Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Signs Given That We Might Believe


An angelic being holds the Shen sign representing eternal life (immortality) over the deceased king.

Alice C. Linsley

Jesus said, "If I am not doing the works of My Father, then do not believe Me. But if I am doing them, even though you do not believe Me, believe the works themselves, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I am in the Father.”

The meaning of Jesus' words were clear to the Jews. Paul explains, "Jews demand signs" (1 Cor. 1:22). Jesus said, “Unless you people see signs and wonders you will not believe.” (John 4:48) Jesus tells them to consider the signs, and the religious leaders tried to seize Him again. (John 10:38)

According to John, this is the second time they attempted to seize Jesus. The first time is described in John 7:30-31 - "So they tried to seize Him, but no one laid a hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come. Many in the crowd, however, believed in Him and said, 'When the Christ comes, will He perform more signs than this man?"

John highlights seven signs to testify that Jesus is the Son of God, the long-awaited Messiah. However, as John himself admits there were many more signs. He explains, "Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written."

Messiah's identity would be confirmed by multiple signs, including his miraculous conception by divine overshadowing; his mastery over wind and waves, his power to heal, and his third-day resurrection. The early Hebrew 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."

Signs anticipated by Jesus' Hebrew ancestors

There are many more signs to be considered in light of the ancient expectations of Jesus' Hebrew ancestors. The Horite and Sethite Hebrew were devotees of Horus, the son of the High God. They dispersed widely in the service of high kings and kingdom builders, such as Nimrod.

They are the earliest known believers in Messiah, who they expected to be born of a temple-dedicated virgin of their rule-priest caste. The Messiah was to be born miraculously of "The Woman" (Gen. 3:15) who would conceive by divine overshadowing. This is depicted in ancient images of Hathor, the mother of Horus. The expectation is fulfilled in the Virgin Mary who conceived when overshadowed by the Holy Spirit. 

When the Virgin Mary asked how she was to become the bearer of God the Son, the angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God." (Luke 1:35)

Hathor, the mother of Horus, conceived by divine overshadowing. 
Among the Horite Hebrew the sun was the emblem or symbol of the High God.

The sign of the fallen Seed

Genesis 3:15 speaks of the son born to the Woman as the "Seed" of God. In John 12:24, Jesus identifies himself as that Seed. He tells his disciples that he is going to Jerusalem to die and when they object, he explains: "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." The purpose of a seed is to die and be buried in the ground. Unless this happens, it cannot bring forth life.

The sign of a trampled serpent
According to Genesis 3:15, the "Seed" born to the woman was expected to crush the head of the serpent. This is expressed in Psalm 91:13 - "You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent." However, the expectation is much older than Psalm 91. It was expressed about 1000 years earlier in Utterance 388 of the Pyramid Texts. "Horus has shattered (tbb, crushed) the mouth of the serpent with the sole of his foot (tbw)".

This widespread motif is very ancient. It is found in Vedic literature also.
"The Ancient Man danced on the serpent, who still spewed poison from his eyes and hissed loudly in his anger, and he trampled down with his feet whatever head the serpent raised, subduing him calmly as if he were being worshipped with flowers. Kaliya, his umbrella of hoods shattered by the gay dance of death, his limbs broken, vomiting blood copiously from his mouths, remembered the Guru of all who move and are still, the Ancient Man, Narayana, and he surrendered to him in his heart." (Srimad Bhagavatam 10:6)

The sign of his descent to Sheol

One of the signs concerning Messiah is mentioned in the Apostles' Creed. The Creed speaks of Him descending to the place of the dead. In the Septuagint, the Greek term "ᾅδης" (Hades) is used for the Hebrew "שׁאול" (Sheol). The English Creed has the word "hell", but Hell and Sheol are not equivalent terms. Sheol is from the ancient Egyptian word Sheut (šwt), meaning place of shadows.

The Egyptians believed that something of the dead person continues as a shadow beyond death. Small figurines called "Shabti" were painted black and placed in the graves to portray the continued existence of the deceased in shadow. Each figurine was inscribed with a prayer.
On Holy Saturday Jesus descended to Sheol to announce his victory over death. A Horite song found at the royal complex at Ugarit speaks of the descent of Horus, the son of God, to the place of the dead "to announce good tidings."

In the story of Lazarus and the poor man, Luke describes a fixed gulf that separates the living from the dead. None can cross over except the one who originally set that boundary. In ancient Hebrew thought, Horus, the son of God, was believed to be the fixer of boundaries. In Greek philosophy, horos refers to the boundaries of an area, or a landmark, or a term. The HR roots appears in the Indo-European word for year, yeHr. Many words related to boundaries are related to the HR root: horologion, hour, horotely, horizon, etc. In some ancient texts, Horus is called the "Lord of the Two Horizons" (East and West).

The sign of the wind and waves

Horus is also said to be the Lord over wind and water, which is highlighted in the story of Jesus calming the wind and waves in John 6:15-25. During a terrible storm on the Sea of Galilee, the veteran fishermen were terrified and cried out to Jesus, saying, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?" The Markan account states that: He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?" They were terrified and asked each other, "Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!"

