Monday, July 24, 2017

The Historicity of Noah's Flood

Alice C. Linsley

The historicity of the flood in Genesis is highly probably once we determine when and where Noah lived, using the data of Scripture. That requires analysis of the kinship of the rulers listed in Genesis chapters 4, 5, 10, 11, 25 and 36. These rulers appear to have a common genetic ancestry. This can be asserted because they have the same marriage and ascendancy pattern which indicates that their ruling lines intermarried. In the diagram below, the key to understanding that the lines of Ham and Shem intermarried is the daughter of Asshur. Consistent with the cousin bride's naming prerogative, she named her first born son Asshur, after her father.

Genesis 10:8 tells us that Nimrod was a Cushite kingdom builder. Abraham is one of his descendants. This is the first clue that Noah was not Mesopotamian, but rather a Proto-Saharan.

The identical pattern is evident in the intermarriage of the lines of Cain and Seth. Lamech's daughter married her cousin Methuselah and named their first born son Lamech, after her father.

Lamech the Younger is the great grandfather of Noah.

At the time Noah lived, the Sahara was wet. There was an extensive system of interconnected lakes and rivers. The western Nile watershed extended well into the Sudan. Hydrological studies indicate many periods of flooding from the Nile to the Atlantic coast of Nigeria. Noah lived in the region of Lake Chad. This is the only place on earth that is claimed by the native population to be Noah's homeland. It is called Bor-No, meaning Land of Noah. The gray shaded areas show the ancient water ways in the African Sheer Zone. The area was prone to flooding.

There was an abundance of reeds. According to Genesis 6:14, Noah's ark was constructed of גפר (gofer/gopher), which is the word used to describe the basket in which Moses floated on the Nile. In other words, the ark was constructed of reeds. The hollow reeds were extremely buoyant. Such vessels are still constructed by the marsh Arabs of Iraq and East Africans.

There is a great deal of evidence that boats were once prevalent in the Sahara. The black mahogany Dufuna dugout (shown below) was found in the Sudan buried 16 feet under clays and sands whose alternating sequence showed evidence of deposition in standing and flowing water. The dugout is 8000 years old. By comparison, Egypt's oldest boat is only about 5000 years old. Peter Breunig (University of Frankfurt, Germany) has written this description of the Dufuna boat: “The bow and stern are both carefully worked to points, giving the boat a notably more elegant form”, compared to “the dugout made of conifer wood from Pesse in the Netherlands, whose blunt ends and thick sides seem crude”. Judging by stylistic sophistication, Breunig reasons that, “It is highly probable that the Dufuna boat does not represent the beginning of a tradition, but had already undergone a long development, and that the origins of water transport in Africa lie even further back in time.”

Boats appear on prehistoric rock paintings in the Sahara. Many show people transporting long horn cows by boat. The Proto-Saharan were cattle-herding. Here are examples of the sickle, incurved sickle, square, incurved square, and flared boat types found on the prehistoric rock art of the Central Eastern Desert of Egypt.

The historicity of Noah’s concern for animals is supported by the discovery that Proto-Saharan rulers kept royal menageries of exotic animals. The oldest known zoological collection was found during the 2009 excavations at the shrine city of Nekhen on the Nile. The royal menagerie dates to about 3500 BC and included hippos, elephants, baboons and wildcats. Noah would have known about the shrine city of Nekhen. It was one of the earliest worship centers for the Horite Hebrew. This painting was found on the wall of a tomb in Nehken.

At Nekhen archaeologists discovered a mummified ruler with red hair and a red beard. Noah and his descendants appear to be in Y-DNA Haplogroup R1b. The R1b rulers were the "mighty men of old" who dispersed into southern Europe, the Tarum Valley of China, and eventually into the British Isles. About 70% of native British men are in Haplogroup R1b. The dark red spot in Central Africa is Noah's homeland near Lake Chad.

Similar mummified remains have been found in pyramids in the Tarum Valley of China. The oldest date to about 1900 BC. Below is a photo of one of the Tarum royal mummies. Note the red hair and solar image on the ruler's cheek. The solar mark indicates that he was divinely appointed. Divine appointment among Abraham's ancestors was indicated by being overshadowed by the Sun. This explains why the Angel Gabriel told Mary that she would be "overshadowed" and the one she brought forth is the Son of God. The "Ur-David" mummy (shown below) was tall and had red hair. This mummy, also called Cherchen Man or Chärchän Man, dates to about 1000 B.C.

