Thursday, July 26, 2018

The Sting of Death




Alice C. Linsley

Life and death are a reality from which none can escape. We read of tragic sudden deaths due to automobile accidents. In the nightly news, there are accounts of murders and fatalities in house fires and drownings. In the local newspapers, we find the obituaries of the recently deceased, both young and old.

Most people hope to die well, or at least to have what Emily Dickinson called "a tame death of simplicity." Some make final preparations. Priests arrive to administer extreme unction and the last rites and to comfort those who are left behind. Pastors call to consult the family about memorial services at the church. Funeral services commend the dead to the care of the eternal God and convey hope of immortality to those sitting in the pews.

Throughout the ages, death has been regarded as a natural event. In many societies it is sanitized and hidden, the province of medical practitioners and hospice care givers. In some cultures, people are told to develop a mindfulness of death as a way to detach from the world. In Buddhist and Hindu societies the body is something to be cast off.

Unlike the religions that seek to escape the material world, Christianity and Judaism value the body and believe it is not to be destroyed beyond the processes that are natural to death. Jews do not cremate and traditionally Christians to not cremate as this is seen as an un-natural process of destruction. Both Jews and Christians practice primary and sometimes secondary burial. It is common for Christian monastic communities to gather the bones of the deceased monks for secondary burial in a charnel house.

In the Middle Ages, Europeans were reminded of the reality of death by skulls and crucifixes. Alixe Bovey provides an excellent description of the Medieval preoccupation:

Death was at the centre of life in the Middle Ages in a way that might seem shocking to us today. With high rates of infant mortality, disease, famine, the constant presence of war, and the inability of medicine to deal with common injuries, death was a brutal part of most people's everyday experience. As a result, attitudes towards life were very much shaped by beliefs about death: indeed, according to Christian tradition, the very purpose of life was to prepare for the afterlife by avoiding sin, performing good works, taking part in the sacraments, and keeping to the teachings of the church. Time was measured out in saint's days, which commemorated the days on which the holiest men and women had died. Easter, the holiest feast day in the Christian calendar, celebrated the resurrection of Christ from the dead. The landscape was dominated by parish churches - the centre of the medieval community - and the churchyard was the principal burial site.

Skulls of monks who lived at St.Catherine's Monastery at the foot of Mt. Sinai


Robert Hertz, an anthropologist who studied secondary burial rites in Borneo and Indonesia believes that the final transition to the status of ancestor comes when the flesh is gone and only the bones remain. The bones are gathered and placed with the ancestors in a permanent burial site.

This was the practice of the Hebrew ruler-priest caste. When the flesh of the High Priest Caiaphas was gone, his bones were placed in an ossuary and at that point he could be said to be resting in the
bosom of Abraham.

The ossuary box of Caiaphas

In Ezekiel 37, God addresses the dry bones:
Prophesy concerning these bones and tell them: ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! This is what the Lord GOD says to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you will live. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh grow upon you and cover you with skin. I will put breath within you so that you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.’”

Hertz saw this transition from buried wet flesh to collected dry bones as a refusal to regard death as irrevocable. He writes, "..the last word must remain with life."

The phrase "life and death" is a merism that expresses all human existence and experience. However, "life and death" also represents a binary set in the Bible and in that context, life is posed as greater than death.

Among people groups who have shamans, the rites of passages from the living to the dead represent transformation and continuity since the shaman is trained to consult the dead through the agency of spirits. This is motivated by grief and by the veneration of the ancestors. The veneration of ancestors is a powerful motivation to focus on the dead. Christian missionaries find the greatest resistance to their Gospel of Life among people for whom this is a sacred trust. The astute will find a way to connect the Messianic message of deliverance from death to the wisdom of the ancestors. This is easier for missionaries who have retained the catholic faith than for Protestants and most Evangelicals.

In the Church, we remember those who have gone before us who are "in Christ" at All Hallows or All Saints. We rejoice that they now "rest in peace" and that their repose is beyond human grasp. Yet we are still one in the Body of Christ and in the Communion of Saints.

Geoffrey Gorer and David Cannadine studied the effects of the catastrophic loss of human life on the battle fields of Europe's great wars. Indeed, in many European countries the grief was so profound that people were desperate to communicate with their lost loved ones and turned to mediums.