Bodily resurrection as the greatest sign

Among Jesus' ancestors, the ruler's resurrection was essential for the salvation of his people. The people were to follow their risen ruler from this world to the next. For the Hebrew, salvation was never private or individual. Heavenly recognition of a people depended on the righteousness of their ruler-priest, and the perfectly righteous ruler-priest would be known by his resurrection. He alone would have the power to deliver his people to the Father.

Great care was taken in the burial of these ruler-priests. The prayers that were offered at the tombs are evidence that the people hoped for resurrection. These prayers were written on the walls of the tombs and have been collected into volumes that can be studied today. The volumes include The Pyramid Texts (2400 BC), The Coffin Texts (2100 BC), and the Book of the Dead (1500 BC).

When Jesus refers to the third-day resurrection as a proof of Messiah's identity, he mentions that this is written. Jesus said, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day..." (Luke 24:46) However, this is not found in the canonical texts. It appears that Jesus was referring to a passage from the Pyramid Texts: "Oh Horus, this hour of the morning, of this third day is come, when thou surely passeth on to heaven, together with the stars, the imperishable stars." (Utterance 667)

The sign of descent and ascent  

In the volumes mentioned above, there is a great deal of descent-ascent language. Utterance 214 of the Pyramid texts bids the deceased king to "ascend to the place where your father is." He is to "betake himself to the Mansion of Horus which is in the firmament" (Pyramid Texts, Utterance 539).

Utterance 214 mentions the "Imperishable Stars" that are connected to ascent to heaven after resurrection. The third day resurrection of the son of God is expressed in the Pyramid Texts: "Oh Horus, this hour of the morning, of this third day is come, when thou surely passeth on to heaven, together with the stars, the Imperishable Stars" (Utterance 667).

The descent-ascent language is similar to what is expressed in Ephesians 4:8-10.
This is why it is written:
“When he ascended on high,
he took many captives
and gave gifts to his people.”
(What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the depths of the earth? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)

Paul speaks of the ascent-descent in Romans 10:6-8.

‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). Paul poses this rhetorical question to show that only God can fill all things in heaven and in earth and below the earth. "He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things." (Eph. 4:10)

Sign of the Son's unique relationship to the Father

The Son of God was believed to have a unique relationship with the Father. ‘Here I am – it is written about me in the scroll – I have come to do your will, O God.’” (Septuagint, Psalm 40:6-8)

The Father-Son relationship is expressed in the son's recognition of his Father in others. Horus was said to recognize his father in the deceased king. "Horus is a soul and he recognizes his Father in you..." (Pyramid Texts, Utterance 423)

In John 14, Jesus explains to Phillip, "He who has seen Me has seen the Father."

Sign of the Son's eternal existence

Christians believe that the Son has been eternally present with the Father. He is one with the Ancient of Days (Atik Yomin).
"I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of Days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire." (Daniel 7:9)
Daniel 7:13-14 continues:

“I saw in the night visions,
and behold, with the clouds of heaven
there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days
and was presented before him.

And to him was given dominion
and glory and a kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one
that shall not be destroyed.

Daniel 7:14 parallels Psalm 145:13: "Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations."

Sign of the Son's victory over His Father's enemies 

Psalm 110, recognized as a Messianic reference, says: The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”

Messianic passages such as this have parallels in ancient Horite Hebrew texts. Consider how Horus, the archetype of Christ, describes himself in the Coffin texts (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’. 

Jesus subdues the Father's enemies so that God's children might live and prosper. This is expressed in Psalm 2:12: "Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him."

Sign of the Lamb-to-Ram

In the Horite Hebrew tradition, Horus rises with the sun as the lamb and goes as a ram to the place of rest with the setting of the sun. This belief reflects the solar symbolism of the Proto-Gospel. Horus, the son of the High God, was shown riding with the Father on the celestial Sun 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 Mandjet, he is depicted as a lamb. While on the Mesektet, he has the head of a ram. 

This belief is illustrated in the story of the binding of Isaac. As they ascended Mount Moriah, Isaac asked his father "where is the lamb" for the sacrifice? Abraham replied that God would provide the lamb, but God provided a ram instead.

Horus was called the Lamb in his weaker (kenotic) state, and he was called the Ram in his glorified state. Both are associated with the death and resurrection symbolism of the Horite Hebrew. This is likely what Jesus meant when he said, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad." (John 8:56)

Both Paul and James explain justification in connection to this story. James 2:21 says, "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?"

When John pointed to Jesus and called Him the "Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world", he identified Him as the fulfillment of the sign. John writes: "Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God." (I John 5:5) 

Who passes from fleshly weakness through death to divine strength? Only those who are in the Lamb who has become the Ram.

The sign of the Ram is the resurrected strength promised to those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Judaism rejects the early Hebrew belief in the Son of God. The belief in God Father and God Son is what sets Christianity and Judaism apart

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