September 19, 2019

High Holy Days and Sand Mandala at Pico Union Project

March 19 2014 The Ten Commandments Photo iNote: I wrote this letter to Craig Taubman at Pico Union Project hoping to get a response on my concerns about his invitation to Tibetan lamas to build a sand mandala during the High Holy Days. I also expressed my objections to the questionable interfaith model he is building and desires to see reproduced across the nation.

Sincerely,

James Stephens
September 20, 2015
___________________________________

September 17, 2015

Dear Craig,

My name is James Stephens. I came across your website recently and was quite interested in your efforts to restore Sinai Synagogue, the historic site of Los Angeles’ first Synagogue. At the same time, I was quite dismayed to hear that you had invited Tibetan Buddhist lamas to build a sand mandala in the midst of the High Holy Days.

Why might you ask? As a former devout Buddhist of fourteen years and now a follower of Yeshua Ha’Moshiach and a Torah observant believer, I found myself grieved knowing much about the intent of the lama’s ritual having thoroughly studied it for over 25 years.

First of all, I do believe in the command to love one’s neighbor as thyself. To genuinely love one’s neighbor, one must be truthful. You have children. You know that they venture into areas which can cause them great harm. We tell them, “Don’t touch the oven. You’ll get burned. It’s hot.” As they grow older, they make their own decisions and often reap the blessings or pay the consequences for their poor choices.

I love the lyrics composed by Paul Simon, “Fools,” said I, “you do not know, Silence like a cancer grows/ Hear my words that I might teach you/Take my arms that I might reach you” /But my words like silent raindrops fell/ And echoed in the wells of silence./ And the people bowed and prayed/to the Neon god they made/and the sign flashed out its warning/in the words that it was forming/and the sign said, “The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls/And tenement halls/And whispered in the sound of silence.”

Etched over the arch of one of the entries to LA City Hall the words of King Solomon remind us like those prophets, “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34). Matthew Henry commenting on this wisdom said, “An upright man will venture the displeasure of the greatest to bring truth to light.”

Personally, I know little about your life story except that which I gleaned after visiting your site. I did read that you like to hear others stories. As a former Buddhist and graduate of a Buddhist institution, married to a Messianic Jewish wife whose father was a holocaust survivor, I clearly recognize the barriers that exist between human beings because of their ethnic and religious make-up. I also recognize that it takes courage and time to get to know one’s neighbor, neighbors that often come from very different backgrounds.

In 1993, I attended the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago in order to get a face to face perspective on other’s beliefs and a sense of who they were, what their story was. For ten days, I intently listened and asked questions about their beliefs. While talking with a Burmese Buddhist monk, we quickly cleared the air about the use of politically correct religious speech and agreed that it was often harmful to genuine understanding. We agreed that Buddhism and Christianity both held to exclusive religious points of view and were diametrically opposed to one another. With clear boundaries established, we could respect one another and talk about our fundamental issues as human beings.

One Buddhist monk at Wat Thai Temple in North Hollywood invited me inside the temple and asked me to “tell him the story of creation.” He even asked me to read the Scriptures to him in between his interaction with worshippers in his context.

During the Ten Days of Awe, I pulled out an old sermon entitled, “The Necessity of Self-Examination” by Jonathan Edwards, one of America’s greatest theologians. It was based upon his meditations on Psalm 139 verses 23-24. “Search me O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” I love King David, a man of God’s own heart, a shepherd boy who listened intently to God, and as any human is capable of, ended up making some very tragic choices. His adultery and pre-meditated murder of his loyal commander Uriah was the first time I wept reading the Bible. I was grieved. Our spiritual leaders are supposed to hold to the highest standards, and here he falls. He confesses, “Against Thee and Thee only have I sinned and done this evil in Your sight.”

Edwards shines the looking glass on our hearts and observes, “Many are very careful that they do not proceed in mistakes, where their temporal interest is concerned. They will be strictly careful that they be not led on blindfold in the bargains which they make: in their traffic one with another, they are careful to have their eyes about them and to see that they go safely in these cases; and why not, where the interest of their soul is concerned?”