The Edomite rulers listed in Genesis 36 are identified with rulers who were red: Esau and David. Abraham's territory was entirely in the ancient land of Edom, called "Idumea" by the Greeks. Idumea means "land of red people."

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Numbers and the Kingdom of God

Alice C. Linsley

Rom. 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.St. Augustine (A.D. 354-430) wrote: “Numbers are the universal language offered by the Deity to humans as confirmation of the truth.” St. Augustine argued against the Donatist, Tichonius, observing that "if Tichonius had said that these mystical rules open out some of the hidden recesses of the law, instead of saying that they reveal all the mysteries of the law, he would have spoken truth" (De Doctrina Christiana, III, xlii).

The Church Fathers recognized that mystery surrounds the divine, but they condemned magical use of numbers in occult practices. They observed patterns in the numerical symbolism of Scripture. St. Ambrose, commenting on the days of creation, explained that interpretation for the Christian relies upon the guidance of the Holy Spirit. He wrote:
"The number seven is good, but we do not explain it after the doctrine of Pythagoras and the other philosophers, but rather according to the manifestation and division of the grace of the Spirit; for the prophet Isaias has enumerated the principal gifts of the Holy Spirit as seven.”
The Church Fathers were not interested in philosophical speculation about numbers. However, they did wish to lift up the meaning of Scripture according to the tradition which they received, a tradition that Jesus Himself drew on; a Tradition rich in number symbolism, typology, and pattern. Perhaps Ambrose’s view takes into consideration the consistency of number symbolism throughout the Canon.

The ancient Horite Hebrew (Habiru) used numbers and numerical patterns in decision making, selecting clans and individual for God appointed tasks, and in rendering judgements.

Casting lots was a method of selecting and is not occult. It is based on probability and it is likely that the ancient Horite Habiru (Hebrew) understood that randomness resolves in patterns. They would have viewed these patterns as being fixed by the Creator.

One form of divination that God allowed was done only by the High Priest. This is sometimes referred to as "cleromancy". Exodus 28:30, explains that the Urim and the Thummim (probably sets of stones) were in the breastpiece, "so they may be over Aaron’s heart whenever he enters the presence of the Lord. Thus Aaron will always bear the means of making decisions for the Israelites over his heart before the Lord.” One set was white and the other was black. These appear to represent a yes-no approach to decision making consistent with the binary worldview of the Horite Hebrew. These seem to represent binary sets. The urim would have a number of associations which would be assigned the opposite meaning with the thummim. Using these tools involved yes-no questions, but also a cosmological framework by which meaning was expressed. That would involve considerations such as the four directional poles, sacred centers, gender, numbers, and reversals.

The prophet of old, the moreh, gave instruction from their trees. Abraham consulted the Moreh at Mamre who sat under a great Oak. Deborah sat under a tamar, or date nut palm. These prophets, like John the Baptist, were away from the population centers. People had to make an effort to travel to them. Further, their trees appear to be at the sacred center between two shrine cities. The oak of the moreh was between Ai and Bethel, on an east-west axis. The tamar of Deborah was between Bethel and Ramah, on a north-south axis.

The number symbolism of the ancient prophets represents a system that assigned numbers and gender virtues to the north, south, east and west. Thus the number one is assigned to north, and north is associated with the heavens, God’s eternal throne. The number six is assigned to sacred center (tiferet), a state of harmony or equilibrium.The number nine represents the west, the future, the bridal chamber, and the consummation of the celestial union.

When the number 3 is associated with south, fertility, productivity, and peace on earth (shalom). It is that state of heaven coming down (the advent of God, Messiah's Incarnation). This is evident in the description of the New Jerusalem in Revelation. The city has twelve gates and sits on twelve foundation stones (Revelation 21:12-14). Three face east, three face north, three face south, and three face west. We may illustrate this as follows

3→ 3↑ 3↓ 3← Notice that the third position faces south.

Compare this to the “bronze sea” in Solomon’s temple which rested on twelve oxen (1 Kings 7:23-26).

3→ 3↑ 3↓ 3← Notice that they coincide.

It appears that north and east are dominant and associated with maleness. South and West are supplementary and associated with femaleness. Some of this mystical number symbolism is evident in the Ten Sefirot of Kabalah.

Imagine a circle with north as a point at the top center. This also represents high noon, a time of no shadows. This position of priority is assigned the number 1, symbolizing the Uncreated Hidden God (Ain Soph). Directly opposite is the point south, assigned the number three. It is associated with marriage and fertility, divine overshadowing and miraculous conception.

