Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Horus, the Patron of Kings

Alice C. Linsley

Before the emergence of Buddhism, temples in Cambodia were Hindu shrines dedicated to different deities. Most of the temples had an east orientation, but one at Angkor Wat had a west orientation, suggesting a connection to Horus on the Horizon. The term "Wat" means village, town, settlement, or shrine. Very likely "Anghor" is a variant of "ankh-Hor" which means "Long live Horus!"

Hinduism has many layers that developed over time. As a religion, Hinduism reached its zenith in the Axial Age (900-200 BC). The earliest civilization of the Indus Valley is that of Harappa (2500–1700 BC). In Dravidian, Harappa means "Horus is father." Among many ancient populations, Horus was the patron of kings.

The stone relief (shown above) is at Agkhor Wat. It shows Horus in the form of his falcon totem perched on the mast of Ra's solar boat. 

Parts of the Vedic Samhitas constitute the oldest layer of Hindu tradition and include material that resembles Horite Hebrew concepts. The oldest site of Horite Hebrew worship is at Nekhen on the Nile and dates to around 3800 BC.

Evidently, the Horites spread their religious from ancient Kush to Mesopotamia and beyond. The old fire altars in Hinduism were falcon shaped. The falcon was the totem of Horus. This is why the Shulba Sutras state that "he who desires heaven is to construct a fire-altar in the form of a falcon."

Statue found outside the walls of Angkor Thom in Cambodia. 
(Photo taken around 1958.)

Describing his 1912 visit to Bayon Temple, the French novelist Pierre Loti wrote:
“I looked up at all those towers, rising above me, overgrown in the greenery and suddenly shivered with fear as I saw a giant frozen smile looming down at me … and then another smile, over there in another tower … and then three, and then five, and then ten.”
Khmer Empire was an absolute monarchy that thrived from the 9th to the 15th century. Chou Ta-Kwan was a Chinese envoy to Angkor in the thirteenth century AD. He wrote about the daily life of the Khmer.
"When the king comes out, the troops are at the head of the procession. Their bodies and feet are bare. They hold a lance in their right hands and shields in the left. Then come the standards, the flags and the music. The king and the ministers are all mounted on elephants. In front of them many red parasols can be seen even from far off. Next come the wives and concubines of the king riding in palanquins, carts or on horses and elephants. They carry more than one hundred parasols heavily decorated with gold..." (Horizon: A Magazine of the Arts, January 1959, p. 71)

The Khmer civilization produced the famous Temples of Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, and the Bayon Temple. The Bayon Temple served as the temple of Jayavarman’s new capital, Angkor Thom, and it was originally a Mahayana shrine. Jayavarman VII (shown right) ruled the Khmer from 1181–1218.

Ta Prohm is the modern name of the temple at Angkor, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia. Construction on Ta Prohm began in 1186 AD. A rare inscription at Ta Prohm provides statistics on the temple's workers. The inscription reports around 80,000 workers, including 2700 officials and 615 dancers. It speaks of 66,000 farmers who provided 3,000 tons of rice annually to support the temple workers, priests, and dancers. Imagine this also happening at Anghor Thom and the Bayon Temple. The burden would have been enormous and this explains why the more egalitarian approach of Buddhism took hold, ultimately supplanting Hinduism in that region.

The deification of the Asian rulers finds precedent among the ancient Nilotes, especially the Egyptians. The ruler-priests of the Khmer look like the priests of the Nile. Compare this image of an Egyptian "Harwa" to the image of Jayavarman VII. In Eleanor Mannika's work, "Angkor Wat: Time, Space and Kingship" she argues that the dimensions, alignment, and bas-reliefs of Angkor Wat speak of Suryavarman II as the divinely appointed king.

Related reading: Elements of the Messianic Faith in Early Hinduism; African Religion Predates Hinduism

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Horite Mounds

Alice C. Linsley

The Horite mounds and the Sethite mounds were sacred Hebrew shrines. Though separate, they shared common religious practices and beliefs.