With the absence of bodies over which to mourn, this was a time in Britain when there was a significant rise in spiritualism, spiritualist churches, and the practice of holding séances in the hope of having ‘dialogues’ with the dead. In a way, the direction of travel was opposite to that described by Vitebsky for the Sora – whereas the Sora turned away from their dead as active in their lives, British mourners, with the help of spiritualists, actively sought them out. Crucially, the First World War not only changed a nation’s relationship with death but also, for a time at least, its relationship with the dead. (From here.)

In England it was the Anglo-Catholics who were best equipped to resist spiritualism. They retained prayers for the dead, the commemoration of the saints, and the doctrine of the Communion of Saints. Because the English Reformers condemned prayers for the dead, the age old practice was of no service in this time of spiritual and pastoral crisis. The Broad churchmen of the Church of England won the day with their liberal theology, but lost the souls whose care they were to make their first priority. The Evangelicals had a more hopeful message, as they believed in the bodily resurrection and "the life of the world to come."

The pastoral crisis has been described in Rene Kollar's book Searching for Raymond: Anglicanism, Spiritualism, and Bereavement Between the Two World Wars. Richard J. Mammana wrote an excellent review of the book which appeared in Touchstone Magazine in April 2002. Mammana sets the stage for the review with this explanation:

Despite the heroic actions of dedicated priests in the trenches, a spiritual vacuum haunted many of the men who returned from the Great War. This vacuum likewise haunted the homes whose hearths they left empty when they died “over there.” Into this void stepped a series of religious fads, loosely based, as all heresies are, on some aspects of the Christian faith bent out of shape. Prominent laymen—among them Sir Arthur Conan Doyle—promoted the idea that spiritualism and Christianity were not by any means at odds, but rather were complementary and even essential to one another. Hungry audiences devoured the deception, and clergymen weak in their own understanding of Christian doctrine willingly adopted the relation as well. 
The first Lambeth Conference after the Great War addressed itself in earnest to the challenges raised by “Some Movements Outside the Church,” including spiritualism, Christian Science, and Theosophy. This conference, the same one that condemned artificial methods of birth control, said that these movements “are clearly shewn to involve serious error” when “tried by the doctrines of the Incarnation and the Cross.” It “urge[d] strongly that a larger place should be given in the teaching of the Church to the explanation of the true grounds of Christian belief in eternal life, and in immortality, and of the true content of belief in the Communion of Saints as involving real fellowship with the departed through the love of God in Christ Jesus.”

The Church of England failed to meet the pastoral need of millions of grieving people because it had lost an essential message:
"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38, 39)

In 1937, Archbishop William Cosmo Gordon Lang established a committee “to discuss the relationship, if any, between spiritualism and the traditional teachings of the Anglican Church.” As Archbishop of Canterbury during the abdication of 1936, Archbishop Lang was faced with crisis upon crisis, not the least of which was the popularity of spiritualism. Although Archbishop Lang took a strong moral tone toward the failure of duty of Edward VIII in abdicating the throne, he reopened the question of spiritualism by forming the committee.

The committee delivered its report in 1939, but its findings were not made public until 1979. As Mammana notes, "The “Conclusions of the Majority” reveal a shocking discovery of inherent value in spiritualist practices. One paragraph merits quotation without comment:

It is often held that the practice of Spiritualism is dangerous to the mental balance, as well as to the spiritual condition, of those who take part in it, and it is clearly true that there are cases where it has become obsessional in character. But it is very difficult to judge in these cases whether the uncritical and unwise type of temperament which does undoubtedly show itself in certain spiritualists is a result or a cause of their addiction to these practices. Psychologically it is probable that persons in a condition of mental disturbance, or lack of balance, would very naturally use the obvious opportunities afforded by Spiritualism as a means of expressing the repressed emotions which have caused their disorder. This indeed is true of Christianity itself, which frequently becomes an outlet, not only for cranks, but for persons who are definitely of unstable mentality.

The committee closed with the recommendation of a sort of ecumenism between the Church of England and the spiritualist movement: “It is in our opinion important that representatives of the Church should keep in touch with groups of intelligent persons who believe in Spiritualism.”

Evelyn Underhill, who had been on the committee, resigned, stating that she was “very strongly opposed to spiritualism... especially to any tendency on the part of the Church to recognize or encourage it.”