“Good fences make good neighbors.” Old proverbs are the currency of years of experience. When the young King Rehoboam went his own way, neglecting the counsel of his elders and just listening to those in his new inner circle, he went astray. He did not finish well. One quote of Rabbi David Wolpe resonated with me when I read Ellul’s Jewels, “Our darkness and sins are part of us, stitched into our soul.” Jeremiah the prophet wrote, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” (Jeremiah 17:9-10).

When I was at the Parliament, there were many experimental exercises in Interfaith worship. Exercises that I as a former Buddhist knew intimately and now as a follower of Yeshua Ha’Moshiach (Jesus Christ) could not embrace. I witnessed persons from other faiths who chose not to be involved as well because of their religious convictions. They were respectful, but they also were in a temporary venue which had established certain ground rules. Unfortunately, even then participants were encouraged to sign “The Declaration of a Global Ethic” which read that “we embrace the practices of all the world’s religions.” From my extensive past experience of all sorts of religious practices, I could not sign it as a follower of Yeshua Ha’Moshiach.

All ground is not holy ground. When a Tibetan Buddhist builds a sand mandala, they conduct rituals to bind demons from entering them and subjugate all other gods under their dominion. It is a religious portal, a palace, home to 722 deities depending on the type of mandala. Deities we would call fallen angels. In the dissolution ceremony the sand that is given to others carries with it the incantations of the Lamas. In the past, the sand mandalas were constructed with the blood of human sacrifices. According to John Huntington from Ohio State University and curator of the Himalayan Art Collection, “the most efficacious skull used in the mandalas were the skull of a sixteen year old virgin.” These are not my opinions, but are based upon interviews with Lamas at Pacific Asia Museum who construct the mandalas and from extensive reading of Buddhist documents as well. To the public the mandalas are intriguing works of art. Is what I say true?

As a watchman, someone who has knowledge of various practices, it is my duty to warn others, especially leaders, lest the blood be on my own hands (Ezekiel 33). I do not want to displease Hashem in anyway. Tibetans are often cheerful and amiable people. I have hosted Tibetan Christians in our home and have also been asked by Tibetan Buddhists for the Scriptures and even went as far as I delivering a copy to Kopan Gompa, a Tibetan Buddhist temple outside of Kathmandu, Nepal.

You were quoted as saying that you wanted to create, “neutral ground in which to work on interfaith connections and collaboration between Jews, Christians, Muslims and others without any limitation or ground rules.” That sounds like a prescription for a dangerous fall. One must ask oneself, “What am I seeking to accomplish when I assimilate other religion’s practices into my daily life?” While God has given man free will, Is it just to take others on your own personal quest? It is certain that teachers bear greater judgment.

Boundaries are critical. When an epidemic is being treated, the one treating the disease must be careful lest he become a victim. You were quoted in an article for JTA as saying, “You can’t expect the world to love each other if you can’t model it in your houses of worship. At such point in time that our houses of worship become more open, on that day, God will be one and God’s name will be one. It’s only at that point that it can happen.”

My opinion is not what is important here in response. God said through His prophet Isaiah, “I am the LORD, that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols” (Isaiah 42:8). “God does not tolerate rivals (Nahum 1:2) Jamieson-Faucet and Brown comment, “We are jealous only of those we love: a husband, of a wife; a king of his subject’s loyalty. God is jealous of men because He loves them. God will not bear a rival in His claims on them.”

The most important question to be answered is “What does the LORD require of me? “To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8; Jeremiah 7:5-7; Leviticus 19:33-34). You were quoted as saying, “Let people model it in their own houses of worship.” My question is, “Why bring into one place every religious practice and belief?” The LORD said, “When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, be very careful not to imitate the detestable customs of the nations living there” (Deuteronomy 18:9). King Solomon said, “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is death.” Even then, being the wisest man on earth, did he not fall because he took on so many wives and accommodated their religious practices, building high places and idols for each of them to practice their faith? It may be that it is time to remember what Moses was given by Adonai on Mount Sinai, the original gathering place lest we replace Him with our own modern day version of the Golden Calf.