It is clear in the Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts (2000 BC) that the Horites and the Sethites maintained separate settlements. Utterance 308 addresses them as separate entities: "Hail to you, Horus in the Horite Mounds! Hail to you, Horus in the Sethite Mounds!"

PT Utterance 470 contrasts the Horite mounds with the mounds of Seth, designating the Horite Mounds "the High Mounds."

The two groups appear to be separate yet related, suggesting a moiety, such as that of the Red and Black Nubians. The term "moiety" refers to two social or ritual groups into which a people is divided. The distinction between the two groups is evident in PT Utterance 424: "O King, a boon which the King grants, that you occupy the Mounds of Horus, that you travel about the Mounds of Seth..." Here we find a suggestion that the Horite Hebrew were named for their devotion to Horus.

PT Utterance 424 continues, "that you [King] sit on your iron throne and judge their affairs at the head of the Great Ennead which is in On." Though separate, the Horites and the Sethites are judged by a common king.

That both groups serve the same king is evident from PT Utterance 213: "O King, you have not departed dead, you have departed alive...The Mounds of Horus serve you, the Mounds of Seth serve you."

The extent of the King's reign is considerable. In his resurrection body he is to "traverse the Mound of Horus of the Southerners" and "traverse the Mound of Horus of the Northerners." (PT Utterances 536 and 553) The risen king restores his settlements and cities, and opens doors to the Westerners, Easterners, Northerners and Southerners (Pt Utterance 587). He is to "betake himself to the Mansion of Horus which is in the firmament" (PT Utterance 539).

The risen king unites the peoples, restores the former state of blessedness, and unites heaven and earth. When seen from this perspective, the Horite Hebrew religion appears to be the foundation of the Messianic hope that is fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Identifying the Status of the Two Wives

Alice C. Linsley

A reader has asked for a list detailing the "patriarchs" and their wives in a simple format like this.

1. husband
a. wife 1
b. wife 2

The term "patriarch" does not appear in the Bible. The men with two wives were rulers and chiefs over their clans. These rulers were related as it was their practice to marry within and between the Hebrew clans (endogamy).

The pattern of two wives is found throughout the Bible among the Hebrew people. However, we are not always provided with the data we need to identify which wife is the first and which is the second. Some wives are not named. Moses' Kushite wife is an example, as are King Joash's two wives,  chosen for him by the priest Jehoiada.

In the case of sent-away sons there may be disruption of the usual pattern of marrying a half-sister in the man's youth and marrying a patrilineal cousin in later life. Jacob is an example. Leah is the first wife and her sister Rachel is the second wife. According to the biblical data, both women were Jacob's cousins.

In some cases, we are not told the names of the bride's father, which makes it difficult to identify her clan and whether she is the first or second wife. The second wife can be identified by "the cousin bride's naming prerogative." She is the cousin bride if her first born son is named after her father. The cousin bride is the second wife. The chief's first wife is usually a half sister, as was Sarah to Abraham. They had the same father but different mothers.

Examples of the cousin bride include Lamech's daughter Naamah, Abraham's wife Keturah, and Amram's wife Ishar. In this diagram we see that Lamech's daughter Naamah (mentioned in Genesis 4) married her patrilineal cousin Methuselah (Genesis 5) and named their first born son Lamech after her father. This is why it is necessary to speak of "Lamech the Elder" and "Lamech the Younger."

Here is a list, as requested. When no data is available about the marriage order, I assume that the order of the women's names in the Bible represents their status. The first wife is the principal wife as her first born son is her husband's proper heir. The first born son of the cousin wife belongs to the household of his maternal grandfather after whom he is named.

Lamech (Genesis 4)
1. Adah
2. Zillah

Terah (Genesis 11)
1. unnamed sister wife was a daughter of Nahor the elder
2. unnamed cousin wife was a daughter of Haran the elder. Her brother Haran died in Ur.