Another factor that undermines the Christian hope is individualism, the desire to "plough one’s own social furrow" and to pursue spiritual things independently. The trend is dying as young people seek to be connected and are afraid to be alone. However, their mediator is not a warm-blooded priest or pastor who points them to the hope of immortality. It is an electronic device carried everywhere and pointing to everything. 

In the ancient world, the ruler-priest was regarded as the mediator between God and the community. If God turned His face away from the ruler, the people suffered from want and war. If the ruler found favor with God, the people experienced abundance and peace. The ruler was expected to intercede for his people before God in life and in death. The ruler's resurrection meant that he could lead his people beyond the grave to new life. This is why great pains were taken to insure that the ruler not come into contact with dead bodies, avoid sexual impurity, and be properly preserved after death. The ruler's burial was attended by prayers, sacrifices and a grand procession to the royal tomb.

The New Testament speaks about Jesus as the ruler-priest. He is the firstborn from the grave and by his resurrection He delivers to the Father a "peculiar people." He leads us in royal procession to the Father where we receive heavenly recognition because we belong to Him.

Heavenly recognition for the Hebrew was never an individual prospect. Heavenly recognition came to the people through the righteousness of their ruler-priest. Horite Hebrew rulers took this seriously, some more than others. The best were heavenly minded and the worst were so earthy minded that they shed much blood enlarging their territories. All failed to be the Ruler-Priest who rose from the dead. None has the power to deliver captives from the grave and to lead them to the throne of heaven (Ps. 68:18; Ps. 7:7; Eph. 4:8). That one true Priest and King is Jesus Messiah, the Son of God, who has trampled down death by death.
When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come to pass: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”



Monday, July 16, 2018

Copper and Iron


© Daniel Frese/BiblePlaces.com

The image shows piles of copper slag, a waste material in ancient Edom, indicating large-scale royal mining operations there.


Alice C. Linsley

Copper and iron were the first metals to be used in the fabrication of artifacts. Copper beads found in 8,500-year-old graves at Catalhöyük were made by hammering native metal found in nature. Similarly, hammered iron beads have been found at el Gerzah in northern Egypt where 300 graves were discovered in 1911-1912. Tombs 67 and 133 contained a total of nine iron beads. Analysis of the beads indicates that they were formed from surface iron deposited by meteorites. Both tombs are securely dated to Naqada IIC–IIIA, c 3400–3100 BC (Adams, 1990: 25; Stevenson, 2009: 11–31), so the beads predate the emergence of iron smelting by nearly 2000 years, and other known meteoritic iron artifacts by 500 years or more (Yalçın 1999).



Çatalhöyük was a large Neolithic and Chalcolithic (Copper Age) settlement in southern Anatolia (Turkey). Photo Credit: Omar Huftun


Copper is not mentioned in the earliest of the Vedas (Rig-Veda), but it is mentioned in the White Yajurveda and in the last of the Vedas, the Atharva-Veda (composed c. 1000).

The oldest proven smelting remains are in Belovode, Serbia, from around 7,000 years ago. There scientists have identified intentionally-produced copper slag, which has been analytically confirmed as the source for at least 16 heavy copper implements found across the Balkans.

Copper mines were worked at Rudna Glava (Serbia), Aibunar (Bulgaria), and Ross Island (Ireland, 2400 BC).

A copper awl was unearthed in Tel Tsaf, near the Jordan River at Israel's border with Jordan. The area was a village from c. 5100 BC to 4600 BC. The awl was found in the grave of a woman of high rank. She wore a belt made of 1,668 ostrich-egg shell beads and her grave was covered by several large stones. Analysis of the copper indicates that it came from the Caucasus.


The Copper-Cyprus Connection

The term "copper" comes from the Latin word cuprum, referring to the island of Cyprus. Early references to Cypriot copper exports were found in cuneiform tablets from the ancient kingdom of Mari (modern-day Syria) and are dated to the 18th century BC.

Tablets excavated at El Amarna, Egypt provide another significant source of information and describe in great detail the export of copper to Egypt by the kings of Cyprus during the 14th century BC.

The abundance of copper votive figures and statuettes found in mines and temples at the archaeological sites of Kition and Engomi on Cyrpus reflects the significance of copper to the Cypriot economy and religious culture.