“For they went and served other gods and worshipped them, gods that they did not know and that He had not given to them. And the LORD uprooted them from their land in anger, in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as it is this day.” (Deuteronomy 29:26).

“Cursed is the one who makes a carved or molded image, an abomination to the LORD, the work of the hands of a craftsman, and set it up in secret. And all the people shall say, Amen.” (Deuteronomy 27:15).

And yet if we repent, He waits for us to return to Him and promises,

“And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. 2 And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 28:1-2).

2 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:

5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:

10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:

11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

13 Thou shalt not kill.

14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.

15 Thou shalt not steal.

16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

RED ALERT WDC ~ The Fear of the LORD

The Fear of the LORD

by James Stephens

Friday, July 15, 2011

A nation drinks a cup it has filled with  its own sin and iniquity. We are all guilty. None of us is innocent. Why do the nations conspire against YHWH and against YESHUA His Anointed One? Nationalism aside. Patriotism aside. Partisanship aside. Kiss the Son, less you perish.

Today, ask yourselves, whom do we serve? This day you must choose. Friday, July 15, a full moon is the half way mark of 2011. The Nation is divided as the President and Congress claim time is running out and face a potential  “economic Armageddon.”  While nearby at the Verizon Center the XIV Dalai Lama, the Kalachakra Master,  sits as the “time god” on the Shambhala Kingdom’s Throne empowering over 10,000 initiates from around the globe, including oracles, shamans,  lamas, an American judge, a former Catholic Bishop. The pluralist pope of peace  invokes over 722 deities, we would call demons, and conducts the Kalachakra (time god) Tantra for the thirty first time (1,500,000  initiates),  ritual rites of possession over the land,  to empower the Adi Buddha, the universal religious emperor, aka the XIV Dalai Lama of Tibet.

Where are the consecrated prayer warriors of old engaging the purveyors of idolatry on our soil in Washington, DC? They cry out from their brittle bones,

“There are giants in the land! BUT FAR GREATER IS HE WHO SITS ON HIS THRONE IN HEAVEN. We are seated in heavenly places with Christ Jesus our LORD and ask for a release the FEAR OF YHWH UPON WASHINGTON, DC.

Please pray for us in these hours. I need my arms lifted up. I am weary in this battle. 10,000 initiates, including oracles, shamans, and  lamas wage a dark ritual of devilish design in Washington,  DC. Release wisdom and the FEAR of YHWH.

“Standing with you. YHWH raises up a standard against the enemy.”

“Where are the young warriors?

Where two or three are gathered before Your Throne Yeshua, You are there. We agree whatever is bound on earth it shall be done in heaven. Bind these imposters, these principalities and powers who are keeping Your Tibetan, Mongolian, Bhutanese, Nepalese, Sinhalese, Indian, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean in bondage. Set the captives free!

“Jesus is LORD. Fear not and fret not. Though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.”

“I see Mt. Carmel. I see the thundering rivers of living water that come from His mouth, sweeping and cleansing that which the enemy would seek to flood the nation with. Father we release the Living Waters from Your Throne. We and the atmospheres of the earth reject what the enemy would seek to release. LORD we release Your mighty warrior/binding angels to seal and hold and lock shut every demonic portal open and that they’d seek to open. We loose Your light and salvation over every human soul trapped by the lies of Buddhism.”

“Remember Eagle Rock. Proclaim that He is mightier. “Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Behold all those who are angered at you will be shamed and dishonored; Those who contend with you will be as nothing, and will perish.”  Isaiah 41:10-11

“Thus you shall say to them, “The gods that did not make the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under the heavens.” Jeremiah 10:11.”

“Every man is stupid, devoid of knowledge; Every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols; For his molten images are deceitful, and there is no breath in them. They are worthless, a work of mockery; In the time of their punishment they will perish.”

