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  1. The Changing of the Guard, Part 2...as predicted.

    Well, while there will be some similarities, I think there are enough differences to make this a new program. As it was explained to us, the ministers may have different companions for those being visited. You might visit a young family with your son, but an elderly couple with your wife in order to best match the needs of those being visited. Also the feeling of not wanting to be taught I assume will be gone. Some may want a lesson - especially the home bound, but I think the goal of this program is to be much more tailored to those being visited. I like that about it. I am kind of surprised about your negative reaction to it. Ours was not at all like yours apparently. For one thing our Stake President does not have a loud voice. His voice was damaged years ago, and he has a kind of tenor, soft voice. He came to personally introduce us to the new program, and told us he has received several letters and communications about it. I've never known of our stake president hurting anyone's feelings. He is an attorney, and I think he is very attuned to how he says things. I think "jokes" that go wrong are a part of life - not a part of the new priesthood arrangement, but if it happens again, maybe you could mention it to your HC or someone in the stake presidency. I have not felt patronized by our new quorum leadership at all, but I think the Elders and HPs need to refrain from teasing one another during this changeover period. I have teased my son a little about it, but I think I had better stop that. I do know that hurt feelings can become a cancer for Church members, and I hope you can forgive your EQP, and heal past this event.
  2. Treat gay people as a race.

    And here I thought we were just learning to be the human race. Now we get to believe that actions and deeds are racial? Somehow that seems...bigoted.
  3. I concede that is a possibility, but I don't think this malek forgave Jacob's sins. I think seeing this malek caused Jacob to change - to make God real in his life in a new way that caused him not to want to do any evil. When Yeshua appeared before the 70 elders of Israel at Sinai, he is called YHWH - not the messenger of YHWH. So even in the OT there appears to be a clear distinction between YHWH and His messengers. Is it right to call His messenger YHWH? Is it right to call YHWH a messenger? Jesus didn't say those who have seen me have seen the messenger of the Father - but they have seen the Father. There is just no place in scripture which clearly ever makes the messenger YHWH Himself. I don't want to make the error of adding confusion to the scriptures. I am not going to assume something that is important as this. I think it is error to do so. Well, I have said my piece. I think that is enough. If the reader can't tell, this is kind of an issue for me, but I don't wish to offend anybody. I just want to air my concerns. I hope they help somebody. Hopefully, I have made my case clear.
  4. The only place in all of scripture which I believe can clearly even associate the word Malek with Yeshua, is where he appears to be called the Malek of the covenant - that is because He is not the covenant, but is bringing that covenant to the people. Yeshua never refers to Himself as the messenger of YHWH. Why? Is it because He is YHWH? In the Peshitta Matthew He is is YHWH. In several places in the OT He is YHWH. The NT uses the equivalent angelos a good number of times. Not once is it applied to Yeshua. Even in applying it the Malek of YHWH in the OT, the NT seems to show that the Malek of YHWH in the OT is not Yeshua. Why this seemingly irrational desire to make Yeshua the messenger of YHWH, when He is hoping that we will believe He IS YHWH? John didn't say He was the messenger of the word. He said Yeshua is the word - and the word is God. Yeshua is not the mere messenger of YHWH - He IS YHWH, and He is the living embodiment of the message. To insist that He is the angel of YHWH, is a downgrade. If He ever said it, or the Bible ever clearly delineated it, I would accept it, but every time the Bible has a chance to clear this up, the angel or malek is not, or does not appear to be Yeshua. Tell me why should I strain at gnats to make Yeshua something He is not? Why does scholarship do this? I beleive because they do not understand God. They want to make many things in the scriptures something they are not. More than one can be YHWH as Yeshua shows, and more than one can be the morning star, as Satan apparently once was. Revelation 2:28 28 And I will give him the morning astar.
  5. India Temple