Copper Work on the Nile

Copper and gold artifacts appeared in the region between the First and Second Cataracts in graves of the Middle A Group. These are dated from ca. 3600–3300 BC (Killick 2014). 

Around 3,200 B.C. copper balances and weights were used at Nile shrines to determine cargo taxes and for trade.


Copper Work Among the Akkadians



The copper statue show above is from the Akkadian period (2350–2100 BC). This was found in the 1960's near the village of Bassetki in northern Iraq. The Bassetki Statue shows a seated, nude human figure on a round pedestal and was cast of pure copper. The pedestal contains an Akkadian inscription indicating that the statue once stood in the doorway of a palace of the Akkadian ruler Naram-Sin.


Sites of Copper Mining

Copper (Cu) was mined in Cappadocia, Mesopotamia, Media, and Persia.

Copper was called "red" metal versus iron which was called "black" metal.


Archaeologists have found evidence of mining and annealing of copper in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (Isle Royale) dating to around 5,000 B.C.


Wednesday, July 4, 2018

The Hittites of Anatolia




The German archaeologist Hugo Winckler was the first to conduct excavations at Hattusa, the capital of the Hittite empire. Thousands of clay tablets from Hattusa’s palace and temple were found, representing eight languages. All the tablets were inscribed in the cuneiform script developed in Mesopotamia around 3000 B.C. Many were written in Akkadian, a Semitic language of international affairs during the Late Bronze Age. Many of the tablets are diplomatic in nature, containing correspondence between Hittite kings and their vassal states.

More than 232 letters of state correspondence have been found at Hattusa. One is a letter from the ruler of Išuwa to the "Chief of the Charioteers." The administrative center of Hattusa had many scribes who were schooled in Akkadian (the script of Nimrod's kingdom).

Recent research connects the Luwian hieroglyphs and the Hittite hieroglyphs. The Luwian writing system is known from quotations in Hittite documents and from ancient scripts found in Crete and Cyprus. Luwian scripts took two forms: (1) Akkadian cuneiform, as with the Hittite scripts found at Hattusa, and (2) Egyptian hieroglyphic.

The Luwian inscriptions from the Yazilikaya site in Turkey are connected to the Hittite religion. Common symbolism involving the Sun, bull horns, stone altars, and fortified temples with pillars, suggest that the religion was related to that of the Hurrians or Horite Hebrew.




This green stone found at Hattusa is believed to be a gift from the Egyptian king with whom the Hatti signed a treaty in BC 1258, was at the center of a Horite shrine. Among the ancient Nilotes green malachite symbolised the hope of resurrection. The land of the blessed dead was described as the "field of malachite." Green stones were associated with Horus, whose animal totem was the falcon. The Book of the Dead speaks of how the deceased will become a falcon "whose wings are of green stone" (chapter 77). The Eye of Horus amulet was made of green stone.

Solar images abound in Hittite culture an the king was referred to as "My Sun". Solar images are found in the royal tombs or on the standards of rulers. One example is the long horns of bulls and deer, such as appear on this bronze standard found at Horoztepe.



The March/April 2016 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review shows a statue found at the principal temple in Hattusa. The mother of the king wears the Sun as a sign of divine appointment. This is a Hittite version of the Nilotic images of Hathor holding Horus on her lap.



An deep history

In southern Anatolia royal stone masons built Catalhoyuk beginning in 7500 BC. (The Turkish words catal means fork and hoyuk means mound.) This was a settlement built on two mounds (east and west) and a channel of the Çarşamba River once flowed between them. The houses excavated in Catalhoyuk date between 6800-5700 B.C. Recent excavations have identified a shrine or small temple on the eastern side. At Horoztepe, in northern Anatolia, they built royal tombs dating from 2400–2200 BC. These are richly furnished with finely crafted artifacts in bronze, gold, and silver.

The kingdom of Hatti was the most powerful Near Eastern kingdom in the late 14th and 13th centuries B.C. The kings of Egypt, Babylon, and Assyria were received in Hattusa's reception hall located in the royal citadel, known as Büyükkale, or “Big Castle”. Vassal rulers came to Hattusa to reaffirm their loyalty and pay tribute to the Hittite king.

