Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Maleness of Jesus

Painting by Nathan Greene

Alice C. Linsley

The maleness of Jesus is part of the Holy Tradition received from Abraham and his Horite Hebrew ancestors. It is not a matter for negotiation. To set aside the historical reality of Jesus as the Son of the Father is to eviscerate the Messianic Tradition and to denigrate the Gospel to simply another religious path.

Holy Tradition, as it is received from Jesus and the Apostles, has two categories: kergyma, and ecclesiastical order and discipline. The first is non-negotiable, and the second tends to accommodate to local conditions. The "priesting" of women touches on the first category. Women's ordination would not have become a divisive issue if Anglicans had held to the received tradition.

The royal priesthood of Jesus Christ is the foundation stone of the Church. Understanding the antecedents of the Church's priesthood is essential if we are to rebuild the foundations of the New Jerusalem. We cannot rebuild unless we know where the walls were and how they were sited and aligned. We cannot restore a firm foundation unless we understand the work of our ancestors in the Faith. Antecedents matter!

The Church is divided, yet there is but one Priesthood - that of Jesus Christ, the Eternal Priest - whose priesthood is given to the Church. The priesthood is a unique gift and it speaks of Jesus Christ, so we must get it right or we send a false Christological message to the world, such as that delivered by Presiding Bishop Curry at the recent Royal Wedding.

Having read a great deal of Feminist literature, I am no longer surprised by the bizarre constructions they present on Jesus, the Church, and the priesthood. Agenda driven "scholarship" is not true scholarship. Attempts to justify women priests by pointing to imagined examples of women who were priests are hollow and without substance. The only women of the ancient world who are called "priests" practiced pagan religions. They do not represent the ruler-priest caste of the ancient Horite Hebrew. They are not heirs of the Messianic Faith.

Feminists attempt to make the Virgin Mary a priest. She was not. Nor was Phoebe, Lydia, Juna, etc. None of these were priests. The Christ-following priests of the early Apostolic period were associated with the Sanhedrin. Two are named in the Bible: Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea. Joseph and Jesus Christ were kin, both descendants of the ruler-priest line of Mathea (Matthew).

St. John Chrysostom wrote in his treatise on the priesthood:
"For the priestly office is indeed discharged on earth, but it ranks among heavenly ordinances; and very naturally so: for neither man, nor angel, nor archangel, nor any other created power, but the Paraclete Himself, instituted this vocation, and persuaded men while still abiding in the flesh to represent the ministry of angels. Wherefore the consecrated priest ought to be as pure as if he were standing in the heavens themselves in the midst of those powers."

In "The Veiling of the Virgins" Tertullian speaks of the sacerdotal life as a "male function," and St. John Chrysostom wrote, "When one is required to preside over the Church, and be entrusted with the care of so many souls, the whole female sex must retire before the magnitude of the task, and the majority of men also.” (On the Priesthood)

That seems clear enough. Yet some want to prolong the debate. Some are compromised and cannot easily defend the received tradition. Anglican bishops who are married to priests should recuse themselves from the discussion. None should consider it worthy of Christ to promote anything that causes confusion, engenders strife, or brings division to the Body of Christ.

In his treatise On the Holy Spirit, St. Basil the Great wrote:
“Every man is a theologian; it does not matter that his soul is covered with more blemishes than can be counted. The result is that these innovators find an abundance of men to join their factions. So ambitious, self-elected men divide the government of the churches among themselves, and reject the authority of the Holy Spirit. The ordinances of the Gospel have been thrown into confusion everywhere for lack of discipline; the jostling for high positions is incredible, as every ambitious man tries to thrust himself into high office. The result of this lust for power is that wild anarchy prevails among the people; the exhortations of those in authority are rendered utterly void and unprofitable, since every man in his arrogant delusion thinks that it is more his business to give orders to others than to obey anyone himself."

Despite what feminists argue concerning women in the Church, there is not a shred of evidence in the Bible that even one woman served as a priest.

Despite what politically correct academics write, the priesthood of the Church is distinct from the priesthood of the pagan world.

Despite what rights activists might say, Jesus was not gay, homophobic, or a misogynist.

He was not illegitimate. The only scandal raised surrounding his miraculous and prophetic birth was raised by His enemies. He was conceived and born exactly according to the expectation of Messiah's appearing. What is written concerning Him in the Bible is entirely consistent with the expectation of the long-awaited Messiah.

