Amazing New Painting of John the Baptist By Artist Toni L. Taylor
Tim King Global News Centre/Executive Editor
John the Baptist is traditionally depicted in the animal skins and sackcloth of a wild man in the desert, but this artist’s depiction of the prophet is quite different from most traditional pictures of John.
Here he wears the clothes and displays the symbols of his class before a background of a vast universe of shining stars, artfully depicted by the artist Toni L. Taylor, giving John a spiritual importance denied him by many centuries of scholarly neglect. It is fitting that his countenance be that of Ace Knight, one of the leaders–if not the foremost leader–of the movement to restore John to his true importance in religious history.
The artist has previously said that she wants to tap into “the ethereal and otherworldly.” In this work she has succeeded mightily.
The portrait is scheduled to appear on the cover of a forthcoming book by Ace Knight: John the Baptist: He Who Lives. Ace Knight’s ground-breaking research on John the Baptist (Prophet Yahya) has elicited both notoriety and praise.
When I first saw the finished portrait, I was stunned by Toni L. Taylor’s perfect realization of the Prophet Yahya whom I have worked to reveal and restore to his rightful position in religious history. “C’est magnifique!” I thought aloud, “It’s magnificent!” She had replaced the conventional image of the loser depicted in the Bible who was allegedly decapitated at the whim of a courtesan with the prophet of much greater vision and purpose that I believe him to have been. Bravo! —Ace Knight
Toni Taylor does such phenomenal work! It’s easily noticeable for people like myself, who are sensitive to ancient energy, to sense intensely the divine efflorescence in her artistry. The masterpiece that she created in this painting of Ace Knight as John the Baptist is nothing less than pure celestial opulence. The thoughtful detail and powerful symbolism being projected places this piece in a monumental category of it’s own, leaving me convinced that every piece of art that comes from this extraordinary artist is nothing less than a mighty resonance of divinity. I will be watching Toni Taylor and everything she touches take flight into the hearts and souls of the masses.
Toni L. Taylor’s portrait of John the Baptist is the first major work I have seen that represents the status and importance of a man whose life and mission were reduced to validating the mission of Jesus and suffering a degrading death in the Bible. It is a fine piece of art, filled with the symbols of Ace’s reinterpretation of John’s life and importance in the history of religion. In a sense, it is also a worthy counterpoint to Da Vinci’s famous portrait of the Baptist.
—Jay R. Crook, Ph.D.
Toni L. Taylor is a visionary artist whose work travels through the realms of fantasy and mysticism. She feels a special kinship with the mysteries of Ancient Egypt as well as the spirit of Native America. Goddess imagery is represented powerfully in her collection. She says of her work, “When people view my creations, I want them to feel like they’re taking a bit of a mental, emotional and spiritual vacation… tapping into the ethereal and otherworldly. My desire is to touch some part of their soul allowing them to dream their dreams and stimulate their own imaginations.” Having had no formal training, Toni considers herself ‘life taught’ and her gift a blessing from the Universe.
Disney: Fantasyland/Art of Animation
Universal Studios: Harry Potter/Halloween Horror Nights 21
Creative Kingdom: Magic Quest
Miller Brewing Company
Heavy Metal Magazine
American Kennel Club
Reviews for Ace Knight’s Research On John the Baptist (Prophet Yahya)
Ace Knight is a first generation American of Albanian descent. He is devoted to a few things. One is his family, another is his religion, and yet a third is intellectual and spiritual religious inquiry. His book is a tribute to this devotion and inquiry. It is a brilliant and original look at the Gospels and the Quran, as well as the earlier Mosaic texts. In this book, the self-taught Knight, with no formal education, points out linguistic and spiritual parallels between generations of key characters in three religious histories. A devout and inquiring Muslim, using the close reading of the Quran as his guide, Knight, is able to look back at the central story of the crucifixion through a new lens, the Muslim lens, using key passages from a number of religious scriptures to build a fascinating new argument. His thoughts, insights and interpretations are remarkable, profound, and leave the reader in awe.
Knight notices that a son is born to the prophet Zachariah at about the same time as a son is born to Mary. He systematically and spell-bindingly leads us through the parallels between these two prophets, the second of whom we have come to know as Jesus. Both are raised in secrecy, and bring prophesy and healing. Both are spared somehow the decree of Herod at birth, only to befall religious ostracism and apparent physical mutilation beheading/crucifixion at the time of apparent earthly death.
Knight takes us through the similarities in these prophet’s lives, their coming into the lives of their parents, as the sons had done, in response to prayer, or in the unlikely moment, for Mary, of her chastity. The coming together of Zachariah and Mary is cemented with the former shielding Mary from harm as her foster-father. Knight brings us back further in scriptural history to draw other such parallels when it comes to prophets, and he draws upon the Arabic roots of the names of these figures, from Adam to Zachariah’s son, to convince the reader of his novel contribution to scriptural reading. But I’m not going to give that away! For that, you must read the book yourself!