Kingdom Building by Two

In Genesis the numbers two and seven point to a kingdom given or revealed. We see this in the necessity for two wives to establish a kingdom. Sarah resided in Hebron (Kiriath-Arba) and Keturah in the region of Beersheba. Their separate households were on a north-south axis and marked the northern and southern boundaries of Abraham's territory in Edom (Idumea - land of red people).

In the story of Joseph’s interpretation of dreams in Genesis 40-41, we find a pattern involving the number two and seven:

2 years in prison awaiting his deliverance
2 royal officials
2 dreams involving the number 7
2 additional years in prison before Joseph receives a kingdom

Compare this to Luke 10:1-20 which uses two and seven to speak of the Kingdom:

70 + 2 appointed to proclaim the Kingdom
2 sent (in pairs) to declare peace to many households
2 cities: Chorazin and Bethsaida, where Christ perform miracles and none repented (Luke 10:13)
2 cities: Tyre and Sidon, where the Prophet Elijah performed miracles and Jesus was recognized as Messiah (Mark 3:8; 7:24).

The number two speaks of a kingdom given and received. The ancient kingdom builders built up their houses through two wives and two concubines. This was the pattern until the time of David and Solomon. The first born sons of the two wives did not share their father's throne. The proper heir was the first born son of the first wife. This wife was a half-sister, as was Sarah to Abraham. So, Isaac was Abraham's proper heir. His first born son by Keturah was Joktan. He was named after Keturah's father and served as a high ranking official in the territory of his maternal grandfather, after whom he was named. This is pattern characterizes the marriage and ascendancy pattern of the Horite Hebrew.

Related reading: Number Symbolism in the BibleYes, Georgia, there is a Kingdom; Jesus Christ in Genesis; Kushite Kings and the Kingdom of God; Genesis on Sons and the Son

Friday, June 30, 2017

Getting the Narrative Right

Alice C. Linsley

There are many problems with this article, titled: "DNA Discovery of Ancient Mummies Supports Biblical Narrative of Descendants of Ham, Son of Noah."

1. The lines of Ham and Shem intermarried. This has been demonstrated by analysis of the marriage and ascendancy pattern of the rulers listed in Genesis 4 and 5. The lines of Cain and Seth intermarried, as did the lines of Ham and Shem.

The same pattern is found with Amram, the father of Moses, Aaron and Korah.

See the diagrams in this article on the Genesis King Lists to better understand the marriage and ascendancy pattern of the Mighty Men of Old.

2. All these peoples are in the same DNA (Y-chromosome) group - Haplogroup R1. The R Haplogroup is extremely archaic, older than the time of Noah. Here you will see the territories into which the R1b peoples dispersed. Note that the dark red spot in central Africa is the Lake Chad region, Noah's homeland. It is called Bor-Nu, meaning Land of Noah. Noah was a Proto-Saharan ruler.

3. The R1b peoples dispersed into southern Europe and the Indus River Valley and some went into Brittany and the British Isles. About 60% of British men are in Haplogroup R1b. The 6-prong star, called the "merkaba" in Hebrew, is found in all the territories in which they settled. It symbolizes the rising of the Sun, the emblem of the Creator among the R1b peoples. The image is seen on the ossuaries of Hebrew priests and their family members and on some carvings from the oppida (a "high place") of the Castro culture in Galicia, Spain (shown above on top right). Many other artifacts common to the R1b peoples have also been found from the Upper Nile to the Tarum Valley of China.

The 2,000-year-old ossuary shown above belonged to a daughter of the Caiaphas family of high priests. It is marked with the 6 pointed star and has an Aramaic inscription that says, “Miriam Daughter of Yeshua Son of Caiaphas, Priests of Ma’aziah from Beth Imri.” The inscription dates to the time of the Second Temple.

The same image is found on this ossuary of Joseph Caiaphas, the high priest (shown below).

The merkaba as chariot spokes within a circle appears to be an Iron Age version of Ra's solar boat. The Creator was believed to mount the sun as a chariot and ride the winds, making His circuit. This speaks about God's sovereignty over all the Earth.

The rulers listed in Genesis 4, 5, 10 and 11 were the builders of the great Sun cities of the ancient world. The priests who served in these temples were Ha'biru or Hebrew. Some were devotees of Horus. These are the Horite Hebrew and some of their rulers are listed in Genesis 36.