The ministry of priests in the Church is not of human origin or human invention. It is the gift of the Messiah to those men who are called to priestly ministry. This office developed organically from the Horite Hebrew priesthood of Abraham's ancestors. Animal sacrifice, circumcision, ritual purity, and sacred moral codes originated with them. They alone believed that the Creator (Ra/Ani) is Father to His Son (Horus/Enki). That is where the evidence of Scripture, anthropology, linguistics, and genetic studies leads us. Fr. Thomas Hopko is correct in saying, "In his actions in and toward the world of his creation, the one God and Father reveals himself primarily and essentially in a 'masculine' way." (Women and the Priesthood, p 240)

The priestly function was exclusively the work of a select group of men, a caste of royal priests whose devotion to the worship of the Creator involved, by today's standards, extreme asceticism and purity of life. That there were priestesses in the Greco-Roman world is irrelevant to the question of women priests in the Church because this practice has no connection to the priesthood represented by Jesus Messiah and his followers. Failure to make this distinction has led to much confusion and obfuscation.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Another Resource for Readers of Just Genesis

Some readers may not be aware that I have another blog - Biblical Anthropology - that addresses topics other than the book of Genesis. You will find the articles linked in this INDEX. I hope you will find this helpful.

Also, there is a Facebook Group - The Bible and Anthropology - where we discuss Biblical Anthropology and themes of Genesis. I invite you to consider joining the discussions there.

My best wishes to you!

Alice C. Linsley

Friday, April 13, 2018

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Rulers of the Ancient World

Alice C. Linsley

The entire scope of biblical history reveals that God is eager to reveal His divine nature and eternal power to us (Romans 1:20). This eagerness is an expression of His infinite love for the whole creation and especially for humanity.

In Genesis, the Creator communes with the humans in the Garden in the cool of the day. This is a picture of Paradise, a Paradise that was lost when sin and death entered the world. However, God did not give up on His creation. He began to show humans His thoughts and plans. He appointed rulers who would listen to Him. He called forth prophets who would declare His Word. He anointed priests to serve the needs of His people.

The focus of this post is the biblical data about the archaic rulers who are listed in Genesis 4, 5, 10, 11, 25 and 36. They were the rulers over the peoples listed in the so-called "Table of Nations," which is a misnomer since during the period in question - 6000 -2000 BC - there were no nations as we define that term today.

A detailed study of the peoples listed in the Table of Nations reveals that these peoples have a linguistic relationship. All the peoples spoke languages with common roots found in the oldest known language group: the Afro-Asiatic Family. The common roots [radicals] are usually biconsonantal, such as NS, NT, TR, JB, GG, GB, etc.

The rulers of these peoples appear to have common religious practices. They built east-facing temples and shrines. They retained royal priests to serve in their temples. They offered blood sacrifice for sin and oblations of oil, wine, and wheat. They drafted and ratified royal treaties in a similar way. Ancient paintings reveal a common solar symbolism as well.

We note a familial relationship between clans that share certain radicals and sounds [phonemes]. Note the “le” prefix in these clan names: Le’hab, Le’sha, Le’tushim and Le’ummim (Gen. 25:3). The Semitic languages typically have particles that begin with L (le, lu or la). Le is a Hebrew prefix, but it appears in older languages such as Akkadian. (La’baru - pertains to granting long life and is related to the Akkadian word la’biru, meaning old.) There is also linguistic evidence of 3-clan confederations, such as Jubal, Jabal and Tubal, and Og, Gog and Magog.

The society of these ancient populations was hierarchical and highly structured. There were high kings (suzerain), lesser kings (vassals or viziers), clan chiefs, and castes of craftsmen. This was a period of early kingdom building. The Bible provides a great deal of information about the high kings. In Genesis 6:1-4 they are described as the “mighty men of old, as “heroes” and “men of renown.” They constructed temples, palaces, fortified shrine cities ("high places"), great stone monuments, and pyramids.

Genesis 6 also describes them as gibboriym, meaning “powerful ones.” Nimrod is an example. Genesis 10:8 tells us that he was a Kushite kingdom builder.

Genesis also associates the mighty rulers of the archaic world with the Anakim. The Anakim are the people of Anak and his father Arba. Anak and the Anakim dwelt in the region of Hebron, which was called Kiriath-Arba. This is where Sarah resided. Hebron was at the northern most boundary of the ancient kingdom of Edom. The Greeks called this Idumea, which means “land of red people.” Esau of Edom is described as red and hairy in Genesis 25:25.