1. Sarai/Sarah, half-sister wife (Genesis 12, Genesis 20:12)
2. Keturah, cousin wife of the royal house of Sheba (cf. Genesis 10:7)

1. Leah, posed as a cousin wife, but she may have been a half-sister
2. Rachel, cousin wife

Amram, father of Moses
1. Jochebed
2. Ishar

1. unnamed "Kushite" or Nilotic wife
2. Zipporah

Elkanah, priest father of Samuel
Two wives, Penninah and Hannah. No data as to which was the first.

Two wives (1 Chronicles 4:5)
1. Helah is probably the half-sister wife
2. Naarah is probably the patrilineal cousin wife.

Two wives chosen for him by the High Priest Jehoiada. Joash's mother was Zibiah of Beersheba. Here we again see a connection between the royal house of David and the royal house of Sheba.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Nebo was a Horite Hebrew Shrine

View from Mount Nebo

Alice C. Linsley

The name YHWH is found on the Mesha Stele (Moabite Stone) inscribed around 860 B.C. in the name of Mesha, the King of Moab. In a military action, Mesha claims to have taken Nebo and carried off the "vessels of YHWH." This indicates that there was a temple or shrine on Mount Nebo.

Nebo is an elevated ridge in the Abarim range in modern Jordan. This land was once part of ancient Edom. Nebo was a Hebrew high place long before the time of Moses. Evidence of human occupation is found in the Bronze Age cave burials in the Nebo hills, and the 18,000-year axes and arrowheads found in the area.

Nebo is also spelled Nevo, and there appears to be a connection to Abraham and Sarah. When the patriarch Terah died, Abraham's older brother Nahor ruled over Terah's holdings in Mesopotamia. Abraham became a sent-away son. Sent-away sons often went to live with maternal uncles, as did Jacob. This is called avunculocal residence. It appears that Abraham's calling to leave his home involved a long-standing tradition.

According to the Talmud, Sarah was the daughter of a ruler named Kar-nevo. Yet, according to Genesis 20:12, Abraham and Sarah had the same father, but different mothers. Sarah’s father was Terah, not Karnevo. However, s often happens in the Bible rulers of places and place names are interchanged and become synonymous. Kar-nevo/nebo is a place name. Kar refers to an elevated site where burnt offerings were made, and Kar-Nevo refers to Mount Nebo. It appears that Abraham and Sarah had an uncle there. Likely, he was a Horite Hebrew priest. Clearly, the name Yahweh was known at that shrine, as it was known among older shrines along the Nile.

This also explains why Moses, a descendant of Seir the Horite Hebrew, spent the last days of his life. Mount Nebo was a Horite Hebrew sacred place, as was Edom, where Aaron was buried.

Related reading: The Social Structure of the Biblical Hebrew; Leaving Haran; Sent-Away Sons; The Substance of Abraham's Faith; Abraham's Maternal Line; Karampetsos, Karambet, Karoutes

Friday, November 8, 2019

The Bronze Age Collapse

2013 photo of an excavation of an ancient battlefield in northern Germany. The Battle of Tollense fits into a period of increased warfare and upheaval. (Photo: C. Harte-Reiter)

1400-1200 BC was a period of significant social change characterized by political upheaval and an increase in warfare and in the technologies of war. The use of bronze was accompanied by standing armies and new tools for combat. War chariots were used from Egypt to China. 

The turmoil extended to northern Germany were archaeologists have identified a major Bronze Age battle ground at Tollense. After the Tollense battle the scattered farmsteads of northern Europe were replaced by fortified settlements, suggesting the need for greater defense.

The unrest is seen in the Assyrian threat to many surrounding territories. In the Aegean, the cultural influence of Crete was overshadowed by the wealthy warrior-kings in Greece. The Mycenaean palace states were in decline.

The Hittite dominance in Anatolia was greatly diminished with the fall of their capital at Hattusa. The kingdom of Ugarit fell in c. 1200 BC. The decline of the Hittite and Ugarit kingdoms were typical of the shifting social and political ground during the Bronze Age Collapse.