In the early second millennium B.C. Hattusa (modern Boğazkale in Turkey) was the seat of a central Anatolian kingdom. In the 18th century B.C., a king named Anitta destroyed the settlement. One of the first Hittite kings, Hattusili I (c. 1650–1620 B.C.), rebuilt the city and the royal complex on a rock outcrop overlooking the lower city.  Excavations reveal the features typical of ancient high places.

1.5-inch-high, 15th-century B.C. gold pendant found at Hattusa

The Hittites were known for high quality metal work, especially silver work. The Ugaritic word for silver - ḥtt - appears in the name of the people and Hittite place names. Ḥatti and Ḥattuša are examples. Hittites scribes often used the word sign for silver in their names.


Ancestry

The Hittite rulers and priests appear to be kin to the Horite Hebrew ruler-priests. These peoples have some common ancestors. That is why Abraham was recognized as a "great prince among us" by the Hittites in Machpelah (Gen. 23:6). The Hittites are designated the "sons" of Heth/Het (Gen. 23:2-11) and one of the clans of Canaan (Gen. 10:15).

The Hittite rulers appear to have been in Y-DNA Haplogroup R1b1a (P297) which predominates in biblical populations associated with the Caucasus, Anatolia, and northern Mesopotamia. R1b1b (M335) has been found primarily in Anatolia and may be the genetic marker of the Saka (Sacae/Saxon). The Hindu text Matsya Purana claims that the Saka (called “Scythians” by the Greeks) ruled the ancient world for 7000 years. Another text, Mahabharata, designates “Sakadvipa” as the “land of the Sakas” in northern India. Assyrian documents speak of the Saka presence between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea in the time of Sargon (722-705 B.C.)

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Was the Pattern of the Ark Original?


"The Ark Passes Over the Jordan" by James Tissot


The Ark of the Covenant was a gilded wooden chest with a lid cover. Approximately one year after the Israelites left Egypt, the Ark was fabricated according to the pattern God gave to Moses at the foot of Mount Sinai. The Ark of the Covenant is also called the Ark of Testimony.

Moses, Bezalel (Betzalel) and Oholiab are the names associated with the Ark's construction. Bezalel appears to have been the head craftsmen. His name means "overshadowed by God." He was a Horite Hebrew craftsmen (son of Uri, son of Hur, according to Exodus 31:1).




In reality, the pattern was not entirely original. Arks have been found in East Africa and in the tombs of Egyptian kings. The ark found in King Tut's tomb has a pylon shape whereas the Ark of the Covenant is described as rectangular, like the shape of the Yeha altar found in Tigray, Ethiopia (shown above).



Ark found in the tomb of King Tut. 1922 photograph by Harry Burton (1879-1940).
It has Anubis, one of the four manifestations of Horus, the son of the High God Ra.


The Ark was plated with gold. Four gold rings were attached to its four feet, two on each side. Gold plated wood rods were placed through these rings to carry the Ark. A golden cover, called kapporet, was placed above the Ark. This is often described as the "mercy seat" thought kapporet is likely derived from kaphar, which means to mean cover, or to wipe out, as in cleansing.

The Lemba people of South Africa and Zimbabwe claim that their ancestors carried an ark that they called ngoma lungundu or "voice of God." In 2008, Tudor Parfitt described his research into this claim. He says that the object described by the Lemba has attributes similar to the Ark. It was of similar size, was carried on poles by priests, was not allowed to touch the ground, was revered as a voice of their God, and was used as a weapon of great power, sweeping enemies aside.

In the Book of Exodus the Ark is said to contain the tablets of the Ten Commandments. The author of the Book of Hebrews states that the Ark also contained Aaron’s rod, a jar of manna, and the first Torah scroll as written by Moses. These additional items appear to be from a later Talmudic source. I Kings 8:9 states, "There was nothing in the ark except the two tablets of stone that Moses put there at Horeb, where Yahweh made a covenant with the people of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt."

The Ark of the Covenant moved from place to place, always resting in the place of the divine appointment. It rested in Shiloh. Jeremiah 7:12 makes reference to this first resting place. “Go now to my place that was in Shiloh, where I made my name dwell at first, and see what I did to it because of the evil of my people Israel.”