Related reading: Burial Practices of the Rulers of Old; Haplogroups of Interest to Biblical Anthropologists; Abraham and Job Were Horite Rulers; The Serpent of Moses's Staff

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Okay! A Book is Coming

Daniel from Poland

Alice C. Linsley

I was asked by a young man from Poland whether a book I proposed to write has been published. Here is what Daniel Kalinowski asked:
I recall that you were going to write one on subjects mentioned on the blog, was it published?

I'm very interested in the subject and would like to have that book and also hear critique of your work.
Maybe in near future a book covering some of these topics will appear in Eastern Europe written by me - it would be perfect if I could place some of your articles in footnotes, but they (articles) must be scholarly reviewed.

Here is my response to Daniel:

Finding a publisher takes time from the research and I am not inclined to waste my remaining years trying to get a book published. I would rather share my research with interested and thoughtful people, such as yourself.

My blogs such as Just Genesis and Biblical Anthropology are a way to do that. However, lately I have been urged to publish and stop giving away the research. These are the words of a member of my Facebook group, The Bible and Anthropology, after I complained about a book that used my research without citation.

Don't worry too much about peer review. If you have read Thomas Kuhn's "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" you are aware that paradigm shifts often result from an individual's work, not the work of a community of academics or scientists. Most of my published research is not peer-reviewed and therefore not constrained by academic expectations or the present environment of censorship of the politically incorrect. My research would never pass the prejudices of the National Science Foundation, for example. I suppose this is the closest thing I have to a peer-reviewed article: Genesis in Anthropological Perspective.

Many would be crushed by lack of recognition. For me, it is not so important. My passion is to strengthen the emerging science of Biblical Anthropology (sister to Biblical Archaeology) as long as I am able, as a independent researcher. If you do use some of my research, please cite me. If you don't trust the validity of material that is not peer-reviewed, you will miss out on an enormous amount of data that you would find helpful.

Biblical Anthropology provides tested methods and tools to push back the veil of time, to uncover anthropologically significant data that clarifies precedents, etiology, and context. The discoveries made in Biblical Anthropology prove helpful to students, pastors, and academics such as yourself.

Best wishes to you in your future endeavors.

Alice C. Linsley

P.S. I've sent a book proposal to an agent and he has responded that it will take 6 weeks to evaluate a project of the scope I propose on The Mighty Men of Old.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Did Joseph Serve King Horemheb?

Is this the face of the ruler who appointed Joseph as his chief executive?

Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

Alice C. Linsley

Who ruled Egypt when Joseph came to power?

That question has perplexed readers of the Bible for many generations. Different answers have been given based on the dating of Joseph and the alignment of his life with the reigns of at least 15 rulers. Some scholars believed that Joseph's rise to power took place over an extended period, rather than the brief time described in Genesis. Abraham Malamat (1922–2010) believed the story of Israel in Egypt and the Exodus represents events over a prolonged period.

Many scholars place Joseph in Egypt during the 12th Dynasty (BC 1991-1788) and link him to the Hyksos. Some place him earlier, towards the end of the 11th Dynasty (BC 2134-1991),

Based on the best calculations I can give, I place Joseph in Egypt at a later time. I believe the ruler of Egypt when Joseph came to power was Horemheb who reigned from 1306 until 1292 BC. He was the last pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty. He was married to Nefertiti's sister, Mutnodjmet, who died in child birth.

Horemheb was born a commoner. He was promoted to a high military rank during the time of Akhenaten (c. 1353–1336 BC). Akhenaten elevated Aten above the other gods and reduced the power of the temple priests who were not in the service of Aten. He is credited with a religious revolution, directed from his royal city of Amarna. He wanted to restore the glory Egypt had known under Amenhotep III. He built his rock-cut temple at Gebel Silsila. His tomb at Saqqara was aligned to Heliopolis in the north and contained images of the divinely overshadowed Hathor, the mother of Horus. On the west wall of his tomb is a painting depicting Horus presenting Horemheb to Hathor. The tomb is designated KV57 and it was never completed.


Detail from the tomb of Horemheb

During the reign of Tutankhamen (c. 1361-1352) the cult of Aten was repressed and the capital of Egypt was once again Thebes. King Tut strengthened the authority of Amen's priesthood. His uncle was the High Priest of Ra. During King Tut's reign, Horemheb rebuilt the army which had suffered losses due to pestilence, pacified peoples of Canaan, and fought with the Assyrians against the Hittites in northern Syria. Horemheb killed the Hittite king Suppiluliuma.