The number of Israelite settlements increased in the hills north of Jerusalem, and to the south of Jerusalem the rulers of Ammon, Moab and Edom sought to strengthen their borders and formed alliances with Egypt.

The Hurrian/Horites of Anatolia and Mesopotamia came under the Middle Assyrian Empire (1366–1020 BC) which came to control much of the Near East and Asia Minor. The Horites (Hebrew: Horim, חרים) are mentioned in Genesis 14:6, Genesis 36, and Deuteronomy 2:12). One of their older strongholds was at Mount Seir in Edom. This was in Abraham's territory, and Moses was a descendant of Seir the Horite. Aaron was buried in Edom.

Edom was called Idumea by the Greeks, meaning "land of red people." In Genesis 25, Esau of Edom is described as red and hairy. David is also described as red or ruddy.

King David came to power in Judah c.1000 BC. He gained his throne through daring battles, alliances, and the endorsement of the great prophet Samuel who was sent to anoint David as Saul's replacement. The reigns of David and Solomon produced Israel's Golden Age. It shines ever more brightly against the backdrop of the Bronze Age Collapse.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Blond and Red Haired Nilotes

This mummy known as "Ginger” died around 3400 BC or earlier. His mummified body was found in a cemetery at Gebelein, Egypt. Ginger was a young man who apparently died from a stab wound. His mummified remains were found in a crouched position in a shallow pit. Direct contact with the hot, dry sand naturally mummified his body.

Ginger or Gebelein Man

According to Dr. Janet Davey, a forensic Egyptologist from the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine in Australia, some ancient Egyptians were naturally blond or red haired. 

Some Egyptologists believed that the hair color of the mummies became lighter due to the process of mummification which involve natron. Natron has bleaching properties. However, Dr. Davey undertook a series of experiments with “16 hair samples from Egyptian people in the salty ash for 40 days and no change in hair color was observed.

Yuya mummy with blond hair.

Yuya was a powerful Egyptian courtier during the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt (c.1390 BC). He was married to Tjuyu, an Egyptian noblewoman associated with the royal family, who held high offices in the governmental and religious hierarchies. Their daughter, Tiye, became the wife of Amenhotep III.

At Nekhen on the Nile, archaeologists have found a redheaded man in Burial no. 79. The beard of the man had been trimmed with a sharp blade. The Nekhen News (p. 7) reports, "The vast majority of hair samples discovered at Nekhen were cynotrichous (Caucasian) in type as opposed to heliotrichous (Negroid)." Nekhen was founded as a Horite shrine city before 4000 BC.

Red haired mummies have also been found in pyramids in the Tarim Valley in southwest China. The oldest Tarim Mummies found in China date from 1900 B.C. The so-called "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.

Related reading: Tarim Mummies; Ginger's Autopsy

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Judaism is Not the Faith of Abraham

Alice C. Linsley

The Apostle Paul wrote a great deal about the Messianic Faith and how it is expressed in the promises made to Abraham the Hebrew. Paul stresses that those who follow Jesus Messiah have been made partakers of those ancient promises (Galatians 3:7-9). He exposes as a false teaching the Judaizers' insistence that the Messianic Faith requires adherence to the laws of Judaism.

Many misconceptions surround the person of Abraham. He is not the founder of Judaism. He was not a Jew. He is identified as "Hebrew" in the Bible and the Hebrew were a caste of priests and rulers with deep roots in antiquity. The English word Hebrew and its variants 'Apriu, Abru, Hapiru, Habiru, appear in texts that date to before Abraham's time. Abraham's faith was received from his Hebrew ancestors. The oldest known site of Horite Hebrew worship at Nekhen dates to 4000 BC, about 2000 years before Abraham.