The place of divine appointment came to be where the king resided. The Ark rested in Gibeah, Saul's hometown. After David became king, he brought the ark "from the house of Abinadab, that was in Gibeah” to Jerusalem (II Sam. 6:1-12). However, for three months the ark rested in David’s hometown of Bethlehem in the house of Obed-Edom.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

A Flat Earth and the Biblical Evidence


Image: logoAncient Hebrew Research CenterImage: logo

The Flat Earth Theory: Fact or Fiction?
Jeff and Denise Benner


In recent years there has been a dramatic increase in the number of people who have come to the conclusion that the earth is flat and not a globe. When I first began getting emails from people who were promoting the Flat Earth Theory, I initially ignored the subject believing it to be another fringe theory held by a few people. But then as I got more and more emails from people asking about the Globe Earth vs. the Flat Earth, I felt that it was time to dig into the subject and examine the Flat Earth Theory for myself. From my reading on this subject I believe that there are three reasons people have been embracing the Flat Earth Theory; biblical evidence, observable evidence and distrust of the government.


Biblical Evidence
It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in; (RSV, Isaiah 40:22)
When interpreting scripture it is very important to interpret it from an Ancient Hebrew perspective and not from our own modern Western perspective. As an example, let’s look at the last part of this verse which states “and spreads [the heavens] like a tent to dwell in.” The Ancient Hebrews lived a nomadic lifestyledwelling in goat hair tents. The fibers of the goat hair allowed pinholes of light to pass through the tent and from inside the tent the roof looked similar to the night sky. So when the Ancient Hebrews looked at the night sky, they didn’t perceive the stars as giant balls of gas billions of miles away as we do, they saw the night sky as God’s tent over them.

When we read a passage like “the circle of the earth” we need to interpret this from their cultural perspective. The Hebrew word עולם (olam, Strong’s #5769) is frequently translated as forever, everlasting and world (Hebrew words related to time are also used for space). These translations imply vast spans of space and time, far beyond any perceptions the Hebrews would have of space and time. However, the literal meaning of this Hebrew word is “beyond the horizon.” This could be a time in the far distant past or future or a place beyond ones perception. The Hebrews did not attempt to define or speculate on what was “beyond the horizon,” it was just “hidden,” another meaning of this Hebrew word, from their viewpoint.

Because the Ancient Hebrews only concerned themselves with what they could perceive around them, to them the whole world was what was within sight. If you stand in the middle of a plain and look all around you, you will see a 360 degree view of the horizon and this horizon will be in the shape of a circle.

The Hebrew word for “circle” in Isaiah 40:22 is the word חוג (hhug, Strong’s #2329), which means a “circle,” such as is drawn with a compass, and refers to the perceivable “world” around the individual.
And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. (RSV, Joshua 10:13)

According to modern science the earth revolves around the sun, and therefore the sun cannot “stand still.” So this verse is used to support the Flat Earth Theory, because in this theory the earth is stationary and the sun moves around the earth.




But again, it is important to understand this passage from the perspective of the Ancient Hebrews, who simply saw the sun pass from one horizon to the other each day. I would also like to point out that if this verse was written from a Flat Earth Theory perspective, the sun would not “go down” as the text states. However, to the Ancient Hebrews the sun does “go down” from their perspective supporting the idea that this verse was written from the perspective of the Ancient Hebrews.

And God said, "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, (RSV, Genesis 1:14 )
This verse, along with many other verses in the Bible, has been used to create the following Flat Earth model of the heavens and earth.


As I have demonstrated, the Ancient Hebrews do not perceive the world in the same way that we do and we can also see that their style of writing is very different from our own as well.

Our modern form of writing history is with prose and step logic, but the Ancient Hebrews used poetry and block logic. These two styles of writing are very different and if we attempt to interpret the Bible as if it was written with prose and step logic, then misinterpretations and mistranslations will abound.

Our misunderstanding of the poetry of Genesis Chapter 1 can easily be demonstrated by comparing the verse above with Genesis 1:4. In Genesis 1:14 it states that God created the lights (the sun and moon) to “separate the day from the night.” How is this possible if God already separated the light from the darkness in Genesis 1:4? The answer lies in the style of writing. This chapter is not written as an historical account. It is a poem with a chiastic structure and days one and four are speaking about the same event, not different events on different days.

If we compare the first three days of creation with the last three days of creation, we discover that the author has divided the six days into two separate blocks. The first block of three days describes the act of separating the heavens and the earth while the second block of three days describes the act of filling the heavens and the earth.