Horemheb succeeded Ay who had continued Tutankhamun’s return to traditional religious practices. Horemheb restored the rights of the temple priests, especially at On (Heliopolis). Tutankhamun's cartouche shows the temple of On and bears the word shema which in Hebrew means "hear." The Creator is referred to as the "God of Manifestations."

  General Horemheb and his first wife, Amenia

Horemheb's Favor

Horemheb served as vizier to Tutankhamun and Ay. He continued to restore the prominence of the gods and temples that were celebrated before the reign of  Akhenaten. As a Horite Hebrew devotee of Ra and Horus, Joseph would not have found favor with Akhenaten, but he would have found favor with Horemheb.

The favor shown to Joseph is described in Genesis 41:44-46.  Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Though I am Pharaoh, yet without your permission no one shall raise his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt."

Joseph was to ride in the king's second chariot; and the servants cried before him, “Bow the knee!"

Horemheb also favored Joseph by giving him as a wife the daughter of the High priest of On (Heliopolis). The shrine city of On was dedicated to Ra, the father, and Horus, the son. Horemheb means "Horus is in festival."

Placing Joseph's rise to power in the reign of Horemheb resolves the difficulty posed by Exodus 1:8: Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.

It is unlikely that this refers to an individual king. It is more likely that this refers to a new dynasty or a new royal house. The Ancient Egyptian pr-ʿȝ is formed from the words pr meaning house, as in O'piru (Sun house) and ʿȝ meaning great. The word Pharaoh means "Great House." When the text says that Joseph was not recognized, it likely means that the new dynasty had its own officials and the authority of Joseph was diminished.

Sons Born to Old Men

The Horite Hebrew rulers had two wives. The sons born to these wives spanned many years. Sarah was unable to have children and when she did conceive she and Abraham were quite elderly. Isaac would have been more the age of a grandson to Abraham. 

Isaac's son Jacob was born to Isaac's patrilineal cousin bride, Rebecca. She was Isaac's cousin bride. The cousin bride was taken shortly before the heir ascended to the throne of his father. This explains Abraham's urgency to get a wife for Isaac before he died. Jacob was born to Isaac late in Isaac's life.
He would have been more the age of a grandson to Isaac. 

Jacob's second wife was Rachel. She had a difficult time conceiving and Joseph was born when Jacob was quite old. Joseph would have been more the age of a grandson to Jacob. 

If we consider Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph as closer to the age of grandsons than sons, the span of their years is close to seven generations, that is, between 600 and 700 years.

An inscription by the Egyptian ruler Merneptah, discovered in 1896 by Flinders Petrie, makes reference to Israel. An earlier reference found with the name “Israel" pushes the Israelite presence in Egypt 200 years earlier, to about BC 1400. That is about 600 years after Abraham the Hebrew had a personal audience with the Egyptian king. The ruler with whom he met was likely Nebhepetre Mentuhotep II who reigned c. BC 2061-2010.

Taking into consideration the age of the sons relative to the old age of their fathers, the calculation of the approximate time of Joseph's rise to power is as follows:

Abraham meets with Nebhepetre Mentuhotep II between c. 2061-2010 BC. Let's put the audience with the Egyptian king at about 2000 BC. 
Horemheb's reign was c. 1306-1292 BC
The time from Abraham in Canaan to Joseph's rule in Egypt is between 600 and 700 years.
Substract 700 years from 2000 = 1300 BC. This corresponds within 6 years to the estimated time of Horemheb's reign.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Mark of Cain

Alice C. Linsley

There has been much speculation about the mark of Cain (Genesis 4:15). What was the mark that the Creator placed on him as a protective sign? To answer this question, more information about Cain's context is needed. The Bible tells us that Cain was a city builder and a ruler. He was one of the "mighty men of old." His descendants were craftsmen, some of whom worked metal (Genesis 4). This places Cain in the Neolithic Period, between B.C. 4000 and 3000.

Genesis presents contradictory views about Cain's father. In one view, Cain is Adam's son, born of Eve. Genesis 4:1 says, "Adam knew/lay (yadah) with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain." It should be noted that the Hebrew and the Greek versions do not explicitly name Adam in this verse. Instead they read, "The man knew his wife Eve, and she conceived and bore Cain." Contrast this with Genesis 4:25 which says "Adam knew his wife again, and she gave birth to a son whom she named Seth." Why is Adam not named as Cain's father in Genesis 4:1 while Adam is explicitly named as Seth's father in Genesis 4:25?