The Anakim are associated with the Nephilim in Number 13:33. Unfortunately, many Bibles render the meaning of nephilim as “giants” when it should read “great ones.” Nephilim comes from the same root as the Aramaic npyl (nephil) which means giant as in great. This is equivalent to the Arabic nfy, meaning hunter. It is said concerning Nimrod that he was a “mighty hunter” or a “mighty man” before the Lord.

The archaic kingdom builders, like Nimrod, forged the archaic kingdoms of the Afro-Asiatic world which extended from Nigeria to India and from the Nile to the Orontes River in Turkey. In Genesis, these rulers are described as “men of renown” and “heroes.”

The anthropological study of early biblical populations indicates that God has been working with humans from the beginning to prepare them for the coming of Jesus Messiah. This is evident in the way that God called forth a royal priesthood to serve at the Sun temples that were built by the high kings. These temples are identified in ancient texts as O-piru. The O is a solar image or pictograph, and piru is an ancient word meaning house or temple. In Sumerian and Akkadian texts the royal priests who served at the “sun temples” are called ‘Apiru, Hapiru, or Habiru. The Akkadian word Habiru appears in English as “Hebrew.”

The Habiru were unique among other priests in that they believed in a supreme Creator God who has a son. The Hebrew priests of the Nile called the creator Ra, and his son was called Horus. The Hebrew priests of Mesopotamia called the Creator Anu and his son was called Enki, which means “Lord over all the earth” in Akkadian. Given that many ancient populations believed in multiple gods, the Father-Son belief of the Hebrew priests is truly remarkable.

The wisdom of the Nilotic priests was so extensive that it was unrivaled in the ancient world. Much of the wisdom ascribed to the ancient Greeks was borrowed from the Nilotic Hebrew priests. Plato studied for 13 years with the priest Sechnuphis at the temple in Memphis. He reported that the ancient Nilotes had been keeping records of astronomical events for 10,000 years.

Genesis 36 lists some of the Horite Hebrew rulers of Edom. The prophet Jeremiah refers to Edom and Teman of Edom as seats of wisdom. "Concerning Edom: This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'Is there no longer wisdom in Teman? Has counsel perished from the prudent? Has their wisdom decayed?" (Jeremiah 49:7)

The Hebrew royal priests practiced endogamy, which is to say they married only within their priestly families. We will examine this more next week. Because the lines of ruler-priests married only within their group, geneticists are able to identify the priest gene among 90% of men who self-identify as having Jewish priests as ancestors. This is called the Cohen Modal Haplotype (CMH). These men carry a characteristic Y chromosome associated with Hebrew priests.

This CMH genetic marker also appears in men with no Cohen/Jewish ancestry. That is because the priesthood of Aaron was inherited from his ancestors long before there was a religion known as Judaism. Jesus is associated with the older priesthood in Hebrews 7:1-21, where we read concerning our Lord, "Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek."

The priesthood of Judaism emerged from the Horite Hebrew priesthood. The word “Horite” appears numerous places in the Bible. I Chronicles 4:4 claims that Bethlehem was a Horite town. The Horite chief Salmon is called the "father of Bethlehem" in 1 Chronicles 2:54. Some of the Horite Hebrew rulers are listed in Genesis 36 (diagrammed below). In Hebrew Bibles the word “Horite” appears as “Horim,” which is what Jews call their ancestors.

The oldest known site of Horite Hebrew worship is at the royal city of Nekhen on the Nile (3800 BC). Archaeologists working at Nekhen discovered a temple with huge pillars made of cedar. Later Hebrew temples are patterned on the temple of Nekhen (Hierakonpolis).

Archaeologists describe the offerings at the Nekhen temple as “ten times larger” than the typical mace heads and bowls offered elsewhere, suggesting that this was a very prestigious shrine.

Nekhen had a twin city on the opposite side of the Nile. That sister city was Nekheb (Elkab). The royal tomb of Horemkhawef in Nekhen and the tomb of Sobeknakht in Nekheb were painted by the same artist. Further, Hormose, the chief priest of Nekhen, was able to request material goods from the temple at Elkab for use at the temple at Nekhen.

One of the more intriguing discoveries at Nekhen was the recovery of an almost complete beard in association with the redheaded man in Burial no. 79. The facial hair of the man in Burial no. 79 had been trimmed with a sharp blade. The presence of long wavy natural red hair and a full beard illustrates the genetic diversity that existed in Africa thousands of years ago. 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)."