This book is slim, but both erudite and yet easy to follow, in its step by step progression through the many scriptures, seemingly so familiar is Ace Knight with every passage, the apt ones come easily to mind for him, and strike an immediate cord in us, no matter how familiar or unfamiliar we are with the text and story. And yet, this book is no recipe for persuasion. It is much more sophisticated than that. Written in a devout and true Muslim spirit, it is also—as mentioned at the beginning of this review—an inquiry and a wholly new contribution to that body of sculptural scholarship.
Ace Knight advances a theory which sheds an entirely novel light on the views that are commonplace today, and, through an examination of linguistics, passages, intent, and meaning, causes us to re-examine, in an exciting, clue-ridden way, what we have assumed to be true about the three major religions for centuries, concentrating on his own Muslim faith.
(This book) by Ace Knight is an engaging analysis of the life and mission of the two kindred religious personages, John the Baptist (Yahya) and Jesus (`Isa). Even though the central argument of the book, namely that the man who was hung on the cross was John and not Jesus, may be academically open to question as it rests on circumstantial evidence, the book will add much to the discussion of an epoch-making event that has shaped world history.
The book is informative and entertaining. It is certainly worth reading.
If all of Ace Knight’s research and the conclusions he draws from it prove to be valid, then the traditional view of John the Baptist/Yahya, both scholarly and conventional, Jewish, Christian and Muslim, will be subjected to a tidal wave of revision and reconsideration. This will also affect most extant translations of the Quran into English, with the exception of The Sublime Quran by Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar which incorporates all of his results that relate to Quranic verses. Additionally, the great collections of medieval Islamic commentaries, both Sunni and Shia, which often repeat such colorful Biblical stories as the beheading of John the Baptist, will have to be viewed more critically. Such revisionism is sure to meet with a strong opposition.
Ace Knight’s controversial book, vigorously challenges the conventional view of John the Baptist as little more than the baptizer of Jesus and the herald of his messiahship. The result of years of study, it expounds his revolutionary theories about the life, work, and significance of the neglected prophet. The John/Yahya that Work brings forth from the shadows of history is a major prophet in his own right, with an independent stature and mission. The book is a thought-provoking and fascinating re-examination of the prophet’s place in history.
M. Dennis Paul, Ph.D.
Creator of Thought Addiction programs:
I am impressed with the amount of detail Ace, as well his editor and good friend Jay Crook, have used in composing this remarkable thesis. No easy task, Ace sets about trying to justify, clarify, and rectify, as applicable, the disparities within various retellings of the history of John the Baptist and his relationship to Jesus the Christ. It is apparent to some that political movements of the time either changed, restricted or completely eliminated various contributions to the bible. It is conceivable that all such scriptural offerings in all the various religions underwent various pressures of a similar type.
Ace opens several windows with which to air questions and suggestions that might lead to greater reasoning, awareness and understanding… part of a great gift we often take for granted (or, in some cases, refuse to employ). It is telling that some men will welcome a flame with which they may explore caverns of thought previously cursed by darkness while others will curse the flame and cling to the walls of darkness swearing that this is all there is… and all that should be. My brother Ace is most definitely the former.
Roger H. Sigal, Trial Attorney – Tucson, Arizona
Mr. Knight has reflected an unparalleled inner commitment towards becoming a more spiritually-evolved and God-devoted person, and towards unraveling the truths and myths behind the Islamic, Judaic and Christian theologies. This substantial piece of scholarship is the result of the years of devotion to which Mr. Knight has dedicated himself, towards understanding, questioning, and seeking new perspectives on the religious traditions and issues of our times.
R. Bangor, Ph.D.
I opened the book cautiously, expecting the polemics of yet another anti-Christian diatribe, but was surprised to find instead a reasoned academic examination of some aspects of early Christian history as preserved in the New Testament, the writings of Josephus, and elsewhere that cause me to reconsider the role of John the Baptist in the drama of Jesus the Messiah. Islamic sources are also explored. One may not agree with all of the book’s conclusions, but enough information is presented in the text and footnotes of this remarkable study to cause one to pause and rethink our assumptions about the importance of this relatively neglected prophet in the history of monotheism. An interesting read!
A More Likely Scenario. An Inspiring Read.
A well written and well thought out alternative to what was at best a problematic and most likely fictitious account of the personalities involved in the crucifixion. Knight’s evidence to support his supposition is very strong, much stronger than can be found in the new testament. A very enlightening and entertaining read.
Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar Resident Scholar Kazi Publications and first American woman to translate the Qur’an
There are two methods of gaining knowledge in the great religious traditions of the world in general, and Islam, in particular. One method is knowledge that is imitated (taqlid) or transmitted by hearsay from generation to generation like the sciences of language, history and law. With this method, a person never asks “Why?” but accepts what is taught by an authority. In the Islamic tradition this leads to ijtihad, ijtihad specifically referring to developing expertise in jurisprudence (fiqh) to the level of being able to use independent judgment in understanding Islamic law (Shariah). Such a person is known as a mujtahid. Whoever is not a mujtahid, whoever has not reached that level, must “imitate” or “follow” a person who has, whether that person is dead (Sunni Muslims) or alive (Shia Muslims).