Genesis explicitly states that Eve gave birth to the ruler whose royal line is listed in Genesis 4. When Eve gives birth in Genesis 4:2 she declares kan-itti. The Bible scholar E.A. Speiser noted that Qany(ty) or Qanitti is related to the Akkadian itti, as in itti šarrim, which means "with the king." Akkadian was the language of Nimrod's territory (c. BC 2290-2215) and according to Genesis 10 Nimrod was a Kushite ruler.  It is not surprising then to find that Akkadian shares many roots and words with Nilotic languages. Among the Oromo of Ethiopia and Somalia, itti is attached to names. Examples include Kaartuumitti, Finfinneetti, and Dimashqitti. That itti is associated with Nilotic rulers is evident in the name of the famous queen Nefertitti.

Having established a cultural context for Cain, we must explore the marks on the body made by peoples of the Nile Valley. These include tattoos and scarification. It is evident that this was practiced by some among Abraham's ancestors because the Deuteronomist (writing about 1500 years after Abraham) attempted to ban the practice. 

“You shall not make any gashes in your flesh for the dead or tattoo any marks upon you: I am the LORD.” Leviticus 19:28

Both tattoos and scarification are very ancient practices and might pertain to the mark of Cain. Tattooes were a sign of status and bodily decoration. Many peoples of Africa decorate their bodies by puncturing the skin to insert a small amount of dye. Among the Nilotic peoples scarification was used to beautify; the more intricate the pattern, the more beautiful the woman. Aboriginal populations paint their bodies for ceremonies and dances.

Facial scarification (ichi scarification) indicates that the person has been initiated into nobility. It is a status symbol. It is possible that the mark on Cain refers to the scars specific to archaic rulers. Throughout the Bible Cain is the archetype of the earthly ruler. By the time that Jude wrote his epistle (c. 68 AD), Cain was solidly established as the ruler archetype. Jude warns those who might abandon Christ that God punishes those who rebel against Him. He uses three men as examples: Cain the ruler, Balaam the prophet, and Korah the priest.

Scarification is often a sign of mourning or grief. The Aborigines of Australia mourn the loss of their loved one with physical cuts on their bodies. They represent one of the oldest living cultures in the world. According to 1 Kings 18:28, the prophets of Baal cut themselves with knives when their god did not answer them. This scarification is an example of self-mortification.  Did God cut Cain's flesh or does the mark of Cain have a more spiritual meaning?

In Isaiah 44:5, we read that writing God's name on the hand marks one as God's servant:
This one will say, “I am the LORD’s,”
another will be called by the name of Jacob,
yet another will write on the hand, “The LORD’s,”
and adopt the name of Israel.

By writing God’s name on his hand, the convert to Judaism made it evident that he has chosen to serve the Lord. This appears to have been acceptable to the rabbis, though it seems to be contrary to the Leviticus 19:28 prohibition. The Leviticus prohibition, however, seems to pertain to people marking themselves, not to God marking us.

The mark put on Cain expresses an act of grace. Cain deserved to die for killing his brother, but the Lord placed a mark of protection on him so that his exile would not result in immediate death. Cain’s just punishment was death, yet God showed him grace by sparing his life. Instead Cain was to be exiled from his people. Even then God shows Cain grace by placing a mark on him, not a brand of shame, but a mark of protection.

Reflecting on this great grace shown to his ancestor, Lamech the Elder challenges God to show him greater grace In Genesis 4. If grace was shown to Cain (7), then Lamech, by confessing his sin to his wives, claims a greater measure of grace (77). Lamech, the Younger is assigned even greater grace because he is said to have lived 777 years. Lamech the Younger is the son of Methuselah and Naamah, and he became the father of righteous Noah.

St. John Chrysostom recognized that the story of Lamech is about God’s mercy shown to sinners. He placed the emphasis exactly where it should be. Other interpretations reflect spiritual pride.

The Jewish Study Bible claims that the “poem of Lamech” [Genesis 4: 23,24] attests to the violence associated with Lamech and Cain, and “to the increasing evil of the human race.” Apparently the interpreters exclude themselves from the human race because they go on to state: “The people of Israel will emerge from the lineage of the younger son’s replacement [that is from Seth], not from that of the murderous first born [that is Cain].” (The Jewish Study Bible, p. 20. Brackets mine.)