By 3200 BC, Nekhen had a population estimated at 10,000 inhabitants and was the most important settlement along the Nile. The city stretched for over two miles along the edge of the floodplain and was an important commercial center. There were stone masons, weavers, potters, and beer brewers. Metal workers crafted sacred objects of gold and copper. The earliest preserved house in Egypt (3600 BC) was the house of a Nekhen potter. It was preserved when he accidentally burned it down while firing a load of pots.

Related reading: Sun Cities of the Ancient World; Who Were the Horites?; Twin Cities of the Ancient World; An Akkadian Lexicon; Hebrew, Israelite, Jew; Royal Treaties

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

What the Bible Says About Eden

Alice C. Linsley

The Eden described in the Bible was a vast well-watered region that extended from the source of the Nile to the Tigris-Euphrates (Genesis 2). The biblical description comes from writers who lived long after the time that this region (shown in red) was wet.

Rock paintings of boats, people fishing and herding cattle have been found around the Sahara. These tell the story of life during the African Humid Period (the Aqualithic) when the wet Sahara sustained large herds.

Memory of Eden is preserved in Akkadian documents and ancient Egyptian texts. According to Genesis 13:10, the Garden of the Lord was well watered, like “the land of Egypt.” The Afro-Asiatic word for garden or virgin forest is egan, and the Hebrew word gan for garden, is cleared related. In Akkadian, the region is called Edinu and the word is derived from the Akkadian word edû - flow, spring (a Sumerian loan word). E. A. Speiser believed that the Sumerian word eden refers to a plain or a steppe (The Anchor Bible, Genesis, p. 16). However, the biblical description is of a flood plain, not an arid plain.

The Paradise of Eden is described as a well-watered garden. This was not a small garden that could be managed by a single gardener. It was God's garden. Today the region shown on the map is one of the driest on Earth.

If you are a gardener (as I am), you recognize the value of water, especially in hot weather. The text says that springs came up from the earth. This suggests that the biblical writer is making a play of words Eden = edû , meaning "flow" or "spring."

Genesis 2 gives the account of 4 major rivers: the Gihon and the Pishon in Africa, and the Tigris and Euphrates in Mesopotamia. The Ethiopians identify the Gihon with the Abay River, which circles the former African kingdom of Gojjam. Genesis 2:13 states that the Gihon "winds through all the land of Kush." The Pishon "winds through the whole land of Havilah" (Gen. 2:11). Havilah is both a place name and the name of one of Kush's sons (Gen. 10:7). This identifies the Gihon and Pishon with the Upper Nile region.

This ancient paradise supported forests (Gen. 2:9). Some believe that the earliest of Abraham’s ancestors were forest dwellers. This pushes those ancestors to a time before memory, and yet the Paradise they enjoyed is remembered. Jung might suggest that the Paradise of Genesis reflects the collective memory of Abraham’s Proto-Saharan ancestors.

Many discoveries, such as the 8000 year Dufuna boat, ancient petroglyphs of boats and cows in the  Sahara, and 9000-10,000 year burial sites provide evidence of extensive water systems and human populations. The paleoanthropologist, Paul Sereno, unearthed 9,700 year skeletons at Gobero in Niger. These were buried on the edge of a paleolake on the northwestern rim of the Chad Basin. The Gobero site is the earliest known cemetery in the Sahara and the skeletons found there indicated that some of the people were at least 6 feet tall.

Gobero skeleton (G3B8) measures 6 feet, 6 inches
Photo: Mike Hettwer, courtesy Project Exploration

At the time of the Gobero population, humans were dispersed globally, and during the time of Noah these populations were not destroyed. 

Many peoples have their point of origin in archaic Eden. This is the point of origin of the biblical Hebrew clans. The oldest identified Horite Hebrew shrine cities were Nekhen and Nekheb on the Nile. These twin cities date to 3,800 BC.

Painted tomb at Nekhen

The rulers of Tyre, an ancient seat of wisdom, are traced back to Eden. "Son of Man, raise a lament over the king of Tyre and say to him: Thus says the Lord God: You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and flawless beauty. You were in Eden, in the Garden of God; every precious stone was your adornment... and gold beautifully wrought for you, mined for you, prepared the day you were created." (Ezekiel 28:11-18)

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Sara's Laughter

Alice C. Linsley

Abraham's half-sister was also his wife. Her name was Sarah or Sarai, both names being derived from the Akkadian word for queenšarratum. Sarah was a wealthy, high-born woman with many servants, craftsmen, herdsmen, shepherds and warriors to supervise in the absence of her husband.