    Now you seem a bit disingenuous. Roman culture was western culture, and Europe remained the seat of western culture after the fall of the Roman west to the Gothic forebears of modern Europe. And yes, I am talking about the East as being East of the Roman Empire as in Parthia. When I mentioned the Greeks it was only referring to the Seleucid empire in the East which came about after Alexander the Great conquered it. Alexander had a vision of being a benevolent empire builder, which is why he built the great library of Alexandria, and for the most part his generals carried out that vision. For instance I don't think the Greeks who conquered Persia particularly persecuted the Zoroastrians. Nevertheless, I believe the Parthians were more favored, and viewed less as outsiders than the Seleucids. It was not a religious thing. I don't think there was as much barrier between the empires as people suppose. The delegation of wise men didn't seem to have difficulty getting into Jerusalem, and my guess is trade caravans came and went - if necessary, by going through Arabia or by jumping on a ship in the Red Sea. While I suppose there were probably guards on the main road, from a practical standpoint the border was too big to guard or fortify. The main barrier was just desert. I've never read of heavy fortifications at the border. I don't know why you doubt the story of Yeshua's birth. Do you doubt the rest of the gospel? As for sources of Christian numbers, those are just going to be estimates based on the number of bishops, etc. At the time of Constantine it seems the best estimate available is that there were around 1200 bishops in the empire. Even if you use 400 members per bishop that only comes to 480,000 Christians. Further, it has been demonstrated that Eusebius for instance sometimes embellished. After Constantine had his son Crispus killed, he changed his history in his next edition to hide the act. What I'm saying is there is not much reason to believe western history is that much more accurate than what we know in the East. So if you are skeptical because I believe the history of the Church of the East "seems credible" there are certainly equal if not greater reasons to be skeptical of history handed down by the West. The whole history of the early Church was I believe somewhat slanted by the rise of the Roman State Church, which enforced creeds by law, and had a vested interest in maintaining a certain view of the Godhead which had evolved into being, so went through a period of burning opposing works, etc. While i know there were certain rulers within the Parthian Empire who did not favor various groups such as Jews or Christians, as a whole it was a much more tolerant society than that of Rome. Where did the Hebrew Christians go when Rome sent legions to destroy Jerusalem? Those who escaped probably either went south into Arabia or East into Parthia. Same for the Jews. The Syrians also had commonalities with the Parthians - probably moreso than the Greeks or the Romans - and it would be natural for Syrian Christians to go East. While Rome did invade Parthia a few times, it was never able to retain any holdings in Parthia, but more or less just invaded and grabbed all the wealth they could before retreating. If a king fell, the people just elected a new one. it was a very resilient governance, which Christians would have definitely favored over Rome for its first three centuries. While you view war as a barrier to the spread of Christianity, I believe it was probably a catalyst for the first 300 years of Christianity, as Rome did adopt a rather militant attitude toward Christianity, while its neighbor, Parthia, did not. If I were a Christian, I know where I would rather live. I just do not understand the reasoning behind assuming that Christianity grew faster in the West than in the East, when practically everything about the Parthian Empire was more amenable to the religion, and there is a history there of stories similar to Genesis, as well as a good chance of significant portion of the population having Hebraic blood and culture. This was all completely foreign to Greeks, and especially Romans. Really, the only reason Romans began to accept Christianity is because Constantine made it the legally favored religion. Then Roman citizens began "converting" in masses. However, I don't believe the religion they were converting to was all that much like that founded by Christ 300 years before. By that time the religion had begun to adopt the pomp and trappings Yeshua had warned against, whereas in the East the religion never became the official state religion, and grew naturally. Nevertheless, we know that by the time of Muhammed, there were large numbers of Christians in the East. Much moreso than Judaism. Not only the History of the Church of the East but the Islamic writings make this clear.
  6. India Temple

    To be perfectly honest, I really don't know. I suppose when they translated Yasu/Yesu into Arabic it became Isa. I'm not sure. I do know El became Allah. That is what the early Arabic Bible uses. It is just another variant of the ancient Semitic El. It can be traced quite far back into early Assyrian/Akkadian. If the early Arabic Bible uses Isa, then I concede the point. However, a Nestorian monk speaking in his native tongue would use Yasu/Yesu. I guess I should make clear that it depends on what period of time we are speaking of. Arabic was a language that really coalesced under Islam. Before that, the early Christians were probably trying to teach the Arabs in Syriac, and would have used Yasu.
  7. India Temple

    The fact remains that it was really in the west where there were "significant barriers" to Christianity - not the East. If Christianity was able to grow to 2-4 million there by the 4rth century, why not even moreso in the East? You have not supported your claim there were "significant barriers" in the East. As for the ten tribes in the East, the fact is they intermarried and essentially disappeared from history. The same happened to the Jews who stayed in Babylon. Only a remnant returned to Jerusalem. The majority stayed in the East. Life was good there. Cyrus was a benevolent king who paid well. The later Greeks didn't seem to persecute the locals. The Parthians were even more benevolent. Josephus indicates that when the Jews rebuilt the temple there were only enough priests to fill 4 of the traditional 24 courses of priests. That means this group had to eventually be divided up 8 ways to make the traditional 24 courses of priests. That means about 7/8ths of the people stayed in Babylon. Would they retain the Aramaic book of Daniel? How about the other prophets? There were later synagogues built there as well. Would the ten tribes have retained their beliefs in the Torah? Well, unfortunately, history there is spotty, but the fact remains that someone from the East showed up to visit baby Jesus, and the Parthians had supported the Maccabean kingdom against Rome. The Parthian Empire was the kingdom the Romans loved to hate, and I believe Roman pride has always colored western history. If you want to doubt the history given by the Church of the East, I suppose you can, but I don't really see a valid reason to doubt it. It seems credible. Certainly as much so or moreso than RCC history.
  8. India Temple