How easy it is to take the attitude that Cain and his descendants were sinners, but Seth’s descendants were righteous. Yet the lines of Cain and Seth intermarried and God showed grace to both, even allowing Lamech’s daughter, Naamah, to bear the righteous Lamech, the father of Noah and the ancestor of Abraham, Moses, David, and Jesus Messiah.

Monday, May 8, 2017

What Abraham Discovered on Mt. Moriah

Alice C. Linsley

Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.  (James 2:21-24)

Abraham was a Horite Hebrew, a devotee of Horus who was called the "son" of the Creator Ra. The Horites were a ruler-priest caste that originated in the Nile Valley when the Sahara was wetter. The oldest site known where Horites practiced their religion is Nekhen, a major city that stretched for 2 miles along the flood plain. Votive offerings at the temple of Horus were up to ten times larger than the normal mace heads and bowls found elsewhere, suggesting that this was a very prestigious shrine. Horite priests placed invocations to Horus at the summit of the fortress as the sun rose.

By all appearances, Jesus is the fulfillment of the Horite expectation of the Divine Seed who would overcome death. The Horites believed that Ra would bring forth His Son by the overshadowing of one of their virgin daughters. They lived in expectation of the fulfillment of a promise made to their Edenic ancestors that a Son (Seed) would be born who would be their Savior (Gen. 3:15).
"For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that He would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith." (Rom. 4:13)

As Abraham and Isaac ascended Mount Moriah, Isaac asked his father "where is the lamb for the sacrifice? Abraham replied that God would provide the lamb. However, that is not what God did. As the story goes, God provided a ram caught in the thicket. To understand what this would have meant to Abraham, we must be aware of his Horite Hebrew beliefs concerning the expected Righteous Ruler who would die and overcome death by his death.

God provided a ram instead. For Abraham the Horite, the lamb was associated with the east and the rising of the sun. The ram was associated with the west, the setting sun, and the future. This belief emerged from the solar imagery of the Proto-Gospel. Horus, the son of Ra was depicted as being one with the Father. He rode with the Father on the solar boat. The boat of the morning hours was called Mandjet and the boat of the evening hours was called Mesektet. While Horus was on the Mesektet, he was in his ram-headed form.

The ram symbolized God's acceptance of Abraham's offering at that moment (justification now) and God's acceptance of Abraham at the eschaton (future justification). The ram caught on Mount Moriah symbolized to Abraham that his offering had been accepted, because the lamb had become the ram, in mature strength. Horus was the Lamb in his weaker (kenotic) existence and he was the Ram in his glorified strength. Both are associated with the death and resurrection symbolism of the vernal equinox and with the Messianic expectation of the Horite Hebrew.

It appears that Abraham believed Isaac was the appointed son whose death would be overcome. but Isaac was spared when God provided his own sacrifice. Abraham likely believed Isaac to be the son of promise since circumstances surrounding Isaac's birth align with the ancient Horus myth.

Consider why Abraham the Horite might have believed he was to offer up Isaac:

1. Isaac was born miraculously (Gen. 21:5) as was Horus, who was said to have been conceived of a virgin when she was divinely overshadowed. Compare the Angel's words to Mary in Luke 1:35.

2. As Abraham's heir, Isaac was honored as being one with his father. From pre-dynastic times, the Creator was said to have a son, Horus. The Father and the Son are inseparable and of one essence in the theology of Abraham's Horim. Horus knows the Father and the Father knows the Son.

3. God named Isaac as the son by whom Abraham's seed would be called (Gen. 21:12). His brother Ishmael was banished. Horus was exalted after being abused by his brother who was banished.

4. Isaac was sacrificed by the father (by faith) and restored to life (Gen. 22:2-9), since to Abraham he was already given up (holocaust). Horus was restored to life. This is why many ancient Egyptian funerary amulets were made in the shape of the Eye of Horus.

5. Isaac received the kingdom from his father (Gen. 25:25).  Horus receives a kingdom from Ra. In Horite belief, Horus and Ra are frequently interchangeable - "I and my Father are one", as Jesus explained (John 10:30). The Father and the Son are inseparable and of one essence in the theology of Abraham's Horim. Horus knows the Father and the Father knows the Son. This is expressed in the Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts. In the priest's prayer to the King, he says, "Horus is a soul and he recognizes his father in you..." (Utterance 423)

6. Isaac had two wives who lived in separate settlements with separate flocks. Together these constituted his kingdom.  There were practical reasons for this practice.  In the event of attack, Isaac's line was more likely to survive if divided into two camps.  This fear motivated Jacob to separate his two wives and their people into two groups when returning to Canaan (Gen. 32). Likewise, Horus is said to have two land holdings, as evidenced by one of his titles Har-pa-Neb-Taui, which means "Horus of the two lands." The Horus narrative speaks of how he unites the peoples of the Upper and Lower Nile into one people.