Sarah resided in the region of Hebron, at the northern boundary of Abraham's territory in Edom. Abraham's other wife, Keturah, resided in the region of Beersheba at the southern boundary of Abraham's territory.

Abraham's territory extended between the settlements of his two wives and was entirely in the region the Greeks called Idumea, meaning "land of red people."

In the marriage and ascendancy pattern of the Horite Hebrew rulers, the proper heir to the father's territory was the first born son of the first wife, the half-sister wife. As Sarah was barren, Abraham had no proper heir. Eliezer, the son of the concubine Masek, was chosen to be the steward of the household, not the heir. Abraham took up his complaint with the LORD and was assured that one day Sarah would bring forth the proper heir (There is Messianic foreshadowing here).

Abraham's complaint that he had no proper heir was one the Lord God understood, seeing that Abraham was a ruler and the matter of heirs is especially important for those who rule. Having a proper heir would not be so important were Abraham and Sarah commoners. They were of the ruling class. 

Sarah had everything, except the one thing she needed to fulfill her role as the wife of a ruler. Her resentment of Hagar and Ishmael reveals the growing bitterness she had. She likely scoffed and laughed from a spirit of grief and bitterness. It is easy to judge Sarah who laughed when she heard that she would bring forth a son in her old age. Her laughter seems to be out of shock and disbelief, a natural response for a woman past child bearing years (Gen. 18:13). Yet, Abraham laughed also.
Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born to man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear a child? (Gen. 17:17).
When confronted, Sarah denied laughing. She would not have wanted to insult her guests. At first, Sara and Abraham were not aware of the identity of their visitors. The meal they provided was one of hospitality, not a great feast. It suggests that Abraham was unsure about the 3 strangers, but anxious to provide an adequate meal. The guests are described simply as three men, but when Abraham talks to them, they respond as one ("they said"). We are told that "the Lord appeared to Abraham," but when he looks, he sees three men. Three men speaking as one suggest the Triune God. At other times, only one of the angels speaks to Abraham and he is referred to as "Lord." Only after Abraham is assured of the long-yearned for son (messianic foreshadowing), does he recognize that he is speaking to the Lord. Then he begins to intercede for Lot and Sodom.

Sara apparently did not know that she was hearing a divine announcement, certainly not in the way that the Virgin Mary knew at the Annunciation that she was hearing a word directly from God. Unlike Mary, Sara was not the direct recipient of the message.

When Isaac was born, Sara laughed again (Gen. 21:6). The Hebrew verb  “to laugh" has the initial צְחֹק (in a rare participial form). It refers to Sara's joyful laughter upon giving birth to a son. This suggests that the name Sara is also related to the African word saran, meaning joy. The word saran also is found in Hindi and refers to refugeThe child is named Isaac (Yitzak) which is related to the word for laughter. The Proto-Semitic root for laughter is The Ugaritic word for laughter is tzakhak.

Genesis 26:8 says that Yitzak was caressing his wife Rebecca. The word "caressing" is the Piel/intensive form of the word "laugh" so the verse suggests laughter upon laughter. "He laughs, was laughing intensively with his wife." Hebrew scholars suggest that this is a euphemism for having sex. That is a possible interpretation, yet the structure of laughter upon laughter suggests a connection to a source of joy beyond the physical pleasure of sex.

Related reading:  False Correlations; The Barren and Grieving Rejoice; The Social Structure of the Biblical Hebrew (Part 1); Abraham's Concubines

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

An Invitation

Readers of JUST GENESIS are invited to join the Facebook group The Bible and Anthropology where we discuss many of the topics found here in great detail. This is more interactive than a blog can be.

The Bible and Anthropology is an international forum that helps the members gain a better understanding of the Bible through guided application of cultural anthropology. We investigate the biblical texts for anthropologically significant information that clarifies the context of biblical peoples. 

Members recommend topics for discussion, pose questions, post news, make thoughtful comments and observations, and provide links to pertinent material.

Biblical Anthropology is a science. It requires that assertions be backed up with hard data. Here we investigate the biblical texts, seeking anthropologically significant data. We identify the data and explore correlations to the findings of other sciences: linguistics, DNA studies, recorded climate changes, archaeology, migration studies, etc.

This new branch of anthropology is especially relevant to Christians as it helps us to understand the antecedents of our Messianic Faith and reinforced our conviction that Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah.