Bible

Aramaic in The Old Testament


The Law                        Genesis 31:47

The Writings                Daniel 2:4-7:28

                                      Ezra 4:6-8 and 7:12-26

The Prophets                Jeremiah 10:11

                                      (2 Kings 18:17)

Aramaic in the New Testament

(The list of Aramaic words used in the New Testament is too long to list completely in this booklet. There is a sample of texts.)

Maranatha Aramaic for “Come, Our Lord” 1 Corinthians 16:22

Akeldama Aramaic “Field of Blood” Acts of the Apostles 1:18–19

Bethsaida Aramaic for “House of the Fisherman” Matthew 11:21

Cananean Aramaic for “Zealot”  Luke 6:15

Golgotha Aramaic for “Place of the Skull”  John 19:20

Tabitha Aramaic for “Gazelle” Acts 9:36-42

Rabbouni Aramaic for “My Teacher” John 20:16



An Aramaic Resource Guide

An handy introduction to Aramaic studies is my book The Language of Jesus: Introducing Aramaic (by Stephen Missick).

Beth Mardutho: The Syriac Institute

Aramaic Bible Translation sells Bible movies, including the “Jesus” film, in the Aramaic language and also has audio Bibles. (The Jesus film is a two-hour film based on the account of the life of Christ found in the Gospel of Luke. The “Jesus Video Project” is an attempt to dub this film into every language on earth, including modern dialects of Aramaic.) They are currently located at 100 Wycliffe Drive, West Chicago, Illinois, 60185. Visit them online at or call 630-876-8452. A dramatic presentation of the Gospel of John in Modern Aramaic is also available.

Samuel Hugh Moffett A History of Christianity in Asia Volume I: Beginnings to 1500 (Harper San Francisco 1992)


Hans-Joachim Klimkeit and Ian Gillman Christians in Asia Before 1500 (University of Michigan Press 1999)


Sebastian P. Brock and Davis G. K. Taylor The Hidden Pearl: The Syrian Orthodox Church and Its Ancient Aramaic Heritage: Volume I The Ancient Aramaic Heritage Volume II the Heirs of the Ancient Aramaic Heritage Volume III At the Turn of the Third Millennium, the Syrian Orthodox Witness (Transworld Films, Italy 2001) with accompanying videotapes.


Christoph Baumer The Church of the East: An Illustrated History of Assyrian Christianity.


The Martyred Church  by David Wilmshurst


The Lost Sutras of Jesus: Unlocking the Ancient Wisdom of the Xian Monks by Ray Riegent. Martin Palmer The Jesus Sutras: Rediscovering the Lost Scrolls of Taoist Christianity (Ballantine Wellspring, New York 2001)


Stephen Missick’s Books on Aramaic


The Words of Jesus in the Original Aramaic: Discovering the Semitic Roots of Christianity (Xulon Press, 2006)

Mary of Magdala: Magdalene, the Forgotten Aramaic Prophetess of Christianity (Xlibris, 2006)

Treasures of the Language of Jesus: The Aramaic Source of Christ’s Teaching  (Xlibris, 2006)

Aramaic: The Language of Jesus of Nazareth (Xlibris, 2008)

Christ the Man (Xulon Press)

The Hammer of God: The Stories of Judah Maccabee and Charles Martel (Xulon Press, 2010)

The Ascents of James: A Lost Acts of the Apostles (Create Space 2010)

Saint Thaddeus and the King of Assyria: The Aramaic Origins of Christianity (Create Space 2010)

The Lord’s Prayer in the Original Aramaic (Createspace 2011)

Jesus the Poet  (Createspace 2011)

The Assyrians: The Oldest Christian People (Createspace 2011)


The Language of Jesus: Introducing Aramaic (2010)

Christ’s Language: Spiritual Insight from Aramaic (2011)

De-Coding the Language of Jesus





Stephen Andrew Missick


Reverend Stephen Andrew Missick is the author of The Assyrian Church in the Mongol Empire, Mar Thoma: The Apostolic Foundation of the Assyrian Church in India, and Socotra: The Mysterious Island of the Church of the East which were published in the Journal of Assyrian Academic Studies (Volume XIII, No. 2, 1999, Volume XIV, No. 2, 2000 and Volume XVI No. 1, 2002). (See He is the author of The Words of Jesus in the Original Aramaic: Discovering the Semitic Roots of Christianity, The Secret of Jabez, Saint Thaddeus and the King of Assyria, The Ascents of James: A Lost Acts of the Apostles, The Hammer of God: The Stories of Judah Maccabee and Charles Martel, The Ennead: The Story of Osiris the Vindicator, the Beloved Enchantress Isis and Horus the Avenger and Christ the Man. He is an ordained minister of the gospel. He graduated from Sam Houston State University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Rev. Missick has traveled extensively throughout the Middle East and has lived among the Coptic Christians in Egypt and Aramaic Christians in Syria. He also served as a soldier in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 and 2004. While serving as a soldier in Iraq he learned Aramaic from native Aramaic-speaking Iraqi Assyrian Christians. Rev. Missick is the writer and illustrator of the comic book “The Assyrians: The Oldest Christian People,” the comic strip Chronicles: Facts from the Bible and the comic book series The Hammer of God which are available from The Hammer of God comic book series dramatizes the stories of Judah Maccabee and Charles Martel. He has also served as a chaplain in the Army National Guard in Iraq during his second deployment in 2009 and 2010. He participated in an archeological excavation of Bethsaida in Galilee in 2011 and went on a missionary trip to Uganda in 2012 and India in 2013.



PO Box 882, Shepherd, Texas, 77371


King of Saints Tabernacle

2228 FM 1725 Cleveland, TX 77328 (281) 592-4104


James the Just/Jewish and Christian Unity

James the Just and the Ebionites

Early Jewish Christians placed James, the brother of Jesus, in a place of high honor. Paul describes James as one of the “pillars” of the church and went to report to him when he arrived in Jerusalem (Galatians 2: 9-10, Acts 21:18) . According to ancient sources, including the apocryphal Gospel of Thomas, Jesus placed James in a position of authority, and stated that he was to lead the church after the ascension (Thomas 12). In the New Testament, James is depicting as making decisions for the whole church, such as his decision to admit Gentiles into the church at the Counsel of Jerusalem  (Acts 15). We see in the New Testament that James, not Peter, was the “head” of the church.

Stories of the “Acts” of James were preserved in ancient sources. Josephus wrote of the martyrdom of James. An early Jewish Christian named Hegissipus also wrote a more expanded account of the martyrdom of James. James was stoned  to death by the High Priest. Eusebius preserved Hegissipus’s account in his “Antiquity of the Jews.” Hegisipus describes James in the following manner, “After the apostles, James the brother of the Lord surnamed the Just was made head of the Church at Jerusalem. Many indeed are called James. This one was holy from his mother's womb. He drank neither wine nor strong drink, ate no flesh, never shaved or anointed himself with ointment or bathed. He alone had the privilege of entering the Holy of Holies, since indeed he did not use woolen vestments but linen and went alone into the temple and prayed in behalf of the people, insomuch that his knees were reputed to have acquired the hardness of camels' knees.

An early group of Jewish Christians were called the Ebionites. This name is derived from the Hebrew word for “the Poor.”

We have fragments of “Hebrew Gospels.” In one verse quoted by Jerome, the resurrected Jesus appears to James, his brother. This seems to be a more complete account of the appearance of the resurrected Jesus than we find in 1 Corinthians 15. And when the Lord had given the linen cloth to the servant of the priest, he went to James and appeared to him. For James had sworn that he would not eat bread from that hour in which he had drunk the cup of the Lord until he should see him risen from among them that sleep. And shortly thereafter the Lord said: Bring a table and bread! And immediately it added: he took the bread, blessed it and brake it and gave it to James the Just and said to him: My brother, eat thy bread, for the Son of man is risen from among them that sleep. (Jerome, Vir. ill. 2) Several fragments of Hebrew Gospels and other Jewish Gospels such as the Gospel of the Ebionites have survived.

The Ebionites were very diverse. It seems that they were vegetarian and rejected the temple sacrificial system. Some rejected Paul and the deity of Jesus. All kept the Sabbath although some did also worship on Sunday. The “Ascents of James” an Ebionite “Acts of the Apostles” (which is mostly a collection of abridged sermons attributed to the apostles) was been preserved in what is called “Clementine” literature.

It is important to consult the Church Fathers when exploring the “Jewish Roots of Christianity.”

How Good and Pleasant it is when Brothers Dwell together in unity

We are often reminded how Jewish people were often mistreated under Christian rule. We must remember this past-however, I think that it is also important to remember Jewish and Christian unity in ages past. First, Christians preserved Jewish literature-such as the Book of Maccabees. This is literature that the Jewish people did not preserve. In Ethiopia, other important Jewish texts were preserved such as the Book of Enoch and the Book of Jubliees. These books are a part of the Ethiopic Canon of Scripture, and the Ethiopic Coptic Church has a strong Jewish flavor-in fact, many Ethiopian Christians believe that they are of Jewish descent. (Some anthropologists believe that the Bene Israel Falasha “Black Jews of Ethiopia” are actually descendents of a “Judaizing” sect that went all the way to reject Jesus.)

Christians led the way in Old Testament Scholarship. Origin often consulted with Rabbis-and was familiar with a discovery of scrolls in the Dead Sea. He produced an important edition of the Old Testament called the Hexapla. Unfortunately, this is lost except for fragments such as a Syriac edition called the Syro-Hexapla. The Latin Vulgate was translated from the Hebrew-and not from the Greek Septuagint version. Jerome learned Hebrew and Aramaic from rabbis in the Holy Land.  The Syriac Peshitta was also translated from the Hebrew-possibly by Jewish Christians in the late first and early second centuries. We also have an early Jewish Christian hymnbook from the same era preserved in Syriac and entitled “The Odes of Solomon.” There was contact between the Aramaic Christians and the Jews during the Middle Ages. The Assyrian Patriarch Timothy the Great consulted with the Jews about a discovery of scrolls found in caves near the Dead Sea. Some of the Church Fathers wrote with an interest in what could be viewed as Jewish matters. Eusebius wrote on Old Testament prophecy and the Geography of the Holy Land.

There have been “Jewish Roots” movements in Christian circles. This is probably why Catholics use unleavened bread for Holy Communion-unlike the Orthodox who use leaven bread. In Russia there was the Molokan Jewish Roots Sect that arose in the 18th century (Encyclopedia Judica, Fourth Printing, Volume 10, 1978, Israel. Columns 397-401).

It was Christians who produced the The Complutensian Polyglot Bible in 1514, and other polyglot Bibles (such as the London Polyglot) that included the Jewish Aramaic Targum translations and the Samartian version as well. The earliest printed Hebrew Bibles were a joint effort of Christians and Jews. Many Christians studied the form of Jewish mysticism called “The Kaballah.” Christian Kabbalah fully arose during the Renaissance as a result of continuing studies of Greek texts and translations by Christian Hebraists. Among the first to promote the knowledge of Kabbalah beyond exclusively Jewish circles was Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (1463–1494) a student at Florentine Academy. When there were attacks upon the Jews, it was often church leaders who intervened to put an end to the attacks. The story of Anti-Semitism is often told, but the story of cooperation between Christians and Jews is a story that needs to be told as well.



The Apostle

And the Early Jewish Believers in Jesus





Stephen Andrew Missick




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

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

Hebrew/Aramaic inscription says “Johanna granddaughter of Theophilus, the High Priest”


At the time of Jesus, Jews in the Holy Land were buried in caves and their bones were interred in limestone boxes called ossuaries. Many important ossuaries have been found such as the ossuary of “Simon the Builder of the Temple.” (Inscribed in Hebrew and Aramaic.)

The Ossuaries agree with the New Testament account that Jews of the Holy Land were Tri-Lingual. The inscription are in Aramaic, Hebrew, and Greek. A burial cave in Kidron Valley discovered in 1941 by E. L. Sukenik, belonging to Cyrenian Jews and dating before AD 70, was found to have an ossuary inscribed twice in Greek "Alexander Son of Simon." Under the Greek, in Hebrew letters it reads Alexander QRNYT” most likely meaning Alexander the Cyrenian. This means we have the ossuary and mortal remains of a person mentioned in the Bible. Alexander, the son of Simon, who carried the cross for Jesus Christ.

Two other important ossuaries were discovered. The ossuary of the high priest Caiaphas, who condemned Jesus to crucifixion and the reputed ossuary of “James the Son of Joseph, the Brother of Jesus.” (In Aramaic “Ya'akov bar-Yosef akhui diYeshua.”) After a month of so after its discovery, the James ossuary became a subject of controversy. While the ossuary is authentic, the Aramaic inscription’s authenticity was debated in the scholarly community. (Certain scholars believe that the last two words “brother of Jesus” were added by a forger.) Finally, the Israeli government seized the artifact and charged its owner Oded Golan with forgery. However, he was acquitted. On March 14, 2012, Jerusalem Judge Aharon Farkash stated "that there is no evidence that any of the major artifacts were forged, and that the prosecution failed to prove their accusations beyond a reasonable doubt." He was particularly scathing about tests carried out by the Israel police forensics laboratory that he said had probably contaminated the ossuary, making it impossible to carry out further scientific tests on the inscription. The Israeli police used pink putty to make an impression of the inscription. The putty stained the ossuary pink and stripped out the patina through which it could the inscription could be scientifically tested and dated.

It is my belief that the artifact was deliberately defaced and damaged so that it could not be tested again. If the artifact was shown to be genuine, this is strong support for the Biblical account and raises attention to James the Just, the Brother of Jesus. Many Jews view their identity in not being Christian. Some radical Jews go so far as to identify themselves as Anti-Christian. (Micky Weinstein is an example of this group.) A prominent person who is Jewish and “Christian” at the same time and indeed one of the founders of Christianity makes certain Jews uncomfortable. Defacing this historical monument was an attempt to make James go away. Certain Jewish people felt uncomfortable with the attention James was gaining. They responded by questioning the authenticity of the monument. Then they seized it and defaced it so that it can no longer be verified scientifically. If the James artifact was not authentic they doubtlessly should have been able to prove it in the several years of the course of the trial and it wouldn’t have been necessary to strip of the patina to prevent it from being tested again.

Regarding the Caiaphas Ossuary, Both the ossuary and the Aramaic inscription on its side, which read "Joseph son of Caiaphas", appeared authentic. The especially beautiful ossuary is twice inscribed "Joseph, son of Caiaphas" and held the bones of a 60-year-old male.


For those interested in the topic of Ossuaries, I strongly recommend Jesus and the Ossuaries: What Jewish Burial Practices Reveal about the Beginning of Christianity by Craig A. Evans. This is a very readable (as opposed to many scholarly books, which are sometimes written in a dry and unreadable manner) and fascinating book.

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.

Several Jewish people had a Jewish name, in either Hebrew or Aramaic, and a Greek name.

An example could be Peter, who was known as Simon Kepha in Aramaic and Paul, who had his Jewish name Saul, but also used the Greek name Paul. So, some scholars believe that Junia was the Greek name of Joanna and that Andronicus was the Greek name of Chuza.

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.

(This reminds us of Helena of Adiabene, who was buried in Jerusalem. Adiabene (from the Ancient Greek διαβηνή, Adiabene, itself derived from Classical Syriac: ܚܕܝܐܒ, ay’a or Ḥḏay’a,) was an ancient kingdom in Assyria, with its capital at Arbela (modern-day Arbil, Iraq). Its rulers converted to Judaism from Ashurism in the 1st century. Queen Helena of Adiabene (known in Jewish sources as Heleni HaMalka) moved to Jerusalem where she built palaces for herself and her sons, Izates bar Monobaz and Monobaz II at the northern part of the city of David, south of the Temple Mount. Helena became a convert to Judaism about the year 30 CE.According to the Talmud, both Helena and Monbaz donated large funds for the Temple of Jerusalem. Adiabene occupied a district in Assyria between the Upper Zab (Lycus) and the Lower Zab (Caprus), though Ammianus speaks of Nineveh, Ecbatana, and Gaugamela as also belonging to it.Although nominally a dependency of the Parthian Empire, for some centuries, beginning with the 1st century BC, it was independent. In the Talmudic writings the name occurs as חדייב,חדייף and הדייב, which is parallel to its Syriac form "Hadyab" or "Hedayab." Its chief city was Arbela (Arba-ilu), where Mar Uqba had a school, or the neighboring Hazzah, by which name the later Arabs also called Arbela. Helena moved to Jerusalem, where she is buried in the pyramidal tomb which she had constructed during her lifetime, three stadia north of Jerusalem. The catacombs are known as "Tombs of the Kings." A sarcophagus with the inscription Tzara Malchata, in Hebrew and Syriac, found in the nineteenth century by Louis Felicien de Saulcy, is supposed to be that of Helena. Helena’s remains were discovered in a sarcophagus and not an ossuary. The royal palace of Queen Helena is believed to have been discovered by archaeologist Doron Ben-Ami during excavations in the City of David in 2007. The palace was a monumental building located in the City of David just to the south of the Temple Mount and was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE. The ruins contained datable coins, stone vessels and pottery as well as remnants of ancient frescoes. The basement level contained a Mikveh.

Helena’s conversion shows that Aramaic peoples were drawn to Judaism and that Mesopotamia was a fertile mission field for early Christianity. There may be truth to the stories of Thomas and Thaddeus evangelizing Assyria and Babylonia. If this is true, then perhaps the Odes of Solomon and the Peshitta Version of the Bible do date to the late first and early second century.

Books about Junia:

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

Junia: The First Woman Apostle by Eldon Jay Epp

Jesus, Wealth, and Women

For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. 2 Corinthians 8:9

What do we do with this passage? We all know that Jesus was poor. What does this mean? Usually, it is taken to mean that Jesus left his infinite riches in heaven before he became incarnate. What if Jesus was wealthy? Most religious leaders are from rich or upper class families. This includes Buddha, and Indian Prince, Moses, an Egyptian prince. Martin Luther’s father was born a peasant but had acquired wealth, which he used for his son’s education. John Wesley and the Methodist movement began in the prestigious Oxford University. The so-called “prophet” Mohammed gained wealth by marrying Khadijah, a wealthy middle-aged woman. Rodney Stark argued that Jesus was raised in privilege by virtue of his education. Most Jews of Christ’s day were illiterate. Note how in the Sermon on the Mount, when addressing the unlearned masses, Jesus says “You have heard it said” (Matthew 5:43) referring to the law, but when he addresses the Pharisees he says to them “have you not read” (For example Luke 6:3). At the time of Martin Luther, only 4% of the population could read. At the time of Jesus, with a highly literate people like the Jews, you are still looking at a less than 20% literacy rate among Jewish men in the land of Israel. Jean-Pierre Isbouts in “Young Jesus” argues that Jesus was not what we think of as a carpenter but rather was from a farming family. If you look at Jesus’ parables, very few parables are taken from the carpentry shop. Most are from agriculture. Isbouts theory is that Jesus was from a farming family. They found work in the building of the city of Sephoris. There Joseph and Jesus acquired skills as “tektons” builders/carpenters. And there, Jesus was recognized as “gifted” by the Jewish elders of the city and was given an education. After the death of Joseph (theorized by Isbouts to have been in a construction accident), Jesus left Sephoris and began working as a traveling handyman/carpenter until he heard the call of John the Baptist. (For more information about Sephoris see Jesus & the Forgotten City: New Light on Sepphoris and the Urban World of Jesus by Richard A. Batey.) Isbouts and Stark agree that Jesus’ education was exceptional and that Jesus was educated and was not an unlearned peasant. So, how did Jesus acquire and education? In the Gospel of Luke, Mary offers two turtle doves in Luke 2:24. This was an offering given by the poor in accordance to Exodus 13:2 and 12 and Leviticus 12:8. A lamb is the required offering. Two doves are a concession for the poor. Now we need to remember that the Magi gave a gift of “gold, frankincense and myrrh.” (Matthew 2:10). (We cannot be certain of when the Magi arrived but it was definitely after the circumcision of Jesus and after marry performed her purification rites after her giving birth to Jesus.) How much gold were they given? The scripture doesn’t say, but it is most likely that this was a gift fit for a king. I believe that it was enough for Joseph and Mary to provide Jesus with an education, and perhaps his brothers as well. James and Jude both wrote portions of the New Testament. Also, while the Arabic Infancy Gospel of Thomas contains many absurd stories about the childhood of Jesus, in one of the stories, there is a story of Jesus in school being given an education. Whether or not Jesus was wealthy, he had wealthy benefactors, including Mary of Magdala and Junia, and perhaps Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemas as well. The Bible clearly states this in Luke 8:3. Stark notes that while Jesus rarely used examples from carpentry, he often used examples “involving wealth: land ownership, investment, borrowing, hiring servants and tenants, inheritance” and etc. Jesus attracted wealthy people and wealthy people supported him. Now, Jesus did warn that “you cannot serve God and Mammon” (Luke 16:13). Jesus also said, “I tell you, use unrighteous mammon/worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.” (Luke 16:9) We must not allow money to become our god or an idol, but wealth can be made to serve God’s Kingdom. (These issues are explored by Peter Brown in Through the Eye of a Needle: Wealth, the Fall of Rome, and the Making of Christianity in the West, 350-550 AD and Through the Needles Eye by David Servant.)

It is also important to note that many wealthy people were attracted to the teachings of Jesus and the preaching of Paul and other of the Apostles. Paul wrote the Corinthians and stated that among them were “not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble” (1 Corinthians 1:26). Paul didn’t say that there were not any educated, wealthy, or from nobility, just that not many were, at least not in Corinth. One wealthy convert could bring in twenty or so poor people who worked as servants in his household who followed him in his conversion. So you would see prominent people brought into the church. Another example is Erastus of Corinth. Erastus held a political office of high civic status. In 1929, an inscription mentioning an Erastus was found near a paved area northeast of the theater of Corinth. It has been dated to the mid-first century and reads "Erastus in return for his ship laid the pavement at his own expense." This inscription has important implications relating to the social status of the members of the Pauline churches. He is mentioned in the New Testament at Acts 19:22, Romans 16:23, and 2 Timothy 4:20.



Regarding women, we see wealthy women following Jesus such as Joanna, Mary Magdalene and Susanna. In the New Testament, we see prominent and wealthy women continuing to be attracted to the message of the Apostles. This includes Lydia, the first convert in Europe (Acts 16). An Priscilla, who educated Apollos in the faith (Acts 18:26). (In the Epistle to the Romans, we see Paul send personal greetings to 15 women and 18 men who were prominent in the Roman congregation. This seems like a large number of women if women were indeed in a subservient position.) In the Bible we see women prophetesses in the daughters of Phillip the Evangelist (Acts 21:8-9).

There are indications that Jewish women belonged to a traditional society in Israel, there is some interesting evidence of leadership of Jewish women among the Jewish diaspora community. A marble plaque discovered in Smyrna bears the inscription “Rufina Ioudaia, head of the synagogue, built this tomb for her freed slaves and the slaves raised in her house.” This inscription comes from the second century BC and describes a woman as being the leader of the synagogue.