7. The association of sheep with the Son of God is found in the Old and New Testaments. Horite priests kept herds from which they took the best to offer as sacrifices. Jesus comes from a long line of shepherds of the priestly lines, on Joseph's side and Mary's side. Keeping sheep was not their only occupation, however. Some were metal workers, others were carpenters, but all were skilled in various enterprises. The rulers of Egypt kept flocks and acknowledged that Jacob's people were especially skilled shepherds.This is why Pharaoh asked Joseph to put the best of shepherd of Jacob's clan in charge of the royal flocks (Gen. 47:6).

Jesus, the Good Shepherd, speaks of having other sheep in another fold (John 10:16). Often the two folds are cast as dispensations: one consisting of those who lived in faithful expectation of the Son of God and the other being the witnesses of His resurrection (the Church). Together these comprise the Kingdom of God. They might also be seen as the two wives of Christ. The second wife was taken shortly before the ruler ascended to the throne. This puts the marriage feast of the Lamb in a new light.

8. The ruler-priests among Abraham's people were shepherds. The signs of their authority were the shepherd's crook and the flail. These emblems of royal authority have been found in pre-Dynastic wall paintings. Nekhen is the site of the most ancient Horite temple and city in Egypt (c. 4000 B.C.). Of particular interest is the tomb painting of two men who carry crooked staffs with objects that look like flails, suggesting that they might be ruler-priests.

In God's economy, which always gets the order of things right, it was the shepherds of Bethlehem, a Horite settlement, who were the first to receive the news of the birth of the Son of God!

9. Jesus is often portrayed as the Lamb, a tender image. In His resurrection victory He is better portrayed as a ram, mighty in strength, mature, and ready to defend his flock. In the story of the binding of Isaac, the ram speaks of God's self-sacrifice and would have been confirmation for Abraham that his offering was accepted. The acceptance was justification of Abraham by faith in what he expected God to do in the future.

10. The Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts provide a great deal of information about Horus, the son of Ra. The righteous rulers who were buried in the half dozen pyramids in question hoped for bodily resurrection and their hope rested in Horus who was pierced in the side, died, and risen from the dead on the third day. The expectation that the Righteous Son would not remain in the grave is expressed in Psalm 16:10: For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. The final enemy is death. Psalm 110: The Lord says to my Lord: "Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet."

In the Coffin Texts, funerary prayers dating to about 1000 years before Psalm 110, we read in passage 148:
"I am Horus, the great Falcon upon the ramparts of the house of him of the hidden name. My flight has reached the horizon. I have passed by the gods of Nut. I have gone further than the gods of old. Even the most ancient bird could not equal my very first flight. I have removed my place beyond the powers of Set, the foe of my father Osiris. No other god could do what I have done. I have brought the ways of eternity to the twilight of the morning. I am unique in my flight. My wrath will be turned against the enemy of my father Osiris and I will put him beneath my feet in my name of 'Red Cloak'."

Abraham knew to expect a son who would overcome death. He likely believed that Isaac would be raised to life after the sacrifice. In other words, he acted by faith. By provision of the ram on Mount Moriah, a site that was sacred to the Horites, Abraham received confirmation that his offering was accepted, and he also discovered that Isaac was not the anticipated Ruler foretold in Eden (Gen. 3:15). That one would be revealed in the future.

Paul and James are perceived to be in conflict on the question of justification, yet they both argue based on this story of Abraham and Isaac. There is no conflict in their understandings of this event if they understood that Abraham trusted God to confirm the truth to him. This is the man who posed the great question:  "Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (Gen. 18:25) This same Abraham believed God on a very deep level.

"Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only." James 2:21-24

Related reading:  Jesus: From Lamb to Ram; The Question of ImmortalityThe Ra-Horus-Hathor NarrativeThe Horite Ancestry of Jesus Christ; Why Nekhen is Anthropologically Significant; Did Abraham Intend to Sacrifice Isaac?; William H. Willimon, On a Wild and Windy Mountain; Righteous Rulers and the Resurrection; Genesis on Sons and The Son; Ram Symbolism in the Ancient World