    Well Judaism and Christianity predated Islam so it was natural for Muhammed to have learned about both before starting his new religion. I tend to believe the Muslim stories of Muhammed learning from a Christian monk, and clearly many stories in the Quran are based on Judaic writings and Gnostic Christian writings. So it is more than "whisperings." The stories of baby Isa making paper birds that became real; of speaking from his crib, etc all have preexisting, duplicate Gnostic Christian counterparts. However, I don't necessarily agree that one could not tell the the members of the two religions apart. Islam had clearly spread through conquest, and had an Arabian flavor to its religion. It was clearly distinct. Muhammed was their "way" whereas in Christianity Christ was "the way" and there is no Muhammed at all, period - with the exception as being a prophesied anti-Christ. Indeed, I am probably alone in believing Islam was clearly prophesied in Zech 5. The Nestorian Church did not refer to Yeshua as Isa. The Nestorian Church used a Syriac equivalent. In translating that into Arabic is where Isa came in, which tends to support the fact that Muhammed got his Quranic stories from Syriac sources. Nor did the Nestorians refer to God as Allah. The Syrians invented an acronym, Marya, to refer to YHWH, and it is used in the Syriac/Nestorian Peshitta to refer to Yeshua as well. In trying to spread Christianity to the Muslims eventually an Arabic Bible was translated, but I don't believe there is one which predates the advent of Islam. It may use Isa and Allah. I know it uses Allah. Allah is really just a generic form of El. It comes from a combination of al(the) El. "The Power" or The El became Allah. See Zech 5 for improperly using God's name. So when speaking Arabic, I'm sure the Nestorian Church had no problem using Allah, and probably much preferred it to the names of the prior Arabic pagan gods. However, I should point out that Arabic was a new language. There are essentially no Arabic texts predating Islam (a smattering of poems, etc survive) and the Quran has been acknowledged as containing many Syrian words. Arabic is essentially the last Aramaic language. One can safely disregard the slurs that Allah came from the Arabic pagan moon god - there was none named Allah.
  9. India Temple

    What exactly were those "significant barriers?" Unlike the Roman Empire, where Christianity was illegal and persecuted. the Parthian Empire was a free and very open society. It had several religions which were freely practiced, so contrary to your insinuation it had almost no barriers to Christianity, and the Church of the East spread rapidly throughout the Parthian Empire. Especially, by the time of the Peshitto, the Church had become large and established, and there is no reason to believe it did not reach the millions of members it claims it once had. This is all the more likely because this is the region the 10 tribes of Israel had been carted off to. That they remembered their heritage is somewhat manifested by the appearance of the wise men from the East ie Parthia at the time of Yeshua's birth. So it seems they may have hearkened to the prophecy of a Messiah better than the Jews did. The reason Christianity was so small in the Roman Empire, is because it was severely persecuted until the 4rth century. Not so in the East where the ten tribes would have already been familiar with the OT, and would have welcomed the arrival of the Peshitto. Unfortunately, most all that history was destroyed by Muslims such as Timurlane. The Parthians were not great historians to begin with, so it seems the best indications of Christian numbers survive from what is left of records in the Church of the East. Without a state-mandated religion, and with a population which was more familiar with the OT, and more welcoming to its stories, Christianity had every reason to spread faster in the East than in the Roman Empire.
  10. India Temple

    I am not denying that Christianity made it to SE Asia and west China. I believe it did. It clearly did make it to India, where it survived Islamic onslaught in the southern half of India, where Islamic conquest failed to reach. I am just pointing out that Christianity was known to be widespread throughout the Middle East in what is now Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. It was here that I believe eastern Christianity was most prominent, and here that Timurlane was essentially the single-handed destroyer of Christianity. However, he also destroyed much of Islamic culture, and was the end cap of the so-called golden age of Islam. Prior to him, Islam had been more tolerant of Christianity, and the two religions co-existed somewhat peacefully in many places. After all, the Muslims, who will never admit it, needed the knowledge of the Christians, and had the Christians translating their vast libraries. As I recall, fortunately for the East, Timurlane croaked before he turned his full attention on them. I am just saying the use of the name Isa is indicative of an Islamic heritage. You are right that in Islam Isa does not create the world. However, the name Isa could be indicative of an Islamic culture mixing with a later Christian culture or some Christian ideas, so one must be careful in concluding that a mere belief in Isa does not get misconstrued as a Christian heritage, especially given that Islam has spread throughout Malaysian culture, and indeed it has the highest concentration of Muslims in the world. Yeshua was not called Isa in the Church of the East.
  11. All the more reason then to use caution when making Yeshua a mere angel. If the characters are difficult to tell apart. which I can accept, especially since I believe both the Father and Son are YHWH Elohim, then it seems irresponsible to be teaching that Yeshua is the malek of YHWH throughout the OT, esp when this malek YHWH is clearly delineated, he does not appear to be YHWH. If you want to call Yeshua an angel throughout the OT, by all means have at it, but to me it is irresponsible and wrong-headed - as well as being just plain error - and I will state my reasons why I believe so. I am comfortable with allowing the reader then to choose what they wish.
  12. I am not trying to hurt feelings. I am just giving a heads up. I have not read this book. However, I have heard Barker comment on her Angel of YHWH theology, and it is my recollection that she does buy into the Angel of YHWH as being YHWH theology. As a consequence I listed my problems with this theology, which I believe need to be adequately explained before one buys it hook, line and sinker. What is to distinguish Yeshua from the angel who comes and strengthens Him in the garden of Gethsemane, if Yeshua is an angel all through the OT? The answer is nothing. There is no way to distinguish Him. Given that interpretation Yeshua speaks as YHWH and as the angel of YHWH throughout the OT. Well, that interpretation has some textual difficulties, which I deign to point out. The careful reader will realize that Yeshua does speak as YHWH in the OT - He speaks as YHWH when He says YHWH and His Spirit has sent me. He speaks as YHWH when He says "they will see me whom they have pierced, and will weep for me as one who weeps for his only son." etc, although I believe this can apply to both Father and Son. With due respect to Barker, I don't believe she understands the name YHWH and what it entails, which is quite important when one is trying to understand God. And I believe it is irresponsible to assign Yeshua to every use of the malek of YHWH in the OT when scriptures which delineate this malek, like those in the NT, make it clear in every instance this malek or angelos is not Yeshua, our Savior. He was not the malek in the burning bush.Acts 7:30. He was not the malek who would not pardon the transgressions of Israel. Ex 23:21. If you get all kind of warm fuzzies believing that, I cannot stop you, but I do believe there are serious problems with this theology that need to be addressed. If Barker deals with those, then more power to her, but if not, I believe it behooves the reader to realize those difficulties and her error.
  13. Don't read more into what I said than I said. I did not say that YHWH always refers to Christ. I said He was YHWH, and not the messenger of YHWH. Clearly, apparently contrary to common LDS belief, the Father is also YHWH. Both hold the title of YHWH Elohim, and there are multiple scriptures going back to Genesis 3:22 which support this. What i am referring to is the modern tendency Protestant Christianity to try to prove Yeshua's pre-existence by pointing to the angel of YHWH as being Yeshua, which I believe is error, and I gave some reasons why already. I don't care how many scholars have jumped on the angel of YHWH as Yeshua bandwagon. They have to deal with the textual evidence IMHO, which they don't - at least not adequately.
  14. India Temple

    When I say the west I am referring to Rome and Europe. The prophecies pertaining to them have to do with what came after the iron legs of the image in Daniel 2. So, there are several in Daniel, and in Revelation. These definitely pertain to Christianity as it becomes more apostate. However, I believe the United States is also referred to as the beast arising from the earth/wilderness in Rev 13:11 which starts as a lamb. I believe the Church of the East probably has the most reliable indications of the numbers of Christians which were in the East at one time, and yes, it was probably in the millions. I have been over this before. It was the Muslim Timurlane/Timur the Lame who is largely responsible for the destruction of Christianity throughout the East. The use of the term "Isa" in Malaysia does not indicate a Christian heritage, but a Muslim one, since this is a term applied to Yeshua when the Syriac got translated to Arabic. The Quran refers to Yeshua as Isa, so mere use of Isa does not indicate a Christian background. Without the attendant Christian practices, it indicates a probable Muslim background.
  15. Church Statement on Medical Marijuana

    Yeesh. They'll have the high bus and the low bus (the quaalude bus).