In the non-canonical Acts of the Apostles, we also see women attracted to the preaching of the Apostles. There is the story of Saint Thekla, a disciple of Saint Paul to whom the village of Maloula in Syria is dedicated. In the Acts of Thomas, a Indian princess named Mygdonia is converted to faith in Christ. In the year 203, the famous church leader Perpetua of Carthage was martyred for her faith in Christ along with her servant Felicity and several other early Christian leaders.

Why is it that women were attracted to Christianity? First, Jesus himself elevated the status of women. Secondly, we have the concept of “in Christ there is no male or female,” sexual equality taught by the Apostle Paul in the Epistle to the Galatians. Also, Jesus discouraged divorce. And early Christians and Jews of the first century were opposed to the heinous practice of abortion. (Later some rabbis seem to condone abortion, but this teaching is not reflective of Jewish teaching at the time of Christ.) Later on in the early church, since Christians did not discard female infants, Christianity continued to be female dominant.




The Gospels Success among the Jews

“On Christmas Eve were about nine million Jews living in the Roman Empire (which had a total population of about sixty million), about 90 percent living in the larger Roman cities west of Palestine. In addition, at least several million Jews lived in cities to the east of Palestine; there was a large Jewish community in Babylon.” Rodney Stark p. 33-the Triumph of Christianity. Stark argues that for several centuries the Jews did respond positively to the Gospel and the links between Jews and Christians were close. He notes that Romans prohibited Jews and Christians from intermarrying in 388 and that governments seldom bother prohibiting things that are not taking place. He notes that a substantial Jewish Christianity persisted. John Chrysotom (lived 349-407 AD) railed against Christians frequenting the synagogue, which shows us that the church and synagogue were still greatly intertwined at the start of the fifth century. This is also seen in the fact that the Quatradeciman Christians continued to celebrate Passover and appealed to the example of John and his disciples from whom they inherited this practice.

The issues of wealth in the early church, and the prominence of women and the continued dominance of Jewish Christianity in early Christianity are explored in Rodney Stark’s “The Rise of Christianity,”The Cities of God,” and “The Triumph of Christianity.” These three books are highly recommended.










Stephen Andrew Missick


Reverend Stephen Andrew Missick is the author of The Assyrian Church in the Mongol Empire, Mar Thoma: The Apostolic Foundation of the Assyrian Church in India, and Socotra: The Mysterious Island of the Church of the East which were published in the Journal of Assyrian Academic Studies (Volume XIII, No. 2, 1999, Volume XIV, No. 2, 2000 and Volume XVI No. 1, 2002). (See He is the author of The Words of Jesus in the Original Aramaic: Discovering the Semitic Roots of Christianity, The Secret of Jabez, Saint Thaddeus and the King of Assyria, The Ascents of James: A Lost Acts of the Apostles, The Hammer of God: The Stories of Judah Maccabee and Charles Martel, The Ennead: The Story of Osiris the Vindicator, the Beloved Enchantress Isis and Horus the Avenger and Christ the Man. He is an ordained minister of the gospel. He graduated from Sam Houston State University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Rev. Missick has traveled extensively throughout the Middle East and has lived among the Coptic Christians in Egypt and Aramaic Christians in Syria. He also served as a soldier in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 and 2004. While serving as a soldier in Iraq he learned Aramaic from native Aramaic-speaking Iraqi Assyrian Christians. Rev. Missick is the writer and illustrator of the comic book “The Assyrians: The Oldest Christian People,” the comic strip Chronicles: Facts from the Bible and the comic book series The Hammer of God which are available from The Hammer of God comic book series dramatizes the stories of Judah Maccabee and Charles Martel. He has also served as a chaplain in the Army National Guard in Iraq during his second deployment in 2009 and 2010. He participated in an archeological excavation of Bethsaida in Galilee in 2011 and went on a missionary trip to Uganda in 2012 and India in 2013.



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