The second method of gaining knowledge is what is of most interest to us in this book review, that of tahqiq or intellectual knowledge where one may have a teacher for guidance but it is knowledge that cannot be passed from one generation to another. Each person has to discover it for himself or herself by “polishing the heart.” by becoming a person who sees with the eye of Oneness or tawhid, a person who deeply senses his responsibility to God, His creation and His humanity.
The person who gains knowledge with this method is called “a seeker of truth” (muhaqqiq). Intellectual knowledge (tahqiq) builds on transmitted knowledge but goes deeper. Transmitted knowledge includes memorizers of the Quran and the Hadith but only with intellectual knowledge can one understand what God and the Prophet are saying. Those who lack this intellectual endeavor have, one might say, not sought the means to see with the eye of “Oneness.”
Questions like “why” are not the only ones that the intellect of the seeker of truth asks because the underlying distinction is to think, “to think for oneself,” and not to stop at “imitation alone.” Not everyone has been burdened with this capacity as the Quran says in 2:286, but one person who has is Ace Knight. He is a seeker of truth, seeker of the Reality (haqq), a person who has verified knowledge, not on the basis of imitating the opinion of others, but on the basis of having realized the truth for himself as well as being one who acts in accord with haqq, all the time realizing his belief in the One God, the one creation and the one humanity.
A faith tradition may survive without a living mujtahid, but it rapidly disappears without a living muhaqqiq. Without a living seeker of truth, a seeker of reality, the faith tradition cannot remain faithful to its principles because it cannot understand those principles. A faith tradition may survive without a living mujtahid, but it rapidly disappears without a living muhaqqiq. Without a living seeker of truth, a seeker of reality, the faith tradition cannot remain faithful to its principles because it cannot understand those principles. Ace Knight’s basic premise is to follow the Quran and the New Testament which all assert that Jesus is the Messiah. However according to the Quran, it only appeared to the people who bore witness to the Messiah that he had been crucified.
In reality, according to the intellectual endeavor of the author, it was “he who lives” (Yahya), the Concealer of Secrets (hasura), as the Quran refers to him who was placed on the cross and lived.
The Concealer of Secrets concealed the secret of his identity and that of the Messiah in order to save the Messiah. The Messiah was then allowed to carry on his prophetic mission (perhaps traveling even as far as Kashmir where many believe that he is buried). At the same time that Mary retired to a sanctuary, Zechariah becoming her protector, Zechariah prayed for a heir. The son of Mary was close in age to the son of man (the Concealer of Secrets fathered by Zechariah). They may have even been cousins who resembled one another. They both began their prophetic mission around the same time yet neither revealed themselves as to who they actually were.
The author traces these and other parallels in the lives of the son of Mary and the son of man for a fascinating read. In the great tradition of seekers of truth in the past, Ace Knight brings harmony to ancient mysteries. He shows the possibility of how things may be in the Presence of the Oneness of God and he does so through scriptures – the Quran, and the New Testament.
This is a book that should be read by everyone who wants to discern the Reality of the story of the Messiah.
With almost 25 years of experience on the west coast and worldwide as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor, Tim King is owner and Executive News Editor for of GlobalNewsCentre.com. His background includes covering the war in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007, and reporting from the Iraq war in 2008. Tim is a former U.S. Marine who follows stories of Marines and Marine Veterans; he’s covered British Royal Marines and in Iraq, Tim embedded with the same unit he served with in the 1980′s.
Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing from traditional mainstream news agencies like The Associated Press and Electronic Media Association; he also holds awards from the National Coalition of Motorcyclists, the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs; and was presented with a ‘Good Neighbor Award’ for his reporting, by the The Red Cross.
Tim’s years as a Human Rights reporter have taken on many dimensions; he has rallied for a long list of cultures and populations and continues to every day, with a strong and direct concentration on the 2009 Genocide of Tamil Hindus and Christians in Sri Lanka. As a result of his long list of reports exposing war crimes against Tamil people, Tim was invited to be the keynote speaker at the FeTNA (Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America) Conference in Baltimore, in July 2012. This is the largest annual gathering of North American Tamils; Tim addressed more than 3000 people and was presented with a traditional Sri Lanka ‘blessed garland’ and a shawl as per the tradition and custom of Tamil Nadu
In addition to local news, Tim specializes in writing about political and military developments worldwide; and maintains that the label ‘terrorist’ is ill placed in many cases; specifically with the LTTE Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, where it was used as an excuse to slaughter people by the tens of thousands; and in Gaza, where a trapped population lives at the mercy of Israel’s destructive military war crime grinder. At the center of all of this, Tim pays extremely close attention to the safety and welfare of journalists worldwide.