Day 1 - Separating light and darkness
Day 2 - Separating water and sky
Day 3 - Separating the land from water
Day 4 - Filling the light with the sun and the darkness with the moon.
Day 5 - Filling water with fish and the skies with birds
Day 6 - Filling the land with plants and animals

Day 1 is about the separating of the light and darkness and day 4, its parallel, is about the filling of the light and darkness with the sun, moon and stars. Day 2 is about the separating of the water and the sky and day 5 is about the filling of the water with fish and the sky with birds. Day 3 is about the separating of the land from the water and day 6 is about the filling of the land with plants and animals. The first chapter of Genesis, and the rest of the Bible for that matter, must be interpreted according to the Ancient Hebrews style of writing (poetry and block logic) and not from our own modern style of writing (prose and step logic).

To summarize, the Ancient Hebrews did not believe in a Flat Earth or a Globe Earth. From their perspective, the earth was what they could see from horizon to horizon and their philosophy of the Cosmos was interpreted from this perspective.

Please support Ancient Hebrew Research Center. The Benners are doing important work!

Alice C. Linsley

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Gebel el Silsila




Gebel el Silsila is located on the Nile between Luxor and Aswan. Here archaeologists from Sweden's Lund University, working with Egyptian archaeologists, found a dozen new burial sites dating back 3,500 years. In 2015, they also discovered the remains of an ancient temple there. Gebel el Silsila means "Chain of Mountains" in Arabic. The ancient name of the Nile settlement was Kheny.

The team found 12 new tombs from the period of the Eighteenth Dynasty. The burial sites contained, painted pottery, scarabs, jewelry, and animal remains buried separately from human remains. The remains of a crocodile were found in one grave.  The crocodile was called "olom" by the ancient Nubians. and some Nilotic rulers took this creature as their totem.

The tombs at Gebel el Silsila range from large family crypts to smaller tombs that, in some cases are shallow graves covered with rubble from the nearby quarry.

In the tomb of a child wrapped in linen (ST63) the expedition found 3 scarabs, one with the royal name of Thutmosis II (Aa-Kheper-n-Ra).

This expedition found a seal ring bearing the cartouche of Pharaoh Thutmosis III (Men-Kheper-Ra) and a scarab with his name. Thutmosis III was the sixth Pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty. He and reigned for 22 years with Hatshepsut, his stepmother and aunt. He reigned for almost 54 years (BC 1479-1425) and extended the Egyptian empire empire Egypt from the Fourth Cataract in Nubia to Niya in North Syria.

Additionally, six statues and relief scenes were found in shrines 30-31 from the reigns of Hatshepsut and Thutmosis III.

Related reading: Gebel el Silsila Project; Ancient Graveyard Unearthed at Gebel el Silsila

Friday, April 13, 2018

Nilotes in the Sinai


Image found at Kuntillet Ajrud with a distincitve Nilotic style

Around 3000 years ago Kuntillet Ajrud was a typical high place. The biblical term "high place" refers to a shrine city at an elevated site, near a permanent water source. Other high places include Jerusalem, Jericho, Gobekli Tepe, and Catal Hoyuk.

Kuntillet was built on a hill with wells at the foot of the hill. Discoveries made at Kuntillet Ajrud in the northern Sinai point to a Nilotic point of origin for the Hebrew religion and worldview.



Another image found at Kuntillet Ajrud shows a seated female figure playing a harp in the background. In the forefront is a male figure wearing a leopard-skin tunic (shown below).




The men of the oldest known priest caste wore leopard skins. Similar images have been found at Catal Hoyuk in southern Anatolia dating to 7500 BC (See below). 



The Turkish word "catal" means fork and "hoyuk" means mound. This settlement was built on two mounds (east-west axis) and a channel of the Çarşamba River once flowed between them. The houses excavated in Catal Hoyuk date between 6800-5700 B.C. Recent excavations have identified a shrine or small temple on the eastern side.

The Nubians wore leopard skin tunics. Petrie's study of ancient images suggested to him that Egypt was the product of different racial types. He found images of red and black Nubians. This confirmed what had been discovered by the 1828 Franco-Italian expedition to Egypt led by Jean-Francois Champollion and Ippolito Rosellini. Below is a detail from one of Rosellini's drawings showing both black and red Nubian captives taken by the Egyptians under Rameses II (BC 1279-1213).