Many people think that Christianity emerged out of Judaism, but the core belief of the Messianic Faith is that the son of God would take on flesh, be sacrificed, and rise again. This belief was already evident among Abraham’s Horite Hebrew people before 3000 BC. They believed in God Father (Ra or Ani) and God Son (Horus or Enki). Jews reject the very idea that God has a son. Yet the Scriptures say that it is impossible to be saved unless one believes that Jesus is the son of God (Genesis 3:15; Proverbs 30:4, Hosea 11:1; Luke 1:35; John 3:14-17; John 6:40; John 6:69-70; John 20:31; 1 John 5:13). This is why the Apostle Paul speaks of believers being grafted into Abraham, not Judaism. Judaism is not the faith of Abraham the Hebrew.

In Galatians 3, he identifies Abraham’s Seed as Jesus Messiah. In verse 29, Paul explains, “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, and heirs according to the promise” made to Abraham.

Abraham was not a Jew. He is called “Hebrew” is the Bible, and his territory extended between Hebron and Beersheba. In Abraham's time, this region was ruled by the Horite Hebrew and was called Edom. The Greeks called it Idumea, meaning “land of red people.” You will recall that Esau of Edom is described as red, and David, who had Edomite blood, also is described as ruddy or red.

Some of the Horite Hebrew rulers of Edom are listed in Genesis 36 (shown on the diagram above). The great antiquity of the Horite Hebrew of Edom is verified in Genesis 36:31, “These are the kings who ruled in the land of Edom before any king ruled over the Israelites.”

The Messianic tradition upon which the Church stands is revealed in the Bible. It is the tradition of the Horite Hebrew who believed in God Father and God Son. The Horite Hebrew are called “Horim” by Jews, which means parents or ancestors. Jesus lived in a Jewish context which did not recognize him as the fulfillment of the expectations of the Horim. This is because by Jesus’ time, Judaism was only tangentially related to the faith of Abraham.

Certainly, early Christian worship was patterned on the synagogue, with scripture readings, prayers, homilies, and days of feasting and fasting. The east-facing altar is patterned on the Horite Hebrew temple, as are church furnishings such as the tabernacle and the lamp. However, Christianity alone affirms that Messiah is the Son of God. Judaism and Islam reject the very idea that God has a son.

Judaism is the elaboration of rabbinic thought over 3000 years, and though it claims Abraham as its founder, Abraham was not a Jew. Prominent Jews readily admit this.

Rabbi Stephen F. Wise, former Chief Rabbi of the United States, wrote: "The return from Babylon and the introduction of the Babylonian Talmud mark the end of Hebrewism and the beginning of Judaism. This break came around 700 BC, at least 1300 years after Abraham.

For Jews, the greatest authority is the Talmud. Consider SUNY professor, Robert Goldberg’s explanation: “The traditional Jew studies Talmud because it communicates ultimate truth—truth about God, truth about the world, and most important, truth about how God wants the holy community of Israel to live.”

The Rabbis are trained in argumentation and the Talmud is a record of their disputations. One drawback is the tendency of the rabbis to debate minutiae and esoteric matters. Over time the Messianic Faith of Abraham - the main thing - became peripheral. The Talmud came to be of greater authority than the Hebrew Scriptures.

The Talmud encourages this. Consider this Talmudic exhortation: “My son, be more careful in the observance of the words of the Scribes than in the words of the Torah." (Talmud Erubin 21b), and this: "My son, give heed to the words of the scribes rather than to the words of the law." This also, "He who transgresses the words of the Scribes sins more gravely than the transgressors of the words of the Law." (Sanhedrin X, 3 f.88b)

In a 2007 NOVA interview Rabbi Shaye Cohen (Professor of Hebrew Literature and Philosophy at Harvard) admitted that Abraham was not a Jew, and he explains that, nevertheless, the narrative of Judaism presents him as the first Jew as a place to start. In other words, the narrative of Judaism ignores the biblical data about Abraham’s ancestors in Genesis 3, 4, 5, 10 and 11. It is in those early chapters that we find the anthropologically significant data about the origin of the Messianic Faith among Abraham’s ancestors.