I don’t have many visions, am conservative, but the LORD does give me assignments and at times reveals great things. I had a vision sometime back. I was out on a ledge laying out prostrate on a high place.  On my left from below there were all sorts of foul demons, dragons coming at me. All of the sudden, I looked before me and saw a supernatural, transparent cross and from on high heard amazing thunder from the heavens. And then I was filled with the awesome FEAR OF THE LORD. It flooded my being and I was in absolute AWE of HIS MAJESTY and in Esctasy. The demons fled His PRESENCE immediately. They could not behold HIM. There is NOTHING to Fear, EXCEPT YHWH. He then opened my eyes to the Pacific Ocean, Santa Monica, West Los Angeles, the Miracle Mile, Downtown Los Angeles, Glendale, Universal City. Immediately a remarkable shimmering cloud of glory was over the entire area. I then awoke, trembling and full of His awesome Presence. I will never forget the vision.

“There is much prayer being lifted along with the binding here on earth of the demons that have already been bound in heaven. I’m standing beside you.”

“EL ELYON, EL CHAY, we stand with You. You and Your desire to release the Living Waters of Your Creative Voice on the earth and as those to whom You have given authority over creation, we reject which Satan would desire to release unto the earth. We say, NO! But as we are seated with You now in heavenly places in Christ, we come into agreement here on the planet with Your desire in Him and we say, COME! COME! COME! Have Your Way. Have Your Rule.

“And we step by the Spirit into Him and lay hold of DC and the Nation and those moving in the power of darkness. We lay hold of Your Light, Righteousness, Peace, Joy, Holiness, and Love. And we wrap it around them. We invite it in and about them.  We release the vibration of the sound of Your Voice and we welcome You, Ruach Ha’Kodesh at a HOLY higher level to come and brood over that gathering and all its global participants. We release the testimony of the blood of Jesus.”

On Wednesday night there were 1304 lightning strikes on Washington, DC after the National Gatekeepers asked for a release from HIS storehouses, an open display of His displeasure that many Buddhists would be convicted of their sin and be brought to repentance.

Be not be partakers of her plagues. They drink a cup, not His cup. A cup filled with their own designs, greed, avarice, and lust for power. They do not have an ear to hear. They play to crowds saying whatever pleases them. A Golden cup.  A golden calf.

Moses descends with two stone  tablets engraved by the Finger of YHWH to offer  Torah to the people.  In his absence, they instead choose to worship a god of their own making.

15And  Mosheh  turned  and  went  down from  the  mountain,  and  in  his  hand  were the   two   tablets   of   the   Witness,   tablets written on both their sides, written on the one and on the other. 16And   the   tablets   were   the   work   of Elohim, and the writing was the writing of Elohim engraved on the tablets.

19And it came to be, as soon as he came near the camp, that he saw the calf and the dancing. And Mosheh’s displeasure burned, and he threw the tablets out of his hands  and  broke  them  at  the  foot  of  the mountain.

And  he  took  the  calf  which  they  had made, and burned it in the fire, and ground it into powder, and scattered it on the face of  the  water  and  made  the  children  of Yisra’el drink it.”

If you will not have communion with the LORD, you have chosen to take the cup of wrath filled with the abominations of your own choosing.

In 2003, I attended the International Buddhist Film Festival at the LA County Museum of Art.  Most of the festival had seemed to be fairly typical as far as film festivals went, except the films and cartoons were built around Buddhist themes. That was until the showing of the documentary film on the Kalachakra directed and produced by Werner Herzog. The crowd that turned out that night was seriously dark. I had arrived later than I anticipated and as I was walking towards the back of the line had occasion to pass by those who were attending that evening. Well dressed, many in black, it seemed that I had stepped into another dimension of darkness. What was it? It was as if I was experiencing, not in myself, but sensing the total absence of the Holy Spirit.  Many in the crowd had already attended the Kalachakra Ceremony in various places around the globe and were gathering to watch one of their own. I was alone.

BUT, what will it be like for them who worship Tibet’s Golden Calf and are partakers of the vile tantric cup of demons, when they stand before the THRONE of the LION of the TRIBE of JUDAH?

Satan, Principalities, Powers, and Demons flee before the PRESENCE OF THE HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, SET APART ONE, BY THE PERFECT SACRIFICE OF  YESHUA HA’MOSHIACH, JESUS CHRIST OF NAZARETH. BY HIS BLOOD WE ARE SAVED.

…YHWH…